How to End the Vicious Cycle of Dysfunctional California Governance

Real Change Means Integrating Our Direct Democracy Into the State's Entire System

California lawmakers and civic leaders are debating changes to our state’s direct democracy. But not one of the proposed changes is bold enough to reach the heart of what’s wrong with our system of initiatives, referenda, and recalls.

When Californians use their direct democracy to qualify proposals for the ballot, and vote to turn those proposals into laws or constitutional amendments, the actions they take don’t have to fit within existing institutions, agencies, laws, regulations, or practices. Our direct democracy exists in its own weird world apart from the rest of …

Dianne Feinstein Is California’s Future

The Senator's Age and Memory Lapses Are Inviting Calls for Retirement. They Also Reflect How Fast the Golden State Is Aging

Do you think Dianne Feinstein should retire because she is too old, too out of it, and too tied to the past to represent today’s California?

Then you are dead wrong.

Because …

A ‘Peculiar Mix of Ego and Insecurity’ Drives the Race for L.A. Mayor | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

A ‘Peculiar Mix of Ego and Insecurity’ Drives the Race for L.A. Mayor

To Lead a City of Imported Stars, You’ve Got to Make It in Sacramento or Washington First

Why does Los Angeles trust Sacramento and Washington more than it trusts itself?

Angelenos may complain about state and national government like other Californians, but we also have a practice of …

The California Post That Might Need a Republican

A Controller From the Minority Party Could Provide a Crucial Check on a State Government Suffering from Political Monoculture

Question: In the exclusively Democratic constellation of California statewide officials, how many places are there where a Republican star might fit?

Answer:  One.


That singular spot is the State Controller’s Office. If …

What If Everyday People Ran Los Angeles?

The Solution to America’s Representation Crisis Should Start in the County with the Nation’s Biggest Democratic Deficit

If the crisis in American democracy had a capital, it would be Los Angeles.

And if American democracy is going to be saved, that rescue needs to start in Southern California.

This …

Why Social Distance Can Be Good for Democracy | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Why Social Distance Can Be Good for Democracy

Making Space to Reflect on Others' Beliefs and Our Own Makes Us Better Citizens

I wrote my new book in lockdown from a socially distanced corner of my home. That might seem an odd perch from which to write about citizenship, but it taught …