Connecting California, Headline, Joe Mathews »

California’s Real Budgetary Sin—We Spend Too Little, Not Too Much

By | May 22, 2017

We have reached the high holy days of California’s budget season, as our governor and legislative leaders decide which programs will gain new life, and which will be sacrificed. And so our state government’s ministers have begun their ritual sermons on the dangers of overspending.
They are preaching nonsense. California’s real problem is underspending.
Go ahead and dismiss my claim as blasphemy. After so many years of …

Connecting California, Headline »

With Local Governments Crying “NIMBY,” Aggressive State Meddling Could Fix California’s Housing Crisis

By | May 15, 2017

All the debate about how to address California’s massive housing shortage is obscuring the big picture: a state takeover of local housing policy has begun.
That’s the real import of the more than 100 bills that have been introduced in the legislature to change housing policy in various ways. None of the current proposals is up to the task of getting the state to build sufficient …

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The Verdict Is in—California’s Dickensian Courts Are Failing Us

By | May 8, 2017

Dig deep enough into any of California’s biggest problems, and you’ll eventually hit upon a common villain: our court system.
California’s housing shortage, its poverty, its poor business climate, and its failing infrastructure all are explained in no small part by the failure of our underfunded, delay-prone courts to provide anything resembling timely justice. But in public narratives of what’s wrong with the state, we …

Connecting California, Featured, Joe Mathews »

Go Ahead and Blame Berkeley. Everyone Else Does.

By | May 1, 2017

Thank you, Berkeley.
Recent headlines should remind Californians of yet another way we are lucky. Our state has the world’s best scapegoat: you.
You—our most distinguished public university and all the people, institutions, and neighborhoods surrounding it—do far more than research and educate. You serve the vital social purpose of being a convenient punching bag for angry people of all manner of ideological preoccupations.
The right and …

Connecting California, Featured, Joe Mathews »

California’s Idea of a Full School Day Doesn’t Make the Grade

By | April 24, 2017

On many mornings, I think my state senator has the best policy idea in California.
The rest of the time, I think he’s missing the point.
The idea involves the sleep of schoolkids, and the state senator is Anthony Portantino, who represents me and nearly one million other residents of one of California’s nerdiest regions, the San Gabriel Valley.
Portantino has won plaudits for a bill that …

Connecting California, Headline, Joe Mathews »

Why Nevada Should Get Hitched—to California

By | April 13, 2017

Dearest Nevada,
Marry me.
My proposal may seem sudden, but ours shouldn’t be one of those late-night quickie weddings at a chapel off the Strip.
I, California, want a real grown-up marriage with you, Nevada. We both have reputations for being fun and youthful and wild, but who are we kidding? We’re both mature states that entered the Union in the mid-19th century.
And look how much we …

Connecting California, Headline, Joe Mathews »

It’s Time to Get on Board with Golden Gate Bridge Train Transit

By | April 6, 2017

If California is as serious about public transit as its urban leaders claim, why isn’t there a commuter rail service running over the Golden Gate Bridge?
There’s no good reason why our state’s iconic span must devote all six of its lanes to cars. For more than 50 years, engineering studies have shown that the bridge could accommodate trains.
And now would be the perfect time to …

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Stop Blaming California for Donald Trump

By | March 30, 2017

Is California to blame for Donald Trump?
That may seem a preposterous question to ask of a state that voted so decisively against the new American president that it was responsible, all by itself, for his loss of the popular vote. It seems even stranger given California’s near-total resistance to Trump’s presidency, and the way our state embodies so many of the good things—diversity, immigration, …

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How California’s Open Meetings Law Became a Gag Rule

By | March 23, 2017

The Ralph M. Brown Act, first approved in 1953, is celebrated for its supposed guarantees that we citizens have a voice in the decisions of all our local governments.
But today, it is little more than a gag rule.
Over the past six decades, the Brown Act—famous for its guarantee of a 72-hour notice for public meetings—has become a civic Frankenstein, threatening the very public participation it …

Connecting California, Headline, Joe Mathews »

Welcome to the Affluent Central Coast, California’s Child Poverty Capital

By | March 16, 2017

Californians used to envy residents of our beautiful, wine-and-wealth-drenched Central Coast. Now we have reason to pity them.
And not just because Nicole Kidman has thrown her star power into producing a TV series based on the premise that Monterey’s women might be murderers.
The past year has brought one calamity after another. Last summer’s Soberanes Fire burned a vast swath around Big Sur for 83 days, …

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