California

California Is a Cautionary Tale for America

California bounds from one crisis to another; most of them being self-imposed.

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During a business trip to Michigan in the 1980s, I recall driving on a commercial street that ran north to south through various well-kept working-class neighborhoods. At one point, the road passed a "Welcome to Detroit" sign. Immediately the surroundings became bleak, with boarded up buildings and graffiti. It was a disturbing sight.

That was nearly two decades before the rapper Eminem immortalized Detroit life in his movie, "8 Mile," which refers to the east-west thoroughfare that separates Detroit from its northern suburbs. "But yo, I gotta get out there, the only way I know," he sang. I kept driving until I got out of there, too. Within moments, the road exited the city limits and we were back amid tree-lined streets and tidy malls.

It may seem odd to begin a column about affluent California by telling stories about a grimy rust-belt metropolis, but extreme examples can reinforce a simple point. Just as national borders make a difference, so do state and municipal borders. Anyone with the means to flee Detroit, does so. Likewise, the Golden State hemorrhages residents, as they build their lives in differently managed states.

In a series of tweets, Donald Trump has depicted California as a "cautionary tale" for the rest of the United States, as CalMatters recently noted. As is often the case with this president, his ideas are a mixed bag and his incendiary approach is less than constructive. But, as someone who has been writing about California's policies for two decades, I concede that he makes a valid point.

California bounds from one crisis to another, with most of them being self-imposed. The latest one involves the raging wildfires that turned our air into a putrid soup. Obviously, heat waves and high winds were the proximate cause, but poor land management, ill-conceived liability and insurance laws, and the misuse of existing firefighting budgets are the fundamental problems.

The last crisis involved homelessness. Just because COVID-19 pushed it off of the front pages doesn't mean that it's become any less severe. "Gavin N has done a really bad job on taking care of the homeless population in California," Trump tweeted last year. "If he can't fix the problem the Federal Govt. will get involved." The president and his supporters have depicted San Francisco, with its festering homeless issue, as a dystopia.

Trump is right that our state, which thinks that building $700,000 per unit housing for the homeless is a good idea, has done its usual terrible job. As a believer in federalism, I disagree with giving federal bureaucrats a bigger role in a state problem. I visit San Francisco regularly and it remains one of the world's great cities despite the encampments and defecation. But it's on a downward trajectory.

When cost of living is included in the calculation, California has the highest poverty rates in the nation. Its obscene housing costs, which are the direct result of poor policy choices, is the reason so many Californians struggle. Instead of reforming the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), slicing developer fees and eliminating urban-growth boundaries, the state is committed to more "affordable" housing subsidies.

The governor and his party always view the private sector as a threat and the government as a solution. Yet everything our government touches turns into disaster. The government controls road and freeway construction, yet our roads are clogged, as state officials impose "road diets" that eliminate traffic lanes and focus on bicycle paths. They continue to squander billions of dollars on the High Speed Rail line to nowhere. California's public-sector pay deals are eye popping. Localities continually cut services so they can pay higher fees to the California Public Employees' Retirement System.

California schools used to be tops, but—despite significant growth in their budgets—have stagnant test scores. The state's educational bright spot has been its charter schools, which provide needed competition to traditional monopoly schools. Yet after Gov. Jerry Brown, a charter supporter, left office, the new crowd has passed teachers'-union-backed laws that restrict their growth and force poor kids to stay in rotten districts.

California isn't the only state with problems, but most of them are the result of government inefficiency and malfeasance. California just happens to have the biggest state government—and it's run almost entirely by lawmakers and other officials who refuse to consider non-government approaches. Their solutions are the same as ever: Just raise taxes on the "rich."

Nevertheless, California's leaders brag that our state is the fifth-largest economy and that other states should emulate its model—from banning internal-combustion vehicles to limiting companies' ability to use contractors as workers. I look at the state's failures and crises and have to agree that California is more of a cautionary tale than a model. It's certainly not Detroit, but don't forget that 60 years ago Detroit was one of the nation's great cities.

This column was first published in The Orange County Register.

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  1. It’s like a tale of two cities.
    First wave was in Bay Area, they locked down & have been very cautious and most people saw the damage and tried to stay safe.
    This second wave is Southern California – 9 counties there have over 75% of the total cases – they hit the beaches and bars.
    So, like Florida and Texas, actions have consequences.

    Coronavirus Disease (COVID 19) Guidelines according to WHO.

    1. Or you just get different patterns in different climate zones. It’s probably some combination of that and people’s behavior.

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    2. In the USA, there was no mass death wave after the bLM/Antifa manifestations, no mass death wave from the Florida beach openings, no mass death wave from party-goers, no mass death wave from churches, weddings, or funerals, no mass death wave from the Sturgis motorcycle rally.
      The only mass death waves came from places where the political leaders violated hard science and directed corona-positive cases into old folks’ homes.

      1. Check the dates again. The second wave in cases this summer started two to three weeks after the BLM mass protest super spreader event, and the second wave in deaths followed that by two to three weeks.
        The news media were eager to trace outbreaks back to Sturgis or some random wedding. They haven’t even tried to trace it back to millions of people standing shoulder to shoulder in the street and shouting.

