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 drought and the water commissioner drowns. Only in L.A.”

Not just in L.A., of course. All of California has a talent for catastrophic paradox—as this winter is reminding us.

Even as we suffer under a dangerous drought and tough water restrictions, atmospheric rivers flood our communities, force neighborhoods to evacuate, and contribute to dozens of deaths.

We are a state with surpassing wealth, …

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 …

The Mutual ‘F—k You’ Defines California Politics Today | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Mutual ‘F—k You’ Defines California Politics Today

Both Citizens and Public Officials Need Protection From the Anger and Violence Threatening Civic Life

As he left office in December, Los Angeles City Council member Paul Koretz publicly addressed Angelenos who disrupt meetings of the scandal-plagued council with protests and profanity. “In their own …

Is There Anyone in Monterey County Good Enough to Serve in the Legislature? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

No One in Monterey County Is Good Enough to Serve in the Legislature

A Representative Shutout Reflects Problems with the Scale and Structure of California Democracy

Monterey County is home to Big Sur, Carmel, a world-class aquarium, the planet’s most beautiful golf course, half of America’s lettuce, and more than 437,000 people.

But Monterey County isn’t home …

All California Kids Want for Christmas Is a Tutor | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

All California Kids Want for Christmas Is a Tutor

Forget Naughty or Nice, Every Student Should Get the Gift of Academic Support This Holiday Season

Tutor us, Santa baby.

And don’t bother bringing Californians another four lords-a-leaping or eight swans-a-swimming, St. Nick. What we need this year are nearly 5.9 million tutors—one for each and every …