California 2


A growing number of taxpayers, meanwhile, had become disillusioned with Governor Gray Davis, then at the beginning of his second term. Someone, after all, had to be responsible for this mess, and it might as well be the governor. Using a recall provision approved by the voters in January 1911 during the Progressive era, the anti-Davisites began in January 2003 ... Read More »


Each of these natural catastrophes, while its results were alle¬viated by federal relief programs, cost local and state government hundreds of millions of dollars in emergency expenditures. Two FURTHER CATASTROPHES, these of human making—an energy crisis and the collapse of the dot-com industry—brought California to the brink. On September 23, 1996, Governor Pete Wilson signed into law the Electric Utility ... Read More »


And how are the children and young people of the state to be educated so that they can survive in an increasingly compet¬itive technological and economic environment? In the so-called Golden Age following World War II, the schools of California were considered among the best in the nation, and test scores proved it. But by the early 1990s, California had ... Read More »


GIVEN THE POLARIZATION and turmoil that began in the 1960s and lasted through the 1970s—compounded by the assassination of presidential candidate Robert Kennedy in June 1968 in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on the night of his victory in the California primary election—it is not surprising that Cali¬fornia seemed to the rest of the nation to be such an ... Read More »


Across the Bay in San Francisco, meanwhile, a movement of young Americans calling themselves “hippies” was raising even more havoc with traditional values. Berkeley students, after all, were attending college (most of them, at least), and most of them were headed—whether they wished to admit it or not— toward traditional careers. The hippies, by contrast, were, as LSD guru Timothy ... Read More »


The 1960s witnessed a challenge to this consensus. Through¬out the Sun Belt, which included Southern California, Repub¬licanism became populist and antigovernment: a tide that lifted the political boat of actor and television commentator Ronald Reagan. The Democratic Party, meanwhile, was moving in the other direction, with left-liberal Democrats playing the deter¬mining role in primary elections. Unlike the governors of the ... Read More »


The question remains: is California governable? And if it is, what kind of government do Californians want? For all its impressive growth, there remains a volatility in the politics and governance of California, which became perfectly clear to the rest of the nation in the fall of 2003 when the voters of Califor¬nia recalled one governor and elected another. Behind ... Read More »


Then there is the question of multiple identities: the ability of California, that is, to allow its people to sustain within them¬selves, simultaneously, multiple allegiances. Thus, defenders of this position (including Los Angeles Times correspondent Greg¬ory Rodriguez) argued, when a predominantly Mexican Amer¬ican crowd cheered for Mexico against the United States team in February 1998 at a World Cup soccer ... Read More »


Next on the agenda was bilingual (Spanish-English) edu¬cation. By 1997, some 1.4 million students in the California school system had limited proficiency in English. The question became: was it best to immerse them in English until their skills improved, or to run a Spanish-language track through the fifth grade or beyond if necessary? Educators made arguments on both sides of ... Read More »


All this involved a number of challenges and contradic¬tions. In the 1960s, thanks to the reform of immigration laws begun by the Kennedy administration, white California be¬came increasingly yellow and brown. By the 1990s, there were more than one million Californians of Chinese descent in the state and another million Filipinos—two groups who had been excluded from California in earlier ... Read More »