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July 23, 2018 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Rushin’ to know, CA

All was golden. Everything cool was there: Beach Boys, surfing, Disneyland, Haight-Ashbury.

The Gilda may be gone, but is California old snooze or ready to reinvent itself?

California is mulling over splitting into either 3 or 6 states depending on who is talking.

“A chance to start with a clean slate,” said one (Millionaire Draper?) “A chance to start over and look at what works and what didn’t.

(Shuffling feet. Smoke and mirrors…) Uneasy feelings…

California has a good deal of state debt. Like pension and retirement promises to state employees/teachers/ police officers and such. What happens to that? (Why do I keep thinking of builders, contractors, or companies when facing fines, lawsuits, court settlements just up and go out of business…only to be reborn under a new name but with no annoying financial obligations?)

Some of California’s regions feel they are not getting the representation in government at the state and federal level. That larger cities are wagging the voting results in directions other areas don’t like. (Sounds like what friends in upper NY state say about NYC.) 

It’ll be interesting to see how the state morphs or if it does.

(For some reason, an image of Italy’s era of city states keeps slipping into consciousness…and all the competition, conflicts, and history that resulted until unified. It’s like everything old is new again! Well, it is California, home of the epic spectacles and reworking legends.)

Breaking up is hard to do – ask the former Soviet Union. Talk about a dysfunctional family. Maybe they can offer CA some advice.

Places divided sometimes do get back together like East and West Germany. Some hope North and South Korea can settle differences of economics and government philosophies or at least get along…using polite family holiday, reunion-type manners…

Still, realistically, nothing has nudged North and South Carolina to saddled up together again, but you never know with world trends these days.  

Forests around Tahoe. (© Image: all rights reserved, copyrighted, NO permissions granted)

Forests too green and unburned to be California, but just across the lake.(© Image)

California has had a diverse population for a long time. Flexibility has allowed shifting gears to keep the state rollin’.

San Francisco has decided that everyone there should be able to vote for school board: citizens, those on work visas, foreign students, and even those who slipped in without legal permission. Anyone who claims to be a resident.

Look, shouldn’t parents have some say about the schools their kids attend?  Those parents all have an understanding of U.S. educational theories and standard classroom practices because they can remember their own school days and how their teachers and classrooms worked. Oh.

They certainly can judge if the person running for office is qualified, reliable, and competent. Campaigns are multilingual, right?

Among the requirements to vote are 1. must be a resident (no qualifications given as to how long one living there to be considered a resident), 2, be over 18 yrs or parent of a child under 19 yrs.(So, the parent and their 19 yr old student both eligible to vote?), and some other stuff like not being in jail or on parole.

Normal stuff (except maybe there’s no actual proof of residency required ..but who would actually show up and vote just for the fun of it. That would be fraud and interfering with the voting process…)

An interviewer obviously trying to cause trouble asked a local spokesman if a Russian woman showed up and said she was a resident, could she vote? Or would she be asked to prove she was a resident.

The confused area spokesperson hesitated.


Odd some high-profile Californians are hysterical about Russians and elections and influence.

Sunset over ranch in W. TX (© Image: all rights reserved, copyrighted, NO permissions granted)

And the sun slowly sets in the West.(© Image)

With so many Californians sharing Russian heritage, you’d think they would be in the streets cheering “Go Team, Russian” and waving flags of their homeland just like many Mexicans and Latin Americans do. 

After all the state had multiple waves of Russian migrations. First mingling as traders with Native Americans (some of those may have had ancestors who wandered down from Alaska across land bridges to Russia.)

Official Russian presence started with Russian-American company settlements (1733-1867).  The Shelikhov-Golikov Company (1799)/ the Russian-American Company operated under the Ministry of Commerce of Imperial Russia in Alaska, Hawaii, and California. Of course, with the fur traders and settlements, came the Russian Orthodox priests.

