How the Cold War Fused Exile and American Identity

In California's Orange County, Vietnamese Refugees Rewrote a Tragic Defeat by Finding a Home in the U.S.

Thirty years ago, the small city of Westminster, California, held a grand yet understated indoor ceremony at the Asian Garden Mall to unveil the Little Saigon freeway sign. Governor George Deukmejian performed the ceremony to officially recognize the largest diasporic Vietnamese enclave as a Special Tourist Zone. He called it “a major cultural, social and commercial center.”

Ethnic enclaves are commonplace in the United States, but this announcement felt like an epic diplomatic triumph against all odds, because it put the name “Saigon” back on the map. Several months after …

More In: California

My Plan for Building the Perfect California City

Welcome to 'Joeville,' Where the First Rule Is Not to Play by the Rules

Recently a startup founder in San Jose asked me a question: What would you do if you were starting a California city?

My first answer: Get my head examined.

For 40 …

From Voting to Tech Innovation, California Ranks First at Second Best

Whether in Sacramento, Silicon Valley, or El Segundo, Golden Staters Now Prefer to Follow the Leader

The world over, people long to finish first. But in California, it’s better to be second best.

This is the larger truth at the center of the Golden State’s June 5 …

Why California’s Godless Governor Was Ahead of His Time

A Friend of FDR but Not of Big Business, Culbert Olson Believed Humans Had to Save Themselves

Culbert Olson is one the most important men you probably never have heard of. He was the only Democrat to serve as governor of California between 1896 and 1958, and …

Even Kafka Couldn’t Dream up California’s Surreal Housing Crisis

The Late Prague Novelist Visits the Golden State, Which Is Metamorphosing Into a Nightmare

I keep hearing you Californians calling your state’s housing crisis Kafkaesque.

You are far too kind: I never imagined a bureaucratic nightmare this cruel, absurd, and surreal.

You may …