Don’t Let the Government Get Your Goat

Cedar, the Caprine Captive Caught in the Middle of a Fatal Legal Battle, Has an Important Story to Tell

I, Cedar, may be as dead as the narrator of the film Sunset Boulevard. But from my warm and dry pen in caprine heaven, I can still hand down a hard lesson for my fellow Californians:

Never, ever, let the government get your goat.

I’m not one to brag, but the story of my short life is a parable of these head-spinning times, when cruel is the rule, and mercy is as rare as affordable housing. The circumstances of my death, still the subject of legal inquiry, also raise questions about the …

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Go to Sleep, My City Council

Goodnight Moon, Goodnight Stars, Goodnight to the Government Meetings That Should Close Before the Bars

I hereby propose a new rule to improve the quality of California’s local democracy. When the bars in your city close, so must your city council.

The idea occurred to me …

Let the Kids Rule School Boards

In the Midst of a Bipartisan Attack on Their Educational Rights, It’s Time for Young People to Fight Back

California kids, do you follow the news about the culture wars over the boards that oversee your schools?

If you do, you’ll see these wars portrayed as political contests between groups …

A Modest Proposal: Give High-Speed Rail to Unhoused Californians

Combining Two Failed Golden State Projects Could Save Both. Right?

California is spending billions to house its increasing population of unhoused people. But it hasn’t come close to building enough to meet its ambitious goal of ending homelessness. And many …

On a Rocky Hill in Athens, a ‘Democratic Odyssey’ Begins

Could a European People’s Assembly—Politician-Free and Chosen by Lottery—Become a Permanent Branch of Government?

Democracy was first built on a lot of loose rock.

Can democracy now be rebuilt on that very same ground?

Recently, I spent a long afternoon on a dusty and rocky Athens …

What L.A. and Belfast Have in Common

Should Two Famously Divided Cities Forget or Remember the Past to Move Forward in the Present?

To govern a divided city, you need to balance your remembering with some forgetting.

That was my takeaway after moderating a recent public event that used Zoom to link live audiences …