Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Goodnight, California

california_manhole_6-14-15-1I offer another chronicle, a 14-hour tour of the skeleton I once knew as California.

8:00 AM

I finally got around to retrieving the car seat that someone threw out in front of the vineyard near my mailbox. (Don’t try waiting dumpers out — as if it is not your responsibility to clean up California roadsides.)

An acquaintance had also emailed and reminded me that not far away there was a mound of used drip hose on the roadside. That mess proved to be quite large, maybe 1,000 feet of corroded and ripped up plastic hose. I suppose no scavenger thinks it can be recycled. I promise to haul it away this week. One must be prompt: even a small pile attracts dumpers like honey to bees. They are an ingenious and industrious lot (sort of like the cunning and work ethic of those who planted IEDs during the Iraq War). My cousin’s pile across the road has grown to Mt. Rushmore proportions. Do freelance dumpers make good money promising to take away their neighborhood’s mattresses and trash without paying the $20 or so county dumping fee? And does their success depend on fools like me, who are expected to keep roadsides tidy by cleaning up past trash to make room for future refuse?

9:00 AM

My relative has sold her 20 acres to a successful almond grower; that was the last parcel other than my own left of my great great grandmother’s farm. All that remains is the original house I live in and 40 acres. Almost all the small farming neighbors I grew up with — of Armenian, Punjabi, German, or Japanese descent — are long gone. Goodbye, diversity. And their children either sold the parcels and moved away (the poorer seem to head to the foothills, the middle class go out of state, the better off flee to the coast) or rent them out. Most of the surrounding countryside, piece-by-piece, is being reconstituted into vast almond groves. I plan to rent out mine next year for such conversion.

Almonds can net far more per acre than raisins and do not require much more water and require almost no labor. Tree fruit, given its expenses and risks, can lose your farm. The last vestiges of small, agrarian farming in these parts died sometime in the 1990s. Oddly, or perhaps predictably, the land to the naked eye looks better in the sense that the power of corporate capital and savvy scientific expertise has resulted in picture-perfect orchards. The old agrarian idea that 40 acres also grows a unique family, not just food, is — how do we say it? No longer operative?

10:00 AM

I drive on the 99 freeway past Kingsburg on the way to Visalia. It is a road-warrior maze of construction and detours. The construction hazards are of the sort that would earn any private contractor a lawsuit. (How do you sue Caltrans — and why is it that four or five men always seem to be standing around one who is working?) Only recently has the state decided to upgrade the fossilized two-lane 99 into an interstate freeway of three lanes. But the construction is slow and seemingly endless. Could we not have a simple state rule: “no high-speed rail corridors until the 101, 99, and I-5 are three-lane freeways, and the neglected Amtrak line achieves profitable ridership?” It is almost as if California answers back: “I am too bewildered by your premodern challenges, so I will take psychological refuge in my postmodern fantasies.”

12:00 Noon

I try to drive by the Reedley DMV on the way home to switch a car registration. Appointments take a long waiting period, but the line of the show-ups is still far out the door and well into the parking lot. I pass. The state announced that it was surprised that “unexpectedly” (the catch adverb of the Obama era [1]) nearly 500,000 illegal aliens have already been processed with new driver’s licenses. The lines at the office suggest that many DMVs simply have transmogrified into illegal alien license-processing centers.

The last time I had visited the office, I noticed the customers were also dealing with fines, tickets, or fix-it citations as part of the process. I thought, how will they pay for all that, given that “living in the shadows” and ignoring summonses and threats is far easier than paying what the state wants? And then, presto, the governor just announced a wish that the poor should be given “ticket amnesty.” So much for Sacramento’s idea of fining California drivers into becoming a reliable revenue source for a broke state, given that it has affected far more drivers than the shrinking and hated middle class that could supposedly afford the new sky-high tickets.

It reminds me of Obamacare: after my accident last May, I had lots of procedures and hours in waiting rooms. I discovered something listening to the desk people deal with Obamacare signups: a vast number apparently have not regularly paid the monthly or quarterly premiums. An even larger group has no idea what a deductible is, or that it actually applies to themselves. And some had no notion of a copayment. The reality of all three sends many into a near frenzy, reminiscent of the idea that a driver’s license means keeping up with registration, smog rules, and paying outstanding warrants — until the state provides the expected amnesties.

