Why Democracies Need the Right to Vote “No”

To Boost Participation and Promote Compromise, Taiwan and Berkeley May Let Citizens Cast Ballots Against Candidates

If we want our civic life to be more positive, we might need to vote in the negative.

That’s the compelling case that Sam Chang, a retired banker who lives in Taipei, was making as I rode BART with him between meetings with California election experts. Chang is the improbable leader of a global effort to establish what is called “the negative vote” or “the balanced ballot.” And he has started with concurrent ballot initiative campaigns to add the “negative vote” to the election system in Taiwan and the city charter …

More In: Connecting California

The Small California Farm Town That Puts Kids First

Against All Odds, Gonzales—Population 9,000—Offers Services That Touch the Lives of All Its Young People

What if California actually decided to put the needs of its poor kids first? What would that look like?

Here’s one answer: it might look like Gonzales, a small city of …

For California’s New Governor, Big Mistakes Will Lead to Greatness

Gavin Newsom Can’t Make Meaningful Progress on Health Care or Housing Without an Appetite for Risk

“I’ll be watching from the ranch… but I’m only an hour from Sacramento, so Gavin, do not screw up.” — Gov. Jerry Brown, November 5, 2018

Gavin, screw up. Please.

Make mistakes. …

From Bethlehem to Palm Springs, Christmas Belongs in the Desert

During the Holiday Season, Southern California’s Coachella Valley Becomes a Place of Rebirth

If you’re looking for the quintessential Christmas experience, there’s only one place you should go: the Southern California desert.

The Coachella Valley is the Golden State’s very own Yuletide capital—which …

California Needs Frank Capra to Rewrite Its Story

The Legendary Film Director Knew That the Golden State Isn’t About Rich Moguls, but About the Struggles and Triumphs of Ordinary People

The California story needs a remake.

Get me Capra!

Frank—legendary director of films including It Happened One Night to It’s a Wonderful Life—has been dead since 1991, you say? No matter! Just …