Michael Snyder, Contributor
Unemployment is rampant, home prices have fallen like a rock, violent crime and gang activity are on the rise, local governments all over California are facing horrible financial problems, millions of illegal immigrants have poured into the state, traffic around the big cities is nightmarish and tax rates are absolutely outrageous.
Plus there is the constant threat that your home could be destroyed by an earthquake, a wildfire or a mudslide. In recent years, hordes of hard working families have decided that they have had enough and have decided to move away from California. In fact, since the year 2000 more than 1.6 million people have moved away from the state of California.
But in general, most cities in California are rapidly becoming giant hellholes.
Without a doubt, the “California Dream” has now become a “California Nightmare” for most residents of the state.
Do you live in California? If so, perhaps now is the time to move. The following are 16 really good reasons to move away from California….
#1 California Is Run By Elitist Control Freaks That Have No Common Sense At All
Politicians in California seem to love to impose absolutely ridiculous rules and regulations on the taxpayers. For example, many local governments in the state are now seeking to require that most new housing be built with at least 20 units on a single acre. This gives the phrase “being close with your neighbors” a whole new meaning. The following is from a recent Wall Street Journal article….
Metropolitan area governments are adopting plans that would require most new housing to be built at 20 or more to the acre, which is at least five times the traditional quarter acre per house. State and regional planners also seek to radically restructure urban areas, forcing much of the new hyperdensity development into narrowly confined corridors.
There are many more examples of this “control freak” mentality. As I wrote about recently, one California town is actually considering making it illegal to smoke in your own backyard.
In some California cities you even need to get permission from the government to gather with your friends. For example, in San Juan Capistrano it is actually illegal to hold a home Bible study without a “conditional use permit“.
#2 California Is A Horrible Place To Do Business
For seven years in a row, CEOs ranked California as the worst place in the United States to do business. Thousands of good companies have left the state in recent years, and yet California lawmakers continue to pile on more rules, regulations and taxes.
#3 The California Economy Is A Gigantic Mess
The unemployment rate in California is still well above 10 percent. In fact, the number of people unemployed in the state of California is approximately equivalent to the populations of Nevada, New Hampshire and Vermont combined. In 2010, only about 37 percent of the entire population of the state of California had a job.
#4 Municipalities All Over California Are Going Broke And Will Soon Need To Raise Taxes Substantially Just To Survive
Did you know that Stockton, California is so broke that it recently started skipping debt payments? The following is from a recent Reuters article….
Badly hit by the burst of the property boom, California’s Stockton, with 292,000 people and east of San Francisco, has endorsed defaults on $2 million of debt payments and may file for municipal bankruptcy if it cannot reach deals with creditors. The California ski resort, Mammoth Lakes, is also bargaining with creditors in a bid to avoid bankruptcy.
But as bad as Stockton is doing, the truth is that Orange County may be in even worse shape. The following is from a recent article by Chriss Street….
Like the Titanic a hundred years ago that ignored warnings and ran full-speed into a massive iceberg, Orange County is taking enormous financial risks rather than addressing its gaping cash-flow deficit. The county quietly entered into $518 million of illiquid and unsecured interest rate wagers, mostly financed from payroll and savings accounts of local schools and other government agencies. With spending rising, revenue falling, and liquidity drying up, the danger of hitting another iceberg is becoming extreme.
Despite falling property and sales taxes, Orange County inexplicably increased spending by $145.8 million for this fiscal year, which ends on June 30, 2012. In an exceptionally selfish move to bail-out the county’s gaping budget shortfall, the Orange County Treasurer in November skimmed off $73.5 of property taxes that belonged to local schools and community colleges.
At this point, the Orange County Employees Retirement System is estimated to have a 10 billion dollar unfunded pension liability.
How does a single county dig a 10 billion dollar hole?
#5 Desperate Municipalities Are Severely Slashing Government Services All Over The State
When you have no more money, you have to start cutting somewhere. In many cities in California, government services are being curtailed dramatically. Just check out what is going on in Costa Mesa….
Costa Mesa, a city of 110,000 south of Los Angeles, has slashed its payroll from 611 to 450. It is selling its police helicopters and has hired a neighboring city for air patrols. It’s also pursuing a controversial effort to convert to a charter city from a general law city, which would give City Hall more power to outsource more work, said councilman Jim Righeimer.
