Anyone who has subscribed to The New York Review of Books has witnessed authors’ complaints that a reviewer has misunderstood or misrepresented his work.

Now here am I in the same boat.

In the initial paragraphs of Brian Tanguay’s review of my ebook The Wizard of Sacramento: Governor Jerry Brown, he writes: “In October of his final year in office, Brown signed a bill establishing a goal of 100 percent clean electricity by 2045 … In his book …William Smithers paints a very different portrait of Jerry Brown.”

This is false, and it is unethical.

It is false because Chapter 9 of my book covers in specific detail this kind of Brown proposal. The portrait painted is not “different”; it precisely describes the man who has made them and how the reputation based on them deviates so significantly with his behavior in office.

To put it simply for the sake of this forum, as is emphasized in that chapter: In 2045, who will be California governor?

Not Jerry Brown.

The reviewer’s quoted statement is unethical because he has read the contents of that chapter but conceals from potential readers its unequivocal explication of the merits of “after I’m gone” regulations.

I make clear in that work how aware I am of the many who don’t care to hear or consider bad news re someone they want to admire — or who don’t particularly care about the consequences in many areas of life: 45 percent of eligible voters did not care enough to cast a ballot in the presidential election of 2016.

There are fair-minded people who care about the health and safety of Latinos in Kern County, the non-whites in Boyle Heights, the predominantly white in Porter Ranch — and who are willing to hear an independent author document the way these Californians were dealt with by their government.

I have tried to write for them.


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