Jerry's Big Day 

Let New Cathedral bells chime, for our perpetual bachelor weddeth, the national news media descendeth, and it well befits us to lampooneth.

By now, everyone has heard that Oakland's beloved mayor, Jerry Brown, will marry his longtime girlfriend Anne Gust on June 18. I know what you're thinking. You hear stories about how Gust will be Jerry's campaign manager when he runs for attorney general. You hear about how the wedding will take place in the Rotunda building, how Senator Dianne Feinstein will officiate the ceremony, how the national press will all be there. And you think: This is just a crass political stunt.

For shame, readers. This is all about romance, the sublime love between a candidate and his campaign manager. And that makes us go all drippy in secret places deep inside. That's why we have dedicated this special edition of City of Warts entirely to Jerry Brown's big day, and rechristened it, in honor of this beautiful event, City of Wuv.

Psst! Jerry, our invite got lost in the mail.

Bachelor Party

Cast: Jerry Brown, a mayor. Phil Tagami, a businessman. Ignacio De La Fuente, a political boss. John Foster, a billboard magnate. Lulu, a stripper. Jacques Barzaghi, a knight errant.

Scene: A private room in a North Beach restaurant. Fourteen men in disheveled suits throw back their fifth gimlets of the night and laugh as Oakland developer Tagami finishes a ribald story about Brown. The mayor sits at the far end of the table, smiling gamely.

Tagami: So I say to Jerry, "I know this great massage parlor on Piedmont Avenue." The girls there'll launch you into orbit, right? And the mayor -- that's him over there, you can't hide, buddy! -- the mayor, he says, "Swedish or shiatsu?" I say, "Oh, it's Swedish, Jerry! You can take that to the bank!" Oh man, those were good times.

Brown: I don't remember that happening ...

Foster: Hey, wait-boy! How 'bout some more drinkie-winkies? We got a man 'bout to lose his freedom over here!

De La Fuente: Hey, fuckin' great party, Jerry. You sure know how to show a cocksucker a good fuckin' time, you know what I mean?

Brown: Uh, thank you, Ignacio. Actually, it was Phil's idea ...

De La Fuente: And you been runnin' the fuckin' city like a fuckin' Swiss watch. When I take over, I'm gonna take a fuckin' page outta your book, man. We'll be a great team -- you up in Sacramento, me back here showin' the natives who's the fuckin' jefe. Hey, Tagami, bring that tittie girl in here!

Cabaret music starts, and Lulu begins to gyrate on a table, surrounded by cheering men. Brown sighs, walks to the side, and flips open his cell phone.

Brown: Hello, Jacques? Is that you? Listen, the connection's bad -- could you walk over to the portico? That's better. Oh, Jacques -- am I making a big mistake? No, Anne is great, but I miss the good times. Remember when we used to walk those precincts in New Hampshire, discussing the epiphanies of Copernican heliocentrism? Or those trips to Rome to read the Codex Vaticanus?

Tagami: Hey, Jerry, come get some of this sweet stuff!

Brown: In a minute, Phil! Jacques, we had the country in the palm of our hand. Carter was on the ropes, and Chappaquiddick was gonna bite Kennedy in the ass sooner or later. What happened? Fucking Francis Ford Coppola and his arty campaign video; that doesn't play with the rubes. Now I'm stuck here in this grimy little port city, doing a circle jerk with two-bit chamber of commerce types. But at least I had you, Jacques. We could sit in the lotus position in my warehouse loft, trading thoughts about John Dewey and the aesthetic experience. But then you had to go and play Ride the Staircase with your wife. Things will get better once I'm attorney general, but it's just not the same without you. Maybe you could change your name, get a little work done, come back as my executive assistant ... what? Oh, you gotta go. I understand. Au revoir.

Lulu the stripper saunters over and sits on Jerry's lap. Her cleavage engulfs Jerry's face like a box canyon.

Lulu: So you're the special little boy who's gonna get married! Hey, you're a cutie. It's not too late to run away with Lulu!

Brown (voice muffled): That depends. How do you feel about Baruch Spinoza?

Journalist Guide

Welcome, Big Media, to the great Jerry Brown Attorney General campaign -- er, we mean wedding extravaganza. We know that, as Important Journalists, you're too busy to do your own research. And a lot of Wild Turkey has passed under the bridge since the mayor last held statewide office. So you may need a little refresher course on all the tiresome clichés a good Jerry Brown story can't do without. That's why we have compiled this handy-dandy guide to every stale caricature you'll need to file that copy, cue the archive tape of the former governor cuddling with Linda Ronstadt, and sign off with a glib quip or two. Remember: It's not a Jerry Brown story if it isn't stupid.

Governor Moonbeam. Who can forget this time-honored nickname? Not us here in Oakland, since the national press drops it in every story they've ever done. You should, too. Work it into your lead, possibly in conjunction with a reference to Cat Stevens or nuclear power. Ask Jerry how he feels about the name; no one has ever done that before. Watch him take it in stride, and write up something about his surprising sense of humor.

Jerry the Jesuit. Hey, did you know Jerry used to study at a Jesuit seminary? Or that he studied Buddhism in Japan and cared for the sick with Mother Teresa? The man is deep that way -- he even drove himself to work while governor. Drop a few of these details, and you can't go wrong. Be respectful, but make sure your viewers know that's kinda fruity.

