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Californians Want More From Our Neighborhoods

By | October 20, 2016

California is a state of large things: A 1,100-mile coastline and giant mountain ranges and big roads, bigger cities, and the biggest vistas. In such a sprawling place, with so much disconnection, how much could people care about their own little neighborhoods?
Answer: An awful lot.
This is a state of neighborhoods. And Californians are very devoted to their own. We identify ourselves as residents of …

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California Is Voting On Whether to Catch Up With a Beach City’s Ban on Single-Use Bags

By | October 13, 2016

Next month, California might almost catch up with Carpinteria.
The small beach town in Santa Barbara County, population 13,500, is rarely cited as a leader in anything. But when it comes to the California cause of eliminating single-use bags—a cause responsible for two different state measures on the November ballot—Carpinteria is our model city.
Carpinteria boasts California’s broadest ban on single-use bags. It doesn’t just bar getting …

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California’s New Education Architecture Is Already Failing

By | October 6, 2016

Is California abandoning its poorest students?
That question would be dismissed as absurd by our state’s education leaders, especially Gov. Jerry Brown and the State Board of Education. For years, they have been building a new educational architecture they say will do more for the poorest kids in the poorest schools.
But as the many elements of this architecture are put in place slowly—and I do …

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Why More Californians Should Retire Like Dodgers Announcer Vin Scully

By | September 29, 2016

If only more Californians could retire like Vin.
Vin Scully, that is. The Hall of Fame announcer for the Los Angeles Dodgers will call his last game this Sunday, October 2, a month shy of his 89th birthday. That retirement has touched off a national celebration of Scully’s announcing mastery, his storytelling methods, and his many contributions to baseball through 67 years with the Dodgers. …

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 …

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