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Archive

Class Notes May 2004: Volume 1, Number 2
   

Molly Selvin, ’73
REVELLE, M.A. ’76, Ph.D ’78
Opinion Maker

 
     

Molly Selvin

Molly Selvin views her work as “public policy on the fly.” As an editorial writer at the Los Angeles Times, Selvin has written three or four opinion pieces a week for the last 10 years. She has tackled the criminal and civil legal systems, local politics, the environment, reproductive health as well as child-welfare issues and has no qualms about sounding a wake up bell for the 900,000 readers of the Times.

Researching a series on LA County’s foster care system, Selvin rode along with a social worker making house calls. Her three-part series called for reform and scathingly labeled the bedeviled system, “the parent of last resort.”

Selvin, who lives in L.A with her husband, David Rubenson, and two children, is particularly proud that the paper argued in support of a new charter for the city of Los Angeles in the 1990s. “We did a lot of writing that convinced the voters to adopt it,” she says. “It brought the Los Angeles city government into the 21st century.”

An historian by training, Selvin won a Fulbright fellowship to the University of Munich in 1999, where she taught courses on U.S. constitutional law and urban politics. This year, she became a Senior Fellow at the UCLA School of Public Policy and Social Research (SPPSR), a program that fosters dialog
between leaders, practitioners, students and scholars on policy making.

But it is the daily pressures of the editorial room that she finds especially energizing. “The goal of an editorial,” Selvin says, “is to argue a point of view in a condensed space.” It is a goal she struggles to achieve with every column and when it works she is rewarded with the thought that she may have helped shape public policy.

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UCLA School of Public Policy and Social Research
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"Selvin won a Fulbright fellowship to the University of Munich in 1999, where she taught courses on U.S. constitutional law and urban politics."