Even for a man who has a long reputation of just saying what's on his mind, Wednesday's quip on his new quest for a state water supply project was, well, classic Jerry Brown.
"I just want to get s**t done. And I want to get this thing done the best I can, alright?"
But the proposal embraced by Brown and U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will likely get shorthanded as the 'peripheral tunnels' -- the project's call for twin, 35-mile long, four million gallons a minute underground water tunnels. Known as "conveyance" in water parlance, the tunnels are the latest iteration of efforts to quench thirsts in the Central Valley and Southern California without depending on the ever more fragile Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta for all of that agua.
Avoiding controversy when it comes to water issues is next to impossible, and the governor made that pretty clear in his news conference officially embracing the work of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan.
"We have farmers, we have fish, we have environmentalists, we have citizens, and we all have to make it work somehow," he said.
The politics of water are much more murky than any other in California. Non-existent are the traditional liberal-conservative, or even environmentalist-business battle lines. As Wednesday proved, many of Brown's fellow Democrats are none too pleased about the push to dig the tunnels.
"They have put plumbing before policy," said Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, at a state Capitol rally. "They intend to build it and then figure out how it can be used."
In general, residents and agriculture interests in the Delta region voiced most of the concerns. They argue the science is far from settled about pulling all of that water out of the Delta ecosystem, and they worry that the tunnels could easily be used to send even more water than the expected 9,000 cubic feet per second estimate contained in the current plan.
In fact, several prominent California congressional Democrats have voiced their concerns of late, asking the feds (PDF) to do more analysis before signing off on the project -- something that clearly didn't stop today's announcement.
And it's not like all Southern California interests are worry free with the way things stand. One big concern is money; the tunnels project, estimated to cost $13 billion (and some think it will be more), would be financed by user fees -- that is, by water users on the other end of the state's aqueduct system.
But do they have the money? San Diego County Water Authority chairman Michael Hogan expressed some concern in a statement about the status of the financial plan being worked on by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California -- a consortium of SoCal water providers.
The governor's plan "hinges on identifying the Metropolitan customers that are willing to pay for it," said Hogan. "So far, Metropolitan has been unable to secure from any of its other 25 member agencies, contracts or other enforceable commitments to buy enough water to 'back up' Metropolitan's promise."
The hurdles in front of the plan aren't small ones -- from engineering, to finances, to the courts (lawsuits are pretty common in tricky environmental fights). And maybe more than other governors, Jerry Brown seems to be acutely aware of the problems that have persisted in California for generations.
"We've got to take action," he said Wednesday. "We've got to do stuff."