Our View: California is our home, for now
You can’t blame folks from outside the state for choking when they first see the $4 price on a gallon of California gas.
There are plenty of Californians who grow faint every time they saunter up to the gas pump and watch the cost click into the $30s, then $40s and even the $50s. If they’re lucky, it stops there.
Many people shrug it off. It’s the cost of living in California, they say. The weather’s perfect, we’re two hours to the ocean and even closer to the mountains. You put up with it.
That is, you put up with it until you can take no more and then you leave the state forever.
Everyone’s got a story about a friend who’s left. Some have gone to Idaho, tired of this state’s leftward tilt. Others to the state of Nevada to escape the ever growing property and income tax. Or maybe they’ve fled to Florida, Texas, Colorado. Even Alabama is drawing people from our state.
The thing is, for all the reasons to leave, California’s population is growing.
This state had an estimated 39,557,045 people in it on July 1, 6.2% growth since April 2010. We are diverse. We are highly educated. We have Silicon Valley and Hollywood. And we have an economy many countries — sovereign states — envy.
There is a lot to love about California, even more so in Nevada County. You would be hard pressed to find a more charitable and accepting community, or a county with natural resources and vistas to rival ours.
Those are good reasons to explain the state’s population growth, even with the anecdotal exodus everyone’s heard about.
Despite all the positive, the anecdotes about people fleeing are true. Sure, the state is growing but so are other states. Texas had an estimated 28,701,845 residents on July 1, 14.1% growth over April 2010. Florida had an estimated population of 21,299,325, 13.3% growth over the same time.
That makes California’s 6.2% weak in comparison.
We walk a tightrope. There’s a litany of negatives Californians suffer daily. But the positives are all around us. Some people will leave this state. They have good reasons and it’s their choice. People should do what’s right for them, and that will mean relocating for many.
For others, it means staying at the place they call “home,” fixing what they can and learning to settle with what can’t be changed.
Bay Area millionaires might not have issues with a $4 gallon of gas, but the rest of us do. Plenty of us have problems making the monthly mortgage payment, and struggle to meet financial demands. We want to live here, because we love it.
We, the middle class, need help and tax reform would be a good start.
We need local government to protect itself and the businesses located here. It should encourage home building by streamlining the permitting system and walking developers through the process.
We the people should push back when government oversteps. Assembly Bill 5, which could strangle the gig economy, has tendrils that extend to plenty of other industries as well, including the one that delivers the newspaper to your door each morning.
These aren’t necessarily red or blue issues that Republicans and Democrats must line up behind like good soldiers. They’re issues that affect our homes and our lives, and potentially impact where we choose to live.
For now, that place is right here.
The weekly Our View editorial represents the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.
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