California Today: The State Faces Some Big Problems. Are We Ready?

Thursday: Examining what happens if the economy takes a bad turn, the stock market plummets, and the search for an 800-pound hammer.

Comments: 10

  1. One reason for California's "successful" economy is their reliance on cheap labour via the millions of undocumented immigrants.

    The state is profiting from slave labour in a way that's not so different from the work done by slaves in the 18th and 19th centuries. The difference today is that employers and consumers attempt to sound virtuous by using the pretext that Americans will not take these jobs.

    By doing so, employers pay workers low wages while consumers get their fruits, vegetables, nannies, housekeepers and landscapers on the cheap. Both parties are complicit in maintaining this pool of slave labour.

    It's really no different from what took place with the slave labour from African countries.

  2. @Michael so much for the Canadian view. Yes, most folks in North America want inexpensive food: lettuce, tomatoes, watermelon, strawberries, almonds, pomegranates, cherries, grapes, wine, oranges, nectarines, avocados..... the list is endless.

    And to get it, intense labor is required and the marketplace drags the labor costs downward during recessions and upward during expansions. Ever been to Watsonville? It's amazing and the folks there work very hard and deserve every penny they get.

    No -- "slave labor" is a ridiculous concept. What is ridiculous is the idea from the GOP that the workers needed to harvest the crops are somehow cheating Americans out of their taxes and cheating Americans out of jobs. This idea is crafted to appeal to racists and xenophobes. It appeals to folks who live in places where Spanish is rare and brown people equally so.

  3. Michael, Comparing California to slavery is ridiculous, but I think you know that.

    It's 72 and sunny here today, as it is, give or take a few degrees, nearly every day of the year. How is the weather in Ottawa, and how will it be in a couple of months?

  4. Thanks for this article. It’s true. But the economies and leaders who know and anticipate the regular cycle of downturns are the ones best equipped to handle them when they come. I hope Gavin is ready and prepared. So many millennials and new residents to CA have lived here only under the wise guiding hand of Jerry Brown — who seemed the only person who could really run this monster of a state — they may be in for a shock when someone other than Jerry takes the reins. We may be in for a bumpy ride, but CA has always led the nation — so solutions materialize here as well as the problems.

  5. The photo with this story-- of the horrifically bland, overcrowded and skyrocket priced housing --is perfect illustration of what is making so much of the West Coast now have much lower living standards than many other regions.

    Add to that the cost of house insurance, real estate taxes, commuting times and environmental degradation, and it explains why my husband and I have no desire to live on the West Coast, even though all of our relatives live there. And whether they visit us from Seattle, LA or Portland, they are shocked to see how much higher our Great Lakes standard of living is at about a fifth the cost.

  6. Though most would agree the Yurok are entitled to their reservation back after being displaced, what must be discounted is the idea cap-and-trade offers any long-term solution to climate change.

    We know recent increases in global temperature are directly proportional to increased greenhouse gas (GHG) in the atmosphere, and these GHGs came from burning fossil fuel - oil, gas, and coal. Fossil fuels contain chemical energy which has been stored underground for 10 million years or more as hydrocarbons. The absence of this carbon from the Earth’s biosphere has permitted the Earth to cool by as much as 30ºF, giving birth to species, including Homo Sapiens, uniquely adapted to survive in it.

    By extracting this carbon from deep underground and freeing it into the atmosphere, humanity is in essence re-creating the climate of the dinosaurs. Once again, this carbon is trapping energy from sunlight and warming the Earth’s climate.

    Though old-growth trees serve to sequester carbon, it’s on a time scale of hundreds of years, not millions. That cap-and-trade permits recently-sequestered carbon to offset extraction of ancient carbon is a crime against the environment and all species alive today. If we’re serious about preserving the world as we know it, forget about cow farts or planting trees - on an evolutionary time scale, they’re inconsequential. All that matters is preventing consumption of fossil fuel, and the only practical means of achieving that goal is leaving it in the ground.

  7. Regarding the Healdsburg hammer, I’m told by friends in Minnesota that Paul Bunyan loaned this tool to a neighbor some time ago and wanted it back.

  8. @Charles Dean, LOL! They probably carried 4 ounces of saline solution with them through the security check to distract the attention of the TSA people and deflect attention to bring it on the flight.
    I'm recalling one of the first things they. taught, first session of civil procedure in school: “If the law is against you, pound on the facts. If the facts are against you, pound on the law. If both the law and the facts are against you, pound on the table.”

    tune of The Hammer Song

    If I took that hammer, I’d hammer out a film deal.
    I’d hammer out a rights deal, protecting my brand.

    I’d pound on the table.
    I’d pound out a plea deal.
    I'd plead for a fifth of wine
    Then go off and get hammered
    Oh, oh, that's what I've planned!

  9. California has driven the American economy since the 1950s and will continue to do so in the future.

  10. Two White men compete for governor in one of the last states to never have a woman or non-White as governor.