Connecting California, Joe Mathews »

Is California Losing Its Ability to Hablar Español?

By | December 15, 2016

How are Californians going to save Spanish?
Yes, I know that a call to preserve the Spanish language might seem ludicrous in a state whose very name comes from a Spanish romance novel. Nearly half of us are either from the Spanish-speaking world, or trace our heritage there. We constantly hear Spanish—in our neighborhoods, our workplaces, and in our media; an estimated 38 percent of Californians …

Connecting California, Joe Mathews »

If California Won’t Build Housing on Land, Why Not “Seasteading”?

By | December 8, 2016

The devastating housing shortage in California keeps getting worse. Housing prices won’t stop rising. Why can’t we solve the problem?
Perhaps it’s because all of the proposed solutions—more construction, sprawling construction, denser construction, granny flats, affordable housing mandates, new forms of financing and exemptions from regulation—are built on the same flawed premise: that housing must exist solely on land.
And on land, California’s high costs, environmental regulation, …

Connecting California, Joe Mathews »

Joni Mitchell Might Be Glad to Know That California Is Finally Fulfilling Her Eternal Christmas Wish and Embracing Its Rivers

By | December 1, 2016

California is finally embracing its rivers. But it may be a choking embrace.
We Californians have long celebrated our coastal splendor and toasted the height and beauty of our mountains. But our rivers? For most of us, they have been a mere utility, the plumbing that moved water around the state..
Today in the Golden State, its regions and its people are at long last taking …

Connecting California, Joe Mathews »

Why California Will Need Its Own Weed Cartel

By | October 27, 2016

If California is going to transition successfully to full legalization of cannabis, our state is going to need its own cartel.
For the record (and to reassure my friends in federal law enforcement), I am not smoking anything. And I am not suggesting that California encourage a criminal syndicate like the Zetas or the Sinaloa Cartel for weed. The California cartel actually would need to be …

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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