Joe Mathews

California Editor
Zocalo Public Square

Joe Mathews is California columnist and editor for Zócalo Public Square,, the media nonprofit in Los Angeles. He writes the weekly syndicated Connecting California column for Zócalo; it appears in 30 media outlets around California.

Joe was formerly a reporter at the LA Times, Wall Street Journal and Baltimore Sun, and served as a senior fellow at the New America Foundation.

Joe is co-president of the Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy (, through which he led the process of creating a new Magna Charta for Democracy Cities, adopted in Rome in 2018. He is co-author, with Mark Paul, of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (University of California Press, 2010). Joe’s previous book was The People’s Machine: Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Rise of Blockbuster Democracy (PublicAffairs, 2006).