The Golden State’s Unpopular Pro-Slavery Governor

The First American Executive of California Was a Pioneering Man of the West—and the South

Peter Hardeman Burnett had probably the most impressive list of achievements of any leader in the early American West. He served on the supreme court of the Oregon Territory and became the first governor of California.

So why has he been forgotten?

Because sometimes history gets things right. Burnett’s stellar resume could not offset his blatant racism and inept leadership, which have denied him a prominent place in the region’s history.

Burnett is best remembered, if he is remembered at all, for his governorship of California, in 1849. He resigned in 1851, with …

More In: California

Could California’s Coldest Place Blaze a Path to Better Development?

Up in the Sierra, the Town of Truckee Is Embracing Dense Urban Growth

One of California’s hottest development projects can be found in one of its coldest towns.

In an era of bitter neighbor-bites-neighbor fights against big developments, perhaps it’s fitting that an antidote …

How UCLA Helped Break the Color Barrier in College Athletics

Jackie Robinson and Tom Bradley Were Among Sports Stars Who Proved That Integration Made Schools More Competitive

The arrival of five athletes, all African American, on the UCLA campus in the late 1930s would prove to be a moment of destiny, not just for college sports but …

L.A. Is Drowning in Its Own Water Pretensions

Civic Leaders' Fantastical Claims of Water Self-Sufficiency May Endanger Southern California's Real Water Supplies

This time, “Chinatown” is fooling itself.

Los Angeles has a long history of water deceptions, a point made famously by Roman Polanski’s 1974 neo-noir film. But the massive self-sabotage of the …

The Adults Have Flunked. So Put California Kids in Charge of School Spending.

Students Already Make Budget Decisions in Some Locales, and Should Participate Statewide

California education finances are an unholy mess—with incomprehensible budget formulas, a new equity funding program that doesn’t produce equity, and cuts to schools even during the current economic expansion. And …