A California-Catalonia Secession Connection?

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 a year when protests against federal government has become as fashionable in California as board shorts, the protests on the last Saturday of September stood out. They were for the right of Catalonian sovereignty. Yes, that’s Cataloania, one of Spain’s 17 semi-autonomous regions, home to 7.5 million people and the exquisite city of Barcelona. […]

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Is California polarizing America?

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)

America is terribly polarized. And it’s all on account of California. The trouble is not merely that California itself is such a politically polarized place. Or that California contributes to the many causes of polarization: partisan media, ideological movements, cultural atomization, big-money politics, technological change, economic anxiety, and income inequality. No, the artichoke heart of […]

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Graham-Cassidy Is An Act of Anti-California Aggression

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’s not health care policy. It’s revenge. U.S. Senators Lindsay Graham and Bill Cassidy have hardly hidden one big impact of their Obamacare repeal bill: that it punishes California. To the contrary, they’ve used the anti-California nature of the bill as a talking point. Cassidy has suggested that California is getting too much revenue from […]

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Don’t Have $2,000 to File a California Ballot Initiative? File in Europe Instead!

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 ballot initiative system used to provide a cheap way for regular citizens to get some attention for their ideas, be they good or bad. But that was back when it cost just $200 to file an initiative, and get it posted online with a title, summary and fiscal analysis. Even if you didn’t […]

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California Supreme Court Strengthens Local Government by the Developer and the Public Employees

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 one sign of just how awful the supermajority-crazy California system is. Even when a court eliminates a perfectly awful supermajority, it makes things worse. That’s what happened when the California Supreme Court killed off a supermajority that required local ballot initiatives that raised revenues to win supermajorities of voters to be approved. The court, […]

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Draper’s Three States Map Could Use Some Revision

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 does Tim Draper hate Southern California? I’m sympathetic to the venture capitalist’s attempts to split up California. Our state is more the size of a country than an American state. And splitting the state would give Californians to write new and at least semi-rational state constitutions for themselves. And that’s something we’ll never get […]

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German Elections Are Easier Than California’s

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)

For years, I’ve been arguing for reforms that would make California’s elections look like Germany’s. The political science description of a German election is that they have mixed-member districts with proportional representation. This suggestion is widely dismissed in California as too complicated and un-American, even though it was American political scientists who promoted it in […]

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Small and Speedy Gonzales, 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)

Here’s a nasty bit of conventional wisdom: California’s small, rural places are desperate and doomed, with few economic prospects in an era when state policy favors the urban coastal mega-regions with high-paying jobs and reputations for world-class innovation. But if that’s true, how do you explain Gonzales? The small city of just 9,000 sits in […]

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Make Hollywood Pay for Any Olympics Cost Overruns

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)

Now that Los Angeles has been tapped to host the 2028 Olympics, attention is focused on what happens when and if there are cost overruns. The state is likely to be on the hook for $250 million of the first $500 million of losses. That’s how things worked under legislation tied to the L.A.’s original […]

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Losing All Patience With Feinstein

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 Senator Feinstein, You just don’t get it. You told a San Francisco audience to have patience with President Trump, that he might become a good president yet. And your attempts to walk back the comment – noting your many criticisms of Trump on specific issues – don’t really address the problem. How is it […]

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