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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Neither Pelosi Nor McCarthy For Speaker

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)

We could have a Californian as the next speaker of the House of Representatives. But let’s hope not. I’ve already written plenty about Kevin McCarthy, who would likely be the speaker if Republicans hold onto the chamber, and his abandonment of principle and morality in embracing President Trump. So let’s talk about the other prospective […]

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Why Can’t California Have Its Own Secretary of 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)

California sees itself as a champion of direct democracy. But in truth, it doesn’t take direct democracy as seriously as Italy. The new Italian government made history when it named a Minister for Direct Democracy, as part of an 18-member cabinet. That’s the first such national minister in the world. The appointment comes from a […]

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Split the State Democratically, Not Geographically

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)

All the many dozens of proposals to split California into multiple states share the same basic defect: a foolish fixation with geography. The new “Cal 3” ballot initiative, which would create three states, has roots in pre-Civil War days, when the proposal was to split us into a pro-Union north and pro-slavery south. In these […]

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Kevin McCarthy Should Stop Clinging to 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)

It’s hard to watch what House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is doing to himself. By clinging to President Trump, he’s done damage to his reputation that can never be undone. Look at the full spectrum of Trump lies, follies, paranoid fantasies (the supposed 3 million illegal votes in our state, for example), and human rights […]

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Election Winners and Losers

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)

Is it time yet to pick winners and losers in the June elections in California? They’re still counting votes, and we won’t have final results until July. Let’s take a risk and give it a try. Here are six winners and six losers from the results, we have now. Winners Winner: High-speed rail. Voters turned […]

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Newman Recall Shows the Folly of Jerry Brown’s Small-Ball Politics

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)

Has anyone ever been recalled for so little? That’s the problem with the recall of Josh Newman, a Democratic state senator from Orange County. The recall is a political tool, and people can be recalled for any reason, political or otherwise. The reason for Newman’s downfall was his vote to raise taxes on gas and […]

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$120,000 for California Preschool

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)

Since the 1990s, California’s leaders have promised to make preschool universal for every child. Maybe they’ll actually do it by the time I have grandchildren. It’s already too late for my own kids. The youngest of my three sons graduated from preschool last week. I celebrated by writing my final preschool check, for monthly tuition […]

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Welcome to Joeville, 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)

Recently a startup founder in San Jose asked me a question: What would you do if you were starting a California city? My first answer: Get my head examined. For 40 years, the state government and California voters have steadily reduced the revenues and limited the discretion of municipal governments; anyone who starts a new […]

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If You Say You’re A Democrat or a Republican in California, You’re Not Telling the Truth

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)

Another problem with the top two system: It makes liars of most of Californians. I’m not just talking about the state officials, media members and others who persist in labeling our June elections “primaries” when they are the exact opposite of primaries, which involve parties picking their candidates for a general election. California eliminated primaries […]

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