by Robert J. Cristiano 08/17/2012
Most Californians live within miles of its majestic coastline – for good reason. The California coastline is blessed with arguably the most desirable climate on Earth, magnificent beaches, a backdrop of snow-capped mountains, and natural harbors in San Diego and San Francisco. The Golden State was aptly named. Its Gold Rush of 1849 was followed a century later by massive post-war growth.
There is no mystery why California’s population and economy boomed after the Second World War. Education in California became the envy of the world. California’s public school system led the nation in innovation with brand new schools and classrooms. The Community College system that fed its universities was free for its students. A college education at the UC and Cal State systems was inexpensive. UC-Berkeley, with its graduate schools, was arguably the greatest in the world while Stanford developed into the Harvard of the West. An efficient highway system moved California’s automobile driven commerce while fertile soil of the Central Valley became the fruit and vegetable basket of the world.
The next wave hit in the 80s as former orchards south of San Francisco morphed into the Silicon Valley. Intel and other chip manufacturers led the computer and software revolution bringing high tech jobs and immense new wealth to the Golden State. The dot-com revolution of the 90s brought more gold to California. Innovators like Google and Apple cashed in by nurturing the Internet era. The next decade heralded the greatest housing and mortgage boom in the nation’s history. Developers from Orange County, south of Los Angeles, invented creative financing vehicles that drove home sales, and profits, to record heights by 2006.