Our Block Party Wasn’t as Bad as I Feared

Californians Are Understandably Wary of Their Neighbors, but There's Value in Getting to Know Them

Is it still worth getting to know your neighbors?

I found myself wondering that on a recent Saturday afternoon as I contemplated attending a block party in my San Gabriel Valley neighborhood. It would be the first such party on our street since we bought a home there in 2011. I had had nothing to do with preparations—I’d been traveling a lot—and I wasn’t looking forward to it.

We’d been happily living there for eight years, and hadn’t had any problems with neighbors, even though we didn’t know them particularly well. …

Frozen’s Queen Elsa Is a Dangerous Autocrat | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Frozen’s Queen Elsa Is a Dangerous Autocrat

Disney’s Animated Franchise Sends Children an Anti-Democratic Message 

So far, our republic has survived the Civil War, the Great Depression, two world wars, and even the 2016 election. But can it survive the new sequel to the mega-hit …

Why Californians Should Party on the Beach Now | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Why Californians Should Party on the Beach Now

Before Waters Inundate the Coast, We Need to Embrace the Flood and Plan for the Future

Peace out, Pacifica.

Don’t despair, Del Mar.

Never stress, Newport Beach.

Yes, sea levels are rising. Yes, California’s coastline is eroding and changing. And yes, even with Californians taking action against …

How Trader Joe’s Exploits a Fading California Fantasy | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How Trader Joe’s Exploits a Fading California Fantasy

In the Golden State It’s Getting Harder to Live the Good Life on the Cheap

For years, I’ve told children, newspaper editors, and other credulous people that I’m the Joe of Trader Joe’s. That’s, of course, a lie. But it is true that the store …

How PG&E Has Unified a Divided California | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How PG&E Has Unified a Divided California

The Utility’s Failures Are Forcing the Golden State to Acknowledge a Crisis in Both Climate and Democracy

Thank you, PG&E.

I felt moved to write this thank-you note because so many of your 16 million California customers have been so ungrateful. No corporation in this state has done …

California Is Still America’s Most Republican State | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

California Is Still America’s Most Republican State

Since 1850, GOP Politicians Have Shaped What Has Become a Democratic Stronghold 

Did Leonardo da Vinci spray graffiti all over the Mona Lisa? Did Alfred Hitchcock destroy the original print of Vertigo?

Of course not. So why are Republicans waging war against California, …