The RBC endorses family values

When I moved to Northern California from Boston in the early 90s, I realized quickly that things were different here. At my old job, I had more than a hundred faculty colleagues including no tenured blacks or women, and not one that I knew to be gay (of course Harvard has come a long way since then), a state of affairs that was even then barely imaginable in my new outfit. A related difference manifested itself when my daughter came home on the last day of her first semester in public school with her best friends, who first appeared to be about a dozen. After they stopped bouncing around and settled down countably, I realized they were six little girls…of at least nine different races. College students back east still seem to be one thing or another, but mine are a wonderful continuum of world genetics all mooshed up in different assortments. Not that we’ve transcended racism or bigotry in California, but this looks like a good start.

What used to be the “society pages” of the New York Times has a weekly feature called Vows, which seems to especially pick out marriages that advance this entirely excellent antidote to ignorance, racism and xenophobia, and write them up charmingly. This week the lead story, about a jazz musician and a Florida health executive, turned me completely to mush, even without the incomparable photo. Go read it; better than any TV romance fiction out there, and evidence that the world is not entirely going to hell in a handbasket.

Author: Michael O'Hare

Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Michael O'Hare was raised in New York City and trained at Harvard as an architect and structural engineer. Diverted from an honest career designing buildings by the offer of a job in which he could think about anything he wanted to and spend his time with very smart and curious young people, he fell among economists and such like, and continues to benefit from their generosity with on-the-job social science training. He has followed the process and principles of design into "nonphysical environments" such as production processes in organizations, regulation, and information management and published a variety of research in environmental policy, government policy towards the arts, and management, with special interests in energy, facility siting, information and perceptions in public choice and work environments, and policy design. His current research is focused on transportation biofuels and their effects on global land use, food security, and international trade; regulatory policy in the face of scientific uncertainty; and, after a three-decade hiatus, on NIMBY conflicts afflicting high speed rail right-of-way and nuclear waste disposal sites. He is also a regular writer on pedagogy, especially teaching in professional education, and co-edited the "Curriculum and Case Notes" section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Between faculty appointments at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he was director of policy analysis at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He has had visiting appointments at Università Bocconi in Milan and the National University of Singapore and teaches regularly in the Goldman School's executive (mid-career) programs. At GSPP, O'Hare has taught a studio course in Program and Policy Design, Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management, the pedagogy course for graduate student instructors, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Policy, and the introduction to public policy for its undergraduate minor, which he supervises. Generally, he considers himself the school's resident expert in any subject in which there is no such thing as real expertise (a recent project concerned the governance and design of California county fairs), but is secure in the distinction of being the only faculty member with a metal lathe in his basement and a 4×5 Ebony view camera. At the moment, he would rather be making something with his hands than writing this blurb.