We regret the whole thing: It’s hard to believe, but your Calbuzzards were just a couple years too young to cover the dramatic political events that unfolded in California in January 1860. As a result, we missed our chance to interview Lt. Gov. John Downey, or we would have known that he, not Jerry Brown, is the youngest governor in state history.
Here’s a full report from our Dr. P.J. Hackenflack who was on the scene:
Born June 24, 1827 in Rosscommon County, Ireland, , the late Gov. John Gately Downey constitutionally ascended to the governorship just five days after the inauguration of Gov. Milton Latham.
Milt, it turned out, coveted the chief executive post primarily so he could appoint himself to a seat in the U.S. Senate. It became open when incumbent David C. Broderick was shot and killed in a duel by state Supreme Court Chief Justice David Terry, a month before in San Francisco. Their dispute was either over slavery or a bunch of trash-talking, depending on who you ask.
In any case, Downey was just 32 when he stepped up, as Latham split for Washington less than a week after being sworn in. Downey not only captures youngest governor honors, but also owns the historic distinction of being the first foreign-born chief executive of the state; move over Arnold Schwarzenegger. (It seems likely that members of the Legislature were greatly relieved when Latham left town: his inaugural address droned on for 4947 words, while the youngster Downey brought his in at a crisp 206 words. But we digress).
The claim that Brown was the state’s youngest governor when he was first elected at the age of 36 in 1974 has been widely disseminated and a standard part of the journalistic narrative about him for years. But wrong.
With a big HT to alert L.A. Times reader Henry Fuhrmann, we apologize for the confusion.
Make way, make way for Her Megness: Meg Whitman did a round of live feed interviews from a studio on the Stanford campus with TV stations around the state this week, one more weapon in the carpet bomb strategy she’s using to fight a two-front war against Brown and Commish Steve Poizner, along with her ubiquitous broadcast ads, web attacks and staged meeting with voters.
With eMeg sitting for a one-shot in front of a “Meg Whitman 2010” backdrop, she uplinked to local newsers around the state, some of whom preceded mysteriously to pretend she’d come by the studio for an excloo.
“Meg Whitman stopped by today,” one interviewer began.
“I’m happy to be here,” responded our Meg, a moment later.
At one point Wednesday, she did a 9:07 stretch with KNBC’s “Raw News” in which she not only covered all her tiresome talking points but also dropped this bombshell:
“You have to veto everything that isn’t on the focused agenda,” Whitman said, vowing twice not to sign any bills passed by the Legislature that don’t conform to her agenda of creating jobs, improving schools and cutting spending.
Really? Veto everything?
As we may have mentioned once or twice, eMeg’s major downside is that she appears not to understand that politics is a give-and-take, give-some-to-get-some business, that legislators are also elected by the people, and that the Capitol is a teeming cacophony of conflicting interests, not the site of an Imperial Governorship. In the KNBC interview, she made quite clear that she sees the role of lawmakers as secondary, when she graciously said they’d be welcome to serve on her “jobs team” or her “schools team.”
“Where do I sign up?” Senate leader Darrell Steinberg is no doubt asking.
If Her Megness does manage to get elected, it’ll be interesting to see how smoothly the confirmation process goes for her nominees – “the appointment process is incredibly important,” she noted duhhly in the interview – when she swaggers into the Capitol and announces her game plan to “veto everything.”
And thank you for that.
Press Clips: Most interesting take on Roy Ashburn, the Republican state Senator who was outed after getting busted for drunk driving the other night, comes from his hometown Bakersfield California. Seems the Californian interviewed Ashburn previously about his sexuality but didn’t print anything because the editors decided it wasn’t relevant.
They outed their own well-considered, if overly cautious, decision in their follow-up story on Ashburn’s arrest for drunk, a very complete piece with lots of background, context and detail, as the paper hustled to focus what became a national, and then a viral, story through a local news lens for their readers…For more on the subject, check this smart post by Brian Leubitz over at Calitics…Worth a look: a one-minute history of the world of media – including What It All Means – from Columbia J-School chrome dome Richard Wald.
Today’s sign the end of civilization is near: When in Rome…