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Kashkari’s Jerry Maguire Moment

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)

Much of the commentary about Neel Kashkari this fall is laughable. He’s constantly being advised that he needs to do certain things – raise more money, attack Brown, hit a home run in the date, etc. Let’s face it: Neel Kashkari doesn’t have to do a damn thing. One of the privileges of being Neel […]

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More Transparency Needed in the Ballot Initiative Transparency Act

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 good government coalition backing SB 1253 argues that the bill represents significant ballot initiative reform – it does not, as I’ve explained here and here previously – by emphasizing the provisions to improve transparency in the measure, which is called the Ballot Initiative Transparency Act. But even in transparency, this legislation falls short. Yes, […]

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Oregon Citizens Sniff Out the Top Two Primary

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)

Could the Citizens Initiative Review saved California from the horrors of the top two primary? Hard to know, but the thought occurred as I read what Oregon’s CIR process – during which a representative jury of regular voters spends a week talking with people about a ballot initiative and then makes it finding – produced […]

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Last Week’s Gubernatorial Debate Should Have Been the Last

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)

Did we just watch the last California gubernatorial debate–ever? Trick question. It appears very few of us bothered to watch last week’s debate between Governor Jerry Brown and challenger Neel Kashkari. If this proves to be the last such debate–a real possibility since there was almost no debate this year–most Californians wouldn’t notice the event’s […]

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Save That Texan

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)

Doesn’t anyone in California politics know how to hit a hanging curve ball? The indictment of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has lectured to Californians to years about job creation and the superiority of Texas, should have been an easy pitch to hit for the California pols he tormented. But no one has. Perhaps people […]

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Can the State’s New Hollywood Tax Credit Make Us All Media Moguls?

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’re making major motion pictures, baby! And TV shows, too! That’s right, my fellow California taxpayers. You and I are now major investors in film and television productions. Our agent—or I should say our 120 agents in the state legislature—cut a five-year deal last week putting more than 1.5 billion of our hard-earned dollars into […]

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Two Bald Guys And Their Plastic Bags

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 I were writing a headline for Thursday night’s gubernatorial debate, it would be just that: Two Bald Guys and Their Plastic Bags. Two bald guys running for governor of California — they are different in other ways – talked for less than an hour about a number of topics, each of which is so […]

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Who Has the Most to Lose in Tonight’s Debate?

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’s a strategic question heading into tonight’s one and only gubernatorial debate. Who has the most to lose? Some might say Gov. Jerry Brown, since his big lead leaves almost nowhere else to go but down. Could a big mistake that goes viral (since almost no one will be watching the debate live) make this […]

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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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