2:00 PM

I’m at the local supermarket two miles away. Three observations: many of the shoppers seem to be here for the air conditioning (the forecast is for 105 degrees by 5 PM). No one in the Bay Area, whose green agenda has led to the highest power rates in the country, seems to have thought that all of California does not enjoy 65-75 degree coastal corridor weather. My latest PG&E bill reminds me to apply for income-adjusted reduced rates — if I qualify. I don’t, so keep the air conditioner off all day.

Obesity among the shoppers seems epidemic and no one is talking about it. It is striking how young the overweight are! Almost all our small towns now have new state/federal dialysis clinics. Is this not a state emergency? Cannot the state at least offer public health warnings to the immigrant community that while diabetes is alarming among the population at large, it is becoming epidemic among new arrivals from Latin America and Mexico?

Stories that 25 percent of all state hospital admittances suffer from high blood sugar levels circulate. I argue in a friendly way with a customer in line about the new “green” Coke. He claims it is diet, but tastes like regular Coke. I remind him that it is so only because the artificial sweetener has been energized by some cane sugar and it is not so diet after all. (He is buying eight six-packs in fear of shortages.)

I don’t understand the EBT system. How is it that customers ahead of me pull out not one, but often go through three or four cards before they cobble together enough plastic credit for the full tab? Where does one acquire multiple cards?

4:00 PM 

I am talking ag pumps at home with some farmers. The water table here has gone from 40 feet in 2011 to 82 feet now — the result of four years of constant pumping combined with below-average rain and snow runoff, and the complete cut-off of contracted surface water from the Kings River watershed (don’t ask why). I lowered one 15-hp submersible to 100 feet (the well is only 160, which used to be called “deep” when the water table was 40 feet). “Lowering” means less water pumped, more energy costs, a waiting list for the pump people, and sky-high service charges. The renter promises to lower the other one, whose pump is pumping air, now well above the sinking water table. My house well is only 140 feet deep. I just lowered the pump to a 110-foot draw, and decided to get on the “waiting list” for a new domestic well. (Prices for drilling by the foot have increased fivefold, and are said to go up monthly).

If the drought continues, one will see two unimaginable things by next spring: thousands of abandoned older homes out in the countryside from Merced to Bakersfield, and tens of thousands of acres on the West Side (water table ca. 1,000 feet and dropping) will go fallow if they are row-crops. And if orchards and vineyards, a mass die-off will follow of trees and vines. (Note that Silicon Valley’s Crystal Springs reservoir on freeway 280 is “full.” No Bay Area green activist is arguing either that the deliveries through massive conduits should be stopped at the San Joaquin River to be diverted for fish restoration, or that the entire project is unnatural and a scar on Yosemite Park, warranting shutting down the huge transfer system in favor of recycling waste water for showers and gardens.)

5:00 PM

I’m on a PG&E off-peak rate schedule, so I’m waiting until evening to turn on the air conditioner. It is 104 degrees outside and 96 degrees inside the house. As a youth, we used a tiny window, inefficient air conditioner far more in the 1960s and 1970s than I ever do now with central air. Given power rates, the idea of a cool home in the valley is so 1970s.

6:00 PM

I take another walk around the farm. Good — no one has yet shot the majestic pair of red tail hawks yet, who greet me on their accustomed pole. But I do notice someone has forced open the cyclone fence around the neighbor’s vacant house. It was put up to stop the serial vandalizing. (What do you do after stealing copper wire? Go for the sheet rock? Pipes? Windows? Shingles?)

7:00 PM

A friend calls and mentions that local JCs had a spate of car vandalizations. This time targets are catalytic converters (for precious metal salvage?). I get the impression that today’s Gothic looter and Vandal is more ingenious than the state’s work force. Note the new California: the citizen is responsible for picking up trash or keeping a car running clean with a converter. The idea that a bankrupt state would create a task force to go after such thievery is absurd. I appreciate California logic: don’t dare suggest that massive new commitments to ensure social parity for millions of new arrivals through increased state legal, medical, criminal justice, and educational programs ever come at the expense of investments in roads, bridges, reservoirs, airports, or public facilities — or even the accustomed state services that one took for granted in 1970. To do so is nativist, racist, and xenophobic. What an illiberal state we’ve become.