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      2. I’ve yet to see a single study that correlated the protests to a rise in covid. I hear this claimed a lot but nothing to really back it up and it just seems like a lot of conjecture. A couple things to keep in mind: 1) We had many states starting to reopen around the same time as the protests. Thus making it very hard to disambiguate what was caused from reopening businesses and what was caused by the protests.
        2) We didn’t see rises in covid in all cities that there were protests, for example NYC. And we still saw rises in places that didn’t have protests.
        3) The protests took place outdoors and from the footage I saw virtually everyone was wearing masks. Masks when work by everyone are proven effective. Which is why air travel hasn’t been a super-spreader conduit despite hundreds of people packed in a tight space. Secondly, being outdoors reduces the likelihood of spread because of easier dissipation. The worst environment is being indoors in stagnant air with a lot of people not wearing masks and doing a lot of talking and breathing, for example bars and restaurants and gyms. Those post far more risk than masked people marching outdoors.

        1. as You prove Gruber’s point

        2. NYC is seeing a rise is cases, so, wrong on that point. You’re another epidemiologist, degree earned via the news and internet, eh? You are making assumptions that bars, gyms and restaurants are open that permit customers to go about maskless -a poor business model. ‘Masks when work by everyone are proven effective,’ is also simply wrong. cloth masks are not particularly effective, but do lecture us. Ill-fitting or poorly worn masks are also not effective. Combine the three of these with closely packed people shouting, and your defense of protests as not spreading disease is foolish.

    3. Different demographics. Younger, healthier people in SF. Old people can’t afford to live there. And the Bay Area was hit very hard by COVID, despite the early lockdowns and a lot more mask wearing.

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  2. “When cost of living is included in the calculation, California has the highest poverty rates in the nation.”

    Yeah. And that’s a good thing.

    Koch / Reason libertarianism is all about promoting policies that widen the gap between billionaires (like our benefactor Charles Koch) and everyone else. Our insistence on unlimited, unrestricted immigration will eventually make every state like California — high degree of racial diversity, high degree of economic inequality, single-party Democratic control.

    #LibertariansFor50Californias

    1. You wanna’ know why I am the only one replying to your post? Because you suck at trolling.

      1. Funny! True and funny.

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    2. So you’re saying that if California closed its borders to Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon its racial diversity and inequality would drop and Republicans would rule the roost again?

  3. “California’s leaders brag that our state is the fifth-largest economy”

    Maybe. Take out of that calculation all of the federal government dollars, and where does actual “California” stand?
    You know, all the things that would go away if California was not a state. All military bases. All of the US defense industry. All federal parks and forests. All federal courts. And all the taxes paid by all the employees of all those areas. And all the businesses that support all those people.

    1. Yeah. Never mind entertainment, Silicon Valley, and agriculture.

      1. RIght, it’s not as if CA is unproductive. If it wasn’t hugely productive, it would have all collapsed long ago under the sorts of policies they have been pushing for a few decades.

      2. You really think the agricultural areas would stick around if California separated? They hate the coast even more than most non-Californians.

        That’s the problem with the current crop of commie slimebags–they forgot Che and Mao’s directive that the revolution will ultimately fall apart if you don’t have the hinterlands on your side.

        1. Yeah, but the good farmland is where it is.

          1. …..only by stealing the water from the poor Mexicans. Obvious sarc. Or maybe not.

          2. Yeah, see how well that worked for Zimbabwe.

        2. California is doing a good job of killing its agriculture thru regs and eliminating water supplies. the golf courses can get water but not the growers

      3. If California left the United States, would they get the same water and power support from neighboring states or would a lot of that agriculture go away? Would they be able to keep LA lit?

        1. New York City would definitely be able to stay wet and lit if it seceded (peacefully)? Why? We own the reservoirs and aqueducts, and you definitely can own property in another country — just ask the Chinese.

          1. You do realize that if New York City seceded, that the upstate region would likely shut down those water supplies and tell them to get fucked, right?

        2. For good information on water rights in the American west, here is the go to book: CADILLAC DESERT: THE AMERICAN WEST AND ITS DISAPPEARING WATER
          https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0140178244/reasonmagazinea-20/

          1. Nothing in Reisner’s book talks about what would happen in the event that a state seceded, however. The Colorado River Compact would immediately become null and void, and the upper basin would likely switch to a riparian hybrid to claw back that 4.5 million acre feet that California has to get no matter what, while Mexico would demand more water to restore the Salton Sink habitats.

        3. I’m all for Californians leaving the United States forever. Then we can take the state over and have it run by real Americans again.

      4. Never mind entertainment
        Hollywood may be located in California, but a whole lot of the work they do is in other states and Canada, because of all the laws and rules and regulations and taxes and fees and fines the Legislature imposes.
        “Safe sex” laws have pushed much of the adult industry elsewhere. Now California is shutting down the gig economy, which runs movie making, music, writing, and much of the rest of entertainment.
        It’s like the California Legislature hates prosperity.

        1. Hollywood is exempt from the gig law. They have better lawyers than the porn industry.

      5. Yeah, never mind that the agricultural north of California already wants to secede from the state and would never follow the Bay Area and SoCal into separate nationhood.

      6. The problem with the entertainment industry is that most of production is elsewhere (and the salaries are elsewhere) while the revenue is counted in California.

