Thoughts from a Recovering Californian

by Anne Mason

Photo by Joshua Sukoff on Unsplash

It’s been 20 months since we left California, and I’m still peeling off layers.

My heart was in San Francisco

I had lived in the SF Bay area since 2004, when I first moved to San Francisco. Wow, did I love that once beautiful city by the bay, with its European feel, hip culture, Mediterranean climate, and more. The city was a “happening” scene, and I was a short walk or drive to the ocean beaches, the redwood forests, the snowy mountains or the tranquil rivers. Every corner you turned was a new, magnificent vista. I loved my work and colleagues, made great friends, and was always meeting new and interesting people from all over.

It was a short hop down to SoCal, and I frequently made a weekend of it to spend on the world class beaches and warm water in the San Diego area where my sister was raising her family. Work brought me into the Hollywood studios, and I got to visit with and hang out with friends from all over the world who had eventually made their way to Los Angeles. My husband and I met on a flight from San Diego to San Francisco, where he also lived. We had a blast together making the most of all the city had to offer, then moved across the Golden Gate Bridge to Marin County once we started our family.

Fairyland across the bay

Marin was another type of paradise. It had been developed very consciously, so that its natural beauty was preserved. The land hadn’t been razed and cleared for development. Instead, the neighborhoods were built around and within the trees, mountain and foothills, and saturation was deliberately prevented. Most residents had a very short walk to acres of forested trails, lakes and streams, and the trail just outside our backyard led to breathtaking vistas, edible and medicinal plant gathering and natural wildlife all around. Our little town alone boasted 4 waterfalls.

Our son had been born in our apartment in San Francisco, and our daughter was born in our house in Marin. Our community seemed so like-minded, into natural health and living, focused on consciousness raising and metaphysical awareness. My husband walked to work, where he operated his business out of offices in our little downtown. Bumper stickers were sold that referred to our town as “Mayberry on Acid,” if that gives more of a picture.

It was idyllic. For a time.

And then it wasn’t. We had to leave.

What happened?

So many of us––those who have left, those who are leaving, and those still there––are still trying to put the pieces together, trying to unravel the “unraveling,” trying to understand it, trying to explain it. Yes, the political environment is responsible for much. The socioeconomic policies and environmental regulations that were gradually being implemented over the last few decades there––which exponentially accelerated the last few years––have dramatically transformed the California that once was. And the Covid lockdowns and policies over the last two years took it beyond what any of us really could imagine. But there was something there, already underlying the culture, which facilitated all of that, permitted all of it.

And it isn’t until one has been living out of it for awhile, experiencing the cultures of other states, that more of the subtle differences become apparent.

Where to go?

When we decided to leave, we were planning on moving out of the country. We couldn’t imagine that it could be that different anywhere in the States, and we were planning to move to Belize when we put our house on the market two days before CA Governor Newsom implemented the first “shelter-in-place” in the country in six SF Bay area counties, ours being one. Everything changed for us, our business went dead, the Marin real estate market went dead, Belize borders closed. We changed course and expectations, sold the house for less than planned and spent a year in Idaho near the Montana border. A few months ago, we found our permanent home in beautiful Texas Hill Country.

I’ve commiserated with friends who have left. Many have settled in Idaho, Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arizona, Montana, Arkansas, Alabama––and here in Texas. Everyone I talk to has gone through a similar process of awakening. Waking up to how much more messed up it was back there than we had even realized.

Living in California had changed me

I hadn’t realized, until I had lived elsewhere for some time, that I had learned to operate under the assumption that I couldn’t trust folks to follow through on their commitments. That there was always an underlying assumption that folks usually had an ulterior motive when being helpful. I hadn’t realized until I lived in a place in which folks truly value character, kindness and friendship, that I had been living in a place which prioritized material status and image. I hadn’t realized until I lived in a place with a healthy distrust of authority, that I had been living in a place with an almost religious reverence for government.

I hadn’t realized how much focus was on passing the buck and playing the blame game in California until I lived in a place in which people owned up to their mistakes. I hadn’t realized how indirect and passive the day-to-day communication was in California until I lived in a place where people were so straightforward and tell it like it is. And I hadn’t realized how narcissistic and selfish the culture was there until I lived in a place where people truly want to be of service.

Goodness for goodness’ sake

I am so grateful for the standard of humanity I have found here. I get the sense that folks here are honest, helpful, kind and generous, not because of how it will look to other people, but because it is the right thing to be, because they honor themselves and others too much to behave or conduct themselves otherwise. Whereas a culture pervaded the area I lived and worked in California in which folks would often behave in any manner they could get away with––while virtue signaling their supposed regard for others with “We Believe…” signs in their front yard.

We have made so many friends, met so many cool people––folks who think for themselves, folks who think outside the box, folks who don’t care what skin color or gender you are. I have never been made so aware of race, gender, sexual orientation than when I lived in the “anti-racist” SF Bay Area.

You do yours and I’ll do mine

We don’t wear masks anywhere. The folks that do wear masks don’t seem to project any hostility or concern about those who don’t. Morality isn’t wrapped up in people’s choices surrounding Covid. Ever since I left California, folks have always shaken hands, hugged in greetings, exhibit no fear of one another. And there just seems to be a high regard and respect for individual choice, in general. There is a tolerance, an acceptance, a generally charitable attitude toward others I find here in Texas––and in Idaho––which is very different than the judgmental, condemning attitudes I was accustomed to back in California.

The SF Bay Area culture prides itself on an identity of tolerance, diversity and large mindedness. It is quite the opposite in practice. But I didn’t feel its full impact until I moved to an area which is truly diverse in ideas and people. And the fierce individualism at the heart of this culture naturally sustains a tolerant regard for others’ individual expression, practice, choices. Where conformity isn’t the virtue, other traits like honesty, generosity, kindness, sincerity and responsibility weave the social fabric.

