Sun Is Setting on Once-Golden Calif.

State's progressive approach, and status as beacon for rest of US, falls prey to politics
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2008 7:54 PM CST
Vista firefighters watch as a California Department of Forestry helicopter makes a water drop in Escondido.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – California may have once been the land of literal and figurative gold, but recent policies have placed it in an unenviable position, Joel Kotkin writes for the American. The state people once flocked to is now hemorrhaging citizens, he writes, and a myopic focus on environmental issues, and the death of a pro-business, pro-infrastructure tradition are to blame.

The shift from Depression-era policies, embraced by Democrats and Republicans alike, to narrow partisan and union politics has left California fractured and poverty-stricken. “San Francisco is a cross between Carmel and Calcutta,” one native said. Though California is down, it should not be out, Kotkin writes. “There should still be a niche for an exceptional place, even if it no longer can pretend to lead the nation.”