Let’s Toast China’s President, California’s Savior

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 President Xi Jinping, This is a thank you note from California. Thank you, first off, for sustaining our neighborhoods through these last difficult years. Thank you for keeping wealthy Chinese so nervous about your purges of political opponents—I’m sorry, I mean your anti-corruption campaigns—that they are buying up real estate all over California. More […]

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Prop 30 Plus

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)

Reading and listening to (and hearing some background talk) about what sort of tax plan the state’s leaders might offer voters next year, two things are clear to me. The first is that we will see an extension of at least the income tax rates that were part of Prop 30. The second is that […]

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Harris Should Not Circulate The “Sodomite Suppression Act” to Voters

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 an attorney general of California have a duty to approve for circulation any ballot initiative she receives? The legal consensus is that Attorney General Kamala Harris does. Reviewing and titling an initiative for circulation is a ministerial act that the a.g. Is supposed to perform without comment. Previous court rulings have found that Harris […]

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The Only Thing Worse Than Scandals Are California’s Attempts to Stop Them

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 win in Bell? There is no greater symbol of local California corruption than Bell, a city of 35,000 people, 2 ½  square miles, and many gas stations in southeast L.A. County. For years, Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo and his minions exploited every dark corner of California’s convoluted systems of local governance and […]

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Rooting for the Court to Uphold Redistricting Commission

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 not a fan of the redistricting commission. I don’t hate it either. I think of it more as a waste. So much time and money was spent establishing the commission that should have been spent on reforms that would have made a significant difference in the state. That’s why I’m rooting for the U.S. […]

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Let’s Brag About California’s Weather While We Still Can

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)

One of the little joys of being Californian is the opportunity to taunt folks Back East about their terrible winter weather. Hey, Boston, how does it feel to have been colonized by Eskimos? But this winter, we seem to be overdoing it, sending out a blizzard of social media postings of palm trees and blue skies. It’s enough to […]

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Why I’m Going to Tunisia and You Should Too!

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)

Many of you reading this were part of the 2010 Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy, a five-day long summer gathering in San Francisco, that looked at the state of direct democracy in California, the U.S., and the world. These every other year gatherings have continued, under the leadership and management of friends in Europe. […]

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Dear Uncle Bob

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 Uncle Bob, You’re back!!! You told a number of our mutual friends down here in L.A. that you were trying to make a quiet start in the State Senate, and keep your head down for a while. And that strategy made a ton of sense. You didn’t want to be at the center of […]

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One More John Mockler Lesson for the Road

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 obituaries for John Mockler are focusing on his role in crafting California’s school funding guarantee, Prop 98, and the funding regime around it. That made sense—Prop 98 had a huge impact, and his command of the complicated measure was so great that I once suggested in print that California needed a constitutional amendment requiring […]

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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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