|Dr. Martinelli is a renowned forensic criminologist and retired police detective with the San Jose Police Dept.
As I sit in the LAX terminal after concluding business in downtown Los Angeles for the past two days, I cannot help but reflect upon my journey from a once California native to a new resident of the Great State of Texas and why. You see, in my personal and professional opinion, the once great State of California has in essence become a third world country.
“The concept of the “third world” has evolved to describe countries that suffer from low economic development, high levels of poverty and little to no ability to utilize natural or economic resources.” French demographer Alfred Sauvey, 1952.
While the reasons for California’s ever-spiraling downwards status from 1st World economic prominence and prosperity to near 3rd World malaise are many; I will assert that when you combine uber-liberal politicians, with rich elitist Hollywood Celebrities, dotcom CEO billionaires, disengaged millennials and illegal aliens; you in effect create the circumstances where your city or state becomes a 3rd World environment.
The process of California’s demise from the “Golden State” to 3rd World status has been slow but steady; supported and enabled by the aforementioned actors. While much of the legislated changes for the worse have been designed and voted in by politicians in Sacramento; municipal politicians and a complicit uninformed, naïve, and entitled voting public must also share blame. After all, when 51% of those on some type of government subsidy out-vote the 49% of the money earning and tax paying citizenry, any state is doomed to failure. With California now a “Sanctuary State” and their libtard Democratic state legislature pushing for voting rights for illegal aliens, the state will never recover.
My observations during my short visit to Los Angeles underscored many of the problems Californians are facing as they follow lemming-like their Governor Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown, their Democratic legislators, and urban mayors like Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles off the economic cliff.
Literally nothing substantive is good about L.A. anymore. An ever-growing homeless subculture populates the downtown area. The intoxicated, drug influenced, mentally impaired and criminals are everywhere. They literally surround Civic Center, federal buildings, and courts – the so-called foundations and protectors of the Rule of Law and society. How ironic to be surrounded by the failures these very systems, liberal politicians and judges have created. Isn’t karma interesting to watch in real time?
The homeless, numbering in the thousands, sleep in the shadows of immense, gleaming edifices owned by multi-billion dollar international conglomerates and dotcom corporations. Business executives in Brioni suits and workers quickly pass by the unwashed masses, while holding their noses to screen out the stench of urine and feces. The obvious health and safety hazards to the public are too many to count.
Interconnecting Los Angeles city roadways and state highways designed to transport the commuting, tax paying public to their job sites are a debacle. The ribbons of roadways are a mess of potholed, weed infested, trash laden, graffiti vandalized passages filled with vehicles lined up bumper-to-bumper going nowhere fast. These are your tax dollars at work. While California voters grumble and groan, in the end they just seem to accept their fate as one of the prices to pay for living the California dream.
You see, the working public has no time to get out and protest the outrageous and constant increases in taxes on gas, municipal services, vehicle registrations, rapid transit and a bullet train going to nowhere. Only the unemployed, government subsidized masses have time to demonstrate in the streets to ensure that their subsidies continue. Since the liberal politicians in Sacramento know this dynamic and their power base all too well, the taxation without representation continues.
I was staying at a hotel near LAX and my mileage commute to downtown L.A. was a mere twelve miles. However, it took me every bit of one hour and twenty minutes to arrive at my destination. I then paid $20 for the privilege of parking my car in a public lot. Of course, this was after I paid $30 a day to park my rental car at my hotel. Nice. I’m seriously considering Uber next time.
Since I frequently travel throughout California on business, I will tell you that Los Angeles is a mirror image of all of the other large urban cities in the state. I have observed similar and even worse depressed and dysfunctional urban environments in the San Francisco Bay Area, Orange County, San Diego, and a number of other cities.
California is rapidly becoming a two-tiered society of the very rich and the very poor, similar to the 2nd and 3rd World countries I regularly visit. The middle class, small business owners and the retired are either being pushed out of state and/or escaping in droves to such tax free, business friendly and less crime ridden states such as Nevada, Arizona, Texas, and Florida. Lame duck Gov. Moonbeam and the state’s liberal Democratic legislature know this. They just don’t care because their power base is now assured Just ask any of their castrated, powerless Republican colleagues.
There will never again be a Republican administration in California. The days of Ronald Reagan have long passed. The candidates lining up for the governor’s race in 2018 are Open Borders and Sanctuary State advocates Anthony Villaraigosa and Lt Governor Gavin Newsom. Governor Brown and his Democratic legislature are pulling out all the stops creating legislation that will allow illegal aliens in the state to vote in state and local elections. Republicans, conservatives, and moderates don’t stand a chance.
