California Politics The Fault Lines of Power, Wealth, and Diversity

ISBN-10: 087289276X

ISBN-13: 9780872892767

Edition: 2007 (Revised)

Authors: Edgar Kaskla
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Description: California is full of myths and legends, but its political system shouldn't be. In this refreshingly critical take, Edgar Kaskla brings an analysis of power-how it is distributed, how it is used, and to what end-to bear on the Golden State's political system and the many troubling issues it currently faces. Starting from the premise that California is in a deep political, economic, cultural, and environmental crisis, Kaskla traces the state's economic and political development as a process controlled by and for the elite, be they land barons, Hollywood glitterati, or Silicon Valley execs. Kaskla focuses on what he calls growth machine politics-elites and their land use as promoters of development and redevelopment-to show how the gap between rich and poor in California continues to widen. As minority communities grow, the cost of campaigning balloons, and the state's debt crisis mounts, the socioeconomic and cultural issues confronting California pose a real threat to democracy. While outlining how each of the state's institutions developed over time and currently are organized, Kaskla also shows how they are affected and, frankly, distorted by a host of serious economic and social inequalities. In the tradition of writers who dare to "speak truth to power," Kaskla is uncompromising, opinionated, irreverent, and even funny. This thought-provoking text is a far cry from the traditional staid depiction of California government and politics. Book jacket.

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Book details

List price: $47.00
Copyright year: 2007
Publisher: CQ Press
Publication date: 7/2/2007
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 147
Size: 6.00" wide x 8.75" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.594
Language: English

Tables, Figures, and Map
Preface
Introduction
The Imagined West and the Mythical California
Taking Stock
Questions for Discussion
Notes
Capitalism, Inequality, and the Limits of Democracy: California, in Theory
Democracy, Anyone?
The Power Elite and Development
Growth Machines
Taking Stock
Questions for Discussion
Notes
Elite Politics: Individuals and Organizations
Defining the Power Elite
Growth Machines and Urban Development
The Hubs of Growth Machines
Taking Stock
Questions for Discussion
Notes
The Historical Development of Elite Politics
From the Missions to the Ranchos (1770s-1840s)
The Gold Rush, Statehood, and the Power of the Railroads (1840s-1880s)
The Progressive Era (1890s-1910s)
Labor Unrest and the Great Depression (1910s-1930s)
World War II and Postwar Suburbanization (1940s-Present)
Power Politics and Progressivism
Taking Stock
Questions for Discussion
Notes
Gaining Political Access: Parties, Campaigns, and Elections
The Secret Life of the Two-Party System
Parties and Participation
Candidates, Media, and Getting Elected
Campaigns and Regulating Money
The Coopting of Direct Democracy
Securing Two-Party Dominance: A Second Look
Taking Stock
Questions for Discussion
Notes
The Legislative Process and the Role of Interest Groups: The Road to a Professional Legislature and Back Again
Interest Groups and Lobbying
Campaign Contributions
Lobbying
Public Relations, Advertising, Propaganda
Litigation
The Legislature: Lawmakers?
Power Politics, Insider Trading, and the Apathetic Public
Taking Stock
Questions for Discussion
Notes
California's Governor and Challenges to the Plural Executive System: Gubernatorial Competence and Political Personality
Formal and Informal Powers of the Governor
The Plural Executive System
Politics at the End of Reality
Taking Stock
Questions for Discussion
Notes
The Dual System of Justice: From Dual Justice to No Justice?
Criminal and Civil Law
The Three Tiers of California Courts
Problems and Controversies in California's Legal System
Taking Stock
Questions for Discussion
Notes
Local Governments and Obsessive Development
How Local Governments Are Organized
The Fiscalization of Land Use and the Legacy of Proposition 13
Taking Stock
Questions for Discussion
Notes
"The Chronic": California's Permanent Budget Crisis
The Addiction Redefined
The Budget Process, Revenues, and Spending
Budgetary Constraints: Micromanagement as an Antitax Strategy
The Disintegrating Federal System and Effects on the States
Taking Stock
Questions for Discussion
Notes
Conclusions: The Limits to Democracy and the Limits to Government
California in a Global Context
A Final Note of Optimism
Taking Stock
Questions for Discussion
Notes
For Further Research
Glossary
Index
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