Why California’s Pensions Only Deepen Inequality

The Golden State's Promise to Retirees Puts at Risk the Other Promises It Makes to Its Citizens

If we can’t get rid of the California Rule, can we at least ditch the name?

The California Rule is the misleading moniker we’ve given to our state’s most troublesome legal precedent: that public employees are entitled to whatever pension benefits were in place when they started work. Pension benefits in California are so monumental that they might as well be set in the stone of El Capitan—they can never be cut, unless they are replaced with another benefit of equal value.

You can say that such an ironclad guarantee …

The Delicious Transparency of the Hamburgers

If California Really Wants Open Government, a Northern German City Has a Model That Works

California could use a concert hall like Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie.

The signature structure of 21st century Germany sits atop an old pier above a dramatic bend in the Elbe River. Its …

How California’s Open Meetings Law Became a Gag Rule

Local Government Has Changed So Much That the Historic Brown Act Is Silencing Us, Not Protecting Us

The Ralph M. Brown Act, first approved in 1953, is celebrated for its supposed guarantees that we citizens have a voice in the decisions of all our local governments.

But today, …

Go Ahead: Keep Your Marriage Secret

In California, Confidential Marriage Is a Proud 135-Year-Old Tradition, and the Supreme Court’s Prop 8 Ruling Might Give It New Relevance

Pssst. Wanna know a secret?

I’m going to let you in on confidential marriage, an only-in-California concoction that is little known but deeply relevant to today’s debates about marriage.

Confidential marriage is …