California: Wherefore art thou?

June 20, 2017
T. Keith Gurnee

T. Keith Gurnee


Californians, it’s time to take stock of ourselves. Who are we? Where do we stand? Where might we be heading tomorrow? Tough questions that need incisive answers.

As a native Californian, the state of my birth is a mystery to me. We find ourselves in an Alice-In-Wonderland world where “right” is wrong and “wrong” is right. It’s a crazy upside-down political environment that is painting an uncertain, if not foreboding, future.

Whatever that future might turn out to be, we will all be responsible for it.

Can we recapture the luster and promise that once was the Golden State? Or will we slide into oblivion as the late, great state of California? The uncharted territory that faces us demands that each of us contemplate that uncertain future and its consequences.

Since the mid-1970s, California elected a number of Republican governors, some conservative and some moderate. But in recent years– and with the solid support of our state’s voters–our state government has made a hard lurch to the left.

As a result, we essentially have a one-party system with no checks and balances. A supermajority of one party that controls our state Legislature, enough to override even a liberal governor’s veto.

Today, Republicans all but find themselves on the ash heap of irrelevance in state politics. Even the rare and endangered species of common-sense moderates are reviled by the “Progressives” as right-wing conservatives. Are we doomed to follow this political trajectory? It seems so.

Just consider the confounding questions that face us:

1.       How can it be that UC Berkeley, that hallowed institution that gave us the “Free Speech Movement” of the 1960’s, has become the champion of suppressing free speech, with a bit of violence and vandalism thrown in?

2.       Why do so many people say they believe in the right of free speech, but only if they agree with what the speaker is saying?

3.       Why does it seem that so many of our colleges and universities seem more devoted to political indoctrination rather than higher learning?

4.       What has happened to a Democratic Party that once stood for tolerance to cause it to devolve into the poster child of intolerance to other points of view?

5.       Is our state legislature becoming unhinged when one of its members introduces a bill to legalize the hiring of Communists for government jobs?

6.       Why does Attorney General Becerra try to jail an 86-year-old widow for making a phone call in a polling place while he defends the “Sanctuary Cities” movement to protect oft-deported felons and murderers?

7.       With the push to make us a “Sanctuary State” and with whisperings of even “secession,” are we willingly setting ourselves up to be the 2017 version of 1861 South Carolina?

8.       Why would our state leaders spit in the eye of the winner of the 2016 presidential election (despite their dislike of him) and run the risk of having him withhold federal funding from a California that sorely needs it?

9.       Why do we continue to tolerate ever-increasing state and local taxes that threaten to penalize job producers and drive them out-of-state? Remember Tesla?

10.   With the worst affordable housing crisis in the nation, why do we continue to over-rely on over-regulation while striving for ways to obstruct the production of the housing we need?

11.   How is it that the Golden State has become the “nimby” state where that phenomenon has metastasized in the body politic at every level of government?

12.   Why do so many Californians support devoting our legislative energies to protracted and expensive investigations while ignoring the things we need to get done for the American people?

13.   While the “Black Lives Matter” movement continues to focus exclusively upon incidents with law enforcement, why does it ignore the far greater epidemic of black-on-black violence in our inner cities?

14.   How is it that the most politically powerful lobbies in California are the public employee unions that constantly advocate tax increases in the most heavily taxed state in the union?

15.   Why do we tolerate a governor who is obsessed with his woefully under-funded bullet-train-to-nowhere while encouraging high density “transit-oriented development” flanking the tracks that will slice right down the throat of the most fertile agricultural valley in the nation?

16.   Why do we rely on an unbalanced income tax system that heavily penalizes the rich to pay for “wants” rather than “needs,” like expanding our water supply in a state that just endured a six-year exceptional drought?

17.   Have our governor and our state Legislature done such an excellent job of governance that they deserve the thousands of dollar in raises they just received?

18.   And finally, what prospective “leaders” of our state government are out there who can take us forward into the 2018 elections?

That election season is right around the corner and will be upon us sooner than we think. California has morphed into a political monoculture where common sense is missing in action. As of this writing there is not a single moderate or Republican on the 2018 gubernatorial radar screen. Instead, that screen is mostly populated by the political hard left.

