THE BLOG
05/02/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Jerry Brown: Act Two -- Or Is It Three?

Here we go again.

Who said there are no second acts in American life. In some cases, apparently, there are even third acts.

Just one day after Jay Leno returned to host the Tonight Show, which, remember, he had retired from (OK, it was a forced retirement, but retire from it he did. He even said good-bye, as I recall), Jerry Brown announces he is running for governor of California. Again.

I know. Not a big surprise. The guy's been hinting he was going to run for what seems like years now. At least now, reporters can stop saying he's a "presumed" candidate.

For those too young to remember or old enough to maybe want to forget, Brown served two terms as California's governor, from 1975 to 1983. His dad, of course, was also once governor. Think of being governor as sort of the Brown family business.

Jerry Brown went on to be mayor of Oakland for two terms and is currently state attorney general. Somewhere between all this, he even managed to run for president. For those really out of touch with the news, I probably should point out, he didn't make it to the White House. At least, not as a live-in resident.

I've had the opportunity over the years as a reporter to meet and interview Brown on many occasions about a wide range of topics. He's a likable and smart guy.

But I do have some concerns and reservations about this latest effort.

For one thing, I am troubled that, after all these years, the bench strength of California's Democratic Party is apparently so shallow that the only viable candidate for governor it can come up with is someone who already was governor not once, but twice, and many years ago!

As of this writing, Brown has no real challenges on the Democratic side -- San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom having opted not to run because he knew he couldn't win.

And, recent polls suggest that Brown, even before he announced, was ahead of the two top GOP candidates, Meg Whitman and State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner.

According to CNN, Brown has even raised at least $12 million dollars for his run and is, of course, getting support from the usual Hollywood backers -- Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen.

My other concern is age, to be frank. Brown is now 71, and, while apparently fit, I have to tell you I have found him oddly unfocused and somewhat rambling during some of the more recent conversations I had with him on the phone. These discussions tended to be about rather complex legal filings, so I suppose no one can be expected to be in full command of every detail. But, then again, the man is the state's attorney general, its highest law enforcement official. If he doesn't have full command of all the legal facts, then who the hell does?

There is no question that Jerry Brown, when he was governor, was, in many ways, ahead of the curve. Strange, for sure, but ahead of the curve. And, God knows, no one else seems able to figure out how to fix California's current fiscal mess. So, some may argue, why not give Brown a chance... again!

Charles Feldman is a journalist and media consultant and co-author of the book, "No Time To Think-The Menace of Media Speed and the 24-hour News Cycle." He has covered police and politics in Los Angeles since 1995. He currently is a regular contributor of investigative reports to KNX 1070 Newsradio.