Signed, Hopeless in California
Dear Governor Brown;
You may not remember me, as you speak with thousands. After your first stint as Governor and then Presidential Candidate you were Mayor of Oakland. I happened upon you being interviewed by a local news station at a Jack London Square coffee bar near my hotel. As I sat on a bar stool sipping my coffee you completed your interview and came up to order right next to me. I introduced myself, respectfully suggested that while we were on opposite sides of the political debate I wanted to thank you for your service and offered to buy your coffee. You were a gentleman and seemed genuine as you asked what issues I was concerned about. Never someone without an opinion, I shared my views. We talked about national security, the economy, education, etc. and while we nearly agreed on our desired outcomes, we disagreed with the policies that would achieve such ends. 45 minutes later we were surrounded by a crowd and the original camera crew listening and taping us argue points and counterpoints in good faith.
I told you a story of my childhood which partly formed my political beliefs. That you were my first Governor when in 1977 my family moved from dreary, union controlled, pre-Thatcher Great Britain to sunny Southern California. It was the promised land of my Father’s childhood dreams whilst suffering through his WW2 poverty-stricken youth. California was known worldwide for it’s great schools, unlimited business opportunities, and endless fruits and vegetables under constantly great weather. From the mountains to the sea it was a modern Garden of Eden. I was immediately enrolled in our local public school where I learned about baseball and American football, and quickly felt right at home in the significantly less uptight beach culture compared to the regimented school ties of England.
Within 6 months of attending my wonderful new American school, which was only a short 3/4 mile bike ride from home, my wide-eyed classmates and I were herded onto big yellow, foul black smoke polluting buses and driven an hour to parts unknown where we were told we would attend school the following year. We had no business being in this part of the city, and while on ‘tour’ a local girl donning a tight ‘Good Times’ t-shirt over her seemingly 8′.4 tall lanky body decided she was going to make fun of the kid with the British accent. Not responding to her jibes, she started physically pushing me. I was raised by a gentleman and to this day have never hit a girl, but that morning I came close. Unfortunately, by me assuming a fighting position with fists clenched while resisting the instinct to defend myself, her friends took notice and came to ‘her aid’. Before I knew it I was surrounded by the worst inner-city stereotypes one can imagine. I took a sucker punch to my ear from someone I never saw and my legs instantly said ‘we’re done’. As I fell the crowd was hastily broken up by frightened teachers. Later that week I found myself enrolled in Tae Kwon Do while my parents started looking at the dozen new private schools that sprung up in response to the outrage over the devastatingly stupid policy known as busing. (Thanks capitalism!)
Just two years after the Golden State had Ronald Reagan as its Governor, the seeds were being sown for it’s demise. Forty years later every constitutional office holder in California is a progressive liberal. This includes your office, your lieutenant governor, your treasurer, attorney general, Assembly and Senate leaders. EVERY. SINGLE. OFFICE. And with the ‘top-two’ primary system, the only choices voters have for national office representation are Democrats who are practically a carbon copy of each other with Leftist policies that please both Alinskyites and the ill-informed across the voter rich Bay Area and Los Angeles County.
The exodus of business owners and conservative voters from California to more friendly climes have only exacerbated the lopsided politics of the state. With barely enough Republican state office holders to keep the barbarians from increasing taxes without voter approval, 2016 may find the forever tax hungry democrats finally end up with a super majority which will allow massive tax increases without so much a vote from it’s citizens.
Not that the insignificant number of conservatives in state office have had much success stopping your agenda anyways. From your draconian new environmental regulations to private employees being taxed 3 percent to fund their own retirement (this in addition to social security), to the first in the nation statewide $15 minimum wage, the pendulum has continued swinging toward the far left.
Advocates for California’s liberal policies proudly point to the recent years surplus in the state budget, which is of course due to the fiscal responsibility and brilliance of Democrats, the smartest folks in the state. In reality it should be noted the surplus is a result of two things: Soaking the business owners and the rich (mutually exclusive of each other) with ever increasing taxes, and that, oh yes.. ahem, there IS NO SURPLUS. It’s a fraud.
According to veteran political columnist, Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee, “California has unfunded liabilities of between $500 billion and $1 trillion. These liabilities come from retirement and health-care promises to state workers.” Taking a page from the federal budget fuzzy math, California no longer includes such pesky details. It’s the equivalent of me showing my Assets and Liabilities statement, without the liabilities part. Look, I own a $700,000 home! Wealthy! Don’t worry about that $5 million debt. Nothing to see there.
California’s destructive progressive policies have lead to over-taxation in every area of the economy. It’s sales taxes: Highest in America. It’s gasoline taxes: Highest in America. Add this to the auto registration “fees” (tax), property taxes (which will increase with a Democrat supermajority able to reverse the Prop 13 measure), business taxes, environmental ‘fees’ (tax), county taxes, city taxes, mental health taxes, inheritance taxes, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc. Because members of the State Legislature work so hard voting for tax increases, they in turn have rewarded their efforts by voting themselves the highest paid legislator salaries in the nation.
Is it any wonder that over 9,000 business have recently left California?
The politics of California do not bode well for free markets, smaller government and fiscal responsibility. It’s likely Hillary Clinton will win the state by 15 points or higher. Another liberal Democrat will take Barbara Boxer’s seat and you may have the supermajority Democrats have been dreaming of. Governor, to stop the hemorrhaging of business and tax revenue, good, intelligent people believe that history proves centralized governments only enriches itself and it’s special interests while saddling its citizens with additional costs to both their income and liberty. Allow people to keep more of their hard earned money, in an already too expensive state.
Toward the end of that discussion in Oakland, before we shook hands and each going our own way, I suggested that California maybe the greatest piece of real estate in the world. That everything G-d has touched was the ideal, from its topography to it’s climate. It truly is a wonderful place. You agreed. I then said ‘however, in the last few decades, everything man has touched was going from bad to worse’. You thought about it for a second, smiled and said “that’s probably more true than I would like to admit”.