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In January, Colleen McCain Nelson was named executive editor of the Sacramento Bee and the regional editor for McClatchy’s California news outlets, including the Fresno Bee, the Modesto Bee, the Tribune in San Luis Obispo, and the Merced Sun-Star. A journalist since high school, she talks to us about the value of local news, the future of printed n…
 
Mick LaSalle, author of his new book "Dream State," shows how movies have historically captured the essence of California. For almost a century, the movies have defined the California dream and projected it out to the world. The long-time film critic for the San Francisco Chronicle talks about the mythology of California and the big screen, the fut…
 
Justin Zhu was fired from Iterable, the successful marketing startup he founded. The reasons given to him included his use of LSD, inappropriate attire (even by Silicon Valley standards), and giving secrets to a reporter. Unstated, he believes, were issues of race. His story provides a glimpse of what it’s really like in the world of startups — the…
 
Joel Selven, a music journalist and author of the new book “Hollywood Eden," tells the story of the young artists and musicians who came together at the dawn of the 1960s to create the sound of the California dream. It's the story of how West Los Angeles's University High School class of 1958 — which included Jan & Dean and Nancy Sinatra — helped c…
 
The writer Ron Brownstein takes us back to 1974 Los Angeles, a period he views as a cultural and political hinge point. It was during that year — as Brownstein details in his new book, "Rock Me on The Water" — that Los Angeles reached its creative peak, transforming movies, music, television, and politics, and forever cementing the upheaval of the …
 
Molly Knight is a long-time sports writer and is a senior staff writer for The Athletic. Her beat covers Los Angeles sports and most notably, the L.A. Dodgers. The author of "The Best Team Money Can Buy", an inside-the-clubhouse look at two tumultuous years of the Dodgers, shares a bit of her life behind the scenes covering one of the premier franc…
 
Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, the new editor-in-chief of the San Francisco Chronicle, was the managing editor for digital at the Washington Post. He lays out his vision for bringing the Chronicle fully into the digital era and enhancing its local focus. He sees his job as taking on a fixer-upper with good bones and a great history, but one that needs a lot m…
 
Michael Tubbs was elected to the Stockton City Council at age 22, having just graduated from Stanford. He was elected as the city's first African American Mayor at 27. He sought to reshape the most diverse city in America, creating a pilot program for universal basic income. It was seen as a success, yet he lost his bid for reelection. Tubbs shared…
 
Bradley Tusk, bicoastal venture capitalist and political strategist, talks about the political and economic reasons why companies are leaving California. While individuals may be leaving our cities for greener pastures or wide-open spaces, the companies have a very different agenda — one that sits at the nexus of politics, technology, and money.…
 
Casey Newton, a long-time Bay Area-based tech journalist, and the author of the Platformer newsletter looks at our social media platforms and how they have become the foundation of political speech. He discusses the role they should play in our democracy and if they really have become too powerful.By Jeff Schechtman
 
Carolyn Said and Kathleen Pender, both San Francisco Chronicle journalists, look at the real world impacts of Proposition 22, which classifies app-based drivers as as independent contractors, and Proposition 19, which would alter property taxes. Said noted the vast financial return that Uber and Lyft have already gained on their record campaign spe…
 
Peter Lunenfeld, vice-chair of UCLA’s Department of Design Media Arts, appreciates Los Angeles as one of the world’s supercities. Even amid Covid, politics, and competition for the future from Silicon Valley, he sees a city thriving with reinvention. The metropolis he depicts in his book "City at the Edge of Forever" is certainly not your father's …
 
Kendra Atleework's memoir "Miracle Country" is inspired by the work of writers like Mary Hunter Austin and Reyner Banham in capturing the harsh beauty of life in the arid Eastern Sierra. Having grown up in the Owens Valley, she returns amid the 2015 Round Fire to absorb the area's history and celebrate the harsh and majestic environment that lies a…
 
James Thebaut is a Los Angeles ecological documentarian and long-time environmental activist. He argues in his latest documentary, "On The Brink: California’s Watershed," now airing on PBS, that the intensity of California's wildfires is due as much to bad policy as it is to climate change. He talks about the state of California's forest system and…
 
Davie Pina and Johnny White, vineyard managers in the Napa Valley, say that every fire teaches them something new. With firefighting resources spread thin, they and their colleagues have had to take on more personal responsibility for fighting fires. They shared the story of how they have faced the threat of repeated wildfires and where the future …
 
