You may be overreacting to the evidence.
While air quality/electricity concerns may only last a few weeks per year, and maybe covid is just 6 months (but 1 year is more likely) you then have a city overrun with homeless, walk outside your apartment to see someone sleeping on your stoop, accidentally step on human feces regularly, the BART escalators and most of Market Street stinks of urine, cars are broken into, people are regularly walking into stores, grabbing stuff, and running away with the cashiers screaming at them.
Then you look at your friends in the rest of the country that have already bought a house, and the consolation that you may only be able to rent but it's in a great city -- it starts to wear a bit thin.
Relative to what you make, is that a lot, compared to what you'd make/pay in Kansas City?
Do you realize that the AQI is terrible for literally a third of the US right now?
If climate change is going to ruin CA, then it will also ruin a LOT of other places. Relatively speaking, the Bay Area will be nicer still, albeit much more expensive, than other places.
The bay areas has never been nice in the last 5 years. I can live in a more comfortable house where I don’t have to work 3ft from where I sleep in almost any other city.
Sigh. I guess the grass is always greener on the other side
How many years worth of a cut salary would the bonus be? I might be missing something (if you are factoring the tax differences I get it).
Similar story for Orlando, but with a 10% cut. 10% pay cut and saving 9.3% in income and ~1.3% sales tax. Housing would be about $500/mo cheaper ($6k/yr) and way more comfortable to work from.
Who gives a shit? You’re still making good money. What’s your life worth?
With remote work, it's not even close. I'd take COLA pay cut and still have more after taxes.
But even ignoring remote work, let's compare two cities: San Francisco and Salt Lake City.
Median HH Income in SF: 108K (source: https://www.deptofnumbers.com/income/california/san-francisc...)
Median House Price in SF: 1.4 Million (source: https://www.zillow.com/san-francisco-ca/home-values/)
SF Price to Income ratio: 13
Median HH Income Salt Lake City: 74K (source: https://www.deptofnumbers.com/income/utah/salt-lake-city/)
Median House Price: 420K (source: https://www.zillow.com/salt-lake-city-ut/home-values/)
Salt Lake City Price to Income ratio: 5.7
Of course SLC has worse average AQI than a coastal city like SF. If you are inland and have a large population, you will have worse particulates. So let's look at coastal cities all of which have air quality as good or better than SF and have the bonus of warm water so you can swim at the beach:
median HH income: 47K
median house price: 196K
Price to Income: 4.2
median household income: 64K
median house price: 337K
median price to income: 5.3
median household income: 53K
median house price: 300K
price to income: 5.7
Do you see a pattern?
And none of these cities have streets filled with feces and homeless encampments, a 16% state income tax with high income surcharge, or refuse to prosecute property crime.
Even a single filer making $500k/year will only hit a top rate of 11.3%, and effective rate of 9.4%. For surcharges to kick in requires > $1M/year, and only affects the amount over that.
I do find it weird that CA has some of the worst taxes for new residents. I can’t imagine a place that is more difficult to break into and then settle in. (High property values, outrageously high property taxes, high sales tax, high income tax, etc...) It’s setup to only let the rich get in and stay. Not a very inclusive place.
The income tax scale in CA is steeply progressive, a 50k earner pays only 3.8%, less than almost all states that have flat income tax. For a median earner, CA is in the upper half but not exceptionally high:
Having been in very high income brackets myself, lived in both low and high col areas/states, and run this calculation often, I think taxes is largely a red herring. The difference made by tax is just peanuts compared to the impact of housing cost, which truly is very high in CA. For low income brackets, CA is frequently lower tax burden than elsewhere, but housing cost will destroy you. For very high income brackets you do start to see the difference in marginal tax rate, but your absolute income is so much higher that you aren't spending a significant % on sales tax, and those marginal differences aren't driving your decision making anymore.
But you don't need to go to the rest of the country, just step outside San Francisco city limits. Everything described in the second paragraph is pretty unique to San Francisco. Not something you really see in Silicon Valley proper.
A similar apartment in Austin would be around $1,300/mo. Is $10,000/yr really the difference between middling and “quite high” expectations for quality of life? How do you price access to a far more competitive market for your labor? Is it the state taxes, then, which push you over the edge?
