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.”

UCSD Students: Sign AMCHA Initiative Petition Condemning Campus Anti-Semitism, Anti-Israelism

The AMCHA Initiative has a new petition out condemning UCSD’s administration for ignoring the concerns of Jewish students on campus. If you’re Jewish and go to UCSD, I highly suggest you sign it.

Here’s the letter:

Dear Chancellor Fox, Vice Chancellor Rue, and President Yudof:

We are Jewish students at UCSD who are deeply dismayed and offended that the following UCSD academic departments and administrative offices were listed as Endorsers and Sponsors of the Muslim Students Association’s “Justice in Palestine Week: 21st Century Apartheid” (See posters here), which took place 5/14 – 5/17:

African American Studies Minor
Critical Gender Studies
Chican@/Latin@ Arts and Humanities Minor
Ethnic Studies Department
Cross Cultural Center

As in previous years, the MSA’s week of events included numerous speakers and exhibits that demonized Israel through rhetoric and imagery deemed anti-Semitic by the U.S. State Department and promoted efforts to harm the Jewish state through boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaigns.

We feel that these annual events foment hatred and hostility not only towards Israel, but towards Jewish students like ourselves who identify with Israel, causing us to feel uncomfortable and unsafe on our own campus. Moreover, we believe these events violate UCSD’s Principles of Community, which “reject acts of discrimination,” “promote open expression.. within the bounds of courtesy, sensitivity…and respect,” and support a community “where all people can work and learn together in an atmosphere free of abusive or demeaning treatment.”

While we acknowledge the MSA students’ right to freedom of speech, we are outraged and distressed that university departments and administrative offices condone and support such hateful and divisive behavior, which so blatantly violates UCSD’s Principles of Community.

As you may remember, two years ago a delegation of Jewish students met with you and Vice Chancellor Penny Rue to express their distress that so many university departments and administrative offices had endorsed or sponsored the MSA’s “Justice in Palestine Week 2010: End the Apartheid.” Unfortunately, the serious and legitimate concerns which the students raised were not addressed at that meeting, and consequently Jewish students like ourselves continue to feel that faculty and administrative endorsement and sponsorship of anti-Semitic events contribute to a hostile environment for many on our campus.

We are aware that as a result of an investigation by the Department of Justice and the Department of Education into incidents of racist bigotry occurring at UCSD in 2010, the University recently agreed to adopt a comprehensive set of remedial programs and activities directed specifically at addressing racial discrimination and harassment. We believe that nothing less is required for Jewish students, who feel harassed and intimidated not only by the lies, defamation, and anti-Jewish bigotry promoted during the annual “Justice in Palestine” events, but especially by their endorsement and sponsorship by UCSD academic and administrative units.

Therefore, we urge you to do the following:

1) ensure that no University money or endorsement is given to events that are hateful and discriminatory towards a particular group of students or that violate UCSD’s Principles of Community;

2) broaden the scope of the remedial programs and activities outlined in the Resolution Agreement between UCSD, the DOJ, and the DOE to include anti-Semitic discrimination and harassment.

We look forward to hearing from you soon. Sincerely, The Undersigned

Sign the petition here.

Prager U Post on Why Israel Isn’t an Apartheid State

Good news: I will be guest blogging for Prager University.

In my first post, I debunked the claim that Israel is an “apartheid” state.

Below is the entire post, as found on the Prager University Facebook page:

By: Gabriella Hoffman, Contributor and College Senior

———————

This past week, my university – UC-San Diego – played host to “Israel Apartheid Week.” The Muslim Students Association (MSA) and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) clubs unveiled an “apartheid” wall that displayed alleged human rights abuses in Israel. The wall—which can be found on college campuses—claims Israel oppresses non-Jews, commits genocide, and behaves like Nazi Germany. Moreover, the organizers of this week-long event invite notorious anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist speakers to advance their cause. Without a doubt, it’s the most hostile week on campus each school year.

Supporters of the Palestinian cause are keen to undermine the Jewish state by painting it as an “apartheid” state. While this comparison is illusory and illogical at best, it’s imperative to counter it with the truth.

The MSA’s and SJP’s use of the word “apartheid” is misleading and offensive, says the Vanguard Leadership Group – a coalition of black students that supports Israel’s right to exist and defend itself. In an article in IsraelNationalNews.com, the group said: “We request that you immediately stop referring to Israel as an apartheid society and to acknowledge that the Arab minority in Israel enjoys full citizenship with voting rights and representation in the government.” (http://bit.ly/KzS52w)

Additionally, if Israel were an apartheid state, Arabs wouldn’t hold the same rights as Jews and Christians. Arabs vote, practice their religion, hold office, and live peacefully in Israel much to the chagrin of the MSA and SJP.