      7. Actually, government as a share of the CA GDP (about $350 billion) is greater than either computer companies, entertainment or agriculture – see the Wikipedia article on the economy of California, and see the GDP by sector chart.

    2. Having the 5th largest economy is nothing to brag about when you’re the 1st largest state.

      1. 3rd largest state — Alaska, Texas, California …

      2. You’re kidding Roberta, yes?

    3. California pays more in federal taxes than it gets back.

      1. and Gruber luvs YOU…….

      2. Uh huh.

  4. As is often the case with this president, his ideas are a mixed bag and his incendiary approach is less than constructive.

    Cue the hatred against Reason…

    1. It is kind of funny that every Reason article has to have what is essentially a disclaimer line. “Look, just to be clear, we still don’t like Trump. This article just says he made a tiny, valid point. Broken clock and all that, ok? Please don’t molotov us.”

      1. See, you make the most true point on this issue. There is absolutely no reason to include the caveat, but it is included for whatever reason. And that’s what gets under people’s skin. And honestly, it’s a behavior that does nothing for the author’s credibility.

        1. its as incendiary as Trump is

        2. Disagree. Trump has made tweets that are fair game. It’s not as if this article focused on Trump or blamed Trump for anything in particular. You are being too sensitive. Face it: Trump’s ideas ARE a mixed bag and his tweets ARE sometimes incendiary. We are not here to defend Trump at every turn, but to put him to the same scrutiny as others – NOT MORE scrutiny, the same.

          1. Well, he’s succeeded in making everything about him, including articles about Calif.

          2. Um, an article about California being a cautionary tale had to include a reference that Trump has a mixed bag of ideas? Yeah, don’t think so. Again, it is fine to be properly critical of Trump. It’s another thing to always make sure to stick in a comment that Reason doesn’t like Trump in articles that aren’t even about him.

            1. They can’t help it, they must signal. The sheep demand it.

    2. No word if using actual incendiary devices is constructive I see.

  5. Gavin Newsom has assured us that California is our future, that progressive California leads the way in creating the future we will all some day enjoy, and he’s right.

    Steven Greenhut: Says California is rapidly becoming a socialist hellhole.
    Also Steven Greenhut: Lives in California.

    Apparently California isn’t enough of a socialist hellhole to make Steven Greenhut tap out. Steven Greenhut’s revealed preferences demonstrate how much socialist hellholery he’s willing to endure. When California becomes enough of a socialist hellhole to make Steven Greenhut tap out, he’s going to move to another state and immediately start voting for the same policies that made California a social hellhole because he’s already demonstrated the amount of socialist hellholery he’s willing to accept and it’s a hell of a lot more than what the rest of us are willing to accept.

    Hell, there were plenty of us warning 30 years, 40 years ago, that California was going down a bad path, and yet people were still moving to California, they were willing to put up with that amount of socialism and government misrule. As California ramped up the socialism and the misrule, people slowly stopped coming to California then started actually leaving California. Every damn one of them was demonstrating the exact level of socialism and misrule they were willing to abide, and it was an amount of socialism and misrule some of us were unwilling to bear 40 fucking years ago.

    You think I want somebody who has demonstrated a willingness to abide 39 years worth of increasing socialism and misrule as my new neighbor, able to vote and agitate for “just a little bit more socialism, please”? Hell no! But that’s what I’m going to get. These people who are fleeing California aren’t libertarians, they’re socialists, just a tiny bit less socialist than California. And when you realize the number of people fleeing California because they’ve finally hit their limit on how much socialism they’re willing to accept is just a tiny fraction of those who haven’t yet had their fill of socialism, well, we’re fucked.

    1. So a guy who writes critically about California’s government is going to try to make wherever he moves into California? That seems kinda stupid. Not him, you.

      1. I live in Greenville, SC which has practically doubled in population in the last 40 years. A lot of the newcomers are from CA, NJ, and NY. The people Jerrykids mention do exist in the population under 40-45 range, but most of the folks over 40-45 are more conservative. I think it’s mainly because they’ve lived long enough to see the slide and they’ve been paying taxes (primarily property taxes) for many years. I actually had a guy who was considering moving here from NY (his mom already lives here) to say he wasn’t leaving because of bad governance, it was because of the taxes. He’s 38.

        1. I actually had a guy who was considering moving here from NY (his mom already lives here) to say he wasn’t leaving because of bad governance, it was because of the taxes. He’s 38.

          Did you point out to him that the bad governance is what led to the taxes he despises?

          These fucking people never learn.

        2. They can’t help it, they must signal. The sheep demand it.

      2. Not stupid at all. Plenty of people decide to leave California for both pragmatic and philosophical reasons. And they might be right of center in California but often rank left of center elsewhere.

        We have enough evidence, e.g. Colorado, showing what happens when a critical mass of California emigres shows up.

        1. People need to start catcalling Californians as “colonizers” at this point.

        2. At the same time, a lot of Colorado’s growth has been due to Central American immigration, not necessarily California. Even in California, mass immigration has dramatically altered settlement patterns in the last 30 years–a lot of black families in the Antelope Valley, for example, moved there from south central LA and other black neighborhoods in the area. Latin American gang members have been VERY efficient at ethnically cleansing these places of a lot of black street gangs.

          1. “Latin American gang members have been VERY efficient at ethnically cleansing these places of a lot of black street gangs.”

