Eber: Travels with Charlie

As someone that knows almost every off ramp, gas station, rest stop and junk food joint from San Diego to Oregon on the 5,101 and 99 freeways, our roads suck.  California has the worst road sin the nation and the highest gas tax.  Of course, a lot of the gas tax is used to subsidize buses and trains—and the scan called High Speed Rail.

“In addition to the shoddy condition of roads, on well traveled routes such as US 99 and Interstate 5, there are still only two lanes in each direction except near metropolitan areas. It’s hard to say why. While California has more traffic than adjoining States, its fuel cost us almost a buck more per gallon than our close neighbors.  Theoretically, there should be enough funding to keep up our highways to meet the needs of today’s motorists.

But then we come to realization none of these other places are financing Bullet Trains to nowhere, Subsidizing expensive seldom used mass transit systems, or appeasing labor unions with astronomical prevailing wage packages.  I am also fairly certain that Governors in these other States are not diverting funds to pay for Sanctuary Cities or subsidizing health insurance premiums for undocumented residents. “

Only a dog can really enjoy our roads—like Rich’s dog, Charlie.

Travels with Charlie by Richard Eber

Richard Eber, Exclusive to the California Political news and Views.  4/20/21 

It has been several years since our last road trip from Northern California to Pocatello Idaho; where my wife’s family resides.  This trip was special because we were picking up Charlie, a baby Lab-Australian Herding dog mix, to grace our household. 

Even though it has been awhile since we drove this 700 mile trek, very little has changed along the way.  Road signs promising riches to be found in Nevada casinos seem to still be In a time warp. Chicken fried steak served with instant potatoes and gravy remains the $5.99 Special at diners. With Cannabis Dispensaries being more numerous on our route than clean toilets, I guess this can be viewed as a sign of progress.

One thing noticeable was the quality of roads in California versus Nevada and Idaho. To put it bluntly, California’s highways suck. Pot holes and torn payment abounds in the Golden State. These horrible conditions make signs indicating arrival inside California’s borders unnecessary.

In addition to the shoddy condition of roads, on well traveled routes such as US99 and Interstate 5, there are still only two lanes in each direction except near metropolitan areas. It’s hard to say why. While California has more traffic than adjoining States, its fuel cost us almost a buck more per gallon than our close neighbors.  Theoretically, there should be enough funding to keep up our highways to meet the needs of today’s motorists.

But then we come to realization none of these other places are financing Bullet Trains to nowhere, Subsidizing expensive seldom used mass transit systems, or appeasing labor unions with astronomical prevailing wage packages.  I am also fairly certain that Governors in these other States are not diverting funds to pay for Sanctuary Cities or subsidizing health insurance premiums for undocumented residents.

It is also not a revelation to know school children in Idaho have been receiving in person education At school since last August.  Just the opposite is true in California where remote learning from home can charitably called a major failure. Under the leadership of The California Teachers Association less than one in three of high school students meets the national average in math and English proficiency. During the last year this gap has widened as many low income and single parent households have struggled to keep up using the remote learning process. It is believed that when low achievement students become adults, their ability to make a good trying will be impaired by their lack of skills in the three R’s.

Meanwhile in Idaho, despite almost $ 3,000 less being spent per pupil, education proficiency is much higher than in California. According to a survey made by US News, the Potato State is 24th in academic excellence to California’s dismal 44th place standing.  True Idaho has less diversity than California. At the same time cancel culture is not a part of their educational curriculum. LOL.

What would you prefer; academic achievement or expertise understanding the depths of racism and the importance of diversity in our society? The last time I checked such skills do not pay for even one baloney sandwich, except if food stamps are involved.

When it comes to housing costs, the price of new homes in Idaho are about half of that in California.  Outside of land prices, the permitting process for construction is not all that expensive, complicated, and time consuming in Idaho.  In rural areas CEQUA and multiple environmental impact reports (EIR) are not required in great detail.  With these relaxed rules, it does not look like the world is coming to an end for them.

There is even more disparity between California and Idaho when it comes to crime rates.  According to statistics provided by the FBI California ranks 24th while Idaho is the 6th safest place to live.  This gap is likely higher with most felonies committed in Sanctuary Cities in California not being prosecuted while shop lifting has been largely decriminalized for under $1000.00 of merchandise stolen.

