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…

Jorge Estrada

Spot on, Keith….


Keith, I would really like to vote for you for a statewide office. You would not be the first person from SLO to run for a state constitutional office,to make an impact on the election, and to get elected.


Actually – we have a pretty good voice in the Assembly – Cunningham. Keith you need to run for Senate although it’s a tough gerrymandered district you could get traction with the right campaign. If not that then I think congress could be available after Salud continues to make an ass of himself and be Capps Redux.


But for real needs right now, Keith you should be on the list for County Planning Director. It would make AH’s head explode.


You gots to suffer if you wants to play the blues. We’re going to be one hell of a blues player in the tarnished golden state! Yahoo! …. oh… wait…..


“Who are we? Where do we stand? Where might we be heading tomorrow?” These questions are difficult to answer, analysis or understand as law abiding, Constitutional Americans, working taxpayers continually being assaulted by our own lawmakers. Why? You have the Mexican Cartel operating out of the Capital in Sacramento who are shutting down freedom of speech, gun rights, supplying gang bangers to our communities, crimes, and giving more rights to the illegals then to the legals at the expense of the American working middle class. Where is the logic in all of this? It is in Mexico! Our politicians think the greatest assault on Americans is Climate Change as they sit back and fight for life and death of over omissions as we are attacked daily (a walk on the 3rd pier in Avila – really) by these drug cartels!


Gurnee’s indictment is comprehensive and well stated. In pleading for an “Agenda for Change” I suggest he specify what the change should be with an explanation how it may be accomplished.


I’m working on it> Stay tuned….


“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? ”

Yes, your fears that Trump is a sociopath are well-founded. We all must worship this guy so we can get some spoils? Can someone explain this mindset to me?


Cool it on the Whiskey. take two aspirin and call me in the morning…

Rich in MB


The gold was sold off by the golden state to pay for public employee pensions


And yet all the gold was sold off and it still wasn’t enough, the public pension system is many many many millions underfunded and yet somehow Governor Brown claims a balanced budget and a surplus?, How is that?


“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?”

As someone that travels the state for adventure and business the answer is no.


It’s too late. We will have to hit rock bottom I’m afraid…


I’m sure there is still more depth to this bottom, we haven’t quite seen it yet, but I’m thinking we will.

Shocked in MB

The most upsetting thing is that the state is going in this direction, not with clear support from even those democrats, but more from a point of ignorance. Unfortunately too may Californians have no idea of what is going on and just follow the popular beliefs of the day-“Lemmings”.