There is a world outside California…and it’s better!

California is beautiful on the outside, but seems to have rotted from within. We have not been back to visit since we left, and we have no desire to return, even for a short stay. Most of our friends still living there have come to visit, and more still plan to––as they all need a respite and healthy dose of sanity from time to time. Others will stop by on their frequent recon trips to different parts of the country as they search for a new homeland.

We live in an astonishingly beautiful country. There is a kind of prideful lament among Californians that they can’t leave, because nowhere has as beautiful a landscape and weather––and the outdoor lifestyle that facilitates. Beauty abounds in every state––from purple mountain majesties and sea to shining sea. And at half the price!

If you are still living in California and are struggling with the decision to leave, realize that not only is there a better world outside California, it is better than you can even imagine. Freedom awaits you all over––freedom to experience a different standard of humanity, and freedom to exercise your own.

**1/2/22 –– I have written a response to the many commenters concerned that folks like me will turn their state into California ––Anne Mason

70 thoughts on “Thoughts from a Recovering Californian

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  1. Hi Anne, I feel like you read my mind. We are in the exact same boat. We moved from the SF Bay Area to Austin, TX in July 2020, about 1 1/2 years ago. We had already decided to leave back in Dec. 2019 right before the pandemic. It was the hardest decision ever as I had to leave all my family (parents, sisters and their kids) behind. We are happy to be here and we realize with time that we made the right decision, especially knowing what California has become. I worked at the SF Civic Center for 31 years. We lived in Marin. It was really hard to give up the beautiful Marin. We still miss the beaches but we know we got out just in time.
    My biggest heartache is how my 3 sisters have turned on me. They are pro-vaccine and they don’t believe in what we believe in. I am from a Chinese family and my husband is white. They think that he influenced me and they think that I am making a big mistake. We went back to California this past summer 2021 and I could not even step foot in their homes. I had to visit my parents outside in the front porch of the house. They are so afraid that we would give them Covid. It made me so sad. They are all vaccinated so why are they so afraid? Isn’t the whole point of being vaccinated is so they wouldn’t catch it? We should be the ones to be afraid but we are not. And it isn’t like they are not educated either. One is a pharmacist, one is a Civil Engineer and one is a medical doctor. But they are so afraid that we would give Covid to my parents. The only reason we went back was to see my parents. They are old. I feel so bad to not seeing them more often but I don’t know if we will go back next summer.

    1. I feel for you and your family. So far, I’m lucky my family respects my views. I was in Lowes without a mask in Poway CA, a woman wouldn’t go across me even though she had a mask, apparently her mask doesn’t work unless I had one one. It’s absurd and terrible how people don’t think for themselves. I hope your family comes around to being reasonable.

    2. That’s tough! Family in our current times is difficult. I’ve experienced similar attitudes from the pro-mandate crowd. My wife and I were pretty much forced to get the jab (military). But it’s amazing how they think forcing a mandate or losing a career/life is acceptable. I cannot wait to get out.

      1. We moved to Hill Country six months ago but are currently in SoCal for the holiday. It is unbelievable here how everything on TV is about covid or diversity as if everyone hasn’t had enough of the nonsense. Looking forward to getting back to Texas and Sanity

  2. LOL. You act as if you were the first to recognize this. Not being a native Californian I can tell you with 100% certainty that the outside of California has always been what you just now realize. Yes, California has fallen even deeper to self centered and selfish place. But, it is in FACT do to the policies coming from the political Left. There is an ignorance and arrogance that abounds and people have become controlled, lost, and clueless. Just as you pointed out, it is all just a front to somehow feel better. Sadly many like you, with their epiphany, will speak of their newly found appreciation only to carry with them the very same deep seated attitude and continue to do and vote the same way that destroyed the very place they came from. Maybe think about how it got that way. It was in FACT the vote of the people in California!! ✌️

    1. Most people leaving CA vote Red and are leaving for the reasons she stated and it is awesome she woke up. Maybe not knock that and instead be thankful and hopeful that more will wake up and we collectively can save this country.

    2. Hey Monte, not every person in Ca. votes blue! Unfortunately, due to my child situation, I can’t leave the state. If I did, I surely would not bring Nancy Pelosi with me! LOL That’s what I would flee from. I know that happens, that some of these leftest idiots continue to try to bring in their political views they left behind. Not everyone though, because that what it sounds like you’re saying. I’ve been a conservative since I was old enough to reason! I was born and raised in Ca.,So I don’t need you to tell me how it got screwed up. Your attitude about others is exactly what got my good friend run off the road three times. He is right as right can be, God fearing and an excellent human being. Yet, because he hadn’t changed his plates fast enough, Idahoan’s gave him the how do yo do, multiple times.

  3. So you kept up with the Jones’ instead of being true to yourself? If someone shows compassion towards others it’s simply virtue signaling? Sounds like the bigger issue is within yourself and you should seek therapy to help heal whatever it may be.

    1. Monica, your judgement shows a lack of understanding of growth and evolution. If she and her husband chose to move because their family was growing and they wanted a more sought after area, why does that make her not true to herself. You don’t this woman’s intentions, mind or soul.

    2. We left in August 2021 it was the best move for our family. The schools are better, with a focus on education not what the right is brainwashing kids with in California. The best thing my 12 yr old daughter said to me after being here 6 months was that friends here are real.

  4. I agree, it’s the liberal democratic vote that started the internal rot in California. If you leave and take that mind set with you, you will only spread that rot across our nation.

