Everything is bigger in Texas.
Including the egos of their politicians.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry came to California recently. His objective was to steal jobs.
A Rhode Island-sized radio campaign — $24,000 worth of paid spots — preceded his pilgrimage to the cutting-edge land known as California. Perry's spiel is that he's heading here because it's hard to do business in California. It's so hard that Cupertino-based Apple has amassed $187 billion while Texas-based Dell Computers' business is drying up faster than the Rio Grande in August in the fifth year of a drought.
The governor, of course, is referring to California's business regulations. No argument that they can be over the top. But then again California has a lot of pluses to protect. The world's tallest trees — redwoods — aren't in Texas. Nor is the world's oldest living thing — bristlecone pines. Not very many snow-covered mountain peaks where you can ski in the Lone Star State. The world's biggest and most fertile valley for agriculture is here, not in Texas.
Sure, Texas has coastline, but it is no match for Big Sur or any beach in Orange County or San Diego. Texas even has communities on the Gulf of Mexico. Galveston is a nice burg but it is no San Francisco.
Of course, when it comes to desert, Texas seems to have the market cornered. But the Mojave and Death Valley are not replicated in the Lone Star State. California even has a couple of active volcanoes and glaciers to toss into the mix. Texas has a lot of flat land.
Sure, Texas has oil, but given the Monterey Shale Reserves, they aren't king of the hill.
Foreign tourists do go to Texas, but not nearly as many as head to California. Not saying that Texas is boring, but it can be monotonous at times.
That might be a good slogan for Perry. "Come to Texas, where our flat and barren land will inspire you and your employees!" Our perhaps "California seems to have everything from great weather to a million and one different things to savor and enjoy but Texas has fewer regulations." That would really resonate with young, creative people.
Yeah, you can brag all you want about Texas having an independent streak (and sorry, Texas, but if you want West you can't get any farther west in the Lower 48 than California), but California is fiercely independent, too. We had a republic for a short spell, just like Texas. But unlike Texas, we don't dwell on the past but look to the future. Looking for the latest in genetic engineering, high tech, or solar? It's all happening here.
Dump all you want on our job climate but there's a reason why the Silicon Valley-San Francisco region is leading the nation in IPOs and job growth.
You tend to attract a lot of creative, young, ambitious, talented, and hardworking folks when you do business in a state that's a great place to live. People on the cutting edge want to play hard and live life to the fullest.
You can surf, snowboard, water ski, hike the desert, lay on the beach, enjoy cosmopolitan culture in San Francisco and Los Angeles and do it all within a day's time and without leaving the state.
Sure, Texas has a lot of cattle. But so do we. We have working cattle ranches. We're also the No. 1 dairy state. We have legitimate cowboy towns. We have country music. If you doubt that ask fans of Buck Owens or Willie Nelson. Rodeo and football are big here too. So is everything else you can imagine.
Try riding a cable car in Houston halfway to the stars or hike the tallest peak in the continental United States in Texas. You can't find a fresh body of water the size of Clear Lake in Texas, let alone Lake Tahoe.
California gave birth to the Sierra Club. It's the largest-producing agricultural state in the nation.
Let's face it. Texas isn't No. 1. California is. Our economy generates $1.9 trillion a year to lead the nation. Texas is No. 2 back at $1.3 trillion.
If we were an independent nation, California would have the eighth-biggest economy in the world. Texas, meanwhile, doesn't even make the Top 10. It's back at 14. And — this might be embarrassing for those conservative folks in Texas with a long history of despising communists — but even Russia has a bigger economy than the Lone Star State, coming in at 13.
Don't get me wrong. There are a lot of good people in Texas and great things there.
But there's a reason why California has a worldwide reputation that outshines Texas. It is the same reason that California got express service to be admitted as a state while it took Texas a few years. The Golden State has been on the frontier of opportunity and possibilities since before 1849.
There's no reason for our governor to mess with Texas when the entire world is California dreaming.
This column is the opinion of Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Journal or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.