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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more