            Only a tighty whitey would post something like that! LOL…

            1. No, I’m part beaner, but thanks for guessing.

              And what I posted was a stone-cold fact.

      3. It makes sense to me, especially when you consider how often people do the same thing and expect different results. After all the failed socialist countries, why do people continue to try? Because *this* time it’s going to work out the way we hope.

        1. It makes sense if you are talking about people who move from California in general. Many different places have seen it happen many times. It makes a lot less sense when you are talking about a specific individual who has been very critical of CA’s policies. It’s not as if there aren’t conservative and libertarian voters in CA who consistently vote for those things. The assumption that people will automatically move when the socialist idiocy reaches a certain level, primarily for that reason, is probably not a very good one. Politics is only one of many reasons people live where they do, and probably pretty low on the list for most people.

          1. At least one person understood what I said.

      4. Sarc, are you serious? Californians – and NYC liberals, Chicago socialists, etc – really do move to better places and then try to remake them into where they left. Their lack of self-awareness is stunning. It also happens when people move from lefty suburbs that are going rapidly downhill into further burbs that are still nice and vote for all sorts of added ‘services’ and taxes. Then those places start to rot.

        1. Are they really ignorant of the cause and effect, or do they just hope to get a free lunch by moving on again before the bill comes due?

          1. Ignorant. They think it is not the socialist policies that were the problem, but some ‘others’.

            1. I agree. An example, my mom, who I brought to leave with us, would bitch about the taxes in New Jersey but then would say: “if that happened in Jersey, we would just call the government and get it fixed”. This included finding a dead animal in on the property. I kind of went Josey Wales on her as I said here we just let the buzzards do their job. Or get a shovel. While she didn’t like the taxes the dependency on government was still there.

              I think people get conditioned to the services but hate the costs.

          2. “hope to get a free lunch by moving on” — check the history. All socialist/communist societies conquer and consume.

            POWER to STEAL is what it’s all about.

      5. I was referring to the author of the article, not Californians in general.

    2. Seems like most people who moved to California in the past decade are undocumented migrants from Mexico and Central America.

    3. I lived in California 30 years ago and I live in California again now. It’s much worse now.

    4. I see your point, but I have a different perspective. Not every CA resident is a commie. After I retired, I moved from Scottsdale Arizona to Santa Cruz California. Even then, I knew from many business trips there that SF was a socialist sewer, but I was no longer a road warrior, so I was able to tune it out and simply enjoy sailing and partying every day. It’s that coastal climate thing. But I avoided socializing with a lot of incompatible people. However, once my younger wife retired, we decided that the negative cash flow, especially for property taxes, was not compatible with our retirement incomes. And our extensive free time was better spent enjoying our friends and neighbors instead of avoiding them. So we are back in Phoenix and loving it. At no point during our many-year California sojourn did I ever see any California politician say or do anything remotely intelligent. Every day I lived there, I could feel the walls closing in more and more. And there is no way I support any kind of California wingnut “leadership” in government policies here in AZ. Of course, the AZ politicians don’t come across as that intelligent either.

    5. Right on Jerry’s kids. This should be required reading before Californians are allowed to move to America, but I doubt they’d get it.

    6. People should stop throwing around the word “socialist” so loosely. California is not socialist. That word actually has an academic meaning. Yes, you could argue that Democrats are more “socialistic” than Republicans as in wanting to use the power of government to create more equal outcomes among citizens(within the context of extreme economic inequality rivaling the 3rd world), but socialism proper has more to do with means of production being owned by public sector. Obviously that’s not the case. Let me know when the government of California starts seizing private businesses.

      1. you could argue that Democrats are more “socialistic” than Republicans as in wanting to use the power of government to create more equal outcomes among citizens

        Rather telling that they’ve failed so hard at this the last several decades.

      2. Only academics care about academic meaning. Socialism has an economic definition, and California is certainly closer to it than not, via regulation, taxation, and policy.

  6. Gavin Newsom once said doctors should be able to write prescriptions for housing.

    I guess he has room for private solutions after all.

    1. Newsom’s idea of a private solution for homelessness is to order all the hotels closed because of a virus scare, then pay the hotels to house the homeless with state taxpayer money, then beg Congress for a federal bailout.

  7. What does California and Detroit have in common? Democrats in charge of the Government.

    1. But for California it’s only been about 40 years, so the rot is just getting too putrid to ignore. In Detroit it’s been 70+ years, hence a real hell-hole. (althought Detroit is rebounding a bit)

    2. Not really. What they have in common is a large permanent underclass reliant on the welfare system. Problems follow poverty.

      1. …and poverty follows democrats, who expand the welfare system. So whats your point?

  8. Brother. “Heat waves?” Is that what you call it? A heat wave is weather. Wake up. It’s in reality called climate change.

    But you’re right about one thing…that too is self-imposed.

    1. Good point.

      Heat waves are climate change! Aaaauuughh!

      Unusually cold temperatures are just weather. Meh.

      1. Nope cold weather is climate change too! More rain? Climate change. Less rain? Climate change. More snow? Climate change. Less snow? Climate change. More tornadoes? Climate change. Fewer tornadoes? Climate change. More hurricanes? Climate change. Fewer hurricanes? Climate change.

