This is Ronaldo. Unless things change he is the future of California.

Ronaldo walking along Highway 99 in Fresno next to the $90 billion bullet train

This is Ronaldo. I met him while driving up to Paradise to interview Camp Fire survivors last November. He was walking with his bindle on the side of Highway 99 in Fresno. I pulled over and approached him as cars and 18 wheelers roared past. I can’t imagine walking 20 yards along that road, much less whatever distance he’d already traveled.

I offered him $10 and asked if I could take his picture. He agreed. Speaking with him it became clear he was developmentally disabled. I gave him a ride to the next stop so he could at least find some food and a bench to sleep on.

This is life in the wealthiest state in the wealthiest nation in human history. California is run by people who apparently believe it’s acceptable to allow the most vulnerable to wander streets and highways alone.

The truly terrifying part is it’s getting worse.

Driving half the length of our state I didn’t cover more than a handful of miles at a time without passing a homeless camp, tent city, or shantytown. I stopped in a town to get a bottle of water, and behind the gas station was a neighborhood of decrepit single family homes whose backyards were occupied by multiple campers, trailers, and RVs. I wandered over to the fence and sure enough families were living in them. I watched children playing in mud amidst garbage.

RVs housing families in a Fresno backyard

We’ve reached the point in California where third world conditions would be an improvement. It’s post-apocalyptic out here.

The reason I wanted Ronaldo’s picture was that behind him is the first phase of the $90 billion California High Speed Rail project, better known as the bullet train. The cranes literally loom over him in the background. The bullet train is a corrupt, mismanaged, behind schedule government project that no one wants or will ever ride. It will never go as fast as advertised, which is why I call it the BB train.

Yet our elected officials are quite literally railroading it through our state.

The bullet train is the single biggest boondoggle in California – maybe even US – history. Government hacks, bureaucrats, private contractors, materials suppliers, and unions are making out like bandits. Again, literally.

So officials can find $90 billion for a fiasco. Meanwhile those same people can’t figure out how to address our homeless crisis, failing schools that in many cases qualify as crimes against humanity for what they’re doing to our kids, crumbling infrastructure, spiraling crime rates, out of control living costs, and the rank corruption in their own offices.

California is on the brink of a calamity the likes of which we have never seen. We have $1.5 trillion in unfunded future liabilities (and those are just the ones we know about), a shrinking tax base, and politicians who can’t seem to get their heads out of their own posteriors.

This image captures so much of what’s wrong. A $90 billion political pet project in a state that’s failing to meet the most basic needs of millions of its citizens, residents, and immigrants. A taxpayer funded disaster run by asshats who let people like Ronaldo wander the highways helpless and alone. At what point to we start to view California as a failing state?

What kind of sanctuary is this?


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