Since 2008, we have taken our RV to California for the Christmas holidays almost every year. We would usually get there a few days before Christmas and come back to Arizona a few days after Christmas. The first couple of years, we would see a great many other RV's, trailers and fifth wheels on the road going to or coming from California. The next few years there seemed to be not only less recreational vehicles but less traffic altogether on the main highways between the two states. This appeared to be the result of the deepening recession our country was going through at the time.
To make matters worse, as a native born Californian, I saw my former home state deteriorate in a number of different ways. The condition of the state roads went from bad to worse. Potholes, cracks and debris had to be dodged more often then ever before. Trash, litter and graffiti became more prevalent and visible. What is less visible is law enforcement. On Interstate 10, we used to see four or five California Highway Patrol cars between Blythe and Palm Springs. Now we may see one.
We are starting to see some abandoned buildings in commercial areas. At almost every major intersection and freeway on ramps and off ramps in the coastal cities, transients could be seen with their signs begging for money. (This happens in Arizona too, but to a much lesser extent.) Ultimately, homeless camps popped up along freeways and then in downtown areas.
My wife, Judi, would tell people here in Prescott, that if the homeless scenes we see of Los Angeles and San Francisco on television are even a tenth as bad as it looks, then it is a major crisis. This year while in Long Beach, we had dinner with some friends. Two of them work in downtown LA. They both told us that the homeless encampments there are far worse than the televised reports show. The smell, the trash, human waste, hypodermic needles and sense of danger are palpable. One of these witnesses is retired from LAPD. He told us that the police administration, no doubt at the insistence of the mayor and city council, has designated many, if not all of these homeless camps, “enforcement free zones”, where police are not allowed to enforce misdemeanor crimes.
All of this is California's problem. We have dozens of close relatives still living in that declining state, so we can't help but pray that the voters there will finally get fed up with the filth, lack of action and corruption of their politicians and vote them out of office, as unlikely as that seems.
The silver lining is that our booming economy has created an increase in travel that can be seen with the increase in recreational vehicles, commercial trucks and full family cars taking to our highways and byways. Retail sales this holiday season were better than ever. Where a few short years ago, we would see construction of apartment buildings and housing tracks stopped before completion, they are now being completed and new ones started.
Very nearly all of the economic statistics show an economy that is growing at a very healthy rate. The pessimists on the left who were hopefully predicting a recession because of President Trump's policies have been silenced. All anyone has to do to know that the economy of our country is growing, is open his eyes.