    1. We left the Bay Area in 2000 and moved to the Texas Hill Country. Even then the difference was astounding. Texas people were nicer, schools for our kids were superior in every way, a fraction of the crime, cost of living 1/2 what we were used to, and just all around better in every way.

    2. Oops Monica got triggered lol.
      Great article. Fuck the negative comments. It’s “your” story and yours alone. Yes, there are many similar stories, but this one is yours. Thanks for sharing and vote red! Signed… jealous because I’m still stuck in California for a bit. 😀

      1. Ha ha, nope. Not triggered in the least. I also don’t participate in the dumb and incredibly divisive “one party” voting line. No politician or party should be touted as your savior. At the end of the day they all suck but choose each one based on their running platform, not the letter behind their name. Stop feeding into this 2 party idea that is ultimately what is destroying America.

        1. Monica, so you don’t believe in the two-party idea; you don’t believe in a “one party voting line.” You only seem to believe in “compassion.” Which would be the same compassion that drove the actions that led to the destruction of the state. You sound like many people I know in SF: embracing all the nutty ideas of the radical Left, and having no guts or honesty (or maybe even intellect) to admit it, and pretending to be simply moderate or “toooolerant”

    3. We who never ever voted for Commiefornia nonsense, who were born and raised here, don’t want to leave the people and places we love. Do you? Would you? When would You have divorced your love and security? I finished my career, am waiting for my pension checks, then ripping out my heart for home and family, my little grandkids, to go live in a “normal” place alone, without all I love, but with a more genuine society.
      I feel angry this nation thinks I/We, voted for any of this.

  5. Thank you for putting into words what I’ve been feeling, we left Pasadena,Ca. After 57 years of L.A. life. We moved to Pawleys Island,S.C. And can’t believe how amazing it is here.

  6. I left California in October of 2019. My destination was Annapolis, MD. My reasons for leaving were very much the same as others on this discussion thread, but I found better employment, a lower cost of living, and the fact that my son lived in Annapolis and was stationed working at the Naval Academy. He told me I would really like Annapolis and Maryland in general, and in certain respects I did. But unfortunately, after over two years here, I have found the people here to be much Iike the pretentious virtue-signaling woke leftists of California, with their attitudes of self-righteousness,
    and phony moral superiority.
    Like California, Maryland abounds in natural beauty with it’s proximity to the Chesapeake Bay, but its cities which are politically run by left wing nut-jobs and the Black Mafia, are a complete mess. Crime, (especially in Balitmore) is completely out of control, with no solutions or end in sight. The nation’s worst school districts are here in Maryland. Also, the horrendous traffic adds to the declining quality of life.
    I want to leave for a “fly-over” red state, where life is normal for law-abiding citizens.

    1. MD and Baltimore have always been a hot mess. I grew up there.( born in the late 60’s ) GET OUT while you can. The place is a Petri dish for social engineering narratives. I left at 18 and life has been much better since.

  7. Anne, I hope you realize that it was the political stranglehold that infects all the major population areas by one political party, Democrat, that was the source of your descent into discontent. Otherwise, you just may turn your new state into the same spiral into hell on earth.

  8. As a person who was born into the culture you describe arriving to and having lived in Cali from 96-07, I know our culture is a surprise. It is easy to be seduced by Californias beauty and easygoing holistic lifestyle that beauty can spawn, and then succumb gradually to the socialism that creeps into that culture, as that culture is truly tolerant. Hell, it wasn’t that long ago that Pete Wilson was Governor! I tried change from within socially and by voting while I was there, but the machine was already in place by then, and I got back home while the getting was good.

    One thing I ask you state-ex-pats (Cali is truly now it’s own country, with the benefits of receiving money from DC like other foreign countries) that feel the same way as the author; do some serious self and political reflection. Did this culture of real tolerance and courtesy, of recognizing material things one is blessed with as something earned and representative of work and not keeping score, of trust in your fellow community members come from policy? And if you can answer that in the affirmative, is that not true about the culture of distrust, intolerance, and material things provided by the state for simply existing without contribution (except for their vote) that you just left? There is a reason the places you have been moving to are constantly the subject of a focused press and government gaslight campaign and an indoctrination campaign to your children in their schools. There are simply better places to live and raise a family, and they know that.

    To you all, I extend a heartfelt welcome back. Being part of a culture (and it is a culture attack, folks) that recognizes your rights to think differently than me, I will not shame you or participate in cheating you out of your vote. But I will ask that if you really enjoy this culture, please vote accordingly. And not necessarily by party; many Red States have their share of GOP fence straddlers who will appeal to your sense of decency while campaigning, and then use your vote to maintain status quo. Vote people, use primaries. It is very important to vote locally; one only had to see how the FedGov attacked your say at school board meetings by siccing the Justice Dept and it’s FBI on you and those like you, labeling you as domestic terrorists. Look at Virginia. Follow that example.

  9. Born and raised in California. Lived there for 64 years. Lived in our little town of Hemet since 1989 till the out of control homelessness and crime that has invaded California finally reached our town too. Thankfully we were able to raise our girls before it got too bad. Sold our home and are now fulltime RVers. Became residents of South Dakota with an amazing Governor who believes in the people and respects their freedoms. Have traveled to Florida and back a few times on the past two years and we can definitely tell when we are in a democrat run state!

  10. California happened as increasing levels of personal responsibility and community engagement were handed off to government agencies. As perceived “problems” are handed off to government, someone’s freedom is curtailed. And as government is asked to do more, the costs of supporting the ever growing government skyrocket. One party rule means diversity of ideas is reduced and there are few checks over those on the parties political extremes. A powerful alliance between party, public employee unions and the media firmly cements the party’s total control over all aspects of life. California happened one election at a time, be mindful when voting in your new home, especially when the vote is to expand the scope of government, no matter how small it might seem.