In Oakland things got so bad that the police chief announced at one point that his department would no longer respond to certain crimes. The list of crimes included grand theft, burglary, car wrecks, identity theft and vandalism. Today, Oakland is considered the 5th most violent city in the United States.
In Stockton the budget cuts got so bad that the police union put up a billboard at one point with the
following message: “Welcome to the 2nd most dangerous city in California. Stop laying off cops.”
#6 The State Government In Sacramento Is Flat Broke
Earlier this year, newspapers all over the state ran headlines declaring that California is running out of money again. Tax revenues are way down as many expenses continue to rise. California state government revenues for February 2012 were down by about 22 percent compared to February 2011.
Will California soon be paying their bills with IOUs again?
California taxpayers should realize that it is only a matter of time before lawmakers try to hit them with more tax increases of one form or another.
#7 California Has Some Of The Highest Tax Rates In The Nation
The last thing many California taxpayers want to hear is that taxes might be raised again. Californians already get absolutely hammered by taxes. California has one of the highest state income tax rates in the nation, one of the highest sales tax rates in the nation and the highest gasoline tax rate in the nation.
Unfortunately, it is only a matter of time before the politicians come around for even more.
#8 Poverty Is Absolutely Exploding In California
Once upon a time, California was viewed as a land of great opportunity. Now it is a land of crushing poverty in many areas. Sadly, the number of children living in poverty in the state of California has increased by a staggering 30 percent since 2007. In addition, 60 percent of all students attending California public schools now qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches.
#9 Epidemic Of Crime And Gang Violence
Many families are deciding to move away from California because there are fewer and fewer areas that are still safe. For example, the following story from Rancho Cordova, California that one of my readers sent me was featured in one of my previous articles….
When I first moved here, it was not a bad place, it was quiet and clean.
However, over the past three years this place has gone to the dumps there are thugs and unruly people everywhere.
I have prevented two car break-ins by scaring these thugs away.
While I was home on thanksgiving weekend, someone decided to break into my apartment.
They trashed my place stole all my items and even took my law enforcement (LE) vehicle to include my equipment.
I’m sure they had been watching me for a while because they did not take items that contained my identification.
Thank god, I had my weapon with me.
Fortunately the gentleman in that story was not there when his home was broken into. Thieves are becoming bolder and bolder and many home invasions happen whether there are occupants in the home or not.
The following home invasion story from Sacramento, California was sent to me by one of my readers a while back….
Somebody got into my sister’s house last night while she was out. My mom was upstairs, but didn’t hear anything. Whoever it was, they ate some chips and sorted through a stack of maternity clothes my sister had ready for selling on ebay. He left a dirty pair of boxer shorts and a bottom dentures on the dining room table. Fortunately, he was gone when she got home. I’m amazed, but the police actually came out and collected fingerprints and his boxers and false teeth. Probably a homeless guy. He may have switched his dirty boxers for a clean pair of maternity jeans, so the police just have to look for a guy wearing women’s maternity pants with no lower teeth.
Who does that kind of thing?
Unfortunately, when people get desperate they tend to throw out the normal rules that most of us live by.
Every state has crime, but things are getting particularly bad in California. A reader that works in law enforcement down in the Los Angeles area left the following comment on a recent article….
I work in law enforcement in LA (I fortunately don’t live there). LA is a third world country, trash everywhere, graffiti, gangs (mostly Hispanic). I’m sick of illegals primarily Mexicans (I’m American of Mexican descent). These liberal politicians will not stop aid to illegals which costs this state 21 billion dollars a year, which is about the same as our current deficit. I earn a pretty decent income and my wife has a meager salary, but it seems to get more and more difficult to earn a living in this state. If I can make it to retirement, I’m probably going to leave this state.
Another reader identified as Rob left the following comment….
I have lived here off and on for 42 years. Hellhole is not strong enough a word for it. One cannot go anywhere without seeing Graffitti from these gangs. Illegal Aliens are literally on every corner and every home depot. LA County alone spent 600 million in aid to illegal aliens not including education being factored in and the state spent 110 billion last year on just programs, welfare, aid to illegal entitlement programs, no ******** wonder why we are broke, the liberal agenda out here is astonishing, these liberals literally couldn’t see the forest through the trees. I am so sick of seeing Nortenos, Surenos, LaFamilia, and other hispanic gangs crowding our prisons, illegals underage having their anchor babies, illegals crowding the ER’s, crowding the schools. No wonder why the teachers are pissed off. I agree, this state sucks, and we will be moving very soon.
