I moved to Florida after leaving California.
After fourteen years living in Los Angeles where Lindsey and my career were built, I bought a house and got married. We then decided to relocate. We are not. Alleine California’s response to the pandemic was more complicated than ever.
California policies have been a subject of extensive reporting.The following are the Unreliable and expensive energy grid to the aggressive taxation and regulation, from the draconian lockdowns that permanently damaged small businesses and kept children out of school for longer than anywhere else,The failure of city leaders to cope with the nation’s worst homelessnessAnd mental crises It’s all I have seen. However, my primary reasons for moving weren’t politically motivated; they were personal.
California: I still love you. Sometimes it’s hard to believe. However, I do.
We were married 14 years ago when my Honda Accord was a hustler. 2,400 MilesIn Three daysSo that she would be able to make it to Los Angeles for an interview. We left behind friends, family, and Florida—trading the swampsSunshine State is known for its glamour and Hollywood glamour. The moment was captured digitally in blurry photographs PhotosCaptured through the car window
SoCal is known for its beautiful weather that makes you feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere. We gawked at the natural beauty, and gorged ourselves on the rich, variegated culture of Los Angeles—a city packed full of people creative, daring, and delusional enough to follow their dreams.
All my children are Californians, and they love it here. They explored the Sierras through mountains, found shelter in redwoods that were 100 years old, and splashed into the Pacific. There, they learned to play and learn alongside children from all over the globe, how to greet each other in Spanish and Mandarin and also learned Korean gratitude.
The world and our lives began to change.
The nation’s first state-wide stay-at home order was issued by Gavin Newsom, Democratic Governor. Los Angeles’ dynamism came to a standstill, but the air cleared and birds started chirping, so we could see and hear the world in a new way. We saw California in a new light. Each aspect of life is brought into sharper relief.
Rolling blackouts can be more disturbing and more oppressive if you are already trapped in your home or have to use a mask when going outside. Newsom may be blaming climate changes, but his policies also matter. These forests were not there. Properly managedThis is because the grid’s dependence on wind and solar energy has become more fragile. Newsom also hastenened California’s closing of its last nuclear power plant. Germany shut down all their nuclear plants. The prices rose with the increase in emissions.
My son, my oldest, was in preschool last school year. This saved him from much of the isolation and frustration that many children experienced with remote learning in 2020. But it was disturbing to watch California keep its schools closed long after other countries and states were demonstrating that safe in-person schooling was possible—the governor’s own kids attended private school in-person while most public schools campuses stayed empty. The teacher unions in power used their positions to obtain hundreds of millions more dollars for the shut down. L.A.’s union published a list. DemandsIt also included Medicare For All and a wealth-tax. The school system is now back with compulsory weekly testing and social distancing. Mandatory masking, mandatory concealing, and mandated vaccinations are all required for everyone.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s failed $1.2 million plan to build homes for homeless people stalled and saw the street become more desperate and poorer than it was before COVID. This led to a spike in violence and murder. Sentence reform was something I supported and continue to support. It is a matter of human rights that no one should be imprisoned for drug offenses. We also need a social safety net in place for people who are unable to care for themselves. However, a city cannot function without the rule of laws and safe public spaces. California is brimming with big-city failures on both of these fronts.
Its culinary and cultural life is a highlight of this city. nearly diedAs we protected ourselves in the place. It’s coming back—in its own socially distanced, masked, and mandatory vaccine-verified way—but for many small businesses there will be no second life. It’s impossible to close down outdoor dining. All groundingCalifornia’s dream of many restaurateurs was ended in the name of “science. evidence. or logic.”
Yet, California’s political elite seems stronger than ever. L.A.’s mayor was unable to get a U.S. Ambassadorship. The recall went smoothly for the governor and the Democratic supermajority seems eager to conduct future recalls. It is impossible
The party that rules is often the party with which it has been captured: Teachers unions; firefighter and prison guard unions; state service workers unions. The public sector unions are able to keep more power and money for themselves, which allows them to continue increasing their influence and money.
However, as my move date approached, I experienced a sense of blissful disconnection from California politics. Sometimes it is better to leave if your voice doesn’t get heard.
However, it’s not just about politics. If it was, maybe I would be here in New Hampshire right this moment, surrounded with people like me.
The majority of our lives are spent in this way isn’tPolitics are not my concern, thank you. Florida is home to many people that I cherish and who are also getting older. It’s an entirely new world with new rules that allows you to live and work wherever you like.
I still love you, California. California was where I found my job, home and family.
California is a place I will miss, because despite all the politics it remains a stunningly beautiful, varied, and mysterious land. California, where waves meet the mountains, people can either follow their dreams or let their heads go, or both.
Now, however, I am back at this peninsula that looks into the Gulf of Mexico. This place is familiar but it’s not the same. It will be a place filled with frightening reptiles, COVID contrarianism and an incredibly powerful governor, who uses different rules for good and bad.
Newsom used to say that, after California’s supreme court legalized same-sex marriage, “As California goes, so goes America.” Are those words still valid, or are they Texas’s? Is the role of geography diminishing in the digital age? Florida is the new future?
But I’m not sure. It is my.
Zach Weissmueller produced, edited and shot the film. Isaac Reese created the graphic. Paul Detrick contributed additional footage.
Images: Xinhua / Xinhua News Agency/Newscom; William Perugini/Westend61 GmbH/Newscom; ROBIN UTRECHT/SIPA/Newscom; Cody Williams/FLICKR Creative Commons 2.0 Generator; Raquel Natalicchio/ZUMAPRESS/Newscom.
Music effects license from soundslikewillemUse Creative Commons licensing