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Governor Pat Browns impacts helped Modern California

Esmeralda Vidovich

LBS 375-03
Professor Cheek
April 29, 2015

Edmund G. Brown was a California politician and lawyer who served as the Governor of
California for eight years. Although, Pat Brown never completed school, he had always been
passionate about politics and eventually earned a law degree. Before he served as the Governor,
he served as an Attorney General of California in his hometown, San Francisco. Yet, when he did
serve as Governor he got on board with many projects to modern California. During the early
1960s, he ran for President and lost to President Ronald Reagan. Even then, Pat continued to be
known as the builder of modern California. His son, Jerry Brown, and daughter, Kathleen Brown
have followed their fathers steps and been engaged with the political system too. As we know
Jerry Brown is now the Governor of California, and Kathleen Brown was Treasurer of
California. Governor Pat Browns three major impacts in California was the Master Plan for
Higher Education, State Water Project, and the California Freeway Plan.
Governor Pat Browns most significant accomplishments was the Master plan for
Education. According to UCOP, the master plan wasapproved in principle at a joint meeting
of the Regents of the University of California and the State Board of Education on December 18,
1959 (1). Governor Brown wanted a better plan for the states system for higher education. A
local public radio in San Francisco states that Governor Brown convened fifteen education
advisers to draft it Clark Kerr, who was president of UC at the time, was the plans main
architect (2). The new system was clearer as far as the roles of the University of California, the
California State University, and California Community College systems. The three systems had
different goals, objectives, and student arrangement. In addition, the school systems worked as a
model for other states and encourage them to create similar systems like the ones in California.
Governor Brown believed and wanted free higher education for California students and he made
it possible with the Master Plan.

Within the same time when the Master Plan was signed, the economic growth after World
War II brought many immigrants to California and caused droughts and limited the states water
resources. Due to this problem, the California State Water Project began. Based on the Water
Education Foundation, in 1959 the state Legislature passed and he signed the California Water
Resources Development Bond Act, also known as the Burns-Porter Act, which authorized
construction of the SWP (3). Almost two years later the construction began on the largest water
project ever built. The California State Water Project functions as a water storage and delivery
system of reservoirs, aqueducts, dams, and canals. According to Department of Water Resources
the objective is to, store water and distribute it to 29 urban and agricultural water suppliers in
Northern California, the San Francisco Bay Area, the San Joaquin Valley, the Central Coast, and
Southern California (4). In addition, on his second term Governor Brown continued to focus on
water issues. His words spoke about commitment and improvement on groundwater levels. Since
he was known as the Father of the State Water Project, the California Aqueduct was renamed
after him.
Another essential step that occurred during Pat Browns administration was The
California Freeway Plan. A comprehensive freeway plan was produced in 1947 and with
construction beginning in the 1950s (5). Many of the common freeways that we drive in
California now were created during this time. For example, in the mid 1950s the 405 freeway
was created and approved. Within a few years after, the construction began for the first section.
Based on the class notes, the 405 freeway was mostly north of LAX airport being completed in
1961 followed by sections west of Interstate 605 within the following few years (6). The
planning of the freeways focused primarily on a general statewide system. An ongoing of the

planning and construction had been occurring before Governor Brown severed in the office but
he continued it.
Governor Pat Brown accomplished different projects aside from the ones I stated to
modern California for the better. The journey to make them all happen tested his leadership
ability on a political level. For decades, Californias higher education system has served as a
model not only for the United States but for the world. Another great achievement that we
continue to rely on today is the State Water Project which incorporates many dams, reservoirs,
and canals to hold and move water across California. The freeway plan was not only seen as a
transportation method but as a significant part of the economic development. Today, Governor
Brown is greatly appreciated and credited for everything he made possible in California.

Notes
1. The Donahoe Highter Education Act
http://www.ucop.edu/acadinit/mastplan/donahoe.htm
2. Reconsidering Californias Master Plan for Higher Education
3.
4.
5.
6.

http://kalw.org/post/reconsidering-california-s-master-plan-higher-education
Edmund G. Pat Brown
http://www.watereducation.org/aquapedia/edmund-g-pat-brown
California State Water Project Overview
http://www.water.ca.gov/swp/
Class notes on The 1940s and 50s.
Ibid.