8:00 PM

I’m on the upstairs balcony looking out over miles of lush countryside. It’s quite scenic, something in between verdant Tuscany and the aridness of Sicily. I can hear the ag pumps of the surrounding farms everywhere churning 24/7. In a normal year they would never be turned on, as river water irrigated the fields and recharged the water table.

Then come two sirens. Will the power go off? Quite often, someone after too much to drink goes airborne and hits a power pole on these rural roads. I got back inside in case things go dark to review the mail. The local irrigation district has not delivered water in four years (what do ditch tenders do when canals and ditches are empty?) and now wants a tax hike to keep up with increased expenses. In fact, half the mail seems to be drought information from various agencies. What was so awful about building just two or three one million acre-foot reservoirs, or raising Shasta Dam? We could begin today. When the taps at Facebook or the Google toilets go dry, will the state again invest in water storage?

10:00 PM

I turn on the local news and channel surf for 10 minutes. How well we take refuge in the absurd. This litany blares out: Bruce Jenner’s new sexual identity, the latest racial controversy, this time over the crashing of a private pool party and the police reaction, the Obama’s new stretch Air Force One jumbo jet, Marco Rubio’s one ticket every four years, Miley Cyrus’s bisexuality. I suppose if one cannot grasp, much less deal with, $19 trillion in debt, a foreign policy in shambles, the largest state in the union on the cusp of a disastrous drought, a Potemkin health care system, zero interest on passbook savings, and the end of all federal immigration law, then the trivial must become existential.

Goodnight, once great state…

(Artwork created using multiple Shutterstock.com [2] images.)

Article printed from Works and Days: http://pjmedia.com/victordavishanson

URL to article: http://pjmedia.com/victordavishanson/goodnight-california/

URLs in this post:

[1] the catch adverb of the Obama era: http://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll/2012/07/16/two-beatable-candidates-create-deadlock/

[2] Shutterstock.com: http://www.shutterstock.com

Copyright © 2015 Works and Days. All rights reserved.

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

48 Thoughts on “Goodnight, California

  1. You should consider moving to the remnants of Western Civilization.

    http://www.landsofnorthcarolina.com
    http://www.landsofvirginia.com

    • William on June 18, 2015 at 8:31 pm said:

      I would agree about Virginia, if the northernmost counties were kicked out and given to Maryland. Those counties full of DC parasites have turned Virginia blue. Get rid of them and Virginia would be a great state again.

  2. What an excellent bedtime story.

  3. Joan Sands on June 18, 2015 at 8:11 am said:

    I was born in California many years ago. What a sad state it has become. Unfortunately, the rest of the country may very well follow California into the third world. I am glad I probably won’t live to see it. You write so well but I don’t see how you keep your spirits up.

  4. Hoi Polloi Boy on June 18, 2015 at 8:26 am said:

    Quit whining about the air conditioner and get a swamp cooler. We’ve used one for years. I’ve never had air conditioning.

  5. S. Plankenberg on June 18, 2015 at 8:45 am said:

    Time to move to another state.
    You must be eligible for retirement from your teaching job, Mr. Hanson, and life is too short to have to deal with the daily assault on reason, professionalism, and civilized behavior you are forced to witness on a daily basis in California. Dealing with the daily insanity and frustration can have negative health effects as well.
    Leaving the family home of so many generations of your family that you so obviously love may be heartbreaking, at first. But by remaining there, and continuing to pay the taxes, licensing fees and other costs the State of California demands from it’s productive citizens, are you not perpetuating the very system that is slowly tightening the figurative noose around your neck?
    Take your money, family, and considerable talent to Utah, Wyoming, Montana, or some Midwestern state in fly – over country where there is still some semblance of appreciation of relative freedom and liberty.
    California is lost, and is becoming the focus of scorn from those of us living in other states who know that some time in the not too distant future we will be forced to provide bailout money to California state employee pension funds, thus trying to ( temporarily ) prevent the California collapse from taking the whole country down with it.
    California has been hemorrhaging upper and middle income taxpayers for years, and it is time for more people like you to give the state a wake-up up call by voting with your feet.

    God bless you, Dr. Hanson, for your insight and the work you do.

