Where Would the 6 Capitals Be?

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)

Yes, yes, it won’t happen. But Six Californias is so much fun that it’s become the summer story of 2014. Proponent Tim Draper foolishly won’t let states name themselves but his initiative is silent on a crucial question: the location of capitals of the new state. The Internet abhors a vacuum, so let’s fill it […]

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Be Nice, Murrieta, You Need Immigrants

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)

To: The People of Murrieta, Calif. From: Joe Mathews Re: Recent Damage to Your Global Reputation You can still be “The Future of Southern California,” as your city’s motto promises, but it won’t be easy after these past few weeks. There’s no denying that Murrieta, incorporated in 1991, is one of the fastest-growing places in […]

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Tim Draper vs. Southern 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)

To reiterate, I like the idea of the 6 Californias campaign because of the conversation it could spark about the state’s size, and our need to decentralize power from Sacramento. (I’m discounting the idea of California as six states because it won’t happen – voters are almost certain to turn it down and even if […]

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Why Kashkari’s Failure to Understand Schwarzenegger Is a Problem

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 problem wasn’t personality. But it’s not surprising that Neel Kashkari, pressed to explain why his plans to fix California would succeed after Arnold Schwarzenegger’s plans failed, would latch onto the ex-governor’s personality. That personally is an awfully big target, after all. Kashkari pinned Schwarzenegger’s problems on wanting too much to be loved. That’s diagnosis […]

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Draper’s Fateful Anti-Democratic Error

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 still like the idea of hijacking Tim Draper’s ballot initiative campaign for 6 Californias (since it has not chance of winning) and using it to have a conversation about the importance of devolving government power from Sacramento the regions. I argued that previously here. But re-reading the initiative after signatures were turned in made […]

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California Needs a New Vision of Its Apocalypse

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 explains the success of California? Fear of the apocalypse. Fear of a publishing apocalypse, to be precise. Most of us never would have heard about Edan Lepucki’s debut novel, California, about a post-apocalyptic Golden State, except for a battle between Amazon and book publishers. Here’s a short version of a long story: California’s publisher, […]

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All California’s Problems Lead to the San Joaquin Valley

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’s not clear if Governor Jerry Brown and his challenger Neel Kashkari will debate each other this fall. But if they do, there should be no doubt about the proper location for any and all debates: the San Joaquin Valley. In this very quiet California election year, it’s fitting that our state’s most overlooked region […]

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Dear Dan: It’s Not You. Really.

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 Dan, I am starting to worry about you. I had hoped that your race for Secretary of State would have gotten the whole non-partisan candidate thing out of your system. But there you were last week on KQED, talking about your hopes for another such campaign in the future. When you were pressed to […]

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There’s an App for Signature Gathering

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)

A few days ago, Fox & Hounds Daily published my piece on the underwhelming SB 1253, a bill that offers small changes to the initiative process, and the troubling defense of it by good government groups. I sent it off to colleagues in our global direct democracy network, and I got back this news from […]

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How Fireworks Divide 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)

If you venture out to Fourth of July weekend events around California, you’ll probably hear high talk about how Independence Day is a celebration of the things we Americans supposedly have in common: the same rights and freedoms and equality under the same laws. Yeah, right—and I’m Thomas Jefferson. If you want to know what […]

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