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 mayors, Sam Liccardo of San Jose and Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento, have been seeking to make themselves “strong mayors.” The term refers to a system where mayors have executive authority, and can hire and fire department heads, sign budgets, or even veto council legislation.

“Strong mayors” are rare in California; only five of our 482 incorporated cities have them. More …

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, …

These Chambers Don’t Welcome You

Images of L.A. County’s Remarkably Formal, Remarkably Empty City Council Meetings

California is a diverse and dynamic place. But not when it comes to city council chambers. Photographer Jake Fabricius visited council chambers when meetings were in session in a rich …