One Good Thing About Being a Public School Parent: The Online Resources

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 state of California may have too short a school year and a school day, and doesn’t spend near enough on our kids. (More money is going to retiree benefits). But it isn’t all bad My favorite part of being a public school parent is the online resources. Some are available through school districts. In […]

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California Save the Queen!

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: Queen Elizabeth II From: Joe Mathews Re: Mutual respect Your Majesty, I don’t mean to rush someone who just turned 92. But it’s high time that you showed California some appreciation—by making our entire state an honorary member of the British royal family. Perhaps that seems a bit much, but ask yourself, Ma’am: […]

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Can Anyone Pass a California Frontrunner Anymore?

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)

Gavin Newsom is an overwhelming favorite to win the governorship for one big reason: He’s ahead. When was the last time that a challenger, after trailing significantly, caught and passed a frontrunner in a major statewide California political race? I ask that question because I’m not quite sure of the answer. The pattern for more […]

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The Real Joke of the Lieutenant Governor’s Debate

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)

Here is a joke: the Sacramento Press Club held a debate among candidates for California lieutenant governor. That’s the whole joke. No punch line needed. Follow up one liner: only 5 of the 11 candidates showed up. 11 candidates! Get it? 11 candidates for a job that’s a joke. California doesn’t need a lieutenant governor. And […]

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Call Off the Guard, 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)

It’s a serious mistake to feed the delusions of President Trump and his supporters. But that’s exactly what Gov. Jerry Brown did in agreeing to dispatch California National Guard units to border duty. Yes, Brown issued a letter in which he tried to rationalize the move, saying that the Guard personnel were going there to […]

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Cold Truckee, Hot Development

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)

One of California’s hottest development projects can be found in one of its coldest towns. In an era of neighbor-bites-neighbor fights against big developments, perhaps it’s fitting that an antidote should emerge from the Donner Pass. Tiny Truckee—a snowy municipality of 16,300—is doubling the size of its downtown. The Railyard Project—it’s a railyard conversation—shows that […]

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Orange County, The New Gotham

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)

Why does a place as big and beautiful as Orange County so often behave in ways that are both small and ugly? That’s the question that occurs after the county government made two recent decisions so stinky that it could be years before the smell wears off. First, county supervisors voted to oppose state sanctuary […]

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Poizner’s Quixotic Bid 

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)

Who does Steve Poizner think he’s kidding? Poizner’s independent campaign for insurance commissioner isn’t the biggest folly of the year in California. That title belongs to the top two system and the ruling Democrats who are going to throw away winnable Congressional seats by failing to fix it. But Poizner’s run is folly. Because he […]

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L.A.’s Water Pretensions

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)

This time, “Chinatown” is fooling itself. Los Angeles has a long history of water deceptions, a point made famously by Roman Polanski’s 1974 neo-noir film. But the massive self-sabotage of the city’s latest scheme is a real doozy. L.A.—from elected officials to environmentalists—has convinced itself of the hokum that it has all the water it […]

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Californians Should Envy Taiwan’s New Direct Democracy

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 Taiwan envy. At least when it comes to direct democracy. The island nation has a new structure for initiative and referendum that might be the best in the world. Meanwhile, California labors under a broken initiative system. What’s so great about Taiwan’s system? One way to explain it is to compare with California.

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