A human wave is breaking over California, flooding freeways and schools, bloating housing costs, disrupting power and water supplies. Ignoring it hasn’t worked.
Lee Green, Los Angeles Times, Jan. 25
By birth, by foot, by automobile, from other states and other countries, legally and illegally, people have arrived in California for decades in unrelenting swells, human surf breaking steadily on a vast shore. Occasionally a big set rolls in and harasses state and local officials trying to determine how many new classrooms to build or where to bury the trash, but Californians take it in stride. You can complain, but what good would it do? You can complain about winter, too, but it comes anyway.
We tolerate endless strip malls, foul air, contaminated runoff, window-rattling boom boxes and the weekend crush at Costco and Home Depot. We remain composed in the face of runaway housing prices, electricity shortages, crowded schools and — well, maybe not crowded schools. That one rankles. But what we suffer even less well than crowded schools, the thing that makes even the most tolerant Californians notice that their cities have become overstuffed, is all the endless, miserable, stinking, standing traffic. In Los Angeles, in San Diego, in Sacramento, in the Bay Area, freeway traffic sits like an automotive still life, then inches along as we fume in the fumes. On a roadside in San Jose after a fender bender, a driver grabs another driver’s small dog, Leo, and throws the helpless animal into oncoming traffic.
This is what it has come to in California. We live in the Age of Leo.
If projections through 2040 by demographers in the state Department of Finance prove accurate, conditions will only get worse. Much worse. New residents continue to wash over California’s borders, but the state is neither attempting to restrain growth nor building adequate infrastructure to accommodate it. And the boat continues to fill.
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