  6. Really clever allusion in describing our healthcare system.

    I realize your reluctance to abandon your roots, but things are slightly better in the Lone Star state. At least we have water.

  7. David Lacey on June 18, 2015 at 9:26 am said:

    Thank you Mr. Hanson for your ongoing tales of California. Reading these reminds me of Defoe’s “Journal of the Plague Years.” One of the most frightening aspects is that as California becomes unable to keep it’s millions alive there will be a diaspora of this ignorance and destruction that spreads across the nation in search of sustenance. It has already started to infect areas that were also paradises at one time.

    Progressives are a virus (to paraphrase Agent Smith) that will eventually kill this country. The dark times that follow will be truly terrible, assuming there are any humans alive to experience them. I will probably not live to see it, but I fear that my child will.

  8. Please consider relocating to Utah. It’s still relatively sane here. There are influences here that will keep us so, hopefully, until the very last. Though I am a native, I am not a Mormon, and that is not an impediment to a happy life here. (See the second sentence.)

  9. I have a terrible fear that this essay may be one of the unread grave inscriptions over California when this madness reaches the end already in sight.

    This is why I left California.

    The Central Valley may not be the State’s core (though it arguably should), but it is a limb, and it been tourniqueted. Gangrene is here.

  10. Jim McNab on June 18, 2015 at 10:49 am said:

    As a Fresno-born and bred Baby Boomer, who now resides in the mountains of Western North Carolina, I sympathize with your concerns about the plight that exists in your part of the San Joaquin Valley. My father was born in the 1920s on a 40-acre ranch that is now a vast housing subdivision in east Clovis. Before escaping California, I enjoyed driving through the farmland, vineyards, and orchards surrounding the greater Fresno/Clovis area. It was fascinating to watch the progress of the grapes, peaches, almonds, apricots, figs, and other crops as they came to life in the warm, springtime sun. The distinctive aroma of rich soil and orange blossoms was sweet. Your piece was a combination of nostalgia and sadness. The observation that, what once was a fertile, productive locality where good, honest, hard-working people lived, raised families, and grew food to feed the world, is now becoming a desert and is slowly being choked to death by a combination of short-sighted water preservation policies, misled politicians, and pigheaded environmentalists. Although I miss my friends and family who still live in Central California, I do not miss the conditions you describe in your piece nor the degenerates who are responsible for turning the Central Valley into the rundown and dilapidated wasteland.

  11. David N on June 18, 2015 at 10:55 am said:

    Ha ha, cool idea for a story.
    Hope its just the story, though, those negative thoughts can be a real struggle, even if they’re true, I know firsthand!

  12. Richard Rider on June 18, 2015 at 11:05 am said:

    If you want to see how California stacks up against the other 49 states on 35 criteria, check out my dreary, constantly updated, annotated fact sheet: http://www.TinyURL.com/CA-vs-other-states

    May I add that, assuming you are a CA resident, it’s best you NOT read it. Certainly not the whole thing in one sitting.

  13. John the Econ on June 18, 2015 at 11:34 am said:

    Dr. Hanson, this one practically brought me to tears. I was a California native. Most of the California I remember and loved from my youth is gone or dying. It is very painful to watch. By the mid-to-late ’80’s, I saw the writing on the wall and a decade later I left. I now live in flyover country. Leaving for me was a bit easier, as I had no historical homestead to hang on to, but I did leave a lot of friends and an old life that was in many ways pretty good. California is a beautiful place, but experiencing its beauty and escaping mass-of-humanity was getting harder and harder and the state is beating up it’s productive citizens. At the rate of social and economic decay I’ve seen since I left, I really can’t imagine what the place will be like in another decade or so. My biggest fear is that when things get worse there, the Progressive hoards that ran California into the ground will come to places like mine to start the cycle over again; killing the golden goose, and then gorging on the carcass.

  14. Ha! You have condemned yourself with your own words as “nativist, racist, and xenophobic.”
    Can anyone get me a paying job at the Huffington Post? I can hang around at home in my underwear, if that would help.

    • Xander on June 18, 2015 at 6:30 pm said:

      Is that your best shot at a thoughtful, insightful, well-educated and hardworking person who sees reality? Name calling. Really?

