The idea that any of the Golden State's thought leaders could look upon this situation with anything short of dread defies explanation. Yet the tone coming out of the state's largest newspaper, the Los Angeles Times, borders on ebullient.
Here's how an unsigned piece appearing on the blog of the Times' editorial staff today puts it:
I say to heck with the naysayers. California will be better off with slower growth.
It just means more tasty waves for the surfers. Better views of the sunsets from less crowded beaches. More runs on a more open Mammoth Mountain. More trout for the anglers at Hot Creek. Fewer folks in Yosemite Valley. Better seats at Dodgers and Angeles games (The Lakers too? Naw.)
Heck, maybe this beautiful, wondrous state will become a well-kept secret.
Notice that there's nothing in there about where jobs, housing, or economic growth will come from. This is the reductio ad absurdum of the regnant mindset among California's civic elites. The state is thought of as one big resort, where reality need not intrude. In a certain sense, that may turn out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy: eventually, the state will consist primarily of those who can pay the exorbitant rents and those who make their coffee and turn down their sheets. Perhaps the state can reopen as a museum of 20th century prosperity. Enjoy those lonely beaches.