Russian Forts were also built: like Fort Ross (1812) in Northern California, north of San Francisco Bay. The Spanish claiming the area didn’t like the Russian forts, but weren’t able to get rid of them and needed the trade goods. Once the Spanish left, the Russian settlements simply switched their trade agreements to the Mexican government. After California was bought by the U.S., some Russians stayed, some went back to Alaska.

Which brings us back to San Francisco. 

 San Francisco is one of the California cities with a Russian cultural center

San Francisco has Russian cultural bilingual preschools that offer small children the best of both worlds.

So confusing why some loud CA types are miffed about Russians. They’re their own people. 

California: a state as surprising as matryoshka dolls

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Cat watching on brick wall (© Image All rights reserved, copyrighted, NO permissions granted)

Eye spy. This cool cat on the wall says if the Russians are coming, they’d better be bringing their own mice. (© Image)







  1. Kate Crimmins / Jul 23 2018 7:14 am

    California is always rambunctious! Still, I’d love to live there if it wasn’t for the drought and wildfires and weird people! 🙂


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 23 2018 7:19 am

      I know. CA is sort of the comic relief and impulsive adventurous of the country. (Have to admit, multiple family members there like state bookends.) Cheers for the whacky and wonderful. Thanks for driving in to chat

      Liked by 1 person

  2. shoreacres / Jul 23 2018 7:34 am

    Here’s a bit of late-breaking news for you. Better put that three way split on hold for a while. Looks like their Supreme Court considered some of the very issues you raised.

    They’d better be careful about encouraging those Russian heritage Californians, though. Before you know it, the Danes up in northern Cali will hear the news and decide they’re going to turn activist, too. What a world.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 23 2018 8:03 am

      Oh, I started to link to that decision, but blew it off – Draper hasn’t appealed as of last night. The 6 state thing is even more complicated. It all sounds considerate until you start looking at it…the debt thing – and parts of the state jettisoning their share of state mandated “charity”/taxes to support things in other areas – we’ll see. Does remind me of olde city states’ and their history.
      CA is a much of a mix as here. (We are at least the 10-11th most Russian immigrant population in the country?hmmm, need to check that.) I find the celeb/politician “the Russians are doing what they always do and have done for decades just like the US does” hype funny and ironic: one group is applauded to waving flags, disrupting everyday life/business and another scorned, yet…
      Yeah, get those Danes out there! Seize the news focus!
      Thanks for rushin’ in to chat


  3. Beth / Jul 23 2018 7:46 am

    Another point of confusion for me – if California divides into multiple states, then as a native Texan who am I supposed to fuss about? It’s much easier for me if I just have the one whole state – learning several new ones is too confusing. Plus, do I now have to dislike them all equally, or do I wait and see who floats to the top? No, this won’t do at all.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 23 2018 8:06 am

      In elementary school I always hated when the teacher came in said, “You know all that country we learned about yesterday, well, there’s been a change…”
      Sigh. I guess the US is finally catching ups and becoming more like Europe and the rest of the world like people wanted HAHA.
      (If so, think there’s any possibility of TX reclaiming lands up north that were originally part of Tejas? Hmmmm.Win-win!)
      Thanks for rushin’ in to giggle along

      Liked by 1 person

      • Beth / Jul 24 2018 3:59 am

        Wait… are we reclaiming some of Oklahoma, then? I don’t know about this. 😀 😀 I mean sure… it’s not the multi-state of California, but… (A good friend of mine is from
        Oklahoma, which means I need to tell her I wrote those words so she feels properly ribbed. 🙂 )

        On a more serious note. The German will be dearly missed. Thank you for sharing your love of her, and thank you for sharing your love with her. She was beautiful.

        Also, let us all know if you’d like contributions of craft materials for your stitching project. I’m sure you’d get a laundry basket or five full.


