California’s Idea of a Full School Day Doesn’t Make the Grade

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)

On many mornings, I think my state senator has the best policy idea in California. The rest of the time, I think he’s missing the point. The idea involves the sleep of schoolkids, and the state senator is Anthony Portantino, who represents me and nearly one million other residents of one of California’s nerdiest regions, […]

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Will Prop 54 Produce More Backroom Deals?

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’s long history of political reform is one very substantial argument for how reforms produce unintended consequences, often the very opposite of what reformers said they wanted. Prop 54 is well on its way to becoming another example of this phenomenon. The centerpiece of Prop 54, approved by voters last year and backed by all […]

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Why His Opponents Are Worried about John Chiang

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)

Gavin Newsom may be the frontrunner for governor. Antonio Villaraigosa may have the benefits of experience and a strong record as Assembly speaker and mayor of Los Angeles. And John Cox, as the lone Republican in the race, may have a good shot at getting into the top two. But don’t count out John Chiang. […]

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How Brown Fuels Debt

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 has defined himself as a careful fiscal steward, wary of taking on more debt. Those have been his words, at least. But his actions – or lack thereof – encourage borrowing. To put it more bluntly, Brown’s excessive frugality (he brags about being cheap) fuels debt. Brown has been reluctant to raise […]

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Why Nevada Should Get Hitched—to 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)

Dearest Nevada, Marry me. My proposal may seem sudden, but ours shouldn’t be one of those late-night quickie weddings at a chapel off the Strip. I, California, want a real grown-up marriage with you, Nevada. We both have reputations for being fun and youthful and wild, but who are we kidding? We’re both mature states […]

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The Pointless Prop 54

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)

Prop 54 didn’t last long. The bill was approved last year overwhelming, with all right thinking Californians, good government types and newspaper editorialists backing it as a necessary reform. Only a few of us dead-enders – we were accused of being against mom and apple pie – dared speaking against it. Prop 54 was going […]

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Golden Gate Bridge Train Service? It’s Time to Get On Board

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 California is as serious about public transit as its urban leaders claim, why isn’t there a commuter rail service running over the Golden Gate Bridge? There’s no good reason why our state’s iconic span must devote all six of its lanes to cars. For more than 50 years, engineering studies have shown that the […]

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A Transportation Deal That’s Not Worth Debating

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)

Oh, the drama. Will Gov. Brown and the Democrats get enough votes to push forward taxes to pay for $5.2 billion annually in transportation? Reaction: who cares? $5.2 billion may sound like a lot of money. But it’s a tiny fraction of what California needs to maintain its faltering transportation infrastructure. (For context, it cost […]

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Calexit Could Qualify for Ballot Cheaply

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 rule of thumb these days is that qualifying an initiative for the California ballot is a $3 million proposition. Calexit could be cheaper. The reason: people know what Calexit is. And the topic is likely to be a conversation starter. And petition circulators like conversation starters. Indeed, the Calexit initiative could fit nicely into […]

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Stop Blaming California for Donald Trump

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)

Is California to blame for Donald Trump? That may seem a preposterous question to ask of a state that voted so decisively against the new American president that it was responsible, all by itself, for his loss of the popular vote. It seems even stranger given California’s near-total resistance to Trump’s presidency, and the way […]

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