Advertisement

Archive for Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Californians looking for the exit

Cindy Reilly, center, sets the dinner table for her children Isabella, 7, left, and Sierra, 4, and her husband, Mike, last week in the kitchen of their home in Nipomo, Calif. The family has decided to escape California’s high cost of living by moving to Colorado in February.

Cindy Reilly, center, sets the dinner table for her children Isabella, 7, left, and Sierra, 4, and her husband, Mike, last week in the kitchen of their home in Nipomo, Calif. The family has decided to escape California’s high cost of living by moving to Colorado in February.

January 13, 2009

Advertisement

— Mike Reilly spent his lifetime chasing the California dream. This year he’s going to look for it in Colorado.

With a house purchase near Denver in the works, the 38-year-old engineering contractor plans to move his family 1,200 miles away from his home state’s lemon groves, sunshine and beaches. For him, years of rising taxes, dead-end schools, unchecked illegal immigration and clogged traffic have robbed the Golden State of its allure.

Is there something left of the California dream?

“If you are a Hollywood actor,” Reilly says, “but not for us.”

Since the days of the Gold Rush, California has represented the Promised Land, an image celebrated in the songs of the Beach Boys and embodied by Silicon Valley’s instant millionaires and the young men and women who achieve stardom in Hollywood.

But for many California families last year, tomorrow started somewhere else.

More residents leaving

The number of people leaving California for another state outstripped the number moving in from another state during the year ending on July 1, 2008. California lost a net total of 144,000 people during that period — more than any other state, according to census estimates. That is about equal to the population of Syracuse, N.Y.

The state with the next-highest net loss through migration between states was New York, which lost just over 126,000 residents.

California’s loss is extremely small in a state of 38 million. And, in fact, the state’s population continues to increase overall because of births and immigration, legal and illegal. But it is the fourth consecutive year that more residents decamped from California for other states than arrived here from within the U.S.; a losing streak that long hasn’t happened in California since the recession of the early 1990s, when departures outstripped arrivals from other states by 362,000 in 1994 alone.

In part because of the boom in population in other Western states, California could lose a congressional seat for the first time in its history.

Why are so many looking for an exit?

Among other things: California’s unemployment rate hit 8.4 percent in November, the third-highest in the nation, and it is expected to get worse. A record 236,000 foreclosures are projected for 2008, more than the prior nine years combined, according to research firm MDA DataQuick. Personal income was about flat last year.

With state government facing a $41.6 billion budget hole over 18 months, residents are bracing for higher taxes, cuts in education and postponed tax rebates. A multibillion-dollar plan to remake downtown Los Angeles has stalled, and office vacancy rates there and in San Diego and San Jose surpass the 10.2 percent national average.

Median housing prices have nose-dived one-third from a 2006 peak, but many homes are still out of reach for middle-class families. Some small towns are on the brink of bankruptcy. Normally recession-proof Hollywood has been hit by layoffs.

“You see wages go down and the cost of living go up,” Reilly says. His property taxes will be $1,300 in Colorado, down from $4,300 on his three-bedroom house in Nipomo, about 80 miles up the coast from Santa Barbara.

News gets worse

California’s obituary has been written before — “California: The Endangered Dream” was the title of a 1991 Time magazine cover story. The Golden State and its huge economy — by itself, the eighth-largest in the world — have shown resilience, weathering the aerospace bust, the dot-com crash and an energy crunch in recent years.

But this time, the news just keeps getting worse.

A state board halted lending for about 2,000 public works projects in California worth more than $16 billion because the state could not afford them. A report by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., last month said the state lost 100,000 jobs in the last year and the erosion of home prices eliminated over $1 trillion in wealth.

“I don’t think the California dream, per se, is over. It has become and will continue to become grittier,” says New America Foundation senior fellow Gregory Rodriguez. “Now, perhaps, we have to reassess the California of our imagination.”

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is among those who say the state needs to create itself anew, rebuilding roads, schools and transit.

“We’ve lived off the investments our parents made in the ’50s and ’60s for a long time,” says Tim Hodson, director of the Center for California Studies at California State University, Sacramento. “We’re somewhat in the position of a Rust Belt state in the 1970s.”

Comments

Flap Doodle 5 years, 11 months ago

Californication has been an issue in Colorado for decades.

jaywalker 5 years, 11 months ago

Portland and now Seattle regularly place moratoriums on home building because of Cali-migration. My sis lives in San Diego and makes an awful lot of money as a multi-skilled nurse and there's NO way she could ever buy a house, at least not without a long commute. And the illegal immigrant problem has effected the system to the point that hospitals are going bankrupt. Bad situations all.

boltzmann 5 years, 11 months ago

This article reminds me of the famous Yogi Berra quote about a St. Louis restaurant – "Nobody ever goes there, it's too crowded."

woodenfleaeater 5 years, 11 months ago

I moved from KS to CO for seven years and then back to KS. I know firsthand that CO is overflowing w/ CA transplants, and the people of CO do not like it one bit.