Consider the slate of candidates who have already announced their intention to run for governor:

·         Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the former mayor of San Francisco, that bluest city in the bluest of states, who hopes to spread that city’s zany extreme left gospel throughout the state of California.

·         Former mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaragossa, a firm believer in the “sanctuary city” and the “sanctuary state” movements to protect dangerous criminals while expanding his political constituency.

·         Delaine Easton, the former state superintendent of public instruction, who is joined at the hip with the California Teachers Association and other public employee unions.

·         John Chang, our State Treasurer, another Democrat who seems to be the only rational one of the bunch. He has argued against some of the tax increases advocated by his party while doing a halfway decent job of managing state funds.

Whether any moderates or Republicans might enter what has become a political desert for them remains to be seen. If not, we should start getting to know John Chang better.

Is it time for those of us who are unhappy with our state government to wake up and embrace an agenda for change? Or is it time to plan an Exodus to another state? As a native Californian, I vote for the former course. It’s time to develop an agenda for change.

To be continued…


Mr. Gurnee, it would appear that you are about to make the wrong choice. Since you are in the minority, and not just barely in the minority in California, and soooo unhappy here, I would suggest you choose option B. You’ll be gone and won’t have to witness the progress that most of us Californians outside of this backwater, support. And we won’t have to read your incessant, whining diatribes on what you perceive to be California problems. In fact, get out and don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya…


Hate to tell ya there winedude but you have it all wrong. Gurnee is 110% correct and you are the minority. Didnt happen to notice there are more folks bailing out of Ca these days then coming in, save the illegals. Ive been here all my live and have seen Ca from one end to the other east to west go to hell. From the barrios and ghettos of the south end to the drug riddled north. Perhaps SLO and that bottle of redneck swill keeps you happy, but its a matter of time before you see the light. Only advice is dont come knocking on another states door to bring your shit mentality and attitude with you.


Nice! You’re a real class act…but you won’t be so lucky

The Identarian

In a word, its the “voters”.

Voters in California have devolved into vote casters with the attention span of gnats and the sensibilities of people always in need of “help”.

Democrats know this and exploit it to the max.



Just for the record, it’s “Chiang.” John Chiang.


Ouch! Thanks…


I guess because California voters keep voting primarily non-republican, we must all be immigrant-loving-commie-liberals. In the eyes of right-wingers, anything they don’t have dictatorial control over is inherently evil. Great thinking.


There you go, confirming my thesis. Thanks!.


So much for introspection from the author.

His initial claim; “common-sense moderates are reviled by the “Progressives” as right-wing conservatives.”, is where he began to go wrong. The rest is a tired old yarn about bad liberals.

Common sense moderates are not reviled by most democrats, so we would not call you a name.

But truth be told “moderates” are called names; RINO’s.

It is not liberals driving out sensible voices in your party– it the Uber right who do that. Don’t blame us.

Too bad your article couldn’t address that honestly.

You can complain about the left all you want, but you began to lose elections in the state at the time you tried to pass 187.


The electorate’s move toward the radical left, led by Democrats over the last 25 plus years, has put the state on a clear path toward a condition of Socialist-Marxist governance where individual freedoms and choices are restricted or lost and taxation approaches confiscatory levels. Such a condition of governance is oppressive for the vast majority of citizens while the privileged class enjoys their privileges. A sad situation for a state once led by the likes of Earl Warren, Pat Brown, and Ronald Reagan.


Earl Warren-really? The man who was instrumental in putting native California Japanese in internment camps. Many of whom had their properties stolen, NO WAY!

Rich in MB

10 months left and I’m taking my evil 1% has paying ass outta California. Who will pull the cart when the producers are gone?


Does that mean you’ll leave the rickshaw down by the Embarcadero when you are done with it?


Good point, how will they vote themselves stuff if the people with the stuff leave?


Is this guy kidding? Bet he’s not complaining about trump, Congress and the Senate controlling the affairs of the entire country with a philosophy bestowing more attention to business and far less to people. Not to mention Brown is experienced and intelligent. Trump is dangerously insane.


What I find amusing is that, despite all the “downs” I’ve gotten on this (it’s OK. doesn’t faze me), not one person has stepped forward to refute any of my observations.


Very simple! We are the minority and probably will be until the state is on the verge of self destructing, maybe not too far away, and then we will be asked to save the state, But the question is how many of us will still be here?

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