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SPOTLIGHT
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Destroying the California dream

Published on -5/3/2012, 8:47 AM

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Cuba is a one-party state. North Korea is a one-party state. California is a one-party state.

I'm not trying to draw any false parallels.

But I've noticed bad things happen when one political party has complete control of a government for too long, whether it's the Communist Party that's wrecked Cuba for 50 years or the Democrat Party that's wrecked California for 40.

So far, the Democrat monopoly in Sacramento has done nothing to cause Californians who seek greater freedom, lower taxes and a better business climate to begin taking rafts to Oregon or Mexico. But give the Democrats time.

They've already bankrupted the state and strangled its economy with high taxes, expensive green-energy policies and "progressive" regulations that scare off businesses, jack up housing prices or inhibit growth.

The other day the California Assembly proved once more that there is no bill too crazy or trivial for it to pass.

By a vote of 47-24, the Assembly passed AB 1960. The bill, almost certain to be approved by the state Senate, would allow owners of businesses that contract with the state to voluntarily identify themselves as gay, lesbian, transgender or bisexual.

The Democrat who sponsored the bill says it'll let state officials and gay or lesbian groups pin down how much LGBT-owned businesses are helping the state's economy. Republicans said it digs too far into private lives and is the first step in a quota system that would benefit the LGBT business community, which, the way things are going, probably already accounts for half of the state's GDP.

Assembly Bill 1960 is likely inconsequential -- just another government joke no one thinks is funny.

But its passage is also a sign of a larger and very important long-term problem -- there are too many Democrats in power in Sacramento and too few Republicans there to stop them.

Forget which party has held the governor's office. It's the Assembly and the Senate -- Democrat-controlled playpens since my father was governor -- that have turned the Golden State into the Great Train Wreck State.

Joel Kotkin probably knows more than anyone about the paradise California once was and the dysfunctional place it has become. Kotkin, one of the country's top demographers, pointed out the other day that almost 4 million people have left California in the last 20 years. That's 4 million above and beyond the people who have moved in from other states.

He says most of those fleeing are young, middle-class families seeking lower taxes and affordable living costs. Apparently, the chance to ride a bazillion-dollar bullet train from Los Angeles to San Francisco with their grandchildren is not worth 20 years of pain and suffering.

Kotkin, who calls himself a "Truman Democrat," says the regime in Sacramento and its "progressive war on the middle-class lifestyle" is responsible for the destruction of the California dream. It'll only get worse, he says, what with Gov. Brown proposing new taxes this year that are ostensibly aimed at "millionaires" but will hurt small businesses and young families.

I'm no demographer. But as far as I can tell, there's only one sure way to reverse California's death spiral -- vote the Democrats out of power in Sacramento.

That means Republicans -- conservative Republicans allied with sensible Truman Democrats -- need to stand up and take back their state from the crazies.

The trouble is, the Republican Party of California is almost as much of a mess as the state.

It has no leadership, no heroes, little money and no clear message. The state GOP has another big problem -- Republicans have run out of courage.

Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant and the author of "The New Reagan Revolution." reagan@caglecartoons.com

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