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Is the Golden State Broken?

Is the Golden State Broken?

“California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It” authors Joe Mathews and Mark Paul will speak at UC Riverside Nov. 18.

(November 10, 2010)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Veteran journalists Joe Mathews and Mark Paul, authors of “California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It,” will speak at UC Riverside on Thursday, Nov. 18, at 3 p.m. in Interdisciplinary Building Room 1128.

Admission to the discussion is free. Parking costs $6.

“California Crackup” addresses the origins of the state’s current fiscal and political problems and suggests “innovative solutions that allow Californians to debate their choices, settle on the best ones, hold elected officials accountable for results, and choose anew if something doesn’t work,” the authors have said in describing the book.

For example, the authors assert that one of the top five reasons for the California “crackup” is that the state doesn’t have one governing system, but three. “These three systems are at war with each other: 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. California doesn't work because it can't work.”

One of the top five “fixes” they recommend is to “move power out of Sacramento and restore authority and accountability to local communities by requiring that spending and revenue-producing decisions for each program be made at the same level of government, with fiscal rewards for success and costs for failure.”

Mathews is Irvine senior fellow at the New America Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy institute “that invests in new thinkers and new ideas to address the next generation of challenges facing the United States,” according to the organization’s website. Mathews, who was a reporter at the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal, 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.

Paul is senior scholar at the New America Foundation and previously served as deputy treasurer of California and deputy editorial page editor of the Sacramento Bee. He is the co-author with Micah Weinberg of “Remapping the California Electorate” in “Remaking California: Reclaiming the Public Good” (ed. R. Jeffrey Lustig) and “Public Affluence, Private Squalor: California’s Dual Pension Crisis.”

The event is sponsored by the UCR Public Policy Program, Center for Ideas and Society, Center for Sustainable Suburban Development, and the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

For more information contact Gary Dymski, professor of economics, at, or call (951) 827-1570.



The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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