Dennis Prager’s video about the subject further illustrates why Israel is not an apartheid state: http://bit.ly/n5c7YE

(Note: you can follow Ms. Hoffman on Twitter at @gabby_hoffman)

Follow Prager University @prageru and “Like” the Facebook page.

 

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, Presidential Candidate Ron Paul to Address UCSD This Week

Week 5 promises to be an exciting time here at UC-San Diego. Two prominent figures – Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and presidential candidate Ron Paul – are coming to campus this week.

 Danny Ayalon Lecture – May 3, 2012 – 6-8pm – Price Center Theater

Danny Ayalon‘s lecture is sponsored by Tritons for Israel. It will be held in Price Center Theater from 6pm to 8pm. Doors open at 5pm. More details can be found on the Facebook event page. Tickets are free from the UCSD Box Office. Will-call tickets available.

Ron Paul Speech – May 4, 2012 – 7-8:30pm – Warren Mall

Students for Ron Paul of UCSD is sponsoring this event. According to the Facebook event, over 1,000 people are “Attending.” Tickets are free, but you must reserve them ahead of time. Go here to reserve your ticket before they run out.

Whether or not you agree with these speakers (I certainly don’t agree with many of Ron Paul’s policy positions), go hear them speak on campus. Why not take advantage of this opportunity?

I will be blogging about both events this week. Stay tuned!

Pro-Life Ads Surface at UCSD

Today, I learned about a pro-life billboard campaign on my respective campus.

Library Walk – which plays host to student activities at UCSD – boasts two of these ads: one near Geisel Library, the other adjacent to Center Hall.

40 Million and Counting is the group behind this effort. Below is their mission statement:

Our mission statement at 40 Million and Counting is to educate the public about abortion through marketing and advertising that will create a lasting impact and from there direct those in need to people that can help.

40 Million and Counting will show the truth about abortion to our audience through love, and not hate, understanding and not judgment, and to provide solutions and not condemnation.

The group recently unveiled a third billboard on campus. Details are elaborated below:

12/2011 – FMAC signs contract for 10 outdoor ads to go up all over the UCSD campus in San Diego, CA! These ads are going up on January 2nd in front of the bookstore, dorms, cafeterias, etc. The estimated impact is over 1 million impressions each month. Thank you to our donors for helping make this happen! If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to FMAC so that we can continue to advertise on the UCSD campus please make your check payable to: 40 Million and Counting and send to 46-E Peninsula Center Dr. #382, Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274. Thank you!

It is encouraging to see these ads circulate on campus. As Americans become more pro-life, it is expected that the youth will follow suit.

 

San Diego State U Promotes Blatant Secularism With Respective Class

I previously wrote about atheism and secularism here, and commented about “Atheist Awareness” Week at UCSD.

It appears that a growing trend towards secularism is being witnessed on college campuses nationwide. Religion, critics assert, corrupts people and makes them bigoted. As a result, atheism and secularism must succeed in order to combat the Judeo-Christian tyrannical stronghold in place in the United States! (Sarcasm intended).

In all seriousness, this trend signals a bad course in society. It is alarming that such “righteous” people are painting morals, Biblical teachings, and faithful people as boneheads, when they are the ones demanding special attention and conditioning programs to make us more accepting of their belief system.

Pitzer College in Southern California will be the first to launch this program. The press release elaborates further:

Claremont, Calif. (May 9, 2011) — Pitzer College will launch a Secular Studies Field Group in the fall 2011-12 academic year. With the creation of this department, Pitzer College will become the only higher education institution to offer courses and an undergraduate degree in secular studies.

The creation of a Secular Studies Field Group reflects an emerging interest in an awareness of the notable growth of secularity in America and elsewhere. For example:

  • Approximately 660,000 Americans join the ranks of those claiming no religion each year. Fifteen percent claims “none” when asked about religious affiliations, a doubling of “none” since 1990.
  • Twenty-seven percent of Americans currently “do not practice any religion” and 22% say that religion is “not a factor” in their lives.
  • The Secular Student Alliance – a college campus group for nonbelievers – reports 240 chapters nation-wide, up from 42 in 2003.
  • Almost 30% of Canadians can be considered secular and approximately 1 in 5 Canadians does not believe in God.
  • Fifteen percent of Australians claim to have no religious beliefs.
  • In France, 33% of the citizenry are atheists, while in Belgium, the percentage is 27%. Rates of unbelievers are even higher in the Czech Republic, Estonia and Slovenia.
  • Sizeable secular populations can also be found around the world including Israel, Uruguay, Japan, South Korea and Azerbaijan.

