How Not to Pass a Split Roll

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 are five steps to take if you don’t want to  pass an initiative to split the tax rolls in service of devoting more money to public schools. That is, an initiative just like the one that educational interests are preparing to support next November. 1. Divide you coalition of educational interests by attacking charter […]

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The Redistricting Commission—Political Virgins Wanted

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 you want do the most political job in California? You can apply—as long as you know almost nothing about politics. California’s Redistricting Commission has a hunger for virgins. Political virgins. And so it’s asking you to apply if you’ve never really participated in politics. Because knowledge is too much of a burden if you’re […]

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The Problem Isn’t that Lara Broke His Promise.

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 latest so-called scandal in Sacramento involves Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. He promised while running for the office to not accept political donations from insurance interests. Once in office, he broke that promise, as the San Diego Union-Tribune showed. That was some good reporting, but Lara’s broken promise isn’t the real scandal. Nor is his […]

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The California Redistricting Commission Will Soon Be Toast

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)

This may be the last version of the California redistricting commission. That may sound like a surprising prediction. After all, many commentators, including Joel Fox in this space, have argued that redistricting commissions may become more important as a result of a U.S. Supreme Court decision in late June. The logic of those commentators goes […]

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Keep Trump on the California Ballot

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)

No Californian in their right mind should vote for Donald Trump. But plenty of Californians aren’t in their right minds, and these sad souls have rights too. And they should be able to vote for the incumbent president for re-election on the Republican presidential primary ballot in California.  Unfortunately, a well-intentioned—if plainly unconstitutional—bill, SB 27, […]

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California Should Miss This Opportunity

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)

Who says California opposes everything the Trump administration does? Our state’s leaders are embracing at least one lousy presidential idea: opportunity zones.  “Opportunity zones” is the term for the hundreds of places in California  targeted for tax-advantaged investment under Trump’s 2017 federal tax law. But the name, like the president himself, is deceptive. “Opportunity zones,” […]

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Stay Out of Pre-1850 American Controversies, Gavin

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)

Gov. Gavin Newsom shouldn’t have jumped into the controversy about an old American flag on Nike shoes. Because he didn’t have to. He’s a governor of a new state. For those who missed it, Nike pulled limited edition shoes that used the Betsy Ross flag—reflecting the 13 original colonies—reportedly after complaints from the former San […]

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Anti-Tax? Or is it Really Anti-Immigrant?

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)

Beware of self-styled taxpayer advocates who exploit anti-immigrant animus instead of protecting  taxpayers. That’s what many on the anti-tax right in California recently did on the issues of healthcare. The argument from the right was to criticize California for extending MediCal coverage to undocumented adults up to age 26. Then they conflated that extension with […]

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Californians are All Pacific Sardines Now

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 the Monterey Bay Aquarium, most people want to watch the sharks,  check out spectacular octopi, or maybe look for sea lions outside on the bay.   But I find myself mesmerized by smaller fish: Pacific sardines. What draws me to a fish best known for being stuffed into cans? It’s not only the way the […]

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Would Kamala Be a Presidential Tyrant?

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)

A president ruling by fiat has been a disaster for the country and California. So why does Kamala Harris want to be another president ruling by fiat? But that’s what the U.S. Senator and presidential candidate is proposing. Indeed, Harris has coupled her policy ideas with pledges to enact them by executive order. That’s not […]

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