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Old 07-27-2009, 06:06 PM
 
2 posts, read 4,550 times
Reputation: 10

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Hi everyone,
I am a reporter with USA Today based in California and have been doing stories periodically on the impact of the economic downturn and state budget problems on life in California.

I've read some of the threads here in this forum and see a lot of good thoughts and comments. I'd like to put some of that thinking into a story or stories for our newspaper.

So, I would like to ask some of you to share your thoughts on the subject of life in California -- has it lost its charm? Rules at my newspaper require that we quote people by their real names, so anonymous comments or board IDs alone won't work. I need to hear from people who will be comfortable being quoted in our newspaper by name.

So, I invite you to email me your comments, along with your name and a phone number where I can contact you for follow up. Or if you prefer, just shoot me a short note with your info and I will call you at a time of your convenience and we can talk about these issues. Or we can take our discussion to email entirely; it's up to you.

Please send your comments and info to me at: bwelch@usatoday.com

Here are a few questions to think about; you can respond to any or all, or add your own.

-- What do the state budget cuts and state budget chaos mean for me? Higher tuitions or school fees? Taxes? Other costs? Fewer services that I need or want?

-- Or, maybe I don't feel much impact at all? Why?

-- If you moved to California, whether recently or long ago, are the things that made it attractive then still around? Or has California soured for you? Tell me how.

-- What are some specific things that bother you about the direction California is headed? Are roads deteriorating? Schools? Business opportunity? Business climate? Jobs? Real estate? Traffic and crowding? Taxes? Infrastructure?

-- Is California still a place where you would advise someone to move to, to create a life and pursue a career? Is it still America's promised land of opportunity? Why or why not?

You get the idea, I think, of what I'm looking for. Thanks very much. I hope to hear from some of you this week.

Bill Welch
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Old 07-27-2009, 06:49 PM
 
12,825 posts, read 20,154,879 times
Reputation: 10910
California has become very imbalanced both politically and economically. When I was a kid it was a very "American" place reflecting Main Street values. Politically, it was all about JFK Democrats and good old "out West" Republicans. The middle class was in its element. Although there were appropriate concerns about the environment and some good preservation efforts, there was also enough of a pro business attitude to maintain a healthy balance.

Sometime during the 80s or 90s things shifted. Some of it was due to an aging population and the ascent of the Boomers. Some of it was due to in migration of people from other parts of the US and world who were more wealthy, more radically "progressive" and less grounded in Far Western US traditions. Some of it was due to reaching a certain level of population. Some of it was due to illegal immigration. And some of it was due to overall structural factors affecting the nation at large.

In any case, the recipe was lost, and imbalances came to the fore. The outlays to feed the welfare state exceeded receipts. Business levels flattened then eventually started to decline. Onerous regulations were established ostensibly to "improve the quality of the lives of workers" and "protect the environment" - these new regs must have exceeded a certain threshold of pain. We are now in long term structural decline. The middle class is fleeing. Some of the more independently acquired wealth is beginning to flee. Those born in the US, particularly the Western US, are fleeing. This appears to be unlike previous down cycles we've had. We may never fully recover.

(This will be my only reply and I will remain anonymous)
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Old 07-27-2009, 08:40 PM
 
364 posts, read 508,493 times
Reputation: 620
One of the best summaries on the condition of California that I have seen.
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Old 07-27-2009, 10:43 PM
 
Location: The High Seas
7,379 posts, read 13,356,250 times
Reputation: 11702
Has Mexico lost its charm? Just because we're headed in the same economic direction doesn't make it any less charming.....just less liveable.
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Old 07-28-2009, 06:27 AM
 
Location: United States
2,497 posts, read 6,406,260 times
Reputation: 2233
I can tell you that California is still the place where us dreamers hope to be someday. The natives have every right to be furious at the way their state has gone over the years, but us who have not experienced these radical changes are not too concerned, we just want some sunshine and cool place to call home. My life goal is to move to CA and settle there before I am 40. It's been a dream of mine since I was a kid and I will never let it go until I am there and living the dream, so to speak. The horrors of our economy have forced me to put my move on hold. Seems like so many of us are putting our lives on hold until the sun comes back out.
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Old 07-28-2009, 10:03 AM
Status: "13 years on C-D" (set 26 days ago)
 
Location: Shallow alcove hidden from the telescreen
2,859 posts, read 9,939,175 times
Reputation: 1549
My big worry is with education. If the State cannot find a way to fund and seriously improve k-12 and get more kids through college and university, I fear for the state.
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Old 07-28-2009, 10:34 AM
 
11,715 posts, read 35,982,006 times
Reputation: 7513
Quote:
Originally Posted by jc76 View Post
I can tell you that California is still the place where us dreamers hope to be someday. The natives have every right to be furious at the way their state has gone over the years, but us who have not experienced these radical changes are not too concerned, we just want some sunshine and cool place to call home. My life goal is to move to CA and settle there before I am 40. It's been a dream of mine since I was a kid and I will never let it go until I am there and living the dream, so to speak. The horrors of our economy have forced me to put my move on hold. Seems like so many of us are putting our lives on hold until the sun comes back out.
You're in love with a fiction in your head, not reality.
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Old 07-28-2009, 11:22 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
1,554 posts, read 4,830,354 times
Reputation: 695
I can't wait for the people who think it has to leave. Complainers and crybaby's just go. You won't be missed. Move to the next state that you'll start complaining about in a few years.
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Old 07-28-2009, 11:45 AM
Status: "Enjoying the the beauty of the PNW" (set 11 days ago)
 
Location: Vancouver, WA
5,508 posts, read 12,373,281 times
Reputation: 5836
Hi Bill,

Absolutely Not! I don't think CA has lost its charm. I think CA will always will be the Golden State with incredible beauty independent of any economic high and lows it faces. All one has to do is drive through Big Sur, the Northern California Redwoods or the High Sierras and this becomes obvious. It was an amazing place before man arrived on the scene and will continue to be so.











A place does not lose its charm simply because of economic pendulum swings. That’s like saying Tahiti has lost its charm because I can't afford to go there right now on vacation.

The real underlying question is can one afford to live here still or not? And the answer to this question is relative of course. It starts out with whether one has in demand skills and a job which is currently stable even if there have been some rocky times. It then addresses how one defines quality of life. If one's definition includes the ability to own a nice, big, newer home then that may become an issue.
For us we sold our nice, big, newer home in Colorado with a great view of the Rocky Mtns. to move here to Monterey. We moved at the start of the recession with two competing job offers. I now work for a large gov't contractor here on the Monterey Peninsula and they are still hiring. We moved for many reasons. Here are the primary ones which brought us back to CA in spite of the current difficulties.

1. The West Coast - beautiful beaches
2. The weather - opportunity for year round activities such as hiking, biking, surfing, etc... in mild conditions - no snow or humidity unless one want to visit the snow for example
3. Multicultural experience - from the foods to the people you meet from around the world here. This is a benefit of living near large international cities such as SF & LA.
4. General open mindedness and friendliness toward outsiders
5. Proximity to beautiful and varied geographical regions - mtns, oceans, valleys, deserts, etc...
6. Proximity to family
7. Professional opportunities

Email sent. Best regards from the Golden Sate,

Derek
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Old 07-28-2009, 12:29 PM
 
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
2,903 posts, read 11,450,273 times
Reputation: 1815
yes, definitely.
i 2nd what mtnsurfer has expressed regarding nature and it's what keeps me here in large part and despite the social and economic woes of the state, it's still here and still powerful.
let's care for it as it is the essence of california, imo.
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