Posted by admin in San Clemente
About 51 years ago, then-Gov. Edmund G. “Pat” Brown accepted an invitation to visit San Juan Capistrano to help celebrate the launch of a city.
(Anyone who has passed through the town knows it’s been around a lot longer than a half-century. But it didn’t incorporate until 1961.)
So when it came time to commemorate the city’s 50th anniversary, it seemed only fitting to invite California’s current governor, Pat Brown’s son, Jerry Brown.
He couldn’t make it last year when the town kicked off a year’s worth of celebratory events. But he showed up Thursday for the closing ceremony.
Oh well, better late than never.
“History has a way of coming full circle in historic San Juan Capistrano,” said Jan Siegel, who chaired the anniversary committee.
Committee members hosted a luncheon Thursday, the penultimate event before they put a year’s worth of partying behind them. Tony Moiso, president of Rancho Mission Viejo, picked up the tab at El Adobe de Capistrano (which he cow-owns), and — with the governor in town — the event became a who’s-who of local dignitaries.
After Moiso and Mayor Larry Kramer gave long introductions about the governor’s life of public service, Brown quipped: “Never have so many kind words about me been spoken in Orange County.”
He noted his family traces its early roots in California to the mid-1800s.
“The O’Neills did a little better than the Browns,” he said, referring to the family that shaped much of South Orange County.
Brown urged local residents to research pedigree of their homes, finding out all the people who owned the land underneath before they did.
California has a unique history, Brown said, and despite moments of heartache and sorrow, it became a world economic power, home to more Nobel laureates and patent holders than anywhere else.
Because the luncheon wasn’t a political event, Brown declined to discuss the state’s current affairs. But he was hardly speechless.
“I don’t think I’ll be with you at your 100th anniversary, but I’m real glad to be here at your 50th, so congratulations,” he said.
All told, the governor spent an hour and 20 minutes with locals before he was whisked away.
Before he left, Siegel presented him with news clippings about his father’s trip to San Juan in 1961 and a 50th-anniversary celebration T-shirt.
In his trademark off-the-cuff style, Brown replied, “I’m a medium, not an extra-large. I worked hard to be a medium.”
By San Clemente Patch