Remaking California: Reclaiming the Public Good

What went wrong in California and how we can fix it

California is locked in a constitutional crisis. Its schools are in decline, its water system near collapse, and its prisons in disarray. It is unable to avoid a yearly budget crisis, maintain its public facilities, or care for its sick. Nor can its citizens remedy these ills under present arrangements. A land once known for its beauty and abundance is now characterized by abandoned properties and a shortage of homes, jobs, and opportunities.

In Remaking California: Reclaiming the Public Good, leading writers and scholars probe the roots of this crisis, trace its effects on people’s lives and the environment, and propose reforms to remedy problems and restore the state’s democratic promise. They conclude that only a systemic overhaul will shake California out of its paralysis, and they debate the promise and pitfalls of a new constitutional convention for remaking the Golden State. Contributors include Dan Walters, Lenny Goldberg, Kevin Starr, Mark Paul, former Senator Barry Keene, and many more.

Remaking California is timely and urgent. This lucid, forceful analysis is essential reading for all Californians.

Advance Praise

“California faces a dark age without parallel unless Sacramento retrieves the capacity to represent the needs of the majority. This invaluable and urgent book opens the debate on constitutional reform.”

—Mike Davis, author of City of Quartz and In Praise of Barbarians


“Here's everything you ever wanted to know...diagnoses of what ails California and remedies of every sort...It's a terrific resource for anyone—student, policy maker, political scientist, philosopher—who wants as much as you can jam into one comprehensive volume, and then some.”

—Peter Schrag, author of Paradise Lost and Not Fit for Our Society


“California has become a beached whale. Remaking Californiasummons all available hands to its rescue.”

—David Kipen, National Book Critics Circle

About the Editor

R. Jeffrey LustigJeff Lustig (1943-2012) was a professor of government at California State University, Sacramento. He authored Corporate Liberalism: The Origins of Modern American Political Theory, 1890–1920, and wrote numerous articles on American and Californian politics and political theory, the corporatization of the modern university, and on immigration, race, and class. He was director of the Center for California Studies at California State University, Sacramento, and founding chair of the California Studies Association. He was a trustee of the California Historical Society and a founder and chair of Northcoast Labor History Project.