California Should Lead the Covid response

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)

America, I see you flailing—and failing—to respond to this pandemic. Why don’t you just let California handle it? No joke. In normal times, you wouldn’t want Californians running anything. While we are strong at creating culture and technology, our elected leaders typically struggle to manage schools, housing, and traffic. In our personal lives, Californians famously […]

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This Is Not the Time for An Austerity Budget in 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)

The budget should not “shelter in place.” Unfortunately, word went out from the governor’s office that the budget is likely to stand pat, without any new investments or programs.  That’s an enormous mistake. And indefensible, given that it’s a mistake that California has seen made twice in recent memory. Indeed, if Gov. Newsom uses this […]

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Digital Petitions Now

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)

Here is one democratic advance that COVID-19 should demand. The introduction of digital processes for collecting signatures on ballot measure petitions, effective immediately. The coronavirus crisis has hit as petition circulators work towards an unofficial mid-April deadline to gather enough signatures to get various measures on this November’s ballot. But as Politico has shown, the […]

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Californians Must Make Up Missed School days

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)

Not one day. Our kids should not lose one day of school, not a single day of instruction, to the coronavirus. Or to anything else. Let me be clear: I’m not arguing against closing schools in the midst of the pandemic. Flattening the curve of infections comes first.   But the coronavirus must not be an […]

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AB 5 Needs to Be Suspended

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)

Transitioning to the new AB regime was already proving to be extremely difficult before the COVID19 pandemic hit. Now, the transition is impossible. Workers are having their lives upended. People are being told not to go to offices, to work remotely. And many people, facing the prospect of furloughs and layoffs, are going to be […]

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Stop Obsessing About Lottery Funds and Education

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)

Can we stop pretending that lottery funds mean much of anything to schools? In recent weeks, we have seen the recycling of a very old faux-scandal—that the state lottery is not producing enough money for California schools. The occasion for this latest news was a state auditor’s report finding that the lottery is not producing […]

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Quarantine Me at Asilomar

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)

Quarantine me as long as you like. Just make sure you quarantine me at Asilomar. For this peculiar time, there may be no more desirable California place than that small strip of coastal Monterey County known as Asilomar. It’s more than just an unusual state park, with a state beach, hotel, and conference grounds.  It’s […]

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Another Peculiar Victory for Top Two

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)

Top two has scored another victory for its supporters, which is to say there’s been yet another defeat for California democracy. This dubious victory was in the Santa Clarita Valley, where a March election advanced two Republicans to November’s run-off elections. This happened in a district currently represented by a Democrat. What happened? Top two.

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Stop Demonizing Dean

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)

Dean Logan finally got Angelenos to care enough about elections to actually vote in them. For this, media and politicians are demanding he be investigated and terminated. It really is Chinatown, Dean. Let me start by saying that I’m a fan of Dean, who is L.A. County’s registrar-recorder, a job that makes him the elections […]

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The Rainy Day Fund Speaks

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 ready for my close-up, Ms. Gerwig! OK, as a budget fund without acting credits, I shouldn’t expect Greta Gerwig to put me in her next film—even if both she and I are Sacramento natives. But the time is coming—quite quickly—when I, California’s humble Rainy Day Fund, will stand at the center of our state’s […]

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