Crazifornia exodus: People fleeing dense cities, regulations

Oct. 1, 2012

By Laer Pearce

In The Great California Exodus: A Closer Look, the Manhattan Institute has chronicled California’s fall from “the state with more jobs, more space, more sunlight, and more opportunity” to, well, the state with more sunlight.

In documenting the 3.4 million people who left the state in recent years — that’s just about enough to double the population of Oregon — the study identifies three reasons why California has been transformed from a “pull in” state to a “push out” state. Of course, one reason is the state’s pathologically unfriendly treatment of business. The second is the related collapse of its state and municipal finances. The third reason is less familiar to most, and shows just how good California has become at inflicting economic wounds upon itself.

It’s the state’s high density. While less than 6 percent of the state’s landmass is developed — about 50 percent is government-owned and about 45 percent is agricultural — to most Californians, it feels like a very crowded state.

In my home of Orange County and neighboring Los Angeles County, the density is hovering just below 7,000 people per square mile.  That makes the LA/OC megalopolis the most densely populated metro area in the country. San Francisco/Oakland is second, and San Jose is third. New York City is fourth, with a meager 5,319 people per square mile. Chicago is 25th.  Of the 50 densest metro areas in the country, 20 are in California.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that, when places get too crowded, people (including business owners) move if they have the chance. In the late 19th century, America’s largest cities had densities of 50,000 or even 100,000 people per square mile.  When streetcars and trains, then cars, opened the door to suburbia, urban densities plummeted. Philadelphia is a case in point; its density fell from 56,000 people per square mile to 12,000 during those years.

As California’s expensive coastal counties started getting uncomfortably crowded in the 1990s, many moved one or two counties to the east to get more room for less.  Of course, those are the very areas that were the hardest hit by the housing and job market collapse. So now they are the California counties losing the most people to other states.

Higher density

What is progressive California doing about this? It should come as a surprise to no one that it’s doing exactly what it shouldn’t be doing:  Crusading Sacramento bureaucrats are forcing higher density on everyone.

The tool of this latest round of madness is 2008’s California Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act, or SB 375, authored by Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, now the Senate president pro-tem. SB 375 stepped up California’s regulatory game from just controlling every aspect of how houses are built to dictating where they can be built.

The law mandates regional sustainable growth plans, and definitely doesn’t include suburbia in the “sustainable” column.  The Brown administration is using it like a hammer in its Quixotic campaign to single-handedly free the world of global warming.  For example, Attorney General Kamala Harris recently sued San Diego under SB 375 because its long-range plan did too much for highways, the transportation system that supports suburbia, and not enough for mass transit.

More to the administration’s liking is the Bay Area’s “Initial Vision Scenario for 2035,” which proclaims that, by 2035, the Bay Area’s population will grow by 2 million people, yet there will be fewer cars there than there are today.  That will only happen if yards, tree-lined streets and a car commute to work are traded in for lofts by the train station.

But, as the Manhattan Institute study illustrates, when faced with a choice between already too-dense cities and less dense (demographically and politically) places like Arizona, Texas, Oregon or Utah, more and more Californians are opting out of the craziness.

A number of years ago, New Republic senior editor Gregg Easterbook wrote, “Sprawl is caused by affluence and population growth, and which of these, exactly, do we propose to prohibit?” California’s Progressive leadership has apparently chosen both, firing one more shot into its suffering economy in the process.

Laer Pearce is the author of the new book, “Crazifornia: Tales from the Tarnished State.” Portions of this column are excerpted from the book.

47 comments

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  1. Bill - San Jose
    Bill - San Jose 1 October, 2012, 14:00

    I am watching First Street in San Jose become “stack and rack” territory to force folks to use transit outside their door.

    If you build it, and force people to use it, they will acquiesce. That means surrender for the highly educated libs on this site.

    GGs California.

    Reply this comment
  2. The Africanized Swarm of Ted Steele System
    The Africanized Swarm of Ted Steele System 1 October, 2012, 15:18

    YES People are leaving in droves!!!!!! It’s a Ghost town!!!!!!! The sky is falling!!!!!! Buy GOLD !!!!!!!!!!!!!! OH Noooooooooooooooooooooooo

    Reply this comment
  3. Hondo
    Hondo 1 October, 2012, 15:27

    These green wackos are doing their best to stop growth in Kali while at the same time supporting unlimited immigration of dirt poor people into the state. Victor Davis Hanson has documented the horrific violations of building codes at these makeshift trailer parks in the central valley. His complaints to the county has found deaf ears.
    These green wackos can’t have it both ways. Oh, that’s right, yes they can. It’s Kalifornia.
    Hondo………

    Reply this comment
  4. Douglas
    Douglas 1 October, 2012, 15:31

    I thought they were leaving in U-Hauls!

    Now you’re just confusing me.

    Reply this comment
  5. The Africanized Swarm of Ted Steele System
    The Africanized Swarm of Ted Steele System 1 October, 2012, 16:30

    Hondo is right– the Green crew wants us to live in health and safety— sheeeeesh!