        1. It was cloudy today. Fuck climate change in the ass!

        2. It’s that global cooling, man!

        3. Climate change: what global warming got changed to after “scientist” proponents got busted cooking the books, AND the evidence contradicted their Holy Prophetic proclamations for over 2 decades.

    2. So, if you’re so set on the apocalypse happening from climate change like those governing California, why wouldn’t they take mitigative actions? Why aren’t you angry about that?

      I always love when people complain about climate change and demand it be solved when it is as close to impossible as it gets at this time to solve. Yet, I don’t ever hear any complaints about mitigation efforts not being taken. And honestly, with mitigation efforts imposed, the science appears to say that we’ll basically be just fine with climate change.

      But I guess that is actually looking at the problem rationally and not treating it like a religion.

      1. Exactly. Mitigate, don’t hyperventilate.
        It’s time for the spotted owl to take one for the team

        1. The Spotted Owl in the N. CA redwood forests was and is not a species. It is a local population, one of many.
          If we lost that population from the forests east of Mendocino (and there’s no evidence it would be “lost”), it represents a loss of perhaps 1,000 individual birds.
          Tough.
          Shit.

      2. Well, most the the “mitigation plans” involve taking money from rich people and giving it to poor people. Almost never are the mitigation plans based on science like carbon capture, or nuclear power.

        For several years now, the climate alarmists have at least been more and more honest about their goals, and they have little to do with environmentalism or reversing climate change.

        For many, it’s about a new world order based on economic justice (aka: socialism), perhaps with some other SJW buzzwords:

        (OTTMAR EDENHOFER, UN IPCC OFFICIAL): Basically it’s a big mistake to discuss climate policy separately from the major themes of globalization. The climate summit in Cancun at the end of the month is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War… First of all, developed countries have basically expropriated the atmosphere of the world community. But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy. Obviously, the owners of coal and oil will not be enthusiastic about this. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole.

        Christiana Figueres, leader of the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change: “This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model, for the first time in human history.”

        Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti The Green New Deal “wasn’t originally a climate thing at all … we really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.”

        Emma Brindal, a climate justice campaigner coordinator for Friends of the Earth: “A climate change response must have at its heart a redistribution of wealth and resources.”

        Daphne Muller, green-progressive-liberal writer for Salon: “This moment requires we the people to rethink democracy as a global mechanism for enacting policy for and by the planet.”

        Gus Hall, former leader of the Communist Party USA: “Human society cannot basically stop the destruction of the environment under capitalism. Socialism is the only structure that makes it possible.”

        David Brower, a founder of the Sierra Club: “The goal now is a socialist, redistributionist society, which is nature’s proper steward and society’s only hope.”

        For some others, it’s about the money or power, and they’ll use the “science”, real or imagined, to that end (but still tossing in a few SWJ buzzwords):

        Monika Kopacz, atmospheric scientist: “It is no secret that a lot of climate-change research is subject to opinion, that climate models sometimes disagree even on the signs of the future changes (e.g. drier vs. wetter future climate). The problem is, only sensational exaggeration makes the kind of story that will get politicians’ — and readers’ — attention. So, yes, climate scientists might exaggerate, but in today’s world, this is the only way to assure any political action and thus more federal financing to reduce the scientific uncertainty.”

        Former U.S. Senator Timothy Wirth (D-CO), then representing the Clinton-Gore administration as U.S undersecretary of state for global issues, addressing the same Rio Climate Summit audience, agreed: “We have got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.”

        Christine Stewart, former Canadian Environment Minister: “No matter if the science is all phoney, there are collateral environmental benefits…. climate change [provides] the greatest chance to bring about justice and equality in the world.”

        Researcher Robert Phalen’s 2010 testimony to the California Air Resources Board: “It benefits us personally to have the public be afraid, even if these risks are trivial.”

        1. This is what happens when you let baby killers be in charge, whatsoever, of “equality and justice.”

      3. Rationally?

        Water vapor is a greenhouse gas. There is on average 50 times as much of it in the atmosphere as CO2. Explain how CO2 is dominant?

    3. Brother … your grasp of English is pretty dismal. Maybe your government education has let you down.

      A “heat wave” is called that because it is temporary. You know, “weather”. Not “climate”, and definitely not “climate change”, which, being “climate”, takes decades at least to document any “change.”

      1. He’s a zealot of extremely limited intellec.

        1. Intellect too.

    4. It’s been hot before. A few degrees hotter doesn’t make the forest spontaneously burst into flames. The drought is more of a problem than the heat, and droughts haven happened in California forever. The real problem is loading up the forests with fuel by not allowing smaller fires to burn periodically, and building houses to close to the forest because zoning regulations stop cities from building up.

      1. Indeed, according to some researchers, the last 150 years or so have been abnormally wet. The explosive growth of population there has taken place in basically ideal conditions. It may be that California is reverting to the norm vis-a-vis droughts, when it had 100-year-long droughts, like North America’s “Medieval Warm Period” (roughly 950-1250) were associated with high temperatures in the Southwest and were probably caused by persistently cool La Niña-like conditions in the tropical Pacific Ocean.

        “The risks would be lower if we didn’t warm the planet as much as is expected to occur, but they aren’t zero, because we know these things happen naturally,” he said.

