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 …

Connecting California, Joe Mathews »

California Needs South L.A. To Succeed, the Future of Our Working Class May Depend on It

By | July 7, 2016

“How can we save South Los Angeles?” is a tired question. It’s an artifact of previous decades when the region formerly called South Central was known by its reputation for crime, gangs, poverty, racial conflict, and the 1992 riots, the deadliest American urban uprising since the Civil War.
So let’s retire the old query, and turn it upside down to pose a new and urgent question: …

Connecting California, Joe Mathews »

James Madison Would Have Loved the Way California Legalized Fireworks

By | July 2, 2016

If you venture out to Fourth of July weekend events around California, you’ll probably hear high talk about how Independence Day is a celebration of the things we Americans supposedly have in common: the same rights and freedoms and equality under the same laws.
Yeah, right—and I’m Thomas Jefferson.
To see what the Fourth—and this nutty country—are really all about, I headed to the intersection …

Connecting California, Joe Mathews »

San Diego Is California’s Most American City, and the Best Place to Spend July 4

By | June 30, 2016

My fellow Californians, declare your independence. Skip your community’s local parade and fireworks show. And head to San Diego, where the truth will be self-evident: No place in California celebrates the Fourth of July half as well as San Diego.
In saying this, I mean no offense to the patriotic pageantry of Petaluma or Paso Robles. Personally, it is hard for me to acknowledge San …