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 24 2018 9:55 am

          All sorts of opportunities open up with reclaiming parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas, and Colorado (For territory and land grant reference: )…some of the rest of those places might actually choose to become an add-on, too? HAHA
          The German had a life well lived. Few will ever know such a magnificent dog. We’ve hosted her trainee, Ella, for a week of summer camp to keep her from being lonely. (more on that to come). Shelter bed materials are oddly like cats…they show up when there’s a vacancy, but Hmmm, may keep your idea on the back burner – hurricanes mean lots of bedless pets…)
          Thanks for trotting along!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. ShimonZ / Jul 23 2018 7:57 am

    While visiting the state a few years back, I found some very fine people along the Russian River. They all spoke English, and seemed to fear nothing but an influx by people from San Francisco. I had the impression that they were already a sort of independent state of 10 square miles.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 23 2018 8:10 am

      You are quite right in your analysis. That’s a beautiful area and very different from the southern part of the state. Little wonder people there would prefer a split. Difficult to meet the needs and expectations of all regions of a very large state. People are putting their cards on the table, we’ll see what the deal is.
      Thanks for rolling with that river.


  5. Xena and Lucy / Jul 23 2018 2:16 pm

    There are other states that have a wide range of diversity because of either their length or width, and what that has caused or attracted. When telling folks I am originally from PA, I always add Western PA, since it is in speech and culture much closer to the mid-west than Eastern PA, which is much more like NY and NJ.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 23 2018 2:48 pm

      Good point. Blurting out broad generalizations about any place is not only risky but revealing of the knowledge depth of the speaker. States’ residents of the past have created such a richness of stories – all of which deserved to be told and remembered – those tales – those building blocks – explain so much about the present, right? Thanks for adding a piece of the puzzle

      Liked by 1 person

  6. sustainabilitea / Jul 23 2018 7:31 pm

    California’s beautiful (and our older daughter and some other relatives live there), but we’ll pass. Too expensive and to weird for us. 🙂 Illinois, where we currently live, is as bad off fiscally (or worse), a dubious distinction!



    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 24 2018 9:45 am

      Pacific Coast hwy/trail, trees, hard to find a not pretty sight in CA (except where the wild fires go). Much too expensive…maybe they’ll turn it not one giant amusement park, Californialand, to help pay the bills. (Will they have different colored wrist bands – to let you know which areas you’ve paid entry fees for?…in and out privileges?) complex place in so many ways. Thanks for traveling by to chat

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Jay / Jul 25 2018 5:11 am

    I did not know anything about California’s Russian heritage; thanks for sharing.

    I thought, though, that the split question is somewhat moot since the state court decided the question could not appear on the ballot, arguing that only the state legislature could handle any such question.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 25 2018 8:13 am

      You’ve seen that famous zigzag street of movies/.photos? It’s either in Russian Hills or bordering it. State history and country history is so critical for understanding not only who the individual is, but also the building blocks of areas, right? A common foundation, right?
      Draper’s goup hadn’t appealed the decision…yet. Next lobby? What a game. (Haven’t read the actual part of the CA state constitution/agreement entered upon at the time of joining the union, but the process seems to begin with citizen petition, certification of validity (did the court have questions of that or did they finally say they were satisfied it was all OK?) – then the state legislature – which is dominated by one side/anti-breakers.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. LordBeariOfBow / Jul 30 2018 5:00 pm

    This had me enthralled, I love CA, especially San Francisco, been there a couple of times.

    I found that section on the Russians most interesting and then realized, how logical when given a grain of thought. I kind of fell in love with CA through John Steinbeck, and my trip to his “monument”, (museum) brought a big lump in my throat and tears of joy to my eyes back in 2008.

    Here in Australia every Australian or those granted permanent residency (like me) must at the age of 18 register with the Electoral Office, an independent body completely separate from the government;

    This body controls ALL elections, Federal, State and local;throughout the country. Every polling booth is run and controlled by this one agency and it works very well indeed. An Aborigine in Arnhem Land has the same voting rights and privileges as the Toffs in Toorak.

