The 1958 Governor’s Race That Launched a Dynasty

An Internecine Fight Between Two Republicans Opened the Door to Ambitious San Francisco Democrat Pat Brown

As Jerry Brown nears the end of his record fourth term as California governor, his final months are swathed in nostalgia, superlatives, and retrospectives on a remarkable five decades in politics.

But few people look back far enough: to the pivotal election 60 years ago that unintentionally spawned his father’s governorship and the Brown family dynasty.

In 1958, two of California’s most powerful and popular Republicans tried to swap jobs—the governor ran for a U.S. Senate seat while the Senator tried to be elected governor. The epic failure of the “Big …

California Prison Sentences Don’t Work Any More

Why Now Is the Time to Change the Rules I Helped Make

Just how much discretion should we give to officialdom when sentencing people to prison for crimes?

It’s a hard question, and, as I’ve learned firsthand, the answer can change through time. …

Does Blink-182 Know Something California’s Governor Jerry Brown Doesn’t?

While Politicians Keep Trumpeting the State’s Success, This Summer’s Songs and Films Sound Skeptical

How is California doing these days? The answer may depend on whom you believe: Governor Brown or Blink-182.

This summer has exposed a divide in perception of California, between the political …

California Needs to Embrace the Apocalypse

Why Gov. Jerry Brown Is Practicing ‘Enlightened Doomsaying’ to Save the State—and the World

Is California being governed by apocalyptic French philosophy?

Oui. But it’s not the end of the world.

Indeed, apocalyptic French philosophy may finally provide clarity for those of us long puzzled …

California, Where Less Costs More

It's Time to Stop the Unfairness

Is “Eureka” still the state motto? I suppose so. But if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll soon redesign the California official seal to express the real code we live by: …

Why Is It So Hard to Enroll a Kid in Public School?

California Sure Doesn't Act As If Educational Access Is Central to Civic Life

A wiseacre neighbor walked by the corner where I was standing and shouted, “Is this the line for the U2 tickets?”

Nope. The line, which extended out a brick building for …