California Elections, Commentary, Headline, Politics, Zocalo Public Square »

Is it even possible to be an informed citizen?

Photo via Flickr by Loco Steve/ CreativeCommons

To be an engaged, informed citizen in California is to be hopelessly behind in your reading.
We’re told that we need to follow the big issues in California, that we need to be informed about policy debates, and that policymakers want our feedback on major proposals.  It all sounds reasonable enough, until you see the homework. The governor stresses the importance of his budget, but …

Commentary, Environment, Featured, Zocalo Public Square »

City government is the problem – not Sriracha

Photo by tedeytan/ Flickr/CreativeCommons

Last week, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ordered the Irwindale, California plant that produces the highly popular “rooster sauce” Sriracha to cease operations that could be emitting odors that are “extremely annoying, irritating and offensive to the senses warranting consideration as a public nuisance.”
Too bad the judge didn’t apply the same logic to the city government of Irwindale and shut it down …

Arts & Culture, Commentary, economy, Featured, Zocalo Public Square »

Who lost the Coliseum?

The entrance to the LA Memorial Coliseum

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum used to be among the most distinguished public buildings in California. It hosted two Olympic Games (1932 and 1984), two Super Bowls (including the first), and the 1959 World Series (Dodgers and Chicago White Sox). John F. Kennedy accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination for president there in 1960. And while the stadium often seemed rundown, you couldn’t question its …

Arts & Culture, Commentary, economy, Environment, Featured, News, Zocalo Public Square »

LA: A human city

An aerial view of Los Angeles, by KLA4067 via Flickr/CC

We Angelenos were never supposed to be here.
In an 1868 essay that was taught to schoolchildren for a century, writer Henry George predicted that California would become one of the most prosperous places on earth. San Diego would eventually be an international destination. San Francisco, he wrote, would become perhaps the greatest city in North America, without a rival “for a thousand miles north …

Commentary, economy, Featured, News, Sports, Zocalo Public Square »

What California can learn from Yasiel Puig: Don’t hold down the young

Yasiel Puig at bat. Photo by kla4067/ Creative Commons/ Flickr

There’s a nasty California disease spreading so fast that even our baseball teams have caught it.
Last year, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim kept their best player, then-20-year-old Mike Trout, in the minor leagues for the first month of the Major League Baseball season. This year, the L.A. Dodgers held down their most talented player, 21-year-old Yasiel Puig, for the first two months. Both …

Commentary, Featured, Issues, Zocalo Public Square »

Can San Diego stay classy?

Official portrait of Bob Filner, mayor of San Diego

Stay classy? That may be too much to ask of San Diego these days.
“America’s Finest City” is in the middle of another one of its routine, self-destructive crises of local government. This one is an ugly fight over the fate of Mayor Bob Filner. He either has a nasty habit of intimidating women and needs help (that’s what the mayor and his supporters say, …

Commentary, economy, Headline, Zocalo Public Square »

Why the NSA is bad for California business

surveillancecam

California and its businesses have a problem. It’s called the National Security Agency.
That may sound provincial. The debate over the massive NSA surveillance programs disclosed by Edward Snowden is a national and global matter, not just a California concern.
But the disclosures – and the U.S. government’s reaction to them – hit at the heart of California’s economic life. The problem for California is not …

Arts & Culture, Commentary, economy, Featured, Zocalo Public Square »

Reflections on a one-man band

Arthur Nakane

For better and for worse, today’s America leaves its citizens to fend for themselves. So does that mean that each of us has to be a One-Man Band?
Fortunately, there’s a Californian who has been reckoning with this fundamental question more deeply and intimately than any of us.
He’s Arthur Nakane, he’s 76, and if you’re a Southern Californian who enjoys the region’s public spaces, there’s …

Environment, Featured, Zocalo Public Square »

Why you should know where your water comes from

Sacramento River. By Alaskan Dude via Flickr/Creative Commons

There’s consensus that California needs a big new deal to govern water. There’s no consensus on what should be in it. Habitat restoration? Rebuilt levees to withstand earthquakes? Or new tunnels to divert water from the Sacramento River to farmers and cities in Southern California?
These are all possibilities for the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, a water source for 25 million of California’s 38 million …

Commentary, Zocalo Public Square »

Commentary: The attorney general of California is hot

Kamala Harris, California Attorney General

No one is going to stop me from speaking the truth to power, and here’s a truth about power that a lot of people can’t handle: the attorney general of California is hot. Very hot.
But when the most powerful man in the world spoke the same truth last week about Kamala Harris—our “best-looking attorney general,” he called her—critics called him sexist, inappropriate, and wolfish.
Predictably, …

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