Mason County News
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Letters to the Editor
Wednesday, September 26, 2012 • Posted September 26, 2012

I recently read an article on the internet entitled “Is california the next Detroit.” The article was written by Robert J. Cristiano, Ph.D., a California educator & real estate developer. The article is real eye opener as to what big government is doing to our country. I would like to share his message with the people of Mason County.

Most Californians live within about 50 miles of its majestic coastline - for good reason. The California coastline is blessed with arguably the most desirable climate on earth, magnificent beaches, a backdrop of snow - capped mountains and natural harbors in San Diego, Long Beach and San Francisco. There is no mystery why California’s population and economy boomed after the Second World War.

The Golden State was aptly named. It’s Gold Rush of 1849 was followed a century later by massive growth in the 1950s and 60s. Education in California became the envy of the world. Stanford became the Harvard of the West. A college education at the University of California and California State University systems was relatively inexpensive. The Community College system that fed its universities was ostensibly free.

California’s public school system led the nation in innovation and most of its classrooms were new. The highway system that moved California’s automobile driven commerce eliminated the need for public transportation systems like New York and Chicago. The fertile soil of the Central Valley became the breadbasket of the world.

The next golden wave in the 1980s grew from former orchards south of San Francisco known as Silicon Valley. Intel and other companies led the world’s computer and software revolution. In the 1990s, the dot-com revolution brought immense wealth to more Californians. It’s innovators, Google, Apple, and others, ushered in the internet era. The 2000s brought the greatest housing and mortgage boom in the nation’s history, with innovation centered in Orange County. California was truly the Golden State.

Why then would the author of this article have the temerity to ask, “when did Californians become Stupid?” And: Is California the next Detroit?

Californians, due to their golden history, live in unique oblivion. When the Tea Party movement caused a political tsunami that swept more than 60 incumbents from officem in 2010, the wave petered out at California’s state line. There was no effect on the 2010 election that saw Democrats take every elected office in the state.

California voters rejected Meg Whitman, the billionaire founder of Ebay, in favor of Jerry Brown. Gov. Brown signed into law a “high-speed rail bill that will spend $6 billion ( that the state does not have ) to build a train between Fresno and Bakersfield - not Los Angeles and San Francisco, as promised. There was little outcry.

California has a 16 billion defecit that no one seems to notice. Brown’s budget “assumes” that California voters will pass massive tax increases on themselves. If they do not, the 2013 deficit becomes a mind -numbing 20 billion. The budget, mandated to balance by the California constitution, has been billions in the red for 10 straight years. How could Californians re-elect the same politicians year after year that produce budgets with multi-billion dollar deficits?

To protect the endangered Delta Smelt, a fish known better as bait,water has been diverted from the Central Valley to the Pacific Ocean. Orchards in the Central Valley have been allowed to wither and die, resulting in unemployment in the Central Vally as high as 40 percent. Imagine Californians living in what was the breadbasket of America now living on food stamps. California voters rejected Republican Carly Fiorina for U.S. Senator in 2010. She ran Hewlett Packard. Instead, they re-elected Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, who vowed to protect the Delta Smelt at the expense of the Central Valley.

California has 519 state agencies, like the state Blueberry Commission, that payeach of their commissioners more than $100,000 per year. State politicians, when asked to make cuts, fire teachers and firefighters to inflict maximum pain on it’s citizens, while leaving these patronage commissions intact. State politicians have elevator operators in the state capitol topush the buttons for them. Their solution for the overcrowding of the state’s prisons is to release inmates or transfer them to local facilities in already bankrupt cities. Yet, they are re-elected by California voters in numbers consistently higher than the old Soviet Politburo.

California’s public education system, once the envy of the world, now ranks 49th in the nation. It’s business climate, acording to 650 CEOs measured by Chief Executive Magazine, ranked dead last. Apple will take 3,600 new jobs to Austin, Texas at its $280,000,000 new facility. Texas ranked first in the same survey.

California unemployment is consistently higher than 12 percent of its workforce, but it’s under-employed, according to a Gallup poll, is above 20 percent. There are few jobs for college studens who graduate owing as much as $100,000 in student loans. Despite the overwhelming evidence that bad public policy is chasing away jobs, the same state politicians are sent back to Sacrament every two years. Insanity.

In the last two months, three California cities have declared bankruptcy. Compton is next. More will follow. Some cities will cease to exist due to $500 million in unfunded pension obligations they simply cannot meet, as well as millions in bonds they will default on. If the people won’t raise taxes on themselves and depend on bonds to finance their existence, who will buy those bonds?

The unfunded pension obligations, now swamping California cities, were approved by these same politicians whose re-elections are financed by the unions they serve. Nine years ago, outraged Californians recalled Gov. Gray Davis from office for excessive spending and crony capitalism. Nothing has changed a decade later. Its residents believe the golden state will be golden forever. It may not be the case.

The facts outlined in Dr. Cristianos article speak for themselves and are part of the reason why my wife & I moved to Texas a little over three years ago. It seems that the majority of people here have what seems to be lacking in California these days, common sense. This nation of ours seems to be at a historic cross roads. the coming presidential election will decide wether we as a nation will be like California or will have a chance to recover our former greatness. My next letter will detail Dr. Cristianos revelation of the sad circumstances that the once great metropolis of Detroit finds itself in.

Ken Cordero

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