Comparing the crime rates between Boise and Los Angeles, the results are a joke.  In addition with the population of Idaho, having one of the highest number of firearms ownership per person in the country, there are few homicides with so many 2nd Amendment proponents around.

Another consideration to be taken into account is state taxes of all sorts.  Sales taxes average 3.5% less in Idaho. On property the assessment in Idaho averages 6.29% per $100,000 compared to 8.68% in California.  When valuation of property is added on, the disparity is even greater.

Even a pack of cigarettes cost about three bucks less a pack in Idaho!

Income taxes are about the same for low income folks in both States with California having much higher levies for wealthier folks. After all of these figures are taken into account it would appear the quality of life is much higher, especially for families in Idaho compared to California.  This does not mean Potato World is the best place for everyone to live these days.

There is no doubt California is far ahead to its neighbor in such areas as economic opportunity, weather, quality of restaurants, entertainment etc…  In short Idaho for city dwellers such myself is a bit boring. Indicative is when my wife first introduced me to her family a nephew asked, “What’s your favorite magazine Uncle Rich, Field And Stream or Guns and Ammo?” At that moment I realized that being one of the good old boys would never be my destiny.

But that doesn’t mean I should not enjoy visiting this place where the Snake River meanders throughout the State supplying enough H2O  to allow residents to live their lives without fear of water rationing to be imposed. As a bonus I was able to be able to find Charlie, who follows me around with devotion seldom found anywhere.  As a bonus Charlie, unlike my late beloved  beagle Pikelz,, doesn’t run away  to hunt for rabbits at every opportunity.  I guess Charlie’s upbringing in Blackfoot brought him the obedience that cannot be found  in California or living with me.

When our journey came to an end,  I was happy to return to my digs in Concord. Even with absorbent  taxes, rampant illiteracy, high crime, and an astronomical cost of living , I still love this place.

 Sorry Thomas Wolfe.  I could come home again.

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.

Comments

  1. Stan Sexton says

    Great Trip! Idaho is building new homes like 1950’s California. And Boise is getting it’s first In-N-Out Burger! I just got back from Carson City. It’s also like Calif in the 50’s. New housing tracts everywhere. The difference is price. A 3-2, 4 year old 1800 sf tract house is $650k, almost as high as here in San Diego. Those refugees from California are bring big money in. While house prices are high, there is no state income tax, and utilities are cheaper. Water comes from the Sierra Nevada. Some commute to Sacramento. I had to stop at the Home Depot there to get forbidden products like Denatured Alcohol and Weed-N-Feed. In Nevada, the Casino interests have a lot of political power in dictating labor rates and utility costs. This works well for California retirees but the natives have a hard time competing for housing. But we haven’t wrecked markets in Idaho yet. Lots of opportunity there. Catch the Wave!

  2. In CA you have to fight to get back to what things should be. Here in Idaho, you have to fight, maybe harder, to keep things as they should be. The universities are like CA’s and teachers’ unions are trying to do the same to the younger students. There’s a movement to bring similar early childhood indoctrination to the pre-school population. CA has Prop 13, for now, while Idaho has no limit on property taxes. I have ex-CA friends in Texas and Arizona who lost houses due to that lack in those states. I keep pushing my legislators to take that one good thing CA has done and bring it here. I say all this not to make CA look good or ID bad but to emphasize that (1) red states need good conservatives moving in and (2) we all have to keep an eye on our legislatures.

    BTW, in winter we get some monster potholes in our local streets. Having grown up and learned to drive in the CA that had the best roads and drivers in the world, I keep forgetting how bad it’s gotten there. At least here there’s a reason, and a season, for it.

  3. Really??? says

    He forgot to mention the $6 Billion Slick Newsom is spending for bike paths most do not use. But what the heck is only coming out of your gasoline taxes. (you know to fix the roads)

  4. rich eber says

    Really,Really! Do you expect me to mention “stairway to Heaven” bike lanes in an Idaho article even if I agree with your position. There is plenty of stupid stuff to ridicule in the Golden State without attacking these seldom used pork infused expressways

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