Tag Archive: Californicators


 “San Francisco has many charms, but it is not particularly salubrious. People regularly encountering used drug needles, human excrement and sidewalks full of homeless people when they arrive home late at night at their $4,000-a-month one-bedroom flat in San Francisco sometimes think they might just prefer it elsewhere.” The Economist cover story, “Peak Valley, Why startups are going elsewhere.”  

A median-priced home in the SF Bay Area, including the Silicon Valley, costs $940,000. Where can one find this mid-range beauty?

Scenic Milpitas? Bucolic Sunnyvale? Hip Hayward? Utopia in Union City?

HUD considers a family income of $120,000 in San Francisco to be “low income.” Six figures is “low income”?

The traffic in the Bay Area, let alone Los Angeles, is beyond mind-numbing.

If you like taxes, California is your redistribution nirvana: Income, sales, corporate, property, gas, tobacco, liquor, special assessments, fees, surtaxes, bridge tolls … If it tastes good, it’s taxed.

The Bay Area Council quantitatively revealed that 46 percent of regional respondents want to move elsewhere compared to one-in-three just two years ago.

And where do many consider moving? Portland, Eugene, Bend, Lake Oswego, Ashland … all in Oregon.

The desire of Californians to adopt and embrace Oregon’s superior quality of life at saner prices (e.g., zero sales tax) is not new. What is notable is the disappearance of the term, “Californicators” from the vocabulary of Oregonians.

Are Californicators going extinct?

What happened to this threatened species, which at one time was feared and loathed by Oregonians?

Driving Housing Prices; Compounding Traffic; Polluting Campgrounds

“I urge them to come and come many, many times to enjoy the beauty of Oregon. But I also ask them, for heaven’s sake, don’t move here to live.” – Former Oregon Governor Tom McCall

When the author of Almost DailyBrett first moved to Portland, Oregon in 1990, it was a good idea to remove the California plates from a vehicle as quickly (e.g., two nanoseconds) as possible.

As a former “Californicator,” your author was immediately responsible for all the sins that ailed Oregon. The state’s timber industry was heading in the wrong direction and the national recession hit Oregon hard.

Let’s face it, Oregonians exhibited a pronounced inferiority complex vis-à-vis California with its glorious weather, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, Hollywood entertainers and yummy wineries in Napa and Sonoma Counties.

What Oregonians didn’t seem to appreciate was that times were-a-changing. California was becoming more image than reality. The estimated 9 million more souls (about the size of Michigan), who were projected to move to the Golden State by 2010, actually established residence … and then some.

Californians started commuting longer distances as traffic intensified and as taxes and tempers rose. California is more than Los Gatos, Los Altos, San Francisco, Tiburon, Malibu and La Jolla. The state is also home to hopelessness in Central Valley foreclosure communities including Stockton, Modesto, Fresno, and Bakersfield.

California used to be divided by north (e.g., San Francisco) vs. south (LaLaLand). Today, it is west (e.g., Palo Alto) vs. east (e.g., Visalia).

Doesn’t It Rain in Oregon?

Sure does and Oregonian loved exploiting the rain, dampness and gloom for their own purposes.

And then all the inferiority stopped cold, replaced by a smugness, even a sense that Oregon is superior to California.

Portland as evidenced by Portlandia became the place in which the Dream of the 90s survived.

JASON: “Remember when people were content to be unambitious? Sleep to eleven? Just hangout with their friends? You’d have no occupations whatsoever. Maybe you work a couple of hours a week at a coffee shop?”

MELANIE: “Right. I thought that died out a long time ago.”

JASON: “Not in Portland. Portland is a city where young people go to retire.”

Oregon became synonymous with the Nike Swoosh. The Ducks played twice for the national title, and won their last two Rose Bowls with Marcus Mariota accepting the Heisman Trophy.

Oregon’s Willamette Valley quickly became recognized as the home of some of the best Pinot Gris’ and Pinot Noirs in the world.

The state’s microbrews are literally second to none including: Widmer Hefeweizen (Portland), Deschutes Mirror Bond Pale Ale (Bend), Ninkasi Total Domination IPA (Eugene), Full Sail Amber Ale (Hood River).

The state diversified away from timber to become a leader in high technology, cancer research, and a whole host of service oriented businesses.

