Billie Eilish’s California Neighborhood

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 Billie Eilish lives in the neighborhood, is she one of us? It might seem preposterous to think of Eilish as the California girl next door. The 18 year old is the first international pop star born in the 21st century, with the best-selling album of the past year, 50 million social media followers, and six […]

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Leading California Democrats Try to Govern. National Democrats Don’t Like That

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 Democrats will never be woke enough to match national Democratic leaders. As the California presidential primary approaches, the gap between Democrats who run California and those who seek to run the United States is growing. Gov. Newsom and other leading Democrats in Sacramento keep spending low and build rainy day funds. The leading presidential […]

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Can Steyer Be Stopped?

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 Californian in the race is gaining. Tom Steyer has surged in polls in early state polls. In South Carolina, he’s second, and he’s gaining fast in Nevada. Why? He’s spent more than $100 million on TV ads, raising his name recognition. And yet he’s not seen as a real contender, so there is relatively […]

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Is the Budget Presser Over Yet?

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)

As soon as I go out and defend Gov. Newsom against charges that he’s too unfocused, he goes out and gives a press conference like that. I’ll admit I didn’t make it to the end of Newsom’s presser to introduce the budget. It started at 10:30am, and the Twitter broadcast link went out on me […]

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The Cult of Jerry Refuses to Die

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)

Now I understand why Jerry Brown is working so hard to stop the apocalypse, whether the threat is nuclear and climate. Because only the apocalypse could end his personal political cult. The endurance of the Cult of Jerry—lovely for his fans, maddening to those of us who seem as merely an artful dodger—has reached a […]

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Stay Aggressive and Scattered, Governor

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 media reviews of Gavin Newsom’s first year as governor are rolling in. And they are mostly mixed. The main criticism is that Newsom too unfocused. His agenda is too large, his attention too scattered.  That’s nonsense. The state simply has too many challenges—challenges that went unaddressed during the widely acclaimed—but insufficiently ambitious—governorship of Jerry […]

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California’s Roaring 2020s

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)

January 1, 2030 To my three sons: I’m so proud of you. I especially appreciate that, now that you’re 21, 18, and 16 years old, you no longer fight with each other constantly like you did when you were little. You’re all doing well in school, and have bright futures ahead. But please never forget […]

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An Important Lesson from the Angel Stadium Deal

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 city of Anaheim made headlines with a deal to sell Angel Stadium and the land around it to an entity in which the Angels baseball team’s owner is a partner.  The sports pages emphasized that this keeps the Major League Baseball team in the Orange County city for another 30 years. Some commentators remarked […]

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California is Stuck in the Gray Zone

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)

“Gray zone” is a military term for the space between peace and war, a time and place that provides opportunities for the well-armed while posing dangers for citizens caught in the middle.     In California today, I think the phrase explains the perilous condition of our communities as the state pursues major changes in how we […]

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Go to Iowa Anyway, Gavin

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 was going to Iowa in a couple of days. I just bought my damn ticket. I want a reimbursement!” – Gov. Gavin Newsom Kamala Harris’ departure from the presidential race is probably a victory for California, if she returns to full-time work in the U.S. Senate defending her state from the war that the […]

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