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 […]

Read more

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, […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

California Needs More Old People

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)

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is traveling to California this weekend with designs on stealing away some of our state’s businesses. So why don’t we return the favor by developing our own plans to steal away some of Florida’s greatest assets—old people? Californians like to think of this state as a place defined by endless youth […]

Read more

Is the Drought Making Us Dumb?

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 the drought making Californians dumb? Hard to say. It definitely affects our sense of time and history. Gov. Brown’s water executive order last week has occasioned all sorts of commentary and news, and much of it suggests that California has turned some kind of corner. The New York Times breathlessly reported Sunday, that the […]

Read more

Could A New Pro Football Stadium Help California Beat Its Drought?

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)

That’s the ambitious goal of the latest stadium proposal to appear in Los Angeles. The project—details of which are only now becoming public—would provide more than merely a home for the National Football League’s Jacksonville Jaguars, who are looking to leave their smaller market in North Florida. The proposed stadium would double as one of […]

Read more

Let’s Toast China’s President, California’s Savior

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 President Xi Jinping, This is a thank you note from California. Thank you, first off, for sustaining our neighborhoods through these last difficult years. Thank you for keeping wealthy Chinese so nervous about your purges of political opponents—I’m sorry, I mean your anti-corruption campaigns—that they are buying up real estate all over California. More […]

Read more

Prop 30 Plus

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)

Reading and listening to (and hearing some background talk) about what sort of tax plan the state’s leaders might offer voters next year, two things are clear to me. The first is that we will see an extension of at least the income tax rates that were part of Prop 30. The second is that […]

Read more

Harris Should Not Circulate The “Sodomite Suppression Act” to Voters

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)

Does an attorney general of California have a duty to approve for circulation any ballot initiative she receives? The legal consensus is that Attorney General Kamala Harris does. Reviewing and titling an initiative for circulation is a ministerial act that the a.g. Is supposed to perform without comment. Previous court rulings have found that Harris […]

Read more