Another Angry Billionaire

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 I were angrier, would I be richer? The question occurs as Tom Steyer enters the presidential race, running as some sort of avenging angel against American wealth and corruption. He kept saying the word “outsider” in his announcement. As an outsider myself to the world of billionaire outsiders, I found myself wondering: What on […]

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A Scandal That is Not a Scandal

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 auditor has discovered another scandal that isn’t a scandal. The latest target of Elaine Howle’s office is the California State University system. And if the supposed crime sounds familiar, it is: CSU has been behaving in fiscal prudent ways. And you can’t do that in California. Our state, with a dysfunctional budget process, […]

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Pelosi’s Real Failure on Immigration

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 fight between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the “Squad” of young, female, non-white members of Congress exposes a huge problem for the immigration debate and for the country Neither Pelosi nor her young tormentors have a real plan—on policy or in narrative—on immigration. In fact, while the hyper-progressives don’t realize it, they aren’t that […]

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Dear San Francisco, My heart breaks for you.

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 cry tsunamis for you. Please accept my thoughts and prayers. Depending on which media you read, you are now in collapse, having become either a “hellhole” or a “Third World” city. The Washington Post declared you dead (headline: “San Francisco Broke America’s Heart”), and even the Chronicle says you’re a “mess.” The summer’s best […]

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How Not to Pass a Split Roll

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 are five steps to take if you don’t want to  pass an initiative to split the tax rolls in service of devoting more money to public schools. That is, an initiative just like the one that educational interests are preparing to support next November. 1. Divide you coalition of educational interests by attacking charter […]

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The Redistricting Commission—Political Virgins Wanted

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 want do the most political job in California? You can apply—as long as you know almost nothing about politics. California’s Redistricting Commission has a hunger for virgins. Political virgins. And so it’s asking you to apply if you’ve never really participated in politics. Because knowledge is too much of a burden if you’re […]

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The Problem Isn’t that Lara Broke His Promise.

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 latest so-called scandal in Sacramento involves Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. He promised while running for the office to not accept political donations from insurance interests. Once in office, he broke that promise, as the San Diego Union-Tribune showed. That was some good reporting, but Lara’s broken promise isn’t the real scandal. Nor is his […]

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The California Redistricting Commission Will Soon Be Toast

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 may be the last version of the California redistricting commission. That may sound like a surprising prediction. After all, many commentators, including Joel Fox in this space, have argued that redistricting commissions may become more important as a result of a U.S. Supreme Court decision in late June. The logic of those commentators goes […]

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Keep Trump on the California Ballot

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)

No Californian in their right mind should vote for Donald Trump. But plenty of Californians aren’t in their right minds, and these sad souls have rights too. And they should be able to vote for the incumbent president for re-election on the Republican presidential primary ballot in California.  Unfortunately, a well-intentioned—if plainly unconstitutional—bill, SB 27, […]

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California Should Miss This Opportunity

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 says California opposes everything the Trump administration does? Our state’s leaders are embracing at least one lousy presidential idea: opportunity zones.  “Opportunity zones” is the term for the hundreds of places in California  targeted for tax-advantaged investment under Trump’s 2017 federal tax law. But the name, like the president himself, is deceptive. “Opportunity zones,” […]

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