"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -- Theodore Roosevelt

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Miserable California

Forbes put out their America's most miserable cities of 2011 list recently. A California city not only took top honors, but 4 out of the top 5 cities were in California. And not coincidentally all four cities are in the swath of land between San Francisco/Sacramento and Merced. And with the exception of Bakersfield (a city that has been lowly regarded since well before I was born), all the California cites are between Sacramento/San Francisco and Fresno. Well, generations of entitlement programs and a hyperactive state legislature can work wonders...

The top 10 cities are:

1) Stockton, CA
2) Miami, FL
3) Merced, CA (about halfway between Fresno and Stockton, and 50 or so miles east of San Jose)
4) Modesto, CA (about halfway between Stockton and Merced)
5) Sacramento, CA
6) Memphis, TN
7) Chicago, IL
8) West Palm Beach, FL
9) Vallejo, CA (about 10- 15 miles north of San Francisco as the crow flies)
10) Cleveland, OH

Fresno (ranked 17th), Salinas (ranked 18th), and Bakersfield (ranked 20th) were all in the top twenty cities. Amazingly Detroit, the city of wild dogs, urban farming, bears, and unbelievable amounts of government corruption, was ranked 15th.

In the Forbes article Kurt Badenhausen states "We considered 10 factors, things that people gripe about around the water cooler every day. Most are serious issues, including unemployment, crime and taxes. A few are not as critical but still elevate people's blood pressure, such as the weather, commute times and local sports-team performance."

Not a perfect list of factors... I think anyone who has lived for any length of time in a high traffic area like the greater Los Angeles area would not refer to commute time as a non-critical factor. And please factor out the sports teams... I mean come on. "Sure, I don't have a job, my car radio was stolen, and my house is now worth 50% of what I paid for it, but the local basketball team is doing great! That makes my day..."

When my wife and I packed up and left California about five years ago, my friends and family were both incredulous and convinced that we'd soon be back after tasting life and weather outside of our home state. To this day, I'm incredulous that they won't leave.

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