Around Town - Sunday at the Skirball

I've always wanted to check out the architecture at the Skirball Cultural Center which sprouts out of the hills on the west side of the canyon between Bel Air and Brentwood and yesterday I finally had an event to attend there.

The Skirball Center, contains a concert hall, theater, amphitheater, auditorium, gallery space, conference center and various other areas of terraces and courtyards. Even with all of these features the overall structure, designed my Moshe Safdie, seems intimate because it was created as a series of interconnected low buildings punctuated by gardens.
At any rate it was the perfect venue for a lecture by Pulitzer Prize winning historian, David Kennedy and Hoover Institute Fellow, Thad Kousser, titled "What's The Matter With California". The lecture was Sponsored by the Bill Lane Center for the American West of Stanford University, which obviously deals with issues specific to this region.
The lecture focused on the political problems of California stemming from a gridlocked legislative process. Let's just say that the gist of the matter is that California desperately needs legislative and constitutional reform. But as we all know we seldom get the government that we want, unfortunately we get the government that we deserve.
While I do think that California, the 8th largest economy in the world...or something like that, will eventually recover from this cyclical recession, I'm skeptical of long term progress in terms of political reform.
When the best and the brightest from the brainiacs at Stanford and the University of Rochester can come up with this astounding conclusion in their report from last February
When a state legislature is not dominated by one party, and the salaries are modest, legislators waste less time on bills that benefit only their own districts, according to researchers at Stanford and the University of Rochester.
That doesn't leave me too hopeful. Because as astute as this statement is, any person of average intelligence would have rationally come up with the same know without a full on study. Is this the best that these professors have to offer?
Well apparently not, because they've got which aims to educate the State's citizenry on constitutional and political reform.
Yeah, good luck with that.

At any rate after coming to grips with the fact that the California of my parents and grandparents, of fragrant orange groves between benign suburbian sprawl, has long been gone and is never coming back, I was happy take my focus from the political to the personal and to sip some sauvignon blanc and listen to some soft jazz at Vibrato Grill high up in the hills of Bel Air.
Even with all of the problems of the State, at least we don't have volcano eruptions...yet.