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.
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