In California Politics, You Must Find Your Inner Terminator

Your Winning Initiative Requires More Sequels Than Governor Schwarzenegger’s Movies

Running for office in California is a tough job, but ultimately temporary. The election happens, you win or you lose, and life goes on.

But sponsoring a ballot initiative is forever.

That lesson hit home last week as I interviewed former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger during a global forum on direct democracy in Mexico City.

Californians elected Schwarzenegger governor 20 years ago this October. His second term concluded at the end of 2010. But in a very real sense, he is still governing us, for two reasons.

First, because he is a singularly relentless person, …

More In: Connecting California

Should California Fight for or Against Silicon Valley? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Should California Fight for or Against Silicon Valley?

The Growing Federal War on ‘Big Tech’ Poses a Quandary—and Exposes Our Hypocrisy

Which side should California be on in the coming federal war against Silicon Valley?

The question feels less hypothetical after the State of the Union address, when President Biden blasted “Big …

The Colorado? Call It the California River

The Golden State's Power Should Be Used Not to Protect Its Water, But to Solve Western Water Problems

Why do we still call it the Colorado?

Sure, the river begins in the Colorado Rockies. But in law and practice, the waterway making headlines is clearly the California River. And …

How California Made a Polish Poet Great

Exiled to Berkeley, Czesław Miłosz Explored the Margins of Alienation, the Horrors of His Past, and Visions of the Future

Want to become a signature voice of your troubled nation? Perhaps you need a decades-long exile in California.

It worked for Czesław Miłosz, who entered the pantheon of Polish poets thanks …

California’s Beauty Doesn’t Love You Back | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

California’s Beauty Doesn’t Love You Back

The Stunning Hillside Homes, Epic Mountains, and Gnarly Waves That Draw Us Here Also Threaten Our Existence

Early in the film Chinatown, a Southern California coroner named Morty chuckles after examining the dead body of the city’s water department chief.

“Isn’t that something?” Morty says. “Middle of a …

How the 2003 Recall Created Today’s Republic of California

Governors on the Left and the Right Have Touted the State as the Global Capital of Freedom. Can the Reality Match the Rhetoric?

Twenty years ago, editors at the Los Angeles Times sent me to Sacramento to interview an anti-tax activist named Ted Costa, who had filed a petition that would lead to …