Can Fighting Money with Money Create Fairer Elections?

Less Than 1 Percent of the Population Donates to Local Races. In Oakland, Giving Voters ‘Democracy Dollars’ Might Even the Playing Field

Would our democracy work better if all of us were campaign donors?

That’s the proposition posed by democracy vouchers, an idea with Seattle origins that has reached the Golden State.

This fall, voters in the city of Oakland will decide whether to distribute four vouchers, worth $25 each, to city residents ahead of future elections. Oaklanders would be free to give those vouchers to local candidates for mayor, city council, city attorney, city auditor, or school board. People could split up their vouchers among different campaigns, or give all four—the full $100—to …

More In: Connecting California

Will California Get SMART About Mass Transit? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Will California Get SMART About Mass Transit?

A New Train Could Help Battle Climate Change, Serve Expanding Metro Areas, and Create a Northern California Mega-Region

If this train is so SMART, why can’t I find it?

That’s the question I asked myself in Larkspur, in Marin County, after arriving on the ferry from San Francisco one …

A Tale of Two California Bridges | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

A Tale of Two California Bridges

L.A. Was Too Hot for the Sixth Street Viaduct, While San Francisco Played It Cool at the Presidio

Nothing reveals the character of a city more than the way it opens a present.

California saw as much this summer, as our two most distinguished municipalities—Los Angeles and San Francisco—each …

The Breakup San Bernardino County Needs | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Breakup San Bernardino County Needs

Instead of Splitting Away From California, Split Yourself Up Instead

Dear San Bernardino County,

I understand your desire to leave California.

Your complaints—about the high costs of being here, the state’s low levels of public investment, the obstacles to building housing—all have …

California Doesn’t Need a New Abortion Measure | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

California Doesn’t Need a New Abortion Measure

Prop 1 Might Have Good Intentions, But It Puts Fundamental Rights at Risk

California’s leaders shouldn’t put fundamental rights up for a vote. But the legislature and governor have nonetheless chosen to add Proposition 1 to this November’s ballot.

At first glance, Prop 1 …