Leaving For More Conservative Pastures

Why one native-born Californian has finally had enough and is leaving for more conservative pastures.

I love so many things about my home state of California, and my hometown of Long Beach.

I believe the people in California and Long Beach are among the most productive, innovative, and interesting in all the world. The scenery in, around, and just a couple of hours drive in any direction from, Long Beach is always breath-taking and ever awe-inspiring.

Strolling about the decks and spaces of our beloved Queen Mary still gives me chills sometimes as I imagine what world travel must have been like during that quieter and slower-paced era, or when I consider the thousands and thousands of soldiers she took to, and brought back from, war. I still have a postcard affixed with a small chip of the original paint from one of her smokestacks, that I received as a boy of about 10, when Long Beach first started to get her in shape to become our City's most recognizeable tourism icon.

I love to camp, hike, and fish and California's Sierra Nevadas have played host to many family excursions over many years...many limits of rainbow trout (always delicious) and many miles hiked and four-wheeled and many campfires around which much laughter has been heard.

I love the big-city culture yet small-town feel of Long Beach -this most diverse large city in the nation- that offers: Community band concerts-in-the-park and full-orchestra symphonies; Community playhouses, Bard-in-the-Yard, and Broadway-class stage productions; Eclectic coffee houses and excellent wine and beer bars; Four-star restaurants and courthouse hot dog stands; Veteran's, Gay Pride, and Haute Dog costumed dog parades; Grand Prix races, Marathons, Turkey Trots; and so very much more.

Yes, there is so very much I love about both Long Beach and California.

Sadly, there are also things about my beloved home state and hometown I have come to dislike -that have become negative- and the negatives, for me, after over 53 years, have finally come to outweigh the positives.

Long Beach just cannot seem to get (or keep) its fiscal house in order. From bad speculative market investments, to incompatible budget/contract negotiation cycles, to chronic deficit spending, Long Beach's budgets consistently sink back into the red within days of having been "balanced" each year.

The logical results of these poor fiscal practices are constant and ever-deepening cuts in progams and services that should be priorities (such as infrastucture maintenance, libraries, and public safety) while continuing to subsidize other programs and services that are not priorities or which should not be subsidized at all (such as the Museum of Art, authorizing/de-authorizing MedPot outlets, and providing free sterile needles to drug abusers.)

As Long Beach has gone, so also California, albeit on a much larger scale and with far more detrimental effects. As I enumerated in a recent column, California has experienced many public policy challenges over the past 40 years. These challenges have been worsening, especially lately.

I had sincerely hoped that the most recently concluded general election might have served to address all or at least some of the challenges mentioned in my prior column. Sadly, it did not. If anything, our challenges are most likely to become far more severe.

The primary reason? Political liberals in Sacramento -the same politicians who have gone virtually unchecked there for decades- now appear to have gained a veto-proof "supermajority" in both houses of the State Legislature.

Please understand this:

If this supermajority does materialize, the very same sorts of legislators who have held the political reigns in California for 40 years -and who, in my view, are largely responsible for the many statewide challenges listed in the previous column- now have nothing and no one (except perhaps the courts) to offer any sort of check or balance against their chronic social engineering, deficit spending, and debt creation in California.

We (you) could elect the most conservative Governor possible next time around but this new supermajority will be able to override any veto he or she might issue. No effective veto means no check on legislative hyperactivity.

No check on the spending. No check on the taxation.

Democrat legislators in Sacramento now have, in essence, a full book of blank checks drawn on the banks of your wallets and purses. This horrific circumstance, coupled with the fact that the majority of voters in California never appear to see a new tax or bond measure they don't like, has now made my beloved California a place in which I simply cannot continue to live.

In my view, California has been going in the wrong legislative direction for decades and rather than begin to slow-engines and correct this disastrous course, instead, we have locked the wheel and set the engines at "full steam ahead".

I firmly believe there will soon come a day of severe social and fiscal reckoning for California and I simply refuse to stay here to watch that happen or to contribute one more penny of my income for elected officials in Sacramento to squander and waste.

I receive a public safety pension from California, for almost 30 years of service in law enforcement in the hometown I so love. I'll be taking that with me too, and happily spending it to benefit the economy (and the tax coffers) of a State that can manage its finances in a far more conservative and responsible manner than California seems willing or able to. 

So I am off to more conservative pastures, my friends. I wish you all the very best of luck. I think you may soon find that you're really going to need it.

