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brownoakland.jpgOAKLAND - Gov. Jerry Brown, who has paid relatively little attention to housing since taking office two years ago, was asked today why he bothered to participate in a forum on the subject.

"I know (Ken) Rosen," Brown said of the chairman of the University of California, Berkeley's Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics, the group organizing the event. "He asked me, so I show up."

Yet housing is primarily a local issue, and Brown did nothing to suggest increased involvement by his administration.

"The governor's a bit remote, not like the city," Brown said. "The city's where you really build. What we do at the state level is pass laws, or hopefully repeal a few."

As mayor of Oakland, Brown said he managed to push housing projects through because "we put so many projects into the pipeline that the opposition couldn't mobilize fast enough," a strategy he described as "overwhelm with mass."

Brown was sometimes accused of lacking focus when he was governor before, from 1975 to 1983, a criticism he has largely avoided in his current term. When he was asked how hard he would push for changes to the California Environmental Quality Act, the environmental protection law Brown has said he wants modified, Brown ticked off several things he said he is "pushing hard" for, including education funding changes, high-speed rail, his proposed water project.

"Wow, that's about as much as I've ever heard any governor ever doing," Brown said. "Now, you can add a few more to that, but I'm going to stick to the core."

PHOTO CREDIT: Jerry Brown speaks to reporters following a housing summit in Oakland on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013. David Siders/The Sacramento Bee


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