Here are just some of things Californian’s have done in recent years to turn their state into a 3rd World mess:
1. Passed Proposition 47 which has since freed tens of thousands of felons from state prisons and county jails back into communities.
2. Prop. 47 also eviscerated the parole enforcement agency and created a system where police on the streets can’t even enforce outstanding felony and misdemeanor warrants anymore.
3. Police no longer arrest people for being under the influence of dangerous drugs. What would be the point; it’s just a misdemeanor.
4. They have reduced the crime of auto theft to a citable misdemeanor. Steal a car; get caught and get a ticket. Commit non-violent crimes, get arrested and you are out the same day with a promise to appear in court that will not ever be enforced. No warrant enforcement, remember? Amazing!
California’s new “Sanctuary State” status supports and enables its Open Borders mentality. Police in a number of cities such as San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles are ordered not to assist ICE with border enforcement. Remember the Kate Steinle murder case where her five-time convicted criminal and deported illegal alien was acquitted? Well, that’s the political mentality that created that circumstance. This is also an excellent example that liberal politicians in California are willing to sacrifice the innocent to demonstrate that they support violent illegal alien criminals.
What happens in California’s larger cities filters down to its medium and small sized cities as well. I recently wrote about the city of Salinas, CA. that experienced an incredible 150% increase in its homicide rate from 2014 – 2015 which rated Salinas as one of the nation’s 30 most violent cities. Fifty percent of all of their murders were gang and drug related, with the predominate population of gang members being illegal aliens. I can only wonder how Silicon Valley dot-commers’ who are paying over half a million bucks for a home and commute over four hours a day to San Jose like living in that violent environment?
Which brings me back to why my successful business owner wife and I escaped to Texas. The state loves us No commute problems, no state taxes and we live in an area where there is little to no crime. Our area just outside of San Antonio some of the best school districts in the U.S.; high employment, great people, and lots of fun things to do.
My wife and I live a great life on a ranch with a river in our backyard where we can fish, swim, kayak and BBQ with family and neighbors anytime we want. The price? Less than you would pay for a one bedroom studio condo in any of the cities in California I’ve mentioned. New home buyers only need three percent down to purchase a home and veterans make no down payments. If you are a younger middle-class person, a small business owner or retired, you’d be nuts to remain in California.
With California over a trillion dollars in debt and 30% of their budget going to subsidizing illegal aliens at the expense of hard-working, taxpayers who have little to no voice on how their state is run, the state and the majority of their citizens are doomed That’s what a two-tiered society eventually creates.
One heck of a THIRD WORLD COUNTRY!
The truth is blatantly obvious... and yet the left STILL turns a blind eye.
I say let this Titanic sink.
Dr. Martinelli is a renowned forensic criminologist and retired police detective with the San Jose Police Department.
William McGurn - WSJ, comments on another article that follows.
Today, however, the crisis of good intentions is manifested most dramatically in the green movement, particularly in California. In the recent article below for the Orange County Register, Chapman University’s Joel Kotkin and Marshall Toplansky write that “California is creating a feudalized society characterized by the ultra-rich, a diminishing middle class and a large, rising segment of the population that is in or near poverty.” California now has the highest overall poverty rate in the nation, they write, and suffers from a level of inequality “closer to that of Central American banana republics.”
Much of this is the fault of California’s green agenda, which chokes off economic growth and has been imposed more as a theological imperative than the result of any sober, cost-benefit analysis. As Mr. Kotkin frequently points out, the upward mobility of any family that isn’t part of Hollywood or Silicon Valley or doesn’t already own their own home is being killed by the state’s climate regime.
Though California hasn’t reached recent French levels of rebellion, its own protests are taking interesting forms. Earlier this year a coalition of more than 200 prominent civil-rights leaders filed suit against the California Air Resources Board. They argue California’s greenhouse gas policies are disproportionately raising housing, transportation and electricity costs for Latinos and African-Americans. The suit contests California’s claims that it has a “clean and green” economy is a “fiction.”
The climate regime, the suit notes, is imperious. Though Los Angeles and the Bay Area already rank among the worst in the nation for traffic congestion, the suit contends California’s climate leaders “have decided to intentionally increase traffic congestion” in the hope of getting more people to opt for public transport. In other words, California’s greens are willing to inconvenience the poor to get them to do what their feudal lords want them to do.
