One of the things on my photographic bucket list is a good picture of our local mountains. This is difficult because they’re basically pretty ugly: just dull, brown monoliths that look drab even on a clear day and aren’t high enough to get any decent looking snow in winter.

But with all the rain we got this year, I figured this was going to my best chance. All I had to do was find a place to get a nice view. This is much harder than you’d think, but eventually I found a place and got these nice shots, setting the lovely green of the nearby foothills against a dramatic, shadowy background of the mountains themselves. With the right light I might be able to do better someday, but for now this is about as good as it gets.

Everybody around here just calls these “the foothills,” but they are actually the Santa Ana Mountains, an itsy bitsy range that’s part of the Peninsular Range, which stretches from Orange County down to Baja Mexico.¹ The mountains you see on TV during Rams games or the Rose Bowl are the San Gabriel Mountains, part of the Transverse Range, which runs east-west. Both of these ranges are part of the Coast Range, which runs from Alaska down to Mexico.

¹I’ve lived here 60 years and never knew what these mountains were called. I had to look it up to write this post.

March 9, 2019 — Lake Forest, California
March 9, 2019 — Lake Forest, California

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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