But though fewer outsiders cherish California dreams — and some residents have soured on them — those who depart may soon mourn what they leave behind: diversity of every stripe, mountains, ocean, climate. Especially climate.
Eisenhauer, who was born in Northern California, still loves the Golden State. Like McCluer, he hopes to return.
"My personal goal is to move back there eventually. It's just a matter of making the finances work," he said.
John Husing of Economics & Politics Inc., a regional research firm, said, that although the financial decline is steep and recovery will be slow, the California lifestyle is too appealing for the state to remain down forever.
Husing recalled a meeting two weeks ago with a business associate from the East Coast. An unseasonable storm was making the other side of the country even more aggravating than usual.
When the man arrived at Los Angeles International, he was exultant: His partner was stuck in Connecticut with no power, he crowed, "and I get to come to California!"
Times staff writer Sandra Poindexter contributed to this report.