California

The Killing of Kern County

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Located over the mountains from Los Angeles, Kern County has always been a different kind of place. Settled largely by “Okies and Arkies” from the Depression-era South, the area has a culture more southern than northern, more Ozarks than Sierra. Home to just under 1 million people at the southern end of the state’s Central Valley, Kern is noted for producing the “Bakersfield sound,” epitomized by the late country star Merle Haggard, and is sometimes even referred to as “little Texas.”  read more »

Demographic Implosion in the San Francisco Bay Area?

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As the San Francisco Bay Area (combined statistical area, or CSA, as defined by the Office of Management and Budget) has sprawled into the San Joaquin Valley, all population growth has been in the three Valley metros for two years (Map above). This article describes population trends over the last 10 years in the CSA, which includes the six tidewater (adjacent to the ocean or the Bay) metropolitan areas, traditionally thought of as the Bay Area, including core San Francisco and San Jose as well as Santa Rosa, Napa, Vallejo and Santa Cruz.  read more »

How Los Angeles Descended Into Neo-Feudalism and How to Fix It

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For most of the last century, Los Angeles loomed as the next great American city, a burgeoning paradise riding the shift of world power west. It seemed posed to leave New York and London in the dust, the engines of growth inexorable. There was the city's dominance of the entertainment and aerospace industries, which incited migration from both the rest of the country and abroad, and all this promise was symbolized by a spread of suburban single-family houses that seemed to embody the ideal American dreamscape.  read more »

California Governor Newsom's Energy Policies Biased Against Those Who Voted For Him

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It has been a tough year for everyone during the pandemic, but more so on the lower income portion of the population. As we emerge from an emotionally and financially challenging year, we are seeing that the wealthy and middle-income folks have mostly recovered. The bottom half remain far from it.  read more »

The California Economy vs. Sacramento

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Over the past few years California’s plight has taken on mythic proportions — a cautionary tale of progressive woe among conservatives, but a beacon for a future enlightened capitalism among its woke supporters. The current battle over the potential recall of the preening governor, Gavin Newsom, likely will enhance these extreme interpretations on both sides, but likely will not be sufficient to make the changes needed to restore the state’s legendary promise.  read more »

Plugged Suez Canal Will Result in Californians Being Plucked at the Pumps

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The current Suez Canal blockage has exposed some of Governor Newsom’s fiscal challenges that may be the driving force for the current recall efforts. Under his guidance (I did not use the word leadership), he continues to perpetuate the state’s dysfunctional energy polices and continues to do everything possible to further INCREASE the costs of energy for its 40 million residents.  read more »

Why More Americans Should Leave Home and Move to Other States

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America has been lazily divided by pundits into red and blue states, as if there weren’t constant movement of people between them. Fortunately, reality is a lot more purple — and hopeful — as immigrants, people of color and millennials reshape parts of America by voting with their feet and moving.

These demographic groups are migrating from the big coastal cities to the suburbs, the interior cities, the South and even parts of the Midwest. And in the process, these newcomers change both their new homes and are also changed by them.  read more »

SoCal Desalination Plant Inches Towards Approval

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In a rare and commendable display of political courage and common sense, California Governor Gavin Newsom has been working to finally grant permits to construct a second major seawater desalination plant on the Southern California Coast.

But don’t count on this new water source just yet. Despite clearing major hurdles, self-described environmentalists and their allies in the media haven’t surrendered.  read more »

Tale of Two Middle Classes in SoCal

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Anyone who’s not concerned about the state of the middle class in SoCal should consider recent public notices on a pending auction of the Plaza Mexico retail center in Lynwood a wake-up call.  read more »

Economic Civil War

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Our national divide is usually cast in terms of ideology, race, climate, and gender. But it might be more accurate to see our national conflict as regional and riven by economic function. The schism is between two ways of making a living, one based in the incorporeal world of media and digital transactions, the other in the tangible world of making, growing, and using real things.  read more »