The Secular Studies Field Group will be headed by Pitzer College Professor Phil Zuckerman, an internationally renowned secular studies scholar. It will offer courses focused on various aspects of secularity from a historical, philosophical and sociological perspective. It entails the study of non-religious people, groups, thought and cultural expressions. Emphasis will be placed upon the meanings, forms, relevance and impact of political/constitutional secularism, philosophical skepticism and personal and public secularity.

Nevertheless, it looks like San Diego State will follow suit. KPBS reports the following about this development:

Southern California colleges are leading the country in the field of secular studies. Claremont college recently announced their latest bachelor’s program devoted to secular studies, UC Irvine now offers courses on Atheism and Secularism, and San Diego State University is debuting its first course on Atheism, Humanism and Secularism this Fall. We will be speaking with the SDSU professor who is instructing the course to discuss this recent trend in higher education and the field of religious studies.

Guest:

Professor Roy Whitaker, SDSU religious studies professor and expert in the history of religion and irreligion; and African American religious thought.

Students and taxpayers should be alarmed at how their money is being appropriated by university administrations. Instead of focusing on these politically correct, quasi-Marxist programs, why not invest in real religious studies? Talk about the persecution of Jews and Christians in Muslim countries in the present day, along with the growing phenomenon of militant Islam and rising anti-Semitism. Why not talk about religious persecution in the former USSR and why the absence of religion there corrupted people? Can’t they dedicate one lecture to religion and its value in society, or is that too much to do? Why don’t universities give a fair account about history/religion/politics, instead of spewing leftist propaganda?

The crusade to combat political correctness will ensue. We must do all in our power to vanquish it once and for all.

“Big Business Monkeys” Are Coming to Take UCSD’s Books Away?! Not Quite

The war over budget cuts at the University of California–one between leftists in the administration/professors and the UC Regents–is getting heated.

Watch out, fellow Tritons! Big Business Monkeys are going after our books at UCSD.

What is a big business monkey, you might ask? Simply the invention of one student who is dismayed by capitalism and is looking to make a scapegoat out of it.

Understandably, the university has no right depriving us of books. School officials always talk about children and optimal education, but most fail to deliver providing such quality education.

Professors and administrative officials arguably make too much money, and leave us–the students–with limited resources.

This finding is confirmed by The California Review:

UC student costs 1997-2011 vs CA state funding
• Also: # of Faculty and # of Senior Administrators.
• Student Fee is full student fee. State Funding is CA funding to the UC General Fund. Both are adjusted for inflation to CPI-U.
• The # of Faculty is full-time-hours equivalent of regular ladder-based faculty (most common type of faculty).
• The # of Senior Management is full SMG (Senior Management Group) & MSP (Manager and Senior Professional) count.

Watch this video. Although it addresses the problem of library closures, it vilifies the privatization of education and is full of inaccuracies.

From the Facebook event:

Education should be a public resource. Don’t let the Big Business Monkeys cut such an important part of our education at UCSD. Prevent the sale of books by borrowing as many books as you possibly can. Exercise your right as a UCSD student! Borrow a shit ton of books. It’s all based on this complex logical system derived in the highest minds of this supposedly prestigious institution:

Libraries cannot sell books, that they do not have.

So let’s remind UCSD that such frivolous cuts in this vital student resource will not be tolerated by fucking with them during the first week of school.

Just check out books, you should check out books you’re interested in. Let your check outs be representative of the subjects you as a student are interested in. Don’t feel like you have to read all of them, but let it show that students from all majors love the library system and need such an institution to keep a diverse collection. Show that such budget cuts on student resources is an intolerable and irresponsible decision.

Let’s have fun with this, tell your friends, will improve description in due time.

“I can only speak for one of the libraries on campus, but while books are regularly churned out of the stacks, there is an equal amount that is constantly being pumped in to the stacks to compensate. I don’t think it is necessarily a cause for panic. Facilities and operation hours are in much more jeopardy, and should probably be the focus.”

-> On this note, let’s publicize these concerns as well. This is purely gonzo logic, symbolism over action since we’re all minions in the UC game after all. Use the system to bring this issue to the forefront, confront the Capitalist concerns for what they are, show how the UC system is becoming more privatized and putting the students and their resources on the back burner. Check out that copy of Rings of Saturn that you’ve been meaning to read ever since you got into the writings of Walter Benjamin, I don’t know, say more and add to the discussion! let’s make this a learning experience, since that’s what you’re here for other than that piece of shiny paper.

In these difficult times, it is not (ever) wise to blame capitalism for the UC system’s financial failures. Instead, look to the people in charge and the exorbitant costs they’ve generated. It’s time that the higher ups (professors, administration) sacrifice too. Stop wasting our tax dollars.