Is Brownism Defeating 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)

Gov. Brown’s second-time-around-as-governor has built on a philosophy of keeping things small, simple and cheap. Don’t spend. Save surpluses. Resist efforts to reform the broken governing system, or make big investments in California’s future after decades of disinvestment. This philosophy – call it Brownism — has succeeded too well. The state budget is fixed, and […]

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Why Stop at a Cap on UC Enrollment?

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 always depend on the state legislature to throw itself in front of anything that threatens California. So thank goodness the legislature is moving to save California from the latest invasive species: students who come from out of state or out of the country to attend the University of California. Legislation is now being […]

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Can California Bundle Its Bureaucracy Into a Single Handy Website?

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 want nothing from California governments—except whatever I need right now. So why doesn’t my state make things easier for me? In this internet age, shouldn’t there be a one-stop shop where I can go to renew my driver’s license and vehicle registration, register to vote, research state records, pay all my state and local […]

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Why Not Give Everyone Two U.S. Senate Votes?

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)

Add another failure to the political horror show that is California’s top-two voting system: Top two doesn’t’ allow you to pick the top two. Nope, you only get to pick one candidate to advance in a top two system. That’s wrong in any circumstance – voters should get to pick as many candidates as advance […]

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UC Needs to Stop Fighting for Katehi

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 UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi had decent judgment, she would have quit by now. So it’s well past time for UC regents to push her out the door. UC is in the middle of a multi-year battle with the state government over funding. The state legislature has succeeded in having things both ways: locking […]

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Trump Is America’s Problem, Not California’s

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)

Sorry, America, but we Californians are not going to stop Donald Trump for you. To believe otherwise is to misunderstand California. I can see how you got your hopes up. Trump might be less popular here than Bill Cosby. Polls show at least three out of every four of us don’t like him. California Republican […]

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When Did It Become A Sin to Call Politicians Whores?

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 am puzzled by the resignation of Dr. Paul Song from the progressive Courage Campaign network. Song’s supposed gaffe: he used the term “whores” to refer to politicians. The context: Song, speaking as a surrogate for Bernie Sanders, told a New York City rally: “Medicare-for-all will never happen if we continue to elect corporate Democratic […]

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Ron Unz Campaigns for Two Offices at the Same Time

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)

Ron Unz jumped into the U.S. Senate race in California at the last minute last month. He called his campaign a long shot, and he was right about that. He’s even more of a longshot because this isn’t the only race he’s running. Unz has been getting national attention for a run for Harvard University’s […]

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Replace the Capitol Annex With…

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)

Good news! The Brown administration has raised the prospect of tearing down the Capitol Annex – the six-story building that houses the governor’s office and various legislative offices, on the east side of the Capitol complex. But what should go in its place? That would have to be worked out between the governor and the […]

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Why Kids Need Delightfully Dangerous Playgrounds

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 doesn’t make playgrounds like it used to. The trend has its advantages. Fifteen years after the state legislated compliance with national safety standards for new and renovated public playgrounds, I can take the Three Stooges—my three impish and ever-brawling sons under age 8—to parks around California confident that I’ll see the same reassuringly safe […]

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