The Great Debate

The most expensive political contest in California is for an office nobody’s heard of

By Sherry Bebitch Jeffe and Douglas Jeffe
November 3, 2014

A woman inserts her ballot into an intake machine at a polling station during the U.S. presidential election in Los Angeles

On Tuesday, California may not have a suspenseful governor’s race, but the contest for an obscure state education post has attracted an astonishing amount of outside money and turned into a high-stakes test run for the 2016 presidential campaign.

The school reform deniers

By Steven Brill
August 21, 2011

By Steven Brill
All opinions expressed are his own.

Every year I tell students in a journalism seminar I teach about the junior reporter for The American Lawyer – the magazine I founded and edited –who committed a classic error when he submitted a draft of a profile about some lawyer in the news who had made it big. Midway through the article, the young reporter described a showcase this lawyer had in his office that displayed a bunch of combat medals. The reporter declared, matter-of-factly, that our legal hero had won the medals for his heroics in Vietnam, which was relevant, he added, because the lawyer made his war record and his lock-n-load approach to his work part of his pitch to potential clients.