Dear Kevin, It’s Time for You to Move On

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

Dear Kevin de León, Your heart isn’t in the legislature, is it? I don’t know if it’s your next job that’s preoccupying you. Or whether you’re in mourning about Hillary losing (you were talked up as a candidate for EPA administrator) or about Trump winning, which means having to spend your time fighting off all […]

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Xavier Becerra, a Wartime Attorney General

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

If you were uncertain whether California government was already at war Trump-occupied Washington D.C., there’s no reason to doubt any longer. In choosing Congressman Xavier Becerra to replace U.S. Senator-elect Kamala Harris, Gov. Jerry Brown undeniably chose a wartime attorney general. Becerra’s pick was a surprise, only if you wondered how fiercely opposed California will […]

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How Much Can California Ask of its Rivers?

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

California is finally embracing its rivers. But it may be a choking embrace. We Californians have long celebrated our coastal splendor and toasted the height and beauty of our mountains. But our rivers? For most of us, they have been a mere utility, the plumbing that moved water around the state.. Today the Golden State, […]

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Would Someone Wake the Governor?

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

Immediately after the election, I wrote in this space that Gov. Jerry Brown was now the president of the American dream, if not the United States. Representing more Democrats than anyone else, he was the natural leader of the opposition to Trump, and he was in the best position to stand up for idea-based governance […]

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Force Trump to Prove Voter Fraud Now

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

For California to counter the kleptocratic, white supremacist movement that’s about to take over the White House, it needs to start treating Donald Trump more seriously, aggressively and strategically. Our failures to confront Trump properly revealed themselves in the official response to the president-elect’s baseless and wholly dishonest allegation that there’s massive voter fraud in […]

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California’s Not Built to Become Its Own Nation

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

California may have the size and economy and independent spirit of a good-sized country. But California is not a nation. Which is precisely why it would be self-destructive to seek to become one. Of course, it’s understandable that, with the election of an evil white supremacist swindler as president of the United States, the idea […]

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California’s Initiative ‘Brutality’

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

(Editor’s Note: Previously published in Treasurer John Chiang’s Intersections newsletter) California’s initiative process is, in a word, “brutal.” That was the official judgment six years ago when hundreds of experts in direct democracy from all over the world came to San Francisco for a five-day conference. (Full disclosure: I was one of the conveners of the event). […]

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Does Political ‘Reform’ Keep California Women Out of Politics?

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

California sees itself as a progressive place, but it is anything but when it comes to women in elected office. Barely one quarter of the legislature—and 1/15 of the Los Angeles city council – are women. The trend persists despite many efforts to reverse it. And often, after elections like this past one, which was […]

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Silicon Valley Keeps Us Stuck in the Political Past

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

As long as Silicon Valley and its futuristic technologies dominate our politics, we’re doomed to be stuck in the past. The big story of the poisonous 2016 elections was how new digital media tools ended up crowding out two big topics from our conversation: the present and the future. This phenomenon went way beyond the […]

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U.S. Senate Race Should Be the Beginning of the End of Top Two

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

The U.S . Senate race, won by Attorney General Kamala Harris over Rep. Loretta Sanchez, ought to be the end of the top two system. The problems of the race weren’t unfamiliar; the contest followed a pattern Californians have now seen in our legislative elections for the last few cycles. The only difference this time […]

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