Why the House Sit-In Was a Victory for California Democrats

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, the sit-in in the House of Representatives didn’t deliver the vote on gun control legislation that was the stated purpose of the demonstration. But that’s a very narrow way of looking at the results of the sit-in. Indeed, Democrats ought to call the demonstration a victory for one reason alone: No one broke a […]

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California’s Homeless Moment

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)

How did homelessness suddenly become such a hot issue across California? There are many reasons, few of which have anything to do with people who are homeless. Those reasons—economic anxiety, budget surpluses, tax schemes, housing prices, prison reform, health care expansion, urban wealth and political opportunism—have combined to create today’s “homeless moment” in California. For […]

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I Know I Can Keep That November Ballot Straight

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 a conscientious California voter, and I take seriously my responsibility to vote on all the ballot initiatives and other measures that people far richer and more powerful than me say are really important. The first step in fulfilling my civic duty is to know what the measures are, to study them. Everyone tells me […]

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The Budget Has Not Been Passed

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 California media keeps getting it wrong. The state legislature hasn’t passed a budget. And the governor hasn’t made it law. It’s not because they don’t want to do those things. It’s because they can’t. Not in California. Yes, the legislature approved a document called a budget, and Gov. Brown signed it. But that is […]

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Progress – A Solid State Portal

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 wrote recently about the bad habit of California candidates and officials of all types promising “one-stop shops” for various government services. No effective one-stop shops ever get created, of course. The one-stop shop promise is a way of trying to reconcile the irreconcilable. As in: yes, we’ve created myriad regulations that don’t fit together—so […]

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Why TV Moved Its Crime Bosses to Modesto and Oceanside

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)

At first glance, the setting for Hollywood’s newest gangland drama might be jarring: northern San Diego County, in the small city of Oceanside. But you really shouldn’t be surprised, at least by the location, if you decide to check out the Turner Network Television’s Animal Kingdom, about a violent crime family headed by a very […]

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What It Means to Be ‘California’s Bank’

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)

If California were a bank, what sort of bank would it be? Banc of California has a new and intriguing answer to that question: In just six years, “California’s bank,” as it calls itself, has emerged as one of America’s fastest-growing banks—from $700 million in assets when it recapitalized the old First PacTrust Bancorp. in […]

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Winners and Losers in California’s June Elections

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)

WINNERS The Clintons California still loves them. In early return, Hillary Clinton was leading by a far bigger margin that polls showed. Moderate Democrats Voters went with the recommendation of the moderate (and fiscally conservative) Gov. Brown in backing the more moderate Hillary Clinton. Loretta Sanchez appeared to be making it into the top two […]

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5 Things to Watch for in the California Election Results

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)

5. A Woman as Democratic Nominee Hillary Clinton will clinch the Democratic nomination, win or lose in California. It’d be interesting to see her close it out here—a state that has had two women in the U.S. Senate since 1992, but has never elected a woman as its governor or as mayor of its largest […]

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Don’t Believe the L.A. Transit Hype

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 wish this were a happy column about the advance of California public transit. I wish I could report that my own life is better now that I ride the brand-new Metro Expo Line extension to work in Santa Monica. And I wish I could validate all the triumphant talk of the great metropolis of […]

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