california was the first state to pass Exhaust emission standardthe first to legalize the medical use of marijuana, the first Take Paid Family Leavethe first state to experiment with guaranteed income at the municipal level, and the first to mount a tax revolt that impedes public services, ban affirmative action first And pioneered a ballot initiative in 1994 — Proposition 187 — that barred undocumented immigrants from accessing public social services, including education and health care. Proposition 187 was an important episode in the state’s history, defining a nativist backlash against changing demographics and heralding similar movements in other parts of the country.
California’s character emerges from the tug-of-war between two impulses, one restrictive, the other rebellious. Although a majority of voters voted in favor of Proposition 187, resistance to the measure was steadfast, especially among young people, weakening support for it. It was declared unconstitutional in federal court and effectively terminated by Governor Gray Davis in 1999. Passage of the proposal strengthened Latino voter turnout and changed the electoral map for the next 25 years.
Now, as California grapples with the threat of climate change, a housing crisis that has spread out of the state, and an exodus, we find ourselves once again at a crossroads. Listening to the radio after a wildfire a few years ago, I heard a caller pin their hopes on technological innovations to solve the problem. But as we approach the future, it might be worth considering how we got here in the first place.
three hundred years Previously, the future arrived on foot in the brown robes of a Franciscan monk. In 1769, commissioned by the Spanish Crown to explore and “civilize” the area then known as Alta California, Father Junipero Serra and the priest Proceed to establish a series of Catholic missions along a 600-mile vertical route through the territory. The road runs partly along an already existing indigenous trail known as El Camino Real (“Royal Highway”).The highways supported the farms and ranches that would eventually become the backbone of the region’s economy, but the missionary system heralded a long and brutal campaign of displacement, forced labor, acculturation and violence against the state’s indigenous peoples – which the Spaniards called conceived as a territory filled with christianity rational gentleman (“a reasonable man”).
In 1848, as California came under American rule, a speck of gold was found in the American River. It is estimated that nearly 300,000 people immigrated to California during the Gold Rush, tripling the state’s population in about 10 years. To move people and goods west, a new type of road was needed: the transcontinental railroad. Newcomers hoped that a combination of luck and hard work would make them rich, a belief known as the California Dream, a precursor to the national mythology surrounding the American Dream.