  15. Glenn999 on June 18, 2015 at 12:20 pm said:

    Mr. Hanson
    I live in the south and deal with the increased cooling costs by putting a window unit in my office. I can turn off the ac for the whole house and save money, but not let the heat bother me while working inside.

    Cali is probably done. Plenty of good states out there still left, and I’m sure they would love to have you.

    Best of luck with all those problems.
    And keep writing. I love your style!!

    • William on June 18, 2015 at 8:40 pm said:

      I just keep the AC running in one room and set fairly high, with another to take the edge off the rest of the house and it is set even higher. Just can’t run several of them at low temperatures like you used to, what with this inflation government says isn’t happening and all.

  16. IRIS on June 18, 2015 at 1:03 pm said:

    DON’T move to Colorado which has already been ruined by migrating Californians.

  17. atzlan conquers all. and, please not to worry. they will vote “democratic,” to keep the faucet running that provides all. taxes, what taxes?

  18. One more note.
    I have invented a shovel that stands up by itself thereby eliminating 4/5th of Caltrans work force if Gov. Brown will consider it.

    • Well said. California was once a truly magnificent, diverse place to grow up never needing to leave the State to enjoy a full life experience.

    • puggs on June 19, 2015 at 4:10 am said:

      Chuck, please let me buy the first shovel and I will put it by ‘the empty chair’. Maybe this could help.

  19. Doctor french on June 18, 2015 at 3:32 pm said:

    As a frenchmen reading about the fall of the golden state give me the feeling of ” déja vu “.

    France, Californie même combat……..

  20. sonoffar on June 18, 2015 at 6:55 pm said:

    Dr Hanson, stand your ground.
    This is Our state and we don’t need to surrender it to any mob of Progluddites,
    Degenerates, Illegal Aliens, or near do well, Elected Officials. This is our state, not theirs!
    Even as worse comes to awful, there needs to be stout hearted Californians left who will collect the debris and reassemble this once great state. Our ancestors made it and we should be able to re-make it after the culls have all fled to easier pickings.

  21. sonoffar on June 18, 2015 at 6:56 pm said:

    Dr Hanson, stand your ground.
    This is Our state and we don’t need to surrender it to any mob of Progluddites,
    Degenerates, Illegal Aliens, or near do well, Elected Officials. This is our state, not theirs!
    Even as worse comes to awful, there needs to be stout hearted Californians left who will collect the debris and reassemble this once great state. Our ancestors made it and we should be able to re-make, it after the culls have all fled to easier pickings.

    • S. Plankenberg on June 22, 2015 at 1:48 pm said:

      I don’t think it IS your state anymore. The changes required to fix it, if that’s even possible, will not take place in your lifetime or mine, and can only come after a long, total collapse, and the remade version will be even more socialist than the state government is now.
      I make the point again : Any productive resident of California that remains there is funding the rot with the taxes they pay each year to the state government and it’s out of control bureaucracies.
      IT’S YOUR MONEY THAT ENABLES THE PEOPLE THAT ARE RUINING YOUR BEAUTIFUL STATE !

  22. William on June 18, 2015 at 8:37 pm said:

    What you say about metal and parts theft isn’t limited to California. In Alabama, thieves have been going after vacation homes and hunter’s cabins for some years and have also been stealing parts from logging machinery. We’re sure it is meth heads and other junkies more than illegals, but there really isn’t any help forthcoming to deal with them.

    Not surprising that the greens only want everyone else’s water cut off but not theirs. Most of the state will be desert and blown away before their water is allowed to run out. Maybe they will change their tune when water raiders are drilling holes in those big pipes and stealing their water, but then they would probably just get security for the pipelines and the problem would continue. Maybe also once they can’t get their veggies and such at Whole Foods they’ll wake up. Not holing my breath though.

    What I’m worried about is the great flood of all that humanity pouring over the Continental Divide and spreading that madness and waste eastward, and probably mostly through the South.

  23. Jon Jewett on June 18, 2015 at 8:59 pm said:

    We have a half-way home here in Texas for California refugees. I would be proud to sponsor you. But only if you have never voted Democrat.

    Jon

  24. Yeah, I hear you. I’m still here too. Third generation. I remember the Delta before they ruined it with rip rap. As a child growing up in the San Joaquin valley, once the peat got under my nails, I was marked.

