Joe Mathews. Photo: Ringo Chiu

Budget crises, failing schools, unemployment—it’s easy to point out California’s problems, but harder to pinpoint what exactly is wrong, how it happened, and what can be done to fix it. With state primary elections on the horizon, these questions are at the heart of debate.

“California doesn’t work because it can’t work”, say Joe Mathews and Mark Paul, the authors of California Crackup. They explore the origins of the state’s problems, and how its “inflexible” system of direct democracy and the effects of Proposition 13 have contributed to the crackup.

Mark Paul. Photo: Jessica Pettyjohn

But there is hope. As the lead blogger at NBC’s Prop Zero blog, Mathews examines central issues in California politics,with an eye to change, and Paul and Mathews propose fixes to help get the Golden State back on track.

As a guest last week on KQED’s Forum, Mathews and other guests discussed California’s initiative process with Michael Krasny. Listen here.