What’s the worst thing about the golden state? According to veteran journalists Joe Matthews and Mark Paul, it’s not our failing school system or overcrowded prisons, the water shortage in the central valley or even our UC system’s pension obligations, but the fact that there’s currently no way to address these problems in our present system. In California Crackup, Matthews and Paul take a look at the history of California, a seemingly ungovernable state that’s wrestled with its governing system since its inception. Is it possible to streamline our state government—the way we elect our representatives, the way those representatives govern (especially fiscally) and the initiative process and referendum system? Matthews and Paul assert representative democracy should be responsive, representative and cohesive, so as we head into another election system and another set of ballots, is it time to reconsider the bigger picture?
Mark Paul, senior scholar at the New America Foundation and a visiting scholar at the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley; he has written about California policy and politics for three decades as a journalist at the Sacramento Bee, a policy thinker, and a state official.
Joe Mathews, Irvine Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation; author of the People’s Machine: Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Rise of Blockbuster Democracy and a columnist for the Daily Beast; his latest book is California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How we Can Fix It