Is CA an incubator — or a bubble?

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, do you want to be an incubator for great ideas—or a bubble that shuts out the world? That’s the question Californians need to ask, as we simultaneously confront three big challenges: building a more sustainable economy and future; reckoning with our crisis-level shortages in housing and infrastructure; and protecting ourselves from a deranged Trump […]

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Could We Have Four Parties By 2020?

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 only thing nastier than the Democrat-Republican partisan battles are the battles inside the parties. Among Democrats, Sanderistas are attacking more moderate Obama Democrats. Among Republicans, Trumpian nationalists are seeking to bully traditional conservatives and moderates. The ferocity of the fighting is striking. Each side sees the other as scary and/or corrupt. Voices suggest we […]

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Those 2/3 Votes Are Pricey

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)

It was awfully hard for Gov. Jerry Brown to push through that legislation to renew cap and trade. Expensive too. But don’t feel sorry for the governor. It was his own damn legislation facing obstacles that are his own damn fault. Brown needed to get two-thirds because cap-and-trade raises revenues, and that requires a two-third […]

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My Brain Train

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)

My train line is smarter than your train line. I’m a regular rider of “The Brain Train,” officially known as the Gold Line on the L.A. Metro system’s. The Gold Line is light rail running from the eastern San Gabriel Valley into downtown L.A. and then back out again to East L.A. Along the way, […]

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The Jerry Primary

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 Gov. Jerry Brown get to name his successor? California may have abolished primaries with its top two system, but within the 2018 gubernatorial contest there is still one primary: The Jerry Brown primary. The current governor isn’t wildly popular, but he is clearly the most respected politician in the state. And he is the […]

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Harris Should Make the Central Valley a Priority – For State and National 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)

U.S. Senator and potential presidential candidate Kamala Harris got some attention for a recent trip to the Central Valley, where she talked with industrial farmers. It was billed as a first step to develop relationship in the Valley. Harris would be wise to do much more—the Valley is a two-fer for her, since it allows […]

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Could the Russians Disrupt the Redistricting Commission?

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’s redistricting commission ready for Russian disruption? I’m not kidding. If all the news reports and leaks are true, California’s redistricting commission looks like a ripe target for Russian hackers. California is the leader of the opposition to the Russia-friendly Trump administration. (if that seems too strong, ask yourself: why is Trump always more […]

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A High Desert Bridge to Connect 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)

What’s the fastest way to change California? Unless you have the power to set off a major earthquake, your best bet would be to connect Palmdale and Victorville. These two working-class desert cities aren’t often associated with economic and political power. But building world-class infrastructure to bridge the 50 miles between them might be the […]

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Rendon Is Trying to Be a Grown Up And For That Trumpist Leftists Must Punish Him

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)

Who does Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon think he is? I mean, where does he get the idea that he can be some sort of grown-up? Doesn’t he know he’s in California politics? This is the era of Trump, and it would be totally unfair if California and its leftists didn’t get to behave as irresponsibly […]

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California First, America Whatever

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 America, I suppose I should wish you happy birthday. But I’m just not feeling it. You and I, the United States and California, used to be pretty darn close—“indivisible” was your word and “inseparable” was mine. Sure, we had our differences—I’ve always been a little out there—but America wouldn’t be America without California, and […]

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