  11. Please don’t California any Red state you or anyone else moves to. If you Vote for the same party that destroyed your previous state then you are a stupid fool

  12. My husband and I moved from Northern California to Southwest Idaho. We saw our red area turn blue especially with virtue signaling. I was ignorant because we didn’t believe in the mantras in the form of signs, bumper stickers, flags, and the hatred of those who loved all people, who believed in our country, and who always cared for others, not just to signal how virtuous we were. A fakeness and judgemental attitude has overtaken CA! I love all my new neighbors here and we get together often to have good, open conversation. American flags fly all around. People don’t care about your race, your religion, or your sex. There is a sense of community like I have never experienced except as a kid when living on military bases. I ❤️ my Idahome.

  13. Anne,
    Just briefed your past writings. Will be interesting to watch as your views change regarding life outside of California. Being a long time Texan, we have already witnessed the onslaught of newcomers to our beautiful state. Texan’s have always been known for their hospitality, big hair, real cowboys, and down to earth wisdom.

    In my opinion your move to the Austin, or the Hill Country area is just a minimal adjustment to what some of us regard as the new California. To experience the real Texas step outside of your comfort zone and visit some of the places that make our state great!

    Best Regards,
    DLBeeman

  14. Anne,
    Hope you find your peace in the Hill Country. I’ve had the unique experience of living there and commuting back to SoCal during college breaks to visit my dad. This was all in the late 70s, but the writing was already on the wall. Kept this up all the way to today. Texas is much the same as it was then, but CA has become a lost cause.

  15. If you’ve actually learned, you’ll know that Californians were the problem, not California. If you bring the same ideology and voting to Texas, you’ll ruin it too.

    1. People are leaving because they do not believe in the STATE in which they are in. Period. Homelessness in major cities if truly frightening. Creating shooting galleries, is adding to the addiction not helping the addiction. Allowing sleeping on the sidewalks is not a right, it is a disgrace. I would not allow a dog to be on the street – let alone a child or a helpless woman. Protecting of locking your car or front door is allowing safety and privacy. NO one ever should tell you what to do or when to do it. If you are not sick and tired of being sick and tired, then anyone has the right to leave and create their own heaven on earth….wherever that may be. Just don’t tread on a city street that children and mothers are expected to walk on and get their child to school, safely.

  16. Thank you for writing this. You perfectly articulated what we’ve been feeling (and experiencing) for years. We left CA in 2003 and moved to Fort Collins, Colorado, where we raised our daughters. Unfortunately, CO experienced an influx of Californians in subsequent years who changed to the political orientation of the state, especially in Fort Collins, which essentially became Boulder North. In 2014, we moved to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and absolutely love it here for all of the reasons you so eloquently stated. Our (now) adult daughters live in Idaho too!

  17. As a native Californio born in the 1950’s I have watch my state turn full Communist.

    Like bacon their will not be any for sale in a few weeks due o some arsine law that took effect on the first.

    Gas on Oahu is $3.65 and has to be brought in by barge from California. Gas at the closet station down the street from my house is $5.29.

    That is $1.43 difference, that said the gasoline that goes to Oahu and to my local station comes from the same refinery about 30 miles from my house.

    The idiots in charge released hardened criminals from prison and refuse to prosecute for new crimes.

    But law biding citizen’s are not allowed to have guns like AR15’s to protect them selves.

    Ever watch Walking Dead well instead of Zombies it is gang of criminals terrorizing people but you will not see it on the news.

    NEVER EVER VOTE FOR A DEMOCRATE IF YOU LOVE FREEDOM

  18. Congratulations on becoming “true woke” and welcome! Don’t pay any attention to the few here that are bashing you for not awakening sooner. We’re glad to have you and, like the apostle Paul, sometimes the biggest advocates for a cause were those who had the biggest transformation. My story is similar. Although I’ve always been a conservative/libertarian/right wing, living in Seattle my entire life, I was still blind to how insipid the left is and that, unfortunately, most within the Republican Party are little better than Democrat-Lite. We managed to escape to North Idaho in Oct 2020 and one can never really know how truly horrible places like SF and Seattle have become until you leave. God Bless and, as you alluded to, politics is downstream from culture. Keep up the good fight preaching the freedom gospel as, unfortunately, a lot of folks from California, unlike you, haven’t connected the dots and will bring their policies with them.

  19. You are clearly bright, observant and curious. Have you figured out ‘why’? Why they believe character matters, and being honest is paramount, and why they care for their brothers and sisters in their community?

    It’s not their politics – it’s above that.
    It’s their culture. Where is their culture formed? In their faith and in their churches.

    California is a Godless place. (I left at the same time you did.) Hence their ‘faith’ in government. Hence character being shaped by what the law will enforce and what is politically acceptable. Hence their love of their beautiful environment as the highest form of worship.

    Californians (not all) don’t believe in anything more enduring than Half Dome or Big Sur. They don’t believe in any authority higher than their Governors emergency edict.

    Your new neighbors know God transcends nature and that is the authority to whom they answer. So they are kind, caring and compassionate in deed not just word.

  20. Thank you all for reading and contributing to the discussion with your thoughts and concerns. I have written a brief response in reply to those concerned that folks like me will turn your state into California and have included a link to it at the end of the article: https://sacredosiris.com/2022/01/02/to-those-concerned-i-and-folks-like-me-will-turn-our-new-state-into-california/

    While I did not devote much time or language in the article to the political climate of California, I can assure you that I and others like me––those of us who have uprooted our entire lives to move our families to a better place––are not coming to your state to recreate California. On the contrary, many of us (including myself) have spent years attempting to transform the political climate of California through legislative and campaign efforts, and only decided to finally leave upon realizing that the supermajority control there constitutes a perpetual one party rule.