Be well and God bless!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Gregory Brittain November 10, 2012 at 08:53 AM
All taxpayers, prepare to abandon ship.
Gregory Brittain November 10, 2012 at 09:02 AM
But, Mr. Greet, and Boeing, and Comcast, and Campbell's Soup, and John Galt [http://longbeach-ca.patch.com/articles/california-state-propositions-election-results-2012] and 254 others in 2011 [http://www.ocregister.com/articles/moved-342887-companies-texas.html] are just anecdotal evidence. Let's all watch and learn the effects of raising income tax rates on jobs, business and tax revenue to the state. Let's all remember, whether it works out well or terribly, this was the policy of Brown, the Dems and the GEUs. They get all of credit and all of the blame for the results.
John B. Greet November 10, 2012 at 03:13 PM
::snicker:: Ruehle you are nothing if not consistent, I'll give you that.
John B. Greet November 15, 2012 at 08:37 PM
"California has a poverty rate of 23.5 percent, the highest of any state in the country, according to figures released this week by the United States Census Bureau. The only other geographic region with an equivalent poverty rate is the District of Columbia, with 23.2 percent. The second most poverty-stricken state was Florida, at 19.5 percent." http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/14/california-poverty_n_2132920.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false Way to go, California! How very proud you must be! 40+ years of a Democrat-dominated State legislature sure are serving you well!
John B. Greet November 17, 2012 at 12:01 AM
"California has an opportunity deficit that shows up in its employment data and its migration statistics. We can understand the nature of that deficit clearly when we compare the Golden State with those that lure its residents away. In such a comparison, as we have seen, one fact leaps out: living and doing business in California are more expensive than in the states that draw Californians to migrate." (pgs 29-30 of the report) http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/cr_71.htm
John B. Greet November 18, 2012 at 03:18 AM
"Voters in California, which hasn’t had a budget surplus in a dozen years, approved higher sales and income taxes Nov. 6, the first statewide increase since 2004. Brown pressed for the higher levies to help erase a $16 billion deficit in the year that began July 1 and to assist in repaying loans used for the past 12 years to paper over $213 billion in combined shortfalls." http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-11-15/brown-s-tax-boost-mends-california-deficits-analyst-says Now isn't this interesting? The only tax measures California voters approved were Prop 30 and 39. Prop. 30 was billed as temporary taxes specifically to fund education. Yet less than two weeks after Prop 30's passage, not word one in this article about funding education. Apparently, according to both the Governor and the article's author, voters did not vote to fund education but, rather, to help close the State's chronic budget deficit. Congratulations, those of you who voted for Prop. 30. You have been duped yet again.
John B. Greet November 19, 2012 at 06:32 PM
"The Governor's 2012-13 budget proposes to increase spending by 7%. The Governor's spending level is dependent on the Legislature approving a number of spending reductions. According to the Legislative Analyst, without many of the reductions identified in the Governor's budget proposal, spending in 2012-13 will increase 14%. This double-digit growth is fueled by programs such as the state's welfare program which is slated to grow 37% in 2012-13 if no changes are made." http://www.arc.asm.ca.gov/BudgetFactCheck/?p_id=289 There you are, California. During a time when California's budget continues to wallow in debt and deficit, your Democrat governor is *increasing* spending and your newly-elected Democrat supermajorities in the State Senate and Assembly are happily helping him do so. Congratulations! Based upon the choices freely made at the ballot box by a majority of California voters, you truly are getting the government you deserve here!
John B. Greet November 26, 2012 at 09:50 PM
And yet another bit of evidence to help explain why California continues to be in such terrible financial shape... http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/224704
John B. Greet March 08, 2013 at 08:11 PM
Way to go, California! You have joined five Eastern states in losing insurance leader "MetLife" for a total loss of 2600 jobs with average annual salaries of $82k. Your loss is North Carolina's gain! http://www.calwatchdog.com/2013/03/08/metlife-and-another-ca-company-bites-the-dust/
John B. Greet March 08, 2013 at 08:56 PM
Here's a similar story from September 2012. In explaining the 700 job losses in Sacramento, a Campbell's spokesperson said the company is: "taking steps to 'improve supply chain productivity'..." Later on, however, we learn: "Most of Sacramento’s production of soup, sauces and beverages will be shifted to Campbell’s three remaining thermal plants in North Carolina, Ohio and Texas." Interesting....North Carolina again....Texas also. I'm sensing a trend. Too bad the Democrat super-majority in Sacramento doesn't seem able to or, if they do, they don't seem willing to do anything about it. http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2012/09/27/campbell-soup-is-shutting-down-sacramento-plant/
John B. Greet March 08, 2013 at 09:02 PM
