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Friday, March 30, 2007

Those Damn Immigrants Ruin Everything

When I moved to Oregon from California in the late 1980s, it didn't take me long to realize it would be best if I put Oregon license plates on my car:

Problems in your town? Blame it on Californians, by Angie Wagner, The Associated Press: It's dead inside Favorites bar this afternoon, where the propped-open door spills a bit of light onto the ancient Elvis pinball machine and the grumpy man puffing on a cigarette in front of the video poker machine.

There's no food here, unless you count the vending machine against the green wall. Owner Ray Medrano had to make a choice: Close the kitchen or ban smoking in the joint altogether. His customers love their smokes more than their food, so the kitchen lost. For Medrano, there's only one despicable group of people to blame for Nevada passing a smoking ban that eliminates smoking in restaurants and bars that also serve food: Californians.

''California has a negative influence on our society,'' he says, glancing around as cigarette smoke fills the stuffy place. ... It's a popular refrain from many in the West. When Californians move in, it's always their fault when things change. They infect the rest of the region with their politics and questionable driving. They make housing prices soar.

Sure, it's been 30 years since Oregonians first slapped ''Don't Californicate Oregon'' bumper stickers on their cars, but, like the song by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, ''Californication'' is still alive and well.

''I think it's just such a common desire to say things were really calm and great here and then these people came in,'' says Patty Limerick, history professor ... of the University of Colorado's Center of the American West.

Since 1991, the number of Californians moving out topped the number of people moving into the state. And where do they go? The top five states Californians moved to between 2000 and 2005 were Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Washington and Oregon...

For many Californians, they want what eludes them in their state - open space, clean air and not so much traffic. So they sell their houses for a chunk of change, move somewhere else in the West, buy a bigger house and start driving up the housing prices, much to the dismay of locals.

Sherrie Watson has lived in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, since she was 16 and is quite fed up with Californians. ''They complain how cold it is. And they just moved here because it is cheaper and to 'get away,' but then they keep saying things like, 'We did it in California this way, so why don't you change? They came here because they liked it the way it was when they visited, but then they want to change it...''

Picking on Californians has almost become a sport, with people trying to come up with the catchiest slogans or blogging about how annoying Golden Staters are. Montanan Tom Heatherington runs a Web site called www.montana-sucks.com that sells T-shirts and bumper stickers that say: ''Montana sucks. Now go home and tell all your friends.''...

Yep, lower wages, higher housing prices, ruined culture -- we need a wall.

    Posted by on Friday, March 30, 2007 at 06:45 PM in Economics | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (6)

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