Skip to comments.Leaving California for Aiken [SC]
Posted on 01/27/2012 4:39:38 AM PST by upchuck
The week before Christmas, my wife and I finalized the sale of our house in California, packed a minivan with the last remnants of our years there, and headed back east.
It was a bittersweet goodbye. We'd lived in California full time or part time since 1985, and for the last 17 years right by the Pacific Ocean - a stunningly beautiful spot.
When we first arrived in the San Francisco Bay Area in '85 for what was expected to be a three-year stay it was as if we'd stumbled into the Garden of Eden. Perfect, predictable weather for months at a time, brilliant sunshine, breathtaking scenery, no mosquitoes (really), warm days and cool evenings, orange and grapefruit trees in the backyard, Napa Valley, Big Sur, Squaw Valley, Yosemite all within easy driving distance.
We'd just left mid-winter cold and gray Pennsylvania, and I thought of the movie "Wizard of Oz" when black and white of Kansas shifted to brilliant Technicolor in Dorothy's dream. We were hooked and we stayed.
Our decision 26 years later to part ways with sunny California was driven primarily by family considerations - but there was an underlying factor as well: California may be as beautiful as ever, but the state is in a death spiral, locked in political and economic chaos, hopelessly in debt and showing little inclination to dig itself out.
At a time when tax revenues are desperately needed, businesses are leaving the state and few are coming in. The politicians plan to attack their deficit problem by raising taxes on the wealthy. They seem not to understand that:
1. Even if the state takes it all, there's not enough money in those wealthy folks' pockets to make a much of a dent in the deficit;
2. Killing the goose that lays the golden eggs is always a bad idea. Wealthy people pay a large fraction of taxes, they create jobs in the businesses they operate or invest in - and some will choose not be stick around in California to keep doing so.
The impacts are becoming more and more visible. City services are disappearing. Last year, I had to get a permit from the city and then hire a contractor, at my expense, to repair the city street in front of our house. The city acknowledged the problem but had no money to fix our street.
The most bizarre part is that Californians (based on my wholly unscientific observation) seem oblivious to - or at worst just a bit irritated by - the steady deterioration of their state. Like the laboratory frog sitting in the pan of ever-hotter water, they seem only to notice their current condition, not its trajectory.
The icing on the cake: as we drove out of beautiful Half Moon Bay, perhaps for the last time, there on the street corner was the local Occupy crowd. These were not the young radicals who for no apparent reason had proudly shut down the Port of Oakland, causing financial hardship to plenty of working men and women. These were regular folk, neighbors, enjoying the beautiful weather and waving signs to passing cars, decrying the horribly unfair circumstance of the 99 percent.
Yes, freedom of speech is a fundamental American right, and these people were exercising it respectfully. But they seem stuck in the conviction that faced with anything they don't like, their civic responsibility is primarily to complain, loudly and publically. And then they continue to vote in the same crowd and support the same loony policies.
Does any of this sound familiar? In his popular 1982 book "Megatrends," John Naisbitt identified California as one of the 'bellweather' states in the US, meaning that social, cultural and political trends seem to take root there and then spread to the rest of the country.
It's a scary thought. California and South Carolina are about as different as two states can be.
But what's happening in California is by no means unique. The mind-numbing debt, a blame-and-tax-the-rich mentality, uncontrolled immigration, untouchable entitlements, clueless protesters complaining that it's just not fair, warring political factions that seem unwilling or unable to dig out of the mess - all are more and more common across the country and around the world. Most troubling of all is the malaise of its citizens, their steadfast refusal to confront the problem.
Californians are blessed with the opportunity to live in a place that is rich beyond measure - but evidently not too rich to fail. And in California's decline, there are important lessons for us all.
Welcome. I think you will like it here.
Let us know if ya’ll need anything to get settled.
The Big’un will be the permanent solution. The Big’un will prove to be the cathartic disruption to end the madness
Death and destruction will resolve the issues
Aiken is a great place to live.. I live 40 miles from there
it’s where the Fridge lives
ate some awsome Q in Aiken
I live in Aiken County and agree with you 100%. Very unique area.