    Yes, we were naive. Yes, we had been a part of the problem before we woke up. But wake up we did, and we fought to turn back the tide. We figured it out too late. But we will be the last folks who will sleepily let it happen in our new state. And we will do it with more than just our vote. We understand where it happens––from the local level on up to state. We will be watching. We will be getting actively involved. We will do everything we can to prevent what happened to California in our new states.

    Thank you for taking the time to read the original piece, and to express your concerns and perspective. While we may be coming at it from different experiences, perspectives, backgrounds, we share the same concerns. Let’s work together to keep these still great states great.

    ––Anne Mason

  21. I suspect that the author was actually embracing and voting for the garbage ideas that destroyed California while living in SF. I’ve lived among Marxist wannabes for 30 years now. I recognize the code.
    My prediction? In 10 years’ time, you won’t be able to find a person willing to admit they were a leftist voter.
    .

  22. I was raised by two Parents, who had values and morals of goodness to do what is right. The culture and neighbors were on board with same and likeminded attitudes and behavior. God, family and compassion were not a California thing, but a kindness towards others. Somehow, living in this world of anything goes, has made compassion and kindness a weakness. The neighbors always looked out for all the kids, not just their own. If a child was disrespectful, the parents were notified, and playtime was now squashed. Apologies were plentiful and helpfulness was normal. People’s personal agendas were personal. No need to announce and display what you were doing, it was no one’s business and we respected each other not to ask. No need to flaunt and exercise private philosophy. Honesty went a long way. A handshake was contractual. Giving a person’s word was honorable. The informational news was accurate and meant something. If a friend was stealing candy from the general store, we just would not play with that kid anymore. Going out and playing in the neighborhood was joyous. Coming into the house by 5pm supper was demanded and expected. Riding my bike to school was delightful and so much fun. Riding down the hill beating everyone by getting home first was a blast. Today, we lock our doors, security cameras, guns or dogs to protect. Homeless in every single City, by their choice or not due to mental or economical intrusions. I mourn “the good old days”. I am saddened that the children of today cannot experience and know what true joy is in California of times gone past. Riding a bicycle to a park miles away and come back in time for dinner. Clean streets and beautiful yards. Neighbors who knew you by name and always asked how your Mom was. What happened to us, where is my memory now of California. It’s just a memory.

  23. We sold our home in Huntington Beach CA March 2020, and moved to the Summerlin area of Las Vegas, NV. Hard to believe we left the beautiful beach of CA for the desert, but we love our new home.

    I signed the petition to recall Newsom twice. We’ve always voted red, but most of CA was so far blue I felt like my vote never mattered.

    It’s heartbreaking what has happened to CA. My husband devoted 35 years to the citizens of LA with LAFD. Opposed to complaining about the deterioration of CA, we chose to leave after living there for 55 years. We don’t miss CA at all.

    I’m a Realtor here in NV if anyone has questions. We’re a no income tax state. Red Rock Canyon is beautiful and you don’t feel like you’re in “Vegas.”Cherlynne Ramos

  24. Beautifully written piece. It’s too bad the author didn’t realize she was trapped in the devil’s triangle of Berkeley-SF-Marin. The characteristics she describes are cliches to those of us who live nearby and occasionally have to endure the holier-than-thou pagans of the granola belt.

    True enough, the politics of the state are a calamity, but there are places even in the Bay Area where you can live as you like in an atmosphere of mutual respect. Ironically enough, they are the places the “pretty people” of the devil’s triangle have historically looked down their faux patrician noses at.

    I suspect the author has a good deal more unraveling to do.

  25. Anne,

    First, thank you for writing this, it gives me hope that more people will wake up and realize what is happening to our beautiful state. Unfortunately many are leaving though and I feel it’s tilted way too far for it to ever return to the home I once knew and loved.
    Most likely my family will leave too, never thought it would happen but sure looking that way.

    I’m a native born San Franciscan, 3rd generation, and have lived on the Peninsula for 50 of my 59 years. I watched as my hometown (SF) slowly fell into disrepair, intolerant of others beliefs and political opinions into a drug addicted, filthy homeless camp.

    I never thought it would spread to the Peninsula as fast as it did, most of the people here were equally split as far as political views went and even then I would consider most to be moderate with a strong sense of law and order, tolerance of others and being kind to their neighbor.

    As time went on the same people that destroyed Marin County and San Francisco made their way to my home here. They start off in small groups, community activists and such, grab a seat on school boards and move on to city councils. They support each other’s campaigns, going door to door until they get a foothold in city politics. Next they move on and grab a county seat and so on. Let this be a lesson to others in free states, it starts off slowly. Numerous bond issues, more government involvement, local elections, school boards etc.
    Once it spreads it’s hard if not impossible to get it under control.

  26. You nailed it when talking about the undercurrent in Cali. I grew up there and watched it gradually change over the years. In 2015, I sat down part our family (13 of us) that I felt would be receptive to a move. I explained that, just like mindset can dictate the life path of individuals, it can also do the same with cultures/societies. My family wanted to stay and fight. I explained that the mindset was too far gone and for that reason, things would go bad. I closed my long established businesses and we moved to the Texas Hill Country west of Austin. When Covid hit and everything in Cali was shut down, my friends with similar businesses got clobbered. They hadn’t believed me till then and asked “how did I know?” It just takes paying attention, nothing more. But you have to be willing to look at results instead of listening to words. You also have to be willing to not make any person or political party into a Deity simply because you despise “the other party”. “Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.”

