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Take Me Out to the California League

By | August 21, 2017

Take me out to the ballgame this summer? Sure, as long as you’re taking me to San Jose or Visalia or Lake Elsinore.
Yep, I know those cities don’t have major league teams—that’s the point. In California these days, Major League Baseball is miserable. But the California League—our very own minor league—is a little-known jewel, binding together our most challenged cities and regions with wholesome and …

Connecting California, Headline, Joe Mathews »

In San Juan Bautista, Site of a Famous Mission and a Hitchcock Masterpiece, It’s Apocalypse—Now

By | August 14, 2017

If the apocalypse comes to California, I’ll be ready. After all, I’ve been to San Juan Bautista, which has centuries of experience with the ending of worlds.
I visited the San Benito County town again this summer, when Armageddon seems closer than ever. North Korean missiles may now be able to reach California. The president of the United States has the nuclear codes and no impulse …

Connecting California, Featured, Joe Mathews »

To Make California a True Democracy, Give Non-Citizens the Right to Vote

By | August 10, 2017

President Trump claims that California allowed millions of non-citizens to cast ballots in the 2016 elections. This allegation, while totally bogus, has put California and its political leaders on the defensive. They are forced to respond as Trump and his allies use the lie to justify a new federal commission devoted to making it harder for all Americans to vote.
Californians should go on offense—by embracing …

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Will California’s Housing Shortage Epidemic Infect the Rest of the West?

By | July 31, 2017

Sorry, Utah.
And apologies to the rest of the West. California’s epidemic shortage of housing hasn’t just sickened our own state—by driving up prices, forcing residents into rentals and onto the street, and putting a $140 billion annual drag on the Golden State’s economy. The disease is spreading to our neighbors, too.
Today, every significant city in the Western United States is experiencing a minor league …

Connecting California, Headline »

Is California an Incubator for New Ideas, or an Insular Bubble?

By | July 24, 2017

California, do you want to be an incubator for great ideas—or a bubble that shuts out the world?
That’s the question Californians need to ask, as we simultaneously confront three big challenges: building a more sustainable economy and future; reckoning with our crisis-level shortages in housing and infrastructure; and protecting ourselves from a deranged Trump administration.
The bubble-or-incubator question is also the best way to understand …

Connecting California, Featured, Joe Mathews »

L.A.’s Revelatory Light Rail for Nerds

By | July 17, 2017

My train line is smarter than your train line.
I’m a regular rider of “The Brain Train,” officially known as the Gold Line on the L.A. Metro system’s. The Gold Line is light rail running from the eastern San Gabriel Valley into downtown L.A. and then back out again to East L.A. Along the way, it connects enough smart institutions—from innovative community colleges, to a …

Connecting California, Headline »

The Next Great California Bridge Should Span the High Desert

By | July 10, 2017

What’s the fastest way to change California?
Assuming you don’t have the power to set off a major earthquake, your best bet would be to connect the two small desert cities of Palmdale and Victorville.
These two working-class places aren’t often associated with political power; but building world-class infrastructure to bridge the 50 miles between the two cities might be the most powerful current idea in …

Connecting California, Headline »

California, Let’s Celebrate July 4 by Declaring Independence

By | July 3, 2017

Dear America,
I suppose I should wish you happy birthday. But I’m just not feeling it.
You and I, the United States and California, used to be pretty darn close—“indivisible” was your word and “inseparable” was mine. Sure, we had our differences—I’ve always been a little out there—but the differences were what made us a successful partnership.
America wouldn’t be America without California, and California was proudly …

Connecting California, Featured, Joe Mathews »

The Arts Can Do for California What Politics and Big Business Can’t

By | June 23, 2017

Can the arts save California?
On every public policy challenge other than climate change regulations, the state seems stuck. We can’t transform our underfunded and underperforming education system to meet the needs of our diverse people, expand our universities to prepare for future economic requirements, or build nearly enough affordable housing. Silicon Valley, which still bills itself as savior of California and the world, has revealed …

Connecting California, Headline, Joe Mathews »

Why San Diego and The Donald Are On a Collision Course

By | June 19, 2017

If you wish to inspect the frontlines of the conflict between Donald Trump and California, head for San Diego.
Yes, it’s true that the Golden State’s fight against the president has so far taken place in the courts and in cyberspace. And, sure, challenging The Donald’s legitimacy is not a mere local pastime but an all-consuming statewide prizefight. But as a matter of geography, culture and …

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