Thursday, July 21, 2011


A new state of South California? It’s about as likely to happen as the current state of California is to balance this year’s budget without using smoke-and-mirrors.

Still, at the end of June Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone proposed a conference to consider forming a new state that would be carved out of 13 counties in Southern California--including Riverside, Orange and San Diego Counties but excluding Los Angeles.

Stone’s secessionist rhetoric was partly motivated by budgetary decisions in Sacramento that diverted around 14-million dollars in 2011-2012 vehicle license fee revenues from four cities in Riverside County: Eastvale, Jurupa Valley, Menifee and Wildomar.

Later at a Board of Supervisors meeting Stone modified his proposal and suggested a summit of city and county officials this fall to discuss problems local governments are facing due to state regulation and appropriation of taxes formerly directed to counties and municipalities.

The Board approved this modified proposal, which is to be funded privately and lacks any reference to Fort Sumter. Stone insisted, however, that secession would still be an option should the conferees fail to discover viable solutions to enduring problems like border security, chronic budget deficits, and economic stagnation.

Since any secessionist reorganization would need to be okayed by both Sacramento and Congress, the chances of it happening are infinitesimally small. But it’s midsummer, and folks can be forgiven for dreaming.

Currently California’s state motto is “eureka”—Greek for “I have found it.” The motto of our new imaginary state could be the Latin equivalent of one of the following: “The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen,” or “SoCal—where humans trump delta smelts,” or “Here ‘illegal’ really means ‘illegal.’”

Other contenders might be “Educating for life, not for interest groups,” or “Love LA? Take I-10 West.”

Stone’s own thoughts about his 13-county political dream are that it would have a part-time legislature, no term limits and strict limits on property taxes.

One wag suggested that the new state’s capital could be in Disneyland. But even the Magic Kingdom would have a hard time topping the fantasies that have emanated from Sacramento during the last two decades.

The same critic added that secession involves “major surgery where we need a Band-Aid”—an analogy whose tepid medical prescription demonstrates the kind of remoteness from economic and political reality that prompted Stone to float the secessionist idea in the first place.

Stone’s midsummer political dream might at least prompt realistic conversations about factors that have made the once Golden State largely ungovernable—factors like entrenched public-sector interest groups, hopelessly gerrymandered legislative districts, and excessive concentration of power in Sacramento.

Thursday, July 07, 2011


It was a week and two days before the fourth of July when the U.S.A. and Mexico squared off in a Gold Cup soccer match. The stadium was packed with fans, the vast majority of whom were supporting the green-clad Mexican squad.

During the American national anthem the boisterous crowd bounced beach balls back and forth and tooted their noisy air-horns. Then throughout the contest a torrent of verbal abuse was reportedly hurled toward the American goalie.

At game’s end Mexico had secured a 4-2 comeback win over their North American rivals. Adding insult to injury, the post-game awards ceremony was conducted almost entirely in Spanish.

The real kicker in this sorry tale of poor sportsmanship is that this prominent event was held in Pasadena’s Rose Bowl.

U.S. goalie Tim Howard, who was doubtless in a sour mood after letting in four goals and being constantly harassed from the stands, directed his anger toward the sponsor of the tournament for conducting the award ceremony almost totally in Spanish: “You can bet your ass that if we were in Mexico City, it wouldn’t all be in English.”

A writer for the LA Times called the night “imperfectly odd…strangely unsettling” and “uniquely American”—displaying in his high-falutin’ prose precisely the political sentiments that have allowed Los Angeles to be transformed in the last five decades from an overwhelmingly Anglo town in 1960 into (in the words of former LA Mayor Jim Hahn) “a Mexican city.”

That demographic transformation wouldn’t be so unsettling if American elites and most teachers in our public school system still believed in the principle enunciated in Latin on our nation’s coins: e pluribus unum--“out of many, one.”

Unfortunately, since the 60s the mantra of multiculturalism has been drummed into the heads of Americans vegetating in classrooms or in front of the boob tube. That ideology goes beyond embracing feelings of ethnic pride to include a fashionable hatred that exaggerates and dwells obsessively on everything that’s wrong with America.

Given this elitist catechism, it’s inevitable that the time-honored practice of assimilation and pride at becoming an American is being replaced by a litany of historical grievances directed against the country in which immigrants (especially illegals) live and work.

Instead of honoring the values articulated in the country’s Declaration of Independence, America is increasingly seen by those who cross its southern border as the land that victimized their ancestors and owes them big-time reparations.

Americans who’ve absorbed this guilt-inducing caricature are loath to require anything of these newcomers and are inclined to interpret evidence of cultural disintegration as “uniquely American.”

In short, multiculturalism, anti-Americanism and lax border enforcement are triplets.