If California is dying, then Texas is part of that great gathering of cattle in the sky.

To paraphrase a quote attributed to Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain, whose career took off after spending time in the Golden State, “California’s death has been greatly exaggerated.”

Denis Wyatt

The national press has been in hyena mode since Elon Musk and Oracle decided to load up their California-built Teslas and move to Texas two years ago.

Nothing against Texas, whose governors over the years have taken great pride in poaching whatever employers they could instead of welcoming growing global economic and cultural trends, but California is still golden and Texas, well, it has a lot of oil, but so does California.

We have our share of wide open spaces here, like the Mojave Desert, but we also have fertile ground. Last year, California produced $49.9 billion in agricultural products, more than the nation’s No. 2 and No. 3 agricultural states — Iowa and Nebraska — combined. No one rivals California when it comes to breadth or diversity of agricultural innovation.

The movie industry didn’t start here, but it exploded here. The state’s contributions to aviation are legendary. The tech industry is just the latest to shatter the “possibility ceiling” and change the world.

It’s not enough to have lots of people, abundant natural resources, space, politicians happy to subsidize corporations using taxpayers’ money the way some people breathe, and loose environmental regulations to inspire innovation.

Just as Texas has a sense of being that you can’t replicate elsewhere, so does California. And at the risk of sounding smug, to most, the sense of being from California has allowed him to keep pushing the boundaries, in terms of good and bad.

The California dream is a state of mind stimulated by the gold rush and kept alive by those drawn to the country’s last continental frontier.

Is California in trouble? You bet.

But it also has plenty of things that not only counteract these issues when placed on a scale, but swing them into the positive range. They run the gamut from weather to natural beauty to what is arguably the greatest melting pot of cultures and ethnicities on the planet.

The mix of mixing pots inspired by natural beauty, fueled by the freshness of our fertile soils made possible by arguably the largest re-engineering of water basins in the world, and enveloped in a Mediterranean climate is priceless.

If successful businesses were 100% driven by low taxes, low levels of regulation, rock bottom land prices, and cheap labor, every square inch of Texas would have been paved over years ago.

But there’s obviously something missing in Texas – which indeed has a fair share of strong businesses and great people.

That’s why, despite all the talk about California being dead, five of the eight most valuable companies in the entire United States are not just located in the Golden State, but specifically in the Bay Area.

Facebook and Alphabet (Google’s parent company) are fearless and stumbling to trade the San Francisco 49ers for the Dallas Cowboys. Both companies are actually massively expanding office space in the Bay Area, even as they reduce their global workforces.

They are also spending massive sums to address the housing shortage they helped create while amassing their wealth, unlike Musk and Oracle’s Mark Hurd.

The same week in 2018 that Oracle and Musk said they were moving their headquarters to Texas, despite not taking stakes in their sizable Bay Area footprints, Door Dash and Airbnb became public companies with skyrocketing valuations that blew the doors off their initial public operations.

They were then – and still are – California companies.

Which city inspired and fostered business? Was it Dallas? Maybe it was Austin? Could it have been Houston? Try San Francisco, the favorite “dying city” of Texas lore that holds about as much truth as a promise made by fictional oil tycoon JR Ewing.

Yes, the pandemic has changed the way everyone does business, including big tech.

But what prevails as the pandemic wanes in intensity is an undeniable truth: the greatest concentration of tech talent, business and capital is still in Silicon Valley.

California is indeed far from being conducive to business if we compare the edicts of Sacramento to those of Austin.

But then again, if that was all it took, plus reduced taxes to attract the big fish, the tech pond around San Francisco Bay would by now have been devoid of everything but discarded cans, tires worn and soggy boots.

There’s no doubt that the cost of living is spiraling out of control, and when it comes to space, the Bay Area has some real issues.

The Bay Area’s urban technology hubs are within miles of soaring redwoods, rugged coastlines, numerous beaches, and rolling ridges with hundreds of thousands of acres of preserves and parks.

Let’s not forget the Bay Area’s world-class attractions. Not only does the city of San Jose anchor the valley which is the cradle of modern technological innovation, but there is San Francisco which, despite its problems, is a legitimate candidate to boast of being one of the most cosmopolitans of the world.

And if you trust international travelers to vote with their wallets and feet based on U.S. Department of Commerce statistics for 2019, Los Angles was the third most popular destination and San Francisco the fifth most popular for travelers. foreign visitors to the United States.

Peruse other such lists and sources for previous years and you’ll find one Texas city – Dallas – that made it into the top 20. It’s behind four California cities, however – Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Anaheim. Dallas didn’t even beat Mickey Mouse – at least in a survey based on hotel bookings – for heaven’s sake.

As for the remote-work hypothesis and the lack of housing space in the Bay Area sending all the tech-savvy muscle that made Silicon Valley rush into the Lone Star State, it ignores the real trend.

National media since the 1970s have been drawn to stories of people fleeing California like honey attracts bees.

But the real “migration story” has not been out of state coastal centers of commerce and innovation has been ignored.

The vast majority of techs fleeing the Bay Area to work remotely are heading east. But they’re not hiding on 80 acres per hour south of Winnemucca in Nevada or on the outskirts of Lubbock in the Texas Panhandle. They are moving to interior California.

It is true that California has many challenges. It’s expensive to live here. There is congestion in many parts of the state. You could buy a cookie-cutter full-size McMansion with a six-car garage with a yard the size of a Texas football field for what a median-priced house is worth in Manteca.

But if we’re on our deathbed, Texas is long dead and buried under six feet of red dirt.

This column is the opinion of the editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinions of the Bulletin or 209 Multimedia. He can be reached at [email protected]

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