Welcome to California road sign

Professor and political analyst Larry Gerston’s latest book chronicles what led to the Golden State’s economic and cultural upsurge, and its subsequent fall from grace. Among other things, the book, “Not So Golden After All,” asks whether California can return to glory again.

Larry Gerston, professor in the department of political science at San Jose State University, and author of "Not So Golden After All: The Rise and Fall of California"

  • Larry

    Can’t tax your way out of this!

  • FayNissenbaum

    What’s your evidence that whites are leaving calif because of white flight (fear/hatred of minorities)? I am uncomfortable with glib ‘supposings’ as the guest is now making. All you know is people move. But you have not shown why. So prove your assertions before you slag on me (and no, I’m not going anywhere). Minorities who keep to themselves and create pockets of ethnicities, such as Armenians in the East Bay are not harming anyone.

    As for “Solar jobs” you say “go unfilled”, they are a ten dollar an hour joke, and locally, the large company named Solar City closed their training ‘academy’ b/c of too few jobs in the industry. Larry, you are making one unfounded statement after another!


    • rheddaj

      ethnicities who keep to themselves…Armenians…Really?
      – you gotta be white

  • MarTierraySol

    My husband and I moved out of Sacramento California in 2009, came to Denver Colorado. Here we have been able to find great opportunities, affordable housing, and a economically feasible lifestyle, without paying the HIGH California taxes. The economic situation in California is absolutely out of control!

  • Kieren Mccarthy

    I’d like to buy this book but it is $45 on Amazon. Is there any way I can get it for a more normal price?

  • geraldfnord

    Ronald Reagan came to power in 1966 on a wave of conservative fear and cowboyolatry, so (hyperbolically speaking) the rot set in at least a decade before it did so nationally, and has had more time to spread and mutate.

    But ‘rot’ of what? Why, of society as a viable, if notional, entity which conveys benefits and to which one has obligations. Margaret Thatcher, beloved of Ronald, famously said ‘Society does not exist,’ and while not really true for reasonable values of ‘existence’—certainly, ‘society’ exists only in our minds, but the same is obviously true of ‘Good’, ‘Evil”, ‘rights’, ‘justice’, and all the gods we’ve bothered making—it can easily become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  • sstanley

    All things considered….I’d rather be here! Beauty all around us, diversity and free thinkers make me proud to be a Californian…Still.
    I have faith in this fabulous state.

  • sabretoothcat

    At the West Entrance to UC Berkeley, embedded in the sidewalk, is a small bronze plaque that reads: “Property of the Regents of the University of California. Permission to enter revocable at any time.”

    The plaque has been there for as long as I can recall, but it is only recently (last 10 to 15 years) that the Regents–or more particularly, a few of them–have taken that as a literal statement of their ownership, rather than as an indicator of their trusteeship responsibilities to the larger community and the common wealth. The particular regents who have overseen this transformation are themselves among the state’s wealthiest businesspeople. (See names below.*)

    I have been entirely educated, from Kindergarten to Ph.D., in California public schools. I have been either a student or employee of the University of California since 1969. I retired last year after more than 30 years of teaching–as a “continuing” (perma-temp) lecturer at UCBerkeley. I have watched the change in the idea of a public institution as a community to the notion that the private sector essentially owns the University. The fact that the state does not have to money to fully fund UC is used as a PR ploy by the current Board of Regents, but in fact, if you listen to some administrators on the campuses, they are delighted that UC has essentially become a private-public enterprise, with the “private” domain ever more in evidence all the time. Anything that doesn’t “generate revenue” has been cut or is in danger of being cut. UC has been hiring new, expensive top-level administrators at a furious pace to oversee this transition to a profit-making (for the private sector) entity.

    Your guest is right as far as he goes. But there is a deeper story to be told. All the statistics he cites paint California as a classical feudal society. The wealth is concentrated at the top, the rest are in the “rightful places” as servants of the wealthy. And social darwinism is the ruling ethic.

  • Gail Kong

    Asians are 28% of the Bay Area and about 15% of the metro LA area and should be considered in the analysis. You will find in the Bay Area that Asians follow the pattern of others in choosing to cluster in enclaves. Also, they span rich to poor and are an interesting example.

    Another issue in the public arena, gun control, is related to the absence of concerns about the common good. Why should someone have a right to own an assault weapon separate from any consideration of the common good.

    Finally, has there ever been any discussion in the Bay Area of municipalities merging for the sake of efficiencies?

  • geraldfnord

    Mild point of disagreement with Tara: it’s not ‘the good of the Whole as opposed to the rights of the individual’, it’s more like ‘an healthy Whole that protects the individual’s rights and allows individual potentials to be maximally realised’. We bother with ‘Society’ because life in the State of Nature, rather than being one in which we all have rights we can enjoy, was more like the War of All Against All, which leaves the life of most solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

    Shorter: I believe in the Common Good precisely _because_ I am an individualist.

  • Joseph Valencia

    If you cut pension you are going to lose the interest from professionals, such as engineers, in working in the public realm. Wages are already lower than the private sector, so pensions are the only thing public work has going for it. I’m an engineering intern for a city in CA right now, and if eyou tell me it’s time to cut pensions more I’m going to say it’s time for me to get a job for a private company instead.

  • disqus_tcUfyYgqIK

    Could you discuss the federal tax gap as it relates to our property taxes. States with higher property taxes get a larger federal income tax deduction thus shifting taxes to the state.

  • disqus_3vUt0N1F9s

    I am really concerned about the rising cost of education. It seems to me that Wall Street has set it sites on making money off students backs and this is their next money making scheme. The Community College of San Francisco is under attack by these corporations despite the passing of Prop. A.

  • Romy Ilano

    Hi, How do we get a recording of this or a podcast? I missed hearing this. I saw Larry’s book at the library and it’s quite excellent! Nice to see the spirited discussion here–it means he’s hitting points close to home that really matter!

  • jurgispilis

    I can think of three prominent factors in Californias situation. Largest population in the US. Highest population growth rate of the states. Largest foreign-born component at 25%. Consider these in light of limited water, and geologic instability.

  • Kenji Yamada

    A caller suggested the idea of a progressive property tax by analogy to the current progressive income tax. I’m not sure the two are analogous in the right ways. A progressive income tax makes sense because higher income implies a greater ability to pay. That’s not necessarily the case with higher property value. Am I missing a significant point of comparison here?

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