California Politics: A Primer / Edition 2

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More About This Textbook


California Politics gives the right level of detail, while underscoring the essentials for understanding how the state's political system works-author Renée Van Vechten delivers on the basics. Concise chapters offer up nuts-and-bolts information while showing how a unique set of rules and a rich political history are key to getting a handle on the Golden State. Photos, cartoons, maps, tables, and figures help to make this supplement a go-to resource.

Package with Keeping the Republic or The Logic of American Politics and save your students money. Use the ISBN corresponding to your book below when ordering.

Keeping, the Republic, Fifth Edition (Full): ISBN 978-1-45221-886-1

Keeping the Republic, Fifth Edition (The Essentials): ISBN 978-1-45221-885-4

Keeping the Republic, Fourth Edition: ISBN 978-1-45221-887-8

The Logic of American Politics, Fifth Edition: ISBN-978-1-45221-884-7

Instructor's Resources: a test bank and PowerPoint slides, created by the author, are available free to adopters. Go to to register and download materials.

To learn about other available packages, email collegesales@cqpress.cpm.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781452203065
  • Publisher: Congressional Quarterly, Inc
  • Publication date: 11/22/2011
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 168
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Tables, Figures, Maps, and Boxes vi

Preface ix

1 Introduction 1

Principles for Understanding California Politics 4

2 Critical Junctures: California's Political History in Brief 8

Early California 8

The Rise of the Southern Pacific Railroad 10

Progressivism 12

The Power of Organized Interests 14

Growth and Industrialization in the Golden State 15

The Initiative Process Takes Hold 16

Hyperdiversity in a Modern State 18

Recalling a Governor 20

Ready, Set: Action 21

Conclusion: Political Earthquakes and Evolving Institutions 22

3 Direct Democracy 24

The Statewide Initiative Process 24

Preparation Stage 25

Qualification Stage 27

Campaigning Stage 30

The Power of the Initiative Process 31

Referendum 33

Recall 33

Direct Democracy at the Local Level 34

Conclusion: Frustrating Collective Action 36

4 The State Legislature 39

Design, Purpose, and Function of the Legislature 39

California Representatives at Work 43

Policymaking and Lawmaking 44

Annual Budgeting 47

Constituency Service and Outreach 49

Executive Branch Oversight 49

Leaders 50

Conclusion: Of the People, for the People 52

5 The Executive Branch 54

California's Plural Executive 55

California's Governor 57

Head of State 57

Chief Executive 58

Legislative Powers 59

Budgeting Power 59

Chief of Security 59

Party Leader 60

Sources of Power 60

The Constitutional Executive Officers 60

Administrators and Regulators 63

Conclusion: Competition for Power 66

6 The Court System 68

The Three-Tiered Court System 69

On and Off the Court 72

Court Administration 74

Juries 74

Criminal Justice 75

Conclusion: Administering Justice 77

7 Other Governments 79

Municipal Government 82

Special Districts 87

Regional Governments 89

Federalism 90

Tribal Governments 92

Conclusion: The State's Interlocking Systems 95

8 The California Budget Process 97

California Budgeting 101 98

Mechanics of Budgeting: Revenue 100

Mechanics of Budgeting: Deficits and Expenditures 103

Political Constraints on Budgeting 106

Tax Burden: Highest in the Nation? 109

Conclusion: Budgeting under Duress 111

9 Political Parties, Elections, and Campaigns 113

A Weak Party State 114

Party in the California Electorate 114

Party in Government 119

The Party Organizations 121

Elections: Continuity and Change 121

California Campaigns 126

Conclusion: A Complex Electorate 128

10 Political Engagement 131

Connecting Citizens to Politics 131

Sources of News 131

Engagement, Disengagement, and Forms of Participation 134

Major Voting Trends 136

Interest Groups: Direct and Indirect Connections 139

Conclusion: An Evolving Political Community 143

11 Concluding Thoughts: Political Paradoxes and Governability 145

Appendix A List of Counties, Including Population and Median Income per County 151

Appendix B Current Constitutional Officers and Leaders of the Legislature, Including Salaries and Term Limits, October 2011 153

Appendix C Recent Governors, Senate Presidents pro Tempore, and Speakers of the Assembly 155

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