California is a failed state. How do we know? They're moving to Arizona in droves.

Driving across Arizona, it’s hard not to notice a surge in California license plates. The reason for this is becoming more apparent every day. California is a failed state.

After nearly a decade of one-party rule, the once-Golden State is tarnished, possibly beyond repair. Listing all the problems facing our neighbors across the Colorado River would require several books, so I’ll only highlight a few.

The fifth-largest economy in the world and home to many of the greatest technology companies on Earth can’t keep the lights on. The state’s three largest utilities turned off power to more than 410,000 homes and businesses on Friday, Aug. 21, then again to half as many Saturday, Aug. 22.

California's energy policies have failed

Gov. Gavin Newsom sprung to action on Monday by announcing more blackouts. "We failed to predict and plan these shortages,” the governor said. “And that's simply unacceptable."

But accept it he did, noting that the state’s near-religious promotion of solar and wind power left a gap in the reliability of its power grid. You don’t say.

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Wildly unpredictable events, like August being hot, never occurred to Newsom last October when he signed six more bills to kill off his state’s fossil fuel industry. Shutting down one of California’s two nuclear plants certainly didn’t help. Perhaps their plan to close the second one in 2024 will have different results.

The lamps are going out all over California; who knows if we will see them lit again in our lifetime. But energy is the least of San Francisco’s concerns.

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So have those to stop homelessness

Documentary filmmaker Christopher Rufo’s latest work reveals the tragic failure of the city’s homeless policies. In “Chaos by the Bay,” he shows the results of well-meaning progressive efforts, from decriminalizing homelessness to plying addicts with free drug paraphernalia, alcohol and cannabis. For the most part, rampant mental illness has been left untreated.

California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks to the press in the spin room after the sixth Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season co-hosted by PBS NewsHour & Politico at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California on December 19, 2019. (Photo by Agustin PAULLIER / AFP) (Photo by AGUSTIN PAULLIER/AFP via Getty Images) ORIG FILE ID: AFP_1N77A8

City leaders have commandeered area hotels to provide free shelter since COVID-19 hit, but the numbers continue to rise. Between 2017 and 2019, the number of homeless jumped by 17%. According to experts, that number has risen by an additional 20% since the start of the pandemic.

“I have never seen the level of frustration as high as it is now,” city Supervisor Rafael Mandelman said. “I hear daily from people who say they are selling, they are leaving.”

Its harsh pandemic response didn't help

The numbers are staggering. According to online real estate company Zillow, the city by the Bay is emptying out.

A flood of new listings began during the pandemic, a 96% increase compared to last year’s housing inventory. Silicon Valley pushed staff to work from home, an effort many tech giants are thinking of making permanent. But that doesn’t explain the exodus since San Jose hasn’t seen the same effect. Neither have Miami, Boston or Washington, D.C., at least not at this level.

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The sad fact is, San Francisco has become unaffordable and unlivable at the same time.

The harsh pandemic response has hurt other California cities as well. Gov. Newsom’s arbitrary diktats have shuttered churches and gyms, but ignored massive Black Lives Matter protests and the advantage-taking rioters who followed in their wake.

Move here? Leave those policies at home

A lone surfer was arrested and a skate park was filled with sand, but crowded Walmarts are deemed essential. Despite the lockdowns, California now has the most COVID-19 cases of any state.

A homeless man sits at his tent along the Interstate 110 freeway in downtown Los Angeles. California Gov. Gavin Newsom met with the mayors of some of California's largest cities to discuss the homeless situation last month.
A homeless man sits at his tent along the Interstate 110 freeway in downtown Los Angeles. California Gov. Gavin Newsom met with the mayors of some of California's largest cities to discuss the homeless situation last month.

At some point, the lovely weather and geography aren’t worth the cost.

I receive a couple of messages a week from contacts all over California asking where they should move to in Arizona. My neighbors are experiencing the same.

I can’t blame Californians but I hope they leave their failed policies at home.

Jon Gabriel, a Mesa resident, is editor-in-chief of and a contributor to The Republic and, where this column originally appeared. Follow him on Twitter: @exjon

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: COVID, homelessness, blackouts: California is a failed Democrat state