The Unz Review - Mobile

The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection

A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 iSteve Blog
The Big Squeeze: The Decline of America's California Dream

Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information


Screenshot 2014-08-14 11.53.46

The New York Times explains:

California, shown above, has long been the destination of American dreamers from other states. It no longer plays that role; residents are leaving for greener pastures out East. Today, the state is still pulling in foreign immigrants, but the percentage of American-born transplants has shrunk significantly as more people leave the state. There are now about 6.8 million California natives living elsewhere, up from 2.7 million in 1980.

This graph shows the place of birth for each person living in California during each Census. The gray region at the top shows the percentage of California’s population who were native-born Californians living in California. The gray area at the bottom shows the state’s percentage of foreign born residents. The colorful snakes in between show the domestic birth states of California residents at the time of the Censuses. For example, my 12-year-old father moved from Oak Park, Illinois to Altadena, California in 1929, and this graph shows that in the next year’s Census, he and his fellow Illinois-born Californians outnumbered those from any other American state.

For much of the 20th Century, one of the great perquisites of being an American citizen was that you could move to California.

But, like Yogi Berra’s favorite restaurant, it got so popular that nobody goes there anymore, at least not Americans. (If you’re living in Tbilisi, however, it still seems like a great place to move, along with your cousin’s uncle and his nephew’s extended family)

New Yorkers continue to move to California in sizable numbers, but not the rest of the country.

In the comments to my recent Taki’s Magazine article on the lurid mobbed-up failure of the grandiose 1960s plans for a Beverly Hills Country Club, “Golfing with the Fishes,” Jason Sylvester defends my tendency to write the History of America from a San Fernando Valley-centric perspective:

And, since a good many Southern California stories have been important American stories pretty much since William Mulholland solved L.A.’s water problems in 1913, what might seem ongoing geocentric parochialism on Mr. Sailer’s part to some in Taki’s comment section is simply reality: for the most hopeful, grandest upward part of American history, post WWII America, Los Angeles was the promised land; for the deepest, darkest economic depression of American history, Los Angeles (or anywhere in California, for that matter) was…the promised land.

For a huge swath of Americans from about October, 1929 until the L.A. riots in 1992, California was the place to aspire ending up living in: that’s quite a hell of a run. …

“But the war and the decades-long boom that followed extended the California dream to a previously unimaginable number of Americans of modest means. Here [historian Kevin] Starr records how that dream possessed the national imagination … and how the Golden State — fleetingly, as it turns out — accommodated Americans’ “conviction that California was the best place in the nation to seek and attain a better life.”Benjamin Schwarz in The Atlantic.

America’s America, in other words: the place in this vast, great, grand country where the opportunities were a bit better for the talented, the shrewd, the smart, and the lucky, but most of all for those willing to simply show up and hit it hard for 40 hours a week; where everything was a bit cleaner, a bit sharper, and a lot more up-to-date; where industry flourished with smart people and access to the Pacific Ocean making it almost seem easy (almost), and agriculture a matter of planting a seed – of about any kind – and watch whatever was planted sprout in that rich California loam and climate.

Oh, and did we mention the weather?

It was probably inevitable that California would become so expensive that the standard of living would drop, but immigration policy, especially the American Establishment’s failure to enforce laws on the books, sped up the process enormously of making moving to California an unattractive option for other American citizens.

Most people have strong powers of putting the best face on things, so this squeezing shut of American citizens’ options on the California Dream has come with relatively few protests. People make up explanations about why they don’t miss this freedom that past generations enjoyed …

- Of course I’d much rather move to Phoenix than to Los Angeles — I mean, who doesn’t like 110 degree weather?

- Of course I’d rather move to Portland than to the San Francisco Bay — Six months without sunshine is a very Zen experience, you know?

Without our abilities to rationalize our disadvantages as being all for the best, we’d be less happy.

But as I get older, I become less of a contrarian and more of a counter-contrarian: of course a sunny and mild climate is a good thing.


123 Comments to "The Big Squeeze: The Decline of America's California Dream"

Commenters to Ignore Follow
Endorsed Only
[Filtered by Reply Thread]
  1. Interesting that Missouri was second from about 1915 to 1943.

    • Replies:
    Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  2. “…my tendency to write the History of America from a San Fernando Valley-centric perspective.”

    Steve, since you mentioned the valley, what is your best guess as to which San Fernando Valley suburb the fictional town of Bedrock in the Flintstones cartoon series was supposed to represent? It’s widely thought that the Flintstones was just The Honeymooners in cartoon form, but it’s definitely not prehistoric NYC in its setting.

    • Replies:
  3. says:
         Show CommentNext New Comment

    Having just moved from California to Oregon, totally resonate. Sold my house to a Chinese guy.

  4. Exactly, my wife and I were recently looking at a real estate flyer for a nearby 1950s house on sale and I remarked that you can see where The Flintstones animators got a lot of their ideas for what Bedrock would look like. There are numerous houses in my neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley that have caveman touches. Chris Jepsen’s Space Age City website explains the Googie eschatology that inspired both the Flinstones and the Jetsons:

    “Man left his caves and grass huts and through hard work and ingenuity has built an amazing modern world. Tomorrow he will conquer any remaining problems and colonize the rest of the galaxy. However, for all his achievements and modern science, man will never lose touch with the natural world and his noble roots.”

    • Replies:
  5. I’m still meeting a lot of (White) Midwesterners, and, oddly enough, a lot of (White) Southerners. I guess living next to a bunch of relatively docile Mexicans beats living near some volatile Zulus.

  6. To me nothing symbolizes the current insanity of America more than the fact the jewel among all 50 states — California — has been rolled over by a tsunami of immigrants (not to mention the dumping there of some of the most unsuitable refugees you can imagine — annually California is still one of the top resettlement states). Parts of it just do not have the ‘look and feel’ of America anymore — go into almost any DMV office and you’ll see what I mean.

  7. I think Hanna-Barbera’s studio was just over the hill in Hollywood, so most of the married men who worked on their cartoons probably lived in the southeast San Fernando Valley.

  8. “I guess living next to a bunch of relatively docile Mexicans beats living near some volatile Zulus.”

    If Mexicans are so docile, why does Mexico have a higher per capita murder rate than The United States despite having a significantly smaller Black population than The U.S.

    With it’s very small Black population, Mexico should have a similar per capita murder rate as Canada but they don’t.

  9. @Steve
    You’re a graphic expert. Why do the tubes cross each other?

    • Replies: ,
  10. There’s no reason for California to be expensive. Even with the immigrant population, it’s still about a third less dense than Florida, where housing is probably at least half as costly. California’s expensive because California democrats have made development impossible. Let’s consider the basics, how come there’s virtually nothing between Santa Barbara and Monterrey? That’s prime coastal land that makes up a larger area than the NorCal and SoCal population belts put together.