And another from last September: "Comcast announced Tuesday it will close all three of its call centers in Northern California because of the high cost of doing business in the Golden State." "According to Comcast, 1,000 Comcast employees, including 300 in Natomas, will see their jobs shifted to the other centers...Those jobs are being moved to places such as Colorado, Washington and Oregon." http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2012/09/25/comcast-to-close-3-california-call-centers-shift-1000-jobs-out-of-state/
Erik Spence March 08, 2013 at 09:39 PM
I am so glad John Greet is out of LB. I hope his computer breaks.... good riddance and please, please take your comments to Idaho!
John B. Greet March 08, 2013 at 09:56 PM
Aww, what's wrong, Erik? Only support the First Amendment when someone is writing things you prefer to read? Can you describe any of the Patch's Terms of Use that you believe I have violated? Rather than whine about the fact that I am commenting, how about trying to refute any of the facts I present?
Erik Spence March 08, 2013 at 10:06 PM
because i have a life dude!!!
John B. Greet March 08, 2013 at 10:21 PM
Ah. So the answer to my question: "Can you describe any of the Patch's Terms of Use that you believe I have violated?" is apparently "no". Thank you. I do not presume to question or impugn you for how you spend your time or live your life. Why do you feel compelled to do so in my case? If you dislike the things I choose to write, or the frequency with which I choose to post them, why not assume some personal responsibility for that and simply avoid reading them?
John B Goode March 08, 2013 at 10:53 PM
I wouldn't be surprised if E.S. is one of those College students (with a major in far eastern dog philosophy) who want his $100,000 tuition to be paid by the taxpayers. The same taxpayers who paid their own way through college.
John B. Greet March 26, 2013 at 03:22 AM
"But there is a very clear and unambiguous line between taxes — regardless of how high they are — and asset seizures. The State of California has taken money from me. Money that I already earned and paid taxes on, and I will not tolerate this act of theft." http://pandodaily.com/2013/03/25/because-of-asset-seizures-i-am-starting-my-new-company-outside-california/
John B. Greet March 29, 2013 at 11:07 PM
"California not only taxes and regulates its economy more than most other states, but also aggressively interferes in the personal lives of its citizens." http://freedominthe50states.org/overall/california
Mike Ruehle March 30, 2013 at 12:15 AM
Why do you care? You live in Idaho.
John B. Greet March 30, 2013 at 04:08 AM
I will always care about the State and the City in which I was born, in which I lived most of my adult life, and which I served for nearly 30 years as a police officer. I care because it saddens me to see such a great and talented people continue to allow themselves to be duped by the same sorts of liberal politicians who have been in power in Sacramento for over 40 years. I care because, while California used to be among the top States on any nationwide ranking, now it is consistently at or near the bottom by almost every measurement. I care because, regardless of where I personally choose to live, my children, other family members, and many friends and acquaintances still live there and I sincerely desire that they one day find a way to gather together in ballot numbers sufficient to reclaim constructive control of their legislature and finally elect people who can make the hard choices necessary to make California the wonder of the nation again. That's why I care. What about you?
Shore Resident March 30, 2013 at 04:18 PM
Why do you post here, Ruehle? You live by the airport.
Mike Ruehle April 02, 2013 at 08:22 AM
Leaving for greener pastures will not protect your outrageous police pension plan now that Stockton's bankruptcy has been granted by the courts. I forecast future precedents generated by this bankruptcy proceedings will have far reaching (all the way to your home in Idaho) impacts that will limit/reduce your CalPERS pension which far exceeds public sector retirement plans. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20130402/us-stockton-bankruptcy/?utm_hp_ref=media&ir=media The reason for Stockton's bankruptcy is because it still owes CalPERS $900 million to cover pension promises (Long Beach owes $1.2 Billion). At issue is whether FEDERSAL bankruptcy code is more powerful than STATE law pension obligations. One way or the other, a precedent will be set that will undoubtedly be watched by the entire contry. Greet opposes California's medpot laws on the basis that Federal law trumps California state law. His favorite expression is, " What part of, marijuana remains illegal as a matter of federal law do people refuse to understand or accept." http://www.lbreport.com/news/mar13/aulamj.htm My next forecast is Greet will demonstrate a flip flop from his previous statements and now argue STATE law should trump FEDERAL law to save his personal police pension plan he enjoys in Idaho. Just one more on a long list of things Greet doesn't like about California.
tiny April 02, 2013 at 03:21 PM
Maybe by moving to Idaho he saw the future ability of the Fed to keep bailing out things unsustainable and caused by the super abundance of irrational exuberance, and so is preparing to hunker down, grow his own food,etc? http://pensiontsunami.com
tiny April 02, 2013 at 04:11 PM
Sacramento's salaries, benefits and borrowing were based on anticipated long-term development fees and increasing property tax revenue, which were severely impacted in mid-2000's in a flurry of foreclosures during the housing bust. Since 2008 most of the quantitative easing has been directed to buy probably near worthless mortgage backed securities from the big banks, (continuing at 45 billion/month), and this is what's fueling housing prices again. But for how much longer?
