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Will New Higher Initiative Fee Mean More Initiative Errors?

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)

I’ll write more here in the weeks to come about Gov. Brown’s bad decision to sign a bill raising the ballot initiative filing fee from $200 to $2,000—by far the highest in the country. But before the ink is still dry, let me raise one very practical issue that should be dealt with quickly by […]

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Send California Your Anchor Babies

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)

You better anchor me, baby. Because I find it impossible to write with restraint when politicians start using babies – babies using babies! – to prey on prejudice and misinform the public in the service of winning votes. That’s exactly what’s happening in the Republican presidential contest, as Donald Trump and his opponents make xenophobic […]

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The Easy Fix for Prop 39

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)

Let’s chill out at Prop 39. It’s easy to fix. Yes, the AP and other media have reported on how little of the money collected in corporate taxation for green-energy investments has been spent, and how there is little accountability for what has been spent. That’s good to know. But it shouldn’t occasion much outrage, […]

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Passports, Religions and Wolves

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)

With apologies to the late, great Los Angeles sports journalist Allan Malamud, here are some late-summer notes on the California scorecard. Passports The LA Times recently declared that a combination of state laws granting benefits and responsibilities to unauthorized immigrants – in-state tuition, drivers’ licenses, rules to limit deportations, state-funded health care for children, stripping […]

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Why Is It So Hard to Enroll a Kid in Public School?

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)

A wiseacre neighbor walked by the corner where I was standing and shouted, “Is this the line for the U2 tickets?” Nope. The line, which extended out a brick building for about a block, was just another group of California parents forced to prove, in this age of hyper-regulated childhood, that we actually live where […]

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An Interesting Initiative Reform Idea That Was a Draper Loser

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)

Reading through the ideas submitted to Tim Draper’s  Fix California Challenge is frustrating, for a couple reasons. The first is that so few of the ideas are new; even the four finalists in the competition are recycled (though many are good ideas)—a previously proposed initiative for a larger legislature, applying transparency laws to the legislature, […]

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Top 10 Reasons Why Arnold Is Not Donald

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)

I keep getting emails from friends with a link to a Washington Post piece arguing that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Donald Trump are, politically speaking, basically the same person. And I keep scratching my head. Huh? It’s hard to think of what they have in common. The theory of the Post story is that they were […]

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Don’t Believe All The Hype Around Straight Outta Compton

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)

Reading about the new hit movie about the groundbreaking rap group N.W.A., you might think the biggest problem facing Compton is its unfair and outdated reputation for the violence and gangs that were the subjects of N.W.A’s music. But today, Compton may have a bigger problem: the reality that it’s boring. The Compton depicted in […]

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Are Second Terms for Climate Change Speechmaking?

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)

Gov. Jerry Brown’s second term is starting to resemble Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s in one way: Brown, like his successor, seems to be finding more and more time for speechifying on climate change, out of state or out of the country. There are some good reasons for this. Climate change is a threat to California, and […]

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Top Two a Victory for Uncle Bob

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 Uncle Bob (Hertzberg), You are the Great Gatsby! F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said that “the test of a first-rate intelligence intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” Uncle Bob, you are a first-rate intelligence. I can’t tell you how […]

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