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Crazifornia: Tales from the Tarnished State - How California is Destroying Itself and Why it Matters to America Paperback – September 12, 2012
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About the Author
Laer Pearce has been helping businesses and local governments weave their way through California's regulatory jungle for 30 years. Sometimes he would like to leave the state - only to realize that he is unemployable in any state that functions well enough to be worth moving to.
Top Customer Reviews
Why did I have a problem with this fascinating book? Because, when I started I did not know how deep the Crazifornia rot ran in the state, nor was I aware quite how infectious the insanity is when it comes to the rest of America. To keep up with the deluge of evidence proving that California is indeed crazy, I repeatedly stopped reading so that I could scratch out little notes to myself: "California's all-powerful bureaucrats are an army of Leftist Rube Goldberg's with guns." "This is a perfect example of voter credulity and bureaucratic overreach." "California takes a legislatively created energy crisis and makes it worse with more legislation." The scariest note I wrote was also the shortest: "As California goes, so goes the nation."
Because California had long been blessed with enormous natural resources and a vital, growing population, it had the wealth to keep the impractical Progressive dream going for decades. It could abs0rb the enormous financial and human losses from almost heroic bureaucratic ineptitude (Chapter 5); laws and regulations that suck the life out of both new and established businesses (Chapter 6); ridiculous educational experiments and an all-powerful teachers union that has little interest in student well-being and education (Chapter 7); environmentalism run amok (Chapter 8); and public sector unions and pensions that have managed to go wherever one ends up when "amok" is a distant memory (Chapter 9).
In lively, humorous prose, Laer tells spins out facts and anecdotes showing a state in thrall to unrealistic visions of an untainted pastoral past, guided by wild-eyed politicians; rigid,power-hungry bureaucrats; and scheming unions. Crazifornia essentially describes a dysfunctional state, one that can best be summed up as a banana republic governed, not by oligarchs, but by a toxic mix of environmental fascists, greedy unions, corrupt or ideology-driven legislators, and all-powerful bureaucrats. But before you get too angry at these jackals, perhaps you should reserve your wrath for the ones who truly deserve it: the California voters.
It's probably too late to save California. Laer tries to inject some optimism at the end of each chapter and in the conclusion to his book he notes that voter patterns might finally be changing (although recent polling data makes me less optimistic). As cities go bankrupt, gas and food prices rise, businesses bail, and the California middle class becomes poor, some of the voters might finally be growing up. Whether they can reverse California's downward trend remains questionable. Laer has some excellent suggestions for getting the political pendulum unstuck from its far Left position, but it will be ugly, and it will have to be carried out by people who have been subjected to one hundred years of California's Progressive propaganda.
When you read Laer's book (and I hope this review has convinced you to do so), you will see that it is a profound morality tale about what happens when America's green, anti-capitalist Progressivism gains the upper hand in government. So remember, only you can prevent the Crazifornication of America.
The Sacramento Delta, however, nearly instantly became an inland saltwater sea. Most of urban and agricultural California had lost its access to fresh water supplies overnight. California's civilization hadn't collapsed after all; it dissolved.
Democracy didn't collapse, either. That is because democracy had already been replaced long before "the Little Big One" had destroyed much of the state's water and transport infrastructure. Instead unelected regional government committees that had merged cities and suburbs for tax sharing had supplanted it.
In the ruins, however, they found a small paperback book: "Crazifornia! Tales from the Tarnished State: How California is Destroying Itself and Why It Matters to America." The author was Laer Pearce, a former war diplomat in the civil wars in California. The book had predicted the disaster that had just happened.
The above science fiction scenario is where author Laer Pearce takes you at the end of his prophetic book of tales of how California destroyed itself. Now that I have ruined the ending of the book for you, however, I am not going to describe Pearce's many tragi-comic stories that lead up to his catastrophic ending.
Like all classic literature, the book tells tales rather than boring with sophisticated public policy analysis, the dryness of a history book, or the escapism of a novel. Pearce's stories are real life. Why write a novel when real life is more unbelievable than a novel? Pearce was involved as a participant in most of the tales he tells. He didn't just read about them on the Internet.
