In 2003, in a quixotic effort, I ran for Governor of California in the Recall Gray Davis election. My platform stressed how damaging a dramatic population explosion is to our quality of life. Everything is negatively impacted: schools, hospitals, construction, crime and the environment.
I've said repeatedly: "More people equals more problems." Every hour, according to Californians for Population Stabilization, the state's population increases by 60 people—that's one a minute. Each of them will have needs to fulfill. How, I wonder, are we going to do it?
I argued for meaningful controls of legal and illegal immigration. Levy meaningful fines on employers who hire illegal aliens. Take away the job magnet that lures people from Mexico and Central America.
Reduce the hundreds of thousands of non-immigrant visas doled out without a second thought. Students and workers who come to California on those so-called temporary visas become permanent residents. As the saying goes, nothing is more permanent than a temporary worker.
Build a fence. Critics claim it can't or shouldn't be done. But of course it can. What better way to deter illegal immigration? Immigration is one of the variables in the population dimension that can and should be controlled.
Stress the wisdom of family planning. Don't have more children than you can nurture into productive citizens.
But now, according the projections issued in mid-July by the California Department of Finance we have reached the moment of truth. State demographers predict that California's population will hit 60 million by 2050. That represents nearly a 75 percent increase during the next four and a half decades. [State of California, Department of Finance, Race/Ethnic Population with Age and Sex Detail, 2000–2050. Sacramento, CA, July 2007.]
Demography is a fascinating discipline. Unlike physics or chemistry, it is not an exact science. Whether there will be 57 or 63 million residents over the next four decades no one can truly predict.
But once the wheels of demographic change start rolling, it's hard to reverse them.
Expect to be steamrolled. Whether California ends up with the lower or the higher number in the range, chaos will rule.
Contemplate the impact growth will have on my home town of, as the city father's like to call it , "lovable, livable Lodi". San Joaquin County's 2000 population was estimated at 569,083 and is projected to increase 213.5 percent by 2050. Lodi's current population is roughly 60,000. If it grows at the same rate as the rest of the county, we'll have nearly 200,000 residents by mid-century.
Other scary numbers are population increases of 3.5 million predicted for Los Angeles County, 1.1 million, for Orange County, 1.7 million for San Diego County and 4.7 million for Riverside County. Riverside's population, the "winner" in the demographic race to disaster, will triple by 2050.
Whichever the exact number for the state's population or for Lodi's turns out to be, the question is: "How will people live?"
Naturally, to preserve our dwindling available land, much talk centers around the concept of "smart growth"— building up instead of building out.
This idea has been kicking around for ten years with no sign of success. Smart growth's best hope for catching on will occur when not a single blade of grass remains to pave over.
In a curious twist, those most adversely affected by population growth, the white adult Californians who vote, may be taxed to fund infrastructure improvements. They, however, are tax adverse.
The irony is that, according to the Public Policy Institute of California, 63 percent of them are not registered to vote.
The best California can hope for now is that the state will become so unbearable a place to live that people here will move away and others will stop coming.
By 2050, the California's demographics will have undergone an unprecedented shift created almost exclusively by lawbreaking. Because of illegal immigration and the large families spawned by illegal aliens, California's Hispanic population will increase to 52 percent in 2050 from 32 percent in 2000. During the same fifty-year period, whites will decline to 26 percent from 47 percent.
Many of the poorly informed will delight when Hispanics dominate. The more aware among us however know that during the next four decades professionals and their tax-generating jobs will leave California in a great big hurry. Social services that lure aliens to the state will dry up for the most basic reason: no tax dollars to fund them.
Within the next decade, I expect to see more and more Hispanics, especially those in the middle class, become immigration reform activists. Their best interests are served by keeping a firm lid on illegal immigration.
But, by the time that happens, will it be too little, too late?