Proud to Be A California Girl

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Salt Creek Beach – Monarch Beach, CA

 

T.S. Eliot once wrote, “Home is where one starts from.”

Last week, I ventured out to the West Coast to visit my first home in sunny California: South Orange County. I had been away from OC for nearly three years, so it was past due to pay my hometown area a visit.

Southern California will always be my first home. Having spent the bulk of my childhood in Orange County, one summer in Santa Barbara, and three years in the San Diego suburb of La Jolla, I had a well-rounded SoCal experience spanning 21 years. But like every wide-eyed, ambitious young American out there, I realized I had to leave OC behind to realize my full potential. Now I call the Washington, D.C., metro area my home.

“Back Home” by Andy Grammer is largely the inspiration behind this blog post about my trip back to Orange County, CA.

These lyrics resonate with me the most:

See, we won’t forget where we came from
The city won’t change us
We beat to the same drum

And no matter where we go

We always find our way back home

I found my way back home, but only for a brief visit. Nevertheless, I’m still proud to hail from Southern California.

 

First and foremost, no trip back home is complete without a visit to In-N-Out Burger.

In-N-Out Cheeseburger with Animal-Style Fries. Yum!

In-N-Out Cheeseburger with Animal-Style Fries. Yum!

Thought I’ve eaten Five Guys on numerous occasions, it will never compare to an In-N-Out Cheeseburger and Animal-Style French fries. It was great to bask in this deliciousness with my childhood friends. Proud to be friends with future dentists, chemical scientists, and academics!

I also paid a visit to Wahoo’s Fish Taco in Laguna Beach with some friends to eat some quality Mexican-Asian-Brazilian cuisine. (If you haven’t eaten at Wahoo’s, go!)

Afterwards, I paid a visit to Pearl Street Beach and snapped this view. Gorgeous, right?

IMG_6264I had plenty of opportunities to snap pictures of the surrounding beaches in Dana Point and Laguna Beach.

Marveling in one of my old stomping grounds, Salt Creek Beach!

Marveling one of my old stomping grounds, Salt Creek Beach!

We also met up with some of our relatives in Dana Point. We walked around the harbor and reminisced about good times.

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Statue of Richard Henry Dana – Boston, MA politician, sailor, and intellectual who founded Dana Point, CA

Admittedly, this visit to my first home was surreal. Perhaps I’ve been aware for too long or have successfully acclimated to East Coast living. SoCal felt slightly different since my departure in September 2012. The political climate and social scene are still the same–now more assuredly Democrat and superficial, respectively. Barren, dry landscapes  were more readily apparent  thanks to the Sacramento-created drought. The same whiff of snobbery I loathed was still omnipresent. And yet, the tranquility that emanated from the Pacific Ocean (ironic, I know) temporarily washed my qualms about California away. It was a perfect week-long getaway!

California was once touted as the Promise Land. Alas, the Golden State is slowly but surely losing its golden hue. Full Democrat-rule in Sacramento, big government policies, Hollywood, among many things, have adversely impacted my home state–causing her natives to seek refuge elsewhere. It pains me to see California fall from greatness.

As a native Californian happily displaced in the Washington, D.C., metro area for three years now, I felt like an outsider from the inside. Everything was simultaneously familiar and distant. (I bet many of you have had ambiguous thoughts about returning to your hometowns.) While I enjoyed my time back home, it made me appreciate applying my California roots to a higher purpose here in DC today.

Yes, there are a lot of negative stereotypes about my home state, especially SoCal. Rich, privileged, spoiled, affluent — all adjectives come to mind about SoCal. However, it had many redeeming qualities. Thanks for expanding my food palate, molding me into a beach bum, and making be a rebel with a cause, California!

For those of  you who haven’t trekked out West before, listen to these songs to get a feel for California:

“California” by Kenny Chesney

“California Gurls” by Katy Perry

We don’t wear Daisy Dukes with bikinis on top, but we California girls are pretty unique. The Beach Boys did a great job of drawing everyone’s attention to that.

