The year was 1970 and still remember my days in California where I traveled with my family between Long Beach, where my Dad was stationed, to Monterey to visit my Grandmother. Going north on Highway 101, there were little fruit stands along the road and once you got outside Los Angeles, the countryside was green as far as the eye could see. I could ride in the back of my folks’ station wagon and play in the back without being restrained by a seat belt. During those summers all of those years ago, I could hear the dragsters from Lions Drag Strip roar down the quarter-mile track and I also volunteered as a scorekeeper at the West Long Beach Little League games. I could walk with my brother along the road without something bad happening to us.
Today, California seems to be a place where the charming image has since disappeared In 1970, the state had 19 million people and today that figure is pushing 40 million and small towns like Azusa, Folsom, Gilroy, Encinitas and Tracy are being absorbed into megacities. The growth of government that started in the days of Pat Brown has now increased to colossal proportions under his son Jerry Brown who is serving his fourth and final term as Governor. State taxes have gone up, micromanagement of behavior is prevalent with the approval of plastic bag bans, identity politics is rampant where numerous minorities battle it out in colleges and other venues across the state and culture is being reduced to dollars and cents-based appetites. Classical buildings along Sunset Strip are being torn down to build mega condos and classic buildings across the Southland, as detailed by the wonderful website, Vintage Los Angeles, are being demolished in the name of “progress.” California is no longer a politically competitive state where Democrats rule the roost and will do so for some time to come until the day of fiscal reckoning. Once GOP bastions like Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena have long since gone over to the opposing party and even areas of Orange County like Anaheim, Fullerton, Irvine and Buena Park have fallen to the Democrats. Hillary Clinton, in fact, carried Orange County for the Democrats for the first time in 80 years.
This is a lament because Californians chose the wrong future. They certainly cannot go back to the days of Boss Radio, smog or Sam Yorty, but in the Golden State’s pursuit of progress, it has lost its soul and only serves the almighty dollar and “diversity” which in reality is uniformity. It will carry on with expanding government and trying to create paradise on earth, but when the realities hit like the rupture of the stock bubble and the coming shortages of water, the dream will end. I left California ten years ago and I am glad that I made that decision.