Do You Seek Beauty And Danger In California, But Are Unsure In Which Direction You Can Find It?

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)

West. Just drive west. Or east. California is sturdily and reliably connected from north to south by straight, workhorse highways like the Interstate 5, the 99, and the 101. They can be boring yes, but with multiple lanes, center divides, and the various other protections of big modern freeways, they get us there. But if […]

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Top 5 Captions for Brown Snake Photo

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)

              “He was trying to penetrate the Prop 2 formula.” “He was a Schwarzenegger appointee to the Board of Regents.” “He told Anne in Latin, Nequaquam morte moriemini.” “He said he could fill Kamala’s place as A.G. when she wins the Senate seat, but under questioning, he didn’t really […]

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How Sodomite Suppression Act Exposes the Failure of SB 1253

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)

SB 1253, which became law last year, continues to be sold as initiative reform, even though it was, at best, initiative tweaking. It made a series of changes – on signature time, on disclosure, on the legislature – that are too small to make any difference. And unfortunately, because the state’s Goo Goo Dolls have […]

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The Empire is Back

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’m talking not about the new Star Wars movie but about Southern California’s Inland Empire. Of course, you shouldn’t hold your breath waiting for a statewide celebration of the remarkable economic comeback of the I.E.—which encompasses Riverside and San Bernardino counties and their 4.4 million inhabitants. When it comes to this huge section of the […]

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Which Low-Down Do You Prefer on Pensions?

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)

And you thought it was just all the math and actuarial tables that make pension ballot measures confusing. Now California faces the prospect of old-fashioned human confusion as San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed pursues another pension measure: key voices both for and against the measure have the same name. Welcome to the David Low vs. […]

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So Many Ways to Vote. So Few Reasons.

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 Goo Goo Dolls are on the march, and they want to make it easier for you vote. I’m not talking about the band, but about the good government community and its allies in state government. The miserable low turnout in California elections has inspired a wide variety of plans to make it easier to […]

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My Lawn Is Worse Than Yours

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)

Forgive me for bragging, but my front lawn looks a lot worse than yours. As the drought deepens and the state water board revises its plans for mandatory restrictions this week, California’s lawn culture has flipped, dirt-side up. With outdoor watering being called a society-threatening scourge, your local community pillars, once celebrated for lawns and […]

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Finally, California Politicians See Lieutenant Governor the Way I Do

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 have zero interest in being a public servant. And I have no desire to hold any public office that requires real work. Which is why the only elected job in California to which I’ve ever aspired is lieutenant governor. Lieutenant governor is quite simply the best job in this state. It’s got good pay, […]

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Were Harris’ Motives Really Political?

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 can’t be too rich or too thin,” Wallis Simpson is reported to have said. Or too cynical. Especially about politicians. But you can see too quick to see politicians’ actions as primarily political when they’re not. That’s what has happened in the reaction to Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris’ decision to ask a court to […]

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Either Vote or Disincorporate

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)

Consider two problems, together. California has too many local governments – not just hundreds of municipalities but thousands of various special districts. Far too many for citizens and media to monitor and hold accountable. California has too few people voting. Particularly at the local level. Solving either of these two problems would be difficult. It’s […]

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