The Brown Act Is a Gag Rule

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 Ralph M. Brown Act, first approved in 1953, is celebrated for its supposed guarantees that we citizens have a voice in the decisions of all our local governments. But today, it is little more than a gag rule. Over the past six decades, the Brown Act—famous for its guarantee of a 72-hour notice for […]

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If There’s Money for a Wall, There’s Money for High-Speed Rail

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)

President Trump and the Republicans wants to spend more than $20 billion building a border wall even though there’s always plenty of physical barriers at the border. Even though a border will stop nobody and accomplish nothing, other than poisoning relations with our country’s vital ally and southern neighbor, Mexico. The determination to build the […]

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Fire The State Board of Education

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)

After three years of work, the California Department of Education has produced its new dashboard. Put simply, it’s a deceptive and useless joke. What’s wrong with it? Where to begin? Academic measures are buried and misleading. (The LA Times noted that schools where most students don’t test as proficient in math can end up with […]

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I’m Too Young for the AARP

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)

Like any good Gen Xer, I resent the old – the Baby Boomers are always busy ruining the world, after all – and the young – darn those millennials – in part because those two generations vastly outnumber our counterparts. The only news Gen X has been making lately has been for dying young—of suicide […]

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Welcome to the Affluent Central Coast, California’s Child Poverty Capital  

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)

Californians used to envy residents of our beautiful, wine-and-wealth-drenched Central Coast. Now we have reason to pity them. And not just because Nicole Kidman has thrown her star power into producing a TV series based on the premise that Monterey’s women might be murderers. The past year has brought one calamity after another. Last summer’s […]

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Brown’s Bad Governance Past Returns to Haunt Us All

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 may have read that there’s a new problem for the state budget. If the state raises taxes and brings in more money – perhaps for infrastructure – it may bump up against an old spending limit from 1979 that has long thought to be irrelevant. The 1979 measure was known as the Gann limit, […]

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Anti-Trump Arnold in the Senate Makes Sense, But There’s No Path to Get There

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)

There’s a compelling logic behind the idea of Arnold Schwarzenegger as a United States senator. But, as he recognized in a Facebook post saying he wouldn’t be making the race, it’s hard to see how he would get there. Of course, one Facebook post or statement from Arnold that he’s not running doesn’t end anything. […]

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L.A. Mayor is a Life Sentence

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 speculation about Mayor Eric Garcetti’s political future is entertaining—will he run for governor in 2018, or in 2022, or for U.S. Senate when Dianne Feinstein retires? But it’s laughable. Doesn’t everyone know Garcetti is the mayor of Los Angeles? The world is full of change and uncertainty, but there is one immutable law of […]

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L.A. Is Too Good to Host the 2024 Olympics

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)

Los Angeles should drop its bid for the 2024 Olympics—before it gets chosen. It’s true that Paris has long been the favorite to be awarded the games during an upcoming vote in September. The Paris bid has broad international support, the City of Light has come close to winning the games in recent bids, and […]

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Could the Housing Shortage Produce Another Supermajority?

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)

Housing affordability in California is worse than it’s ever been, according to statistics and state officials. And the housing crisis is making other things worse. In an example of how bad housing policy begets bad, consider new legislation proposed by Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, a Democrat from L.A. Santiago is rightfully frustrated with how cities and […]

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