    In Florida, absent the protected Everglades region, all coastal land is up for development. That keeps prices from exploding outside a few highly desirable locales like South Beach, Palm Beach and Naples. (Even then one only needs to drive 30 minutes to find Texas-priced housing in relatively safe neighborhoods).

    • Replies: ,
  11. Per John Boyd “people first, ideas second, hardware third.”

    Weather is far down the list.

  12. To show which state of origin was on at top at each point in time: e.g., in 1930, Illinois was the number one source for non-native Californians, with Missouri second.

    • Replies:
  13. “there’s virtually nothing between Santa Barbara and Monterrey?”

    The northern half (Big Sur) is too steep, but the southern half is “Sideways” wine country and a lot of it is just ranchland. The city of Santa Barbara refused to connect to the California Water Project in order to restrict population growth.

    The California Coastal Commission rules over about the first 20 miles inland which makes up most of the most desirable land. I believe Santa Maria sits just inland from the CCC’s domain so it’s a sprawling normal American place of fast food and cheap motels — a good place for families traveling on a budget to stop in an area of boutique hotels and expensive restaurants.

    • Replies: ,
  14. Duh!
    And I notice that “Outside the United States” doubles from 1965, when Emanuel Celler’s Immigration Bill passed, to now.

  15. says:
         Show CommentNext New Comment


    White people: don’t call the cops!

    I’m disappointed in the lack of coverage of Ferguson and the reaction to it.

    • Replies:
  16. says:
         Show CommentNext New Comment

    Florida is extremely humid and a lot of it is swampland.

  17. And then there are the weirdos. Though the Manson family were mostly born elsewhere too, it’s hard to imagine them existing in North Dakota, at least in the 1960′s. Midwestern weirdos are loners, for the most part. I see old video of the so-called “Summer of Love,” and I see nothing but losers and bums. I suppose they were novel at the time. The Left and/or the pop culture industry has transformed all of that into something “magical.”

    My spouse (a Democrat) tells me she would never move to a warm place because it’s too easy for the derelicts and drifters to survive there. Little does she know that she’s sort of buying into a “racist” aspect of environmental determinism (which is a no no for many anthropologists.) Democrats are funny people.

    • Replies:
  18. Steve, I remember you were saying the valley will be gentrified sooner or later due to the prime real estate, but what about a place like Oxnard? Why is it taking so long to for it to become gentrified? It is a beach city with reasonably priced homes and better weather than Malibu.

    • Replies:
  19. Yeah, Ventura and Oxnard are pretty seedy.

    Their beaches aren’t ideal — the water is colder and has some nasty rip tides and they’re kind of windy, but still …

  20. I would describe the geography a little differently.

    The central coast is almost completely un-liveable or developable from roughly Carmel to Santa Barbara. It’s too steep, as Steve says, but has many other problems as well. In fact, until Highway 1 opened in 1937, it was still wild Indian country. Steinbeck has a 1930s story about the poverty of the local Spanish speaking Indians south of Carmel, who traveled to town by horse and very infrequently.

    “Behind” the Santa Lucia Mountains for much of the way is the long Salinas Valley which is very productive ag land (though far smaller than the Central Valley). It’s hot, flat, dry, dusty and unattractive, which is why it’s not heavily urbanized, but it’s settled. They you have two reasonably nice towns (Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo), neither on the coast but OK. The only settlements on the coast between Carmel and SB are Cambria and Morro Bay, both lovely little places, but very cut off from everything. The whole bulge around Point Conception is not merely uninhabitable, it’s also largely owned by the Air Force (Vandenberg). Santa Maria and Lompoc have, or used to have, aerospace industries and an engineer culture supporting the base. But still the economies are mostly ag.

    Santa Barbara is unusual in that it sits on a gently sloping coastal plain with mountains behind it. That’s why 101 gets routed to the coast there whereas the direct line, 154, is crazy windy and dangerous. I am sure that if there were any such plains between there and Carmel, there would be town on it. And really, that’s what Cambria is, just much smaller and much further from any population center.

    The Coastal Commission point is not wrong, per se, but first, it does not have jurisdiction 20 miles inland. It has jurisdiction over the whole coast but how far in it goes depends on the area. As a general matter, the more urban an area is, the less far the CC’s power extends inland. In certain rural areas, it can be several miles, but nowhere 20 as far as I know. I don’t think the “look” of Santa Maria has anything to do with the CC. Salinas is only five miles inland and it looks much the same, only worse. Or consider Santa Rosa.

    More important, remember, the CC was founded only in 1972 and no towns developed in those areas before that. And it’s not like California was lightly populated then, it became the largest state by population in 1964. The reason those areas are not more developed is that there aren’t any great places to develop, so most people won’t want to live there, and those who do had better like living alone.

    The situation once you get north of Marin is much the same. Though there are many little farm towns founded by people from the upper Midwest, but they are still teensy, even with all the hippies and hipsters moving up there.

    • Replies: , ,
  21. I’m no great fan of Oxnard, but Ventura is nice. Home of Perry Mason!

  22. Vandenberg AFB takes up quite a bit of southwest Santa Barbara county too. Santa Maria itself is situated in a valley that basically runs in a west-to-east direction, as is Lompoc. I’m not sure how much of the land in Santa Barbara county is really suitable for development.

  23. The New Yorker had an interesting article recently about the toxic soil-dwelling fungal spores that are prevalent in California. For unknown reasons, African-Americans and Filipinos are particularly susceptible to the diseases these spores cause, so the topic should be of particular interest to Californian HBD enthusiasts, if any come to mind.

    Admittedly, if earthquakes, fires, mudslides, real-estate booms and crashes, and excessively vibrant degentrification have not driven people away from the state, I’m not sure that death spores will do the trick, but it is a sobering article.

  24. Even if California retained it’s 1970′s ethnic demographics, SOCAL and the Bay Area would remain an unappealing option for someone like me who has grown accustomed to the elbow room of Middle America and the American West. As the USA’s cutting edge “polyglot boarding house for the world” laboratory, it’s an option that is completely off the table. I’ve noticed the eastward march of Californians goes all the way to I-35 these days. Even places like Wichita, KS are growing from the exodus.

  25. California Dreaming? Leaving California for better/safer climes is nothing new. Our family lived in southern California from 1986 to 1989 and again from 1992 to 1993. It seemed that almost everyone we knew — okay, mostly WASPS — were looking for a way out. For some it was the temptation to cash out a small rancher for $750,000, move to Utah, Nevada, or Colorado, and buy a mansion. For others it was safety. Numerous people in our community were caught in gang-related crossfires and shot, or they were carjacked, or they were simply killed in gang initiations. My boss’ daughter had a broken beer bottle shoved in her face for the sin of asking the people at the adjacent table in a bar to perhaps tone down their conversation. Our car was stolen twice. We had a choice: Either buy a gun or leave; we left. The problem WAS being in the wrong place at the wrong time … California. My sense was that the social contract as the foundation for civilization had broken down.

