So have you guys heard about this book California Crackup: How reform broke the Golden State and how we can fix it? I’m sure you can figure out the subject matter from the title. It’s gotten a lot of really positive reviews, and people keep telling me I need to read it, but I have not been able to get around to it yet. I’m hoping I’ll find the time over the Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays.
Anyway, I don’t think there’s much dispute out there that California is broken. And the authors have some very interesting ideas about how to make California start working again. Obviously, eliminating the supermajority requirement for passing taxes is one, but there’s plenty of more out-of-the-box stuff there as well — a unicameral legislature made up of multi-member districts, legislature-written counter-measures alongside propositions on the ballot, more referendums, stuff like that.
I am definitely not sold on all of it, but I love that they’re talking about these kind of wild ideas, and I’m really excited to hear more about them next Tuesday, when I will be attending the League of Women Voters of Oakland November program Finding a Fix for a Broken State, featuring the authors of the book, Joe Mathews and Mark Paul. Here’s the event description from the League:
In California Crackup, Joe Mathews and Mark Paul expose the constitutional origins of the current political and economic problems in California, including the lingering consequences of 1978′s Prop 13 and the conflict inherent in our three governing systems: an election system designed to produce governing majorities, a consensus-based legislative system that amounts to minority rule, and an inflexible system of direct democracy that trumps the first two systems. They offer innovative solutions that will allow Californians to debate our options and choose the best ones, hold elected officials accountable for results, and change course if something isn’t working. This promises to be a very timely and informative talk.
Joe Mathews is Irvine senior fellow at the New America Foundation. He is the author of The People’s Machine: Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Rise of Blockbuster Democracy, contributing editor to the Los Angeles Times and lead blogger for NBC’s Prop Zero.
His co-author, Mark Paul, is senior scholar and deputy director of the California program at the New America Foundation. He was formerly deputy treasurer of California and deputy editorial page editor of the Sacramento Bee.
The meeting will be held next Tuesday, November 16th from 6:00 to 7:30 PM at Oakland City Hall Hearing Room 3 (1 Frank Ogawa Plaza).
Hope to see you guys there!