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The Easy Fix for Prop 39

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)

Let’s chill out at Prop 39. It’s easy to fix. Yes, the AP and other media have reported on how little of the money collected in corporate taxation for green-energy investments has been spent, and how there is little accountability for what has been spent. That’s good to know. But it shouldn’t occasion much outrage, […]

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Passports, Religions and Wolves

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)

With apologies to the late, great Los Angeles sports journalist Allan Malamud, here are some late-summer notes on the California scorecard. Passports The LA Times recently declared that a combination of state laws granting benefits and responsibilities to unauthorized immigrants – in-state tuition, drivers’ licenses, rules to limit deportations, state-funded health care for children, stripping […]

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Why Is It So Hard to Enroll a Kid in Public School?

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 wiseacre neighbor walked by the corner where I was standing and shouted, “Is this the line for the U2 tickets?” Nope. The line, which extended out a brick building for about a block, was just another group of California parents forced to prove, in this age of hyper-regulated childhood, that we actually live where […]

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An Interesting Initiative Reform Idea That Was a Draper Loser

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)

Reading through the ideas submitted to Tim Draper’s  Fix California Challenge is frustrating, for a couple reasons. The first is that so few of the ideas are new; even the four finalists in the competition are recycled (though many are good ideas)—a previously proposed initiative for a larger legislature, applying transparency laws to the legislature, […]

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Top 10 Reasons Why Arnold Is Not Donald

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 keep getting emails from friends with a link to a Washington Post piece arguing that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Donald Trump are, politically speaking, basically the same person. And I keep scratching my head. Huh? It’s hard to think of what they have in common. The theory of the Post story is that they were […]

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Don’t Believe All The Hype Around Straight Outta Compton

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)

Reading about the new hit movie about the groundbreaking rap group N.W.A., you might think the biggest problem facing Compton is its unfair and outdated reputation for the violence and gangs that were the subjects of N.W.A’s music. But today, Compton may have a bigger problem: the reality that it’s boring. The Compton depicted in […]

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Are Second Terms for Climate Change Speechmaking?

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)

Gov. Jerry Brown’s second term is starting to resemble Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s in one way: Brown, like his successor, seems to be finding more and more time for speechifying on climate change, out of state or out of the country. There are some good reasons for this. Climate change is a threat to California, and […]

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Top Two a Victory for Uncle Bob

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 Uncle Bob (Hertzberg), You are the Great Gatsby! F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said that “the test of a first-rate intelligence intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” Uncle Bob, you are a first-rate intelligence. I can’t tell you how […]

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Too Much Brown and Personal History

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 realize I’m one of the biggest sinners when it comes to the sin I’m about to condemn. I love California history. I often write about it. And I love to connect California history to today’s political debates and policy choices. But enough. There is way too much history in stories about today’s California news, […]

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Let California Pick the Next President

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)

CORRECTION: This week’s Connecting California column by Joe Mathews incorrectly identified Salinas as the Central Coast’s most populous municipality. Oxnard, with a population of 203,000, is the most populous city in the six Central Coast counties. At the risk of sounding like Donald Trump, let me say it’s just stupid that California won’t play a […]

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