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Open Access Publications from the University of California


The California Journal of Politics and Policy (CJPP) is an online journal of original scholarship, focusing on state and local politics, public policy formation and implementation, especially in the Golden State.

Politics in the Golden State

Since its birth seven years ago, the California Journal of Politics and Policy's name has been thought by some to define its contents. In fact, its content covers all aspects of American national, state, and local government, electoral politics, and public policy formation and implementation.

This issue,with its emphasis on California, is an exception thanks to our receipt of an unsual number of excellent articles that deal with California concerns.


IGS Survey Finds Support for Extending Taxes on Wealthy, Legalizing Marijuana, and Toughening Gun Control

The IGS Poll serves a dual purpose: to take a snapshot of California public opinion on impoirtant political and policy matters, and to generate new data for more extensive analysis by researchers. This brief describes the results of the 2016 poll in measuring public opinion among registaered voters on several statewide measures that will be on the ballot this November, and on related public issues. The poll sought to provide an in-depth examination of the political attitudes of Asian-American voters, a group that is growing rapidly, but which displays some differences from other voters, including a greater likelihood to register as independents. The results of further analysis of the Poll data will be released at a later date by the Institute.

Purple California: Politics and Regional Realities in the Golden State

For decades, academics and observers alike have characterized California as being two separate states with those living in Northern California being socially and politically very different from the citizens of Southern California. More recently, pundits, professors, and politicos have argued that California no longer has a pronounced north-south divide, but rather an inland and coastal division has emerged due to demographic changes that produced a political and geographic partition. Proponents of this inland/coastal view argue that it looks like the liberal blue state and conservative red state divide where the California coast has politically realigned to look like New York while the inland valleys and deserts now look like Texas or the South. Taking advantage of over 60 years of statewide electoral data along with time-series public opinion data, this paper argues that the notion of  ‘two Californias’ is incorrect. Electoral records reveal that California has not turned into a state with deep political-geographic divisions.  It is firmly a purple state with regions and localities that are pragmatic and rarely show party line voting and one-sided political behavior. While elite level politicians and organizations may present polarized choices and options and candidates that seemingly lead to occasional electoral results that make regions appear drastically different, greater nuance and a broader analysis of the historical trends reveal a purple California, not red or blue regions in the Golden State.

The RNC's California Experiment: State and National Party Collaboration in Reforms to Minority Outreach

Neither the Republican National Committee nor the Republican Party can continue to rely primarily on white voters to win elections. Leadership at both levels of the party has acknowledged the power of demograohic changes that favor the the Democratic opposition. Shortly after the 2012 general election CRP chairman and former California state senator Jim Brulty spoke to the racial demographic changes, recognizing the implications for state and national Repulican candidates.The electorate has changed, Republicans have not reacted to that change, and California is dominated by Democrats because Republicans can't figure out how to get votes form anybody who is not white.

Variation in Structural Home Rule: Evidence from California City Councils

Much of the literature on home rule overlooks structural variations in city governance. Because structural features of city governance expand or restrict democratic participation, we take a comprehensive look at the 481 cities in California to identify correlates of home rule status and city council size. Roughly a quarter of the cities in the state have chosen to become charter cities while the rest remain general law cities with essentially identical governing bodies of five member city councils elected in at-large elections.  Some cities that have opted to become charter cities have altered their form of government or electoral systems, but many have not.  Among all cities in California, both general law and charter, variations in city council size, election method, and mayoral selection are largely unrelated to demographic factors but rather the year of incorporation, selection method of the mayor, and whether the city has adopted a charter.


California’s efforts to fund highway and transit systems have evolved over time through several major crises, and the state continues to wage ongoing battles over transportation policy. For more than a century, California relied on pay-as-you-go transportation finance. Over the past few decades, in light of serious backlogs in roadway maintenance and repair and growing traffic congestion, the state has turned increasingly to substantial long-term bond finance. Most of this bonding authority has been used and the money spent. Due to legislative and voter-initiated limits on using fuel-based sales and excise tax revenues, the state now relies on a complicated system of fund swaps to service its transportation debt and pay for ongoing highway and transit programs. Now California faces yet another crisis in transportation finance brought on by decades of underinvestment in its aging infrastructure.

Towards a Greater Eastside: California Political Boundary Law and Southeast Los Angeles County

In 2013, a South Coast Quality Management District report revealed that an Exide Technologies battery recycling plant in Vernon, California was emitting high levels of arsenic and exposing 110,000 nearby residents to an increased cancer risk.  After two years of investigations, inspections and more revelations, the US Attorney's office announcd that Exide would shut down and clean lead tainted soil from nearby communities. The pollution streched over six suburbs south of Los Angeles and illustrates one of the many maladies of political fragmentation in Los Angles County. As I describe in my paper, the fragmentation worsens socioeconomic condiitons and encourages pilitcal irrespoinsibility.  No government agency has been able to remedy the ill efects of problematic municipal  boundaries.

The Importance of Supply and Demand to Policymaking Designed to Alter Preschool Attendance

Preschool attendance not only benefits the later learning of an individual and her subsequent income, it provides external benefits to society in the form of skill spillovers, education peer effects, reduced crime, and less government welfare spending/greater government tax revenue.  Concern has accordingly arisen that the United States lags behind other developed countries in preschool attendance.  This deficit is not consistent across all types of children and locations.  To understand why, this paper offers a regression analysis of what influences the preschool attendance of three-, four-, and five-year olds from a supply and demand perspective using data from the California Health Interview Survey.  The discovery of a positive influence of nearby available preschool slots per those that could possibly attend (supply) on the likelihood of preschool attendance that is greater in magnitude to influences detected for differences in parent education or income (demand), suggests the desirability of further pursuing public policies intended to increase the supply.

Reining in the California Paparazzi: An Analysis of the California Legislature's Attempts to Safeguard Celebrity Privacy

This article analyzes the 2014 updates to California’s invasion of privacy laws, Sections 1708.8 and 1708.7 of the Civil Code, signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.[1] It will examine whether the two-year old laws violate the First Amendment right to freedom of the press despite efforts by the California legislature and governor to protect the privacy rights of individuals and their families, especially celebrities.  This article will also analyze Raef v. Superior County of Los Angeles, the California court decision that may provide legal guidance about the constitutionality of Sections 1708.8 and 1708.7.  The Raef case tested whether the media are legally liable under Section 40008 of the California Vehicle Code when driving recklessly to pursue celebrity photos.

[1] CAL CIV CODE §1708.8  (2014) and CAL CIV CODE §1708.7 (1) (2014).