California and Bust | Vanity Fair

This article has a lot of gems in it. Who would've guessed, for instance, that Arnold Schwarzenegger rides a bicycle with no less disrespect for bad laws than I do?

He wears no bike helmet, runs red lights, and rips past do not enter signs without seeming to notice them and up one-way streets the wrong way. When he wants to cross three lanes of fast traffic he doesn’t so much as glance over his shoulder but just sticks out his hand and follows it, assuming that whatever is behind him will stop.

  I violate unnecessary traffic laws all the time as a matter of principle as well as convenience, but I don't think even I would do that last maneuver without even bothering to look behind me. How can somebody who ignored the chance as governor to pardon the vast numbers of people being wrongfully held in California jails for doing things that shouldn't be illegal be such a flagrant lawbreaker? Evidently he thinks laws are just for the "little people".

  San Jose mayor Chuck Reed at least knows how to *sound* like he sort of gets it (what he's actually doing may be a different story, as I'm not very familiar with SJ politics):

“Our police and firefighters will earn more in retirement than they did when they were working. There used to be an argument that you have to give us money or we can’t afford to live in the city. Now the more you pay them the less likely they are to live in the city, because they can afford to leave. It’s staggering. When did we go from giving people sick leave to letting them accumulate it and cash it in for hundreds of thousands of dollars when they are done working? There’s a corruption here. It’s not just a financial corruption. It’s a corruption of the attitude of public service.”

  And you've gotta love this quote, where he explains how San Jose got into that mess:

“I think we’ve suffered from a series of mass delusions.”

  But it gets better. The section on Vallejo is nothing short of surreal:

"Welcome to Vallejo, city of opportunity, reads the sign on the way in, but the shops that remain open display signs that say, we accept food stamps. Weeds surround abandoned businesses, and all traffic lights are set to permanently blink, which is a formality, as there are no longer any cops to police the streets. Vallejo is the one city in the Bay Area where you can park anywhere and not worry about getting a ticket, because there are no meter maids either. The windows of city hall are dark, but its front porch is a hive of activity. A young man in a backward baseball cap, sunglasses, and a new pair of Nike sneakers stands on a low wall and calls out an address:

"'Nine hundred Cambridge Drive,' he says. 'In Benicia.'

The people in the crowd below instantly begin bidding. From 2006 to 2010 the value of Vallejo real estate fell 66 percent. One in 16 homes in the city is in foreclosure. This is apparently the fire sale, but the characters involved are so shady and furtive that I can hardly believe it. I stop to ask what’s going on, but the bidders don’t want to talk. 'Why would I tell you anything?' says a guy sitting in a Coleman folding chair. He obviously thinks he’s shrewd, and perhaps he is.

"The lobby of city hall is completely empty. There’s a receptionist’s desk but no receptionist. Instead, there’s a sign: TO FORECLOSURE AUCTIONEERS AND FORECLOSURE BIDDERS: PLEASE DO NOT CONDUCT BUSINESS IN THE CITY HALL LOBBY."

  Apparently the city's 2008 forced bankruptcy brought on by pension payments did produce a greater than usual degree of clarity in thinking among Vallejo residents:

"Relations between the police and the firefighters, on the one hand, and the citizens, on the other, were at historic lows. The public-safety workers thought that the city was out to screw them on their contracts; the citizenry thought that the public-safety workers were using fear as a tool to extort money from them. The local joke was that 'P.D.' stands for 'Pay or Die.' The city-council meetings had become exercises in outrage: at one, a citizen arrived with a severed pig’s head on a barbecue grill."

  Perhaps Vallejo would be a good place to put up some inexpensive Libertarian Party billboards? Here's an idea for one: A photo of a couple residents sitting amid pothole-filled streets, boarded-up homes and businesses, and yards filled with weeds, with speech bubbles coming out of their mouths:

First person: "Those city employees and their pensions really screwed Vallejo good."
Second person: "I wish we'd voted Libertarian."

  Of course such a campaign might not make much sense unless we have some candidates there to vote for.

  Thanks for posting, Phil.

Love & Liberty,
                                ((( starchild )))

Thanks Phil....great article.