        This is serious stuff: “Megadroughts are a threat to civilization,” Ault said at an American Geophysical Union conference this year. “They could possibly be even worse than anything experienced by any humans who have lived in that part of the world for the last few thousand years.”

        “Prolonged droughts — some of which lasted more than a century — brought thriving civilizations, such as the ancestral Pueblo (Native Americans) of the Four Corners region, to starvation, migration and finally collapse, ” Lynn Ingram, a geologist at the University of California-Berkeley, wrote in her recent book The West Without Water.

        Ault says decade-long droughts happen once or twice a century in the Western USA, but much worse droughts, ones that last for multiple decades, occur once or twice per millennium.

        Overall, “the nature of the beast is that drought is cyclical, and these long periods of drought have been commonplace in the past,” according to Mark Svoboda, a climatologist at the National Drought Mitigation Center

      2. Higher temperatures do dehydrate plants and make them more flammable. Notwithstanding this fact, your points on fuel and fire suppression are key.

    5. Jackand Ace
      October.2.2020 at 9:22 am
      “Brother. “Heat waves?” Is that what you call it? A heat wave is weather. Wake up. It’s in reality called climate change…”

      Hey, jackass!
      I’ll ask you again:
      What, realistically, can we do about climate change and when would that have the least effect on the wild-fires?
      Got an answer, or are you just ‘signalling’ with the watermelon prayer ?

      1. What can we do about climate change? Drain the oceans.

        Water vapor is a greenhouse gas. There is on average 50 times as much of it in the atmosphere as CO2. Explain how CO2 is dominant?

    6. Yeah, I guess the fires that have been ravaging Australia, Siberia and Brazil are the fault of bad Democratic Party policies too. Probably explains why there are now warm days in the arctic circle too now. But no, it’s that Democrats don’t rake the leaves in the forests. That’s the real problem here.

      1. Did you copy and paste that from Vox?
        Please answer the question I asked jackass above:
        What, specifically, can we do to actually have an effect of climate change, and when will that have any effect on the wild fires.
        Mean while your bullshit regarding ‘raking the leaves’ is noted as from a bullshit-slinger:
        “…When deadly fires were burning last August, Mike Marcucci, the assistant chief of CAL FIRE, California’s main firefighting agency, noted in an interview with the CBS affiliate in San Francisco that, “It’s a daunting task that we’re working with some of our cooperators (i.e. federal and local authorities) to make sure we can get some of those trees out of the way to not add to some of the fuel.” CAL FIRE experts expanded on the problem by blaming decades of policy that discouraged controlled burns to reduce the fuel load in the now-burning forests in the north and hillsides in the south, creating tinderbox conditions.
        Some of the needed prescribed burns in Southern California’s coastal chaparral and grasslands have been deterred by environmental lawsuits and air quality concerns…”
        https://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckdevore/2018/11/16/californias-deadliest-fires-could-have-been-mitigated-by-prevention/#f745e5c341ba

      2. Your lack of comprehension of forest management is not surprising, given your lack of comprehension of any other topic you’ve commented on thus far.

  9. It’s great to read an article about California’s troubles. It was bad decades ago too. I am happy to watch them wallow in the mess they made but they are fully responsible. If I have a regret it’s that those same democrats are moving out and infecting other states with their nonsense.

    But this article misses one of the big reasons – illegal immigration and no efforts to stop it. I realize that’s a huge blind spot for you. But that’s another issue on which we disagree.

  10. “California isn’t the only state with problems, but most of them are the result of government inefficiency and malfeasance. California just happens to have the biggest state government”

    This understates the problem. It’s not just the size of the California government that’s the problem. It’s the appalling decisions that crimp manufacturing and the middle class.

    California is trending downward with an ever growing budget and fewer taxpayers to cover it. Higher tax, the worst PPP poverty rate in the nation, a net outflow of taxpayers and a net inflow of the poor. If the rich start moving out of California in significant numbers the states revenue will implode. If the state keeps raising taxes on the rich, they’ll will inevitably start moving to cheaper states.

    1. Wait til they pass the wealth tax. That’ll fix it for sure.

    2. Their budget is so fucked it can never be fixed.

      The pension plans alone will bankrupt the place and their feverish attempts to “recoup” revenue will just drive everyone out.

      California is done.

    3. They moved in droves to WA. Which is now largely ruined. Which leads us to the unfortunate subject of Jay Inslee.

  11. “California schools used to be tops, but—despite significant growth in their budgets—have stagnant test scores.”

    Uh, no. Californians like to believe that their schools were “tops” sometime in the past, but there’s no data to back that up. Here are some data for you;

    According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, in 1992, fourth-graders nationally scored at 216 (on a scale of 0-500), while California fourth-graders scored at 202. In 2019, the national average was 219, while the California average was 216. At grade 8, the scores (going back to 1998) were 258-262 (national) and 253-259 (California). I think liberal opposition to charter schools is bullshit, but charters have much less impact on student performance than libertarians like to think. Liberals should let charters happen. In some locations they’ll make a difference, but not a large one. In others, they won’t make a difference at all. Life is not a morality tale.

    1. “Uh, no. Californians like to believe that their schools were “tops” sometime in the past, but there’s no data to back that up. Here are some data for you…”

      If you go back far enough, they seemed pretty good. The decline, from my, rather longer perspective, started in the mid-seventies.

