Monday, February 15, 2010

Jerry Brown's Finest Hour: His release of Timothy Leary

At the time of his arrest for marijuana possession, Timothy Leary was considered the “most dangerous man in America” according to Richard Nixon.  Long story short, Leary escaped minimum security prison and was, finally, recaptured and extradited back to the states in 1973 in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The "dangerous" Leary was released from prison in 1976 by then California Governor Jerry Brown.  Later, Leary went on to cultivate a friendship with former foe G. Gordon Liddy (Nixon's henchman) and went on worldwide tours discussing their ideologies.

Now, just as he did back in the day, one of Brown's platforms is legalizing pot to help balance out the state's budget, but his challengers are trying to use this stance to their advantage. "Like electing Jerry Brown as governor, the idea of legalizing drugs is one more bad idea from a bygone era," said Jarrod Agen, spokesman for Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner, the state insurance commissioner.

In a radio show last year, Brown responded to questions about his pro-cheeba stance:  "As far as telling everybody to - what did Timothy Leary say, 'Tune in, turn on, and drop out'? - that will not be the recommendation of the attorney general."

Brown has a long way to go if he's to win over the state to get re-elected, particularly on his headstrong climate change initiatives and job growth (rather than decimation) within California, but tools like Poizner need to stop playing the political game cards as predictably, and come up with some strong strategies of their own that represent public awareness and interests.  If California is going to grow, it's going to require grown up leaders.

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