Judith Lewis Mernit

Judith Lewis Mernit writes about energy, the environment, economic justice, and public health from Los Angeles, California. Her work has appeared in High Country News, Sierra Magazine, Yale Environment 360, TakePart, The Atlantic, and the LA Weekly.

Recent Articles

A Trumpified Census Won’t Limit Its Undercount to Undocumented Latinos

The citizenship question will lead to undercounting millions of Latino, Asian, and immigrant households, many with legal status—and nowhere more so than in California. 

Capital & Main is an award-winning publication that reports from California on economic, political, and social issues. The American Prospect is co-publishing this piece. If all goes according to the Trump administration’s plan, the U.S. Census form in 2020 will ask people to state whether they’re citizens of the United States. It will also ask citizens if they were born in Puerto Rico or Guam, if they were naturalized and when, and whether they were born outside of the country to U.S.-born parents. And it will, say researchers who study the accuracy of the decennial census, terrify many a potential respondent—not just undocumented residents, but legal residents and their children as well. In a political environment demonstrably hostile toward immigrants, says Cindy Quezada of the of the Central Valley Immigrant Integration Collaborative in Fresno, “Just the word 'citizen' causes panic.” As, perhaps, it should. Emails and other documents that emerged...

Trouble in Republican Paradise

The Great Awakening of Dana Rohrabacher’s Orange Coast District

(Mindy Schauer/The Orange County Register via AP)
Capital & Main is an award-winning publication that reports from California on economic, political and social issues. The American Prospect is co-publishing this piece. Bethany Webb has lived in coastal Orange County for 40 of her 56 years. She rides a Harley and knows the surfers and served on PTA when her children were in school in Huntington Beach (“HB” to the locals). And yet she did not know the worldviews of some of her friends until the summer of 2016, when the heated presidential race forced people into their ideological corners. “I found out that nice, funny people I knew were harboring ugly, racist thoughts,” Webb says. “I unfriended people I’d known for 40 years. I called one a racist to his face.” She also found out that other nice, funny people shared her beliefs. “We thought we were alone in our ideals. Now we know we’re not.” In the swank seaside hamlets of California’s 48th Congressional District,...