Welcome to Breitbart California. Whether you’re a resident of the Golden State, or looking into our carbon emission-filled snow globe from elsewhere, I think you will find yourself returning often–for there is no doubt that, as the saying goes, “As California Goes, So Goes the Nation.”
California is home to one out of every eight Americans (there are roughly 38 million of us). Eight of the nation’s fifty largest cities are found here. Noted California historian Dr. Kevin Starr once remarked, “If the Pilgrims had landed in Santa Monica Bay, there’d be something like 13 states in California.”
Much of our nation’s culture is shaped by Hollywood, and much of how we organize and live our lives is impacted by technological breakthroughs from the Silicon Valley. California agriculture produces more than half the nation’s fruits and “veggies.”
We’re a tourist mecca, too, attracting millions of visitors to the Golden Gate Bridge, the Redwood forests, Disneyland–and everything in between. In almost every way, California and what happens here matters as much to New Yorkers, Iowans, Floridians, and Texans as someone from San Francisco, Fresno, Los Angeles, or San Diego.
That said (and it is especially true for the past few decades), California has become almost as well known for big government. With demographic and political trends since the end of the Reagan presidency, the state has shifted from an often-red or purple state, to reliably blue.
Iconic liberal Jerry Brown (the state’s youngest and oldest governor in history) is poised to be reelected to a fourth term as Governor (two terms were served back in the 70’s and 80’s). The California legislature is dominated with Democrat supermajorities in both chambers, and Democrats hold 38 of the state’s 53 Congressional seats.
What are the practical results of this “progressive” domination? California is home to the highest levels of taxation in the nation, with the massive over-regulation to go with it. Despite our abundant natural resources, we have the highest electricity rates, and even though we have plenty of rainfall, there is no political will to build dams and reservoirs. Our roads are crumbling and our public schools fail an increasing number of children every year. The massive unfunded liabilities on the books of state and local government add up to well north of half a trillion dollars–and growing.
If you apply a microscope to all of these deficit areas, an ugly picture is revealed of a state that is in a vice grip being squeezed by an alliance of ideological leftists and state public employee unions, who spend hundreds of millions of dollars producing a vicious cycle that elects pliant politicians, who then enact policies that enrich union interests. Lather, rinse, repeat.
And this is happening at a time when the California GOP is moribund, and seeking to stop its downward spiral by clutching for modest regional goals at the margins.
But even with this dire picture, California is not only America’s biggest challenge; she also represents our nation’s greatest opportunity. While you have every reason to worry about what is happening here–and trust me, if gross fascination is your thing, Breitbart California will have you covered–there is also cause for hope.
The greatest aspect of this new website (in which I’m particularly excited to be playing a role), is the opportunity to profile and showcase how, even under the thumb of oppressive big government and a prevailing Hollywood culture that rejects wholesome values, good things are happening. Important things.
Inner-city charter schools are on the rise as an alternative to the failing status quo. Activists in Asian communities up and down California recently rallied to stop a legislative effort to bring back racial quotas in admissions to state universities. U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) recently spoke about privacy rights to thunderous applause from students at UC Berkeley, of all places. And California Democrats find themselves embroiled in a statehouse corruption scandal that threatens to impact elections this November.
Even in California politics, there is some light shining through the clouds. 2012 saw voters in San Jose and San Diego enact meaningful public employee pension reform. Last summer, conservative Republican rancher Andy Vidak won a special election for a Central Valley State Senate seat that has a 22-point Democrat advantage and is 60% Hispanic. In February, San Diego, the seventh largest city in America, reeling from the resignation of notorious sexual-harassing Democratic Mayor Bob Filner, elected Republican Kevin Faulconer to replace him.
Looking to November, a number of traditionally red U.S. House seats that went blue in 2012 are now very much in play without President Obama at the top of the ballot.
So here’s a challenge to you: If you choose only to read traditional newspapers, you’ll be told that things are a lot rosier for the left, Jerry Brown has worked miracles in Sacramento, and people who hold traditional American values are out of touch with the California of today.
Or you can bookmark Breitbart California in order to read and share our many insightful stories and columns (yours truly will have a weekly column). The California unfolding on this page will be a lot different than the one presented to you by the Democrat media complex.
And remember the words of Andrew Breitbart. I can hear it like it was yesterday: “It’s no longer about the main stream media. We don’t need them anymore…”.
Welcome to Breitbart California, where we will change the narrative.
Jon Fleischman is the Politics Editor of Breitbart California. A longtime participant in, and observer and chronicler of, California politics, Jon is also the publisher at www.flashreport.org. His column appears weekly on this page. You can reach Jon at firstname.lastname@example.org.