By far, the worst thing about the Bay Area is the stress level. This is not a comfortable place for the majority of the residents and it shows. Happiness is largely driven by one's expectations, and the marketing and image of CA drives those quite high. There is, I think, quite a bit of unhappiness arising from the CA image vs CA reality. On top of that, you are competing with other people trying to live that dream and working quite hard to do so.
I think CA still has many strong points, but if I wasn't paying a fixed alimony payment I would have sacrificed the higher income for more happiness and left years ago. I spent half my life here and enjoyed what I think were the last of the good times in CA.
In the East Bay, EBMUD has not ever imposed restrictions of any kind even in the severe droughts of the 70s. The most drastic action they have taken has been to raise marginal prices for large consumers, an altogether reserved response to drought. EBMUD's total water deliveries have fallen by one third in the last 50 years, despite the fact that the population in the service area has doubled, and current demand is only half of current supply. Municipal water is about the last thing someone in a Bay Area city needs to worry about.
Same reason people moved to places like Cleveland and Detroit in the past. For work.
Considering the strong economic growth of TX, perhaps it is more likely that people are running towards opportunity more than they are running away from problems: Housing is being built at a much higher rate than CA, and it is one of the big drivers of emigration from CA, aside from jobs.
Best 10 years not looking to hot, oil and gas is a shrinking industry
In pre-modern times, perhaps people had more of a connection and loyalty to where they live. I wouldn't know. To me city, state, or even country delineations feel somewhat unreal.
Another way to put it would be that I'm not running from the problems. I'm solving them. See: my problems aren't mismanagement of the city, rampant homeless, crime, smoke, high cost of living, etc - my problem is that I live in a city where all this stuff is, and I can solve that quite easily.
My "home" is my friends and family, even though we are distributed across the world now. I wouldn't run from my problems, even if they were geographically distant, but I'm not obliging myself to solve everyone's problems, even if they're geographically close.
I spent half my life in San Diego before coming to the Bay Area. It sucks there too compared to what it used to be.
Make the move. There's never been a better time.
While I'm sure the wildfires are not entirely due to climate change (in fact there was one due to a party) but you've gotta assume global warming has a significant impact on the frequency and intensity of the fires.
But with more and more companies now building an increasingly remote work force due to COVID, even that will soon be gone.
I disagree. No hurricanes, no floods, no need to remove snow, no need for AC most of the time, no mosquito season... Just some fog and some wind, that's all. No big problem.
> the air is poison
Yes, but this problem has only affected the city like this for the last 2 years or so (to this extent).
> Threats of water scarcity
Only for agriculture.
> electricity scarcity now
Only in the last 2 couple of years, and it has not affected all of San Francisco. Many districts in SF did not have a power outage this year.
> terrible social problems
That I can agree with entirely, especially homelessness and gentrification.
> expensive everything
There are many companies that are ready to take your money and make your life convenient. But if you ignore them, things can be affordable.
Also, many people moving out of the city all the time = a lot of free stuff on Craigslist. Need furniture? Get your free dining set (tables, chairs) from some wealthy random dude that doesn't have time to sell stuff.
> inability to really do anything with anyone
Meetup is a great place to do things and it is very active in SF. It's a good place to start.
> I’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to live here over the last several years
Personal preferences and expectations have a lot to do with how much you spend. I've known people that live with roommaters and save most of their salary.
> Yes, but this problem has only affected the city like this for the last 2 years or so (to this extent).
As someone pointed out with an infographic on Twitter recently, before the Clean Air Act really began to take effect, the air quality was always like this in California summers, fires or not.
I think the concerns about the poisonous air and electricity scarcity are way overblown. The air is bad because the whole region is on fire, and that's not happened for a long, long time (sure, there are pockets of fire-ravaged regions at any point in the late summer, but it's not this widespread).
The really problematic issues are the wacko water usage (growing almonds? really?), the callous disregard of state politicians for folks who do not own homes (and are increasingly facing homelessness or crushing commutes), and the deep fiscal troubles the state finds itself in (because of a seeming inability to control spending and normalize property taxation). Schools (including UCs) are not functioning well for the majority of Californians (they have failed to provide a free/cheap education to state residents, which is the mandate of any state university, and Community Colleges are massively underfunded).