  27. BE VERY CAREFUL APPALACHIANS….

    This is the same sign that is plastered all over Oregon..How’s that Going??

    People will Judge you by how you treat others…Not by the signs you put in your front yard.

  28. This is a GREAT article! My wife made me read the whole thing to her! She said you need to write a book and I agree! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  29. I could have written this, except we live in Washington state and are preparing to leave after living here for over a decade. We loved it when we got here as we have a disabled daughter who is medically exempted from vaccines and has multiple food intolerances and special issues, and we no longer vaccinate our family at all and when I got here, that was no big deal and I met lots of like-minded families. I loved the natural health community and learned so much from them, loved all the natural food co-ops, my younger two children were both born at home with midwives here as well, etc. Well, Washington state has become much like California, I have wanted to leave for at least the past three years, and wish we had gotten out before Covid and the vaccine mandates that took my husband’s state job from him (our governor would not allow testing and while he accepted REs and MEs for employees, including my husband, he claimed that almost none of them could be accommodated, even teleworkers, and fired them anyhow). It’s so black and white with people here – if you wear a mask and faithfully line up for all three Covid vaccines and agree with the leftist narrative you are a “good person”, if you don’t, you are evil and selfish and don’t care about others. We never planned on taking the Covid vaccine to begin with, but after watching TWO PEOPLE who came into our house to work with our daughter end up with complications from their Covid vaccines, as well as our childrens’ pediatrician, we knew there was no way any of us would get it. It kills me that people who have known our family for years, whose children my husband taught and mentored as a Boy Scout leader, people who he ran errands for, how some of them now see him as evil and selfish and are actually ENJOYING the fact that he is being punished for not wanting a shot that we saw harm no less than three people in our lives. It’s not just the vaccine topic either. If you are at all conservative and have a small business here you had BETTER not let anyone know because you will be doxxed and people will try to ruin your livelihood if you don’t vote for the right people or follow the Covid guidelines. Seattle is a disaster and no longer safe to visit; needles, tents, and poop everywhere, its very sad, yet the people who keep passing these failed policies will never be voted out. Most of the conservatives, moderates, and even some of the moderate liberals I know have given up and moved out of state because they realize after trying to change things, it isn’t going to happen. We are going to do the same. We have already lost mutiple like-minded families who we know personally to other states. Now we just have to figure out which state will fit our needs best.

  30. I lived my entire adult life after college in Contra Costa County Back in the 70’s it was wonderful I married, raised a family and worked hard. I lost a chi kid and a husband abd married again he passed and the Danville SanRamon area started to unhinge itself we felt it for a year or two abd we made the move to Placerville County it was definitely conservative abd my family and I were happy . Then right at the beginning of 2020 one o f the first people to die of what they claim was Covid lived z3 blocks away. Three first responders and the man’s wife, never got sick Not in 3 years Newscum shutting down the state including schools was intolerable we checked out Idaho There were a few shutdowns as far as stores and restaurants but some things were open and only a few masks so we moved I June yes things are freer here my granddaughter doesn’t mask for school and we are against the jab It’s nice not to be forced something I’m vehemently opposed to. Crazy doctors still want masks so I haven’t seen one here I’m not thrilled with Idaho I’d prefer Texas or Az I know the governor here is a Rino but i spite of my total unhappiness with Idaho it’s far better than Ca I have no desire to return even though my son and grandson live in Contra Costa County
    There is happiness out there I will move to another state in a few years if you can get out please do Please support Kevin Kiley if you are in Placer Hez working hard to make life better for school kids and adults

  31. Hi…My family is four generations from San Francisco and I was raised in Marin County. I left for all the same reasons in 1970. It is just much worse now. Moved to Arizona and never looked back. Raised my family in Arizona. Only thing I miss is the Ocean. Visit the Ocean often then breathe a sigh of relief when I cross the border into Arizona.

  32. A thoughtful and enlightening post, You touch eloquently on a number of key points I’ve raised over the years as a California ex-pat. I too am a fourth generation native; my family arrived on the North Coast in the first wave of settlers in 1850. I was born in San Francisco, we moved to Marin County when I was six. The California that I knew is gone now. We first started seeing many of the changes you describe in the 1970s as the Bay Area titled away from mostly working class suburbs to a collection of wealthy enclaves. The mindless reliance on the forbearance of government rose across the same time span.

    As we approached our retirement years the calculus simply did not support us being able to afford to remain, the political considerations aside. As my parents were taxed out of their Marin County home two years before Prop 13 passed, I feared that our savings and investment for retirement would be pillaged by the money hungry government which grew out of all proportion. In 2016 we left for Northern Nevada. Since then, Nevada has turned decidedly blue, politically. We saw the same story arc as we had seen happen in California only in a span of two election cycles, rather than over three to four decades. The obvious and palpable morphing of attitude away from the people friendly and outgoing attitude of Nevada info the self centered and narcissistic attitude of entitled Californians also happened at lightning speed. It is that attitude shift, and the political views that seem to come with it, that I think is most frightening to non-Californians looking at the rising tide of ex-pats.

    So in early 2021, unwilling (or too old) to fight a losing political war again, we pulled up stakes and moved to Wyoming. People here are friendly, they look out for each other, kids get to be kids. I miss the beauty of California, I miss the hills and mountains. I miss the majesty of the ocean. I miss a lifetime of friends. But I don’t miss California, and what it has become.

  33. The two most toxic years of my life were spent in Texas. I am reminded of the Shakespeare line about “…smile and smile, and be a villain.” People who supposedly “don’t care about your sexual orientation” kicked and stomped me and left me bleeding and half-dead in a park with absolutely no provocation. My boss lectured about gay teachers molesting children and closeted gays in the military betraying the country. Essential services were cut off as need increased. The “bigger house, people don’t talk about racism, sexism, etc., pseudoscience is on the same footing as science” nonsense makes me want to puke.