The departure of the figurative Californicators from the local nomenclature is both a reflection of the decline of California, but more importantly the growing coolness of Oregon.

https://www.opb.org/artsandlife/article/former-governor-tom-mccall-message-visitors/

https://www.economist.com/briefing/2018/09/01/silicon-valley-is-changing-and-its-lead-over-other-tech-hubs-narrowing

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/07/29/the-death-of-californication/

https://genius.com/Carrie-brownstein-and-fred-armisen-dream-of-the-90s-lyrics

https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_population

 

 

 

 

“It’s the edge of the world
“And all of western civilization
“The sun may rise in the East
“At least it settled in a final location
“It’s understood that Hollywood
“Sells Californication” –
Red Hot Chili Peppers, Californication

They received the same welcome as a swarm of locusts.

Blue Tarp Tenting at Scorpion Ranch on Santa Cruz Island

They polluted campgrounds.

They clogged freeways and roads.

They had the audacity to pay cash, and drove up real estate prices.

They were the dirty, rotten Californicators and they were coming to the pristine Pacific Northwest in droves.

That was the 1990. This is now.

Six Californias, One Oregon, One Washington?

When the author of Almost DailyBrett left California for the first time in 1990, the destination was Portland, Oregon … long before it became known as the city, “where young people go to retire.”

It took awhile, but eventually I learned to answer “Sacramento” when people asked: “Where did you come from?”

Oregonians who immediately equated the word, “California,” with gag-me-with-the-spoon, “San Fernando Valley” didn’t know how to process, “Sacramento.” The “Valley” with its sprawl of cookie-cutter neighborhoods (e.g., Chatsworth, Reseda, Encino) with the Ventura Freeway and Monopoly ranch-style houses epitomized everything that was wrong with California.

Keep in mind, California at the time indeed was a “Great State with a Great Governor.” I proudly worked for that governor, George Deukmejian, for eight years, the most popular California chief executive of the modern era.

Sorry AH-Nold.

One sensed that the resentment for Californicators was born out of envy and jealousy. California has wunderbare Wetter, Silicon Valley, the Napa and Sonoma Wine Country, great beaches, Venice’s weightlifting platform, the San Francisco Giants, USC Trojans, Los Angeles Kings …

Oregon and Washington were recovering from twin economic downturns in forestry and aircraft manufacture (e.g., Boeing in Seattle). The weather changes every five minutes. Hey, check out that sun break before it goes away!

Now the proverbial shoe is on the other foot. California still has Silicon Valley, but the rest of the state is suffering with clogged freeways, skyrocketing housing prices, chronic budget snafus, foreclosures and food stamps. One rich venture capital-type – Harvard-Stanford educated Tim Draper — has even proposed submitting a 2016 ballot proposition to divide California into six states with 12 U.S. senators and scads of House members.

sixcalifornias

Maybe this contemplated action and others in the Golden State are just another tangible sign that the quality of life is simply better in the Pacific Northwest, and everyone knows it.

The End of Californication

“The dream of the 90s is alive in Portland!
“Sleep ‘til 11,
“You’ll be in heaven.” Theme Song for Portlandia

Maybe the Northwest’s now superior quality of life explains the profound change when I moved to no sales tax Oregon for the second time in 2010 to pursue my master’s degree from the University of Oregon in Eugene (e.g., University of California at Eugene).

Naturally, I took immediate steps to get the offending California license plates off my little green chariot. And this time when I  asked where I came from, I simply replied: “Silicon Valley,” even keeping my 408-area code cell phone number to prove it.

Certainly, the Silicon Valley suffers from the same indistinguishable communities (e.g., Milpitas, San Jose, Cupertino, Sunnyvale) and butt-ugly topography that is the case for the San Fernando Valley. The difference is that Silicon Valley is the home of Apple, and UO academic types love their Macs, iPods, iPhones and iPads. They really don’t associate their Apple Kool-Aid consuming cult with California or even (shudder …) corporate America.

portlandia

There does not appear to be even remotely the same California envy and jealousy (save Oregon losing to Stanford in football the last two seasons…the Cardinal visits Autzen on November 1).  Oregon pinot noirs command top dollar. Nike, Columbia Sportswear, Amazon, Costco, Nordstrom, Microsoft, Starbucks are some of the coolest publicly traded companies on the planet.

And just in case you forgot, the Seattle Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers for the right to win the Super Bowl. If you don’t believe me, just ask Richard Sherman.

And if you want to relive the 1990s, retire young, forget all about your fellow Californicators, the Pacific Northwest is just beckoning for you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlUKcNNmywk

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Californication

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/redhotchilipeppers/californication.html

http://geocurrents.info/place/north-america/northern-california/tim-drapers-proposed-six-californias

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_C._Draper

http://cnsnews.com/blog/lars-larson/portlandia-no-joke-city-where-young-people-go-retire

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZt-pOc3moc

http://blog.oregonlive.com/portlandcityhall/2010/12/portlandia_the_place_where_you.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portlandia_%28TV_series%29

 

 

 

 

 

 

“It is long past overdue that these devices of a gas-wasting era were retired.” – Former Sonoma Councilmember Larry Barnett

And to that sentiment, let’s add water-wasting, climate-change contributing and noise-polluting gadgets to the discussion.

pressurewasher1 Want to live in an Oregon tree house?

