Take the High Speed Rail to a New Disneyland

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)

On Christmas Eve, it felt like the park was all ours. When I was growing up in the 1980s and early ’90s, Disneyland was so reliably empty on the day before Christmas that it became a family tradition to spend December 24 in the “Happiest Place on Earth,” often along with a visit to my […]

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How I Fear the 2016 Taxapalooza Will Go

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 my hope for the coming 2016 Taxapalooza of various tax-hiking initiatives: The debate will create a healthy discussion and convince various initiative sponsors, the legislature and the governor to come together and advance a tax reform that preserves our progressive tax structure, lowers some rates for competitiveness, taxes our service-based economy more fairly, and […]

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Black Bart Award Nominee — Jerry Brown is Riding High

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, there were many other candidates for the 2014 Black Bart award. John Chiang won a new office and improved his chances in future Democratic contests. Peter Lee helped Covered California advance (and got a lot of good press along the way). The state’s many water agencies and districts convinced Californians to take water conservation […]

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Can We Raise Taxes Without More Ballot Box Budgeting?

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)

There’s already a ton of talk about which tax-raising initiatives might end up on the 2016 ballot. I’m sympathetic to tax increases — by themselves. The state needs more money. And taxes on things that we want to reduce use of – cigarettes, alcohol, horse-race news coverage (I’m only half-joking about that last – feel […]

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A Compromise in Battle Over LA Election Calendar Changes

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)

As detailed recently in the LA Times there’s an emerging argument in Los Angeles over election reform. Because of Tinseltown’s it-would-be-embarrassingly-low-voter-turnout-if-we-were-capable-of-embarassment turnout, reformers want to move city elections from odd-numbered years, like 2015, to line up with presidential elections, as in 2016. Since people still show up for presidential elections, L.A. won’t suffer from the […]

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If You Want to Make Sense of Obamacare, Go to San Diego

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)

Will San Diego have America’s finest Obamacare? Yes, it’s way too early for any verdicts about the Affordable Care Act and its implementation, even in California, which has embraced this messy mash-up of a law more rapidly and firmly than almost any other state. It may be that we’ll never be able to evaluate Obamacare […]

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Let’s Not Recount If Nobody Cares

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)

Assemblyman Kevin Mullin has received a good bit of publicity for his proposals for automatic, state-funded recounts in the event of very close elections in statewide races. He’s probably right to do this. In very close elections — and Mullin is targeting those with margins of one-tenth of one-percent – the case is strong for […]

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Give the Oscar to Kern County

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)

Sure, California has everything. But where would you find a murderous, Farsi-speaking, chador-wearing vampire riding her skateboard around an oil city with the slow swagger of Clint Eastwood? Kern County, of course. If a place could win an Academy Award for acting, I’d nominate the county at the bottom of the Central Valley for an […]

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Five Election Losers, Delayed Version

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 takes some time to process the election results. Here, to accompany my post on the five election winners, are five election losers. 1. Whoever that Republican guy who was running for governor. Bald. Seemed smart. I can’t quite remember his name. I guess most Californians had the same problem. 2. Consumer Watchdog. The jig […]

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Five Election Winners, Delayed Version

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 spent election week traveling – you know, to places with real democracy and competitive elections, like Kansas – and have spent the last couple weeks trying to catch up with work and family. In the process, I failed to file my usual “Winners and Losers” posts for Fox & Hounds Daily on the elections. […]

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