How California (Might Have) Learned to Stop Worrying and Love a Big, Unbalanced Budget

COVID Is Helping the State Get Over Its Misguided Obsession With Staying in the Black at the Expense of Solving Its Costly Problems

In the midst of California’s pandemic catastrophe, we may be seeing, at long last, the demise of the dominant mode of thinking of our state’s leaders: “budgetism.”

Budgetism is the false and conventional wisdom—promoted relentlessly by our state’s media and by elected officials of both parties—that the real measure of California’s success is the condition of the state budget.

For decades, if the budget was balanced or in surplus, California was supposedly on the move, a superpower, or even a national model of success. If the budget was in deficit, California …

More In: Connecting California

Why Californians—of Both Parties—Should Embrace the Recall | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Why Californians—of Both Parties—Should Embrace the Recall

Even When You Don’t Want to Remove a Politician, the Vote Provides a Healthy Democratic Dose of Self-Examination

Californians should love me, even when I’m used against a politician you like.

At the very least, I hope you’ll appreciate me if Gov. Gavin Newsom, who won office overwhelmingly in …

Don’t Tear Down L.A.’s Notorious Men’s Central Jail  | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Don’t Tear Down L.A.’s Notorious Men’s Central Jail 

Transforming the Facility Into a Museum and Democracy Center Would Allow California to Remember Its Carceral Cruelty—And Create a Different Future

One of California’s most notorious jails could close in 2021. But if the state truly wants to leave its carceral history in the past and create a more open and …

SLO Down, You Move Too Fast, California | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

SLO Down, You Move Too Fast, California

In Praise of the Peaceful Pleasures of San Luis Obispo County

SLO down, California. Even in pandemic, you move too fast.

This new year, perhaps we should all resolve to model the spirit of SLO, the acronym that embodies San Luis Obispo, …

Good Riddance, Elon Musk, and Good Luck, Texas | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Good Riddance, Elon Musk, and Good Luck, Texas

California Is All the Richer for Losing the World’s Fourth Wealthiest Person

Thank you, Texas, for taking Elon Musk off of California’s hands.

Perhaps that reaction surprises you. After all, your state leaders declared victory when Musk, chief of Tesla and SpaceX, announced …

Give California’s Kids Barstools for Christmas | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Give California’s Kids Barstools for Christmas

It's Clear That the Next Generation Doesn't Matter in a State That Prioritizes Bars and Restaurants Over Schools

Santa, California children need more this Christmas than you can fit in the sleigh. But could you at least give every Californian under the age of 18 their very own …