Will Riverside, Fresno, and Bakersfield Become Civilized? December 15, 2011
Joel Kotkin and William Frey, in an article written before the crash, speculate that as Coastal California prices itself out of the market, Inland California may become a more civilized and upscale region. In fact, the crash and the wave of foreclosures hit Inland California the hardest, while making the coast [much to the discomfiture of existing homeowners, who dominate politically] a little more affordable. Inland California, as compared to other states, is not quite as unique as the coast – it has more variety of weather and temperature for example, somewhat like other parts of the country – but it doesn’t have that much to be ashamed of compared to the rest of the country. There may be a little more frost, but there isn’t any more snow than on the coast – and the summers, while temperatures may rival those of Dallas or Atlanta on the thermometer, are far less humid. [In August, in fact, Inland California has, for the most part, far less humidity than Arizona, where the people are fond of claiming they don’t have ‘Eastern humidity.’] But I wonder if the meteorological climate, differing from the rest of the country a little less than the coast does, is trumped by the ‘business climate’ of California’s political and regulatory order; to the point where many people, once they leave the coast behind, are more willing to bite the bullet and leave the state altogether. I do favor some higher taxes, but I do not believe ‘business’ and ‘the rich’ can carry the whole burden. They have choices. And they don’t have to find a hidden valley in Colorado, as in the notorious book Atlas Shrugged. There’s still a lot of America out there. The State of California and its local governments have to recognize that golden geese die if they are dissected, or fly away at the threat. Therefore, inlanders have the biggest stake in California’s business climate and its policies.
Related: “The third California” by Joel Kotkin and William Frey at LATimes.com