      1. I’ve seen articles that show 1979 was the cut off and that was the year I graduated form high school so i can see why there was an intellectual drop off after that

        1. That is quite possible. I graduated in ’71. But that was in Oakland, never known for “top” schools.

  12. California will have so much money lying around after the Pelosi/Biden bailouts, they’ve already established a reparations task force (even though California didn’t allow slavery).

    1. I’m all for reparations. My ancestors in Michigan and Pennsylvania fought for the Union. Some of them died. I look forward to receiving my check for the sacrifices they made fighting to end slavery.

      1. The ‘northwest territories’ (what became Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan) were established under a covenet which prohibited slavery in any of the territories.
        Similarly, the seminal CA state constitution prohibited slavery (as it it needed to be prohibited rather than allowed by the government.)
        And why are reparations not being asked of those who provided the slaves?
        “Slavery has historically been widespread in Africa. Systems of servitude and slavery were common in parts of Africa in ancient times, as they were in much of the rest of the ancient world.[1] When the Arab slave trade (which started in the 7th century) and Atlantic slave trade (which started in the 16th century)[2] began, many of the pre-existing local African slave systems began supplying captives for slave markets outside Africa[3].[4]”
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_in_Africa
        Yes, it’s Wiki, but you are welcome to look further; it is not a secret.

  13. Newsom is the 2024 DNC presidential choice. He touches all important bases: Stalinist, ultra-fascist, proponent of applying his spiteful personal political biases to his never-ending lockdown edicts, minority cis-gender LGBT supremacist, rape decriminalizer, anti-cop, pro-punishment of political enemies, enemy of entrepreneurial small independent businesses, wine lover, hard-core member of the neo-progressive political mafia that controls all the major institutions and bureaucracies, and a true friend of the interventionist deep state.

    1. Will Harris be under him as well?

    2. Don’t forget that as Mayor, he transformed San Francisco into the filthy, crime-ridden, sidewalk-shit capital North America.

      1. What about the policies that didn’t turn out so well?

        1. Hold on, I’m thinking…..

  14. Thanks Captain Obvious! Next time you run out of things to write about, we’d love to see your grocery list!

  15. Likewise, the Golden State hemorrhages residents, as they build their lives in differently managed states.

    Will “differently managed” be the new PC term to describe governmental retardation?

  16. And newsome just signed a bill authorizing a committee to investigate and propose reparation payments to black people in california!

    Unbelievable. Another fantastic move to drive people out of california.

  17. This sucks because now the Commifornians are going to ruin more states. BTW the homeless problem is the result of the 9th circuit ruling they can’t remove people from public property.

    1. He also vetoed a bill requiring ‘diversity classes’ in HS, since it left out the study of Mexicans with Irish uncles or some some class.

  18. All I can say is “schadenfreude”.

  19. “heat waves and high winds were the proximate cause”

    Along with arson and gender reveal parties.

    1. Please don’t forget the 1,000,000 dead standing trees.
      Environmental laws prevent the Federal Government and private property owners from removing them on land they own.

      1. I believe CalFire estimated 15,000,000 trees needed to be removed.

        1. At one time, there was a healthy lumber-harvesting industry in CA which managed quite a bit of the forests (and fields) at zero cost to the taxpayer.
          It was run out of the state by the same watermelons who now claim the fires are a result of ‘climate change’ as opposed to their idiocy.

          1. Of course it’s a result of climate change. When the weather is becoming hotter and dryer, you’re simply going to have more fires. There are also fires raging And you’re also forgetting that many of California’s wildfires aren’t even in forests, they are in areas covered by brush. We also had wildfires raging in Siberia recently. I live in Tennessee and we had a massive wildfire near the Smokey Mountains a few years ago. Wildfires in this part of the country are almost unheard of given the wet, muggy climate. But it’s now happening in places where they didn’t use to happen.

            1. Watermelon heard from.
              Now tell us, in SPECIFICS, what we can do regarding climate change and when that will have any effect at all on the wold fires.
              I’ll await your answer, but it’s odds-on you don’t have any.

            2. I’d call you retarded but it would be excessively cruel to people with legitimate mental handicaps to compare them to you.

              1. Let’s be clear here:
                callen, like jackass above, has not one single realistic proposal to address climate change in any meaningful way at all, nor any glimmer of when his/her fantasies would have the least effect on wildfires.
                callen is offering prayers to Gaia, and nothing more; a post-mosaic green fundy.

            3. ‘Of course it’s a result of climate change.’ Your in-group bias isn’t proof of anything but bias.

  20. Nearly all of the defense contractors headquarters have left the State, Toyota moved headquarters to Texas, Tesla as well. Schwab is moving headquarters to DFW. Daily Wire/Ben Shapiro are leaving. Joe Rogan left.

    13,000 companies left from 2010 to 2018 – only 9 years.

    Now that tech has learned to work from home, how much will they need massive headquarters in the Bay?

    This is just creating a smaller middle class and increases what is already the greatest wealth disparity in the country. Retirees can no longer escape to the mountains due to the threat of losing it all in a wildfire. They are selling their overpriced homes and buying larger homes elsewhere with the equity and not paying California State income tax.

    Eventually insurance companies will look at economic reality and quit insuring homes in the mudslide and wildfire zones.

