Could PG&E Sink 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)

The PG&E bankruptcy, and the scandals surrounding it, are about to go national. That could be both embarrassing and healthy for California and its leaders. The vehicle for this nationalization is the presidential campaign of California U.S. Senator Kamala Harris.

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DiFi vs. the Kids

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 nothing quite as clarifying as being told that you’re being unrealistic by an 85-year-old. That’s what made Dianne Feinstein’s videotaped and condescending dismissal of a push from teenagers on behalf of the “Green New Deal” so powerful. Yes, the first version of the tape was edited, unfairly to make California’s very senior senator look […]

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Don’t Cut Taxes On Weed. Increase Enforcement on Scofflaws

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)

Instead of doing its job, the state wants to cut taxes. That’s the essence of a new legislative effort to cut taxes on marijuana being sold legally. The tax cut is meant to address a real problem: There are too many black-market illegal sales of cannabis and cannabis products, now more than a year into […]

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Merced and California’s Unfinished Dreams

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)

Have any grand but unfocused ambitions? Have an idea but no strategy to execute it? How about any half-finished projects clogging up your garage? Send them to Merced. That’s what the state of California does. Perhaps this is because it’s so convenient: a city of 83,000 people in the center of the Central Valley, and […]

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Huntington Beach’s Wall of Denial

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 you can’t build anything in California? Huntington Beach is busy constructing a wall of denial around whatever is left of its soul. The Orange County city has long been associated with the open and outlaw side of California. Named for a railroad robber baron (Henry Huntington), the city grew through oil speculation, aerospace, […]

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Newsom Puts Bullets in the Bullet Train and the Water Fix

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 Gavin Newsom isn’t frugal? He just cut Californians’ list of big things to complain about by two. In his state of the state speech, Newsom essentially ended the goal of a high-speed rail system that connects the whole state; he appeared to recast the project as a smaller, regional rail—something like the “Plan […]

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Kamala Harris Can’t Win the California Primary

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)

Kamala Harris’ campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination rests on a political theory that depends on California’s early primary. Because California is early, the theory goes, Harris has a path to the nomination if she wins an early primary—South Carolina being the focus. Then she heads West, where she can win Nevada, which is full […]

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Is Oakland Too Real for the Oscars?

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 best California movie scene of recent vintage is the opening of the 2018 film Sorry to Bother You. A young man and his girlfriend are getting intimate in what appears to be a dark apartment when the room suddenly fills with daylight, making their union visible to the people outside on an Oakland street. […]

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Why Is Gavin Hiding the State of the State Speech?

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)

Gavin Newsom is giving a state of the state speech he apparently doesn’t want you to hear. You can tell from the timing: 11 a.m. next Tuesday, Feb. 12. It’s the wrong choice, on almost every level.

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Newsom’s Biggest Opponents Are the Progressive Fantasies of Presidential Candidates

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)

Gavin Newsom is off to a strong start as governor, with little opposition to his agenda. But he’s about to come up against an opponent that will be much stubborn: Progressive fantasy. Specifically, those progressive fantasies that are advanced during the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

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