In Taking Cal-3 Off Ballot, California Supreme Court Gives It New Life

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 Supreme Court just gave Tim Draper a gift. The court removed Draper’s Cal-3 initiative, to split California into three states, from the November ballot. And in so doing, they probably gave the initiative some life. Before the court’s ruling, Cal-3 was a national joke – a poorly drafted concept that was going to […]

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By Using The Wrong Comparisons, California Hides Big Collapse In Turnout

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 June election is finally over. But the misinformation about it goes on. The latest problem involves headlines and reports that June turnout was a tick up from June elections 2014 and above turnout in June elections in 2010. By using these comparisons, election officials and media folks were able to tout progress in turnout […]

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40 Million–And About to Fall?

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 should be the summer when the population of California finally surpasses 40 million. We should celebrate by reflecting on just how small we are. Of course, we won’t. California, like an insecure male lover, is always bragging about how big it is. And so reaching 40 million threshold—there is no red-letter date, though, by […]

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Summer in Redding

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)

If you love California and haven’t figured out where to go for summer vacation, here’s a suggestion: Go north! You could, for example, go to Redding. Sure, the city of 92,000 at the northern end of the Sacramento Valley probably isn’t high on your list of preferred destinations. But the pleasures are all the more […]

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What is a Democracy City?

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)

What Is a Democracy City? I’d Love to Hear Your Views Nations have long been considered the first unit of democracy. To say you live in a democracy is to say you live in a democratic nation. But that’s a sentiment that may belong to a different era, when democracy was rapidly expanding. Now its […]

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Arguing With Myself Over Janus

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)

What should we think after the U.S Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees? That’s the question I keep arguing about with myself. Janus—which weakens unions by declaring unconstitutional requirements that public employees pay “agency fees” to unions they won’t join — is both good and bad, […]

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Initiative Reform Is Working – To Aid Extortion

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)

California’s governing and reform elite are far better at self-congratulation than actual reform. The pattern appears again in the orgy of self-congratulation after three initiatives were removed from the ballot as the result of negotiations with the legislature at the end of June. The self-congratulation is over the 2014 reform that allowed for such removals […]

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Colluding With California’s Russian

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)

Take my guilty plea, Mr. Mueller. Because this Californian has been colluding with the Russians. To be sure, I didn’t subvert any elections. But one recent week this spring, when my colleagues were out of the office, I snuck away to visit that most alluring of Russians, the Russian River, which seductively winds its way […]

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The First Democratic Governor Since Pat Brown

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)

Newsom Would Be The First Democratic Governor Since Pat Brown People are missing the real import of the June election results. California may be about to get its first Democratic governor since Pat Brown. I say that partly as provocation, and partly as truth. Yes, Jerry Brown and Gray Davis were registered Democrats when they […]

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Why Justice Kennedy Shouldn’t Retire to 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)

Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy shouldn’t think of retiring to Sacramento or anywhere else in his native California. If he does, he should be greeted rudely. Kennedy has long leaned on the story of his California upbringing and early career to define himself as a grounded jurist. But in one of his final opinions […]

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