#10 As Poverty And Crime Grow Many California Cities Are Being Transformed Into Hellholes
Nature abhors a vacuum. As successful businesses and hard working families move away from California, other elements are moving in to replace them. Many formerly great California cities are now just a shell of their former selves. The following is an excerpt from a New York Times article that describes what is going on in Vallejo, California….
Vallejo is still in bankruptcy. The police force has shrunk from 153 officers to 92. Calls for any but the most serious crimes go unanswered. Residents who complain about prostitutes or vandals are told to fill out a form. Three of the city’s firehouses were closed. Last summer, a fire ravaged a house in one of the city’s better neighborhoods; one of the firetrucks came from another town, 15 miles away. Is this America’s future?
There are some parts of large California cities that are an absolute nightmare. For example, there is an area of San Francisco that is known as “Hunter’s Point” that is so run down that it is hard to believe that people actually live there. The following is what one reporter discovered on a visit to Hunter’s Point….
Abernathy and I cut through the complex, tromping over an expanse of dirt and concrete toward the northeast end of the development, where a row of apartments looked down from a grassy hill. We paused next to a vacant, boarded-over unit to take in the scene: A stream of ****, piss, tampons, and toilet paper spewed from a dark hole in the sidewalk, poured down the hill, and formed a sort of **** lagoon next to the street. Weeds, about six inches tall, were growing in the little lagoon.
Raw ****, obviously, is not cool. Beyond the fact that it smells and looks nasty, fecal matter provides a haven for dangerous bacteria, most notably E. coli, a virulent pathogen that can sicken and even kill humans, especially infants.
But it is not just the big cities that are being transformed into hellholes.
The following is how Victor Davis Hansen described what he experienced during his tour of the “forgotten areas of central California”….
Many of the rural trailer-house compounds I saw appear to the naked eye no different from what I have seen in the Third World . There is a Caribbean look to the junked cars, electric wires crisscrossing between various outbuildings, plastic tarps substituting for replacement shingles, lean-tos cobbled together as auxiliary housing, pit bulls unleashed, and geese, goats, and chickens roaming around the yards. The public hears about all sorts of tough California regulations that stymie business – rigid zoning laws, strict building codes, constant inspections – but apparently none of that applies out here.
#11 California Has Some Of The Worst Schools In The Nation
Many families are moving away from California because the public schools are absolutely nightmarish. The truth is that California has some of the worst schools in the entire nation. In the late 70s, California was number one in per-pupil spending on education, but now the state has fallen to 48th place.
#12 Political Correctness Runs Rampant In California
In California, control freaks love to run for public office, and once they get power they love to shove their personal agendas down the throats of everyone else. According to CNSNews.com, one new California law actually makes it mandatory for all public school children to receive instruction on the “role and contributions” that “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans” have played in the “development of California and the United States of America.”
#13 California Does Not Respect The Rights Of Parents
Over and over, the state of California has shown that it could not care less about the rights of parents. For example, according to Natural News a bill was recently passed in the state of California that allows health officials to vaccinate children as young as 12 for sexually-transmitted diseases without ever having to get the approval of the parents….
California’s Assembly Bill 499 has already quietly passed both the California House and Senate, and today sits on the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown where it awaits his signature. The bill, which is only a single page in length, contains specific language that will allow children as young as 12 to opt for sexually-transmitted disease (STD) vaccines like HPV (Gardasil, Cervarix), Hepatitis B, and any future vaccines developed to treat STDs, without having to attain parental consent.
#14 California Has One Of The Worst Health Care Systems In America
All over California, hospitals are shutting down. A big reason for this is because of the massive numbers of poor people and illegal aliens that are taking advantage of “free” medical care at hospital emergency rooms. A number of good hospitals have been forced to shut down in recent years and now the state of California ranks dead last out of all 50 states in the number of emergency rooms per million people.
#15 California – The Land Of The Lawsuits
If you live in the state of California, there is a really good chance that you will be slapped with a lawsuit at some point. According to the Institute for Legal Reform, the “lawsuit climate” in California is ranked number 46 out of all 50 states.
#16 The “Big One” Could Hit California At Any Time
The state of California lies directly along the infamous “Ring of Fire“. Approximately 90 percent of all the earthquakes in the world happen along the Ring of Fire and the “Big One” could hit the state at any moment.
So what do you think?
What advice would you give to someone considering whether or not to move away from California?
Feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below….
This article first appeared here at the American Dream. Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.