Reading the Props: Would 21 Be Better With a Different Sponsor?

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 21 Prop 21 is the one measure I struggle to read objectively, because I know too much about the person behind it. That’s Michael Weinstein, of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. He’s spent years waging weird […]

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The New Political Party California Needs

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 got one of those calls again—they come every six months—from a Silicon Valley hotshot who wants to use his brain and his wealth to fix what ails California. This investor asked the same old: What measures might I put on the ballot to reform the state’s politics and governance?  On the phone, I was […]

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Reading the Props: 20’s New Supermajority

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 20.   Prop 20 offers voters a chance to revisit reforms of sentencing and criminal supervision laws passed in the first half of the 2010s decade. Usually, going back and reconsidering previous laws is […]

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Reading the Props: 19’s Glorious West Coast Bias

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 19.   The best bit of populist language on California’s November ballot doesn’t come in an initiative qualified with the signatures of the people. It comes courtesy of the establishment—the members of the California […]

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Reading the Props: Proposition 18 has triggered me.

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 18.   The measure itself makes sense. It is another of the constitutional amendments that the legislature has put on this November’s ballot. It amends the second section of Article II of the state […]

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A Californian’s Plan for a National 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)

California has a solution for America’s putrid populism and political paralysis: adopting direct democracy at the national level. Allowing Americans to vote, by referendum, on the biggest issues wouldn’t be legally challenging or risky. All Congress would have to do is follow six practical steps suggested by a Californian named John Matsusaka. As co-president of […]

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Pressure DiFi to Quit—And Then Appoint 2 ‘War’ Senators

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 the national government enters a period of total political war, California needs two senators who will fight the feds full-time. Now we have zero such senators. Kamala Harris has been pursuing her own national political career—perhaps all the way to the vice presidency. And Dianne Feinstein seems not just old but out of touch, […]

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Reading the Props: Does 17 Go Far Enough?

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 17. If California is a leader in democracy, does Prop 17 go far enough?  Prop 17 is a proposed constitutional amendment from the legislature, and it is simple in its text. It makes two […]

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Reading the Props. 16: This Is Simple Repeal. Really!

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 16. Whatever you think of affirmative action and Prop 16, give the proposition this. There aren’t many ballot measures that actually make the California State Constitution shorter. Prop 16, a constitutional amendment, is the […]

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From California’s Miracle Country, Post-Apocalyptic Life Lessons

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)

Recovery from recession, fire, pandemic and political conflict might require a miracle. Where can Californians find one? In Miracle Country. Miracle Country is the title of Kendra Atleework’s magical memoir about her life in the Eastern Sierra. The book begins with the 2015 fire that decimated her 200-person hometown, Swall Meadows, north of Bishop and […]

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