Why Do I Live In California?

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For those of you who do not live in California let me answer that question.

I feel I have to do this because all I ever hear from friends and relatives in places like Pittsburg, Kansas City, or Des Moines is: “Why do you live out there? Everything is so expensive; gas is $7 and $8 a gallon; the freeways are always gridlocked, and your cities are filthy and plagued with hundreds of thousands of homeless people defecating on the sidewalks.”

Ahem, pause for effect.

“And in addition to all of those things, the people in California who aren’t homeless are just plain weird.”

Okay. My friends and relatives aren’t wrong. I don’t dispute any of those characterizations and here’s why:

California is effectively a political dictatorship controlled by the Democrat party. Any non-Democrat who runs for state office such as governor is essentially laughed off the ballot.

California is also the place people come to freeload. Why? Because freeloading is easy here in this state of 40 million souls—half of whom are mostly poor immigrants. One-third of all Americans on welfare live in California. More than one-fourth of the state’s population was not born in the United States and speaks a language other than English.

That might partially explain why test scores in California schools rank in the bottom 10 percent of the nation. Or it may also be because this state requires the indoctrination of students with fraudulent Marxist dogma such as Critical Race Theory and the equally deceitful 1619 Project in the place of rigorous academic curricula.

We have the teachers’ unions to thank for that travesty—along with the Democratic junta in Sacramento.

California’s cities rank among the nation’s leaders in property crimes. Combine that with the nation’s highest gas taxes, income taxes, and just about the highest sales taxes in the nation and you have a recipe for social and economic disaster, if not chaos.

About one-fifth of California’s population lives below the national poverty rate, with African Americans and Latinos stuck with the lowest real incomes in the nation—48th and 50th respectively.

Meanwhile, California’s wealthy, left-wing political class such as Jerry Brown, Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, Gavin Newsom, and Nancy Pelosi have gorged themselves at the public trough and luxuriated in their wealth and power—some of it inherited, but much of it obtained by leveraging their positions to amass fortunes.

This is my California. It’s a state rife with political corruption and as with many of this state’s societal features, it has managed to export its depravity and venality to Washington a la Nany Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, and former Sen. Barbara Boxer.

Will California Governor Gavin Newsome be next? Everybody from Eureka to San Diego believes Newsome has his sights set on the White House as stumbling, bumbling, mumbling Joe Biden’s Democrat successor.

God help us if that EVER happens!

Newsome has run California into the ground, though it took him longer than our befuddled president needed to do the same to the entire nation.

When I first came to California in 1976, the place was a great place to live. Laws were enforced and obeyed; freeways, railways, airports, and bridges were incessantly built, upgraded, and improved; ditto aqueducts, reservoirs, and dams.

And guess what? Schools taught the three Rs—readin,’ rightin,’ and rithmatic, along with subjects such as history, biology, chemistry, literature, etc.

Newsome and his socialist cronies in Sacramento have changed all of that, and more—much more.

California was once rich and self-sufficient in gas and oil, nuclear power, cutting-edge infrastructure, water storage, and law enforcement. It had a first-class public school system and a state system of higher education that was the envy of the nation.

No more.

Many of these resources have become political abominations to California’s leftists. Newsome and his gang of comrades purposely neglected, dismantled, or destroyed these critical assets to placate California’s powerful environmental lobby, teachers unions, socialists, and a smorgasbord of whacko minority organizations adept at making a lot of noise, if not much sense.

Of course, this meant nothing to a California ruling class that commuted very little if at all, was unconcerned about higher monthly gas and electric bills, sent their kids to private schools, and lived in exclusive gated neighborhoods where private security patrols deterred the riff-raff, felons, and homeless and sent them packing back to their middle or lower class stamping grounds.

That’s how it is in California. Right, Nancy Pelosi?

But people are finally noticing. For the first time since a prospector struck gold at Sutter’s Mill in 1849, California has recorded an annual net loss in population.

The state’s population, which has for years been inching toward the 40-million mark, actually dipped by 182,083 people last year as Californians packed up and headed for more business and taxpayer-friendly places like Texas, Arizona, Idaho, Nevada–and even Florida on the other side the continent.

And the exodus is not finished. More are expected to flee the tarnished “Golden State” in 2022. I’m not surprised. California’s ultra-leftwing government, led by inept and out-of-touch Newsome, is driving businesses and a frustrated electorate out of the state with a barrage of higher taxes, onerous regulations, and sky-high prices for everything from gasoline and housing, to food and clothing.

The Golden State was always a beacon that attracted people from across America and the globe. The state was synonymous with opportunity and prosperity–where the sky was the limit if you were hardworking and creative. Of course, that was before the state became a political autocracy controlled almost exclusively in Sacramento by far-left Democrats.

And here’s more news I never expected to hear about California. It ranks 50th; dead last; at the bottom of the heap, of all American states when it comes to quality of life, according to a recent ranking by U.S. News & World Report.

Now, back to the question with which I began this post: Why do I live in California?

For a couple of reasons. First, there is incredible geographical diversity in this state that so far seems unaffected by its batty, left-wing dogmata. For example, where I live I can drive to snow-topped mountains in the morning, be reclining on a pristine Pacific Ocean beach in the early afternoon, wander through a desert in the evening, and sip wine at night in one of the Temecula/Murrieta wineries. Have I ever done all of that in one day? No, but I could if I wanted to.

Then, there is the weather. I have sunshine about 340 days of the year and I haven’t needed anything heavier than a windbreaker on the coldest of days. (FYI, “cold” where I live just north of San Diego means whenever the temperature drops below 60 degrees.)

So that’s why I live in California. Even though it isn’t the magnificent “Golden State” that it used to be and even though it is mismanaged by a clique of leftist idiots, I will remain here because of the geographic variety and beauty—and, of course, the weather.

Until the political malefactors figure out how to take those things away from me, I plan to stick it out.

Who knows, maybe a Republican or a Libertarian will someday breach the one-party citadel in Sacramento and save California from total obliteration.

As with millions of the other great unwashed here in California, I can only hope.

 

(Ronald E. Yates is a U.S. Army veteran, an author, a former Chicago Tribune foreign correspondent, and Professor & Dean Emeritus of Journalism at the University of Illinois.)

 His website: http://www.ronaldyatesbooks.com/

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1 thought on “Why Do I Live In California?”

  1. What was the state of California, now the People’s Democratic Republic of Kalifornia (PDRK), is dying an awful death. An old saying you may have heard, “You want to see America in 20 years, look at California today…” That should scare the hell out of anyone.

    I’ve met several former residents of the PDRK, now moving into my adopted home of the Republic of Texas, and I explain to them, “We need to assimilate you back into a free society. Remember, you are not citizens of the US, but refugees from a failed 3rd world state. Therefore, you cannot vote for at least 25 year while you are deprogrammed,” 🙂

    And you are right sir, beautiful state.

    Reply

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