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RB_Jerry_Brown_Budget.JPGGov. Jerry Brown has by all accounts been more attentive to matters of state than he was three decades ago, when he was governor before and ran twice for president.

But the 75-year-old, third term governor lamented Wednesday that demands of the job have kept him from understanding state operations as deeply as he would like. Among other responsibilities, he said in an interview, are "these damn bills," hundreds of which he must sign or veto by mid-month.

When he is finished, he said, he wants to spend more time visiting state prisons and studying schools, water, highways and parks.

"I want to visit more prisons," he said. "I want to understand the highway system. I want to understand this water system better."

Brown said "the governor is the leader of all that, but most of the time you're doing something else. You're reacting to new desires, called bills, you're responding to contributors or you're raising money, or you're trying to make news."

The Democratic governor said of his own time in office, "I'm working pretty darn hard, and yet I can't spend a lot of time on getting into the intricacies of government. So that, over the next year, that's something that interests me, to try to understand ... to get a real world feel of what's under my responsibility, and I don't think many governors have ever done that."

Brown said doing so will allow him to "think and imagine and come up with things."

PHOTO: California Gov. Jerry Brown explains his budget proposal at the California state Capitol in Sacramento on Jan. 10, 2013.


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