California becoming more feudal, with ultra-rich lording over declining middle class
by Joel Kotkin and Marshall Toplansky
The imaginations of its boosters, and for many outside the state, California is often seen as the role model for the future. But, sadly, California is also moving backward toward a more feudal society.
Feudalism was about the concentration of wealth and power in a relative handful of people. Historically, California created fortunes for a few, but remained a society with enormous opportunity for outsiders, whether from other states or countries. One of Jerry Brown’s biographers, Ethan Rarick, described his leadership as having made the 20th century into “The California Century,” with our state providing “the template of American life.” There was an American Dream across the nation, he noted, but here we had the California Dream.
This proud legacy is threatened, as we point out in our study to be released Monday . Today California is creating a feudalized society characterized by the ultra-rich, a diminishing middle class and a large, rising segment of the population that is in or near poverty.Overall our state state now suffers one of the highest GINI rates — the ratio between the wealthiest and the poorest—among the states, and the inequality is growing faster than in almost any state outside the Northeast, notes liberal economist James Galbraith. The state’s level of inequality now is higher than that of Mexico, and closer to that of Central American banana republics like Guatemala and Honduras than it is to developed states like Canada and Norway.
California, adjusted for costs, has the overall highest poverty rate in the country, according to the United States Census Bureau. A recent United Way study showed that close to one in three of the state’s families are barely able to pay their bills. Overall, 8 million Californians live in poverty, including 2 million children, a number that according to a recent report, has risen since the Great Recession, despite the boom.
California’s poverty, and the loss of a middle class, is most profoundly felt in the interior counties. California, according to the American community survey, is home to a remarkable 77 of the country’s 297 most “economically challenged ” cities, utilizing a scoring of poverty and employment data by the National Resource Network. Los Angeles, by far the state’s largest metropolitan area, has among the highest poverty rate of largest U.S. metros
Even in the Bay Area the current boom is creating what the Japanese philosopher Taichi Sakaiya has called “high-tech feudalism.” In the last decade, according to the Brookings Institution, among the nation’s large cities inequality grew most rapidly in San Francisco; Sacramento ranked fourth.
Urban website CityLab has described the Bay Area as “a region of segregated innovation,” where the rich wax, the middle class wanes and the poor live in increasingly unshakeable poverty. Once among the most egalitarian places in the country, Silicon Valley has become extraordinarily divided between rich and poor, and with a diminished middle class. Some 76,000 millionaires and billionaires call Santa Clara and San Mateo counties home but nearly 30 percent of Silicon Valley’s residents rely on public or private assistance; the real wages of the largely Latino and African-American working class actually have dropped in the midst of the “boom.”
In this dispiriting election year, no prominent California politician, left or right, has addressed seriously the collapse of the state’s dream of upwardly mobility. A problem this complex can’t be addressed by the party bromides — lower taxes by conservatives and more subsidies by progressives . The real problems lie with policies that keep housing prices high, an education system that is a disgrace, particularly for the poor, and a business climate so over-regulated that jobs can be created either in very elite sectors or in lower-paying service professions. Even in the Bay Area in coming decades regional agencies predict only one in five new jobs will be middle income; the rest will be at the lower end.
Of course, this increasingly class-bound society could survive , as long as the economy stays on an even keel, so that the rich can pay the bulk of taxes. But this feudal California is neither economically or socially sustainable over the long term. A recent poll found that only 17 percent of Californians believe the state’s current generation is doing better than previous ones. More than 50 percent thought 18-30-year-old Californians were doing worse. Our research finds that a large percentage of Californians have virtually no discretionary money available, after taxes and reasonable living expenses are taken into consideration.
This situation should be unacceptable no matter what one’s politics. There is no reason why Californians need to endure a crumbling infrastructure, pay outlandish housing and energy prices while paying high taxes, all to maintain an education system that is failing all too often. Rather than posture and scream , it would be better if California’s leaders focused instead on what is happening to our state and address aggressively the prospects for improving things for the next generation.
Marshall Toplansky is clinical assistant professor of management science at Chapman University’s Argyros School of Business and Economics, and a research fellow at the university’s C. Larry Hoag Center for Real Estate. He is co-author, with Joel Kotkin, of “California Feudalism: The Squeeze on California’s Middle Class,” which will be released this week.