S & P Undermines The Argument That Budget Spending Is Up

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)

Facing Democratic demands for more spending, the Brown administration has been at pains to show that it’s been spending more. The governor’s State of the State speech included lists showing boosts of spending, emphasizing education spending and Obamacare. An assessment of the budget from Standard & Poors, the credit rating agency, undercuts the idea that […]

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Meet the Toughest Mountains in California

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)

Don’t mess with the Tehachapis. California has taller mountain ranges, more famous mountain ranges, even more beautiful mountain ranges. But no mountains here are tougher—or more important—than the Tehachapis. A mishmash of mid-sized peaks that extend some 40 miles across southern Kern County and north Los Angeles County, the Tehachapis effectively form the wall that […]

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Did Rocky Just Sink Loretta?

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)

Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez’s best chance in the U.S. Senate race – the theory goes – is to grab the second spot in the June first round of the top two contest, and then rally against the frontrunner, Attorney General Kamala Harris, in the November runoff. This Sanchez path to victory looked viable when there were […]

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Death to the PUC!

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’m not sure the state’s Public Utilities Commission deserves to die. But I’m glad the death penalty has finally been put on the table. That’s the real import of a proposal from three legislators to ask voters to strip the PUC of its constitutional authority and allow the legislature to redistribute its power to other […]

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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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