How California (Might Have) Learned to Stop Worrying and Love a Big, Unbalanced Budget

COVID Is Helping the State Get Over Its Misguided Obsession With Staying in the Black at the Expense of Solving Its Costly Problems

In the midst of California’s pandemic catastrophe, we may be seeing, at long last, the demise of the dominant mode of thinking of our state’s leaders: “budgetism.”

Budgetism is the false and conventional wisdom—promoted relentlessly by our state’s media and by elected officials of both parties—that the real measure of California’s success is the condition of the state budget.

For decades, if the budget was balanced or in surplus, California was supposedly on the move, a superpower, or even a national model of success. If the budget was in deficit, California …

Why Californians—of Both Parties—Should Embrace the Recall | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Why Californians—of Both Parties—Should Embrace the Recall

Even When You Don’t Want to Remove a Politician, the Vote Provides a Healthy Democratic Dose of Self-Examination

Californians should love me, even when I’m used against a politician you like.

At the very least, I hope you’ll appreciate me if Gov. Gavin Newsom, who won office overwhelmingly in …

SLO Down, You Move Too Fast, California | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

SLO Down, You Move Too Fast, California

In Praise of the Peaceful Pleasures of San Luis Obispo County

SLO down, California. Even in pandemic, you move too fast.

This new year, perhaps we should all resolve to model the spirit of SLO, the acronym that embodies San Luis Obispo, …

Give California’s Kids Barstools for Christmas | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Give California’s Kids Barstools for Christmas

It's Clear That the Next Generation Doesn't Matter in a State That Prioritizes Bars and Restaurants Over Schools

Santa, California children need more this Christmas than you can fit in the sleigh. But could you at least give every Californian under the age of 18 their very own …

Make Me California’s Next Senator | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Make Me California’s Next Senator

The Senate Is an Absurd Institution, so Let's Put an Even More Absurd Californian in the Office

Dear Governor Newsom,

You’ve complained publicly that you’re overwhelmed with texts and calls, and I understand why. With the election of Kamala Harris as vice president, you must appoint someone to …

I Love ‘Newsom at Noon,’ but It Needs a New Star | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

I Love ‘Newsom at Noon,’ but It Needs a New Star

Let Nonpartisan Scientists and Doctors Lead the State’s Daily COVID-19 Briefings

Dear Governor,

Your lunchtime COVID-19 briefings—“Newsom at Noon”—are must-see TV.

No California governor has ever had such a regular, closely observed platform, and you are making the most of it. Your …