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California blegging

As I'm out in the Golden State for a couple of days, I'd like to spend some time reading about how truly and epically screwed California is. In particular, I'm looking for really good journalism -- magazine articles, deep blog posts, newspaper columns, whatever -- on the political and financial crises imperiling the state. Any suggestions?

By Ezra Klein  |  November 23, 2009; 1:30 PM ET
Categories:  California  
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Comments

Read Calitics. Especially anything by Robert Cruickshank.

Posted by: StevenAttewell | November 23, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Yeah I'll second the Calitics. Provides me with a special dose of anger and rage at the insanity of our beloved state on the regular.

Posted by: zeppelin003 | November 23, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Good overview of the mess in TNR by John Judis: http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/end-state

Posted by: daw3 | November 23, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and I dont know how long you've been away from California, but we all eat from food trucks now. There's a grilled cheese truck that comes by Venice that is outstanding!

Posted by: zeppelin003 | November 23, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

This post is really right on in terms of the permanent fiscal crisis: http://edgeofthewest.wordpress.com/2009/05/29/californias-crisis-and-the-collapse-of-the-republican-party/

More parochially, I've been blogging on the confrontation between the police and the students here at Berkeley, from the perspective of having had the classroom in which I teach occupied by protesters. That's at zunguzungu.wordpress.com

Posted by: zunguzungu | November 23, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

NYT take on the hands-tied gov't: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/05/magazine/05California-t.html
Atlantic take on CA energy economy: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200910/california-energy
Time's contrarian take on CA's demise:
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1931582,00.html

Posted by: sdfdsfsdf | November 23, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Ezra,
Check in with California Forward, a nonpartisan effort to reform California governance. I'm sure they have every article and report written on the matter. Same with Center for Governmental Studies in Los Angeles. Also, I believe that the Sacramento Bee ran a series not too long ago.
Good luck!

Posted by: bmasterspolicy | November 23, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

For California doom and gloom, check out Dan Walters' columns in the Sacramento Bee. The headings alone are enough to make me very depressed.

Posted by: Beagle1 | November 23, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

George Skelton's "Page 2" columns in the LA Times are excellent:

http://www.latimes.com/news/columnists/la-columnist-gskelton,0,1141051.columnist

Posted by: robbins2 | November 23, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I thought this blog post was good:
http://www.mydd.com/story/2009/8/1/21329/89518

Very interesting comments on the combined incentives for the state to release prisoners while also reducing services that will be needed by those released.

Posted by: bcbulger | November 23, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

This strikes me as a particularly good link:

http://www.calitics.com/tag.do;jsessionid=0CD1CC4B64B4B261CB2A557E8558FFB0?subjectId=117

Posted by: bcbulger | November 23, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Here is the best article I've read on the subject:

http://www.calbuzz.com/2009/06/how-california-became-ungovernable/

Posted by: existenz | November 23, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/25/opinion/25krugman.html

Posted by: brooklynpsu | November 23, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Any study of California's current fiscal situation must include a head-first dive into the fake energy crisis of 2000-2001.

$100s billions were stolen right in front of our eyes from California and other western states as George W. Bush and Arnold S' stood by and cheered the energy companies on.

As you recall, California had a hefty surplus at that time and lost it virtually overnight to the Enrons of the world as a politicized Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (via a Ken Lay proxy-appointed FERC chairman) did nothing to stop the fake rolling blackouts.

The CA AG Bill Lockyer has since won court cases proving a variety of scams that the energy companies engaged in, though to my knowledge little or no compensatory damages has since occurred.

As I recall, the "permanent" rolling blackouts stopped almost as soon as Jim Jeffords switched parties and the Democrats finally had control of the Senate and threatened to investigate the massive thefts.

A side issue is the story how Gray Davis lost the governorship to a man who at the time was one of Ken Lay's golden boys and who at the time cheered on the energy thieves. The recall rules were set such to guarantee Davis's downfall, though had he then been allowed to run against Arnold and the other candidates, Davis would have easily won re-election.

Here's one link and an interesting excerpt:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_electricity_crisis

On May 17, 2001, future Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan met with Enron CEO Ken Lay, at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, at a meeting convened for Enron to present its "Comprehensive Solution for California," which called for an end to Federal and state investigations into Enron's role in the California energy crisis.

Posted by: Lomillialor | November 23, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

The Economist had a good summary of California's uniquely bad government (not sure if you can still access it without a membership)
http://www.economist.com/displayStory.cfm?story_id=13649050

On the subject of food trucks, korean taco trucks are the latest craze for LA.

Posted by: elainelinc | November 23, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

The Big-Spending, High-Taxing, Lousy-Services Paradigm (California taxpayers don’t get much bang for their bucks.)

http://www.city-journal.org/2009/19_4_california.html

Posted by: mivey00 | November 23, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Michael Meranze identifies the incarceration component to California's crisis:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-meranze/californias-crisis-coming_b_267461.html

Posted by: hubtone | November 23, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Check out this Rebecca Solnit piece on the key question of water:
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-solnit1-2009nov01,0,881907.story

Posted by: TomPhilpott | November 23, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Here are statistics you need to know: (1) Homeowners control 90% of the state's wealth. (2) 80% of those over 65 have a net worth of at least $500,000.

That's Prop 13 at work. Also, estimates of total household net worth vary between $5-10 trillion. That gives you an idea of how much of the state budget crisis is real and how much is ideologically driven.

Posted by: bmull | November 23, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

KQED's Capital Notes is a great CA political blog:

http://blogs.kqed.org/capitalnotes/

Posted by: eduardom | November 24, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Also, check out The Center for California Health Care Journalism, http://www.chcf.org/topics/view.cfm?itemID=133896

It is a collaboration between the California Healthcare Foundation and USC's Annenberg School for Communication. It has created a venue for in-depth reporting of California healthcare issues at a community level.

Posted by: djatkins | November 24, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Also this piece from the city journal

http://www.city-journal.org/2009/eon1123sg.html

Posted by: slantedview | November 24, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

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