Unemployment stands at 7.7%. The budget deficit is pushing $5.2 billion. And the price of a home, while dropping, remains among the nation's highest.
As the Golden State's luster tarnishes, fewer settlers are coming from other states. Yet in raw numbers, the increase in California's population continues to be staggering.
In a 15-month period since the 1990 census, California grew by 620,000 residents, primarily through births and foreign immigration, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated.
Only 17 American cities have a larger population than 620,000. California's increase is larger than the populations of three states: Alaska, Vermont and Wyoming.
Land of Fruits, Nuts
\o7 California leads the nation by a wide margin in production of fruits and nuts. Here are the top 10 crops, ranked by value of the 1990 harvest\f7 .
VALUE OF HARVEST CROP IN 1990 Grapes $1,499,712,000 Tomatoes $890,259,000 Almonds $591,560,000 Oranges $562,443,000 Strawberries $431,366,000 Avocados $239,400,000 Lemons $237,803,000 Walnuts $229,270,000 Peaches $198,122,000 Plums $133,804,000
SOURCE: California Agricultural Statistics Service, Sacramento.
Compiled by editorial researcher Tracy Thomas
State dinner menu: Dan Quayle may be remembered as the Junk Food Vice President if his recent four-day campaign swing through California is any indication.
There was Quayle's "Let 'Em Sling Burgers" declaration that the economy is on the rebound, after sighting a "Now Hiring" sign in the window of a Burger King in Riverside County. (The jobs turned out to be part time, for minimum wage.)
The night before, flying from Fresno to Ontario, the menu for the Quayle entourage aboard Air Force Two resembled that at a teen-age slumber party: a snack platter of popcorn, potato chips, pretzels and bite-size goldfish crackers, washed down with summer camp-style punch.
On the flight from Fresno to Redding, the bill of fare was even less presidential: soggy pizza.
Secession media mania: Is the 51st State Movement's overriding goal secession from California or publicity for Assemblyman Stan Statham? For months, the Redding Republican, the split-state proposal's leading cheerleader, has distributed press releases that mainly detail the newspapers, TV and radio stations that have interviewed or written stories about him and the movement.
As of New Year's Day, Statham reported recently, he had been featured in more than 70 media outlets, ranging from the Enterprise-Record in Chico to the BBC of London.
And that's nothing compared to his latest update.
Statham boasts that besides interviews with the Boston Globe, a Japanese news service and a Riverside radio station, he has been "shadow(ed) by (a) CBS film crew."
THE BOYS IN BLUE
My partner's a dummy: What's the latest innovation in police work? In Northern California, the answer seems to be dummies.
Cost of Campbell, a 36,000-population Santa Clara County community, has unveiled a uniformed mannequin named "Officer Gregory" that is propped up in otherwise empty patrol cars to discourage speeding.
Meanwhile, San Francisco Officer Bob Geary, a 22-year vet, has taken to carrying a professional-quality dummy dubbed "Brendan O'Smarty" on his North Beach foot beat.
Geary, an amateur ventriloquist, has employed the freckle-faced puppet to greet youngsters and, in one case, to defuse a potential barroom brawl between two longshoremen.
"I started talking with Brendan's voice, they looked at him and became disarmed," he said.
While dummies may get results in San Francisco, where cops are encouraged to express their personality, Geary doubts that his approach would ever catch on in the LAPD.
Referring to the videotaped, nightstick beating of Rodney G. King, Geary said: "Although I'm not knocking the Los Angeles Police Department . . . I'm using wood in a different way."
Grounded: Across the bay in the city of Alameda, parking patrol officers have been temporarily forced off their three-wheeled scooters by the state's new mandatory motorcycle helmet law.
Seems that the seven-officer crew has only two helmets and must therefore undertake its duties on foot until the arrival of a shipment--delayed because of unprecedented demand for helmets.
The grounded officers may be writing fewer tickets, but officials have declined to remedy the situation by plunking down cash at a cycle shop. "We've already ordered the helmets," said Lt. Rich McWilliams. "And we were able to receive a bulk order price."
"The Republican from Disneyland."
--Description of Sen. John Seymour, a former mayor of Anaheim, in a San Francisco Examiner editorial criticizing Seymour's position in favor of shrinking the acreage covered by the proposed California desert protection bill.