    And voting is compulsory, it’s also a fun day, most polling stations have a sausage sizzle and a fund raising, usually for some local children’s sports team/event or a local hospital, but never a church! 😈 and I love it 😀


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 30 2018 5:32 pm

      History and literature can make a place come really alive to you. California is a lot like TX in that we both have very complex histories and long histories of many waves of people from everywhere. Makes like fun and interesting – good food, too.
      Voting when I grew up was very much like what you have there – now, it’s totally different…Nothing like showing up to vote and having to walk around/through some big black dudes holding – on occasion holding weapons – and glaring at you before you can get inside. Happened during Obama’s first election….Pres. Bush in office at the time said he wasn’t sure it was an attempt at voter intimidation (there’s video of some older white couple trying to get inside – everyone has seen it. All over the news), so he told the Justice Dept to not pursue it….
      Voting is a privilege – it should be compulsory for those eligible – and respected by all. Used to be here. (Someday I’ll take on voter fraud and how a woman voted in my name for 2 presidential elections – and how I finally got it resolved by after years and years of work by getting top state officials involved….meanwhile which vote did they count: hers or mine? Voter fraud is real.Photo ID should be mandatory – stopped her…oh, they didn’t press charges. Might upset the ACLU. She promised not to do it again…like I believe that.)
      I vote for you to run the world! Thanks for traveling over to chat


      • LordBeariOfBow / Jul 30 2018 8:04 pm

        The only weapon you’ll see at one of our polling booths, is on a police office,r going into vote, and then enjoying a sausage sizzle which he’s PAID for, there’s a spirit at all the polling stations that I’ve ever been to, of a sense of pride perhaps, never a complaint about having to go vote. I hope it stays but I suppose it will disappear soon enough, 😥
        Voting is not only a privilege, some say right, but I believe an obligation to all those who’ve fought, and the many that died in the fight, for our freedom and way of life. We owe them that, without complaint.
        Funny you should say that, Dr Sandroussi aka God, the Lebanese/Muslim/Atheist/Socialist; suggested after removing my stomach, that I should run for the leadership of our ALP (think Democrats moving left) of which we are both paid up, card carrying members, and run for Prime Minister, he suggested that he would organize and run the campaign. I pointed out that I was 80 years old at that time and now that he’d finished with me I didn’t think I’d have the stomach for it. 😈


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 2 2018 8:37 am

          Belly full of laughs with that one!
          Nothing like armed men dressed in paramilitary gear outside the polls to encourage voting. Some unclear on the concept. It is a privilege and obligation. Sadly whole idea seems to have been lost here.
          Thanks for the loan of Aussie fire fighters who have arrived in CA to help with the wild fires. (Now would be a good time to think about developing plans to save flood waters underground for emergency use across the nation?)

          Liked by 1 person

          • LordBeariOfBow / Aug 2 2018 4:09 pm

            I think that the CA sirefighters may well be returning the loan with interest in a few months time. Australia is in one of it’s worst droughts ever. NSW alone has an area 99% + drought stricken. Our dams are getting perilously low and we’ve forgotten what rain is, I really should not be happy basking in this sunshine we’re having, just that I can’t stand being cold. A leftover from when I lived in the desert. I think we are in for an horrific bushfire season all over Oz and no state will be able to lend a hand to other states as is the usual way here.And there won’t be much water to fight it.


          • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 2 2018 7:30 pm

            You might be right.
            We had one downpour a day ago – first rain in a month. Oddly a “cool-ish” front made it all this way lowering humidity and the temps by a degree or two – almost like Oct HAHA!
            We had a lawyer friend whose daughter also went into law. He advised her to specialize in water rights with may be an important field before long. The Romans moved water, we should be able to come up with a plan, too…sooner the better. (So far hurricane prediction is good for us, but you never know…)
            Hope more of your baking is just sun frolicking and not the wild fire kind.


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