  26. Marty [AKA "wick"]
         Show CommentNext New Comment

    Santa Maria is one of the ugliest places you could visit. It makes Stockton look like Victoria B.C. I’m a native Californian and when I saw it I couldn’t believe it. There’s got to be a story there, like maybe it was founded by all the worst characters in Jim Thompson’s imagination.

  27. Oxnard has Navy. This includes Navy enlisted folks.

    The area between Watsonville and Santa Barbara is relatively empty, because a) the coast itself is too steep, b) the first inland valley doesn’t have (until recently) good communication with either the Bay Area or Los Angeles, c) there’s not a lot of water there, and the farmers have it locked up. Highway 101 is now almost up to freeway standards, but still bottlenecks terribly between Gilroy and Salinas, and between Buellton and the coast west of Santa Barbara. So there’s not much point to putting any manufacturing there, except food and oil – you can get cheap land with better connections to the rest of the world much closer to LA or the Bay Area than the central coast.

  28. It’s worse–or changed more–than the graphic tends to convey, because of the whitespace in the internal migration.

    If the numbers on the side are accurate it’s currently at 28% foreign, 55% Californian, which leaves only 17% for internal migration despite the graph making it look very similar to the foreign %. (I assume whitespace accounts for this.)

    If you look in its Golden Age heyday of 1960, the foreign looks to be maybe 12% and California birth less than the starting 45%–call it 40%, which would mean internal migrants were almost half–45%+.

    Of course, the key thing here is this isn’t “immigration” but current population. So what you’re seeing in the figures now is that California is still growing in population, but the old (mostly white) internal migrants are dying off. Though there’s still solid (mostly young whites) internal migration in\there. The foreign born are still there. But probably the largest single demographic group now is California born immigrant children–mostly Mexican.

  29. California won’t look so good in a couple of generations. Probably something like the Philippines

  30. In 1985 I was parked on a side street off Van Nuys Blvd. In Mission Hills, negotiating with a pretty cute streetwalker, when the cops pulled up and asked what the hell we were doing. I explained that we’d been in the same graduating class and were just catching up. The cop goes, “you ought to have a SAG card.”

  31. Putting a premium on nice weather must be an Anglo thing. Or at least it definitely isn’t a Mexican thing. Compare the standard of living of Tijuana, which has identical weather to San Diego, with that of much wealthier Monterrey, whose weather is more like that of San Antonio. Even Mexicali (the capital of Tijuana’s state), sitting at the southern end of the inhumanly hot Imperial Valley, is a nicer city than Tijuana.

  32. California should have been broken into Northern and Southern California right from the start. If that happened the GOP would have won quite a few close elections and possibly have kept USA from entering World War I and Korean War.

    Californians are responsible for what happened after World War I and they are only paying the price 100 years later. I don’t feel sad about the decline of that state.

    Southern California was pretty Republican till the 1960s.

    The monstrosity called California had its time but now it is up. Break it into a few states (North, SF, San Joaquin, LA, San Diego) and the Reps will win more elections.

  33. But as I get older, I become less of a contrarian and more of a counter-contrarian…

    I’ve long been fond of citing the line, “As I grow older and wiser, I become increasingly skeptical of skeptics and iconoclastic toward iconoclasts“. I could have sworn it was from G.K. Chesterton, but Google seems to think that it doesn’t exist, or at least not in any recognizable variant. Perhaps it was some long-forgotten blogger who has deleted the original post.

  34. BTW, growing up in Cincinnati i *expected* to “go west” and end up in California. I was interested in science–did physics–and California was the clean, golden promised land with the leading edge universities. California was “the future”.

    But i ended up doing grad school at Texas–more because of interest (plasma\fusion)–and by the time i was out, having picked up wife and changed fields, California was starting to look less rosy. Indeed went West, but–though some quirks of fate–made my career in Seattle (Redmond), instead.

    My best friend–Indian guy–from Texas is down there working tech. But while Seattle has gotten expensive, it’s ridiculously expensive there. Both he and his wife are working pretty good jobs to afford someplace with “good schools”–in their case the north San Diego, in catchment with Torrey Pines HS. And then there’s taxes. Heck if i want to pony up another 10% of my income for more slop. I kid him he and his wife support three Mexican kids. (They do.)

    [That's "progressive" in a nutshell: forcing some men to support the kids of women they aren't sleeping with--i.e. some other men's kids--and then patting yourself on the back about it.]

    I’m a founder of and still active in my son’s scout troop. Every year we pick up a couple kids moving up from California, and in the eight years of existence have only had one kid move down there. Not that it’s that great here. All the “progressive” anti-white insanity in spades. But the Cascades are pretty–amazing this time of year!–and you get used to the rain. (A pressure washer does wonder on the mossy slime.)

    Of course, there is no border, so in the end, we’ll be cooked too. All to avoid lawn care and let white women “fulfill” themselves with useless make work, instead of watching their kids. White people need to stop running and running and define and defend a border. Any border.

  35. In the mid-70s, when I was 12 y/o, my best friend’s older sister, an attractive 18 y/o, graduated from high school and up moved from MA to CA, and never returned . I remember thinking that was pretty cool.

    In the mid-80s, near completion of my BS Computer Science at a well-respected MA college, I thought, heck, do I really want to work with computers? And thought I wanted to be a police officer. I applied to the LAPD, went through their rigorous 5-day application process for out-of-towners, and was offered a job a few weeks later. (Sort of) regrettably, I turned it down to write software for a government defense contractor for a couple of thousand dollars more per year. LAPD would have been pretty cool (plus I’d be retired already living on a nice LA government pension!).

    Fifteen years later, in 2000, I got a second chance for a move to the Golden State when Intel twice flew me out to San Diego for software engineering job interviews, but no job offer was forthcoming; and I haven’t been back to CA since.

  36. I wonder if the changing racial demographics of The United States has anything to do with the fact that rap has now become a more popular music genre than rock n’roll in this country

    In predominantly Nonwhite California where I live, you are more likely to hear someone in their car blasting “Hypnotize” by The Notorious B.I.G than you are to hear someone blasting “Sweet Child O’Mine” by Guns N Roses.

    The Mexican and Central American Amerindians/Mestizos here in California overwhelmingly prefer hip hop over that White Gringo rock’n roll music.

    My Wigger cousin went to a Bone Thugs N Harmony concert in Fresno, California and he said the crowd was predominantly Mexican.

  37. The 110 degrees in Phoenix does scare off CA trash. I asked a VERY ghetto Mexican on the CA/AZ border with a Uhaul which way he was moving. He told me in an amazingly snotty tone that he wasn’t moving anywhere but that he was helping his cousin move from Phoenix to LA. I asked him if he would ever live in Phoenix and he looked at me like I was insane and said “No” very emphatically. This was someone that lived in a very bad part of LA.

