California’s Unincorporated Places Can Be Poor, Powerless—And the Perfect Place to Commit Murder

It's Time to Do Better by Communities That Don’t Even Have Local Police to Call, Let Alone Defund

We are all unincorporated now.

Unincorporated communities—places that aren’t part of an incorporated city or town, and thus don’t have their own municipal government—live at the whims and mercies of their counties, which may or may not provide necessary services. The pandemic is giving all Californians a taste of unincorporated life, thanks to state officials deciding to let the virus-fighting performance and preferences of our counties and county governments determine whether we can shop, play in a park, or send our kids to school.

As we’re learning, life under the thumb of …

Will COVID-19 Finally Convince Us to Do Better by Farmworkers? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Will COVID-19 Finally Convince Us to Do Better by Farmworkers?

The Current Crisis, and Longstanding Conditions, Argue for Enforcing Laws and Offering Better Protections—From Face Masks to Retirement Accounts

In California, the COVID-19 shutdown coincided with the lettuce season in the small Fresno County town of Huron. Its mayor, Rey León, has since been struggling to convey shifting safety …

Visalia’s Big, Bold, Beautiful Catholic Church | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Visalia’s Vision for a Big, Bold, Beautiful Catholic Church

In a State Obsessed With Shortages and Setbacks, the Central Valley Sees a Future Full of Growth

It’s Christmas, and there’s no room at any of your town’s existing inns. You can’t open additional inns because you’re already running short of innkeepers. What to do?

People in Visalia—who …

Could a New River City Transform California?

Along the San Joaquin, Madera County Is Building Thousands of New Homes—and Perhaps Shaping the State's Next Great Region

Could the San Joaquin River, long a dividing line in the heart of California, unite the state in pursuit of a more metropolitan future for the Central Valley?

Whether that happens …

Could These Four ‘Lady Bird’ Sequels Save Sacramento?

Greta Gerwig Has Promised a Quartet of Films About Her Hometown, and California's Capital Needs New Narratives

Here’s the good news in Sacramento: “Lady Bird,” a coming-of-age film set in Sacramento—and written and directed by the California capital’s own Greta Gerwig—has been nominated for five Academy Awards, …

Small and Speedy, Gonzales Is a City on the Move

With a Growing Economy, Good Schools, and a Low Crime Rate, It's Outpacing Bigger Salinas Valley Rivals

Here’s a nasty bit of conventional wisdom: California’s small, rural places are supposedly desperate and doomed, with few economic prospects in an era when state policy favors the urban coastal …