When I used to write that Gov. Jerry Brown didn’t have much of a plan or an idea behind his second go-round as governor, the protests came back hard. No, no, he’s for local control.

The case for Brown as champion of the locals went like this. He did realignment in criminal justice to give the locals control. His new funding formula for schools included provisions for community plans that would give communities more control. And he was for changes in energy that would empower citizens and communities.

Now, not so much. Brown has doubled down on command-and-control targets from Sacramento on energy efficiency and the environment. Those school community plans? They’re a farce, forcing parents to answer prescribed questions; they can’t honestly be called plans. His much-touted rainy day fund measure limited school districts’ ability to manage their own finances. And realignment – it’s meant more responsibility for locals, but Brown never gave locals the money – or the freedom to raise it.

And of course, it’s hard to say your governor trusts you when his government is trying to direct what your front lawn looks like. And in the big picture, Brown has been a vigorous defender of California’s centralized system of taxing and budgeting, much of which took shape during his first term as governor.

But the moment that Brown as Local Champion was finally exposed came during his recent talk on water, when he declared that critics of his Delta plan should “shut up.” A spokesman claimed he was joking. Others who were there say he wasn’t.

The people he was telling to “shut up” were, of course, locals. People in the Delta who know quite a bit about the place, even though they haven’t spent “a million hours” as state bureaucrats have on the plans. They are also people fully prepared to block his plan for years – so he actually needs to talk with them.

The exposure of Brown as just another centralizer is not a surprise. What’s remarkable is that he got away with it for so long. Brown is a fairly isolated figure. He’s not much of a presence in the life of the state, and he doesn’t travel around California all that much for a governor. But he’s gotten a free pass from media and political elites for a long time.

Enough of that.