Friday, December 23, 2011

A California Update

Victor Davis Hanson has a superb and very sobering look at California's Central Valley region.  This area is, or rather, was one of the great agricultural bastions of America.  Generations of Californians farmed in this fertile valley.  In his essay, 'A Vandalized Valley', VDH paints a picture of the current state of the Central Valley - reflecting the effects of decades of progressivism, tolerance, and changing values...
I am starting to feel as if I am living in a Vandal state, perhaps on the frontier near Carthage around a.d. 530, or in a beleaguered Rome in 455. Here are some updates from the rural area surrounding my farm, taken from about a 30-mile radius. In this take, I am not so much interested in chronicling the flotsam and jetsam as in fathoming whether there is some ideology that drives it...

...The state’s reaction to all this is a contorted exercise in blaming the victim, in both the immediate and the abstract senses. Governor Brown wants to raise income taxes on the top two brackets by 1 to 2 percentage points, making them over 11 and 12 percent respectively. That our schools are near dead last in test scores, that many of our main freeways are potholed relics from the 1960s, that we just passed the DREAM Act to extend state financial support for college-age illegal aliens, and that the overtaxed are fleeing the state do not register. Again, those who in theory can pay, should — and should keep quiet about why they must suddenly pay a 12 percent income tax that was not needed, say, in 1991, 1971, or 1961, when test scores were higher, roads better, and communities far safer.

There is, of course, a vague code of silence about who is doing the stealing, although occasionally the most flagrant offenders are caught either by sheriffs or on tape; or, in my typical case, run off only to return successfully at night. In the vast majority of cases, rural central California is being vandalized by gangs of young Mexican nationals or Mexican-Americans — in the latter case, a criminal subset of an otherwise largely successful and increasingly integrated and assimilated near majority of the state’s population. Everyone knows it; everyone keeps quiet about it — even though increasingly the victims are the established local Mexican-American middle class that now runs the city councils of most rural towns and must deal with the costs.
This is a 'read it all' essay.

There is no single cause to the changes that are dramatically affecting life inside California's Central Valley.  Illegal immigration has had an impact, as has the tolerance, political correctness, and unwillingness to really focus on those who don't want to follow the accepted rules and actions of society.  The effects of decades of progressivism in the State Government has also had an impact as this not only supported and encouraged the environment that the other contributors leveraged, but also set policies into play that defined that environment - like the misdirected focus towards certain types of crimes as opposed to others - or the unwillingness to incarcerate and punish criminals.  It's the reflection of 'social justice' and 'social engineering' as advocated by progressivism.

Not long after reading this sobering essay, and reflecting on the changes, I read this commentary that notes how the Los Angeles Police Department has decided to turn a blind eye towards illegal aliens driving without drivers licenses.

In California, illegal immigrants, by law, cannot get drivers licenses.  Also by law, in California, if one is caught driving without a drivers license, the arresting entity can impound the cars being driven by unlicensed drivers. 
Section 14607.4(f) of the California Vehicle Code reads as follows:
It is necessary and appropriate to take additional steps to prevent unlicensed drivers from driving, including the civil forfeiture of vehicles used by unlicensed drivers. The state has a critical interest in enforcing its traffic laws and in keeping unlicensed drivers from illegally driving. Seizing the vehicles used by unlicensed drivers serves a significant governmental and public interest, namely the protection of the health, safety, and welfare of Californians from the harm of unlicensed drivers, who are involved in a disproportionate number of traffic incidents, and the avoidance of the associated destruction and damage to lives and property.
The LA city government is dominated by progressive Democrats.  Los Angeles is one of California's sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants.  The City and LAPD have defined a policy to not ask questions about a person's immigration status during any level of contact with that person - and in fact, when it comes to the City, they use taxpayer funds to provide benefits and assistance for illegal immigrants.  Now, the LAPD has taken this policy another step further - implementing a new policy to disregard California law, and no longer impound vehicles being driven by illegal aliens without drivers licenses.

“It’s a fairness issue,” Chief Beck told the Los Angeles Times. “There is a vast difference between someone driving without a license because they cannot legally be issued one and someone driving after having their license revoked.”

Ah, fairness.  The rhetorical refuge of a progressive.

But this pales to the thought that there is clearly something wrong with the mindset that the Chief of the LAPD, or the Mayor of Los Angeles has the power to decide, whenever they wish, just which laws are to be enforced...

There is one last story to report on that reflects just how bankrupt California is - and this comes from not only the California High Speed Rail Network Board, who want to waste something north of $120 billion on a rail network that has no viable business model, and their political supporters. 

Mercury News conducted an investigation into this claim.  They found that this project would create only 20,000 to 60,000 jobs during an average year - and would employ only a few thousand people on a permanent basis once the construction was completed.

The claim that the project will create 1,000,000 jobs is so outlandish, it should have been summarily ridiculed and rejected - like the claim from the Board that the station in Merced, California would see / process more passengers in a day heading to Los Angeles than Amtrak currently handles in their busiest station in their network, New York City's Penn Station.

There should be some repercussions for this level of lying, fabrication, misrepresentation in the name of political expediency.  But then, the reason there are not has a lot to do with the reasons why the Central Valley is more like a Third World nation than part of the US.

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