    Reply this comment
  6. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 1 October, 2012, 17:22

    Lots of misfits, bruskie swillers and teabaggers calling for trailers…..CWD posters are posers with big mouths…no moves.

    Reply this comment
  7. Bob
    Bob 1 October, 2012, 18:21

    The whole country is going in this direction thanks to Agenda 21.

    Reply this comment
  8. The Africanized Swarm of Ted Steele System
    The Africanized Swarm of Ted Steele System 1 October, 2012, 18:58

    Lot’s o bruskie swillers for certain!

    Reply this comment
  9. The Africanized Swarm of Ted Steele System
    The Africanized Swarm of Ted Steele System 1 October, 2012, 21:07

    I am sooooooooooooooooooo over regulated!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply this comment
  10. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 1 October, 2012, 21:16

    Ted needs a pet to soothe him from rigors of over regulation…..maybe a dusty Trona apricot toy poodle!

    Reply this comment
  11. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 1 October, 2012, 21:28

    The only pet wimp Teddy could handle is a tea cup Chihuahua 🙂

    Reply this comment
  12. The Africanized Swarm of Ted Steele System
    The Africanized Swarm of Ted Steele System 1 October, 2012, 21:34

    I need a service animal, the over regulation is creating uncertainty so I can’t create jobs for the unwashed 47%!

    Hmmmm
    next vacation
    Coarsegold or Trona?

    Reply this comment
  13. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 1 October, 2012, 22:50

    The Mojave Narrows are nice this time of year!

    Reply this comment
  14. Dyspeptic
    Dyspeptic 2 October, 2012, 11:06

    I see the Heckle and Jeckle of CWD trolls are at it again.

    Teddy and UU, you guys are to intellectual discourse what Trona is to a heavenly vacation spot, except Trona smells better. Why don’t you two children go play on the freeway? Alternatively, you could climb into your little tiny, overpriced, subsidized electric clown cars and drive out to Trona, stand out in the sun a few hours and get heat stroke. It could only improve your diminished capacity for rational thought 🙂

    Reply this comment
  15. Dyspeptic
    Dyspeptic 2 October, 2012, 11:21

    “In my home of Orange County and neighboring Los Angeles County, the density is hovering just below 7,000 people per square mile. That makes the LA/OC megalopolis the most densely populated metro area in the country. San Francisco/Oakland is second, and San Jose is third. New York City is fourth, with a meager 5,319 people per square mile. Chicago is 25th. Of the 50 densest metro areas in the country, 20 are in California.”

    My, my, my. Altogether too many rats in the cage and not enough cheese to go around.

    Teddy, Queegy, UU. Have you stocked up on your ration of free Obama cheese? I hear it washes down passably well with a cheap Chilean chardonnay.

    Reply this comment
  16. AlpineBeach
    AlpineBeach 2 October, 2012, 11:50

    Voted with my feet. Took my company and 10 jobs with me to both Washington State (No income tax), and across the border to Canada.
    Have a nice life, Kali!

    Reply this comment
  17. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 2 October, 2012, 11:58

    Dyz. YOU CRACKED

    Do you want the white wagon to come by with your meds?

    Reply this comment
  18. jimmydeeoc
    jimmydeeoc 2 October, 2012, 12:04

    Africanized Teddy and UU…….Dyspeptic put it perfectly.

    Do you ever tire of trolling?

    Here – do something worthwhile with this: You mentioned “Health and Safety”…..

    But look at the record. For every legislative action that actually resulted in a cleaner environment (say, catalytic converters) there are hundreds that have proven to be either inert or downright damaging. Take Prop 65. Whatever benefits it was intended to provide are outweighed by the ambulance chasers and its laughable overreach.

    Reply this comment
  19. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 2 October, 2012, 12:23

    Africanized Teddy and UU…….Dyspeptic put it perfectly.

    Do you ever tire of trolling?

    Teddy and his two gimmick accounts are pictured under TROLL at Dictionary.com 😉

    Reply this comment
  20. CalWatchdog
    CalWatchdog Author 2 October, 2012, 12:24

    I’m not giving investment advice. But in 2001, gold was $270 an ounce. As I write, it’s $1,773.

    That’s a 557 percent increase in 12 years.

    If CalSTRS and CalPERS had bought gold in 2001, the state wouldn’t have a pension crisis, but a massive pension surplus.

    — John Seiler

    Reply this comment
  21. The Africanized Swarm of Ted Steele System
    The Africanized Swarm of Ted Steele System 2 October, 2012, 12:31

    Dysclepic– I don’t own an electric car– oh— that’s a joke. I get it. I am liberal and so I must drive one. Hey, great joke….clever! Cause we both know that there is no man/carbon piece to global warming, huh?

    Enjoy the debates patriot!

    Reply this comment
  22. The Africanized Swarm of Ted Steele System
    The Africanized Swarm of Ted Steele System 2 October, 2012, 12:33

    Sorry Rex– you’re a troll too little poodle!

    0 for 13 ™ !

