Posted by: 2thdocbob | 9 September 2015

Bear left, or Requiem for a once great state

Bear left

Happy Admission Day! Wait, you didn’t know it was Admission Day? You don’t even know what Admission Day is? Small wonder in a state that couldn’t even manage to celebrate its own sesquicentennial (150th birthday). Unless you call a nearly-legible scrawl on a generic license plate celebrating.

California is a state that has lost its moorings. It has no sense of a past; no sense of a future; it seems barely aware of the present. Indeed, California seems to have no sense of self. Unless you count the sense of self we see in individual Californians: think of the seagulls in Finding Nemo.

California was little more than a remote outpost on the far side of the continent until gold was discovered in 1848. Two years later, on September 9, California became the 31st state, and the new land of promise was born. Initially it was gold miners and those who could make a profit from the miners. When the gold played out, there was plenty of land for agriculture, industry, and, of course, homes.

The water laws and rights that plague us now were developed in those early years in the mid 1800’s.


From truck crops to fruits and nuts (please, no snide remarks here), and even some leafy drug varieties, everything seemed to grow here. Even things that we have no business growing in this climate are grown. In the north, it was almonds and drupes; in the south, oranges, other citrus, and avocados. In the 1930’s, a new wave of migration began, as dust-bowl refugees arrived, seeking tolerable living conditions and jobs.

With growth came industry, including the new automobile producers and aviation manufacturers, and their support industries. Older industries such as the railroads, steel, and lumber flourished. Much of the space exploration technology developed in California.

Yes, California was the place where the American dream could be realized, well into the 1970’s.

The turning point came when the government pulled the plug on the space program: defense contractors began massive layoffs; Prop 13 changed the educational environment; and the economic crises of the 70’s (remember gas rationing?) came to a head. It was all downhill from there.

California rapidly changed from “promised land” to being a land where the rich get richer, the poor get welfare, and if you had the misfortune to be stuck in the middle, too bad: someone has to pay for it all.FlagCaliforniaBearNix

And so, our state animal disappeared from the lower 48 nearly 100 years ago (accounts vary). Today, the almond trees are dying for lack of water: no rain and mismanagement of a precious resource are taking their toll; there are no more orange trees in Orange County: there is more short-term revenue in home-building; businesses that have survived onerous taxes and regulations are leaving the state in droves, taking jobs with them.

And what is the Legislature doing while we face this disaster? Fiddling while Rome burns. Instead of focusing on the business of the state, they are enacting more laws and regulations to limit business, and increasing taxes and “fees.” Yes, boys and girls, if we call it a fee instead of a tax, it only requires a simple majority to pass. Is it really the business of the legislature to pass a law eliminating organizational charts and job titles because some soft-headed fool might be offended because a supervisor is called a supervisor?

Meanwhile, the Central Valley is sinking because all the groundwater has been pumped out, and Dust Bowl, Part 2 is about to hit the streets. Film at 11.

And the New Deal can’t help us now. The sharks are circling off shore.

There is no place left to run.

Henley and Frey got it right: “You call someplace Paradise, kiss it goodbye.”[1]


[1] Henley, Don; Frey, Glenn Lewis; The Last Resort © 1974 Cass County Music, Red Cloud Music, Warner-Tamerlane Pub Corp. O.B.O. Cass County Music

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