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Paradise Plundered: Fiscal Crisis and Governance Failures in San Diego

Steven Erie, Ph.D, UC San Diego, Vladimir Kogan, UC San Diego, Scott A. MacKenzie, Ph.D., UC Davis
May 17, 2012 from 12:00 PM to 01:30 PM (America/Los_Angeles / UTC-700)
1130 K Street, Room LL3
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The 21st century has not been kind to California’s reputation for good government. But the Golden State’s governance flaws reflect worrisome national trends with origins in the 1970s and 1980s. Growing voter distrust with government, a demand for services but not taxes to pay for them, a sharp decline in enlightened leadership, and dysfunctional political institutions have all contributed to the current malaise.

Until recently, San Diego—America’s 8th largest city—seemed immune to such systematic governance disorders.  This sunny beach town entered the 1990s proclaiming itself “America’s Finest City,” but in a few short years had become known as “Enron-by-the-Sea.” In an eye-opening narrative, the authors mix policy analysis, political theory, and history to explore and explain the unintended but largely predictable failures of governance in San Diego. Benchmarking San Diego with other leading California cities, Paradise Plundered examines critical dimensions of San Diego’s governance failure, including intractable pension and budget deficits, poorly crafted public-private partnerships, and much more. This tale of civic woe offers valuable lessons for urban scholars, practitioners, and general readers concerned about the future of their own cities.

S_ErieSteven Erie is a Professor of Political Science, Adjunct Professor of History, and Director of the Urban Studies and Planning Program at UC San Diego.  An authority on urban/regional politics, governance, and public policy, he has won an outstanding teaching award from UCSD’s Earl Warren College and received the UCSD Chancellor’s Associates Faculty Award for Excellence in Community Service.  In 2010-11 he served as President of the American Political Science Association’s Urban Politics Section.  His book Rainbow’s End: Irish Americans and the Dilemmas of Urban Machine Politics, 1840-1985 won best urban book awards from the American Political Science Association and the American Sociological Association.  Globalizing L.A.: Trade, Infrastructure, and Regional Development received the International Author Award from Lambda Alpha International Land Economics Society and the Donald H. Pflueger Local History Award from the Historical Society of Southern California.  Erie’s other books include; Beyond ‘Chinatown’: The Metropolitan Water District, Growth, and the Environment in Southern California, and Paradise Plundered: Fiscal Crisis and Governance Failures in San Diego (with Vladimir Kogan and Scott A. MacKenzie).

Vladimir Kogan is a PhD candidate at the UCSD Department of Political Science. He’s the co-author of Paradise Plundered: Fiscal Crisis and Governance Failures in San Diego. Aside from this book, he’s authored or co-authored research articles in Rutgers Law Journal, California Journal of Politics and Policy, Urban Affairs Review, State Politics and Policy Quarterly. and other scholarly journals. In 2009-2010, Kogan was a research fellow at the Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University. He won the emerging scholar award from the Urban Affairs Association in 2010. Before going back to graduate school, Kogan was a staff writer at the Voice of San Diego.

Scott A. MacKenzie is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Davis.  His research interests include American national institutions, American political development, and local government and politics.  His recent work studies citizens’ decision-making in direct democracy and local elections, and the politics of trade infrastructure provision and economic development in California.  With Steven P. Erie and Vladimir Kogan, he is the author of Paradise Plundered:  Fiscal Crisis and Governance Failures in San Diego.

Paradise Plundered bookThis book will be available for purchase at the lecture.


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