A Look at California


By Michele Drier


Do you like lettuce on your hamburger?
Snack on almonds?
Drink wine?
You’re a contributor to California’s ranking as the sixth largest economy in the world, surpassing
France and Brazil.

California is the leading state in cash farm revenues, shipping $47 billion in products in 2015. Then
there’s the revenue from high tech Silicon Valley and the fantasyland of movies and entertainment. In
fact, the Legislative Analyst’s Office is forecasting a $2.8 billion surplus in discretionary funds for the
2017-2018 budget year.

Beyond having the largest economy in the United States, California also has the largest population,
the tallest and oldest trees, the tallest peak and lowest low in the contiguous states: Mt. Whitney
(14,505 feet) which is at the Southern end of the Sierra Nevada, just over 100 miles from the lowest spot
on the continent, Death Valley (282 feet below sea level). We also have two active volcanos and a lot of
fault lines, including the famous San Andreas which shake things up from time to time.

What we don’t have, despite being home to just under forty million people (12 percent of the
entire population of the US) is adequate representation in the Electoral College. True, we have the
largest Congressional delegation (53 representatives, but only two Senators), which means every elector
represents 727,272 people. Compare that to Wyoming (population 586,107) where each elector
represents 195,360 people.

We’re a blue state. Although we’ve had Republicans hold high office, (Ronald Reagan, recently
Arnold Swarzenegger) our policies are progressive and liberal, making California the target for the
emerging super-conservative right. Some percentage of Trump supporters even believe California
should have no voice in the Electoral College and that our votes shouldn’t count.


Disenfranchising 12% of the population of the country because you don’t like their politics? What
kind of crazy talk is that?

Jerry Brown, now in his second term and second iteration as governor, has sworn to take on
Washington if the new administration threatens to gut legislation that supports such progressive ideas
as pollution control, global warming, alternative energy and sanctuary for illegal aliens. In a speech
before scientists in San Francisco he said, “If they cut back on satellites that measure global warming,
we’ll put up our own damn satellites.”

California is a state of mind. There are few people in the world who don’t have a picture of
California in their mind’s eye. “California Dreamin’”, “California Girls,” Hollywood, television, Google,
facebook, Twitter, have all shaped the view of our state. And it’s wrong and maybe partially right.
Movie stars. Surfers. Skiers. Miles of Southern California beaches. The Golden Gate bridge. Palm
Springs. Lake Tahoe. Silicon Valley.
California is all of that…and more.

It’s a state where traffic clogs some freeways for twenty out of twenty-four hours. Where miles of
orchards line Interstate 5, the north-south freeway that links Canada with Mexico. Where the only Big
Surf contest in the continental US takes place at Mavericks. Where artichokes and strawberries are
harvested in the cool coastal fog. Where wines rivaling France’s are made. Where two species of
redwoods have the tallest and largest tees in the world. Where almost 1,000 miles of Pacific beaches run
from the flat sands of San Diego County to the jagged, rocky shoreline of Del Norte County. Where
twelve lane freeways are jammed with traffic near Sacramento to sparse traffic on two-lane Highway 49,
a few miles away, winding through the foothill towns that housed the Gold Rush. Where it’s possible to
surf in Santa Cruz in the morning and ski at Lake Tahoe in the late afternoon.

It’s a state of contrasts and extreme beauty from deserts to mountains to coast and I’m a fifth
generation native. The first of my family arrived in San Francisco, traveling around the Horn, in 1849.


Others came in 1850 and a great-great grandmother crossed the Isthmus of Panama in 1852. My
grandmother and grandfather survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and were married there in

My mystery series takes place in Northern California, in the Sacramento area, and the third in the
series, “Delta for Death,” is set in the Delta where the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers meet and flow
into San Francisco Bay.

The saying “Write what you know” is true for me. I write what I know and love, the state of



Michele Drier was born in Santa Cruz and is a fifth generation Californian. She’s lived and worked all
over the state, calling both Southern and Northern California home. During her career in journalism—as
a reporter and editor at daily newspapers—she won awards for producing investigative series.
She is the past president of Capitol Crimes, the Sacramento chapter of Sisters in Crime, and the co-
chair of Bouchercon 2020.

Her Amy Hobbes Newspaper Mysteries are Edited for Death, (called “Riveting and much
recommended” by the Midwest Book Review), Labeled for Death and Delta for Death.
Her paranormal romance series, The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, was the best paranormal
vampire series of 2014 from the Paranormal Romance Guild. The series is SNAP: The World Unfolds,
SNAP: New Talent, Plague: A Love Story, Danube: A Tale of Murder, SNAP: Love for Blood, SNAP:
Happily Ever After?, SNAP: White Nights, SNAP: All That Jazz, and SNAP: I, Vampire. Number 10,
SNAP: Red Bear Rising, is scheduled for publication in the fall of 2018 and she’s working on a new
mystery series, The Stained Glass Murders.

A stand-alone thriller, Ashes of Memories, is available in both ebook and paperback.
Visit her facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/AuthorMicheleDrier, her website
www.micheledrier.com or her Amazon author page, http://www.amazon.com/Michele-

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1 Comment

  1. CJay916 says:

    “Disenfranchising 12% of the population of the country because you don’t like their politics? What kind of crazy talk is that?”
    The left pushes things on the right that they don’t like. The right does the same to the left.
    Stop acting like a victim because you don’t like the current president.
    I agree with everything else. California is a great state. Beautiful. Farms, ranches, mountains, lakes, forests, rivers, all wonderful.

    But don’t act like your ideas are “progressive” and the rest of the country needs to follow our lead. We might be great, but we are also severely flawed.
    We are worried about non-citizens vs legal citizens. Every few months more and more laws are ripping away our rights and freedoms while giving more rights and freedoms to criminals.
    We are putting in more regulations which are killing small businesses making it impossible to profit. Small business make this state great.
    Yes we are great, yes we are flawed. But stop calling yourself “progressive” and think you are better than everyone else’s.

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