Bill Steigerwald

Today California is helplessly trying to deal with a budget deficit of $42 billion-plus, a bloated and overpaid government work force, a poorly maintained infrastructure, collapsing housing prices, an unemployment rate of nearly 9 percent, a flood of illegal aliens and some of the highest mortgage foreclosure rates in the country.

Once the Golden State was famous for things like inventing new technologies, incubating our pop culture and being an irresistible mecca for young and restless dreamers. Now it's famous for insane politics, pioneering silly/costly environmental regulations and crippling taxes.

In 60 years, California's political "leaders" have done so much damage to their sunny paradise that they've made rusty old states like Pennsylvania look good again.

Bill Steigerwald

Bill Steigerwald, born and raised in Pittsburgh, is a former L.A. Times copy editor and free-lancer who also worked as a docudrama researcher for CBS-TV in Hollywood before becoming a reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and a columnist Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Bill Steigerwald recently retired from daily newspaper journalism..