Chris Ogle 5 years, 11 months ago

I would much rather be leaving CA going somewhere like KS, than leaving KS going to CA. At least home values in CA have been over-valued for decades.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 11 months ago

How can California possibly have any problems? Doesn't unrestrained growth make everything perfect?

staff04 5 years, 11 months ago

Yeah ese, it is the liberals' fault. Couldn't have anything to do with the fact that the state has been run, for 21 of the last 25 years, by Republican Governors could it? Or that the Federal government under Bush reduced enforcement of illegal imiigration? Couldn't have nuthin' to do with that!You are the problem ese.

Boeing 5 years, 11 months ago

"Anywhere Californians go, crime, taxes and prices go up, and up, and up!"Did a large shipment of Californians come to Lawrence??Zing...

staff04 5 years, 11 months ago

invictus, so is trying to blame it on liberals. There's a lot of blame to go around. If you can't see that that is what I was pointing out, then maybe you should start looking past your own nose.

jonas_opines 5 years, 11 months ago

Whoa! Some of you should hold off on drinking before noon, you're already losing coherency.

feeble 5 years, 11 months ago

Hating everything Californian, but loving Ronald Regan, does that seem right to you?

woodenfleaeater 5 years, 11 months ago

Do I have to like Californians in order to like the California Raisins?

Flap Doodle 5 years, 11 months ago

People leaving Colorado and moving to Kansas is a problem also.

sfjayhawk 5 years, 11 months ago

Whatever the problems, CA is still one of the most beautiful places on earth and home to much of the USA's capacity for innovation and economic growth. My guess is that the next CA gold rush will be what starts to turn the national/global economy around.

denak 5 years, 11 months ago

I lived in Southern California in the early 1990's. Even then there were these issues. The only difference is now these issues (inflated housing prices, bad schools etc) are effecting the middle class so now it becomes a problem that warrants discussion.California, especially Southern California, should have dealt with these issues long before now, if they had, there wouldn't be the exodus of the middle class that they have now.Dena

RedwoodCoast 5 years, 11 months ago

You guys need to get away from this stereotype as California being the 'land of fruits and nuts' or 'granola and tofu.' Try telling that to the hill folks of northern California. They'll probably try to run you over in their F-350. I lived in northern California for a while, and I honestly would move back there if a job opened up for me. I've never been to SoCal, and I have absolutely no desire to change that. Oh, and how would you folks feel if the remainder of the country thought of Kansas as a big Lawrence? I'll start spreading the rumor.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 11 months ago

The state muffin of California is the bran/raisin muffin.http://www.whatyoudidntwant2know.orgThe state shoelace of California is leather with metal ferrules.http://www.floatingorswimming.org

jaywalker 5 years, 11 months ago

Redwood,NoCal is nothing short of God's country, fully agree. I'd love to live up near the redwood's areas, never seen anything so beautiful or felt anything so spiritual in my life, and I've been all over the globe. (Okay, Bora Bora and Tuscany can give NoCal a run, but for the U.S. of A. it's the tops baby!)

kmat 5 years, 11 months ago

Keep on laughing at Californians. The whole time you're eating fruit and veggies grown there, TV and movies made there, paying to vacation at the beach or go to Disneyland.California is such a big state with a very diverse population, but morons like you guys have no clue because you have not lived there nor spent a lot of time there.Let's compare KS to Cali. In Cali, they believe in evolution. They have beaches, mountains, deserts, redwoods and awesome forests, skiing, surfing, mountain climbing, white water rafting. Great amusement parks. Fertile farm land that grows more than corn and wheat. People actually want to pay money to visit. Great weather in most of the state. If you want it, it's in Cali.KS - we believe the Bible is fact. We have a few hills and farm flat, boring farm land. Weather sucks a majority of the year. For fun, we can go to a dirty lake or tip cows. People pay to get out of KS.Thank Cali as you sit watching tv tonight, enjoying your dinner (which most likely is made up of items grown in that terrible state you ridicule). Those of us with roots in Cali at least know the truth. There's a reason people pay good money to live there and natives are glad that the rest of us can't afford it so we don't keep moving out there.

ooophelia 5 years, 11 months ago

I moved here from Southern California (don't hate me!)...and yet, everyone I meet is surprised I'm from there. You know, not all of us are rich, stuck-up, blonde, or tan. I grew up in a rural community, and I went to a religious school. I came here to escape everything that's wrong with CA--which I suppose a lot of people are just now figuring out. Now, if I could just get some In-N-Out, Kansas would be perfect. :)

