Last night, I wrote an entry, but could not post it due to Sluggo's dire condition in the heat.
Sluggo is having another ten minute day. It feels as though the temperature is actually going up as the sun sets. It probably is, in the house. The attic fan is still defunct. I'm going to write this quickly, then go out and sit in the balmy evening (Mosquitoes! West Nile Virus!) with some iced tea, while Sluggo cools down enough that I can get back online and post it.
Today's Sacramento Bee contained an interesting article about the most robust metropolitan economies in the U.S. as determined by the Milken Institute. (Yeah, it was founded by that Michael Milken.) The rankings are based on the previous year's growth in jobs, wages and salary, and technology, but weighted most heavily for jobs. Only seven of the top twenty metropolitan areas are in California this time and, not surprisingly, economically troubled Los Angeles and the Bay Area didn't make the cut. The largest California city on the list is San Diego, at number five nationally, and Sacramento managed a surprisingly high 15.
The real surprise to me, though, was that number three in the state, topped only by San Diego, and San Luis Obispo-Atascadero at #6 nationally, is none other than Chico-Paradise, at #13 nationally! Well, I guess that accounts for all those expensive houses that have been popping up around town. Somebody's getting rich. It also helps to explain why the unprepossessing two bedroom ranch house on a quarter-acre lot at the end of my block, not too different from the house across the street from mine which sold for less than $90,000 a dozen years ago, is now listed on the market at an astonishing $215,000!
For a long time, the most prosperous people in Paradise have been the physicians and dentists and optometrists and stockbrokers and bankers who catered to the needs of the town's large retired population. Paradise has very little to export, even now. In fact, its largest exporter, a fruit juice bottling company, left town several years ago when it was merged with the Chico-based Knudsen company. The town produces very little for itself, so I can't imagine that Paradise is responsible for this remarkable expansion of the regional economy. So, the growth must be coming from Chico.
When I first moved here, Chico was still dominated economically by the state university and the surrounding almond orchards. Apparently, things have changed. I can't imagine that the burgeoning retail businesses in Chico are the dominant force in the city's economy now, numerous though they are. There must be some underlying sector of the economy that is driving this growth. I know that the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is flourishing. I also know that the parent company of the local (now national) Internet service provider Chiconet (I can't remember the name of that parent, offhand) has been expanding rapidly. There must be many more companies like those to account for such economic dynamism. Still, I must say that I'm surprised at the region's ranking. I never though Chico all that promising, economically, and would have thought that if any north valley city would crack the top twenty, it would have been that flourishing mini-metropolis Redding.
I've long known that the powerful anti-growth movement in Chico was successfully making demands on local government which were bound to backfire and accelerate growth, but I never imagined that they would push the place so high in the national rankings. I must congratulate them. But, to the newly-rich of our expanding region I have one thing to say: Hey, spill some of that gravy this way!