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Krazy Kat-ifornia

February 3, 2012

Tuesday, the last day of January, California state controller John Chiang sent a letter to lawmakers in Sacramento informing them that California will run out of cash by early March. This was a nasty surprise, since they were formerly under the impression they had enough money to last through June.

Bankruptcy six months away is something California legislators are comfortable ignoring – they’ve been doing it for years – but bankruptcy one month away is too close. Now they’re nervous. They might have to stop dreaming, procrastinating, and posturing, and do something about it.

Or not. Probably not. The SOP they’ve developed in California is to stop paying bills, borrow from Peter to pay Paul, raise taxes & fees, and continue catering to the leftwing special interest groups that control the state’s politics. So nothing changes.
“The Assembly budget committee approved a bill today that would enable $865 million of borrowing from existing state accounts, Senate Bill 95. Chiang, after consultation with the Department of Finance and state Treasurer Bill Lockyer, is also seeking about $2.4 billion in delayed payments to universities, counties and Medi-Cal, as well as additional borrowing from outside investors.” – Sacramento Bee, 1/31/2012
God forbid they should actually spend less money.

Krazy Kat is an American comic strip that ran from 1913 to 1944, and was coincidentally a favorite of California’s famous newspaper publisher, William Randolph Hearst. Hearst kept the comic running long after his editors wanted it canned. Maybe he knew something his editors didn’t, that Krazy Kat was the perfect metaphor for California. Krazy Kat, you see, is a guileless, carefree, simple-minded cat of indeterminate gender who nurses an unrequited love for a mouse named Ignatz who despises him and constantly schemes to throw bricks at his head... which the cat happily misinterprets as a sign of affection.

Krazy Kat in this metaphor being California’s voters, Ignatz being the liberal Democrat politicians they keep electing, and the brick being the leftwing policies those politicians keep enacting.

Americans view California as a bellwether state where trends start before spreading across the nation to less-enlightened areas, but lately those trends are all negative: the housing bust, financially dysfunctional state government, political correctness run amok, sexual depravity elevated to the mainstream, environmental extremism, and police tyranny are recent trends that began in California and now poison the nation. It’s like California has become a gangrenous limb requiring amputation to save the rest of us.

East of the Mississippi, where I come from originally, California seems far away, geographically and every other way, so people don’t worry overmuch about the nuttiness. Reading news stories about California’s rampant craziness is like reading a history book: intriguing and often startling but lacking immediacy.

But now I live in Reno, which you can see by looking at a map juts right into the heart of California. Reno is actually further west than Los Angeles and our closest major newspapers come from Sacramento and San Francisco. Suddenly those news stories concern me greatly, even frighten me, as I see and experience the repercussions firsthand. Nevada is full of Californians fleeing the apocalypse and in the process spreading the disease that made them go Krazy.

Californians emigrating to Nevada are the modern version of Typhoid Mary. We need gay marriage! We gotta ban cellphones in cars! No more mines! Illegal aliens need scholarships! Vote for Harry Reid!

When Chiang made his announcement of impending fiscal doom, it culminated a typical month of self-destructive silliness for California. Why should the first month of 2012 be any different than 2011, after all? Here’s a potpourri of January stories to give people who don't live in this area a feel for what it’s like – mostly from my San Francisco Chronicle so the stories lean toward events in the northern half of the state:
January 5 – Governor Jerry Brown announced a state budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 that proposes $6 billion more in spending and $7 billion more in taxes. Most California newspapers immediately ran front page headlines lamenting the spending cuts.

January 6 – State Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi pleaded no contest to shoplifting charges, using the excuse that a benign brain tumor affected her thinking. She wouldn’t release medical records showing that she had any sort of tumor, and it seemed odd that it only affected her thinking when she was wearing $2,500 worth of un-purchased clothing in a Neiman Marcus store... hey, can’t you see she’s a victim?

January 8 – Ross Mirkarimi was sworn in as sheriff of San Francisco. The ceremony was marred by knowledge that he was under investigation for domestic violence resulting from a videotaped altercation with his wife.