    To foreigners (and many poor Americans) living anywhere in CA is having made it no matter how awful the circumstances. There are parts of SoCal that are almost incomprehensibly bad.

  38. Coastal SoCal and Bay area very desirable due to great weather and inherent beauty and drive average CA pricing high. But don’t think interior places like Bakersfield, Merced, etc are particularly expensive compared to FL. But not where most people want to live.

    • Replies:
  39. I left for Montana in 1975. It wasn’t a happy thing, and I didn’t go all “I hate California” because I loved the place, still do. I just can’t live there. I’m priced out, for one thing. Plus it didn’t help that we’d had an earthquake, my mother’s places was burgled, Uncle George was murdered by a gang and dumped downtown by the tracks, and I was mugged at knifepoint in No Hollywood by a little brown person who had been hiding in my van.

    When I came to MT it was like going back in time 20 years.

  40. West of Santa Barbara / Goleta the 101 Freeway runs for maybe 15 miles along an almost uninhabited coastline with about a mile-wide gently sloping plain before the steep mountains. If this were the Turkish Riviera there would be hundreds of thousands of summer homes in this area, most with ocean views. (In general, Californians have very few second homes relative to Europeans.) But it’s mostly empty dry cattle ranches. Santa Barbara turned down a connection to the California Aqueduct a generation or two ago to prevent development of areas like this.

    The Santa Ynez Valley over the mountains to the north is a little cooler and windier, but it’s basically paradise. You can drive Highway 1 through ranch country forever.

  41. “The 110 degrees in Phoenix does scare off CA trash.”

    Does 110 degrees in Las Vegas scare off CA trash as well ?

    • Replies:
  42. I can’t do without the four seasons…

    • Replies:
  43. I just don’t get weather uber alles as an organizing principle for settlement patterns. I resent Houston for about five minutes when I walk to car in the evening and for about the first fifteen minutes of playing golf, but other than that I can’t imagine a better place for suburban life. Sure it’s not Paris, but neither is LA. And while California certainly has a cachet I’d say the locus of American aspirations is a little bit over selling. That was always New York. Sinatra beats Dana in this case at least from how I see it.

    It’s kind of interesting how the focal point of American right-wing politics has slowly migrated east from Orange County in 1950s to Dallas in the 1960s to what I would now argue Houston.

    • Replies:
  44. This.

    Weather in CA isn’t really a North-South thing, except in the broadest of senses. It’s a “how far from the ocean are you and how high are you up on the mountains” thing. So Mountain View’s Record high is Sacramento’s average summer day.

    The Central Valley is really cheap. And honestly, much as everyone complains about CA taxes, they’re not *that* bad compared to the “A person making $100K a year pays $35K in federal taxes. The average rent in SF is $4K/month. So a guy making $100K/year barely makes rent. Or he goes to MI, makes $60K and pulls in $45K after taxes, but a house is $150K”. Sure, 9% sales tax sucks, but it was 6% back in MI, so it’s a rounding error on the final tax bill. The CA taxes are an insult, but they’re not the initial injury. That’s the feds.

    The problem is that there’s a very limited amount of space where it’s sunny year-round, but not too hot. It’s 78 in Mt. View right now and 92 in Tracy. So everyone in their right minds tries to live in the Bay, probably on the Peninsula or the nicer bits of the South Bay (or City, but no one can afford THAT). Especially since most of the Valley has a jobs/people ratio somewhere around 2.5:1, which is where the good weather is anyways.

    So there’s a bunch of mountains and barren high desert that no one lives in, a giant Valley full of Farms, Mexicans, and government workers, and a few VERY small areas that combine CA weather with CA awesome economic stuff. Which as a result are incredibly dense and high-rent.

    This combines with a bunch of very terrible policies that:
    * Favor the old and long-term residents over the new and young residents (I know multiple people with 60+-mile commutes every morning because they changed jobs, but can’t afford to sell their million-dollar house that they pay $2K/year in property taxes on to buy a new million-dollar house closer to work that they’d have to pay #20k/year in property taxes on)
    * Encourage people to try to use the 3K people/hour, 35 MPH transit over the 12K people per hour, 65 MPH freeway without ever doing that math.
    * Drive every single city into complete bankruptcy because they can’t raise taxes, but have to dump 25% of their tax revenue into underfunding pensions.
    * Encourage the creation of YET MORE jobs without houses via Prop 13 mechanisms.
    * Once they’re forced everyone into impossible commutes, make it impossible to build infrastructure with a reasonable latency or at a reasonable price (Honestly, at this point,I ‘d settle for one of two). As an added bonus, don’t build freeway ramps properly so everyone’s always entering and exiting the 65MPH freeway at 20 MPH through 1/2 sec long merge lanes. You think I’m joking. Go look at the Charleston Road onramp on 101 SB. Sucker backs up 5 cities from 2:30 to 8:00 every evening. Or the whole 237/85/El Camino WTF.

    And of course, refuse to build enough housing (in an admittedly transit-centric way. I’m honest enough to admit that the Bay Area is past the point where I can just count on the car working all the time every single place. At a 6-lane freeway, you’re probably done and should start looking at that light rail stuff all the cool kids talk about. Fix the stupider onramps and bottlenecks, but they’re done with lanes) that you can fit all the people who want to live here.

    So it gets really incredibly expensive. At which point some poor kid fresh out of college in the Midwest reads the offer letter, has a mild stroke upon seeing “$100K” because he’s thinking in Midwest terms, comes out here, and runs around paycheck to paycheck until either he hits it big on a startup (I paid off the car and got a $28K/year payraise that turned into a $600/month pay cut after all the withholdings), or runs like hell to a much cheaper state with worse weather.

    /Plus of course, the Hispanics live 8-10 to a house, I live 2 to a house, so after tax I need to be making 3x as much as the Hispanic to afford the same house (No joke. They evicted 8 people from the apartment across the hall from me). 6x if I want to not have roommates. And since $100K/year turns into $3600/month after-tax, that’s never happening.

  45. What we see over and over since the 1960s are the citizens of places like Santa Barbara, Marin County, Malibu, and so forth asking: “How is letting a lot of outsiders in going to make our lives better?” So, they erect a thicket of policies to preserve things the way they are and keep their populations stable.

    But the notion that America is the Marin County of the world, and that citizens of America ought to have to have the same rights regarding the population of America as the citizens of Marin County have regarding the population of Marin County is increasingly demonized as racist and unthinkable.

  46. is she ever right! Florida and Vegas are full of grifters and other scum. derelicts for sure in cali, but I think TX is too hot for summer survival.

    then there’s NOLA.