I remember Aiken, a town that once had more polo fields than any place in America. It is so beautiful it is like a lovely woman - you can’t take your eyes off and you never forget. Nice place they choose...as a former californian I cry at the distruction of their one thriving life.
I remember Aiken, a town that once had more polo fields than any place in America. It is so beautiful it is like a lovely woman - you can’t take your eyes off and you never forget. Nice place they choose...as a former californian I cry at the distruction of their once thriving life.
The yuppie food in California is insufferable and indigestible, and I think it destroys the brain cells that command common sense, which is why there’s so many brain-dead liberals in CA.
Goat cheese pizza with avocadoes and mustard leaves? Then the waitress asks how many you want because it’s not mentioned that the bloody things, at 10 bucks a pop, are barely five-inches across.
Even mangy dogs wouldn’t touch the things.
The Founders revolted for less.
I think New York State is also the next bellwether. Although maybe not as beautiful as California, we have some breathtaking areas in the Catskills, the Adirondacks, the Hudson Highlands, etc.
I would hate to leave as we live in the scenic upper Hudson River valley, but if things get bad enough I would choose a conservative area in SC or maybe VA to move to. My daughter is in Lexington VA a 2L at Washington and Lee and it is very beautiful there as well - perhaps Central VA is conservative - does anyone know?
California is a wonderful place. Too bad the libtards have screwed it up. Maybe permanently.
I think that maybe the root of the problem. It is a beautiful place and once it was ‘improved’ and made more liveable with hard work and fresh water from out of state.
The ones who don’t like to work hard saw how nice it was and came in and the freeloaders followed them like the rats they are.
But today? I see an interesting thing happening the environment literally is changing its shape to match the people who live there. Those who prefer cleanliness and order and work hard to get it are obvious by their surroundings. Those who prefer to be lazy and have ‘things’ handed to them tend to have an environment that matches those characteristics form around them.
I see it everywhere I go. Nice clean houses and yards and next door to them is a junkyard of a place. And California has become a poster child for that.
away from DC and the cities Va. is conservative with conservatives becoming more important in government.
Strom Thurmond country. Lived there in the 60’s. Wonderful memories - gentle, friendly people.
You’re right; NY state is a bellwether at least for the northeast. They’ve failed to stem the flow of jobs and Americans out of the area (NJ has the same problem), and their only hope from the politicians’ point of view is to let in any immigrant that can swim there.
The decline in services is visible in the same manner as the writer describes in California; here in NJ we can’t fix our roads because of the retirment costs of the men who fixed them before who retired 20 years ago.
After almost 35 years, I left California in 2003. Already, it was not the place it used to be. There are still many unbelievably beautiful places, but what you have to go through to get to them is obscene. Between the illegals and the liberal fruits and nuts, the state that used to be the standard for all other states to follow is quickly becoming a third-world slum.
I will always miss the year-round perfect weather, the beautiful beaches and sunsets, spring in the desert, Yosemite, Big Sur, and so much more; BUT, other than visiting relatives, I have no desire to even visit that cesspool ever again! (And I used to thank God that I was fortunate enough to live in one of the best places on earth!)
Aiken is nice country. I am about 45 mins away myself.
Just think, with its climate and scenery and resources Mexico could become one giant California, a beautiful place
Instead, many of us see California becoming one giant Mexico, not a place we care to visit much less live
The times I have been there CA seems to be a very beautiful place, perfect weather and amazing natural beauty. For a time I had harbored a dream of someday living there. That dream is no more. The politics of the place have ruined it. Now I would be very happy to have a condo on the beach on Topsail Island or maybe North Myrtle.
“You ain’t lived till you’ve tried Peeler’s milk.”
They’ll like all of South Carolina from the Piedmont through the Midlands to the Lowcountry coast. Just remember that here our beaches are known for their sunrises.
BTW, this is a very gun-friendly state.
As for the weather, we say if you don’t like it, stick around for a day and it’ll change.
The politicians have wrecked California.
I wish the people would wake up and throw out the bums.
“The decline in services ...”
yes - the union pensions are one of the real causes behind the bankrupting of our state, along with the entitlements. The democratic Tamany Hall machine lives!! Cuomo is one of the boys - Let no one be fooled by his rhetoric!