    I’ve traveled a lot, have lived many places –all because of work. I tell you, I hit the Arizona border, and the roads are in good repair. I walk into a store in Albuquerque, and people are nice –just like they were when I was a kid. But even as I sip my morning coffee and stare out over the Sangre de Cristo… I feel that tug. California is home. When people find out where I’m from, I get the eye-rolls, and sometimes the same lectures that everyone here has written so passionately about. They also ask me, “Why don’t you move here?” And I shake my head. I’ll always have keep my home in California and run back to it. You grow up in the central valley, near farms and rivers, and it’s just part of who you are. It’s not like San Fransisco or Los Angeles. People up in the far north of our state would understand, as would those in our deserts. It’s the dirt, and the wind, it’s the memory of the peach trees, and the asparagus. It’s part of who we are. We don’t live on memories, but they do help us deal with the cacophony of the present. They help us look at all that is wrong, at values that are flimsy, and stay centered. They help us form our words, and inspire our actions in everything that we do.

    Joan Didion left us ages ago, though her writing on California is still resonant. I miss Joan. Now 80, I often think –isn’t it time to stop being a New Yorker? Shouldn’t you come back? And honestly, I never ever want to pose that same question to Victor Davis Hanson –an important, well educated, observant, articulate native son of California -one of the very best writers we have. Like Joan Didion, California is where he belongs.

  25. puggs on June 19, 2015 at 4:20 am said:

    Mr. Hanson, I agree with most of your writers that moving is probably the best thing. It’s very sad though and I understand why it would be hard to do. But holding on to the past isn’t working in these kinds of conditions. Peace of mind and safety is more important and that’s what your grandparents would want for you in the first place. I know because of my own and what they would want for me. I enjoy reading your writings, they are encouraging and heartfelt, meaningful and many more things I could say. Keep writing. You are helping many to keep that peace of mind and have more stability just by a few pages of writing. That’s a gift you have been given by God to help others in these difficult times.

  26. Brendan Kelly on June 19, 2015 at 6:14 am said:

    I have an 11 year old daughter. Due to a particular Japanese Anime (Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood) she decided over a year ago that she wants to build powered prosthetic limbs for people when she grows up. She’s very serious about this and has started researching the field.

    I asked her where she wants to go to college. She said “M.I.T.” I asked why. She said “They are the #3 school in the country for biomechanical engineering. I asked “Why not the #1 or #2 school?” she said “They are both in California, and I don’t want to go to California.”

  27. Funny, for a state that is dying, it has not stopped people from pouring in to tackle the drought instead of snow and cold weather. Huge apartments and homes are constantly being built which, originally, I thought would be left empty and abandoned, but sell and are rented till full. Freeways are like parking lots and any area’s that are not filled property line to property line with Malls, big buildings, shops, cafe’s, etc., etc., will when whomever owns them, gives up and sacrifices it to progress. Area’s of tree’s, plants, flowers and nature just don’t make it here and lose out in that same battle. All that to say, “if California is dying, there are an awful lot of people who are absolutely unaware of it as they move around like ants on an anthill.”

  28. Herb Clark on June 19, 2015 at 7:50 am said:

    Sorry to say your missive reminds me of the movie The Book of Eli with Denzel Washington. Even when I watched it the first time I had bad thoughts about your state’s future.

    As others have suggested – time to move. Skip Colorado. America’s ski resort. Try Alabama, Arkansas, the Carolinas, Georgia, Louisiana, Florida. There is no heaven but – “we got water”. On the other hand our public works departments usually have even more supervisors watching the guy with the shovel – as in “shovel ready”.

  29. David Park on June 19, 2015 at 8:09 am said:

    The CCCF makes one wonder what all that pride about country of origin, ethnicity, culture, and political party affilitation is actually based upon after witnessing decades of California’s ever spreading decay and decline. The new state motto seems to be: ‘It is a personal assault on my dignity for anyone to even think why I should be prevented from getting a larger allowance of something for nothing in California.’ (Note: Current – California – Cluster – …………..) And for those from other states who crack a smug smile while pointing an accusing finger at the California situation: just where do you think the detritus of this state’s meltdown will move when freebieland goes broke?