John B. Greet April 03, 2013 at 01:37 AM
It is really very simple (even Ruehle should be able to understand it). The pension formulas for public safety employees in Long Beach were set long before I earned my badge there. I accepted the job knowing what they were, but not that they might one day become a net burden to City or State taxpayers. The pension challenge Long Beach currently faces did not always exist. Though Ruehle seems ignorant of this, there were several years when PERS earned so much on its investments that it was "super-funded", meaning PERS actually earned more in investments than it paid out to pensioners. This, in turn, meant that Long Beach and other cities paid exactly zero to PERS during those years, actually *saving* the City's taxpayers $millions during that time. Unfortunately some of those investments soured and that combined with the shrinking economy created the pension funding deficits we're seeing today throughout California, including in Long Beach. I refuse to feel guilty (despite that Ruehle seems desperately to want me to) because I served my City honorably for almost 30 years and am now receiving the pension benefit the City agreed to pay me for that service. To ask whether or not City electeds of the day *should* have agreed to the pension formula is counter-productive. They agreed. My colleagues and I then provided our service as *we* promised, thus the City should provide the compensation *it* promised. (more)
John B. Greet April 03, 2013 at 01:53 AM
The City has since recognized that it needs to reduce the pension formulas and has, in fact, done so. POA members (my former "union") were the first City employees to step and agree to these reductions, followed soon thereafter by the firefighters and then, eventually and after much resistance, by the miscellaneous employees (IAM). I based my decision to vacate California on many factors, most of which I listed in this column and in another that I wrote previously. Given the extremely high cost of living in California, it simply made sense to find a place where my monthly budget would go farther. Given the decreasing overall quality of life, particularly in Southern California, it simply made sense to find a place that was far greener, cleaner, less congested, less population-dense, and more civil. Despite my initial intent to not contribute on The Patch any longer, I changed my mind and realized I still had more to say to folks in and around my hometown of Long Beach. Editor in Chief Nancy is not to any degree obligated to continue to publish either my columns or my comments. Like any other columnist here, I submit my offerings to her and she makes the ultimate decision on whether or not to publish them. So long as Nancy kindly continues to publish me, I intend to continue writing here. I will, in any case, continue to comment when and as I see fit, just as Ruehle does.
Mike Ruehle April 03, 2013 at 07:11 AM
Your situation is no different than the many airline employees who lost their pensions after their companies filed bankruptcy. Those pilots and flight attendants also performed their duties in reliance of a compensation promise and contractual agreement that was later judged unreasonable. Your comments appear to interfer California's pension promises should be honored despite what Federal courts decide. Isn't that rather hypocritical coming from a guy who has repeatedly posted on the internet regarding California's medpot laws, "What part of marijuana remains illegal as a matter of federal law do people refuse to understand or accept?" http://www.lbreport.com/news/mar13/aulamj.htm
John B. Greet April 03, 2013 at 02:51 PM
My situation is considerably different. I was a public-, rather than a private-sector employee. I always have and always will respect the rule of law. The 5th Amendment to the federal constitution guarantees, among other things, that: "No person shall be...deprived of...property, without due process of law". Art. 1, Sect. 3(b)(4) of California's constitution makes that same guarantee. Public pension benefits are considered a retiree's personal property. Thus, once vested, they cannot be either reduced or removed without due process. Neither the City Council nor the State legislature can, on their own, make a change such as some suggest. They would each have to ask a court to order it. Which also means I would have an opportunity to address the court on the matter, before such a ruling. If the court ruled against me, I would appeal as far up the judicial food chain as my case would be heard. If I lost all of my appeals, I would accept the removal or reduction of my personal property but I would not be happy about it. Would you be happy if you had fulfilled your part of a legal contract but that the other party failed to, and then took you to court to validate their own failure? I suspect not. Some seem anxious to see the City take back all or a part of vested pension benefits. Can the City also *give* back the decades of service these retirees provided in exchange for those benefits?
tiny April 03, 2013 at 02:58 PM
Faith and Hope. Two necessary realities for mankind.
ROBERT E. FISHBACK April 03, 2013 at 03:23 PM
Hello KGEM country. Went through Boise Summer of 58 on my motorcycle..just 19 then. I spent that stormy night in a tar paper shack motel.. Great bed..listened to old radio with its aerial wire tied around big toe. Picked up KGEM and heard Little Star by the Elegants, Thunder rolling, rain pouring, wind howling, tar paper flapping. A most magical night in Idaho. You miss the best reason of all to leave Cal.....the S.A. Fault..a ticking time bomb....


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something