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Today, it is a green expanse of agricultural empires. Most of the water that has irrigated these seemingly endless fields comes from northern California, diverted by an epic system of dams and canals born from New Deal funds. It was one of the most ambitious water systems ever built, and the San Joaquin Valley became, in the words of historian Kevin Starr, "the most productive unnatural environment on Earth."
Playing cards and a small wad of dollar bills sit on a pool table at Los Kiki, a dusty pool hall at the end of the main drag in Mendota, Calif. A breeze blows through a broken window, past six men hunched over the table, beer bottles in their hands. It is middle of a Wednesday afternoon. A year ago, they would have been out planting and pruning in the vast fields of grapes, tomatoes, onions, and nut trees that fan out from the city limits. But this year, many of those fields are lying fallow, and the men at Los Kiki are out of work.
"But this Wild West financing meant anybody could end up here. That's what this thing did. It scrambled communities."
The roots of California's financial tangle are in the San Joaquin Valley. How it became the state's (and possibly the nation's) economic ground zero.
The "thing," of course, was the real-estate roller coaster that came screeching to a spectacular halt after a half-decade cycle. As housing prices in the Bay Area skyrocketed, many moved...
Just weeks ago, this was the site of the city's sprawling tent cities, a haven where Fresno's homeless population had for decades lived inside walls made of scrap metal and roofs made of plastic sheeting. Now, it is empty, its main tent city dismantled and nearly all of its 130 residents transferred into private apartments and motel rooms.
Originally posted by OldDragger
Hmmmm. I thought we were supposed to fall in the ocean.
Why do people seem to delight in predicting doom for California?
I'm sitting here looking out my office window at L.A. things look pretty darn good!
Yeah, we have our ups and downs, such is life. But I assure you rumors of death are greatly exaggerated, we ain't going down!
Toyota has never closed a U.S. assembly plant, but the suddenly struggling Japanese automaker has said that it would shudder the NUMMI factory in California, the only auto plant in the state, by next March.