I realize I’m one of the biggest sinners when it comes to the sin I’m about to condemn. I love California history. I often write about it. And I love to connect California history to today’s political debates and policy choices.

But enough. There is way too much history in stories about today’s California news, especially where it involves Jerry Brown.

It’s become a crutch. Water policy is incredibly difficult and complicated to write about. So we get story after story about how Jerry Brown has personal history with water going back to his first term, and how his choices today are either the same or different (it depends on that day’s newspaper angle) than the ones that confronted his father.

Just in the last month, California papers (and other media covering the state) have tried to convey state issues through Jerry Brown’s history with water, with fires, with farm labor. When Brown goes to the Vatican to discuss climate change, very little is written about cap – and –trade, either California’s system or the Pope’s criticism of it. Instead, we get psychological examinations of Brown’s Catholicism – how did it shape him? Does he still believe?

The coverage is boring. And it feels like a dodge, a way to avoid the hard work of trying to align the public’s knowledge of complicated issues with reality. And is anyone reading these personal history stories? They certainly don’t seem to show up on most-read lists, or get shared a ton through social media.

Yes, Jerry Brown has been governor for many years. Yes, he may be older than God. But the California he governs today is very, very different than the one he governed 30 years ago, or that his father governed 50 years ago.

Can’t we focus a bit more on today’s California?