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Why Californians Should Love Chevron

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 Chevron, I will not compare thee to a summer’s day. I cannot say you smell like a rose. But make no mistake: I love you. You are unaccustomed, I know, to getting letters like this. Love is usually reserved for younger, sexier companies–Google, Apple, or Twitter–across the bay from your San Ramon headquarters. You […]

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How to Solve Skelton’s Riddle

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)

In a recent column, George Skelton of the Los Angeles Times takes a sideways shot at Gov. Jerry Brown. The columnist’s charge? That the governor, by campaigning for two ballot measures (the Prop 1 water bond and the constitutional budget-and-debt formula known as Prop 2), was distracting people from the fact that he hasn’t come […]

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Can a Higher Minimum Wage Lower Your Quality of Life?

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)

Will you actually be richer when your pay is raised to $15 per hour? Perhaps the question seems ludicrous. Of course you’re better off making $15 an hour than you were at $9 per hour, right? But the answer is, unfortunately, not as obvious as you might think. And the question itself–will workers getting a […]

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Shameful Journalistic Abdication on Prop 2

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 hefty chunk, perhaps the majority, of media coverage of California governance in recent years has been about the budget. So why isn’t the media applying even the most basic scrutiny to Prop 2, the so-called “rainy day fund” measure that is on the ballot? People are already beginning to cast votes, but the California […]

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Three Ballot Initiatives, Not Quite As Awful As Usual

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 gotta take your good news where you can get it when it comes to California’s dangerously inflexible system of initiative and referendum. So this year’s three ballot initiative – Propositions 45, 46, and 47 – qualify as good news. It might be more precise to say: those three initiatives are less awful than usual. […]

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My Uncle Dale’s California Dream

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 had to go to a family funeral up in Apple Valley, I explained to friends and colleagues, as I canceled a day’s worth of appointments recently. They offered their sympathy, but what they said next confused me: “Have a nice flight.” Flight? No one needs an airplane to get to Apple Valley from L.A. […]

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Brown Should Apply Logic of Ethics Bills Vetoes to the Rainy Day Fund

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 should re-read his very strong language vetoing ethics bills. And then he should think hard, again, about his rainy day fund, Prop 2. Applying the wisdom of the ethics bills vetoes – that adding more ethics rules would make the already existing rules too complex – might lead him to reconsider a […]

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A Lieutenant Governor’s Debate in Pyongyang

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 Bay Area public radio apparently not providing a favorable enough platform for Mr. Newsom to debate, we’re willing to accept a forum moderated by MS-NBC’s Rachel Maddow or Ed Schultz.  If MS-NBC isn’t favorable enough, we could be talked into doing it on either Russian government-funded RT television, or North Korea’s KCNA, although with […]

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Prop 2: A Bag Full of Whips and Chains for the Budget

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 me be clear, I don’t want to judge anybody, especially not the supporters of Prop 2, who are legion among the state’s media and good government elites. I believe that what people do within the privacy of their own homes should be up to them, at least as long as it doesn’t involve plastic […]

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Mr. President, Please Stop Visiting California

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)

Bad news: President Obama is coming to California again. Mr. President, I realize such a statement may seem jarring to you and your strongest supporters. After all, our state (and this columnist) voted for you twice, and you and California are a near-perfect match on the issues. Heck, when you were first running for president, […]

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