Break Up Prop 19!

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)

Revisiting  the various ballot measures, I find myself thinking about Prop 19, and wondering whether it should be on the ballot at all.  The legislature put it there. But that’s not the problem with it, at least in my view (I’m perfectly happy to see Propositions 16, 17, and 18 on the ballot). The issue […]

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Let’s Make California Politics More Danish

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)

For years, I’ve been asked what my vision of California politics is, if we ever reach that moment of ditching our irredeemable state constitution and building a new system of governance for America’s largest state. I’ve usually punted, and said there are any number of governance models, from other states and from other countries, that […]

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Don’t Let Your High School Buddies Grow Up to Be Supreme Court Contenders

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 stakes of the presidential election are huge and global. The results may determine the future of public health, the republic, even the planet.  The stakes of the presidential election are also peculiar and personal, especially for me. The results may determine which of two old friends—my fellow editors on our high school newspaper—ends up […]

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Reading the Props: 25 Is a Glorious 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)

Every two years, I read the full text of all statewide ballot propositions—because at least one Californian should. Next is Prop 25  My kingdom for a referendum.  In most of the world, a referendum, like Prop 25, is the most common type of ballot measure. A legislature does something, and the people are asked whether […]

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Reading the Props: 24 Is Being Used to Lock in an Earlier Law

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)

Every two years, I read the full text of all statewide ballot propositions—because at least one Californian should. Next is Proposition 24 Prop 24 almost broke this reader. The Consumer Personal information Law and Agency Initiative, as it’s called, runs 50 mostly single-spaced pages, and includes 26,279 words, making it by far the longest initiative […]

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Reading the Props: 23 Continues the Labor-Dialysis Wars

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)

Every two years, I read the full text of all statewide ballot propositions—because at least one Californian should. Next is Proposition 23  Prop 23 is mercifully short, at less than 2300 words. But it’s another meta-measure that is mostly about itself. Prop 23 is a follow-up to the failed Prop 8 from 2018.  It’s another […]

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Why California Is Better At Protecting Your Rights Than the U.S. Government

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)

Do you trust your state officials more than feds, dream of California independence, or support breaking the U.S. into regional republics?  Then you’re a traditional American patriot. Or do you cling to hopes of national unity, or believe in compromise to preserve our union of 330 million?  Then you’re part of the problem. The frightening […]

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Reading the Props: 22 Would Make Uber and Lyft the Kings of the World.

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)

Every two years, I read the full text of all statewide ballot propositions—because at least one Californian should. Next is Prop. 22  In retrospect, Lex Luthor’s ambitions were modest. He only wanted Australia. Uber, Lyft and DoorDash, the firms behind Prop 22, are bent on world domination. And this initiative, titled “The Protect App-Based Drivers […]

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I’m Voting 25 Times. And You Should Too!

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)

In his latest false attack on California, President Trump suggests he’d win California because we Californians all vote three times every election. If only voting here were that easy. I’m voting 25 times in the fall election. And that’s perfectly legal because I live in Los Angeles County. On just one ballot, I face 24 […]

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The Ex-Governors As Initiative Warriors

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)

Old California governors don’t die. They just play initiative politics. Just look at our two most recent ex-governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown. They’ve gone beyond the past ex-governor practice of endorsing the occasional measure to being major players in the system. They are using more than their names or political brands. They are also […]

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