The whole country is headed this way, and this may be our last chance to vote in politicians who will stop the game. I am skeptical of the average intelligence of the American voter though,(average American IQ is only hovering above 100 - easily swayed by TV) and am pessismistic about the big picture.
Its HUMIDITY, however, is going to take some "gettin' use to" from what you have been use to in Northern Cal.
Thanx, Chuck...brought back memories.
My folks moved the fam out to SF Bay Area in ‘63, bought in soon-to-be Silicon Valley. Just in time for the Nam War riots and property values sky rocketing, hispanic take over of state and destruction of schools by libs...
Got the hell out as soon as I could...
Kind of interesting, I go out to CA each year and visit. I make stops in Santa Cruz, Silicon Valley and Davis by Sacramento. Politics aside, I like all of the places. Back when I was in college in Southern Indiana in the 1980’s, I thought of moving there after graduation.
However, like Davis, it has its idealism but the place is so expensive, the liberal minded are isolated from the consequences of their idealism. Santa Cruz has a little connection to the results of their liberalism. At night, it is not safe to go to the boardwalk. There is a UC campus there and it is a very beautiful campus. I go hang out at the campus for a day and know several people who work there.
About Silicon Valley, I stayed with a friend for several days in Menlo Park and we went to Mountain View and the main street there is mostly Asian business. I also visited Apple HQ and stopped by Google as well. Next time I am back, I going to see about a Google tour. We also went to an Anime Con in San Jose and the Caltrain was very nice to use.
Now on politics in California and ideas to fix it. Here are my ideas.
1. Sunset all CA laws and require a review of them. To retain the laws it would require a 75% vote. This would also include regulations.
2. California legislature would immediately be allowed to meet only one month each year and within two years, meet every other year. No more full time, professional legislature. Also new laws passed must have a sunset clause of 4 years and have to be approved every 4 years afterward. Each law has to be individually considered and no “omnibus” bill to rubber stamp all of them at once.
3. Illegal’s would be given 24 hours to leave the state and the jobs they did would be given to US citizens first.
Additionally, promote the idea of libertarianism and common law. You are free to do whatever so long as you don’t affect anyone else. With that, require moral education of children as a form of “self policing” and to sustain freedom.
Most of VA is pretty conservative except Northern VA where tons of illegals and govt bloodsuckers, er, workers live.
Hopefully the state will continue to vote in conservatives, not making the HUGE mistake in ‘08 of voting in O’bummer...
The New England and other east cost liberals, who flooded California since WWII, and who elect the politicians, have wrecked California.
The idiot commie whack-job politicians wouldn't have their jobs if the liberal east coast immigrants didn't vote for them. Now we have huge numbers of home-grown liberal idiots voting for them, but their are still huge numbers of imported liberals.
I lived in San Francisco from 1995 to 2008 and most of the engineers I worked with came from out of state or abroad. I worked with people from Boston, D.C., New York, Chicago, Michigan, Vietnam, the Phillipines, Somalia. Etc. & Etc. All solid liberal voters and not a one of them a native Californian.
The flooding of CA with liberals from out of state continues unabated, and don't even get me started with the flooding of CA with illegal immigrants from south of the border and Asia.
Seriously, it is the imported east coast & New England liberals that have caused the downfall of California. This ain't Ronald Reagan's conservative state any longer.
I am a native Californian, in fact native San Franciscan.
California is irreversibly ruined pending an economic collapse that causes the liberals of the middle class to reject their utopian beliefs for their children’s own economic survival.
Other than that, I am literally counting the days to retirement but I am still a long way off from it. I can’t wait to move to Virginia and add my conservative vote to the people their trying to staunch the NoVa cancer.
I think we can save Virginia. California is doomed.
Have friends who are NE liberals. They spend six months a year, on average, living in Culpeper, VA the rest of the time in northern New England. The Culpeper area is conservative for the most part ... at least that's their impression. They kid me about visiting them in Culpeper said I would fit right in ...
My family has been in California for five generations. This post is nonsense. By far most of the water comes from in-State, particularly from the Sierra Nevada and the northern watersheds. The little from the Colorado is scheduled to be returned in the not too distant future.
