Can You Still Really Run Against San Francisco From Georgia?

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 haven’t seen this independent expenditure attack ad against the Democratic candidate for Congress in an Atlanta-area district, Jon Ossoff, you should take a look. Yes, it’s fake—fake people saying that San Francisco loves Ossoff and is funding him. It’s a century-old technique (employed famously in the 30s by Hollywood types who had phony […]

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The Best Politicians in California Aren’t In Politics

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 is all wrong,” wrote Aristotle, “that a person who is going to be deemed worthy of the office should himself solicit it.” That little blast as politicians resonates in California today. When you look around the state, our most effective politicians are those who haven’t sought elective office, at least yet. For my money, […]

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CA’s twisted budget theology

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)

We have reached the high holy days of California’s budget season, as our governor and legislative leaders decide which programs will gain new life, and which will be sacrificed. And so our state government’s ministers have begun their ritual sermons on the dangers of overspending. They are preaching nonsense. California’s real problem is underspending. Go […]

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The Governor’s Race Doesn’t Need Steyer

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 billionaire Tom Steyer is widely reported to be exploring a campaign for governor of California. Here’s hoping he doesn’t get in. The race doesn’t need him. The 2018 gubernatorial field, as it currently looks, is an exceptionally strong one. I’d suggest that any of the five leading candidates would be an improvement on the […]

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A State Takeover of Housing

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)

All the debate about how to address California’s massive housing shortage is obscuring the big picture: a state takeover of local housing policy has begun. That’s the real import of the more than 100 bills that have been introduced in the legislature to change housing policy in various ways. None of the current proposals is […]

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Reserves for Me But Not For Thee

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)

When is it good for a California government to hold moneys in reserve for a rainy day? Only when the governor or legislative leaders say so. Recent so-called scandals have exposed a hypocrisy in state government. Gov. Brown and leading Democrats all talk up the virtues of rainy day funds. But they are only interested […]

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The Valley Silver Lining in the Health Bill

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)

In the awful cloud of the Obamacare rollback approved by the U.S. House of Representatives, there’s a silver lining: health care in the Central Valley is going to get much more of the attention it needs. The bill saw California’s Republican members of Congress vote for a bill that would cost millions their health coverage—specifically […]

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The Verdict Is In—California’s Dickensian Courts Are Failing Us

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)

Dig deep enough into any of California’s biggest problems, and you’ll eventually hit upon a common villain: our court system. California’s housing shortage, its poverty, its poor business climate, and its failing infrastructure all are explained in no small part by the failure of our underfunded, delay-prone courts to provide anything resembling timely justice. But […]

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Stop Higher Water Rates! Waste More Water Now!

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 time for Californians to act responsibly on water. During the drought, we came together to serve. Now we must come together to waste as much water as possible. Why? For the poor. Water agencies around the state are preparing to increase their rates even higher. Why? Californians have cut back on water use, and […]

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Blaming Berkeley

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)

Thank you, Berkeley. Recent headlines should remind Californians of yet another way we are lucky. Our state has the world’s best scapegoat: you. You—our most distinguished public university and all the people, institutions and neighborhoods surrounding it — do far more than research and educate. You serve the vital social purpose of being a convenient […]

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