“Californication” by Red Hot Chili Peppers

RHCP is arguably one of the best bands to hail from California, and this song is reflective of SoCal in so many ways.

“Hella Good” by No Doubt

No Doubt was formed in Anaheim, CA. It’s one of the best bands to hail from SoCal–especially from Orange County. For those of us from California, hella is slang for “good,” “hell of a lot,” or “very.” Though its origins are from Northern California, many of us from SoCal have adopted the term into our vernacular too.

“Holiday From Real” by Jack’s Mannequin

Andrew McMahon, lead singer of Jack’s Mannequin and Something Corporate, spent a great deal of time in Orange County. His music is quintessentially Californian.

“California” by Phantom Planet

This song was popularized by the hit TV show, The OC. Though I never watched the show – I didn’t need a show to remind me about my hometown – the song stood out to me.

“Hotel California” by The Eagles

How can you be from California and not like this song? It’s a classic!

In Travels With Charley: In Search of America, John Steinbeck wrote“The Pacific is my home ocean; I knew it first, grew up on its shore, collected marine animals along the coast. I know its moods, its color, its nature.”

 Though I now reside in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, California – especially Orange County – will be my first home.  It taught me to value the finer things in life and to aspire to be successful in the future. It taught me to appreciate nature by facilitating my love of fishing and good beaches. It taught me to appreciate quality food–especially food of the Mexican variety. Most of all, it molded me into the easy going, spirited, independent conservative chick I am today.
Love you, California. Hope to see you again in the future!

Golden State No Longer: A Disaffected Californian’s Thoughts on Escaping from America’s Greece

I recently trekked back to California to visit my family and enjoy some downtime after two months in the District.  I certainly needed some R&R to recharge and relax. (The political arena is a hectic albeit wonderful sphere to be immersed in. I’ve learned that any getaway you get shouldn’t be taken for granted.)  I had the chance to see some friends, visit my extended family, and finally went to  the Ronald Reagan President Library in Simi Valley, CA. It was a much-needed trip!

Now, I’m back in Northern Virginia and ready to resume my job.  I’ve got wonderful Field Representatives working with me, and have connected with many eager and bright students excited to shake things up on their campuses. I’ll be traveling up North soon and will be sure to chronicle each trip I make (when time permitted).

With this recent trip back home, it dawned upon me that I will not be back to CA for a very long time. While I’ll miss my home state, I have no regrets moving to the DC-metro area. Yes, it’s muddled with corruption – but it’s full of life and culture unseen on the West Coast. I will always be a proud yet disaffected Californian, and certainly one for the right reasons. Some will accuse me of betraying my roots for fleeing the state. (Mind you, there are no jobs for young people – or any Californian – given the dismal economic and moral state it is in.) I seized an opportunity to work for a conservative nonprofit – Leadership Institute – and took it.

As a California refugee taking shelter in the Commonwealth, I have some interesting observations about my home state now that I no longer live there. Here are the reasons why I’m happy I left:

Outstanding, high state government debt: As of August 28, 2012, California’s debt rests at $617 billion – the highest total state debt in the entire country according to State Budget Solutions. Need I say more?

Democrat-controlled state legislature: Both the State Senate and Assembly are controlled by Democrats who  have ushered in radical and arguably anti-American legislation. For example, legislation includes the multiple parents bill, gay history in K-12, abortion carried out by mid-wives/nurses,  DREAM Act, bans on open carry of handguns, and more.

Endless call for more taxes: Since the return of Moonbeam (Jerry Brown) as Governor, there are more calls for taxing wealthy individuals in the Golden State. Brown and his allies are pushing Prop. 30 on the November ballot, which would “increase California’s sales tax by one-quarter of a cent for four years. It calls for an increase in state income tax on taxpayers who earn more than $250,000 a year for the next seven years,” according to CBS L.A. AEI president Arthur C. Brooks writes in “The Road to Freedom” that when presenting the moral case for free enterprise, it is important reduce spending, not add more taxes, when solving budget problems.

