What If Uncle Leland Had Won?

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 thought exercise for the Leland Yee scandal. What if the investigation had been delayed, or stayed underground, for another year? What if last week’s raids had come not in March 2014 – but in March 2015? And what if it were California Secretary of State Leland Yee who was being taken into custody […]

Read more

Does Derek Cressman Know Kung Fu?

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)

Does Derek Cressman, candidate for California Secretary of State, know kung fu? Or is he packing a weapon? Such questions occur after reading responses by Cressman, and other self-styled political reformers, to the arrest and indictment of State Senator and California Secretary of State candidate Leland Yee. The main thrust of the responses: we must […]

Read more

Why the New York Times’ Sentencing Commission Won’t Work

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 New York Times editorial page gave California some free advice recently, and it was worth every penny: establish a sentencing commission to fix your criminal justice system. The paper’s argument was understandable. Our prison and justice systems are a total mess, with the prisons constitutionally overcrowded and the chief justice of the State Supreme […]

Read more

Does California Hate Marriage?

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)

This weekend, The Accident gets hitched. The Accident is my term of endearment (really!) for my baby sister Katie, who arrived, unexpectedly, 11 ½ years after me and seven years after my brother. She is scheduled to exchange vows late Saturday afternoon in L.A.’s San Gabriel Valley with her longtime boyfriend, Matt, in a big […]

Read more

We Owe Rod Wright An Apology

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)

Rod Wright doesn’t deserve this. Yes, the state senator was convicted of lying about where he lived. But does that mean he should be haphazardly lumped into some kind of State Senate Gang of 3 with accused bribe takers and gun runners? The media, by describing Wright as one of three lawbreakers are doing most […]

Read more

Why are D.C. Politicians Sweet on 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)

Dear Washington, D.C., I know that your politicians will say anything to get elected and your wonks are perpetually grasping at straws. But I find it hard to believe how many people in your town are saying that I, the great state of California, am some sort of model for you and the country you […]

Read more

Finally, A Scandal Worthy of This Great State

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)

To be truly great and ambitious, a state must have great and ambitious scandals. But California hasn’t had any recent scandals truly worthy of our size, diversity and importance – until yesterday. Rod Wright, you say? C’mon. His conviction for not living in his district, and using a residence he owned as his residence for […]

Read more

How to Steal Spring Training

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 Major League Baseball teams practice for the opening of a new season, some fans dream of home runs from an up-and-coming star. Others pine for strikeouts by their team’s top pitcher. But I, as a baseball fan and a Californian, am rooting for a steal—of spring training itself. You could call my plan Stealing […]

Read more

Steal Tim Draper’s Initiative

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 recent years, I’ve advised Californians not to vote in state elections – democratic farces in which we elect politicians who have little power and allow tiny minorities of Californians to make nearly permanent changes in the law and constitution. And if Californians must vote, I’ve suggested they should vote no on any ballot initiative […]

Read more

Attention: Media. Here’s One Way to Do Dan Schnur A Solid

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)

Media favorite Dan Schnur, candidate for California Secretary of State, has a political problem. He’s not a registered member of any political party. And such independent candidates have a hard time winning – because voters who are members of parties are much more likely to vote than voters who, like Dan, are unaffiliated. That problem […]

Read more