The Water Bond Is Another Missed 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)

If the state of California could tax self-congratulation over missed political opportunities, we might have the money to rebuild our water infrastructure. The water bond placed on the ballot by the legislature is of a piece with other less than impressive triumphs of the Brown Era. Presented with events and political possibilities to make big […]

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The Illogic of Goodwin Liu

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 you don’t have an idea what you’re talking about, keep your mouth shut. Goodwin Liu, unfortunately, couldn’t hold to this advice, and so the associate justice of the California Supreme Court revealed himself to be thoroughly, and embarrassingly, uninformed on California’s constitution and its system of direct democracy. This is often a space for […]

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Aaron Rodgers for Governor

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’ve been punked, California. There have been a number of false reports to the effect that California voters will watch Gov. Brown debate Neel Kashkari at 7 pm the night of Thursday, Sept. 4. How can people possibly believe this? That date and time are all the evidence you need to know that this is […]

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It Doesn’t Make Sense to Punish Elected Officials Who Live in One District and Represent Another

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)

Admit it: You’re not exactly sure where you live, are you? Don’t be embarrassed to acknowledge that, beyond knowing your street address, you’re a little uncertain. California has so many thousands of overlapping local government jurisdictions, plus so many political district lines that divide communities, that understanding where you are at any given moment, even […]

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The Age of Steinberg

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)

Darrell Steinberg got good notices and buzz (California Supreme Court justice!?) as he headed out the legislative door, and rightfully so. Because Darrell Steinberg might well be the finest janitor in the history of California politics. That is an unabashed compliment, forehanded not backhanded, even if it doesn’t sound that way. In this era, with […]

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If California Cows Could Talk

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 am a California dairy cow. Mmmm—oo. Surprised to hear from me? In normal times, I wouldn’t be inclined to cooperate with the anthropomorphic scheme of a writer desperate for a mid-summer column. But today so much is being said about agriculture here in the Central Valley, and dairies in particular, that I felt the […]

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Is It Time for A Quota on Turnout?

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 been nearly two months since the June elections, and still people across the political spectrum are talking about the record low turnout, and offering all kinds of analysis of what happened and a variety of ideas about what should be done. But the most direct approach for guaranteeing higher turnout has yet to be […]

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Don’t You Dare Ask the Voters for Their Opinions!

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)

California faces a grave crisis that tears at the very fabric of our direct democracy: The state is about to ask California voters for their opinion. And you just can’t do that. It’s dangerous – as everyone from Gov. Brown to the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has pointed out – to survey voters via a […]

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What’s Good for Putin Is Good for 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)

Here are two words Californians should say to Vladimir Putin: Thank you. California, with its historic reliance on defense-related industries, never quite recovered from the end of the Cold War. Today, Los Angeles has fewer jobs than it did in 1990. Fortunately, Putin seems intent on giving us a new Cold War. Let’s stipulate that […]

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Where Would the 6 Capitals Be?

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)

Yes, yes, it won’t happen. But Six Californias is so much fun that it’s become the summer story of 2014. Proponent Tim Draper foolishly won’t let states name themselves but his initiative is silent on a crucial question: the location of capitals of the new state. The Internet abhors a vacuum, so let’s fill it […]

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