What Crazifornia proves is 15th century political thinker Niccolo Machiavelli's dictum: "nothing good occurs except by necessity." And through some fifteen decades of Progressive rule by both Democrats and Republicans in California there never had been any necessity to change.
I have worked in many capacities in several levels of California government. Pearce provides one of the most accurate descriptions of what ails California that I have ever read:
"A key factor in the demise of California is the state legislature's determination to dodge accountability for the negative effects its progressive actions have on the state's residents and businesses. To do this, the Senate and Assembly have effectively turned California into a technocracy - a government ruled by educated elites who know what's best for the people. It is these technocrats in the state's many large and powerful regulatory agencies, commissions, and boards who actually impose the will of the Legislature through obtrusive and costly regulations and fines that were at best approved only in vague concept by California's elected representatives."
Pearce describes how much of Progressive public policy is geared to take away choice from people and replace it with government mandates. But choice is what defines modernity.
As far back as 1893 California fought against the social change that came with modern society with the coming of the Southern Pacific Railroad. California's counter modernization has continued to this day with 16th century energy technologies (windmills, solar energy mirrors), 18th century modes of transit (light rail and the bullet train), dam removals, and nuclear power plant building moratoriums and shut downs.
California has also embraced a de-modernizing worldview that rejects the Protestant work ethic and market Capitalism for environmental ideology and social movement unionism; that offers choices for the Technocratic Knowledge Class but denies choice to the Business and Working Classes.
I won't spoil telling you about many of Laer's first-person accounts of events described in his book. But allow me to tease you with a set of questions from his stories. Why did the Pasadena Freeway end at the borderline of Pasadena? What is the P.E.E.R axis? On what is California's gasoline tax being spent other than for road repairs? Was the San Bruno PG&E natural gas line disaster merely an accident? Why was the $1.9 billion California Court Case Management System boondoggle ever undertaken in the first place? Were the hippies "birthed" by the CIA? What blood stained political junta did Gov. Brown's wealth come from? Why do owners of restaurants and industrial buildings have to disclose that their workers may have high levels of estrogen or testosterone? Or Pearce's spot quiz question about public transit policy: "do young kids dream of the day they get their driver's license, or the day they get their bus pass?" To get the answers to these questions you have to read his sad comic book.
Then there is the question that has to be asked: how did Pearce come up with the title "Crazifornia" for his book? Pearce says he was using the term on his old blog "Cheat Seeking Missiles" way before the book was written. But it was Pat Mulroy, the head of the Southern Nevada Water Authority who perhaps validated Pearce's characterization of California: "It's hard being next to California. You're so big, so powerful...and so crazy."
Pearce was apparently a stand up comic in another life. He can't help but dot his book with laughable stories like how Gov. Brown was going to cut 3,000 jobs out of a state work force of over a quarter million bureaucrats. Pearce writes that this would be "like a small business with 10 employees, facing a prolonged recession and continuing massive losses, laying off one employee's arm." In reality, 3,000 employees reflect about 1 percent of the work force. But the state Legislative Analyst's Office concluded that Cal-Trans was 15 percent overstaffed.
Read his book for the treasure trove of unforgettable stories most of which you won't find anywhere else. "It's a tragedy, it's a comedy, it's Crazifornia!" (p. 260).
The book deserves an Amazon.com five star rating. It's a quick, fun read. Buy it and hold on for a zany ride. But until the apocalypse perhaps all you can do is laugh and then cry.
As a former resident of that state, I agree, the liberal minded majority there are "collectively" nuts. The larger problem is we have a current administration who agrees with most of these "fairy tale" policies.
People: The United States Government was not formed to take care of you. It was formed to protect you, and give you the freedom and opportunity to take care of yourself.
Please, when voting on policies, presidents, and propositions, remember: You cannot make any "right" by taking a "right" from another. Yes, it really is that simple.
Great book Laer, lets hope the people of this wonderful country wake up.
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