Liberal no more. You know what's really amazing about Jerry Brown? The way he's remade himself into a tough-as-nails big-city mayor. He's a long way from stewing lentils in the ashram, and he's working wonders in Oakland. How did this city ever get along without him? We hear he even has a zero-tolerance policy for homicide.

Jerry Brown is, like, really smart. Here's a tip for feature writers in search of that telling detail: Ask Jerry what he's reading. Don't forget to be impressed.

Keep that Latin dictionary handy. You never know when the mayor will cut loose with an epigram from St. Ignatius, so be sure to bone up on your dead languages. Why, just the other day he told us, "Olim bona erat Oakland, sed omnes viae Sacramentum ducunt."

Hey, is that Warren Beatty? Jerry has lots of Hollywood friends, so be sure you mention which ones came to the wedding. And what they were wearing. If Woody Harrelson is sporting a hemp vest, get that up front -- and check if his eyes are bloodshot while you're at it.

Finally, avoid these pitfalls. Some things Jerry just doesn't like to talk about, and it's best if you don't bring them up if you want face time during the nuptials. The mayor's pet peeves include:

The Oakland Military Institute. Despite screening out underperforming kids and spending far more per student than average, Brown's fabled military charter school has posted lower test scores than four Oakland middle schools that didn't have such advantages. Don't mention this to the mayor, or Randy Ward's bodyguard will break your arm.

Jacques Barzaghi. He was the old wife. Anne is the new wife.

Happy hunting, Important Journalists! And, as always, be good to your liver -- it's been good to you.


Theirs is a love eternal, unsullied by political ambition. Consequently, Anne Gust and Jerry Brown spent a long time agonizing over the vows they will deliver to each other on this special day. The mayor buried himself in City of God and the epistles of St. Jerome, while the bride reviewed every Valentine's Day commercial the Gap ever produced. For spiritual guidance, they consulted a liberal Jesuit theologian with whom the mayor was close back in seminary. We obtained a copy of their vows after Pope Benedict XVI purged Brown's freethinking friend and ordered former San Francisco Archbishop William Levada to clean out his desk. Let your heart soar with the words of Mr. and Mrs. Mayor -- we swear you'll fall in love all over again.


"I, Anne Gust, take you, Edmund G. Brown, to be my lawfully wedded attorney general, pending voter approval in 2006. I promise to conduct oppo research on all your opponents, both in the primary and the general, leaking the juicy bits to Dan Walters. I promise to make sure all your campaign stops go off without a hitch, be they at an auto dealership, a retirement community, or Death Row. If Walter Shorenstein mails you illegal campaign contributions, I promise to set up an account in the Cayman Islands. Matier and Ross will always know when you were spotted lunching with Howard Dean. Our love is as boundless as your Zogby poll numbers, my darling, and I promise to honor that love until your term limit kicks in."


"I, Edmund G. Brown, take you, Anne Gust, to be my lawfully wedded campaign manager, effective immediately. I promise to fire public information officers who don't show you the proper respect. I promise to throw volcanic temper tantrums when the Orange County Register publishes unflattering editorials about my stance on drug interdiction. If the subject of gay marriage ever comes up, I promise not to open my big mouth without first consulting the poll numbers from San Diego. Francis of Assisi asked for nothing but a cloak, a walking stick, and the grace of Jesus Christ; I ask for nothing but your companionship, your trust, and the ignorance of nine million Californians to put me over the top on Election Day. Move it along, Feinstein -- I'm due to cut the ribbon at a juvenile hall in Solano County."

Gift Registry

What do you give a couple who has everything? Jerry Brown and Anne Gust are just happy you're here to share the joy of the life commitment they will make in the presence of their community. But if you really need to give a wedding present, they've compiled a modest gift registry:

in nonsequential bills, mailed to "Californians for Compassionate Law Enforcement," c/o Don Perata, Sacramento.

One thousand origami cranes
to the parents of Rithuparna, a young Bengali boy struggling with leukemia, whom we met after a recent conference on sustainable development.

A 1951 Indian Chief
with 80ci engine (Anne needs it to complete the set).

A modest contribution
to the Foundation for the Preservation of Yoruban Animism, "because every creek has an oshun in it."

Severed horse's head
to be placed in the bed of Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo.

Chrome chafing dish
(Jerry loves to entertain these days.)



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments will be removed.

Latest in Columns

  • ¡Ask a Mexican!

    Putting a name to a crazy, mixed-up heritage.
    • Sep 26, 2007
  • ¡Ask a Mexican!

    Ask a Mexican
    • Sep 12, 2007
  • ¡Arriba, Arriba!

    "Speedy González is the most misunderstood Mexican since your gardener."
    • Sep 5, 2007
  • More »

Author Archives

  • Anybody Seen Hizzoner?

    Be patient, say supporters of Oakland top dog Ron Dellums.
    • Jun 6, 2007
  • Pension Woes Dog UC Regents

    State Senator Leland Yee wants university leaders to give workers a say in managing their mishandled retirement fund.
    • May 23, 2007
  • More»

Most Popular Stories

Special Reports

The Beer Issue 2020

The Decade in Review

The events and trends that shaped the Teens.

Best of the East Bay


© 2020 Telegraph Media    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation