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Crazy California 2.0

Would I ever leave California?

Probably not. In my industry, the only other place where I could make as much money is New York, and then there are the bridges, tunnels, tolls, and, well...it was 80 degrees in my backyard on Christmas. There are mountains and beaches and Proposition 13.

Other reasons to stay in California:

Kourtney, Khloe and Kim Kardashian
John Parra | WireImage | Getty Images
Kourtney, Khloe and Kim Kardashian

Khloe Kardashian is moving to Dallas (one down, seven Kardashian-Jenners to go). You can get really good Mexican/Korean/Thai/Sushi/Vietnamese/Salvadoran food, sometimes all in the same taco. Plus, there’s the hilarity of living in a place where the latest high-profile police chase involves a Prius, the LA version of a “clean” getaway.

But when LA voters are being asked to decide whether porn stars should wear condoms, maybe it’s time to take a good long look at ourselves. More on that in a moment.

As 2012 begins, California is still reliving 2011. And 2010. 2009.

Revenues have not kept up with projections, so nearly $1 billion in new cuts kicked in January first. These include cuts to prisons, higher education, and social services.

I know there are people suffering from these cuts. I read about them in the newspaper. In my protected little corner of the Golden State, the only difference I've noticed is higher tuition for my daughter at UC Irvine, who claims her smallest class is 150 people. Meantime, roads are still being repaved, fires are still being put out, and I've noticed no uptick in crime due to prisoners being released early. I'm waiting for the first story to appear on someone who died because of state budget cuts. Still waiting.

Meantime, the more we cut, the more we legislate! Over seven hundred new laws have taken effect, most starting this week. These include:

  • Forcing children up to age 8, or at least 4’9”, to ride in car safety seats.
  • Large retailers and manufacturers have to show how they're ensuring suppliers aren't engaged in slavery.
  • Public libraries at risk of being closed cannot be privatized unless new owners pay government-scale wages.
  • The state has to send 75% of solid waste to recycling plants by 2020. (Bets?)
  • Illegal immigrants can receive grants, fee waivers and reimbursement for serving in student government.
  • Elected officials who lie about military honors have to resign from office. (We need a law for this?)

But wait! There may be more.

Los Angeles county voters may be asked to decide next November whether adult film actors have to wear condoms. Yes, vote for President of the United States, and on the same ballot decide how sex scenes should be filmed. Activists say they plan to seek signatures to get the measure on the LA County ballot since health officials will not act.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein tells the LA Times that porn performers "deserve the same occupational rights to protect their safety and health as construction workers, who are required to wear harnesses when working on skyscrapers." However, the measure could mean the end of one of the last remaining homegrown industries in Los Angeles, housed in the San Fernando Valley, aka Silicone Valley. Will consumers buy safe sex porn? Should this issue be put to a vote? Can't we do anything in California without voting on it or making it a law?

There is hope that some sanity is sinking in. Remember the $99 billion high speed rail project which even voters no longer support? A state-appointed panel is reportedlyrecommending California not sell the first $6 billion in bonds to fund the project. The voter-passed initiative (naturally) to sell bonds was approved on the condition the panel signed off. Let's see if the panel's opinion prevails. I hope so, a hope I cling to while Priuses lead police chases and while Silicone Valley faces the prospect of its main industry being outsourced.

At least the news is good for the child safety seat industry.

Questions? Comments? Funny Stories? Email funnybusiness@cnbc.com

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  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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