    Newsom’s response is just more taxes and regulation. Eventually there will not be enough billionaires to fund his dystopian world.

    1. Meh. For every Ben Shapiro that leaves there’s a new Silicon Valley tech startup. Who cares about Shapiro and Rogan. What the hell did their podcast businesses really contribute to the local economy? As if either of them even need many employees to run a podcast. California has been quite good to Elon Musk in making an infrastructure where electric cars could even be a viable thing, and all kinds of tax credits for people who buy them.

      1. Yeah, CA has been very good taking money from others so rich assholes don’t have to pay for their baubles.
        Fuck off, slaver.

        1. Is this douchebag new? Or a sock puppet for one of our resident progtards?

          1. It has a different flavor of idiocy than the usual suspects.

            1. Agreed; it seems to be a new piece of lefty shit rather than a sock of one of the existing ones.
              No more intelligent, but none of the repeated memes of the others.

          2. It’s new. All it’s arguments are immature, so am guessing high school or college student, not STEM program. Then, most if not all of the left-leaning commenters tend to resort to lying, bias, and ad hominem attacks.

      2. ‘ For every Ben Shapiro that leaves there’s a new Silicon Valley tech startup.’ Citation lacking, and you ignored the point. If tech is tele-working, they don’t need the massive campuses, or to pay the repressive taxes.

  21. “but poor land management, ill-conceived liability and insurance laws, and the misuse of existing firefighting budgets are the fundamental problems.”

    No, these factors have little or nothing to do with the wildfires. The libertarian ideal is build your house wherever you like, with minimum government interference. Sounds nice, but millions of houses in CA are surrounded by burnable fuel. These problems are absent in MI, WI and other places, as they have miserable climates and far fewer people want to live there.

    Millions wanted to move to CA for the climate; the cities kept expanding outward into land with brush and forests. These fires were an inevitable result of that, regardless of government.

    1. “…Sounds nice, but millions of houses in CA are surrounded by burnable fuel…”

      And those people can afford to build in those locations by the government-distorted land and insurance markets, and they are surrounded by that kindling as a result of government-mismanagement of the forests.
      Are you surprised by that, or willfully ignoring it?

    2. Forest management is a thing, and libertarianism has not taken a stance against it. You, on the other hand, apparently have.

  22. I don’t even want to visit California, let alone live there.

  23. California may be going to hell in a hand basket, but at least we have very high taxes.

  24. For good information on water rights in the American west, here is the go to book: CADILLAC DESERT: THE AMERICAN WEST AND ITS DISAPPEARING WATER
    https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0140178244/reasonmagazinea-20/

    1. How about you give us a synopsis of the claims?

  25. My nephew live in SF in a 700 sq ft apt for which he pay $2800 per month. even tho he has to step around the homeless tents and the fecal droppings , he loves it and wouldn’t move. Why ? Loves the weather. One thing: He hasn’t been mugged yet.

  26. So are Californians going to rush out to such GOP utopias as West Virginia, Wyoming, North Dakota, Alabama, or Arkansas? Maybe the sprawl of the Dallas metroplex? I don’t think so. Maybe a couple of the few republicans left in the state. This article is of the same vein of those trying to trash very nice cities like Portland or Seattle because of the transgression of a few in a very small part of the city. You would think a journalist would have something more important to write about.

  27. I visit San Francisco regularly and it remains one of the world’s great cities despite the encampments and defecation. But it’s on a downward trajectory.

    lol

  28. The basic reason for the fires is climate change. Then people live in the woods and so fires have been suppressed. But people live in the woods in Vermont. There aren’t fires there because of the weather. The temperatures in California are rising and the woods are drying and the winds, due to climate change, are increasingly strong. So bigger and bigger fires. Still, a great place for the homeless because of the weather and the compassionate, Democratic health care and food. And by the way, many of your drug-addicted brothers and sisters come to live on the streets of California. We didn’t grow them. It would be nice if your articles were based on research and not random, poorly informed opinion, or, even worse, poorly intentioned hit journalism. Although I hesitate to call it journalism.

    1. I think you’d have a very hard time proving your opening assertion.

    2. Where did the massive influx of climate religionists come from?

    3. Balynt
      October.4.2020 at 7:39 pm
      “The basic reason for the fires is climate change
      […]
      Still, a great place for the homeless because of the weather and the compassionate, Democratic health care and food. And by the way, many of your drug-addicted brothers and sisters come to live on the streets of California. We didn’t grow them.

      OK, I was gonna land on Balynt until the second pasted paragraph.
      ‘Way better than OBL; good work!

    4. Your claims re ‘climate change’ are based on poorly informed opinion and consensus advocacy-driven ‘science.’ The idea that stronger winds are related to anthropogenic causes has been disbunked. Your initial claim is little better than conspiracy theory, in-group ‘knowledge’ accepted as fact. In-group is the operating term, as your comment appears to be driven by the need to defend your home state and fellow Californians. Closing with an ad hominem attack, ‘I hesitate to call it journalism’ is par for the course.

  29. California is performing exemplary service as an economic, political, and sociological lab rat, demonstrating the effects of bad government.

    Of course, a lot of lab rats wind up dead…

  30. This is an informative blog. Keep it up. I am looking forward to this kind of blog. Thanks for sharing it with us norton.com/setup

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