On Returning to California

I grew up in California. The suburbs of San Francisco, to be precise.
My parents live there. Many of my friends from both child- and adulthood live there. I have lots of memories of growing up there — it’s a wonderful area with wonderful people. Lots of history in San Francisco.
Rarely does a week go by when I’m asked “Hey, Pete…when are you moving back?”
And every time, my answer is “Never, if I can avoid it.”
Don’t get me wrong — I’ll come back and visit frequently. After all, I have friends and family there. It’s only a 2 hour flight or about a 12 hour drive. Not bad at all. If I had the money, I’d come back to visit all the time. I miss my family and friends dearly, and I miss the salt air of the Bay Area (Arizona has very little moisture in the air). I miss the diverse restaurants, the people, and sitting on a pier watching the ships go by. There’s a lot I miss about California, particularly San Francisco.
But unless something big changes, I won’t move back there.
I see no reason why I should live in (and by means of taxes, support) a state that restricts, regulates, and taxes every conceivable aspect of my life. Whether it’s small issues or big ones, California and I disagree on just about everything. For example:

  • I cannot register my car for more than one year in California. In Arizona, I can register it for several years and can do this simply and easily from my home.
  • California requires a special California-only blend of gasoline to be sold in the state. This, combined with high taxes on gasoline, makes gasoline extremely expensive. (The state, which doesn’t contribute anything to the production of gasoline, makes more money from the sale of a gallon of gasoline than the oil companies who actually do all the work.)
  • Outrageous gun laws (registration, licensing, no private transfers, restrictions on guns with certain cosmetic features, no .50 BMG, right-to-carry is highly restricted and “may issue” [read: “won’t issue”, no NFA [I’d have to sell my silencer and abandon my plans to buy a machine gun. Not gonna happen., etc.]).
  • Outrageous cost of living. A 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo in a nice Phoenix suburb costs about $165,000 (my girlfriend bought one about two years ago). That same condo in the SF Bay Area costs about $800,000 last time I checked. No f***ing way is it worth that much.
  • Outrageously high taxes. I don’t have a problem with reasonable taxes (maintaining roads, police, fire, etc.), but California takes it way too far. I could find far better and more productive uses for the 20%-30% of my income that California would otherwise take.
  • California is filled with people that believe government is the solution to, rather than the source of, most problems.
  • The state government doesn’t know how to budget their own money, and is billions of dollars in debt. Why should I trust them with my own money?
  • Not-insignificant risk of major earthquake. Arizona is one of the safest states to live in terms of disasters…all that happens here is that it gets really hot during the summer, and there’s a few months of heavy rain. No hurricanes, no earthquakes, no tornadoes…just heat and rain. No big deal.

In short, California doesn’t trust me to be a responsible individual, and thinks that it knows how to run my life better than I do.
Until that changes, I’m not even going to consider moving back.
I’d much rather live in a state where it’s affordable to live, doesn’t place nonsensical restrictions on the types of guns I own, how I store them, or where I carry them, doesn’t care what kind of vehicle I drive (so long as it’s not a grossly polluting vehicle), and generally keeps its nose out of my business.

5 thoughts on “On Returning to California”

  1. Which suburb of San Francisco? I was born in Pacifica (okay, I was actually born over by Oakland, but we were living in Pacifica), then had a couple of quick address changes in San Mateo and Redwood City before my family settled down in Belmont when I was in 1st grade. Stayed there until after I got married.
    I’ve got three children living around Sacramento, and still wouldn’t move back there unless I had no other option.

  2. TheGunGeek: The San Mateo/Burlingame area. If you find yourself heading back there around Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Years, let me know as I’ll be in town visiting family.

  3. There’s a chance we’d head up to Sacto for one of the holidays, but there’s not much in the San Mateo area to draw me back. Even my father and step sister moved up to Sacratomato.
    So, if you ever went into the Hobbyville store (on El Camino at basically the Burlingame – San Bruno border) around 1976 or so you probably would have seen me.
    I ended up having a bunch of friends in San Mateo and San Bruno. Finished high school (Carlmont in Belmont) in 1979 to give you an age perspective.
    Oh, and if you were LDS back then I’m sure we would have met…

  4. Ah, then it’s unlikely we’ve met — I’m a mere 25 years old, so I doubt very much I would have run into you at the Hobbyville store in 1976. 🙂
    If you find yourself in the Tucson region sometime, feel free to drop me a line.

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