  34. Fifth gen NorCal gal and left for TX a decade ago. Cried myself to sleep for two years, before my husband took us out of that soul crushing state. The CA of my childhood was beyond amazing. I’m 53. If you’d told me I would beg to escape at any point, I would have laughed in your face. I watched the decline though, and it was heartbreaking. Elections have consequences, and I will never understand why Californians choose so many Marxists to “lead” them. It leads to death on every imaginable level. We originally moved to a town just west of Austin, but Travis County isn’t actually Texas. It’s Silicon Valley South. We bought land and built east of Austin in a small town, different county. Freedom is messy as hell, but there is nothing more American and more beautiful! God Bless Texas! BTW, those of us moving here vote 3-to-1 against the policies that destroyed CA. We’re actually MORE conservative than native Texans. Put that in your pipe and smoke it! 🤠

  35. I live in the REAL Northern California, in the mountains just an hour or so from the Oregon border and about an hour from the Nevada border. I so understand where you are coming from in your article. Up here, we aren’t nearly as “crazy” as the cities. My town is only 3100 people nestled in a valley in the mountains. We took a road trip east this last summer through Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and South Dakota and I was embarrassed to say I was “from California” and pointedly told people that we were from the “real Northern California” 😖😖😖

  36. As a native Texan, I do, of course, love Texas. My son moved to NPB, and I must say, I love Southern California. The weather beautiful, food incredible, and people friendly. (My view as a visitor, of course) I have no involvement in politics, am fully vaccinated for the safely of the everyone, and wear a mask everywhere. I really do not notice who does or does not wear a mask. I think one can find joy and beauty anywhere, but I think Sunny and 70 in Southern California is a plus. The key to happiness is to be a Texan, and act like a Texan everywhere you go. We are happy to be here, and I mean anywhere!

  37. The moment I moved to California in 1992 I was struck by the inability to express any emotion or differences. Everything was about being politically correct. Coming from big mouth NY, I would hardly call myself that, however I truly knew where I stood with an east coast person. There was never this sense of shaming and judging that has always been a thread in the Californian culture. It has obviously gone too far. Not that I’m commending any viewpoints or governors from NY either lately around the COVID narrative. I have lived here 30 years this January and love everything about the weather, outdoor lifestyle, scenery and what this state has afforded me. Yet, we can only live in the present and I face now a huge grief of an empty shell of a state that the center and core is rotten and leaves me to either rot with it or get out. With such great sadness I am faced to get out. I hope and trust that wherever I land will be kinder.

  38. I’m sorry, but I find this article and posts about how awful CA is distasteful and one sided. First of all the comparison you are making between the SF area and Hill Country is silly. You are comparing a large very blue metro area to a rural area. That’s like comparing Houston, TX to Temecula, CA! The take home would be very different if you made that comparison.

    The experience of moving anywhere depends largely on where exactly you are moving from and where you are moving to. It also depends on your attitude about the move. I moved from the central coast in CA where people were kind, generous, trusting and “the salt of the earth” to many cities in metro Denver over 9 years where most people I encountered were selfish, conniving and took advantage of other people. I found a couple of great friends, but most fiercely hated anyone from CA or Texas and sported a ‘Native’ sticker or license plate to remind people that they were the real Coloradans. It was truly beautiful, but it was rotten from the terrible and selfish people that inhabited it. Few people were welcoming and most people I interacted with were looking to make a buck and make you feel less than for coming from another state. Not all people were like this I’m sure, but this is my experience. Living near any major metropolitan city, of course it was blue. So it came with those challenges as well, though I lived in the red areas so my exposure was as limited as I could get it. We also lived in Texas for 5 years. I lived in conservative Georgetown above Austin. I found the houses beautiful and expansive, the cost of living better than Denver but not quite as great as we had heard, the property taxes through the roof and the people very unwelcoming and condescending to outsiders all behind a veil of “faith” driven self-righteousness, but not near as bad as Colorado.

    We moved back to California for a job 5 years ago and my family has never been happier. We have our horses on our property and barn, arena and turnouts which wasn’t possible for us in the Austin area. My kids can ride their bikes outside year round and not be eaten alive by mosquitoes and get heat stroke or hypothermia. I also don’t find 3 inch roaches in my house or get stung by a scorpion in my bed. We don’t have to deal with TX ice storms, which are worse than most blizzards in CO to drive in. We live in a valley full of horse people that you can take at their word and have a community of friends that are there when we need them and we are there for them. We have horseshows most weekends and are surrounded by beautiful vineyards. There is no humidity and the weather is usually beautiful, though we experience a little rainy period in the winter and a couple months of 90+ degree weather. The traffic is awful in the larger cities, but have you driven in the traffic in Denver or Austin? There is no difference. Our sheriff here refuses to enforce any mask mandate and it has always been this way through the pandemic. We have hugged, shaked hands, showed our horses, gathered and enjoyed BBQ and buffet dinners together through the pandemic.

    I think we all need to be more understanding and supportive of one another and their individual choices, realizing that there is no perfect place. I should not be made to feel like have not “awakened” because I returned to CA. In fact, I feel the opposite. I really feel like the people that stayed here for too long and didn’t spread their wings are the people that are just getting a taste of somewhere new. They are intoxicated by the differences and have on rose colored glasses. In time, the newness wears off and you can see the good and the bad. I’ve found in the 5 states I’ve lived in that there are pros and cons to living everywhere.