    Hey Poodle– How did the county do in that lawsuit against the cops? Oh, yeah, they lost even though you predicted wins for a year!

    Reply this comment
  23. Dyspeptic
    Dyspeptic 2 October, 2012, 13:44

    Afro-Swarm, you float like a butterfly and sting like a….. butterfly.

    So you don’t like electric cars? How terribly retrograde and backward of you.

    If you’re really concerned about global warming, climate change, climate instability or whatever you leftwing hysterics are calling it today, I have some advice – Stop exhaling all that carbon dioxide, you’re killing the planet!

    Reply this comment
  24. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 2 October, 2012, 14:51

    I’m not giving investment advice. But in 2001, gold was $270 an ounce. As I write, it’s $1,773.

    traded in the $300 range for 20 years…..I would not buy it at the current spot price, it will go down before it goes up again.

    Gold pay dividends.

    Reply this comment
  25. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 2 October, 2012, 14:52

    DOESNT pay dividends.

    Reply this comment
  26. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 2 October, 2012, 15:16

    Dys and Poodle must be constipated or something….
    Illogical beat ups on two sane and balanced lefties are truly unjust. Could you just imagine how CWD would be with truck stop and trailer dwellers spewing unfiltered nor challenged hate into cyberspace…Big Sis would shut down the site!

    Teddy, Skipping Dog, Douglas, Uhaul are bringing content and levity to the site balancing out some really disturbing content.

    I left out Queeg, for he works for me part time and is pretty radical and unpredictable…so…who knows what he brings to the table…..by the way his left eye twitches when he is on the net….odd!

    Reply this comment
  27. The Africanized Swarm of Ted Steele System
    The Africanized Swarm of Ted Steele System 2 October, 2012, 15:28

    CWD does not have to thank us. We bring balance just to help out the low information voters ™ around here!

    The Ted

    Reply this comment
  28. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 2 October, 2012, 15:45

    I left out Queeg, for he works for me part time and is pretty radical and unpredictable…
    ==
    Teddy, pipe down.

    Reply this comment
  29. The Africanized Swarm of Ted Steele System
    The Africanized Swarm of Ted Steele System 2 October, 2012, 16:18

    Queeg is a legend Mr U. !!!!!

    Reply this comment
  30. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 2 October, 2012, 17:50

    Teddy

    I’ll pass on the kudos to Queeg…dang…. have cover the office this week. Queeg going to some fund raiser up in Deadwood in the Dakotas…bunch of his comrades want to put Obama on Mt. Rushmore

    Reply this comment
  31. The Africanized Swarm of Ted Steele System
    The Africanized Swarm of Ted Steele System 2 October, 2012, 19:35

    well said comrade!

    Reply this comment
  32. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 2 October, 2012, 20:46

    Teddy, bring Queeg back 😉

    Reply this comment
  33. The Africanized Swarm of Ted Steele System
    The Africanized Swarm of Ted Steele System 3 October, 2012, 07:26

    Good morning comrades! Man– these regulations are killing me…….

    Poodle– any thoughts on your predictions about the cops winning their lawsuit to stop the roll back of pensions?

    bwahahaha 0 for 13 ™ !

    Reply this comment
  34. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 3 October, 2012, 08:28

    99-0 😉

    Reply this comment
  35. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 3 October, 2012, 09:21

    Teddy. He says he is educated….who screwed up?

    Reply this comment
  36. The Africanized Swarm of Ted Steele System
    The Africanized Swarm of Ted Steele System 3 October, 2012, 09:43

    He lives by a river Mr. U— de-nial. These guys are all buffoonish clowns…….light work.

    Reply this comment
  37. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 3 October, 2012, 12:53

    Teddy, a GED is not “edcuated”, and your GED is showing again 😉

    Reply this comment
  38. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 3 October, 2012, 13:16

    Ask for foregiveness

    Reply this comment
  39. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 3 October, 2012, 13:20

    Teddy….they kicked him out of Parker,Az. He was on one of the party barges on the Colorado River yipping and yapping….they did a 14th century style river dunking on him!

    Reply this comment
  40. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 3 October, 2012, 16:13

    Hi Teddy!

    Reply this comment
  41. The Africanized Swarm of Ted Steele System
    The Africanized Swarm of Ted Steele System 3 October, 2012, 17:08

    LOL Parker! He may live there!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply this comment
  42. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 3 October, 2012, 20:04

    Next time he comes back to his flop house rented room in Parker they will be waiting to Singapore cane him!

    He got to be warned!

    Reply this comment
  43. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 3 October, 2012, 21:56

    Hi teddy! 🙂

    Reply this comment
  44. The Africanized Swarm of Ted Steele System
    The Africanized Swarm of Ted Steele System 4 October, 2012, 09:14

    yes– he must be caned! At once!

    Reply this comment
  45. Mkelley
    Mkelley 5 October, 2012, 17:38

    It’s probably not a coincidence that Obama has criticized spending too much on roads in suburbia and not enough on inner city mass transit.

    Reply this comment

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