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For the first few years I lived in Los Angeles, I mostly got the “come home” pleas from family and friends, which makes sense. After living here 12 years, however, not only am I getting pressure to get out by them, but the ever-increasing expenses and traffic, stupid laws, homeless encampments, and the rest of the country laughing at us have caused me depression and disdain for this place. I can’t say I blame them for laughing, but I do want to address some of these things to show how it really is.
- It’s expensive: It’s no secret that gas and rent in California are always higher, but in January 2009, gas dropped here to $1.75/gal. and our rent for a large one-bedroom including utilities was $950/mo. Today, gas is around $3.65/gal. (an increase of over 108%!) and our old apartment now rents for $1,545 (almost 63%!). The national averages on increase are about 78% and 16%, respectively.
- Everything’s Illegal Except for Things That Should Be: I am sure you all know about the ridiculous “bag ban” and “straw ban” out here. It’s supposedly to save the environment, but I call BS. They didn’t outlaw plastic shopping bags, they just made thicker ones and charged 10¢ for them. It hasn’t changed anything, except create another tax. I still see bags (among other trash) everywhere. As for the straws, well that’s just plain silly, and I am certain the same thing will happen. However, living on the street or in cars here is not illegal. My neighborhood used to be safe to walk in, but in the last year or two, there are beat-up RVs parked up and down my street, a vacant parcel of land across from a park is full of trash and tents, and the sidewalks of downtown Los Angeles have been completely overtaken by tents and tarps. Mayor Garcetti’s solution is to tax us more and build new housing — the plans show luxury apartment complexes that are way nicer than mine (I don’t have in-unit laundry or a dishwasher). Now, that’d be great if the homeless were off the streets, but what percentage do you think are actually going to take advantage of this program? Since law enforcement cannot do anything about it, a large portion of these new homes will likely remain vacant.
So, things have gotten bad. I would like to stay because there really are great things here: many National Parks, beaches, beautiful weather, job opportunities, incredible music venues, amazing food, etc.
What really gets to me, though, is the mentality. On one hand, I have to deal with Liberals who are either completely oblivious to how this government is failing us, or their rude commentary (see my older post on that here). On the other hand, the rest of the country is either laughing at us or wishing “the big one” would sink us into the ocean.
Liberal, ridiculous, lazy, dangerous … please don’t think we are all like this.
Many who live out here, particularly in Los Angeles, are from “the outside.” My husband and I are both from upstate NY. We also lived in Atlanta and I lived in rural PA during college. We have similar ideologies and are right there with the rest of you, in that we think our government leaders are extremely oblivious and dangerous.
We haven’t bought into Hollywood elitism, and we think they’re just as nuts, not to mention the abuse that has run rampant in the industry is disgusting and heartbreaking. It has been very difficult for us to find peers or friends who agree with us politically, so it can either be quite lonely, or we need to be extra mindful of what we say or do to “fit in” or try to ignore/change the subject completely (which is also hard because liberals tend to make politics constantly part of all conversations these days). Thankfully, there are a few of us peppered around the area. Further, most of the state is rural and even places like San Diego and Orange County are not so extreme.
So, will we move out of California? Hopefully yes, but relocating is not an easy feat, either. In the meantime, I’ll just try to make the best of things and enjoy what it does have to offer, while still trying to be myself.