We the Legislature

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 5-4 decision preserving Arizona’s redistricting commission (and presumably California’s by extension), the U.S. Supreme Court had a direct and useful reminder for Californians: when we cast ballots on ballot initiatives, we’re acting as the state legislature. Specifically, the court found that while the U.S. Constitution requires the State Legislatures to handle redistricting, the […]

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Are We Finally Off the Hook for Prop 8?

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)

Celebrate that marriage equality is a 50-state reality. (OK, 49 – it wouldn’t be a major advance in American civil rights if Mississippi weren’t engaged in defiance). Run a victory lap if you like (take the baton from Gavin Newsom, since he must be getting tired with all his victory laps). Get hitched while you’re […]

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The Pope vs. AB 32

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)

One of the surprises of Pope Francis’ new encyclical on climate change was that he criticized so-called “cap and trade “ systems of pollution credits. California has such a system, and the funds produced by the selling of the pollution credits are the subject of considerable fights. But the Pope doesn’t like such credits. In […]

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Californians Have No Idea How Important Public Universities Are

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)

Californians, I regret to inform you that your diploma is being held up. You won’t be able to graduate. You flunked higher education. Another state budget, accompanied by an eight-month-long controversy over the University of California, demonstrated once again that we Californians don’t have a clue about what our public universities mean to the state. […]

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With Court Decision to Block Gay Murder Initiative, Its Time to Kill Initiative Fee Hike

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)

There’s good news from the courts about the initiative process. Will that good news stop bad news in the legislature? To that good news: a judge effectively stood up for reason when it comes to ballot initiatives, ruling that that Attorney General Kamala Harris did not have to circulate a measure requiring the murder of […]

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Which California Woman Will Be the Most Important Figure in 2016 Presidential Election?

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)

Yes, America may elect a woman as president next year. But she’s from Illinois. The good news for us California provincials: a Californian could become the second most important woman in next year’s elections. The question: which one? Here are five candidates, in ascending order: 5. Anne Gust Brown. If she wakes up one day […]

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What’s the Fastest Way from Berkeley to Bakersfield?

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)

Just flip to the second disc of the album. California’s disparate regions are nearly impossible to connect. But over the past two years, two music bands—with overlapping members—have pulled off the trick, issuing three albums that examine today’s state, thoughtfully and lovingly, from its coast to its inland deserts, from north to south. It is […]

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I Love the Smell of Consolidated Local Water Agencies in the Morning!

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)

More good news for which we can thank the drought. Now it’s not just that we’re using less water and taking steps to reduce water usage long term. Late in the budget process, Gov. Brown is pushing to give the state new powers to consolidate local water agencies. The details involve letting the state shut […]

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A Reply to Supporters of Prop 218

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 made the case against Prop 218—and for repealing it – a few weeks ago in this space. My friend Jon Coupal wrote forcefully against my argument and for Prop 218. We’re not going to agree on Prop 218. But there is one point in his rebuttal I want to respond to. It has to […]

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Let’s Play the Drought Blame Game

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 hate to play the blame game, but let’s face facts: This drought is all your fault. You are watering outdoors too much. You kept your lawn when you should have taken it out. You tore out your lawn—and put in hard surfaces that will contribute to the heat island effect, making the drought even […]

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