  47. I grew up in Ohio but wanted to move to CA since childhood when I noticed all my Atari stuff said “Sunnyvale, California” on it. Also was really impressed by the neighborhood in the movie “E.T.” which I believe was filmed in La Crescenta.

    Moved to Calif in 1999 – Bay Area – and enjoyed it but quickly noticed how dingy and worn out it was in many places. Then moved to LA in search of cheaper housing, and things went from dingy to downright ramshackle. Those endless streets of dusty little yards enclosed by chain-link fence look silly to a Midwesterner where big, green lawns can be had by janitors. Even Santa Barbara is decrepit. They think their downtown is quaint, but it’s just old. I saw two bums get in a fistfight there in broad daylight.

    Went back east in 2006, taking a large chunk of real estate bubble cash with me, and don’t regret it. But I look back often. I’m counting on San Diego to stay relatively sane so I can retire there.

  48. “I can’t do without the four seasons…”

    I live in California, but when I feel nostalgic for the snow I visit my family members in Long Island, New York for the winter.

    • Replies:
  49. “I’m counting on San Diego to stay relatively sane so I can retire there.”

    I was recently in San Diego for Comic Con International, I definitely see it as a very desirable city to live in. One of the best America has to offer.

    • Replies: ,
  50. You could make up a list of California sci-fi authors:

    Heinlein — Missouri
    Bradbury — Illinois?
    Pournelle — Tennessee?
    Niven — Native (his grandfather was the I Drink Your Milkshake oilman)

    • Replies:
  51. A few days ago, Steve, you mentioned James Garner (who just hit the trail for the last round-up). Of course Garner moved to Southern California and lived there through most of the golden years. He also opened a window on the state, especially Southern California, through his work.

    Although I like them as entertainment, old episodes of The Rockford Files can also choke me up because they show California in the 1970′s when it was just shortly past the crest, though accelerating inexorably downhill. I remember being there in that time and how we felt things were bad, due to the Oil Crisis and the dénouement of the Vietnam War and the mid-Seventies’ recession and the complex mess which lead into and out of Prop 13, etc. But now in the rear-view we can see that that era was more congenial than the present in many ways. Rockford Files characters wrestle with fictional problems against a backdrop of contemporary social reality much more orderly and welcoming than the reality of California today, and however poor we felt in the Seventies we feel much more poor today, considering (as remarked above) how in the 1970′s we could at least go to the public library or pool every day of the week.

    • Replies:
  52. says:
         Show CommentNext New Comment

    Why am I not surprised to find that you were at Comic Con International?

  53. Is San Diego better off than than LA? Isn’t San Diego closer to the border though?

    • Replies:
  54. How do people out in CA live without the 4 seasons? Doesn’t it make you go crazy after a while? Not having the regular seasonal rhythms and all.

    Also, does the sun go down early in the winters over there?

    • Replies: ,
  55. I was just in Napa Valley for a month last June. And you are right. Once you go north of there, there are very few towns. The mountains are formidable in places and the valleys are isolated. It is extremely rugged terrain. And it pretty much stays that way until you get to the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Eastern California is nice, but it’s mainly desert from top to bottom. The best land in California has been taken.

  56. If you get choked up over “The Rockford Files” and So Cal, then how about “Dragnet” and So Cal!

    • Replies: , ,
  57. New York (City) was a locus of aspiration for high strivers, not the “paradise for the common man” California was seen as.

  58. Looking at old census records, California was only something around 2.4 percent Mexican in 1910. That was probably an under count, but still, it shows that at that point California had become a waspy place. Even before the immigration bill in 1965, the Hispanic population was growing at a fairly good clip because of perennial demand for farm labour. I’ve often wondered if a portion of north and north west Mexico had become a separate less corrupt country similar to Costa Rica or Uruguay would things have turned out differently in the southwest in terms of demographics. This less corrupt country could have provided a suitable buffer zone to absorb potential illegal immigration flows.

  59. My spouse (a Democrat) tells me she would never move to a warm place because it’s too easy for the derelicts and drifters to survive there. Little does she know that she’s sort of buying into a “racist” aspect of environmental determinism (which is a no no for many anthropologists.) Democrats are funny people.

    I just read a piece not too long ago by some Yankee media outlet or other calling Florida to carpet for their anti-homeless policies (gov’t cleaning up places where they put their junk, rousting them out of parks, etc.). It’s easy to point fingers when your climate’s too cold for homeless people to live, and they all drift to places like Florida at the first opportunity.

    • Replies:
  60. One advantage CA may have in the NIMBY sweepstakes is the size of the counties. If you look at a map of America that shows county lines, it’s impossible to miss the east<west trend in county size. That makes the stakes in any given county a lot bigger in the west, meaning more centralized power for local gov'ts, and thus more sway over land use. Obviously a double-edged sword at first glance, but still.

  61. “Is San Diego better off than than LA? Isn’t San Diego closer to the border though?”

    San Diego on average has less smog and has less ghetto people than Los Angeles.

    • Replies: ,
  62. Is this a serious question? Yes, in CA the sun goes down earlier in the winters than in the summers. But as you get closer to the equator the change in the number of hours of daylight in a winter’s day compared to a summer’s day are are less pronounced than they would be further away from the equator.

    So LA’s winter’s days are shorter than its summer’s days. But LA’s winter days are longer than Seattle’s winter days, and LA’s summer days are shorter than Seattle’s summer days.

    • Replies: ,
  63. @Bob

    Funny thing about the seasons. All my memories of California seem to have happened during the summer, because I lost the use of weather as a time reference. I remember my kid in shorts and a t-shirt sitting on a bag of mulch in the front yard, but it could well have been in January. One thing I never got used to was it being 75 degrees and sunny during the day, but getting dark at 5:30.

    But I would take California weather back in a heartbeat. In LA, if you really want winter weather, all you’ve gotta do is drive a couple hours up the 15 freeway to Wrightwood and you can ski and throw snowballs. It’s telling that I only did this once in five years.

    San Diego is much better than LA. Steve can probably explain why.

  64. Dragnet, Adam-12, Perry Mason, Highway Patrol, Cannon, Columbo, Emergency!*, Simon&Simon, and so-on and so-forth.

    I do love seeing the good-’ol-days of California in old TV shows and movies and I do feel nostalgic too.

    *Talk about Vietnam connections– paramedic care with radio links to base hospitals was based on VN war experience and set up in SoCal by returned vets. When the rest of the country saw it dramatized on TV every city wanted something similar. (LA county also invented freeway call boxes–obsoleted by cellphones). The paramedic system was apotheosed into trauma centers with helicopter ambulances which saved thousands of people injured in appalling road and other accidents until the crack wars overloaded and bankrupted all the trauma centers with gut-shot NAM’s who wouldn’t and couldn’t pay but under the asinine EMTALA law couldn’t be sent to the county hospital. In 1980 everyone in coastal SoCal was a short helicopter ride from the best surgeons; by 2000 nearly the whole system was gone, overwhelmed by thugs and paupers.

