California Politics and Government: A Practical Approach / Edition 9

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Taking a unique nuts-and-bolts approach, CALIFORNIA POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT gives insight into real-life politics as it vividly illustrates the complex principles at work in state government. Current examples and clear explanations give readers a solid understanding of the ins and outs of California government. Thoroughly updated, the new edition addresses many complex economic, social, education, and immigration issues and their impact on state politics. It includes new court cases, updates on the ongoing budget crisis, coverage of the 2012 elections, changes in government regulations, and more. In addition, public policy coverage is thoroughly integrated throughout the text, helping readers make connections and see firsthand the impact and practical applications of government and legislation in their own lives.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Overall, it is an excellent text, concise, accessible, and up to date with a fair, neutral perspective."

"The greatest stength of the book is its coverage of most of the key areas of California government, and its compatability with my class. The charts and diagrams are great too."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780495006787
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning
  • Publication date: 12/19/2006
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 9
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 0.28 (d)

Meet the Author

Larry N. Gerston, professor emeritus of political science at San Jose State University, interacts with the political process as both an author and an observer. As an author, he has written eleven academic books in addition to CALIFORNIA POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT: A PRACTICAL APPROACH, including MAKING PUBLIC POLICY: FROM CONFLICT TO RESOLUTION (1983), POLITICS IN THE GOLDEN STATE (with Terry Christensen, 1984), THE DEREGULATED SOCIETY (with Cynthia Fraleigh and Robert Schwab, 1988), AMERICAN GOVERNMENT: POLITICS, PROCESS AND POLICIES (1993), PUBLIC POLICY: PROCESS AND PRINCIPLES (1987), PUBLIC POLICYMAKING IN A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY: A GUIDE TO CIVIC ENGAGEMENT (2002), RECALL! CALIFORNIA'S POLITICAL EARTHQUAKE (with Terry Christensen, 2004), AMERICAN FEDERALISM: A CONCISE INTRODUCTION (2007), CONFRONTING REALITY: TEN ISSUES THREATENING TO IMPLODE AMERICAN SOCIETY AND HOW WE CAN FIX IT (2009), NOT SO GOLDEN AFTER ALL: THE RISE AND FALL OF CALIFORNIA (2012), and REVIVING CITIZEN ENGAGEMENT: POLICIES TO RENEW NATIONAL COMMUNITY (2015). Gerston serves as the political analyst for NBC11, a San Francisco Bay Area television station, where he appears on a regular basis. He has written more than a 125 op-ed pieces for newspapers throughout the nation and speaks often on issues such as civic engagement and political empowerment.

Terry Christensen is a San Jose State University Professor Emeritus of Political Science. Among his other awards for scholarship and service to the university, he was named Outstanding Professor in 1998. He is the author or co-author of nine books and frequent newspaper op-ed pieces. Local and national media regularly call on him for analysis of politics in California and Silicon Valley. In addition to other books co-authored with Larry Gerston, his works include PROJECTING POLITICS: POLITICAL MESSAGES IN AMERICAN FILMS (with Peter Haas, 2005), and LOCAL POLITICS: A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO GOVERNING AT THE GRASSROOTS (with Tom Hogen-Esch, 2006). Christensen is experienced in practical politics at the local level as an advocate of policy proposals, an adviser to grassroots groups, and an adviser and mentor to candidates for local office-many of whom are his former students. He has served on numerous civic committees and commissions. He was the founding executive director of CommUniverCity San Jose (, a partnership between the City of San Jose, San Jose State University, and adjacent neighborhoods. Through CommUniverCity hundreds of students are learning about life and politics in their community through service projects selected by neighborhood residents and supported by the city.

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Table of Contents

Preface     viii
About the Authors     x
California's People, Economy, and Politics: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow     1
Colonization, Rebellion, and Statehood     2
Railroads, Machines, and Reform     3
The Workingmen's Party     4
The Progressives     4
The Great Depression and World War II     6
Postwar Politics     7
California Today     9
Into the Future     13
Notes     13
Learn More on the World Wide Web     14
Learn More at the Library     14
Political Parties and Direct Democracy: Too Much Democracy?     15
The Progressive Legacy     16
Party Organization-Structure and Supporters     17
Direct Democracy     21
Legislative "Initiatives," Constitutional Amendments, and Bonds     23
Political Parties, Direct Democracy, and California Politics     27
Notes     27
Learn More on the World Wide Web     27
Learn More at the Library     28
Voters, Candidates, Campaigns, and the Media: Mixing Money and Marketing     29
The Voters     30
The Candidates     31
CampaigningCalifornia Style     34
What the Money Buys     35
Reporting on California Politics     38
Elections, Campaigns, and the Media     41
Notes     41
Learn More on the World Wide Web     42
Learn More at the Library     42
Interest Groups: The Power Behind the Dome     43
The Evolution of Group Power in California     44
The Groups     45
Techniques and Targets: Interest Groups at Work     48
Regulating Groups     52
Notes     53
Learn More on the World Wide Web     54
Learn More at the Library     54
The Legislature: The Perils of Policy Making     55
The Making and Unmaking of a Model Legislature     56
How a Bill Becomes a Law     62
Other Factors     66
Unfinished Business     66
Notes     67
Learn More on the World Wide Web     68
Learn More at the Library     68
Courts, Judges, and Politics: California Law     69
The California Court System     70
The Courts at Work     73
Running the Courts     75
The High Court as a Political Battleground      76
Courts and the Politics of Crime     79
Politics and the Courts     80
Notes     81
Learn More on the World Wide Web     81
Learn More at the Library     81
The Executive Branch: Coping with Fragmented Authority     82
The Governor: First Among Equals     83
The Supporting Cast     89
The Bureaucracy     92
Making the Pieces Fit     93
Notes     94
Learn More on the World Wide Web     95
Learn More at the Library     95
Taxing and Spending: Budgetary Politics and Policies     96
The Budgetary Process     97
Revenue Sources     99
Spending     103
Modern State Budgets: Too Little, Too Much, or Just Right?     107
Notes     108
Learn More on the World Wide Web     108
Learn More at the Library     108
Local Government: Politics at the Grassroots     109
Counties and Cities     110
Power in the City: Council Members, Managers, and Mayors     113
Executive Power     115
More Governments     116
Direct Democracy in Local Politics      118
Local Limits     121
Notes     121
Learn More on the World Wide Web     122
Learn More at the Library     122
State-Federal Relations: Conflict, Cooperation, and Chaos     123
California's Clout with the President     124
California's Clout with Congress     125
Terrorism     126
Immigration     127
Air Pollution     129
Water     131
Shared Resources     131
Changed Rules, New Directions     132
Notes     133
Learn More on the World Wide Web     134
Learn More at the Library     134
Glossary     135
Index     140
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