California Politics: A Primer / Edition 1

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Author Renée Van Vechten's concise chapters provide a nuts-and-bolts description of the Golden State's political system, underscoring the essential elements while depicting its rich history and unique rules and underpinnings. This supplement delivers key information on the workings of California government at just the right level of detail. Photos, cartoons, maps, tables, and figures make this primer a go-to resource.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781604269956
  • Publisher: Congressional Quarterly, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 121
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Table of Contents

Tables, Figures, Maps, and Boxes vi

1 Introduction 1

Principles for Understanding California Politics 3

2 Critical Junctures: California's Political History in Brief 7

Early California 7

The Rise of the Southern Pacific Railroad 9

Progressivism 11

The Power of Organized Interests 13

Growth and Industrialization in the Golden State 14

The Initiative Process Takes Hold 14

Hyper-Diversity in a Modern State 16

Recalling a Governor 18

Conclusion: Political Earthquakes and Evolving Institutions 19

3 Direct Democracy 20

The Initiative Process 20

Drafting Stage 24

Qualification Stage 24

Campaigning Stage 24

The Power of the Initiative Process 26

Referendum 27

Recall 27

Conclusion: Frustrating Collective Action 29

4 The State Legislature 31

Design, Purpose, and Function of the Legislature 31

California Representatives at Work 32

Policymaking and Lawmaking 36

Annual Budgeting 40

Constituency Service and Outreach 40

Executive Branch Oversight 41

Leaders 42

Conclusion: Of the People, For the People 44

5 The Executive Branch 46

California's Plural Executive 47

California's Governor 49

Head of State 49

Chief Executive 49

Legislative Powers 50

Budgeting Power 51

Chief of Security 51

Party Leader 51

Sources of Power 51

The Constitutional Executive Officers 52

Administrators and Regulators 54

Conclusion: Competition for Power 55

6 The Court System 59

The Three-Tiered Court System 59

On and off the Court 62

Court Administration 63

Juries 64

Criminal Justice 64

Conclusion: Administering Justice 66

7 Other Governments 68

Municipal Government 71

Special Districts 75

RegionalGovernments 77

Federalism 77

Tribal Governments 79

Conclusion: The State's Interlocking Systems 81

8 The California Budget Process 83

California Budgeting 101 84

Political Constraints 84

Mechanics of Budgeting: Revenue 87

Mechanics of Budgeting: Deficits and Expenditures 90

Tax Burden: Too High, Too Low? 92

The Budget Crisis and Beyond 94

Conclusion: Change the Rules? 95

9 Political Parties, Elections, and Campaigns 96

A Weak Party State 96

Party in the California Electorate 98

Party in Government 101

The Party Organizations 103

Elections: Continuity and Change 104

California Campaigns 106

Major Voting Trends 108

Conclusion: A Complex Electorate 110

10 Concluding Thoughts: Political Paradoxes and Governability 112

Appendix A List of Counties, Including Median Income per County 116

Appendix B Current Constitutional Officers and Leaders of the Legislature, Including Salaries, July 2009 118

Appendix C Recent Governors, Senate Presidents pro Tempore, and Speakers of the Assembly 120

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