California & Detroit

This article from New Geography posits that California could go the way of Detroit if current economic and political trends are not redirected.

It is clear California has substantial problems, detailed in this article, but the underlying reality of location, location, location will hold and, even though it will happen slowly, the residents of our fair state will eventually propel into office politicians willing and able to begin turning around the ever-festering problems.

We Californians are great at ‘dreamin’, but eventually, we do get it, it being reality.

An excerpt from New Geography.

“Most Californians live within miles of its majestic coastline – for good reason. The California coastline is blessed with arguably the most desirable climate on Earth, magnificent beaches, a backdrop of snow-capped mountains, and natural harbors in San Diego, Long Beach and San Francisco. The Golden State was aptly named. Its Gold Rush of 1849 was followed a century later by massive post-war growth.

“There is no mystery why California’s population and economy boomed after the Second World War. Education in California became the envy of the world. California’s public school system led the nation in innovation with brand new schools and classrooms. The Community College system that fed its universities was free for its students. A college education at the UC and Cal State systems was inexpensive. UC-Berkeley, with its graduate schools, was arguably the greatest in the world while Stanford developed into the Harvard of the West. An efficient highway system moved California’s automobile driven commerce while fertile soil of the Central Valley became the fruit and vegetable basket of the world.

“The next wave hit in the 80s as former orchards south of San Francisco morphed into the Silicon Valley. Intel and other chip manufacturers led the computer and software revolution bringing high tech jobs and immense new wealth to the GoldenState. The dot-com revolution of the 90s brought more gold to California. Innovators like Google and Apple cashed in by nurturing the Internet era. The next decade heralded the greatest housing and mortgage boom in the nation’s history. Developers from Orange County, south of Los Angeles, invented creative financing vehicles that drove home sales, and profits, to record heights by 2006.  
“This success has created a problem: Californians, due to their golden history, live unreflective lives. The Tea Party movement generated a political tsunami that swept more than 60 incumbents from political office in 2010, but the wave petered out at California’s state line as Democrats take every elected office in the state.

“The state budget, mandated to balance by law, has been billions in the red for ten straight years. Yet Californians re-elect the same politicians, year after year, who produce budgets with multi-billion dollar deficits. California voters rejected Meg Whitman, the billionaire founder of Ebay, in favor of Jerry Brown. California now has a $16 billion deficit which “assumes” that California voters will pass massive tax increases on themselves. If they do not, the 2013 deficit becomes a mind numbing $20 billion. Yet despite the red ink, Governor Brown signed into law a “high speed rail” bill that will spend $6 billion on a train between Fresno and Bakersfield – not LA and San Francisco as promised. Polls turned against the choo-choo, but there remain no outcry from California voters.”

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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