California may be the country’s most important and influential state for technology, culture and lifestyle, but has become something of a cipher in terms of providing national political leaders. Not one California politician entered the 2016 presidential race in either party and, looking over the landscape, it’s difficult to see even a potential contender emerging over the coming decade. read more »
Is California the most conservative state?
Now that I have your attention, just how would California qualify as a beacon of conservatism? It depends how you define the term. read more »
Among urban historians, Southern California has often had a poor reputation, perennially seen as “anti-cities” or “19 suburbs in search of a metropolis.” The great urban thinker Jane Jacobs wrote off our region as “a vast blind-eyed reservation.”
The Pavlovian response from many local planners, developers and politicians is to respond to this criticism by trying to repeal our own geography. Los Angeles’ leaders, for example, see themselves as creating the new sunbelt role model, built around huge investments Downtown and in an expensive, albeit underused, subway and light-rail network. read more »
Every now and then, something happens to cause California’s comfortable establishment to celebrate the state’s economy. Recent budget surpluses and jobs data have provided several opportunities, never mind that these are hardly summary statistics. They don’t tell the complete story. read more »
When I arrived in Los Angeles four decades ago, it was clearly a city on the rise, practicing its lines on the way to becoming the dominant metropolis in North America. Today, the City of Angels and much of Southern California lag behind not only a resurgent New York City, but also L.A.’s longtime regional rival, San Francisco, both demographically and economically. read more »
California has a long history of boom and bust cycles, but over the past 25 years or so, California’s cycles appear to be becoming more volatile, with increasing frequency, higher highs, and lower lows. The fast-moving business cycle may not provide the time necessary for many people to recover from previous busts, and may be too limited in its impact. Even now, 22 of California’s 58 counties have unemployment rates of 7.5 percent or higher. Eleven California counties have unemployment rates of at least nine percent. And these, we are told, are the best of times. read more »
Californians attend innumerable conferences on housing and economic growth. Year after year, in counties across California, the same people show up to say and hear the same things. Mostly what they say and hear is naive, and nothing ever changes.
California has always been friendly ground for new ideas and bold proposals. That was a good thing when California’s economic and social policies encouraged middle-class opportunity, entrepreneurship, and social mobility, way back in the 1960s. But the contemporary California political elite tends to pioneer policies that endanger the spirit of opportunity that once made California great. read more »
In a rare burst of independence and self-interest, the California Legislature, led by largely Latino and Inland Democrats, last month defeated Gov. Jerry Brown’s attempt to cut gasoline use in the state by 50 percent by 2030. These political leaders, backed by the leftovers of the once-powerful oil industry, scored points by suggesting that this goal would lead inevitably to much higher fuel prices and even state-imposed gas rationing. read more »
Governor Jerry Brown recently released a plan to find funds to fix California’s roads. Infrastructure funding is one of the essential roles of government, so it’s refreshing to hear that our otherwise dysfunctional state government is taking action on this front. But who will be paying for it? Those who use the roads most, that is, California’s drivers, who disproportionately tend to be members of the middle and working classes. read more »