On Ballot Measures, State Agencies Should Cross The Lines

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)

Ballot measures are not elections. They are lawmaking. That’s a hard fact. But it’s not how California treats ballot measures. Or how Californians think about them. Instead of treating ballot measures as proposed laws, we treat them as campaigns and govern them by election laws. As a result, ballot measures are not well integrated with […]

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Salad Days and the Salinas-Yuma 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)

Salinas, California and Yuma, Arizona are quite far apart—485 miles by plane and 600 by car. But no two cities in the West are closer. Salinas and Yuma are bound by two unstoppable California forces: salad and consumer expectation. We expect to have fresh salads on our tables year-round.  In October, an arduous process makes […]

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Smart Initiative Reform Took Place in Sacramento. So Where Was the Media?

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)

Where was the media? The Citizens Initiative Review – the best proven way we have to evaluate ballot initiatives around the world – held a California pilot in Sacramento at the end of last month. And the state political media wasn’t there. What gives? Media folks like to point out the flaws in the initiative […]

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KDL Might Be Too Old to Take Down DiFi

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 the extended conversation that passed for a debate in the U.S. Senate race, Dianne Feinstein essentially won by not losing. In fact, watching and listening to the debate – which was a challenge given quality of the video and audio of the web stream — actually raised questions about Kevin de Leon’s age, not […]

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Don’t Forget The Third Candidate in the U.S. Senate Race

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)

Kevin De Leon likes to make history, but not like this: he could finish third in the two-person U.S. Senate race. The ballot says there are just two candidates—De Leon and incumbent Dianne Feinstein. But there is a third candidacy that’s likely to draw a lot of support. None of the above.

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Blame California’s Trees

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 California Trees, When are you going to stand up and take some responsibility for all the damage you do to this state? It’s not only the blue-purple blossoms that you jacarandas use to stain Californians’ cars, or the colonies of disease-carrying rats that you palms harbor, or even the roots you magnolias use to […]

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Have a Second Governor’s Debate With One Rule — No Trump

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)

There’s a strong case for a second gubernatorial debate, as long as it follows one rule: No Trump. The first debate, hosted by KQED, was far more about the president than about California. And it told Californians what anyone paying attention already knew: Gavin Newsom righteously opposes Trump and John Cox is an ally of […]

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There’s an Appetite for the Right GOP Gubernatorial 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)

John Cox’s sad excuse for a gubernatorial candidate, confirmed by a sorry performance on Monday’s radio debate raises the question: What would a serious Republican candidate for governor look like? The fact that Cox, unknown and with few coherent positions, is not getting totally nuked in the polls suggests there is an appetite for a […]

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Californians May Know More About Russian Intelligence Than Their Own Schools’ Performance

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)

“Getting down to Facts II: Current Conditions and Paths Forward for California Schools” is the most important report on California schools in years, probably since the original Getting Down to Facts” a decade ago. It’s produced as a part of a project that draws in a variety of top researchers and is coordinated by Stanford […]

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The New Magna Charta

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 Rome last week, I helped write a new Magna Charta. I led this effort during a Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy, a free, public event I help run. The idea is that all the worry about declining democracy is really about democracy at the national level. But democracy, fundamentally, is not a national […]

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