    The article mentions San Francisco, which is an extreme case as it is one of the most expensive places to live, has extreme politics and the downward spiral there has been crazy, especially as it relates to homelessness. That said, have you driven around Austin in the last year? There are tent villages under most overpasses and on the side of the road, just like LA. People attack your cars “cleaning your windows” with dirty water and you have to pay them to stop. It’s quite frightening. My point is really that we should look at the US as one country with states that have different things to offer with many subcultures. Don’t assume everyone that lives in California is suffering in a liberal hell and that they need to find a reprieve in Texas or another state. Sure CA has crappy politics, but there are so many good things that we tolerate it. I would never live in SF, but I can see why someone would find it beautiful and many parts of it appealing. I would also never live in the DFW area, but I can appreciate the draw there also. People make choices that are very personal and take into consideration a number of factors. I think we should really stop stereotyping entire states and acknowledge that there are extreme difference in states when it comes to subcultures and personal experience. Everyone should do what feels right for them and their family without judgement. The bitterness of those that leave feels like an ex badmouthing someone they broke up with. It’s not a good look and when you speak so poorly about people in broad swaths it really highlights your ignorance. You follow your arrow and I’ll follow mine. Neither path is better than the other.

  39. It’s her opinion based on her experience from her point of view not your point of view or your experience or your opinion. You write as though she tried to speak for you and take something away from your experience. Interesting.

  40. Actually, if you read it again, you will find I’m saying everyone has different experiences and to be understanding and kind and not stereotype entire populations of states. There are pros and cons to everywhere you live. Hopefully the cliff notes version of my comment will help with comprehension.

  41. Did you read the article also? It’s making broad generalizations about people that live in California. I am merely responding with my perspective for those that read the article that there are other different stories with very different experiences and that perspectives can change over the years after you leave California and all of the new of your move wears off. I think it’s funny that you are telling me that I am accusing her of speaking for me, when in fact I am offering more to consider. People can have different experiences and that’s ok. People should consider multiple sources of data and perspectives before making any choice. I think it’s important that people hear also about the people who moved away and found it wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be. No hostility here. Just objective sharing of my personal experience and some logic.

  42. What a bunch of bullshit! “There just seems to be a high regard and respect for individual choice” in your Texas. That is unless you count women’s rights and voting rights. Anything else?

  43. Anne, this is hard to articulate, but “conservatives” from CA for the most part really aren’t conservative, down at the DNA level. It isn’t long before you hear “if the state would only do that” or “if the city would only provide this” or “something needs to be done about that.” Every one of those “if only’s” tracks back to the what the State delivered in CA. Each and every such government action, act of largess, high minded regulation, and public service represents a loss of personal freedom to someone. But it is impossible in my view to retrain your DNA once corrupted by the public teat, back toward self-reliance and personal responsibility. And your vote will reflect that, eventually. Thus, I am truly fearful for Texas. The Texas Hill Country is now full of counties that went for Biden. I am 3rd generation CA. My grandfather was born in SF in 1876. If you think CA was magical in 2004, when you “arrived” with all due respect, to add to the mass corruption of my CA, you cannot imagine the magic of growing up there in a small town in the 60’s. Think “The Sand Lot.” Thankfully, we got out 25 months ago, fled to arguably the most conservative state in the union. I will not mention the state (and thankfully it is not on your list of where people are going) because I really don’t want anyone from CA moving here; now that I’m here, I want the draw bridge up. Conservatism here is not Sean Hannity blatting and bleating on at high volume and endlessly. Conservatism is reflected in your very first thought and action, in reaction to a problem: What can I, me, myself, do now to solve this problem? And go about doing it. With civility and integrity and genuine niceness. The people here are amazing; sometimes I just marvel at it. I know I can never be one of them, but they have every ounce of my respect, and my commitment to do NOTHING, even if very hard, to ruin it for them. And for me.

  44. Thank you Anne for your reflections. Born and raised in Marin, I think a lot about what went wrong here, and have assumed that the same pathology affects New York, D.C., London, yes Austin, and all the other wealthy liberal urban metropolises. Your essay makes me wonder whether the S.F. Bay Area (perhaps because of the tech industry?) has a more uniquely pernicious strain of bourgeoise hauteur. Is it worse here than in New York? From what I’ve heard, it may be, because it’s less self-aware. The disgust of Marin bohemians for all people who don’t share their luxury beliefs is ironic, because one sign of a penurious provenance is over-focus on markers of luxury.

  45. I love all your comments because I am in a place where I’ve been doing research and checking out other states. I am a native Californian I’m almost 63 years old. My two grown sons live here and my three brothers. I’ve been working with other patriots going to board of supervisor meetings, filling out affidavits, but they just don’t listen to the people, they don’t care, the agenda is set. I live in an area where I never wear a mask and nobody says anything so I feel blessed in that way, but seeing everybody in masks when I know they don’t work, The vaccines don’t work and I know the agenda behind it all. It’s soul crushing to see people believing everything hook line and sinker. When you’re contemplating leaving California there is this back-and-forth within your mind that says, “well it’s not so bad in my area or if we just got a new governor it would be better”, but sooner or later you realize that maybe it’s just too far gone. And as I said I’m in my 60s. how long am I gonna wait for it to turn around when I could move to a state and live out the rest of my life where people are sane. But make no mistake the Republicans are in on this too. they have done nothing, absolutely nothing when it comes to the election and when it comes to what’s happening now. It’s people like us that need to take the reins from the local Government . It’s time for us to take our country back and realize there is no Savior, there is no politician, there is no DOJ, there is no Supreme Court that’s going to help us. it’s up to us to do it. Even though you moved to a freer state get involved hold them to the fire to keep your area as free as possible. Do not get complacent because believe me they are coming for your state. Do your research of what’s going on don’t listen to main stream media and may God bless us all.

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