Remember When Politicians Didn’t Brag About Their Billionaire Friends?

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’m just old enough to remember the days when a politician with a billionaire friend and backer wouldn’t brag about the relationship. When said politician might downplay it. Or avoid mentioning the billionaire. And if pressed, the politician would certainly explain that he or she would never dare shape their public policy work to fit […]

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If You Care About California, Then You Should Care About Salinas

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)

Do you worry about the future of California? Then you should worry about Salinas. Because if this Monterey County town of 155,000 can’t build itself a brighter future, it’s hard to imagine other struggling places doing the same. “Rich in Land. Rich in Values. Ripe With Opportunity,” reads the slogan on a city website, and […]

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California, Don’t Get Suckered by the 2024 Olympics

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)

After Boston dropped its bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics on Monday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti quickly put out a statement expressing interest in the Games. Boston needs to be replaced as the American bid city for the games, and early speculation is that L.A. would be the replacement. San Francisco could be in […]

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Stay and Run for U.S. Senate, Joe!

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)

MEMO To: Joe Biden From: Joe Mathews Re: California, Here You Come You cut a happy, glad-handling swath through California last week and got great reviews. In this era dominated by cold, strategic and distant California politicians, genuine human warmth and hugs were refreshing. And you seemed to enjoy yourself too. So why don’t we […]

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Why Californians Are Such Suckers For Superheroes

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 faces a peculiar overpopulation problem: We have too many superheroes. Missed this news in The Daily Planet? Fear not—your ignorance is understandable. California is not as closely associated with superheroes as New York City (and its fictional doppelgangers), where Superman, Spiderman, and Batman all based operations. So it’s easy to miss the menace that […]

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$2,000 vs. $10 million

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)

Democrats in the legislature have reduced the size of their tax on political participation; they want to increase the filing fee for ballot initiative only from $200 to $2,000 – instead of $8,000. But as the Democrats reduce their price, I’m reconsidering the reasons for my opposition to the idea (as previously outlined here) though […]

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Are We Golden or Brown?

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)

We live in a California dominated by one party. We live in a California where there is no real significant divide on big issues. And we live in a California with a weak political and media culture. So the big battle right now may be about words. And colors. Are you going gold? Or brown? […]

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California Needs to Get Over Its Fantasy of Constant Growth

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 has an official state flower (poppy), an official state insect (the dogface Butterfly), even an official state theater (the Pasadena Playhouse). But no official state sport. Unless you count the great Californian pastime of overestimating our population growth. It probably should be enough that we’re the most populous state in the Union. But California’s […]

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The LAO Is Getting Higher Ed Wrong

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)

Recently, one of my weekly syndicated columns at Zocalo Public Square looked at the wrongheaded way Californians think about their own public university systems, particularly the UC. I made a brief, critical reference to the Legislative Analyst’s Office work on this. Now I’d like to expand on it, in hopes that LAO will do some […]

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Don’t Trust Anyone Who Won’t Let You Vote on the Internet

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)

They want to make it so much easier for you to vote, say California’s leaders. It’s hard to believe them. Then why do their suggestions double down on methods of voting that actually constitute barriers to voting? Instead of eliminating voter registration, they want to expand it. Even as the mail gets less reliable, they […]

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