Go to Sleep, My City Council

Goodnight Moon, Goodnight Stars, Goodnight to the Government Meetings That Should Close Before the Bars

I hereby propose a new rule to improve the quality of California’s local democracy. When the bars in your city close, so must your city council.

The idea occurred to me while watching recent Santa Monica City Council meetings, including one gathering so long (nine hours plus) and so full of nonsense and hate (from hundreds of public commenters) that it could make you reconsider your support for free speech and self-government.

The bars had shut at 2 a.m., but the council was still going, groggily, at 3:30 a.m. when it logged …

I Hereby Censure the Censure | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

I Hereby Censure the Censure

When California Politicians Pass Resolutions Denouncing One Another, They Make a Mockery of Democracy

It’s time that we Californians censure the whole idea of censure.

Because it’s consuming the precious time and money of our local governments.

Censure is the name often given to resolutions or …

Madrid Has 57 Councilmembers. Seoul Has 110. Why Does L.A. Have 15? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Madrid Has 57 Councilmembers. Seoul Has 110. Why Does L.A. Have 15?

More Mayoral Authority Won’t Empower California Cities; Electing More of Your Neighbors to Local Posts Will

If you want to make your California city government stronger, don’t make your mayor more powerful. Instead, make your city council bigger.

This summer, two of our state’s most thoughtful …

The Little Dry Cleaning Shop Around the Corner

When I Took Over My Family's Business on South Central Avenue in 1994 I Had Two Struggles: The Business and South L.A.

When the property owners on historic South Central Avenue (from Washington Boulevard to Vernon Avenue) started one of the first Business Improvement Districts in South L.A., I was surprised to …

Angelenos Never Much Cared About Local Politics

Today They Care Even Less

Greetings from the City of Los Angeles, where no one knows your name.

At last estimate, Los Angeles’ population topped 3.9 million. In 1850, when the city was first incorporated, …