  65. “I just read a piece not too long ago by some Yankee media outlet or other calling Florida to carpet for their anti-homeless policies (gov’t cleaning up places where they put their junk, rousting them out of parks, etc.).”

    My middle-upscale, mid-size Florida town was notorious for many years as having one of the most, if not the most anti-homeless policies in the country. Well a couple of years the ACLU went challenging the police about their handling of the homeless. The court found in favor of the civil rights lawyers and the cops were heavily restricted on when and how they could hassle bums. Surprise, surprise we’re now inundated with homeless vagrants. I’d estimate a few hundred hobos have probably in aggregate destroyed $20 million in downtown property values.

    Florida has the potential to be even worse than the California homeless meccas of Berkeley, Santa Monica, etc. Not only is the weather nice all year round, but we’re much closer to the major East Coast population meccas. A vagrant from Boston can much easier get to Florida for the winter.

  66. Yes and yes. San Diego being a huge Navy town probably has a lot to do with it.

  67. One of the things I found intriguing about old film noir flicks of the late ’40′s and early ’50′s was all of those tough guys and thugs in Los Angeles and San Francisco with (vaguely) east coast accents. I figured it was artistic license or poor attention to detail. Maybe not, if that graph is correct.

  68. Yes, the sun goes down in my part of Orange County at 4:43 in late November, and it’s dark by 5 PM. But by early February the sun is out until 5:30, almost 6 PM by late February. Anyway, the sun sets here only about 1/2 hour later than more northerly climes. What I would find more difficult is the sun not coming up until 7:30 or later. Even in the dead of winter here it’s getting light outside by 6:30 or so in the morning.

  69. The problem with Florida isn’t the homeless people, it’s that so much of its non-homeless population aren’t much above homeless people.

    Florida, like California, has a lot of American transplants who moved there for the weather. But the difference is that American transplants to California seem to have been motivated for the most part by the promise of a sober, respectable middle-class lifestyle. The young and middle aged American transplants to Florida, on the other hand, are a pathetic collection of creeps, dull-eyed no-hopers, and ambitionless losers.

    • Replies:
  70. I like seasons too, but people in New York City bitch constantly about the weather. I think the reason is that the weather is extreme relative to California, but it’s not extreme enough to select for residents who don’t bitch about it. Minnesota has colder winters and summers about as hot, but more Minnesotans seem to enjoy their weather.

  71. Why is that though? San Diego is closer to the border.

  72. Long Island just got hit with 11 inches of rain in a few hours. An all-time record, I think.

  73. says:
         Show CommentNext New Comment

    No state has suffered more and been so adversely affected by the disastrous 1965 immigration act then California. In another generation or two, California will be a truly third world country. It already has third world demographics. California would have been better off in every possible way if its population could have been ‘capped’ at about 20 million. 25 million tops.

  74. Yes, it’s serious. On the East Coast in the Mid-Atlantic, it starts getting dark at 4:30 pm in late Fall/early Winter. Which is not pleasant, but in late Spring/early Summer we’ll have daylight till 9, 9:30 pm.

    What’s it like in California?

    • Replies:
  75. I wonder if there’s a blog somewhere that’s authored by a Steve Sailer fan that just so happens to be St. Louis-centric and is covering Ferguson almost obsessively and with a racialist editorial bent.

  76. Is it possible to do Real Serious Work in California? In the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast, for several months of the year, it will be pitch black outside by the time you leave work. And it will often be dark, cloudy, rainy, cold in the morning when you leave for work. It’s not uncommon to not see the sun for a week. Not seeing the sun for 2 weeks isn’t unheard of. You literally can forget what a sunny day looks and feels like during these spells. While this can be quite depressing and gloomy, it does tend to put you in a serious mood and can help you focus on serious work and cut down on the BS. You leave work and it’s dark as hell outside so you go to a bar or drink at home. Do people even go to bars in California? It’s hard to imagine how you can go to a bar a lot when it’s 75 and sunny all the time. Especially also when you have to drive everywhere.

    Obviously Silicon Valley and the aerospace and defense industry was in California, so Real Serious Work has been done in California. But I wonder if this can be sustained over the long term with its sun and weather.

    • Replies: , ,
  77. San Diego is lot less exciting than LA and SF, and the people are blander. The lack of traffic, slightly warmer and drier weather, and cheaper real estate make up for it. We also have the lowest crime rate of any major city, which means our ample police force can focus on quality of life crimes. We also don’t have any major fault lines and have never had a major earthquake.

    A 4-bedroom house with a decent yard in a nice coastal neighborhood with good public schools will run you about $800,000 in San Diego (UTC, Point Loma). That price will also get you into Carmel Valley but with a very small yard, and into Mission Hills but with 3 bedrooms. If you are willing to go east 5 miles, $600,000 (Mira Mesa, Tierra Santa, San Carlos), and 10 miles inland can get it down to $500,000. Your summer AC bill and winter heating bill will also go up, eating up some of that savings.

    Getting comparable sized house and lot in LA you have to increase that by 50%, and go much more than 5 miles inland before you start seeing any savings.

    Probably the best value in Southern California is around Escondido, in north central San Diego County. There are tons of modern new 3500-SF suburban developments going for 450-600K, and the older houses are a bit smaller but often have acreage around them. It is also where you will find the highest percentage of Republicans in California.

    • Replies: ,
  78. SoCal Germanophiles who can put up $1.3 million may consider Olivenhain in San Diego County:,_Encinitas,_California

    Here is the cheapest house for sale in the neighborhood:

    If you want a rural feel and 2-acre lot, you’ll have to step up to 1.5 million:

  79. And then there’s the homeless. I live outside Santa Cruz where they are nice to the homeless–and get more of them. I also have a house in Palm Springs. I don’t know what they do with the homeless–probably take them out in the desert and machine gun them–but you almost never see any.

    • Replies:
  80. Are there any homeless in Las Vegas? I guess there weren’t any homeless in 1971 because it doesn’t come up in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but I’d like to hear Hunter S. Thompson riff on the subject of what happens to the homeless in Vegas. There they’d make them dig their own graves before they machine gun them.

    • Replies:
  81. According to the Miami Oddballs School of Writers like Elmore Leonard, Carl Hiaasen, and Dave Barry.

  82. It is hard to work in the North when you have a rare sunny “warm” winter day since you know you might not get another for a month or more.

    When you have them nearly every day, you know you can work today and enjoy the outdoors tomorrow.

    I don’t agree gloomy weather makes you more productive. When I lived in the north I had a low-level runny nose cold half the winter, and subclinical SAD. Now I don’t.

    I can mostly set my own hours, and I find I like working 12-7. I miss rush hour coming and going, and can enjoy myself in the morning on weekdays, and then still have some bright but not sunburny couple hours outdoors in the evening.