  30. Bob G on June 19, 2015 at 9:21 am said:

    Mr. Hanson:

    It is truly sad to see the steepening decline of the (once) great state of California. I left the state of my birth in 1990 and will not return. Your essays show me a state that has changed radically from the place I remember. It seems like the Central Valley — which I remember as a marvelous mix of family farms and large operations that, combined fed much of the country — has been reduced to something like we saw in the first Mad Max film.

    I hope you’ll consider relocating for your peace of mind and for your safety. The Texas Hill Country is beautiful and is just as close to Stanford — in Internet terms — as the Central Valley.

    It brings tears to my eyes to see what California has become.

    Regards,
    Bob

  31. Doreen on June 19, 2015 at 1:16 pm said:

    That’s depressing. I’m conservative & live in Northern California. Actually, living here is great, I don’t notice things any different, but I hear many conservatives in position with a voice complain about California, and say there’s no hope for change. And then I hear conservatives complain about Wash DC & the rest of the country, and it sounds like liberalism is unleashed and a moral decline nationwide, not just California.

  32. D White on June 19, 2015 at 2:58 pm said:

    “Whenever sacred duty decays and chaos prevails
    then I create myself Arjuna
    To protect men of virtue
    and destroy men who do evil,
    to set the standard of sacred duty
    I appear in age after age”
    Krishna

  33. buybuydandavis on June 19, 2015 at 3:35 pm said:

    “The old agrarian idea that 40 acres also grows a unique family, not just food, is — how do we say it? No longer operative?”

    “not economically viable. ”
    – Bill Foster, Falling Down

  34. Videodrone on June 19, 2015 at 4:48 pm said:

    Dr. Hanson,

    Another multi gen (Nor)Cal native checking in. Hypocrisy ignorance and tyranny seem to be the norm these daze.

    we are under mandatory water control, I just spent the better part of this week at Stanford – where we are not allowed to have fountains or water our lawns you couldn’t tell there is a drought at the campus, the lowest cost “hotel” (a 50 year old El Camino dive in Los Altos) with a leaky 5Gal toilets two recent trips to SoCal with stays at “better” hotels (who had recently changed brands from “MarryRot” to “Paris H” or the other way around – with the same leaky 5Gal flush toilets! – but try to sell a house with one of them!

  35. Jeff Stanley on June 19, 2015 at 9:04 pm said:

    I blame John Freemont. The only thing left to do is to petition Mexico, demanding that they take it back.

  36. Anthony Mxyzptlk on June 20, 2015 at 10:10 am said:

    The spectacle of an irrigation district that has not had any water in four years but wants to raise taxes and hire more administrators offers a priceless opportunity to test the theories of C. Northcote Parkinson, who (IIRC) posited that the number of employees and administrators of an agency is inversely proportional to the actual amount of work to be done.
    Parkinson’s example was the British navy between World Wars I and II, which shrank to almost nothing, yet saw an explosive increase in the number of employees, even as the number of ships shrank.
    If Parkinson is right, we should see the number of employees, and possibly the number of regulatory agencies, rise higher and higher as the water table itself goes lower and lower.

  37. We left 5 years ago and moved to Idaho. Still some eye rolls here even though many are here from other states including Cali. When I get the eye roll I just look them in the eye and say, “It’s Ok, they didn’t like me in California either. ha
    :

  38. E W Daly on June 22, 2015 at 5:57 am said:

    Change is not always for the better….but change is omnipresent. My uncle once said of California that after people establish residency, they wish to close the gates to prevent further congestion. In my lifetime US population has moved from 130 million to 330 million souls and culturally we are vastly different. There are multiple US locations with less regulation and cultural oddities and the pace is slower. When one looks objectively at California and traces its metamorphosis from the 1890’s one would be hard pressed to define its stature and composition in the 2050’s….

  39. 357x6 on June 23, 2015 at 1:53 pm said:

    A heartbreaking lamentation in the story of one day. Then you think of the next day, and the next and the next, and it becomes revolting and infuriating.
    Can ” good night America” be far behind?

  40. Annette on June 25, 2015 at 1:49 am said:

    Liberals Remind me of the two ants standing in the shadow of the elephant’s foot saying to each other “here comes that clumsy elephant,let’s just pretend we don’t see him.
    They’ll. never know what hit them!

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