“Those who leave California are cowards who want all of the easy and none of the hard.”
– This is a foolish statement if there ever was one.
I like California. Let me be clear. I really like California. Many of my earliest childhood memories where from my time in Monterey California. I loved CHiPs. I loved The A-Team. I loved Knight Rider.
I grew up surfing. My heroes weren’t football players or baseball players. They were surfers. Tom Curren, world champ from Santa Barbara was my favorite.
When my mother spoke of her happiest times with my Dad, before they got divorced, it was when we were in California. I seriously like California.
And that’s why I’ve paid attention to its decline.
We have said it before but it should be repeated. It should be repeated over and over. After cost of living is factored, on a per capita basis, California IS THE POOREST STATE IN THE UNION.
I’d hoped that by some miracle the state would be able to get its act together. It’s so pretty. It has so much going for it. So much to live for. Why would the state do what it’s doing to itself?
But like too many pretty things in Hollywood self destruction seems almost inevitable.
I don’t want to say this. I still have the greatest hope for the state. But right now things ain’t a’looking so good.
And there are many reasons why things are not looking good. Take this op-ed in the LA Times admonishing people who have had enough and are checking out of California for instance.
The author says that the people who leave California are “cowards.” That for some reason folks are supposed to stick around and let themselves be taxed and regulated to death at an increasing rate until they have nothing to show for their life’s work.
You see, the author says that California is:
California is not Hollywood and Silicon Valley and the middle class on the move. California is my mother and her sisters picking garlic in Gilroy during the 1960s and having to drop out of junior high to pack tomatoes at the old Hunt-Wesson cannery in Fullerton.
California is my dad and his cousin sneaking into this country at the San Ysidro border crossing in 1968 in the trunk of a Chevy driven by a hippie chick from Huntington Beach and her Mexican American boyfriend.
California is the natives slaughtered by Spaniards, Mexicans and Americans alike.
California is the Chinese men who came in the 19th century to mine in what they called Gold Mountain, to build the railroad tracks that connected the United States for good, then to see their countrymen banned from entering the U.S. for decades.
California is the various ethnic groups — Japanese, Filipinos, Punjabis, Okies, Armenians and especially Latinos — who came to toil in our factories in the fields.
OK, these folks ARE California. Yes, of course. I don’t see anyone arguing with that. But Silicon Valley and Hollywood are every bit as California as anyone the author lists, (to say nothing of the US Navy) and they pay the bills. And the thing is, the middle class people who support(ed) Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and the Military Industrial Complex are about done it sounds like.
But the author is pissed that people have given up on the once golden state.
Boo. Hoo. You tax people enough, you get in their business enough, and people will leave. Even IF the weather’s good.
Get your act together and maybe the middle class would stick around. But the ideologues – as we see – are going to ride this post-American California dream right into the 3rd World.
I hope I am wrong. I swear I hope that I am wrong. I hope that I will be able to write a column about how Cali saw the light and got itself in order. A column about how California is looking at a renaissance.
But I’m sorry California, right now? I’m just not seeing it.
Please make me see it. I am pulling for you.