SKELTON: Brown's two key sentences

Gov. Jerry Brown spoke only two sentences about streamlining environmental regulations in his State of the State address. But they inspired reformers to cheer.

Could have fooled me. I was ready to pounce on him last week for scanty treatment, for kissing off the subject with only a brief reference, a throwaway line.

But I'd have been wrong, say some experts, people who specialize in semantics and nuances.

<WC>"<WC1>The fact he mentioned it at all was a home run with the bases loaded,<WC>"<WC1> says Carl Guardino, president and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, a trade association. <WC>"<WC1>We were thrilled.<WC>"<WC1><WC>

<WC1><WC>"<WC1>I was delighted he even mentioned the need for regulatory reform and talked about California losing 1.3 million jobs<WC>"<WC1> during the recession, says Gary Toebben, president and CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.

It must be a low bar in Sacramento these days for business groups, what with a Democratic governor and complete Democratic control of the Legislature.

But Brown is on a roll and seemingly can do little wrong, at least that draws harsh criticism. Winning passage of his Proposition 30 tax increase earned him bank vaults of political capital.

<WC>"<WC1>It was one of the finest speeches delivered in our Capitol in the past three decades,<WC>"<WC1> gushed Sen. Michael Rubio<WC>, <WC1>D-East Bakersfield, chairman of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee and an advocate of regulatory streamlining.

<WC>"<WC1>When has a governor captured anything so eloquently? So much history and poetry?<WC>"<WC1> Rubio is a Democrat. But even Republicans were pulling their punches.

The two GOP leaders <WC>—<WC1> Sen. Bob Huff of Diamond Bar and Assemblywoman Connie Conway of Tulare <WC>—<WC1> were <WC>"<WC1>encouraged<WC>"<WC1> by the governor's words.

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