Try facts for a premise.
The ones who dont like to work hard saw how nice it was and came in and the freeloaders followed them like the rats they are.
The Marxists were planted in our universities by Roosevelt socialists, from New York. The under-classes were imported for the WWII construction effort. The hordes who came after the War were looking for profitable real estate. The left worked their asses off setting up their dystopia. Many, believing the glowy spin about how Roosevelt saved the country from the Depression had been seriously duped, taking the Marxist ruse of collective charity to heart. They believed their blessings were so great that it was just fine to build institutions to "share the wealth." The takers came later to feed off that excess.
Those who prefer cleanliness and order and work hard to get it are obvious by their surroundings. Those who prefer to be lazy and have things handed to them tend to have an environment that matches those characteristics form around them.
That is true regardless of where you go, with a proviso: If hard work consists of foraging in dumps for food, there are plenty of people whose surroundings, though squalid, are hardly a result of their moral choices. As to those down on their fortunes, the condition of their homes reflects as much on the unwillingness of their neighbors to lend a hand as it does the choices of the owner.
If your neighbor has cancer, would you mow their lawn? If he's unemployed, would you pay him instead of a gardener to mow yours so that he could borrow the mower to do his?
I see it everywhere I go.
I see the lack of love of one's neighbor everywhere too.
Try looking in the outskirts of Sao Palo or Mexico City. The poor really do spend a lot of energy just subsisting (I once did).
“The New England and other east cost liberals, who flooded California since WWII, and who elect the politicians, have wrecked California.”
This is the most accurate post of this thread! I was born in San Francisco 71 years ago. I grew up in the East Bay where I live to this day. It is an absolute truism that East Coast Liberals “migrated here” and have done their dirty work. Politically, California is on the edge of collapse. The sooner it happens the better. I am just appalled at the posters who trash this state on FR. What’s happened here will ultimately spread to every nook and cranny of this country unless it’s stopped. I read every day on FR about home invasions where the homeowner has to use deadly force to repel the invader. That’s not happening where I live. So all of you whose solution to the “California Problem” is to move elsewhere can shove it. Today it’s sunny and in the mid 60’s and when I go out side I don’t see the outhouse that some of you have when you leave your double wide!
I lived in Calif 18 years, 17 years in Texas and NC for the past 11 years. I can tell you that the farther East I went, the less personal freedom I seemed to have. The eastern states are much too densely populated and public land is almost non-existent.
Thanks, that was a very decent reply and I appreciate it. I also appreciate your point of view too. Since you are on the ground there and I am not. In fact the last time I was physically in California was in the 1970’s.
Most of my information comes from other sources obviously rather than living in the midst of it all.
Keep up the good work.
I have a brother living in Seneca, each time we visit, from TX, we feel a pange of envy for all the hills and streams. Vary pretty state.
I have a son in that area.... your post gives me a pang of missing him. He told me that God so loved South Carolina he gave them ‘orange’ dirt.
“yes - the union pensions are one of the real causes behind the bankrupting of our state, along with the entitlements.”
A friend suggested having all of the gubmint workers’ benefits be paid by bond issues from the civil entity hiring them; if Detroit can’t meet its debt obligations, there is no reason for everyone else to have to fork over the money for benefits completely out of sync with services rendered, or available to any of us poor slobs that get the bill.
good to think about family and feel good about it.
I moved to spotsylvania but if i knew they where
aking smoking in restaurants 2 years after i moved i would have moved out of state mostly SC
Aiken is beautiful. South Carolina’s horse country and just across the river from Augusta, Ga which is a surprisingly cool little city.
Don’t even worry about the proximity of the Savannah River Nuclear Weapons plant just 35 minutes away- if anything goes wrong there, it will be a flash and then you won’t even feel it.
Here is one example (of many) that makes CA living unbearable:
Say you go to buy the new Iphone for $499.
However, find that you get the phone for $99, if you sign a one year contract for cellular and data services.
California still charges you sales tax on the $499.
Those type of tactics are exactly what pisses people off and make them want to leave. Who can blame them?