Two new books put San Diego’s history of political turmoil front and center. One by former Mayor Dick Murphy explains his view of the problems that led to his 2005 resignation amid numerous criminal and civil investigations related to San Diego’s pension problems.

The other book takes a broader view. University of California, San Diego political science professor Steve Erie argues that beneath San Diego’s glittery exterior is a long history of decay. The book, Paradise Plundered, is co-written with UCSD doctoral student (and alum) Vladimir Kogan and University of California, Davis professor Scott MacKenzie.

We’ll be doing our Q&A with Erie next week. Email or tweet me your questions or just leave them in the comment box.

To wet your whistle in the meantime, here’s a section of the Union-Tribune’s book review:

Issues would not be controversial if solutions were easy and agreement transparent. It has always been the responsibility of concerned intellectuals to insist that we confront difficult problems with honesty and dedication, that we understand their inherent complexity, that we avoid the temptation toward convenient answers, and that we demand from our leaders accountability and responsibility. Whether we agree with their analysis or not, the authors of “Paradise Plundered” have given to our city a valuable service. Their book should be a starting point as together we contemplate the future direction for San Diego.

Liam Dillon is a news reporter for He covers San Diego City Hall, the 2012 mayor’s race and big building projects. What should he write about next?

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Liam Dillon

Liam Dillon was formerly a senior reporter and assistant editor for Voice of San Diego. He led VOSD’s investigations and wrote about how regular people...

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