Ahh…This is the good life. One is surrounded by stately Douglas fir trees, visited by grazing deer, chirping birds, scurrying squirrels and the occasional barn owl or Americana chicken.

Best of all, your neighborhood cares about the environment big time and subscribes to the perils of climate change. If you don’t believe me just check out the front-lawn poetry dispensers or the bumper-stickers on the backs of their non-renewable fuel-burning cars … yep even the Prius’.

Life is just swell in the urban forest that is until it is time for your neighbor to pressure-wash the sidewalk, incinerate tree limbs and branches, blow away the leaves etc. Did we discuss chainsaws? Lots and lots of chainsaws.

leafblower

And each of these (any combo of) water gulping, fossil-fuel burning, carbon-monoxide, nitrous oxide-hydrocarbon emitting, climate-change contributing gadgets could easily compete with Led Zeppelin for volume. The only difference is one can choose when to check out Robert Plant and Jimmy Page; you have no choice when it comes to 7 am Sunday morning pressure washings by your thoughtful neighbors.

Our sidewalks have never looked so good.

Soccer Moms, Mini-Vans, Garage Sales

Before moving north to Eugene, Oregon to pursue an advanced degree, the author of Almost DailyBrett lived in a tacky-tracky, known as “Bird Land” (e.g., Sandpiper Way), in Pleasanton, California.

P-Town is located just over the hill from the Silicon Valley. Some days the community is influenced by the fog from San Francisco and other days the heat from the San Joaquin Valley.

This particular “burb” is flat, which is perfect for bike riding, playing soccer at Pleasanton Middle School or PMS or driving the mini-van (not me) to the next garage sale.

My Monopoly ranch-style residence was surrounded on three sides by five other nearly identical ranch-style houses. Even though our ecosystem was suburban with an occasional raccoon or migrating ducks, it was pleasantly tranquil. In some respects, boringly quiet.

Moving to Eugene after 15 years of making horrific to-and-from commutes to the Silicon Valley, SF Peninsula or The City itself, I was welcoming a change in lifestyle. Would it be bucolic to reside in South Eugene with only the sounds of chirping birds in harmony with nature?

Beware of What You Want

… You may get it.

Second-growth forests are gorgeous. The trees absolutely dig Oregon’s intermittent sunshine (e.g., sun breaks) and about 36-inches of precipitation each year. For the most part, it is neither too cold nor too warm with the annual temps ranging between the 40s and 70s.

Oregonians may grouse about growing traffic, rising real estate prices and polluted campgrounds, but the vitriol about “Californicators” has largely subsided. These progressives are now rightly concerned about global warming and they have the pictures of sad polar bears to prove it.

Words are one thing. Actions are another. pressurewasher

Has anyone ever checked out the specs on a pressure washer, the very same noise polluter that is being used to clean-up a Eugene sidewalk (e.g., first-world crisis)? Let’s see these monsters can put out with incredible force anywhere from 2 gallons to 4.9 gallons of precious water per minute.

Wasn’t there some discussion earlier this year about a drought in much of the Western U.S.? And didn’t the leader of the free world and others point to climate change as the culprit?

Yet these eco-warriors are spraying down their sidewalks, wasting water, and using (gasp) gasoline-powered pressure washers. And where is the exhaust including hydrocarbons from these machines going? Hmmm … into the atmosphere.

Now one can argue that wood chippers, leaf blowers, weed whackers are electric-powered and therefore may be sensitive to one’s ear drums, but maybe not to the planet. The same argument cannot be made with gasoline powered pressure washers and chainsaws.

Yes, some work with trees does require a chain saw and/or a wood chipper, particularly after a major storm. Trees are beautiful, but they are temperamental to a certain extent always reminding us of their presence and urge to reproduce.

Earth Friendly, Low-Tech, Aerobic Devices

Having said that, trees and sidewalks do not require a pressure washer, a leaf-blower or a weed whacker. Has anyone ever heard of the “humble rake,” the “venerable broom” or a dust pan? These low-tech gadgets provide instantaneous aerobic exercise. They do not contribute to climate change. They are virtually silent, therefore not disturbing the deer, owls or neighbors.

rake And yet those who profess deep concern for the plight of Mother Earth are out there with their pressure washers or revving up their chain saws. There is a four-syllable word that begins with…ah…”hip” that immediately comes to mind.

