Why Do Many Californians Stay Here?

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Why do some Californians flee the state while others stay put? Most of the folks departing for greener pastures do so due to escalating crime and homelessness in sanctuary cities, as well as a steep cost of living. Add to that mix declining public education standards, energy dependence, wasteful spending like the High-Speed Rail fiasco, eroding infrastructure, persistent inflation, a frustrating regulatory and tax code, growing unemployment, and a Marxist vision of the future.

California has already lost one Congressional House seat and could lose another in the near future if the exodus from the state continues. It isn’t merely the middle class and poor who are pulling up stakes, but a number of wealthy folks who take their businesses and talents with them.

That translates into a downturn in the tax base to fund programs at the local and state levels. It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out that this will be reflected in the state budget deficit. For the most part, the multiple problems confronting the state could have been prevented.

With many of these depressing developments unfolding with a Democratic stranglehold in Sacramento, why do the vast majority of Californians put up with it and remain in place? There are a number of reasons why people stay here rather than give up. First, most folks can’t afford to move to another state if they lack an employment offer. They would have to leave their friends, schools, jobs, and routines for an uncertain future even if the cost of living likely would be far lower than in California.

Next, although California’s golden sheen has been tarnished, there still are plenty of opportunities for the innovation of ideas, products, services, and technology. Creative folks can always find a better widget to pitch in the ever-evolving marketplace. Investors are on the lookout for better or new services to meet the needs of a highly diverse state. Healthy competition can grow the economy despite the challenges of business startups.

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A view of the coast in Laguna Beach, Calif., on Oct. 15, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
A view of the coast in Laguna Beach, Calif., on Oct. 15, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Third, stay-putters enjoy the moderate climate and the fact that there isn’t much of a frigid winter to contend with in many areas of California. Certainly, the state endures droughts, earthquakes, and fires, and plenty of snow in the mountains, but overall the weather can spoil residents, making them accustomed to sunny skies and fairly comfortable temperatures.

Fourth, the beauty and diversity of the topography still exists throughout the state. There are desert areas, but also vast regions of scenic beaches, forests, lakes, and mountains. Joshua Tree, Lassen Volcanic, Muir Woods, Redwood, Sequoia, and Yosemite National Parks are incredible wonders of nature, as are many other federal lands and state parks. Most have breathtaking scenery and wildlife to enjoy and observe.

Fifth, despite some of the failings of California’s institutes of “higher” learning, there still are many good colleges and universities that challenge students to develop character and succeed in academics and future careers. They offer solid extracurricular artistic and athletic activities, and in some institutions, there is a growing movement to fight back against woke ideologies. However, much more needs to be done to restore free speech to these academic environments.

Sixth, California offers an almost limitless menu of entertainment choices for those who have an interest in art, ballet, drama, museums, photography, symphonies, and theater. Every genre of film, literature, and music are available for cultural consumers to choose from. California is an incubator for creativity in all of the arts and methods to market new artistic ventures.

Seventh, the opportunities to participate in an array of sports at all age levels is legendary in this state. Newer trends such as flag football, lacrosse, and pickleball have picked up steam in this state and have spread to other states. Overall attendance figures at high school, college, and professional sports events are healthy, while national competitive events are often held in California venues. In a little over four years, Los Angeles will host the Summer Olympics (2028) for the third time.

A view of the coliseum stadium during the opening ceremony of the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles on July 28, 1984. (Steve Powell/Getty Images)
A view of the coliseum stadium during the opening ceremony of the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles on July 28, 1984. (Steve Powell/Getty Images)

Eighth, despite all of the stubborn problems facing California, there is some hope. An important reason for common sense folks to remain in California is to play a role in turning the state around. Instead of running away to redder states and an echo chamber, some make the decision to stay and challenge the status quo at home. We might want to witness a restoration of a greater political balance locally and in Sacramento.

Moreover, we can work to bring problem-solving back to government by voting in every election and staying informed. Although other states might better align with one’s traditional principles, it might be worth the effort to gradually restore positive change to our key institutions in unique ways. We can strive to elect candidates who embrace fiscal accountability, free markets, greater energy autonomy, law and order, and equal justice. Hopefully, the fight will be worth it in the longterm to resurrect the once Golden State.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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