Preview: Former Calif. Governors View Crisis

Three former California governors will give their views of the state's budget crisis later on All Things Considered. Renee Montagne talks with Madeleine Brand, who will be co-hosting that show from NPR West for the next several weeks.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

And creating a budging from the ballot box is just one of the reasons that California's problems are so deep and widespread that some say that the state basically has become impossible to govern. Well, is this true? This afternoon we'll get the view of three former California governors when our series California In Crisis continues on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. And joining us now is a fellow Californian, our own Madeleine Brand. Good morning.

MADELEINE BRAND: Hi.

MONTAGNE: Now you're sitting here with me in the studio because for the next six weeks you are co-hosting All Things Considered from right here, NPR West, Culver City, and you'll have plenty to talk about.

BRAND: Yeah, plenty to talk about. We have - well, first of all, we have a whole series on California and the problems that it's facing from all different vantage points. We'll be looking at it from the perspective of the public schools and whether or not California can afford to have a first-class public school system. And we'll be looking at Arnold Schwarzenegger, the governor's legacy when he was voted in after that nasty recall fight, if you recall. He was wildly popular. People just loved him. Now, not that much.

MONTAGNE: One thing, living in California, you and I see these problems first hand and maybe the obvious question for those not living in this state is, let me put it to you, why should someone outside California really care?

BRAND: Well, California is a huge state, as we know, and 12 percent of the population of the United States lives here in California. It is the seventh richest economy in the world.

MONTAGNE: Yeah, if it was a country, it would be somewhere there between France and Italy and - in that neighborhood.

BRAND: Right. Yeah, yeah. And so what happens here inevitably affects the rest of the country, it affects, really, the rest of the world. So yeah, people should care what's going on here.

MONTAGNE: And any financial crisis in this state has the potential to wreak havoc on any recovery that the national economy is hoping to have, especially if there's a strong call for a federal bailout, which the White House opposes, but it's certainly out there in the conversation. Also the question of whether California is what you might call the preview of coming attractions for other states.

BRAND: Exactly. In a lot of good and bad ways California sets trends. And also a lot of stimulus funding hangs in the balance. If we don't get the budget together here in California, we're going to miss out on millions, perhaps billions of federal aid.

MONTAGNE: We'll be looking at all these issues on our special series California In Crisis. It airs on both MORNING EDITION and ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. And of course Madeleine, you'll be talking about lots of other things over these next few days.

BRAND: Yeah, and we're going to have fun too. It's not all doom and gloom here in California.

MONTAGNE: Yeah, hosting ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from California.

BRAND: Thanks, Renee.

(Soundbite of music)

MONTAGNE: This is NPR News.

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