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Gloomy About California's Future

September 29, 2004

Re "Pouty White People," Opinion, Sept. 26: I guess I am one of those people. I am pessimistic because I am a liberal and don't understand why that is a dirty word. I would like to see a social contract.

But I am depressed because I'm afraid President Bush will get reelected. I'm depressed because I thought Steve Lopez's column, "A Modest Proposal on Border Crossings" (Aug. 29) was right on. I'm depressed because we (California) have term limits and redistricting gone wild.

I'm depressed because our state Legislature is not working together, and one of my friends has a bumper sticker saying taxation is never the answer.

So tell me again, why should I be optimistic?

Bridget Shycoff

Studio City


Writer Gregory Rodriguez suggests that white people are pessimistic because they fear being displaced by people of other ethnicities and that pessimism cannot lead to positive change.

Ethnicity aside: The facts suggest that a rational view of our present situation does not lead to an optimistic view of our future.

Many of the benefits of legal residency in California are in decline for all ethnicities, from social services and healthcare to education.

One reason for this decline is the uncontrolled influx of illegal immigrants, and pessimism results when our laws are not enforced by our government. It is possible to be white and pessimistic without being racist, just as it is possible to be a Latino and blindly disseminate racist views.

Steven Beyer

Los Angeles


Rodriguez writes of a disappeared Anglo myth that by migrating to California, dreams should be achieved without struggle. He quotes Kevin Starr that Anglos still think that just by coming here you'd be prosperous.

Rodriguez could not be more wrong and more offensive: Most who came to California during and after World War II worked hard, allowed ourselves to be taxed for the schools, highways and water we wanted, and voted for many bond issues to achieve and subsequently support the infrastructure and higher education system that made the state great.

If we are now pessimistic about the future of California, it is because our education and our life experience have convinced so many of us that no society can expand its infrastructure and its educational system ad infinitum.

Available land, air and water all have limits. If population does not, our future is in fact gloomy.

Harry Parker



A small-town boy from the Midwest, I came here eight years ago searching for the California dream. I found the racial diversity of the state enchanting, and the opportunity to work and be successful has kept me, to this point, from taking jobs back home that pay half of what I make here. As a community college teacher, I work with immigrants from across the planet, and like me, they have all come here with the idea that dreams can still be realized in the Golden State.

Though the state has been good to me, in the past months I have thought seriously about joining the millions of people who have fled the state in the last 15 years. I look at a crumbled infrastructure, bankrupt government, omnipresent gang activity, an anti-business regulatory climate, a dramatically flawed public education system and a geographic certainty that this place will eventually be unsustainable from environmental overload.

Like many of my students of all ethnicities and colors, I want out. It has nothing to do with race or even "pouting" at what has been lost. I just want to go to somewhere that is not overcrowded, polluted and riddled with crime, graffiti and leftist apologies for failure.

Randal Beeman


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