Subpoena the Sheriffs

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 high-profile debate over a bill to change the standard for police use of force has obscured another important bill, to affirm civilian control over county sheriffs and their departments. There is one thing that both supporters and opponents say about AB 1185: it shouldn’t be necessary. The law makes explicit what already should have […]

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A Ballot Initiative to Clean Up Horse Racing?

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)

Could a ballot initiative end horse racing in California? There is no such initiative anywhere near the ballot, but the horse racing business and its fans are worried. A wave of horse deaths at Santa Anita have raised questions about racing’s safety, and related issues of drugs and usage. U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein has called […]

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Kamala Caution Isn’t So Bad

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)

An excessively cautious president? That doesn’t sound so bad right now. A conventional wisdom is hardening about Kamala Harris, particularly in her home state media. She’s too cautious, too canned, and doesn’t take chances. George Skelton of the LA Times was the latest to make that argument. And the accusation of caution isn’t new or […]

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Is The Gas Tax a Model For Housing Reform?

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)

On a recent trip to Sacramento, I got to see the big legislative debate over housing in action. And the debate goes beyond the particulars of housing. There is an argument over strategy—whether housing reform should be done via peace between state and local entities, or by the state imposing tough new rules on the […]

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Yosemite Claustrophobia

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 road to Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park is closed to cars, and the shuttle bus wasn’t running. Would the Three Stooges—my sons, ages 10, 8 and 5—agree to a 2 ½ mile uphill hike to see Yosemite’s signature sequoias? This month I made my first trip to Yosemite as a father, wondering if my city slicker boys—they like reading, coffee shops and riding the LA. Metro—could handle a visit […]

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Do 75 California Mayors Now See a Presidential Candidate in the Mirror?

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)

Do 75 California Mayors Now See a Presidential Candidate in the Mirror? South Bend, Indiana, is home to 102,000 people. Its mayor Pete Buttigieg is now a leading contender for the Democratic nomination for president. California has 75 cities with more people than South Bend. Do their mayors now see a possible president when they […]

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How Dare Gavin Play National Politics?

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 dare Gov. Newsom play in national politics? That has become a strong media criticism of the new governor—so strong it may be hardening into conventional wisdom. Newsom is doing all sorts of things that journalists think he shouldn’t be doing. Like traveling out of state, to El Salvador, presumably the sort of place one […]

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In California, Gender Parity Should Be Easy

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)

South Pasadena’s new mayor recently appointed 18 people to voluntary local commissions in the San Gabriel Valley city. Routine? Yes, except for one thing. All 18 appointees were women. Mayor Marina Khubesrian’s appointments were a small-town stroke for gender parity. Before the appointments about one-third of all commission appointees in South Pasadena were women; after, […]

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Will California Finally Get to Know Kamala Harris?

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 that Californians like or dislike Kamala Harris. It’s that we don’t really know her. The fact that she is an enigma is a little bit her fault—she has been cagey and cautious—but much more the fault of California itself. It’s strange to say, but ours is a state where a politician run statewide […]

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The Top Two Produces a Presidential Candidate

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)

Congressman Eric Swalwell is running for president, and a country and even his own home state are asking: Who is this guy? And why on earth is he running? The answer lies in California’s perverse top two election system. Swalwell is a creature of top two, which makes him the first presidential candidate from the […]

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