If New Jersey where I come from is a state, then California can’t also be a state. It just doesn’t make any sense. Based on population or size, the two entities aren’t remotely similar. California seems more like a country and a large one at that.
California’s population is approaching 38,000,000 inhabitants making it by far the most populated state (50 percent more people than Texas, almost as many as Florida and New York combined, and over four times more than live in the Garden State).
California has 66 times more people than Wyoming and as many people as the 21 least populated states combined. In other words, California is humongous!
Back in the old country (New Jersey for those of you who just started reading my column) we have only 5 cities over 100,000 people. Newark weighs in at #1 with a population of 277,000 residents.
California has 68 cities exceeding 100,000 people, and I never even heard of half of them. Fontana, Visalia, Vallejo, Murrieta, El Cajon—you might as well be citing cities in Bulgaria for all I know. And Oxnard, how can a place that sounds like the innards of an ox or worse have almost 200,000 people living there?
Despite over 10 percent of the country’s entire population living here in California, we still have raw land all over the place. You can traverse New Jersey in under three hours, but you will need roughly 14 hours to get from our southern border up to Oregon and that’s driving pretty fast.
In those same 14 hours I can drive from southern Maine to North Carolina while touching New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia along the way.
Rhode Island could literally fit into Yosemite Park, and our combined parkland is vaster than a good chunk of the eastern seaboard. You never feel here like you are more than a short drive from wilderness.
The other day I drove up Kanan Dume Road and took a right onto Latigo Canyon Road. Within a minute I was deep into natural beauty. Had a mountain lion jumped onto the road, it wouldn’t have surprised me one little bit.
So if we ever accept Puerto Rico as a state and want to save money by keeping our current flag with 50 stars, we can always make California a nation. Our representative in the United Nations General Assembly could sit right between the delegates from Burundi and Cambodia (whose combined population is 50 percent less than California’s).