California Crackup

How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It
Aug. 1, 2010

Is California beyond repair? A sizable number of Golden State citizens have concluded that it is. Incessant budget crises plus a government paralyzed by partisan gridlock have led to demands for reform, even a constitutional convention. But what, exactly, is wrong and how can we fix it?

In California Crackup, Joe Mathews and Mark Paul provide clear and informed answers. Their fast-paced and often humorous narrative deftly exposes the constitutional origins of our current political and economic problems and furnishes a uniquely California fix: 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.


Their lucid analysis is spiked with wit and appealing turns of phrase... that lift it above mere wonkery.

BY: Chris Smith, San Francisco Magazine

California Crackup is brilliant. It cuts through the familiar tangle of diagnoses and quick-fix solutions to provide a comprehensive and persuasive analysis of California's dysfunctional governmental system.

BY: Peter Schrag, author of California: America's High-Stakes Experiment

I know of no other work that combines so succinctly and enjoyably a historical summary of California's existing problems with such a sweeping and provocative program of reform.

BY: Ethan Rarick, University of California, Berkeley

Mark Paul and Joe Mathews have produced an indispensable guide to California's crisis of governance--and they have done so with humor, scholarship, fairness and storytelling verve. Every Californian should read this book.

BY: Steve Coll, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Ghost Wars

Mark Paul... has a talent for presenting California Big Think stuff in an easily accessible and always readable way...[offering] clear and creative insights on the subject of California's collapse.

BY: CalBuzz

Joe Mathews has done an artful, fascinating, and convincing job of connecting the California of today's Schwarzenegger era to the long history that made his rise possible.

BY: James Fallows, The Atlantic on Mathews' book, The People's Machine