The True Horror of Sunny Santa Cruz

The City’s Residents Feel Powerless Over Their Future—From Housing to Climate Change

Is Santa Cruz the scariest place in California?

For sure, this state’s 21st-century reality is frightening: from the persecution of immigrants to the droughts and wildfires made worse by climate change. But there is simply no place in our state scarier than this coastal county of 275,000 tortured souls.

Santa Cruz is not our most dangerous or damaged place, but it comes very close to embodying the greatest fears of Californians, which are all about our powerlessness: that our coastal beauty is collapsing underneath us, that we’ve lost control over …

In San Juan Bautista, It’s Apocalypse—Now

The Site of a Famous Mission, and a Hitchcock Masterpiece, Is a Good Place to Ponder Human Fall-ibility

If the apocalypse comes to California, I’ll be ready. After all, I’ve been to San Juan Bautista, which has centuries of experience with the ending of worlds.

I visited the San …

The Walls Are Too High in the Kingdom of Ventura

Growth Restrictions Have Saved Open Space in California, but Wealthy Elites Also Use Them to Keep the Middle Class Out

Ventura County is the most glorious and verdant of California kingdoms.

Just ask its princes and princesses—those fortunate enough to be able to afford to live and vote there. Most of …

South L.A. Doesn’t Need Saving

Instead, the Area Could Be a Savior to a California That's Pushing out Its Working Class

“How can we save South Los Angeles?” is a tired question. It’s an artifact of previous decades when the region formerly called South Central was known by its reputation for …

Why California IT Keeps Crashing

Governments Waste Hundreds of Millions; The Fix Lies in Working With Other States

Even as California governments say they don’t have enough money, they keep throwing it away—on information technology.

The courts blew more than $500 million on a new computer system—before recently abandoning …