How to Know Your City Isn’t Super

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 riddle: how do you know your city isn’t super? Answer: If it’s hosting the Super Bowl. Does that seem harsh? Well, I’m sorry. So let me put this another way. Congratulations, Santa Clara, California! You’ve just joined a club that includes such notable municipalities as East Rutherford, New Jersey; Pontiac, Michigan; Miami Gardens, Florida; […]

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California Needs to Embrace the 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)

Is California being governed by apocalyptic French philosophy? Oui. But it’s not the end of the world. Indeed, apocalyptic French philosophy may finally provide clarity for those of us long puzzled by that great California mystery: What is the meaning of Jerry Brown? In recent years, our governor’s statements have taken an end-of-days turn, Jerry […]

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What Do the Chargers Mess and the Water Mess Have In Common?

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 San Diego Chargers are stuck. So is state water policy around the Delta. What do the two have in common? The Spanos family. The Chargers’ predicament is higher profile. The Spanos, who own the team, have spent years seeking a publicly funded stadium, and yet nothing happens. They blame politicians, and politicians blame them. […]

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Budget As One-Night Stand

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 three core functions of a state are, famously, educate, medicate and incarcerate. And they should be long-term and ongoing. Educating a person, kindergarten through college, takes 17 years. Medicate – and making people healthy – should be a life-long commitment. And incarcerate is not an overnight affair. But in California’s Brown Era, our budgets […]

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Rainy Day Fund Is Deepening Our Dysfunction

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 is the first priority of the state in this budget season? The Sacramento consensus – which includes Gov. Brown, leading media types, and other wise folks – is that the first priority shouldn’t be health, or boosting education, or restoring cuts to higher education. The first priority should be putting money in the Prop […]

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Even Beyoncé Can’t Buy a House in L.A.

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 Beyoncé, Please forgive the tardiness of this note. You moved to California more than a year ago, and I’m only now welcoming you. And I still haven’t baked you a cake. First, a huge thanks to you and your husband Jay Z for taking Gwyneth Paltrow’s advice and relocating here. A move to California […]

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We Already Know Who Lost The Super Bowl

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 is going to win the Super Bowl, Denver or Carolina? I don’t know, but we already know the identity of the loser: San Francisco The city of San Francisco, already facing a deficit, is realizing two weeks before the big game that Super Bowl festivities will leave them with more than $4.3 million in […]

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Quit the Legislature, Pay to Elect Your Successor

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)

C’mon, Henry, pay up. Assemblyman Henry Perea’s decision to quit the legislature early to take a presumably higher-paying job has sparked ideas about what to do in such situations. No one likes the costly, low-turnout special elections currently required. Some say the governor or the legislature itself should fill such positions. I believe it’s an […]

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A State of the Budget Address

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 this personal note, but I want to thank Gov. Jerry Brown for, finally, taking my advice. He’s given up on giving a State of the State speech annually—much as I suggested a couple years ago. Yes, he gave a speech with that title on Thursday morning in Sacramento. But the speech said nothing of […]

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Why Don’t Angelenos Trust Homegrown Talent?

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)

Last week, Michelle King was appointed superintendent of L.A. Unified, California’s largest school district. But can we really trust her to lead the Los Angeles schools? After all, she’s from Los Angeles. Actually, that understates how suspiciously local King is. As a child, she attended L.A. Unified schools. Then she got degrees from UCLA and […]

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