Alumni Programs

Jill Stewart

Education

B.A., The Evergreen State College, 1977
M.A., Stanford University, 1978

Website

Opinion & Commentary - Wall Street Journal

Email

Contact via email

Biographical Note

I have covered government and politics in California since the mid-1980s, and have been published in numerous magazines and newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Wired, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Orange County Register, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Los Angeles Daily News, California Lawyer and Buzz. In the early 1990s, I co-authored a report for the U.S. Congress entitled "A Nation's Shame," about the inability of of government to save children who are abused, and eventually killed, by their own parents. I'm including an excerpt below from an article that remains one of my favorites, published in The Wall Street Journal, in which I interviewed Jerry Brown.

Publication Type(s)

Non-Fiction, Journalism

Latest Publication Title

"Attorney General Moonbeam? California's protean politician opens a new chapter".

Publication Excerpt

On the phone from his campaign headquarters, he tells me, "Well, [Gov.] Ronald Reagan pardoned 40 murderers and I pardoned seven. I have all the pardons right here--I went and got them." All seven had been out of prison many years. One was pardoned upon recommendation of the victim's family, another after years of volunteerism.

When I suggest that his rival is probably more concerned about his lifelong opposition to the death penalty, because the AG sits on a three-person panel that confirms top gubernatorial judicial nominations, he erupts: "This is completely disingenuous! I am not going to interrogate the people like this is a test. This doesn't have a shred of integrity! For them to bootstrap the argument about my views on capital punishment to my role on the judicial committee is just so!--so!--so!--"

Suddenly, a gracious female voice invades our phone discussion. My first illogical thought is "cell phone interference." But then Mr. Brown says hello to the voice, and the voice states, "This is his wife. I am terribly sorry to interrupt, but things are backing up and he really has to go."

It's Anne Gust--Mrs. Jerry Brown--a former top executive at the Gap who quit to become his campaign manager. How long has she been listening on that back line? Did she hear me describing her as "a big fancy businesswoman" after her husband told me she regularly cooks his dinner, and I, light-heartedly, voiced doubts?

"I didn't hear that," she chuckles, "I just this second picked up. Can I get your schedule and number, to give to him?" The longtime duo is very close, and they've sold their big Jack London Square warehouse to share a 1,700-square-foot loft in what was once, according to Mr. Brown, "the hardware department" in an old Sears Roebuck.

As promised, the mayor calls back, seemingly in mid-sentence, still slamming anyone who says he might try to circumvent the death penalty: "My job is to defend the death penalty!"

How did Evergreen help you in your career?

I got real-world experience writing for, and later editing, The Cooper Point Journal. We didn't really have a faculty member to advise us, as the one assigned to the newspaper was too busy with other things. So we students did it all ourselves, and we were free to proceed as we wished. I assigned and edited the Guide to the Faculty in 1977 or '76, and that certainly enraged several faculty members -- good experience for covering California politicians years later. I learned a lot from the student volunteers and student staffers, a small group packed with amazing talent: Matt Groening and Linda Barry were the inspired cartoonists and sometimes created illustrations to go with the stories, Larry Shlim took many beautiful photographs and John Dodge wrote a regular column called "The Apple Knocker's Journal."