A nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California’s policies and politics


A third of young California children at risk for lead poisoning are not being tested despite state and federal laws that require it, according to a new study—a problem at least partly addressed by legislation now on the governor’s desk.

While California tops the list of states with insane housing costs, it’s by no means a uniquely Golden State phenomenon. Building affordable housing—and particularly getting cities and other localities to permit its construction—is a tough endeavor that has bedeviled state policymakers across the country. So where should Californians look to solve a problem that feels so intractable? Affordable housing experts suggest legislators find inspiration in Massachusetts. For more than 40 years, the state’s signature affordable housing policy—Massachusetts “40B”—has served as a model for how states can motivate and sometimes bully reluctant localities into meeting their fair share of affordable housing.

California has its own Civil War history, but it also has a painful colonization history—one academics believe ought to be told more in schools. It’s a tale of a state founded by white colonists who wiped out much of the Native American population by bringing disease, forcing relocation, imposing starvation, and carrying out what its more severe critics describe as a forgotten, state-sanctioned genocide of a people.

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