  83. In Santa Barbara County you can drive along the coastline for 47 miles on the 101 Freeway, with another 10 miles or so of coastline out beyond where the freeway turns away from the sea before you reach Vandenberg AFB. The population of the entire south part of Santa Barbara County (from the mountains to the beaches) is 201,000.

  84. Dragnet, Adam-12, Perry Mason, Highway Patrol, Cannon, Columbo, Emergency!*, Simon&Simon, and so-on and so-forth.

    I do love seeing the good-’ol-days of California in old TV shows and movies and I do feel nostalgic too.

    *Talk about Vietnam connections– paramedic care with radio links to base hospitals was based on VN war experience and set up in SoCal by returned vets. When the rest of the country saw it dramatized on TV every city wanted something similar. (LA county also invented freeway call boxes–obsoleted by cellphones). The paramedic system was apotheosed into trauma centers with helicopter ambulances which saved thousands of people injured in appalling road and other accidents until the crack wars overloaded and bankrupted all the trauma centers with gut-shot NAM’s who wouldn’t and couldn’t pay but under the asinine EMTALA law couldn’t be sent to the county hospital. In 1985 everyone in coastal SoCal was a short helicopter ride from the best surgeons; by 2000 the system nearly collapsed.

  85. These are bizarre questions. Don’t people go to bars on the east coast during the summer? Why would you think California doesn’t have bars?

    • Replies:
  86. I didn’t mean the kinds of bars you might be into in SF and stuff like that. I was thinking more about SoCal.

  87. says:
         Show CommentNext New Comment

    This post, and posts like these, are just plain depressing. As a 23 year old I envy the people who could show up anywhere in the US, especially California, and work hard and have a decent life. Our poor( or anyone else for that matter) aren’t as suffering as before, but their opportunities are much less. That’s why I went to Alaska, somewhere in the us if you’re willing to work, you can make a life for yourself. However, I got sick of the cold so moved to west Texas to work the oilfields. To bad I couldn’t go to southern California like the old days.

  88. The Beach Boys, Brady Bunch, skateboards and surfboards come to my foreign mind. Didn’t get to California until 1995. Bit ramshackle in places. Already a lot of Mexicans. Surprised not more blacks. Went from San Diego to Tijuana, quite a contrast. San Diego had very pleasant weather even in November.

  89. Highway 1 from Marin to up past Fort Bragg is quite lovely and has better access to water than Big Sur but it’s even more isolated. It’s hours of driving on two lane roads to get anywhere else.

  90. says:
         Show CommentNext New Comment

    Watching Columbo is a great way to see la in its heyday. Only in film can you experience the old and good California.

    • Replies: ,
  91. I’m a Hitchcock fan. Love those glimpses of old Northern California. Always fascinated me.

  92. “Surprised not more blacks”

    California as a whole does not have a high percentage of Blacks, but there are pockets of California that has a lot of Blackness like Compton, Inglewood, Richmond, Vallejo, and Oakland.

  93. “Is San Diego better off than than LA? Isn’t San Diego closer to the border though?”

    San Diego on average has less smog and has less ghetto people than Los Angeles.

    LA County: 10 million people. 48% hispanic, 9% black.
    San Diego County: 3 million people. 33% hispanic, 6% black.

    (per 2013 census, at

    • Replies:
  94. San Diego is lot less exciting than LA and SF… and cheaper real estate make up for it…$800K…$600K…$500K

    Are you ‘effin kidding me! Those prices will get you waterfront, very good condition 3000sf+ single-family homes in almost all of FL! Older, 1600sf single-family homes on navigable canals can be had for under $200K. Of course, you can spend over a million in many places, but you don’t have to for decent waterfront living (if that’s what you want). Decent, older, non-waterfront single-family homes can be had for $100K, close to employment centers. The real estate meltdown hit FL hard during ’10 – ’11, but prices are coming back fast; no more very good deals, and more new home construction at $300K+ and waterfront/view condo construction at $300K+.

  95. Days will be the same length at the same latitude on the same day. If you are talking about, say Baltimore as your Mid Atlantic point, look at a map and go west across the country at that latitude and all those places at the same latitude will have the same day length.

    The times of actual sunrise and sunset will be different depending upon the longitude, or how far west along the line you are, and the time zone you are in. You can have a place pretty far west but still within in the eastern time and it will have the same day length but different sunrise and sunset times.

    My wife worked a summer in Dayton and told me it was light there until well after 9:00 since it is in the eastern time zone but near the western end of it.

    Baltimore is almost the same latitude as Dayton. So their day lengths would be almost the same. But Baltimore’s sunrise and sunset times will be earlier.

  96. You also have to take into account a location’s relative position in a time zone.

  97. Better still, 30s and 40s films.

  98. It’s a poorly made graph. The intertwining of the tubes conveys no information. A graph should not have superfluous features.

  99. I don’t know how much cheaper San Diego really is. I live in Orange County, and don’t see much difference. As for seismicity, San Diego is less earthquake prone – however the Rose Canyon Fault is capable of producing a quake in the 6.5-7.0 range IIRC.

  100. Mike Zwick [AKA "Dahinda"]
         Show CommentNext New Comment

    The old California is in all of the Film Noir movies. I lived briefly in Camarillo. It seemed to be the place that the good people of Oxnard escaped to when that town went to hell.

  101. No it doesn’t for reasons that should be obvious.

  102. The Sea Ranch development in the mid-60′s was the last significant real estate development on the stretch of coast from Marin to Fort Bragg. It’s mostly second homes and condos. Since it was still the 60′s the houses aren’t of the gigantic drug lord mansion scale that later became popular, and architecturally it fairly tasteful, and the style was often copied; to look at the buildings today you’d think they were built in the 80′s. But it also prompted the creation of the California Coastal Commission, which in effect shut down any further construction on that part of the coastline. Today it’s still very quaint.

    Maybe Steve has an opinion on the Sea Ranch Golf Links, which has oceanfront holes.

  103. True, and just about every good high school in Missouri will have you reading some Heinlein before you graduate. It’s just that I can’t put my finger on why MO and IL were 2 and 1 for about three decades. Or there were a lot of sci-fi fans during that time.

  104. Mike Zwick [AKA "Dahinda"]
         Show CommentNext New Comment

    “Went from San Diego to Tijuana, quite a contrast.” @JA, the powers that be are trying hard to smooth over that contrast!

  105. there was a story on TV about how the LV homeless lived in a huge unused tunnel.

  106. Yes, but why is that the case? SD County is closer the border.

  107. ““Went from San Diego to Tijuana, quite a contrast.” @JA, the powers that be are trying hard to smooth over that contrast!”

    There are parts of Chicago that look like Tijuana, despite the fact that Chicago is geographically closer to Toronto than it is to Tijuana.

