Not all that long ago, everyone wanted to head west to California. California was the place to be. The newest music, styles, fads, and trends all had roots in California. Sun, surf, and let it all hang out. California was the place to be.

The Mamas and The Papas were "California Dreamin'," The Beach Boys sang the virtues of "California Girls" and Dionne Warwick asked, "Do you know the way to San Jose?" And if you were going to San Francisco you had better "be sure to wear some flowers in your hair."

What the hell happened to all that?

California is a dismal and abysmal place now that people are fleeing from in record numbers. It's a sanctuary state filled with criminal illegal aliens. Tens of thousands of people live in tent cities along the major interstates from L.A. north to the Frisco Bay and in the city centers, too. There are disease and needles, and human feces everywhere you look.

Rents are so high that families live in mall and retail parking lots in campers or vans or out of their car. Gasoline prices average at near $5 per gallon. High taxes and government regulations are driving businesses out of the state.

Daily images of wildfires are symbolic of the hellish conditions many must endure in order to remain in the Golden State.

Pacific Gas and Edison has been forced to spend so much money on green projects that it has been unable or unwilling to invest in upgrading its power grid to prevent it from sparking brush fires. As a result, the utility has to cut power to hundreds of thousands of customers each time the Santa Ana winds kick up. Environmental whackos have prevented PG&E from clearing brush and dead fallen trees which serve as kindling for the fires.

Liberal policies have ruined California. California is a vision of what is yet to come for the rest of the nation should we decide to pursue a path towards socialism. It is like the ghost that appears to warn Ebenezer Scrooge about things yet to come. Scrooge paid attention and was able to alter his fate. Let's hope we do as well.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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