Good article here.
The article tells you pretty much all you need to know about what is going on.
The insane 2/3 supermajority to raise taxes by put in by the disastrous Proposition 13 passed by Californians in 1978. I lived in California both before and after Prop 13, and the contrast is stark. The entire public sector of the state, especially the schools, has been nuked by Prop 13. The Whites voted for it and then their own communities got fucked, but hey, anything for lower taxes, right? Idiots.
This was really the start of the racialization of the state’s politics, with Whites constantly holding out against taxation that they see as disproportionately going to lazy and criminal Blacks and Hispanics. No one ever comes right out and says it, but that’s the reality of California politics in a nutshell for the past 30 years.
If you move to just about any majority-White community in California, you will find that it is majority Republican, with hard right Assemblymen, state senators and Congressional Representatives. It’s as true in wealthy Orange County as it is in the poor desert, Central Valley, Sierras or North Coast. So in this most progressive of US states, a frankly White racist politics holds sway and dominates state politics.
There is a good portrayal, historical and present, of the Central Valley in the article. That’s the part of California that I live in – the San Joaquin Valley. Jeff Denham is the asshole state senator from my district. The area right around here is 67% Hispanic, but a lot of them are illegals, a lot of rest are legal immigrants, and a lot of the rest are not registered to vote, or, if they register, then they don’t bother to vote. So while Whites are 43% of the state, they are 70% of the voters, and the government increasingly does not represent the state itself.
Slashing government services and spending in a recession or depression is about the stupidest thing you can do, but that’s what we are doing here in California. The article details some of the cuts, lately to university and even K-12 education. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who poses as some progressive Republican, is actually hard Right on the all-important fiscal questions.
The California Republican Party, instead of getting more progressive to evolve and attract new members, is now dominated by its most reactionary members. It’s now a permanent minority party, but it’s the party of White California. No one ever has the balls to say that, so I will right now.
This article astutely notes that it is the rightwing Whites in my region who are creating this monumental clusterfuck in the state.
There is an increasing movement afoot to amend Proposition 13 or at least get rid of the lunatic 2/3 majority, via a ballot proposition. It will no doubt be an uphill climb.