This November, California voters will choose whether to invoke Article IV, Section 13 of the U.S. Constitution. The measure is the brainchild of billionaire Tim Draper, who believes the state can no longer meet the needs of its citizenry. Specifically, it would establish conditions on how the state can split itself up into Northern California, California and Southern California. If passed, it would still require approval by both houses of the California Legislature and the U.S. Congress, yet the idea shows just how far off the rails California has gone. Such concepts have become typical of a state spiraling downward; compliments of the Democrat Party and the Progressive Left.
Stop and consider that today Democrats dominate nearly every election ballot across the state, largely eliminating Republicans and third party candidates from serious contention. Questionable state redistricting has only furthered this fact, although Republican businessman John Cox has secured a spot in the upcoming November gubernatorial race.
As for government spending, in 2017, California spent more than ever before; a cool $183.2 billion. This was a record high and a $12 billion increase from the previous year. Included was a paltry $50 million to defend illegal immigrants facing deportation and enough funding to buy the support of the Golden State’s 360,000-plus state employees. The 2018 budget calls for spending of $199.3 billion.
California’s education system is underperforming too. In 2017, only 49 percent of its students met standards for English and 38 percent for math. The state ranks 32nd in the nation in SAT scores, and its K-12 system is 42nd. How does California deal with such news? By ingeniously watering down the standards it uses to classify schools’ performance levels to make them look better than they actually are. Add this to the fact that the state spent $74.5 billion last year to fund its public schools alone. Meanwhile, powerful teachers unions defeat every effort at real education reform.
On the health care front, California’s General Assembly recently passed legislation granting illegal immigrants full-cost health care coverage. The Senate is expected to pass the legislation as well. If it becomes law, the change is expected to cost the state a staggering $3 billion in 2018-19 alone, but what’s a few billion dollars? California would be the first state to enact such a program.
The state’s perpetual housing crisis (37-44 percent more costly than the U.S. average), high individual and corporate taxes, over-regulation and ever-increasing cost-of-living continue to take a toll on the middle-class as well. And although the state maintains its fair share of wealthy inhabitants, it also claims the nation’s highest poverty rate of 20.6 percent and lowest quality of life. What’s the answer? The city of Stockton’s mayor has proposed a $500 guaranteed monthly income for his constituents.
Indeed, California has been so destabilized since 2007 that over 1 million of its middle-class residents have fled the state in an effort to find some sense of tranquility elsewhere. They in turn have been replaced by wealthy progressives from the East coast who are too often insulated from the state’s dysfunction.
With Dems controlling the levers of power, California’s once-proud cities are also in decline with over 134,000 people living on the street. In the case of San Francisco, its homeless population has actually made defecation a public health problem in even the most exclusive of neighborhoods. Meanwhile, the once burgeoning middle-class has abandoned this harsh reality; leaving what’s left of a one-time gem to the ultra-rich and the poor. Yet life goes on for the city’s Department of Health, which has devised a plan to open two “safe injection” sites where drug addicts can safely shoot up drugs while supervised. Then there is the state of illegal-alien inspired crime which is as evident as the state’s technology-driven economy.
California is also increasingly hostile to anything deemed traditional. For example, state lawmakers are currently considering a bill that would punish the speech of religious leaders who contend that sexual behavior should be limited to marriage between a man and a woman. In effect, the bill would ban all efforts that the state deems as attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation, including the publishing of written material. Not only would religious leaders’ free speech be impacted, but that of counselors, authors and academia as well. Anyone offended by the voicing of traditional speech could file suit against the offending party, and a judge would determine the merits of the case and if substantial applicable fines are in order. Censorship and religious freedom are but two issues which raise Constitutional concerns in this instance.
Many factors have contributed to the demise of California. And although progressives have made a shambles of a once great state, their arrogance shows no limits when it comes to taking responsibility for their ingrained idiocy. The fact remains that such governance has influenced more and more Californians to say they’ve had enough.
The reality is crystal clear. California is far from the example of success that it was once upon a time. At the end of the day, a state is more than ocean waves, mountain vistas and Hollywood lights. To ignore the true reality that is California is to do so at one’s own peril.
Mark Figley is a political activist and guest columnist from Elida. His column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the The Lima News editorial board or AIM Media, owner of The Lima News. Reach him a firstname.lastname@example.org.