How Will California Survive the End of America’s Empire?

A Trip to Rome Offers Old Lessons, Young City Officials, and Inspiration for How to Rebuild Democracy on Imperial Ruins

How will California survive the end of the American empire?

The question might seem hypothetical, but I found it inescapable last week in Rome, where I was running a global forum on the future of direct democracy. Our forum’s mission, on its face, was hopeful: Hundreds of participants, from 80 countries, discussed how to make the world’s democracies more participatory through initiatives, referenda, and other tools.

But each morning, as I left my budget hotel, I found myself picking through the less-hopeful remains of the fallen empires that lay directly in …

More In: Connecting California

Take the ACE Train

A Small but Successful Commuter Line Between Stockton and San Jose Points a Way Forward for California Transportation

As the ACE Train pulls into the Santa Clara station, the conductor pops out—and begins apologizing for his train.

“I’m sorry, but this is not the Amtrak!” he bellows, loud enough …

How Long Can the Military Defend Camp Pendleton?

The Marine Base Sits at a Crossroads of an Urbanizing Southern California Starving for Open Land

The American military may be the finest fighting force in the history of the world. But how long can it defend Camp Pendleton?

Marine Base Camp Pendleton is best known as …

Why Two California Billionaires Should Buy Newspapers

Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk Could Launder Their Reputations—And Maybe Serve the Public

To: Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk
From: Joe Mathews
Re: Acquisition and Reputation

Have you two lost your minds?

Both of you are suffering through long-running, self-inflicted public relations crises. Mark, Facebook’s …

The Modesto Girls are a Family Miracle

How Five Sisters (and Their Brothers) Survived Childhood and Stuck Together in Stanislaus County

California changes too fast. The new so quickly replaces the old. People come and go with a blur. I often feel like you can’t count on anything staying here anymore.

But …