Mail Bag: Should I Spoil My Senate Ballot?

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 Miss Manners, I see that my local newspaper is endorsing two candidates for U.S. Senate. Should I vote for both of them, even though my ballot says to vote for only one? Please write something that explains why I’m in this bind. Perplexed in Sacramento Dear Perplexed, Don’t worry. If you’re a California voter […]

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Stay Out of California, Chicago!

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 Chicago, Would you kindly remove your thick, stubby hands from my beautiful state? C’mon—don’t try to look all Midwestern and innocent. You know exactly what I’m talking about. For years Chicago has been grabbing signature California institutions and screwing them up. I get a reminder of your mismanagement every night when I turn on […]

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Bernie’s Ludicrous Lawsuit

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)

So let me get this straight. Bernie Sanders thinks California should be totally consistent in how it runs elections across all 58 counties. Go back to Vermont, dude. You’re in a state the size of a country, so deal with it. Sanders and various allies recently filed a lawsuit against the state demanding changes to […]

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$15 Per Signature, But Avoid Those Chargebacks

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)

In the land of California petition circulators, it’s the best of times and the worst of times. You’ve seen media stories about the best of times. All the competing measures attempting to qualify for the November ballot have pushed up the per-signature rates paid to the circulators – to $5 and $6 and more for […]

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Prop 50 Matters Not

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)

Are you immortal? If so, you might take some time to read and consider Prop 50. But if there’s a good chance you might die some day, don’t waste another precious second on this earth thinking about Prop 50, which appears on the June ballot here in California. Seriously, leave that part of the ballot […]

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Why California Keeps Failing to Grade Its Schools

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 a California educational reality worthy of Kafka. Our state’s leaders keep asking parents and communities to take bigger roles in making local schools better—even as those same leaders keep us in the dark about how our public schools are doing. In the 2013-14 school year, the state suspended the Academic Performance Index, or API, […]

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Was That A Senate Debate Or An Attorney General’s Press Conference?

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’ve figured out why Kamala Harris is leading the race for U.S. Senate. She’s the only major candidate with a real job. That was the only takeaway of a poorly designed debate last week in San Diego. The public radio stations organizing it stuffed five candidates, four different journalist panelists, and a journalist host – […]

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Could Dialogue Around Ballot Propositions Be as Easy as 123?

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’s ballot initiative process has many problems. A big one is that there are few neutral forums so that people can discuss and educate themselves on ballot measures. Other states do better than we do this on this. Oregon, for example, has a jury-like process for reviewing ballot initiatives that has been exported to other […]

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We’re Not 40 Million Yet

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 just had another flare-up of one of its chronic diseases: Population overestimation. I’ve written about this malady before. We’re constantly overestimating how fast our population is growing. For years, we were going to reach 50 million by 2020. Then it was 2025. Gov. Brown has talked about us as if we were about to […]

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Wrong Turn at Wasco

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 that rare California bird – the high-speed rail critic who has been converted to strong supporter (with a bunch of caveats—it has to be done right). Much of the rest of the state, and especially the political class, has been migrating in the opposite direction. Which is fine by me. When you’re swimming against […]

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