Antonio Villaraigosa is Quintessential 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)

It shouldn’t matter much to Californians whether Antonio Villaraigosa gets to be a U.S. senator or governor someday. We have no shortage of ambitious politicians, after all. But what should matter to us is whether Antonio Villaraigosa gets to be Antonio Villaraigosa. Villaraigosa didn’t get that opportunity over the past six weeks as he pondered, […]

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Is Texas Gov. Greg Abbott California’s New Best Friend?

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 governor of Texas seems intent on making California more competitive with his own state – even though he may not realize it. Greg Abbott, as both a candidate last year and a governor this year, has been warning Texans against efforts to “California-ize” the Lone Star state. Those warnings were broad and rhetorical, […]

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Will the 2016 Tax-apalooza Force the Chargers Out of 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)

Two stories, one statewide and one local, are about to intersect. The statewide one is the now familiar scheming and debate over what sorts of tax-related initiatives and measures should go on the November 2016 ballot. One way or another, California voters are going to be asked whether they want to raise and reform various […]

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Pope Francis, Skipping California is a Big Mistake

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 Pope Francis, You may be infallible, but your scheduler? Not so much. The itinerary for your highly anticipated trip to the United States this September defies belief: You are only visiting the Northeast. I guess it’s understandable that you’d attend a major conference on families in Philadelphia, and no one can begrudge you a […]

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I Am Not Running for Senate

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 will not be a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2016. I have all the respect in the world for the federal government, and its wars, its failure to pass rational immigration policy, and its gross violations of my privacy. But my life and work are in California, not Washington (though I do have […]

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Has California’s Greatest Filmmaker Lost His Focus?

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)

Has Hollywood’s foremost interpreter of California lost his touch? That may seem a strange question to ask now that said interpreter—the writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson—is up for a screenwriting Oscar at this Sunday’s Academy Awards. But Anderson’s work often poses strange questions. Anderson matters because, at age 44, he’s already the greatest California filmmaker ever. […]

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A Very Early Start is Appropriate for Governor

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 may seem a bit strange that Gov. Gavin Newsom has already declared he is running for governor in 2018, more than three and a half years before the actual election. Or it may just seem strategic, given the advantages of getting out in front in a state that doesn’t pay much attention to politics. […]

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Will State Appeals Court Correct Its Very Basic Mistake In Top Two Case?

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 don’t disagree with the conclusion that the California State Court of Appeals reached in a recent challenge by minor parties to our state’s top two election system. Top two is a bad system that undermines democracy and discourages participation, but I think the judges were right to find the system was constitutional. Still, it’s […]

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The Moment to Take on Prop 13 Is Over

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)

Some tax reformers hold onto the hope of changing Prop 13 via ballot measure next year. But a new PPIC poll suggests that the moment for big reform is over. The PPIC poll showed a record high percentage of Californians – 61 percent – saying Prop 13 had been mostly a good thing for the […]

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Were California and Poland Separated at Birth?

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, I’d like to introduce you to the sister you never knew you had. Her name is Poland. No joke. I see by the look on your face, California, that you are a bit shocked at this news. I realize that, when you think about your place in the world, you compare yourself to other […]

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