Dear Uncle Bob,

You’re back!!!

You told a number of our mutual friends down here in L.A. that you were trying to make a quiet start in the State Senate, and keep your head down for a while. And that strategy made a ton of sense. You didn’t want to be at the center of the conversation, at least at first. And you certainly didn’t want to be perceived as a threat to our BFF Kevin, who is still getting the hang of this legislative leader thing.

And you held to that strategy! For like a whole week!

I’m so proud of you, Uncle Bob.

Now I realize your cool start might have lasted longer, like even two weeks. But that darn Skelton swoons like a schoolgirl whenever someone talks about cutting income taxes on rich people. He loves to write those columns using the unassailable logic that California is too reliant on the incomes of the rich because the rich have so much of the income. And I’m sure he sought you out, and not the other way around, to write that column. It ‘s totally unfair all the people who saw you debuting your tax reform plan in that column as some sort of planned thing. Don’t you hate how cynical Sacramento has become, Uncle Bob?

It’s such a humble plan, too, modest reform. I hate the way people are treating it like something bigger when it’s just a few tweaks like extending the sales tax to services, and creating a number of big new spending rules, that would affect all the big areas of the budget. If that’s not incremental change, I don’t know what is.

And the timing wasn’t your fault either. Your friend Kevin was getting hammered for a series of what the press called mistakes, which were totally unfair. (Who hasn’t dreamed of renting out Disney Hall?). And suddenly all the speculation was that you’re just waiting for the right moment to take over from Kevin as pro tem.

I know you’d never even think of it, Uncle Bob. Which made it doubly unfair how our friend Conan Nolan kept pressing you on the topic when he lured you onto his Sunday morning NBC 4 interview program last month. What’s with all the follow-up questions from that guy? And, then, when you tried to tell him you’re not interested in Kevin’s job, he kept behaving like your little caveat about how you can never know what the future holds was some kind of opening of the door. That Conan is just so literal-minded.

Now here comes the problem. Since people don’t understand that you’re just trying to play it cool up there, they’re beginning to think you might be a threat to all kinds of people and interests. And that has me worried about you.

That’s puzzling. I mean, why would Gov. Brown, for example, have any problem with a plan that raises tax revenues, when he says we don’t need higher taxes, and that puts more money into the budget for things like higher education, which he’s only trying to starve so he can get some reforms.

And why would all the various interests – labor, environmental – have any problem with you offering a modest tax reform at the same time they’re trying to advance their own tax-hiking ballot initiatives in the 2016 election?

And I’m sure the lawyers and lobbyists who would pay more under a sales tax for services won’t be at all upset. And no one will care that your proposal monkeys with the corporate tax structure, since all you’re trying to do is incentivize business investment and higher pay for low-wage workers, which aren’t controversial issues at all. And the spending lobby is always pretty cool with getting a few billion more dollars; it’s not like they’re protective of their own spending formulas or anything, so why would they resent someone coming up with his own spending plan for these new tax revenues?

On the other hand, people do sometimes get crazy-mad about you, for reasons I’ve never quite understood. Like during the Schwarzenegger days, it was uncanny how his aides had so many opinions and disagreed with each other on pretty much everything – except for you, whom they all resented for having such constant access to the governor. You can’t fix some people, huh, Uncle Bob?

So, in closing, I want to appreciate it you keeping your head down even with everyone losing their heads. But just in case people misinterpret your actions and continue to think you’re about to knock off Kevin or the service tax exemption, you might be a little bit cautious. For example, wherever you’re reading this, please make sure your back is not to the door.