90 Days Is Not Enough for a Referendum

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)

Bail cost too much. So does a California referendum. Now the two subject are joined as the bail bonds industry pursues a referendum of the new legislation that seeks to end cash bail in California. I don’t agree with the bail people policy-wise, but when it comes to the tool of the referendum, it’s not […]

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Pardon Rod Wright Or Lock Up Tom McClintock

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 cares where politicians live? What matters if they are any good? As I wrote here previously, the prosecution of former State Senator Rod Wright for lying about living outside his district was wrong. And now that wrong might be righted with a pardon. And future legislators would no longer have to abide strict limits […]

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Defending Camp Pendleton

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 American military may be the finest fighting force in the history of the world. But how long can it defend Camp Pendleton? Marine Base Camp Pendleton is best known as our state’s signature military facility, a center for training the men and women who fight for our country. But Pendleton is also one of […]

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Gas Tax Repeal Includes Foolish Constitutional Addition

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)

I’m agnostic on the gas tax increase. Keep it or repeal it, I don’t care. It’s a relatively small tax increase that meets only a tiny fraction of the state’s massive infrastructure needs. But there is a big reason to be skeptical of using a ballot initiative – Proposition 6 – to repeal the gas. […]

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California’s Children’s Hospitals

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)

I wish California children were doing as well as California children’s hospitals. Even as the Golden State has maintained the nation’s highest child poverty rate, underfunded its schools, and made housing prohibitively expensive for families, California has developed a system of children’s hospitals that seems to occupy a parallel universe in which kids’ needs actually […]

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Can Your Kidneys Handle Prop 8?

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 my kidneys hurt, can I blame Prop 8? Prop 8 is a November ballot initiative of the type that gives ballot initiatives a bad name. It’s a narrow question about what sort of restrictions should we put on how revenues are used in one particular kind of medical facility, in this case dialysis clinics. […]

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The Fall Ballot Shows the Failure of California’s Direct Democracy

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)

November’s slate of ballot measures is a miserable piece of work, which shows the failure of California’s direct democracy. Our system is not particularly direct or democratic. In fact, it is bringing narrow and trivial questions to the fore. It is dominated by wealthy interests. And it fails to give citizens an avenue to bring […]

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Musk and Zuckerberg Should Buy CA Newspapers

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)

To: Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk From: Joe Mathews Re: Acquisition and Reputation Have you two lost your minds? Both of you are suffering through long-running, self-inflicted public relations crises. Mark, Facebook’s self-serving and ever-shifting policies, the way its platform polarizes politics, and growing alarm about the health effects of social media, have turned you […]

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The Best Housing Ballot Initiative in November

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 November ballot in California is often described as having four housing measures on it, among the 11 on the ballot. It really has five, and the fifth one might be best. Let’s start with the acknowledged four. Two of these are ballot initiatives—which means they were put on the ballot by signature gathering—and both […]

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Kamala Goes First, Again

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 thing about Kamala Harris is she doesn’t keep you waiting. Harris’ tendency to strike first has become her defining political trait. As state attorney general, she moved quickly in dramatic moments—to rush Prop 30 on the ballot and to establish same-sex marriage almost immediately after a court ruling. And as a Senate candidate, […]

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