I spoke for several minutes with Jerry Brown at the California state event. We discussed the fact that urban America has all but disappeared from the headlines and from much of our national political dialogue. I used to teach high school in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. This was back in the early 90s when education and inner city crime were topics that regularly received a ton of coverage.
If I mentioned my inner city teaching experiences to someone, they had a thousand questions. Those days are over.
Brown confirmed my sense that the coverage has stopped (he says around 1992) although the stories that we were discussing then are largely still here now – and as the Mayor of Oakland with its troubling homicide rate, he is a unique position to know just how ongoing these stories really are.
Brown indicated that the number one thing Washington could do to help urban mayors is to get the working poor closer to a living wage.
On the inside baseball stuff, Brown told me that he was a bit surprised to hear (from at least four very experienced and very in-the-know journalists) something of a consensus that Kerry was not only doing OK, but that he is in excellent shape heading towards November.