Sat, May

The Great LA Exodus! And, What It’s Costing Us!


CORRUPTION WATCH-Although most of us say we believe in “Thou shall have no other GODS before Me,” the reality is that Angelenos actually worship the weather gods. Yes, we have the weather gods of perpetual sunshine who have to fight off the god of May Gray and the god June Gloom each year, but throughout Los Angeles’ history, the good weather gods have always prevailed. 

So, the weather gods have been a little off their game in the last few years with the drought, but that’s hardly a wrinkle. Besides, drought means no mosquitoes with Zika virus. 

The weather gods, however, not only bring us the wonderful California sun, but more importantly, they bring us a constant influx of new Californians with brains, energy and creativity. The weather gods also deter any reverse migrations back to the Snow and Rust Belts. “It’s a Wonderful Life” with Jimmy Stewart turns out to be a subversive film. It reminded new Californians in the depths of winter just how horrible it would be to move back to Small Town USA. Yep, the last time I saw Jimmy Stewart ready to jump into the freezing river, it was 85 degrees in Hollywood. I had to run outside and stand in the sun, murmuring my little prayer of thanks to the LA weather gods. 

Shocker!! The weather gods are deserting us – or the world has been knocked off its axis. 

Something dire has happened -- people have stopped coming to Los Angeles. Worse yet, the weather gods have opened the exit gates and people are streaming out of the City! 

Look at it this way. Money is streaming out of Los Angeles. Yes, whenever a white collar job moves to Texas, it means that hundreds of thousands of dollars are leaving Los Angeles. Worse yet, Los Angeles has fallen to #60 as a place where professionals and business service workers want to live. We are behind Chicago and New York -- and they don’t even have weather gods! 

Nashville has had its professional and business service worker segment grow by 47% since 2010, while Dallas-Ft.Worth increased by 29%. San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco has grown a remarkable 45% since 2010. 

Here are some rankings: Nashville was #1, San Fran etc. was #2, Dallas was # 5, metro New York ranked #14, Chicago with its wind, chills, snow and summer humidity ranked #43, and Los Angeles was #60 as the place where middle class white collar workers desire to live. 

When one sorts through all the data, what we see is that places with atrocious weather and with over-crowding and high costs of living are doing significantly better than Los Angeles. Places which have sunshine like South Texas are doing wonderfully. 

So that has been the Kryptonite for our weather gods? “Corruptionism.” 

When business leaders look long-term, nothing is a greater deterrent than entrenched Corruptionism. It’s not just that LA’s streets are the worst and that our traffic congestion has become the worst in both America and Europe. The real threat is a City Council which is a criminal enterprise. There’s a difference between LA and a place like Chicago where cronies throw city contracts to their friends and if they get too far out of line, they get prosecuted. 

In Los Angeles, the City Council itself has been the criminal enterprise since 2006 when Garcetti was City Council President. When employers see entrenched criminals receiving the protection of the District Attorney and the courts for a decade, they know that matters will deteriorate. 

It’s no secret that billions of dollars have been diverted to real estate developers at the same time the City has been destroying poor people’s homes. The City is subsidizing the private Grand Avenue Project to the tune of an initial $198 million. Only the terminally naive think that this largesse will be the last of the city’s generosity to the project. And now they want us to approve ballot measures costing over $200 billion and that’s just the start of it. 

We know that the exodus from Los Angeles will accelerate because two important groups of Millennials are leaving: (1) Those who had to postpone starting families because of the bad economy and high student loan payments, (2) Those who are a few years younger, but who also can afford to start families elsewhere. 

Don’t expect new Millennials to take their place. The number of younger Millennials is dropping each year and since LA is now #60, there are 59 other cities where all Millennials of any age believe they can make better lives for themselves.   

Recently, there has been disinformation out there that only the poor are leaving the City. That is a false claim, although smart poor people actually should move. For the state as a whole, according to IRS data, “In 2014, more than two-thirds of the net domestic out-migrants were reported on returns filed by persons aged from 35 to 64. These are the people who are most likely to be in the workforce and be parents.” And we know Los Angeles is doing much worse than the rest of the state, so our middle class is abandoning the City. 

No place can economically survive when the 35 to 64 age group is two thirds of the net domestic out-migrants. That is why employers are moving away from Los Angeles and why Los Angeles’ great residential neighborhoods are now being built in Texas – which has some pretty powerful weather gods of its own. 

Corruptionism is Kryptonite. Employers know that the criminal vote trading at Los Angeles City Council is permanent. Los Angeles’ corruption overlords have become far stronger than our kindly weather gods.

(Richard Lee Abrams is a Los Angeles attorney. He can be reached at: [email protected]. Abrams views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.

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