Law + Policy

Domestic: Unfinished business

During Dwight Eisenhower’s last years in office, one of his two top aides died; the other left Washington in disgrace. Ronald Reagan’s sixth year was mired in Iran-Contra; in their sixth years, Richard Nixon resigned and Bill Clinton was impeached.

From the November December 2006 Life After Bush issue of California.

Out of the Gate: All the President’s REMs

There was no doubt that working at The Daily Californian prepared a young newspaper reporter to get to the bottom of things. Anyone who could sit through a meeting of the Academic Senate and remain reasonably conscious was surely ready to dredge the depths of human activity. Turned loose on the real world in the mid-1970s, I found myself interviewing with the city editor of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, a wiry fellow who smoked cheap cigars down to the tip.

From the Spring 2010 Searchlight on Gray Areas issue of California.

A Great Aspiration

When Senatorial candidate Barack Obama entered the national stage in 2004 with a speech that passionately advocated for an end to the political thin-slicing of the American identity—red states, blue states, soccer moms, NASCAR dads, yuppies, buppies, bobos, and the like—a new term entered the lexicon: post-racial. Both in his message of hope and change and in the very fact of his campaign, Obama gave wings to the notion that race and ethnicity had ceased to be barriers to opportunity. It was something that people very much wanted to hear.

From the Fall 2009 Constant Change issue of California.

Pawning the Jewel

When State Senator Leland Yee ’70, a San Francisco Democrat, suggested last May that the state legislature and not the Board of Regents should have the final say over how the University of California system is run, there was plenty of snickering among the chattering class of newspaper editorialists, university leaders, and education experts.

From the Fall 2009 Constant Change issue of California.

Bureaucratic Maze

Abolhassan Astaneh won’t drive over the repaired portion of the MacArthur Maze until Caltrans proves it’s safe. The Berkeley professor of structural engineering has investigated disasters all over the world, including the collapse of the World Trade Center, and says that most of what you read about the successful reconstruction of the freeway interchange at the eastern end of the Bay Bridge is plain wrong.

From the September October 2007 Green Tech issue of California.

Mud Pies in the Sky

Engineering Professor Rogert G. Bea brought unique bona fides to the academic team investigating the New Orleans levee failure. In addition to his 48 years as a civil engineer, including 19 as a Berkeley educator, he has the benefit of his father’s career with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the government agency overseeing reconstruction of the levees. Bea has been a Corps engineer himself. And he has firsthand experience with hurricane losses—his New Orleans home was destroyed during Hurricane Betsy in 1965.

From the September October 2007 Green Tech issue of California.

A Round table setting

In preparing for this special issue on the future of food and farming, California writer Rick Wartzman and executive editor Patrick Dillon invited food and land-use experts to help frame the questions we subsequently spent several months exploring. Here are their remarks.

From the May June 2007 New Food and Farming issue of California.

The Time is Ripe

California’s food production and distribution system is the root system of the state’s life. Its maintenance is fundamental for our health and our future sustainability—and it requires massive amounts of energy, water, labor, and capital to feed people each day. Consequently, it offers myriad challenges and opportunities: a healthy food system means better health for our children, the elderly, rural and urban communities, and nature in its diverse forms.

From the May June 2007 New Food and Farming issue of California.

Mines to Vines

Ana Paula gingerly crosses a field in southern Angola near her home in the central province of Huambo. She is starving, and across the field drapes a thick curtain of branches on a grove of mango trees, their swollen fruit hanging just within reach. Swollen herself at nine months pregnant, she carefully picks her footsteps, trying to feel for the small metal canisters that keep most of the hungry villagers away from these trees. She reaches toward the dangling fruit under the wide leaves.

Beyond The Silver Bullet

Four years ago, a 55-year-old catholic priest named Father John Corapi set off an FBI investigation that brought down Redding Medical Center’s chief cardiologist and cost Tenet Healthcare, the hospital’s corporate parent, hundreds of millions of dollars in legal settlements. The cardiologist, Dr. Chae Hyun Moon, had told Father Corapi that he needed an emergency triple-bypass operation. But as Corapi was being wheeled into the operating room, another surgeon examined Corapi’s x-rays and could find nothing wrong. His heart was healthy.

Connecting Dots And Dollars

Venture capital took root in Northern California thanks to one thing: connections. That web of connections has turned out to be the most powerful renewable resource that California has ever had, spawning a business phenomenon in the late 1980s that relied on private investment and merchant banks, that at its height in 2002 produced 7,812 deals worth $104 billion and made Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park America’s most important startup hub.


Closer to Home

IMPACT: Main Street USA has been revived, only now it’s called the New Urbanism, and it is shaping new neighborhoods around the world as a friendly, walkable alternative to suburban sprawl. Visionary California architect Peter Calthorpe and a core of Berkeley professors decided in 1988 to push urban planning forward by looking backward. Their deceptively simple concept: neighborhoods made of a dense mix of homes, stores, cafes, and offices clustered around a train or bus station.


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