CA weather is not the best by a long shot, but most of the rest of the US has terrible weather (way worse than CA at any rate).
I believe 3 of the last 4 years had the "largest fire season ever in California".
>Only for agriculture.
Not only for agriculture. I remember public service announcements everywhere about conserving water. I remember restaurants not giving me a glass of water unless I asked for it, I remember the constant pressure.
>Only in the last 2 couple of years, and it has not affected all of San Francisco. Many districts in SF did not have a power outage this year.
It doesn't really matter whether or not the power actually went off. I was bombarded with messaging about the moral imperative of conserving electricity and had to prepare for it going out anyway. Because they managed to scrape by does not mean they're reliable.
>There are many companies that are ready to take your money and make your life convenient. But if you ignore them, things can be affordable.
Yes, I could live more cheaply here, that's not the point. The point is things that I want are significantly more expensive here than anywhere. There's a lunch I like to get at a fast casual restaurant nearby that costs me $35 for just an entree and a side. Sure, I can and usually do make my own lunch, but I could get a lunch I enjoyed just as much in the last city I lived in for $17 easily.
>Personal preferences and expectations have a lot to do with how much you spend. I've known people that live with roommates and save most of their salary.
I maintained the quality of life, or tried, it's actually marginally worse here, and the cost is at least double. Yes, I could live with people, but I didn't have to in my last city and I don't have to here, I could indeed make many aspects of my life worse in order to make it cheaper to be here... but that's my point, everything here is worse.
And you know what? I like snow, I like cold, I like variety. I much preferred walking around Minneapolis at night on the few rare -40 degree evenings than I did walking to the store with an AQI of 200 in Mountain View. Enjoying the cold is a state of mind, salons around here even sell it as a therapy for god knows what kind of woo woo.
Any actual coverage of the fires and their real impact, lost of natural habitat, sinks into irrelevancy.
If a place burns and San Francisco doesn’t notice, do we still talk about it?
indigenous fire management kept underbrush under control results in cooler fires.
The main issue is people think it's pretty to live in places that normally burn.
The air quality was decent relative to the past month of wildfires. The air felt and smelled like normal fog: cool and slightly wet. We've had days in past years and many recently where the smoke would make the sun a slightly warmer color, but it was always close enough to normal that you could compensate for it in your mind.
September 9th was completely different. The world looked like a sepia-tone photograph. While the orange light was dimmer than normal, basically no blue light made it to the ground. You can't compensate for a complete lack of the higher wavelengths. When looking at the night sky, astronomers often illuminate their sky charts with red light so that their night vision isn't ruined. The same thing happened here, which made white lights extremely bright. And because the brain has some capacity to correct white balance, white lights were also blue. Being the only blue in the world, you could see all the places they were reflected. Blue was on a different layer from everything else.
It was basically night by 4pm, but what surprised me most was that seeing blue was an emotional experience. You know those videos where they give a colorblind person those glasses that let them see what they've been missing? That's what seeing blue was like. It was like seeing ultraviolet. It almost made you cry.
The only thing you could do was look up at the sky, and the only reaction you could have was emotional. There's a certain feeling you get when you know everyone has the same thing on their mind. It reminded me of 9/11: not as sad but just as pervasive. It was like every conversation was preceded by the unspoken lines, "The sky looks crazy today, doesn't it?" and "Never seen anything like it."
For more pictures and reactions, this twitter thread does a good job: https://twitter.com/EricaJoy/status/1303711062512943105
Why are there so many of these fires lately?
But there's also a ton of evidence that we've had some of the warmest years on record in the past decade. The fires around the Bay area were started by a record-breaking heatwave. And temperatures in the interior of California regularly get above 40 C during the summer, so that combined with no rainfall means a lot of fires every year
Interestingly today Trump / Gov. Newsom had this (not really an) argument at presser today. So there are now a lot of good articles
As a tax paying citizen, it's perfectly valid to criticize the state for being poorly run and making things worse. If you can't handle the criticism then that's a different issue.