Welfare state: Yahoo!  reported in December 2011 that California, the largest welfare state in the U.S., “has one-eighth of the nation’s population but one-third of all welfare recipients.”

Too much spent on education coupled with corrupt teachers unions: Total expenditures (plus state bonds) for education in Fiscal Year 2012-2013, including K-12 and higher education, totaled 35.7 percent of California’s state budget,  or $39,575,109 for K-12 and $10,050,905 for higher education as of May 2012. Tuition hikes plague the University of California and California State University systems, and administrators continue to receive high salaries. (As someone who recently graduated from a UC school, I see the problem beset in education, much like the state budget, in refusal to gut waste and deny tenure/pensions to professors undeserving of it.) Another problem plaguing education in California is corruption in the California Teachers Association and similar teachers unions, whose bosses and members are too concerned about their salaries and benefits – not the welfare of their students. (California is in great need of school choice legislation. It would diminish teachers unions and dramatically improve education there.) When a sex scandal hit LAUSD last year (think worst school district in the nation), the teachers unions – in true fashion –  refused to address the issue and supported the defeat of a bill that would have tackled it, according to CNN:

While senators overwhelmingly voted in support of Senate Bill 1530, it was met with strong opposition from the powerful California Teachers Association.

The teachers’ union says that Padilla’s bill would have eliminated essential legal protections for teachers and that it believes the current system is an appropriate process.

Additionally, the CTA protects bad teachers thanks to tenure. It is also a big political player in Sacramento.

(There’s a lot to discuss regarding education in California, so I’ll detail it in a future post.)

Illegal immigration: Illegal immigration has proven to be burdensome to the Golden State. Earlier this year, the state legislature passed the California DREAM Act – AB 130 (private scholarships)and AB 131 (public scholarships). This gave children of illegal immigrants and young illegal immigrants access to tuition regardless of their citizenship. Another crippling move that has emboldened illegal immigration is the DMV’s plan to issue drivers licenses to approximately 400,000 young illegals. Talk about oy vey…

There are many problems facing California – too many to list in a single blog post. It pains me to see my home state falter and become like Greece. I’ll even go so far as to call it a state riddled by Marxist and La Raza interests. Unfortunately, the Golden State must collapse and build anew. Otherwise, I’ll maintain that it is a lost cause.

Although I rag on California often, I will admit this: I’m glad I spent my formative years living there. I learned right from wrong, learned who to trust/who not to trust, enjoyed the beaches and nice weather, got my political start, was surrounded by family, and got to see leftist abuses at work.

“You can take the girl out of California, but you can never take the California out of the girl.”

Mitt Romney to speak in Orange County! 03/19/2010

If you’re a Mitt fan like yours truly, and would like to meet/greet him for free, then come to OC on March 19th and get his book singed by him personally. According the the OC GOP page, here are the event details:

Where: Barnes & Noble, Metro Pointe, Costa Mesa

You are welcome to join former Gov. Mitt Romney (MA) at a book signing for his new book No Apology: The Case for American Greatness at the Metro Pointe Barnes and Noble in Costa Mesa. The book signing will begin at 7pm.

  • Customers are welcome to start lining up as early as they want (after 5am).
  • Books will be signed on a first come, first served basis.
  • The line to wait in for all books to be signed will be ADA compliant.
  • The line will pass by a register dedicated to the event where customers may purchase their book without losing their place in line.
  • There is a limit of 5 books per customer each time through the line.
  • Gov. Mitt Romney will only sign copies of No Apology: The Case for American Greatness (St. Martin’s Press $25.99). No memorabilia, please.

For more information, please contact Mike Cavallo at 714-444-0226. 3/19