Returning To California—And Saddened By What I Saw
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(See also: So Long California, Thanks For The Memories!)

In 2008, I formally gave up on California, of which I was a third-generation native, and left my Lodi home that I had owned for 25 years. As I drove toward Pittsburgh, I swore I would never go back.

Some things, I reasoned, are better left as part of one's memory. California is one of them

Unfortunately, tenant problems in my worthless Mortgage Meltdown house forced me to return to Lodi last week. (A column on this disaster will be forthcoming within the next couple of weeks or when my blood stops boiling—whichever comes first.)

Too bad I had to go back. America's unwritten Open Borders policy has made Lodi barely recognizable to me compared to the sleepy California agricultural capital it was in 1985!

As regular readers may recall, I was born and raised in Los Angeles in the 1950s when the city was more a small town than a metropolis. The Los Angeles of my youth was untainted by the immigration crisis that would engulf it only a decade later.

Californians predominantly spoke English, a short drive took our family through the nearby nearest orange groves or to the unspoiled public beaches where we could spend the day without worrying about a possible assault by one of the 1,400 local Mexican or Asian gangs that now have mapped out that turf for themselves.

By the 1960s, I was gone from California for more than two decades until I moved back to Lodi: first to Puerto Rico and Guatemala where my father was assigned, then to schools and universities on the East coast and finally New York to begin my career in investment banking.

Last week, only moments after I arrived in Lodi, I could see how badly conditions have deteriorated during the mere 18 months I had been gone.

I noticed the decline as soon as I landed in California.

  First: my arrival at the Sacramento International Airport which serves Lodi, fifty miles due south, served as a reminder of California's status as America's multicultural hub.

All travelers have endured an increase in the numbers of diverse, fractured-English-speaking employees in America's airports.

Among them are the Punjabi newsstand vendors, the Asian food servers, and the Hispanic Transportation Security Agency screeners.

But there's a relationship between the foreign-born population in any given state and the numbers of airport immigrant employees. Fly into the Pittsburgh International Airport and you will find, despite its name, a different employee mix. See photos here.

  Second: the Lodi Wal-Mart, where I stopped to pick up essentials I had forgotten to pack, provided a horrifying look at what California's diversity really means.

Only a handful of shoppers spoke English. While California has always had an abundance of pregnant Hispanic women pushing strollers with toddlers, the recession appears to have encouraged even more child-bearing.

When immigrants can't find a job, a newborn is an alternative choice to generate family income—thanks to California's unnecessarily generous welfare programs.

  Third: not even the local Lodi Library, where I dropped in to kill an hour before meeting my hosts, could provide shelter from the shifting demographics.

Young Hispanic "students" gathered in groups, talked loudly, in Spanish, on their cell phones and sat three four to a computer despite signs limiting the numbers of users to one at a time.

On my way out, I asked the librarian what happened to the age old "Quiet, please!" standards.

Her reply: the library directors informally decided, with the encouragement of school administrators, to ease the regulations. The theory is that if the kids are in the library, disruptive as they may be, they're not roaming the streets getting into serious trouble.

  Fourth: depressing conversations with my former teaching colleagues about the increasingly unachievable demands made on them by the ceaseless Hispanic enrollment against a backdrop of California's financial crisis.

According to the latest statistics, the Lodi Unified School District's Hispanic enrollment is 11,665, more than 2,500 greater than the number of white students. Of a 31,216 total school enrollment, Hispanics make up 44 percent.

Because of its multicultural enrollment, Lodi Unified has "earned" a 61 score on the newly developed Ethnic Diversity Index, ranking it as one of California's highest.

Assuming the annual per student cost is $8,000 each, the total Lodi Unified bill is tens of millions to educate Hispanic and other immigrant students.

Imagine then that you are a Lodi Unified teacher who has just learned that the district needs to cut $30 million from its 2010-2011 budget, including teacher furlough days, wage freezes and possibly your job. [Lodi Unified Cuts Could Be Severe, by Keith Reid, The Record, December 19, 2009]

Even the mathematically-challenged can figure out that if immigration laws had been different over the last forty years, or even enforced, teachers wouldn't now be planning career changes that they hope will take them out of state.

How do Lodi and other small California towns go from perfectly desirable places to live to total catastrophes?

The answer comes as no surprise to VDARE.COM regulars.

In four short words: no immigration law enforcement. Failure to deport aliens in turn leads to anchor baby citizenship which ultimately results in the steady erosion of American neighborhoods that slowly become Hispanic enclaves.

According to the U. S. Bureau of the Census, in 2000 Lodi's Hispanic population was 27 percent, up from 17 percent in 1990. To put it another way, Lodi's Hispanic total increased 76 percent during the decade between 1990 and 2000.

That level outpaces California's aggregate Hispanic increase percentage during the same period which reached "only" 43 percent. (See all the tables here.)

The most recent census data for 2006-2008 puts Lodi's ever-increasing Hispanic population at 32 percent.

Little wonder, since at the San Joaquin County General Hospital 70 percent of all new child deliveries are to illegal aliens mothers. Of course, those children and "anchor babies", entitled to all the perquisites of U.S. citizens.

Years of ignoring the immigration mess has brought every California city down to figurative rubble.

Because friends warned me off of visiting my old neighborhood, I didn't. Houses, I was told, still had foreclosure signs with all the attendant decay of unmowed lawns, peeling paint and decrepit roofs.

I also didn't drive by my favorite haunt of all—the irrigation canal where for nine months of every year, my dogs romped and swam until they happily collapsed.

Going back to the Lodi of my middle years is just too heartbreaking.

As California goes—so goes America?

Joe Guzzardi [email him] is a California native who recently fled the state because of over-immigration, over-population and a rapidly deteriorating quality of life. He has moved to Pittsburgh, PA where the air is clean and the growth rate stable. A long-time instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, Guzzardi has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It currently appears in the Lodi News-Sentinel.

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