Nick Neely walked for 12 weeks and 650 miles from San Diego to Palo Alto. Recreating the journey taken by the Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portola in 1769, he became immersed in the history, people, and topography of the Golden State. Writing about both the natural and built landscape along the way for his book "Alta California," one of our premier e…
 
Leon Panetta ascended to the highest of jobs in Washington, but he never lost sight of his California roots. The former congressman, Office of Management and Budget director, White House chief of staff, CIA director, and defense secretary reminisces about growing up in Monterey, building the Panetta Institute on the campus of Cal State Monterey, an…
 
Geoffrey King, an attorney and native of Vallejo, cared deeply about his city. He said he could no longer stand by and watch the underreported killings of civilians by one of the most violent police forces in the nation. So he launched Open Vallejo, a nonprofit newsroom focused on local accountability journalism. He details why he felt it was so im…
 
Dr. Jennifer Brokaw, daughter of the news anchor and author Tom Brokaw, is an emergency care physician and patient advocate. In February, she was appointed as the physician for San Francisco’s first responders. She explains how her job overseeing the health of firefighters and paramedics has taken on dimensions she never could have imagined before …
 
Anthony Rendon, a Democrat from Lakewood, became California’s 70th Assembly speaker in 2016. He talks about his work with two very different governors and how the legislative focus has changed from budget surpluses, housing, wildfires, affirmative action, and the gig economy to deficits, eviction, unemployment, health care, and a no-frills future. …
 
Alia Volz reminisces about growing up in the family business in the 1970s and ‘80s, where her mom baked and sold 10,000 “magic” brownies per month in San Francisco. It was a time when growing a single marijuana plant was a felony offense. The business that started selling to hippie craftspeople in Aquatic Park became a cultural icon.…
 
David Randall, author of "Black Death at the Golden Gate," tells a story that reminds us that history may not repeat itself, but it often rhymes. He details how the bubonic plague overran San Francisco and the West Coast in 1900, fueling denial of emerging science, quarantines, anti-Chinese racism, and fears of a second wave.…
 
Dr. Robert M. Wachter is a professor and chair of UC San Francisco Department of Medicine. The author of more than 300 articles and six books, he’s been ranked as one of the most influential physician-executives in the U.S. He discusses California’s original success in dodging the Covid-19 bullet, and why it now may be catching up with us. He discu…
 
Connie Rice, the long-time Los Angeles civil rights lawyer and activist, has played an important role in the transformation of the LAPD. Yet she looks at our current moment and reminds us that the police rank-and-file still have a long way to go. In minority communities, she says, police are the preeminent symbol of systemic oppression and racism f…
 
Lt. Ben Kelso, a 30-year veteran of the San Diego police force and the president of the Black Officers Association of San Diego, gives us an inside view of policing and race in Southern California. Sitting astride two worlds, he details the pain, anger, and opportunity of the moment. It’s a view of law enforcement from inside the squad room.…
 
Peiley Lau a researcher at the UC Berkeley Global Lab explains a new study showing that nearly 1.7 million coronavirus infections may have been avoided in California — and many more throughout the world — thanks to policies that kept people at home. It was a collective action unlike anything that has ever happened.…
 
Eloy Ortiz Oakley, the chancellor of California’s community college system oversees the largest education system in the country with more than 2.1 million students and 115 colleges. That puts Oakley on the front line of many of the social and policy problems we now face. At a time of growing enrollment and shrinking budgets, the college system is c…
 
California's chief election officer, Secretary of State Alex Padilla brings the background of a long-time politician and his training as an engineer to the challenge of ensuring safe and secure voting. From mail-in ballots to recruiting a whole new generation of poll workers, it's going to be a tough year to oversee California's next election.…
 
The California-based journalists Alastair Gee and Dani Anguiano reported extensively on the 2018 Camp Fire. Their coverage from the day the inferno began through the refugee crisis that followed gave them special access to the lives, forever changed, in the community of Paradise. In the shadow of our current pandemic, and as a dry winter gives way …
 
Steve Inskeep has hosted NPR's "Morning Edition" since 2004. He is also a popular author and historian, and his latest book "Imperfect Union: How Jessie and John Fremont Mapped the West, Invented Celebrity, and Helped Cause the Civil War" looks at the life of the 19th-century explorer who defined westward expansion, coined the name “Golden Gate” fo…
 
Richard Rushfield has been covering Hollywood for several decades and he says has never seen it as vulnerable as it is today. Your Netflix cue is shrinking, movie theaters may not open for months if at all, production has stopped, even well-paid talent is scared. With Apple, Amazon, AT&T, and Netflix being the new Hollywood money, we are also about…
 
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