Out With Mass Incarceration and in With Mass Commerce

Can California Call It Progress When Rural Prisons Are Replaced With Retail Warehouses?

As California starts closing prisons, what might open in their place?

I glimpsed one answer to that question while driving to Deuel Vocational Institution, between the San Joaquin County cities of Tracy and Manteca. The demise of Deuel, which shuts at the end of September, is more than just the first closure of a state-owned prison in a generation. It also opens a prison window on the future of our landscapes, and on the peculiar predations of California progress.

Heeding my phone’s directions from Oakland, I exited I-205 at Tracy and followed …

Aggressive State Meddling Could Fix California’s Housing Crisis

With Local Governments Crying "NIMBY," Sacramento Must Empower Developers and Home-Seekers

All the debate about how to address California’s massive housing shortage is obscuring the big picture: a state takeover of local housing policy has begun.

That’s the real import of the …

Welcome to the Affluent Central Coast, California’s Child Poverty Capital

How the Rising Cost of Living and, Paradoxically, the Availability of Jobs Are Tough on Families

Californians used to envy residents of our beautiful, wine-and-wealth-drenched Central Coast. Now we have reason to pity them.

And not just because Nicole Kidman has thrown her star power into producing …

What’s Behind California’s Sudden Urge to Help the Homeless?

It’s the Rich, Now Crowded Next to the Destitute in the Housing-Crunched State, Who Are Driving Politicians’ Newfound Attentiveness

How did homelessness suddenly become such a hot issue across California? There are many reasons, and few of them have anything to do with people who are homeless.

Those reasons—economic anxiety, …

Were California and Poland Separated at Birth?

The Golden State’s Long-Lost Twin Is Much Farther East Than Texas or New York

California, I’d like to introduce you to the sister you never knew you had.

Her name is Poland.

No joke.

I see by the look on your face, California, that you are …

California Is No Longer a Destination

A State Once Famous for Offering Escape and Lucky Breaks Is Now Just a Place Where People Aspire to Stick Around and Settle In

Today’s California dream is not your grandfather’s California dream.

So why do we keep telling ourselves that we’re still seeking the same California dream? “California dream” has become a verbal …