California Politics



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Political Science 103A

California Politics
Prof. Thad Kousser Summer 2013

tkousser@ucsd.edu, 534-3239 Lecture: Tu/Th 2-4:50pm, Sequoia 147

369 Social Science Building Office Hours: 9:30-11am Thursdays

Required Reading

› The three texts are available for purchase at the bookstore: William Fulton’s The Reluctant Metropolis (Johns Hopkins, 2001), Ethan Rarick’s Governing California, Third Edition (Berkeley Public Policy Press, 2013), and Frederick Douzet, Thad Kousser, and Kenneth Miller, The New Political Geography of California (Berkeley Public Policy Press, 2008). I will also post online a copy of the “What’s Next California” participants guide.


› The course webpage, located at http://pscourses.ucsd.edu/103a/, will contain information such as lecture slides, course announcements, and study guides.
› Mike Rivera will be the TA for this course, and can be contacted at murivera@ucsd.edu.

Course Assignments

› 30% Midterm (August 20th, in class)

› 30% Paper (due beginning of class, September 3rd)

› 30% Constitutional Reform Debate, Thursday, September 5th

› 10% Class Attendance and Participation

› There is no final for this course



Class Meetings: Each meeting will consist of a lecture and discussion, then a break, then another lecture and discussion. Every student needs to be prepared to discuss the readings assigned for that day, and have something to say about the subjects that we are studying. The lecture outlines on the course website include discussion questions.
Assignments: There will be an in-class midterm on Wednesday, July 13th, as well as a final debate on constitutional reform on Friday, July 29th. The midterm will be closed book, and composed of identifications, short answers, and an essay. For the paper, due on Monday, July 25, you will write a policy analysis of a specific piece of California legislation in 5-7 pages (I’ll hand out more detailed instructions later). The paper will be graded on both substance and style. Each student must do his or her own work, adhering to university regulations prohibiting plagiarism and cheating.
Grade Changes and Extensions: All requests for grade changes must be made in writing, to me, within a week of receiving the graded assignment. Requests must be typed and double spaced, and review of a grade by the other grader or by me may result in either a higher or lower grade. There are no regrades for the final. Extensions on assignments and make-up exams will only be granted in cases of documented illness or family medical emergencies. Please contact me as soon as possible if you need to request one. (Note: I will not grant any extensions because stolen or damaged computers. This does happen, so you should be in the habit of using the free DropBox program or something similar to automatically back up all of your work on the cloud whenever you save it so that you never lose it).

Part I. Political Institutions in Flux


  1. Tuesday, August 6th, Course Introduction and The Progressive Movement I: Initiatives and Referenda.

    1. Ken Miller, “Direct Democracy: The Initiative, Referendum, and Recall” Governing California, Third Edition



  1. Thursday, August 8th. Progressive Movement II: The Recall & Movements and Elections in California.

    1. Pages 215-225 of “Governors, Geography, and Direct Democracy,” William Chandler and Thad Kousser, The New Political Geography of California.

    2. William Fulton, “The Beachhead,” Chapter 1 in The Reluctant Metropolis.

    3. “California’s Political Geography: Coast vs. Inland and Increasingly Blue,” Kenneth P. Miller and Frederick Douzet, Governing California.



  1. Tuesday, August 13th. Professionalizing the California Legislature & Term Limits and the Future of the Legislature.

    1. “What’s Next California” participants guide, pages 25-35.

    2. Bruce Cain, Thad Kousser, and Karl Kurtz, “The Legislature: Life Under Term Limits,” in Governing California.




  1. Thursday, August 15th. Bargaining with Governors & New Rules of the Campaign Game

    1. Ethan Rarick, “Governors and the Executive Branch,” in Governing California.

    2. John Decker, “Goodbye to All That: Mending California’s Budget,” in Governing California.

    3. Vladimir Kogan and Eric McGhee, “Redistricting: Did Radical Reform Produce Different Results,” in Governing California.




  1. Tuesday, August 20th, July 18, Midterm, 90 minutes.


Part II. The Geopolitics of Diversity


  1. Thursday, August 22nd. Demographics and Immigration Policy & Political Incorporation of Minority Groups.

    1. Jack Citrin, Morris Levy, and Andrea Campbell, “State of Change: Immigration Politics and the New Demography of California,” in Governing California.

    2. William Fulton, “Suburbs of Extraction,” Chapter 3 in The Reluctant Metropolis.

    3. Urban Change and Neighborhood Politics in San Diego: A Comparative Perspective,” Gerald Billard and Emmanuelle Le Texier, The New Political Geography of California.



  1. Tuesday, August 27th. Race, Demography and Voting in California & Moving On Up to Sacramento.

    1. William Fulton, “Whose Riot Was This, Anyway,” in The Reluctant Metropolis.

    2. “The San Joaquin Valley: Political Realignment and its Limits,” Kenneth P. Miller and Justin Levitt, The New Political Geography of California.



  1. Thursday, August 29th. No Class (American Political Science Association Conference in Chicago). Instead, to prepare for the Constitutional Reform Debate, watch: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/btp/


Part III. Perspectives on Policy.


  1. Tuesday, September 3rd. The Layers of California Government & Environmental Politics.

    1. “What’s Next California” participants guide, pages 47-54.

    2. William Fulton, “Welcome to Sales Tax Canyon,” in The Reluctant Metropolis.

    3. William Fulton, “Redefining Chinatown,” in The Reluctant Metropolis.

    4. William Fulton, “The Politics of Extinction,” in The Reluctant Metropolis.


10. Thursday, September 5th: Constitutional Reform Debates
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