Many Local government leaders oppose Brown's plan to eliminate the state's roughly 400 redevelopment agencies. So the Governor faced a potentially hostile crowd at the League of California Cities Conference.
"Everybody eaten already? Cause you look a little hungry to me."
Using humor and frankness, Brown encouraged the leaders to think big picture, given the state's 25 billion dollar problem:
"I don't see this as a time for turf wars or state fighting local or different groups all vying for a diminishing pie."
Brown wants to take the one-point-seven billion in property taxes redevelopment would normally get and use it to fund other programs. He told reporters afterward it's about priorities:
"Redevelopment takes property taxes for redevelopment away from schools, away from fire departments, away from police departments, away from the elderly, kids that need health care and we just don't have the money right now."
But Chris McKenzie, Executive Director of the League, says redevelopment projects create critical jobs - particularly in the hard-hit construction industry.
"These are very important jobs that have spin-off benefits for the rest of the economy, so at a time when our economy is struggling, at a time when people want jobs, let's not kill them."
Several local governments have recently rushed to allocate funding for redevelopment projects in order to secure the money now. Brown says he will consider a temporary freeze on such actions.