Connecting California, Joe Mathews »

California’s Lottery Approach to Public Education Still Privileges the Privileged

By | September 15, 2016

Californians may think we have a system of public education. But what we really have is a state system for rationing public education.
I got a personal taste of this in the spring, when I took my five-year-old son to our local school district offices to determine his educational future. This being California, the determination was made not by a test of his abilities or …

Connecting California, Joe Mathews »

Civil War General William T. Sherman Had a California Past That Ties Our State Together

By | September 8, 2016

This month, as California celebrates Admission Day—a legal holiday in honor of our officially joining the United States on September 9, 1850—we should give ourselves an overdue present:
A founding story of our statehood starring someone we can be proud of, both as Californians and Americans.
Even after 166 uneasy years in the American empire, the state of California doesn’t have a pithy origin story it …

Connecting California, Joe Mathews »

Why I, Bigfoot, Am Running Scared in California

By | September 1, 2016

I’m so famous for keeping a low profile that some people doubt my existence. So I’m here to tell my fellow Californians that I’m proudly one of you.
I travel widely in California (Bigfoot sightings have been reported in every county of this state), and as I do, my fears have grown about our home state. My anxiety is not because of all the strange …

Connecting California, Joe Mathews »

The Next Big Shift in California’s Climate Change Movement Highlights Inland Communities

By | August 25, 2016

She calls him Eduardo. He calls her Mrs. Pavley.
And together they epitomize big changes within the world-renowned California movement to fight climate change.
She is Fran Pavley, 67, a state senator from the San Fernando Valley who is in the final months of a distinguished legislative career that established her as the mother of California climate change policy. He is Eduardo Garcia, 39, a first-time assemblyman …

Connecting California, Joe Mathews »

The Word of the Summer Is “Victoriotic” and Its Definition Is Donald Trump

By | August 18, 2016

It’s the word of the summer: Victoriotic.
You won’t find it in the Oxford English Dictionary or Merriam-Webster, at least not yet.
It began its life as an epithet, hurled by my oldest son, age 7, at me.
“Don’t be victoriotic!”
I was guilty as charged. I had a long losing streak against him in the board game, “Sequence.” Finally, I had broken that streak, and I …

Connecting California, Joe Mathews »

In the Kingdom of Ventura, Growth Restrictions Save Open Space but Hurt the Middle Class

By | August 11, 2016

Ventura County is the most glorious and verdant of California kingdoms.
Just ask its princes and princesses—those fortunate enough to be able to afford to live and vote there. Most of the time, the nearly 900,000 residents can pretend that they live in the country, even though they’re part of greater Los Angeles. Parks or open space or farmland is almost always within easy walking or …

Connecting California, Joe Mathews »

Stoners Are Harshing California’s Legal Weed Buzz

By | August 4, 2016

California tokers, why are you trippin’ so hard?
You keep saying that marijuana is supposed to help manage anxiety. But those of you who work in or partake of the cannabis industry sound like the most stressed-out people in California.
And that leaves me wondering what’s in your bongs, especially since 2016 is supposed to be a year of great triumph for you. Cannabis is …

Connecting California, Joe Mathews »

California’s Coming Election Has More in Common With Brexit Than You Think

By | July 28, 2016

Do you think Brexit was a singularly British form of folly, having little to do with California? Think again. California is the global capital of Brexit-style votes, and this November’s state ballot is littered with mini-Brexits.
Don’t think of “a Brexit” as a vote to leave a larger political or economic union. (California isn’t about to leave the U.S.—though a Trump presidency would sure stir …

Connecting California, Joe Mathews »

Does Blink-182 Know Something Governor Jerry Brown Doesn’t?

By | July 21, 2016

How is California doing these days? The answer may depend on whom you believe: Governor Brown or Blink-182.
This summer has exposed a divide in perception of California, between the political triumphalism of our elected officials and the decidedly more anxious state of affairs depicted in the broader culture.
Our state’s political and media elites are selling the idea of a “California comeback.” They say—in …

Connecting California, Joe Mathews »

The Hardest Language to Learn in Silicon Valley Has Nothing to Do With Programming

By | July 14, 2016

You can’t talk to people in Silicon Valley anymore. They don’t even speak our language.
By that, I’m not referencing Mark Zuckerberg’s mediocre Mandarin or the software code underlying so much of the Valley’s endeavors. I’m talking, literally, about the words Valley denizens use when they speak, in sentences like: “Yeah, that start-up has some cool gamification, but it’s an X for Y model, they don’t …

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