How Trader Joe’s Exploits a Fading California Fantasy

In the Golden State It’s Getting Harder to Live the Good Life on the Cheap

For years, I’ve told children, newspaper editors, and other credulous people that I’m the Joe of Trader Joe’s. That’s, of course, a lie. But it is true that the store and I grew up in the very same neighborhood.

As a child in Pasadena, I rode my bike the two short blocks from my house to the Trader Joe’s on Arroyo Parkway—the original store, first opened by Joe Coulombe, a San Diego native and Stanford alum, back in 1967. It was known for being a cramped and cluttered place, mostly good …

More In: Connecting California

How PG&E Has Unified a Divided California | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How PG&E Has Unified a Divided California

The Utility’s Failures Are Forcing the Golden State to Acknowledge a Crisis in Both Climate and Democracy

Thank you, PG&E.

I felt moved to write this thank-you note because so many of your 16 million California customers have been so ungrateful. No corporation in this state has done …

California Is Still America’s Most Republican State | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

California Is Still America’s Most Republican State

Since 1850, GOP Politicians Have Shaped What Has Become a Democratic Stronghold 

Did Leonardo da Vinci spray graffiti all over the Mona Lisa? Did Alfred Hitchcock destroy the original print of Vertigo?

Of course not. So why are Republicans waging war against California, …

How Taiwan’s High Speed Trains Expose California’s Lack of Nerve | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How Taiwan’s High-Speed Trains Expose California’s Lack of Nerve

While the Golden State Made Excuses, the Poorer, Smaller Island Country Transformed Its National Transit System

When it comes to fast trains, a California consensus has hardened: High-speed rail is beyond our capabilities.

We may be the world’s high-tech capital, but we say that high-speed rail …

Why California Should Mourn the Loss of Topgun | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Why California Should Mourn the Loss of Topgun

The Navy's School for Elite Pilots, Once Based in San Diego, Taught Us to Deal With Technological Failure

Bring back Topgun!

By that, I do not mean Top Gun, the cliché-ridden, late-Cold War, Tom Cruise film about speed-crazy Naval fighter pilots that still defines San Diego in the public …

Why Small, Beleaguered Vallejo Is Huge in California Hip Hop | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Why Small, Beleaguered Vallejo Is Huge in California Hip Hop

A Bankrupt Neighborhood’s Gift of Gab Created Music Rooted in a ‘Sweet, Idiosyncratic, Hustler Culture’

Conventional wisdom is that California’s greatest art is produced by collisions between the different peoples and cultures in the centers of our biggest cities.

But if that’s true, how …