January 8 – Edwin Mah Lee was sworn in as mayor of San Francisco. Lee was appointed a year earlier after promising he would not run in the election. He broke his promise, ran for election as the incumbent, and even cheated in the election, but liberals are delighted because of his leftwing background as an advocate for affordable housing, an advocate for immigrants’ rights, and executive director of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission. Those are sterling credentials in California.

January 8 – Christina Olague was appointed by Lee to serve out Mirkarimi’s term on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. She has a background as a community organizer... also sterling credentials. And now she gets to run as an incumbent, too!

January 13 – Brand new sheriff Ross Mirkarimi (five days on the job) was charged with domestic violence battery, child endangerment, and dissuading a witness. According to California law he had to surrender his guns, making him the only unarmed sheriff in the state. If convicted, he will never be allowed to carry again.

January 15 – Governor Brown, still trying to sell his budget, explained that he will cut spending on prisons by $1.1 billion in the next fiscal year. The prison guards union is now the most powerful union in the state, even more powerful than the teachers’ unions, and California is under a federal court order to reduce prison overcrowding, but hey, who can doubt Jerry Brown?

January 23 – Brand new sheriff Ross Mirkarimi (fifteen days on the job) faced more domestic abuse allegations after an ex-girlfriend complained to police that he used to hurt her just like he allegedly hurt his wife.

January 27 – The California Air Resources Board passed sweeping emission rules that require car dealers in California to somehow make 1 in 7 of their new car sales be “electric or other zero emission vehicles” by 2025. Never mind how dealers are supposed to make consumers buy them, there are two humorous aspects to this. One, while requiring that dealers sell electric cars, California is also making electric utilities convert to windmills and solar panels, making electricity less dependable and more expensive. Two, the ruling explicitly referred to electric cars as “zero emission” vehicles, as though their manufacture and the electricity they use are magically conjured by Gandalf the Grey in Middle-earth without a single puff of emission.

January 29 – Governor Brown, still trying to sell his budget, said California’s proposed high speed rail system will cost much less than the $100 billion predicted by experts because he, Jerry Brown, will build it faster and that will save money. Plus, he plans to pay for some of it by extorting carbon emission taxes from state businesses... always a good idea in Krazy Kat-ifornia.

January 30 – The San Francisco Airport opened its new yoga room for travelers. What budget crunch?

January 30 – A story appeared from Steve Jobs’ biographer explaining that the U.S. once led the world in mining the rare-earths that computers and high-tech gadgets require, at a California mine called Molycorp, but environmentalists closed the mine down so everybody has to buy rare-earths from China now.

January 31 – A man walking two tiny dogs in San Francisco’s Rancho Corral de Tierra Park was tasered by a park ranger because his dogs were not on a leash and he didn’t have ID. Democrats resist efforts to require IDs for voting, and from illegal aliens, but when it comes to walking lapdogs without a leash...

January 31 – State controller John Chiang delivered his letter about the state running out of money.
Meanwhile, during the month the whole country was treated to the twisted tale of two California lesbians who put their 11-year-old adopted son on hormone blockers to prevent puberty (and therefore manhood) because he "prefers being a girl."

Then, like a period at the end of the January sentence, on February 1 the U.S. Labor Department issued a report about unemployment in major U.S. cities, listing the ten cities with the best and worst unemployment rates for 2011. Eight of the ten worst were California cities. None of the ten best were California cities.

How many bricks in the head will it take before Krazy Kat stops loving that stupid mouse?

From Reno, Nevada, USA       

February 5, 2012 - You make an interesting point, people flee failing states like California, New York, Michigan and Illinois but they bring their liberal attitudes with them. They want more public services, more benefits, more spending, more government---not realizing (or admitting) that this is exactly what got their home states into trouble in the first place. - Elrond H., Virginia

February 3, 2012 - Great column and nice pick-up by Doug Ross. We're going to follow your example and get out of this insane state. We're looking at Boise, Fort Collins and Colorado Springs. We live in San Luis Obispo, which is the best damn town in the world, but I have to get out. - Jim D., California
J.P. replies: Okay, okay, you can come to Nevada, I'll give you the secret password, but that's it. We're closing the door behind you.

February 3, 2012 - Attention Californians! The only way they know how to fix this is by squeezing more blood out of the turnips and YOU'RE THE TURNIPS! - Rupe, Georgia

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