Now Gov. Jerry Brown and the legislature are trying to resuscitate the goose that laid those golden eggs.
Even Ann Notthoff, the California advocacy director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, admitted some changes are needed.
For four decades, California politicians have demonized businesses. The result is an unemployment rate that is a full point higher than the national average.
West Virginians take heed. The idea is to protect the earth environment and the business environment.
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LIKE several municipalities, Ronceverte in Greenbrier County will hold an urban deer hunting season beginning on Sept. 20.
But with 1,765 residents, Ronceverte has to do things slightly different. Mayor David Smith deferred to the police chief to devise this year's rules.
The main change is that the deer will have to be checked in at Whitetail Pro Archery Sporting Goods in Fairlea because the police lack the time to do this.
Also, it could take up to 48 hours to get police approval of an application, again because of the small size of the department.
There is something charming about a town that needs a police staff that is so small that you have to go out of town to check a deer.
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HOW much did the recession of 2008 and 2009 hurt the nation? The Federal Reserve Bank estimated that the recession meant a loss of $14 trillion in U.S. economic activity.
That meant $14 trillion that was not available for taxation, personal income or shareholder earnings.
Thus states had less money to meet a higher demand for relief, while at the same time their pension debts widened. And the pain lingers on.
"In the aftermath of [previous] recessions there were strong recoveries. That is not true this time around," said Gary Burtless, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. "This is more like the pace getting out of the Great Depression."
Politicians have spent a lot of time and money trying to figure out how to get the nation out of this mess.
The time has come for them to figure out how we landed here.
And not do that again.