    The master plan is for the Mexicanization of the entire United States, not jus the Southwest.

  108. “Do people even go to bars in California? It’s hard to imagine how you can go to a bar a lot when it’s 75 and sunny all the time. Especially also when you have to drive everywhere.”

    You’re observation is spot-on; there really aren’t many bars in California (although I didn’t realize that until I moved to the MidBest; I used to think it was “America” that lacked bars, but now I know its just California…and for some very good reasons, which you’ve already enunciated.

  109. “- Of course I’d rather move to Portland than to the San Francisco Bay — Six months without sunshine is a very Zen experience, you know?”

    That’s exactly right. The sun never shines, it’s expensive, there are scads of Mexicans and Chinese, the water is cold, the snow is wet, you wouldn’t like it one bit. There is no good reason for anyone to come here. Even for a visit.

  110. says:
         Show CommentNext New Comment

    “California as a whole does not have a high percentage of Blacks, but there are pockets of California that has a lot of Blackness like Compton, Inglewood, Richmond, Vallejo, and Oakland.”

    Incorrect regarding Compton and Inglewood. They have essentially been ethnically cleansed, is predominately Latono’s, and enjoys dramatically lower crime rates.
    Try to keep up.

    • Replies:
  111. I’m mortified that I made an apostrophe error. Rest assured, I know the difference betwen your and you’re. Its just a typo (and one I’m apparently not being permitted to edit). Please ignore it.

  112. “Incorrect regarding Compton and Inglewood. They have essentially been ethnically cleansed, is predominately Latono’s, and enjoys dramatically lower crime rates.
    Try to keep up.”

    Compton is 32 percent Black and Inglewood is 43 percent Black. That is still way too Black for my taste and significantly Blacker than the national average which is 13 percent Black.

    You see I live in a zip code where only 2 percent of the population is Black, so for me Compton and Inglewood are Black as hell because I am not used to living in an area that has so much vibrant Sub Saharan diversity.

  113. “Incorrect regarding Compton and Inglewood. They have essentially been ethnically cleansed, is predominately Latono’s, and enjoys dramatically lower crime rates.
    Try to keep up.”

    Inglewood and Compton are around 40 and 30 percent black respectively, which is still pretty black, especially by California standards. Both are blacker than Oakland, which is only 25 percent black.

  114. “Inglewood and Compton are around 40 and 30 percent black respectively, which is still pretty black, especially by California standards. Both are blacker than Oakland, which is only 25 percent black.”

    Yeah California is not the South, where cities/towns that are over 30%-40% Black are the norm rather than the exception.

    Any city in the Golden state that is over 30 percent Black or 40 percent Black might as well be Little Africa by California standards.

  115. says:
         Show CommentNext New Comment

    About that graph “Where people who live in California were born”…

    That graph just plots the percentage, so it looks like a square in which the population of California never changes. As there were about 15 million people in CA around 1960 and are now, what, unofficially near 40 million, it would be interesting to normalize the graph by population size at each census.

    The normalized graph (absolute population numbers) should make a pretty interesting wedge growing upward to the right.

  116. says:
         Show CommentNext New Comment

    About Central California and the Cenrtal Coast from Monterey to San Luis Obispo… yes, it’s very rugged terrain and there’s not much there. There weren’t even many roads to the coast until CA 1 was built during WWII. (They say one of those Japanese subs prowling the coast in the first days of the war had to pull into somewhere on the central coast to do some minor repairs and someone was livid that no one was able to reach it before it escaped.)

    Anyhow a big chunk of that land is military reservation:

    Fort Hunter Liggett:

    “…originally comprised 200,000 acres (800 km²), but even at its present size of 165,000 acres (668 km²), it is the largest United States Army Reserve command post.

    …field maneuvers and live fire exercises are performed…

    …evaluate new Army and Marine Corps weapons systems…”

    Created in WWII, now think war games and an Army version of Edwards or China Lake.


    “Camp Roberts is host to annual training to almost every California Army National Guard unit and it is also used by the British Army.

    …Demolition of nearly all the World War II-era structures facing US Route 101 began in 2012.”

    It’s good that California has all these military operations to protect us from invasion, is it not so?

    • Replies: ,
  117. It didn’t seem all that astonishing to me that the 15 or 20 miles of relatively level coastal plain west of UC Santa Barbara are almost completely empty of houses until I went to Bodrum, Turkey, which is fairly similar in climate to Santa Barbara and is similarly a kind of resort for older money respectable affluent folks. For many many miles outside Bodrum, however, every place with a sea view is swarming with summer homes, typically glass fronted white sugar cube-like buildings. There are 17 million people living within 175 miles of of Gaviota, CA, population 35.

    But it’s very rare in Southern California to have a second home near the ocean. It’s much more common to have a second home in the desert around Palm Springs. People in L.A. are always saying things like, “I’ve gotta get down to the desert to get some sun!” while holding their hands in front of their faces to shield their eyes from the glaring Los Angeles sun. The reason people in Los Angeles, a semi-desert city have vacations homes in the real desert is because the Palm Springs area always welcomed development, so it’s slathered in develpment for hundreds of square miles. In contrast, the oceanfront areas of California have resisted development for about 45 years now, so everybody in SoCal assumes it’s perfectly natural not to be able to own a place at the beach, but Germans would think its nuts. Millions of Germans are vacationing on the Mediterranean at this moment in developments that are only occupied about 20% of the year.

  118. says:
         Show CommentNext New Comment

    Then there’s Vandenburg and things that go boom…

    It seems Fort Hunter Ligget was mostly purchased during WWII from William Randolph Hearst. I wonder if much of the California coastal land, that land that you’d expect to see developed, was scooped up by those early California real estate barons (the “Octopus”, and all that) and somehow, with the Depression and WWII they were never able to unload it or develop it before it got locked out of the market? Maybe roads and basic infrastructure (fire hydrants, sewage, drainage and such) were a real problem?

    Tangentially, I believe Monterey Jack cheese was developed by Portuguese farmers on central coast cattle ranches, or so it is claimed. (I’ve also heard it was the standard Roman infantry combat ration, so maybe it goes back aways.)

    In some parts of the US large areas of very desirable land close to urban areas were undeveloped until very recently because the land was part of a large cattle ranch that remained in the family. It wasn’t until the last old lady from the old ranching family died that the ranch was broken up and sold off for taxes. I had the impression that many of the viable ranches in California were located on the coast, because of the way California was developed, largely from the coast inward (not to mention the temperature). On the coast you could easily get to market, not so in a lot of the rest of California in earlier times.

  119. It’s good that California has all these military operations to protect us from invasion, is it not so?

    The US military (+ civilian DoD) is, in large part, a jobs program, easing pressure on the US job market and artificially lowering the unemployment rate.

Comments are closed.

The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
Are elite university admissions based on meritocracy and diversity as claimed?