To Get Things Done in California, Listen More Than You Talk

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 do we do now, Nelson Rising? I pose that question not just because this is a confusing and complicated era for California. And not just because no living Californian is better than Nelson Rising— a developer, lawyer, campaign manager and civic leader from Los Angeles—at navigating our state’s complexities to create communities that endure. […]

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That Dam Validates Me!

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 Oroville Dam spillway incident isn’t just a story about the state managing a problem with one dam. It’s a vindication – of every criticism we might lob at our state Just ask the critics! Those who have been warning about infrastructure didn’t just see two troubled spillways at Oroville—but rather an example of the […]

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Top Two’s Next Victim? The 2018 Gubernatorial Contest

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)

Boy does California ever need a robust, wide-ranging debate about the future of the state, and the future of governance. And so you might think that the 2018 governor’s race, with the incumbent termed out, would be just the opportunity for such a debate. But there’s no chance of such a debate. Top two will […]

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California Must Discredit Trump Before Trump Discredits 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)

California is already on defense in its battle with Donald Trump. We need offense—now. Trump is attacking our state as if it were just another political opponent. His strategy is not merely to punish California; he wants to rob our state of its political legitimacy. So the president of the United States has falsely claimed […]

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Andy Puzder, Abandoning 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)

President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Labor, Andy Puzder, is being scrutinized for his finances and his business record. There are real questions about his ethics and how he has treated workers. But there can be little debate about his record as a California: he was a traitor to the Golden State. Puzder was a […]

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California’s Election System Exaggerates Democrats’ Strengths. Again.

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)

Four years ago, I wrote in this space about how California elections produce results that are unrepresentative of voter choices. The losers, in these unfair elections, are Republicans. They receive a lower percentage of seats in the legislature than the percentage of votes they get in elections. Four years later, this is still true. Indeed, […]

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Grow Up, Sacramento!

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)

Are you finally growing up, Sacramento? I pose that question not to our state government but to the real Sacramento, by which I mean the Sacramento Capital Region. It’s a query that should be aimed at all of the Central Valley’s big urban areas. Are you ready for civic adulthood, Fresno, Bakersfield, Stockton and Modesto? […]

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Yes, Peter Thiel, You Should Definitely Run for Governor

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 Peter Thiel, Your spokesman said you would not run for governor. Please reconsider. You should run. All of California wants to see it. You would feel nothing but love if you were to jump in in. Californians love to welcome a new, fresh voice to the political debate. And we’re especially appreciative of unconventional […]

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From Lexington & Concord, to LAX & SFO

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 first shots of the American Revolution were fired at sunrise at Lexington, Massachusetts. The imperial regime of Britain sought to secretly capture and destroy the military supplies of rebellious Massachusetts militia at Concord. At the North Bridge, the American militia outnumbered and thus turned back the empire’s regulars. The empire was stopped, but it […]

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The New California Ferrari Goes 196 Miles Per Hour, And Comes With a Cupholder

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)

When I finally got the keys to California, I wondered how fast it would go. So, on the 210 freeway, I floored the accelerator, and within seconds, I was driving 100 miles per hour. I immediately felt exhilaration—and fear. This speed was totally unfamiliar to someone who has spent his life driving beaten-up Toyotas. In […]

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