5 Ways In Which The Tax Return-for-Ballot-Access Law Is a 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)

Why did Gov. Gavin Newsom sign the bill requiring presidential candidates to release five years of tax returns to qualify for the primary ballot?  Maybe Gov. Gavin Newsom knows something about President Trump or elections that the rest of us don’t know. He has to talk to Trump at times, and maybe he sees a […]

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In Presidential Race, California Disenfranchises Its Fastest-Growing Voter Group

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)

Those of us who state no party preference, or NPPs, are the fastest-growing voter group in California. There are more of us than there are Republicans. And yet we can’t vote for whomever we want for president. That’s a result of political parties. Republicans, who seem to want their party to be as small and […]

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The LA Clippers Become a Team of California’s Edges

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)

Pro sports finally has a team that is built on the foundation of California’s edges.  While basketball’s L.A. Lakers get the most publicity, the new-look Los Angeles Clippers have transformed themselves in a way that says something about where California is going. During the recently concluded free agent period, the Clippers managed to acquire two […]

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Why California’s PUC Regulates Everything

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)

Don’t be surprised if the California Public Utilities Commission is soon put in charge of making the Oakland Raiders winners again, managing Kanye’s award show appearances, or stopping In-N-Out fries from becoming soggy. After all, the PUC already has responsibility for almost every other difficult California problem.  Are we asking too much of the PUC? […]

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Two California Presidential Candidates Who Want National Direct Democracy

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 direct democracy spreads around the world, it’s stagnant in the United States. Americans can vote on issues at the local level and about half the states. But not at the national level. Intriguingly, two long-shot presidential candidates want to change that. Both live in California. The first of these is the billionaire Tom Steyer, […]

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In Praise of Earthquakes

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 is one big lie Californians tell ourselves: we hate earthquakes.  The unspoken truth is that we love earthquakes, as well we should. Don’t give the weather all the credit. Earthquakes are another natural phenomenon that made California great. Earthquakes play as many roles here as our finest Hollywood actors. Quakes inspire us to dream, […]

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Another Angry Billionaire

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 I were angrier, would I be richer? The question occurs as Tom Steyer enters the presidential race, running as some sort of avenging angel against American wealth and corruption. He kept saying the word “outsider” in his announcement. As an outsider myself to the world of billionaire outsiders, I found myself wondering: What on […]

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A Scandal That is Not a Scandal

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 state auditor has discovered another scandal that isn’t a scandal. The latest target of Elaine Howle’s office is the California State University system. And if the supposed crime sounds familiar, it is: CSU has been behaving in fiscal prudent ways. And you can’t do that in California. Our state, with a dysfunctional budget process, […]

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Pelosi’s Real Failure on Immigration

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 fight between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the “Squad” of young, female, non-white members of Congress exposes a huge problem for the immigration debate and for the country Neither Pelosi nor her young tormentors have a real plan—on policy or in narrative—on immigration. In fact, while the hyper-progressives don’t realize it, they aren’t that […]

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Dear San Francisco, My heart breaks for you.

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 cry tsunamis for you. Please accept my thoughts and prayers. Depending on which media you read, you are now in collapse, having become either a “hellhole” or a “Third World” city. The Washington Post declared you dead (headline: “San Francisco Broke America’s Heart”), and even the Chronicle says you’re a “mess.” The summer’s best […]

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