Op-Ed samples

In 2019 I joined the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation as a commentary editor. Before that I edited op-eds for the Los Angeles Opinion pages in various roles for more than a decade. In addition, I’ve also helped other folks with their op-eds and articles as a freelance editor under the Get Rauzi banner. Below are some samples of articles I worked on in each role.

And here are a few others that I edited for Get Rauzi clients:

Memories of a thirsty childhood

From The Los Angeles Times
I started working with Judy Belk when she was first drafting personal nonfiction essays with potential to grow into a book. When she became CEO of the California Wellness Foundation, she wanted to use her storytelling and personal experiences to advance the mission the organization. In this piece, we took her tale of growing up without water and put it in the context of California historic drought. We did something similar for her op-ed on the Affordable Care Act, weaving a contrast between California and Virginia, where her sister was locked out of ACA enrollment.

Tweeting by mail: The postcard’s stormy birth

From The Los Angeles Times
I met Monica Cure at a party where she told me that her doctoral dissertation was about how postcards were the disruptive media of their day. Boom. That is an op-ed, I told her. And I was right. I had her draft this piece when I was filling in on the op-ed desk at the Los Angeles Times in 2013, and it ran a few weeks later. It contains all my favorite attributes of a history op-ed: an unexpected fact, someone worried about the end of civilization, and a lesson for the present.

The Agricultural Fulcrum:
Better Food, Better Climate

From The Atlantic
Diana Donlon called me shortly after taking over as the Director of the Cool Foods Campaign at the Center for Food Safety in San Francisco because key to her job is spreading the message that sustainable agriculture can have a profound effect on global climate change. After ditching an early effort, we worked on this piece at the start of the year, and it quickly found a home in The Atlantic.

Prosperity Starts With a Pea

From The New York Times
I knew food historian Jessica Harris from our work together at Zester Daily, and I helped her strategize on topics, timing, and edited this op-ed prior to submission. It was a successful follow-up to her Thanksgiving op-ed “You Say Potato, I say Yam,” which I also helped push over the finish line.

America needs a farm bill that works

From The Los Angeles Times
Dan Imhoff had hired me to edit the second edition of his book Food Fight, which is a comprehensive primer on the political evolution of the Farm Bill. After we wrapped that up, I drew out three excerpts for The Atlantic online. And when the 2012 Farm Bill fight got underway, he also co-wrote this piece which I helped get into shape for submission to the L.A. Times.

And finally, a few articles that I’ve written myself:

How vegetarians, gluten-frees, grain-frees and other L.A. food tribes ruined my BBQ tradition

From The Los Angeles Times
This piece sure struck a nerve with readers and inspired a local public radio segment. It argues that in our era of dietary constraint, it’s impossible to please all of the people at one barbecue.

L.A. has hit peak mobility. It’s time to stay put.

From The Los Angeles Times
I was asked to write a piece about what our local transit agency should be doing to stop hemorrhaging ridership. After many bus and train trips and many months, I came to the conclusion that Angelenos are just not that into moving around as much as we used to be, and maybe that’s a good thing.

The times I didn’t get married

From The Los Angeles Times
I was still editing at the Times’ op-ed page when I wrote this piece. I didn’t really intend to. But after the California State Supreme Court first ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, I thought an actual gay person who’d tried to get married should weigh in. It happened that I was one. During the court battle over Proposition 8, I followed it up with this piece, “I’ll be a Marriage Outlaw.

Watts Towers—a soaring baffling monument

From The Los Angeles Times
This essay about my first visit to Watts Towers and what it meant to me at that particular moment in my life is still one of my favorites. It also got published in the anthology New California Writing from Heyday Books that year.