Thursday, April 23, 2015

The California Drought - Why should we care?

Like the song says, "All the gold in California, is in a bank in the middle of Beverly Hills, in somebody else's name". (I feel I must interject here that they not only bankrupted the state repeatedly using "trickle down/voodoo economics policies" instituted by Reagan and every GOP legislator that followed, then Schwarzenegger did the same. Their actual policies amount to "Spend, lie about how much we are spending, and let the rest of the population worry about it after we leave office.")
California has long been going in and out of needing federal assistance for years to run the most expensive experiment in social democracy that we have in any state - other than Vermont, which makes all their programs work, autonomously through higher taxes.
But, one of the things we have to say is their average citizens do make MORE MONEY per capita, that goes into the economy, than ANY of the red states, and almost more than all of them combined. Lots of the wealthy have at least one home there (Including the elite of the GOP, like Mitt Romney's houses with car elevators.), and it is the state that encompasses most of the movie industry and the original home of most of the original tourist traps along the roadside. That would include Santa's Villages everywhere, the Winchester Mystery House, Hearst Castle, Knott's Berry Farm, Disneyland, the San Diego Zoo (and the entire Balboa Park Area, complete with HUGE lawns and flower gardens.) , and who can forget San Francisco, with the world's best public transit systems (San Diego MTS also features busses going from any stop every 15 minutes from lower L.A. County to the Mexican Border.)? They also have freeway systems that contain the most comprehensive infrastructure to rival most any place in the world.
But inevitably, the question always comes down to how much it costs to live there, the cost versus wages in the whole state, etc. It is an expensive place to live so wages there are about one and a half to two times the rest of the country.  While some, in other states, clammer for California wages, they don't want to live there because of the cost of California real estate seems unaffordable to anyone who doesn't live there and the driving time to commute for many people is longer, not to mention rush hour traffic.
Now, down to the real question that I 'selfishly' asked myself, while not considering global responsibility and compassion for others less fortunate (?) as a practicing Buddhist should, about California. I realize that most of California isn't just wealthy selfish out of touch morons as citizens, but should some of them start being more responsible? Let me weigh that in comparison to my own responsibility.
OKAY NOW! It occurred to me today that when we have problems in the rest of the country - that they don't seem to effect California in the same way. So, when we have problems, they (the California elite) pretty much ignore them, until/unless it effects them. This recent drought is no different. The latest joke going around Facebook and Twitter about this is that they only seemed to notice the drought when their huge lawns started to suffer. There is even an old song about rain in California, saying that it doesn't rain, it pours. Lead Republicans in that state have started ignoring the call by their wealthiest donors, the Koch Industries brothers, to ignore and even deny climate change, in light of the fact that now, THIS IS effecting them personally/directly. But still, not much action is being taken by the elite in California.
The governor, Jerry Brown, started a petition site to deal with this and here is what I think about that:
The same people who want to deny that climate change is happening, now have to explain to themselves why California is facing the worst drought they have ever had. When it happens in Arizona, they always say, "Well, it's mostly desert in Arizona, you can expect that there", and ignore it. Now, even the California governor is calling for some water resource preservation policies. There is a petition going around which is asking the legislature to quit allowing the Nestle Bottled Water plants in CA to desist hoarding all the clean water while there is a drought. I signed the petition at and left my own comments. I said, "The fact that these people want to "profitize" clean drinking water is disgusting enough. Now they want to hoard water for profit during a drought. They don't have any more right to it than the public. Water rights in most states where there are rural areas, as California also has, have laws protecting the right to access to drinking water for their livestock and crops. With the draught going on, this is twice as disgraceful. Let them find a real job and quit screwing the public over advertising and packaging a "natural resource" that everyone else needs. Between the bottled water industry and the "fracking" idiots and the other polluters (mostly Koch industries), we will no longer have any clean water soon. If this continues, our legislative system will be the next thing citizens demand to be reformed, like health care, or else you can continue with your system of everything being 'profitized', including YOUR JOBS, and then you legislators can pay to make laws and change the historical direction of things - the way the Citizens United Bill allows."
Was I being too rough on them in light of their tragedy? Is it too much to ask citizens to care about citizens' problems when the legislators that are asking for our help are just now acknowledging something that the majority of us have been saying for decades? I signed the petition because I care. Will that solve the problem? No, but it shows that someone outside of California cares about them.
I suggest you do the same, although you can go with your own conscience.
Have a nice day.
Arizona Mildman