If I were back in DC today, which I'm not, I would be going to the National Archives for the premiere screening of California State of Mind, a documentary about former governor Edmund G. "Pat" Brown by his granddaughters Sascha Rice and Hilary Armstrong (plus Julia Mintz and others). Pat Brown is best known these days as the father of the past-and-present governor Jerry Brown -- officially, Edmund G. Brown Jr. (at right, the two Governors Brown) -- but he is known to me and other Boomer-era Californians as the man who presided over the age-of-abundance California of the post-World War II decades. This was the period of all-fronts ambition for public wealth of all sorts in California: K-12 schools, the three-tier California university system*, new freeways, new parks, new hospitals, new water systems, new everything.
The subject -- including its budgetary implications, which were the backdrop to the second Gov. Brown's stint in office -- has been examined before, for instance in Kevin Starr's Golden Dreams. But I'd love to see this film about the elder Brown and what he tried to create. If you're in the vicinity, check it out. In the meantime, trailer is here.
* As we learned in our "state civics" class, itself a quaint concept now, the California higher ed system was intended to provide an integrated ladder-up for students of a wide range of ambitions and preparation levels from across the state. The first tier was the network of JC's and community colleges, matched to each high school district. Then, the Cal State system; and at the top, the mighty UC system, which was expanding so rapidly that two entire new campuses, at Irvine and San Diego, opened in one year while I was in high school. At the time, it seemed a perfectly normal level of ambition and growth -- sort of like the cities of Beijing and Shanghai opening entirely new subway lines year by year while we were living there.