In 1974, voters ushered in Jerry Brown as California\u2019s new governor. It proved comedian Bob Hope was astute when he observed that Brown had a big following among rock fans, \u201cand he\u2019ll get a lot of votes if he can keep \u2018em from smoking the ballots.\u201d It was a tough economy then, just like it\u2019s a tough time now. \u201cWe are in an era of limits,\u201d Brown proclaimed to the Sierra Club in the 1970s. \u201cTo clean up the air and clean up the water is going to be expensive, and I think the price is worth paying. But we have to recognize there are costs and jobs are displaced.\u201d Back then Brown had union support\u2014just like now. But, he wound up reducing state spending 5.2 percent\/year in the 1970s, largely on the backs of state workers by denying them a pay raise. The former Jesuit novitiate\u2014who had a brush with Zen and kept E.F. Schumacher\u2019s book Small is Beautiful on his desk\u2014blocked big energy projects, like nuclear power plants, in favor of small-scale, decentralized solar energy. He said rooftop solar was more in keeping with the nation\u2019s \u201cJeffersonian ideals.\u201d He championed energy efficiency standards for appliances. Today, Brown\u2019s at it again proposing 12,000 MW of distributed generation, while cutting the state budget and rebuking state employees for excessive use of cell phones, state cars, and travel privileges. He\u2019s yet\u2014like he did in the 1970s\u2014to invite any all-male Sufi dance troupes to perform at the state capitol. At that time, state brass needed a lift. It was a time of \u201cstagflation.\u201d Arab oil embargoes battered the nation\u2019s economy, as did huge federal debts run up in the Vietnam War. There was an onslaught of cheap imports from Japan. Sound familiar? Cheap imports from China\u2014even solar panels\u2014are driving U.S. manufacturers into the ground. The national debt has zoomed due to two long wars in the Middle East. Gas prices have wrung the excess out of consumer spending. It all makes financing Brown\u2019s plan for clean energy tough. In his first round as governor, Brown nudged the course of California\u2019s energy history but never managed to turn any major corner. His solar and alternative fuels gambits were premature, although his foray into energy efficiency became successful. California\u2019s per capita electricity growth rate trended down, eventually becoming flat, while power use per capita continued to climb at the national level. Brown tried to cut air pollution by encouraging carpooling and circumscribing sprawl by drawing borders around the state\u2019s urban areas beyond which development would not be allowed. Both these efforts failed on his watch. Pundits criticized the state chief as too far out. But, it\u2019s hard not to admit that Brown was mostly a man before his time. What was far out in the 1970s today is commonplace. Solar panels are advertised on radio. Carpool lanes crisscross the state\u2019s metropolitan areas, a proven success because they carry more passengers per lane than vehicles in non-restricted lanes. The state is heralded for energy efficiency. Had Brown been successful at preventing urban sprawl into the hot inland areas, power would be a lot cheaper because utilities would not have to have so many peaker power plants. Greenhouse gases would be lower. Brown\u2019s ideas from the 1970s ring truer than ever and he has another chance to fully carry them out. In the 1970s and 1980s the key obstacles were largely technological. Solar and other technologies were emerging, but were not commercially mature. Today, the technology is rapidly being commercialized to reach a clean energy future closer to Jefferson\u2019s model of self-reliance. It\u2019s financing that\u2019s the major hurdle that threatens to jeopardize Brown\u2019s attempt at a successful comeback on clean energy. It leaves Brown rolling the dice, but unable to place a bet. Federal stimulus money is limited and running out. Signs don\u2019t point to another round of clean energy money from Washington. Even in California, bitter division in Sacramento has scrubbed the $400 million\/year public goods charge for renewable energy, energy efficiency, and research. Locally, Property Assessed Clean Energy financing is largely dead in the water, due to federal concern about how it may threaten the solvency of banks amid an ongoing foreclosure crisis. So what Brown needs is a big new idea to finance the state\u2019s transition to clean energy. Unfortunately, this week Brown vetoed a bill outlining what may have been one of the most promising ideas. That was AB 750 by Assemblymember Ben Hueso (D-San Diego). It would have created a task force to study forming a state bank to receive deposits of state funds. The task force would have considered how the bank could strengthen economic and community development, provide financial stability to businesses, reduce the cost paid by state government for banking services, and provide excess earnings to supplement the state general fund. Brown vetoed the bill, ostensibly because he didn\u2019t want yet another committee in Sacramento, saying that the Legislature itself could develop a plan for a state bank. That might have been a foolish knee-jerk response by a governor overburdened with decisions about bills, plus the continuing weight of the state\u2019s financial mess. Brown should not dismiss a state bank. Instead, he should figure out how to create a constituency for a financing system, which could help California residents, businesses, and local governments become more energy self-sufficient by lending for clean energy technologies as one of its major investment portfolios. A state bank could help Brown finally see through what he started on clean energy during the 1970s, as well as help put the state\u2019s general fund on a more even keel. After all, banks create money under the fractional reserve system in which they can pump 10 or more dollars into the economy through loans for each dollar of deposits they take in. It\u2019s time to do something as daring as bringing Sufi dancers to whirl in the Capitol in the 1970s. It\u2019s time for big bold action to match big and long-held dreams.