Bossa_Nova 5 years, 11 months ago

let's annex southern california back to mexico and let them have the problem. that hole LA is mexico's second largest city anyways

labmonkey 5 years, 11 months ago

"Some say a comet will fall from the sky,followed by meteor showers and tidal waves.Followed by fault-lines that cannot sit still, followed by billions of dumbfounded dipsts,And some say the end is near, Some say we'll see Armegaddeon soon.Certainly hope we will, I sure could use a vacation from this:Stupid St, Stupid St. Stupid St."One great big feastering neon distraction, I've a suggestion to keep you all occupied:"Learn to Swim!!! Learn to Swim!!! Learn to Swim!!!"Bombs will fix it all soon, Bombs will hit the ground and put it way it out to be."Learn to Swim!!! Learn to Swim!!!Learn to Swim!!! Learn to Swim!!!Learn to Swim!!! Learn to Swim!!!Learn to Swim!!! Learn to Swim!!!"Fk L. Ron Hubbard and Fk all his clones,F**k all these gun toting hip gansta wannabes."Learn to Swim!!! Learn to Swim!!!Learn to Swim!!! Learn to Swim!!!Learn to Swim!!! Learn to Swim!!!Learn to Swim!!! Learn to Swim!!!"

Calliope877 5 years, 11 months ago

labmonkey,I LOVE that song! I wouldn't mind visiting California, but I don't know if I'd want to live there.

bearded_gnome 5 years, 11 months ago

LS04 quips that here's quite a panel of experts on California...LS04,take a look at my profile. I agree entirely with the comments you mean to put down. I grew up there, have family there, wife from there, her family there. daily access media from California. Arnold is not, never has been, a conservative. sadly, he's about the best we can hope for in election to the governor's office in California. Ariadne is, as usually, totally out to lunch and on a "rocky mountain high!" the problems are not merely concentrated in the southern california area. Salinas CA, a town not much bigger than Lawrence, had 4 homicides in three days up to yesterday, and today had an amber alert! this is central california, and many of the problems cited in the article were afflicting the Salinas/Monterey county area in the '70s!* how do I know, LS04 might ask...I was there then! my high school was majority hispanic, and most graduates had poor or nonexistent grasp of english. sanctuary cities: LA/SF is directly tied to deaths of Americans. oh LS04 will love this: the loonie uncivil leftists are even more insane in California, just look at what passes the CA legislature. and Mom's "Vote Yes on Prop 8" sign was stolen day before the November election. Jaywalker, ECE, madmike, you're right on boys.

bearded_gnome 5 years, 11 months ago

Ooophelia,welcome to lawrence, and oh yeah in-n-out! wife from so cal would kill for one them burgers. you've probably heard of prunedale. well, welcome to lawrence, dunno how recent you're transplanted. pm me if I can help in the process putting down roots here in lawrence. redwoodcoast has got it right: northern cal, AKA superior California, magnificent. beaches you cannot find the like anywhere in the world. and often not crowded. backpack the sierras, there's beauty. just those people in charge in Sacratomato are completely insane.
ariadne again doesn't know what the heck he's talking about. I was gleaning in Salinas Valley fields, probably before he had his first spoonful of tofu. yes, we know produce comes from there. ever heard of artichokes you environ-mental-architect ariadne/cool/coaltrain/spiderman/spammerman and a couple of other names because you keep violating the system's TOS. getting the produce doesn't mean I can't criticize California, that's incredibly vapid. and I note with humor, once again Maxy1 is posting his irrelevancies again. he can't write for himself so cut-and-paste plus link he hides behind. a very dim bulb. and to think I was just pointing out to him on the thread yesterday that california's gun control was really working so well: 4 homicides in three days in a dusty little backwater central california town. apparently, maxy1 also lacks the capacity to: learn; recognize his errors; benefit from his mistakes; or take in new information. very sad. please put him in that westbound Subaru too. but don't ask him to drive, he's obviously not up to that.

jaywalker 5 years, 11 months ago

I've got two unmarked pennies I'm throwin' into a jar to kick off the "Help Maxie Get a Life Fund". Anyone feelin' generous?

jonas_opines 5 years, 11 months ago

labmonkey: Great song, of course, but I'm almost positive that there's an error in there. I'm almost positive that it says this:"Mother's gonna fix it all soon. Momma's gonna drown it and put it back the way it ought to be."Mother, in this case, I imagine to be mother nature or mother earth, which makes more sense in the context of the song than man-made bombs.Tool songs are tough to transcribe, ne?

jonas_opines 5 years, 11 months ago

oh, wait, apparently that was difinitive, more or less, I looked it up on the Tool site without realizing it was the real Tool site, and that's what maynard had submitted.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 11 months ago

The official state spark plug of California is the Champion Silvertip Supreme.http://www2.squidarebad.comThe official state pencil of California is the Ticonderoga No. 2 (yellow).http://'www.cheeseandtaxidermy.org

Flap Doodle 5 years, 11 months ago

The official clown shoe of California is the Whoopie! Shoes "Flub-a-Dub Classic" model (brown with green polka dots).http://www.timeforpie.org

Flap Doodle 5 years, 11 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.