California communities in Los Angeles, Monterey, Marin and Sonoma Counties have taken steps to ban at least leaf blowers or severely restrict their use. Seattle is considering the same.

Would the City of Eugene or Lane County do the same in order to protect the environment and head off climate change? Something tells Almost DailyBrett this ordinance would draw opposition from those who may not be as “green” as they think.

Almost DailyBrett note: The author of this august blog worked for those who used chainsaws to manage forests for four years. He will never be labeled as an “environmentalist.” He will accept the word, “consistent.”

http://sonomacountygazette.blogspot.com/2011/02/leaf-blower-rules-for-sonoma-county.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/how-bad-for-the-environment-are-gas-powered-leaf-blowers/2013/09/16/8eed7b9a-18bb-11e3-a628-7e6dde8f889d_story.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pressure_washer

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chainsaws

State of Excitement

“We want you to visit our State of Excitement often. Come again and again. But for heaven’s sake, don’t move here to live.” – Former Oregon Governor Tom McCall (1967-1975).

mccall

The sun is out. The rain is falling. The steam is rising off the concrete.

It’s just another sunny, rainy, steamy day in the State of Excitement.

Even though McCall and yours truly both earned journalism degrees from the University of Oregon and affiliate with the right side of the aisle, I suspect the dearly departed governor would be unhappy with me.

I moved from California to Oregon.

Yes, I am personally responsible for rising housing costs, freeway congestion and polluted campgrounds…even though I don’t camp. If you don’t believe me, just ask some of the Oregonians who don’t even know me.

Truth be known, I have lived in Oregon (second time) since 2010 and this time around I have not once heard any rhetoric about being a dirty rotten “Californicator.” There is a good reason for this absence of vitriol; the vast majority of Californians – despite the well documented problems in the Golden State – don’t want to move to Oregon.

It all boils down to what the Realtors call: Tradeoffs. Does a Californian want to trade a warm, sunny Mediterranean climate for a lousy temperate weather pattern, but in most instances a better quality of life?

When is it most difficult to live in Oregon? January and February, when the days are short and the weather is damp, cold and wet? Or May and June, when the days are long and the weather is damp, cool and wet?

oregonrain

In Oregon, you expect January and February to be crummy and Mother Nature obliges. In May and June, you are looking forward to summer. Will summer ever come?

California became a state in 1849 largely as a result of the discovery of gold and the Iron Horse. Oregon became a state 10 years later. Long before, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark trudged more than 4,100 miles to discover a soggy spot (Seaside) in a wet place (Oregon).

Periodically, I am asked if I would ever go back to California. Anything is possible, but not probable. Why? Living in Eugene, Oregon is easy. Keep in mind, I have not shed my Type A personality. I will never subscribe to Doris Day’s Que Sera, Sera.

What I have no desire to do again is the East Bay’s Sunol Grade or the San Mateo Bridge and paying $6 for the privilege. The prospect of 45 minutes one-way on a GOOD day or about two hours or more of my time each working day is just not worth it. Life is simply too short to spend more than half-a-day out of each week behind a steering wheel. Oregon gives these hours back to me, every day.

That’s huge.

The other stunning factor of California reality are the real estate prices…$3,500 per month (or more) in mortgage payments or rent and another $1,000 a month for property taxes, let alone utilities…to live in an underwater negative equity McMansion, which serves as the base for your next mind-numbing commute. That’s a price that I do not want to contemplate, let alone pay.

My South Eugene tree house is valued just north of $300,000 and I own it outright. If you magically transported and dropped my house in Silicon Valley, it would be worth about $1.3 million. Maybe, some Silicon Valley stock-option millionaire could bail me out of my mortgage prison and set me free…or maybe not.

I have been there; done that.

Shhh!!! There are days in Oregon when the sun shines, the air is warm and skies are blue. When these days arrive…and they do…Oregonians (yes, I am proudly one of them) head out on the trails, barbecue on our decks, sit under Douglas fir trees…and marvel at the wonders of life.

We have seasons, real seasons. In LA, it was overcast in the morning, hazy sunshine in the afternoon, highs in the 80s or 90s; lows in the 50s and 60s day-in, day-out for months on end. I refused to breathe any air that I couldn’t see.

Give me the deer grazing under the deck of my house. Give me the leaves falling in football season and the Autzen Stadium tailgate party. Give me the longer days of spring and everything blooming. Winter is a drag, but with very little (if any) snow.

There are tradeoffs between Oregon and California. Yogi Berra said that when you come to a fork in the road, “take it.”

I have done just that.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_McCall

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_and_Clark_Expedition

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Que_Sera,_Sera_%28Whatever_Will_Be,_Will_Be%29

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