Tag Archives: California

The Drought in California


A Californian tourist mistakes the San Joaquin Valley and a farmer for Death Valley because of the strikingly dry climate.

A frightening and frequent image that has been broadcasted across all forms of media since 2011 is the fast-spreading wildfires that have torn through California. The blazes that are displacing California residents are caused by the state’s severe drought. Over 99 percent of the state is abnormally dry, 71 percent is experiencing severe drought, and 46 percent is in exceptional drought (AccuWeather.com). The extreme climate that California is going through is putting a stress on the fresh water supply, creating ideal conditions for menacing wildfires and creating difficulties for agriculture.

Researchers believe that the drought is caused by a large mass of warm water that has moved near the California Coast. “La Niña,” the counterpart part of “El Niño,” is believed to have started the drought cycle (Koons). A high-pressure system touching the California Coast. The system causes storms to be redirected to other regions, limiting the amount of rainfall reaching California. California also relies on snow melting off mountains throughout the year. The high-pressure system cause a two to seven-degree Fahrenheit increase in the atmosphere, causing most precipitation to come down as water instead of snow. Due to the water management techniques in California, heavy snowfall is more beneficial than heavy rainfall (Koons).

One solution proposed by residents and officials was to limit water consumption by 25 percent. Eventually California Governor, Jerry Brown instituted mandatory water restrictions in June of 2015. Rivers and lakes had become so low that the tightest fishing regulations in the history of the state were implemented because species of fish were becoming endangered.

Over 100 million trees died from the drought in between 2011 and 2017. Although some of the area was devastated, northern California began to emerge from the drought in 2016. By the end of the year, over 30 percent of the state was not considered to be experiencing drought, and 40 percent remained in extreme or exceptional levels of drought. 2017 finally began to see heavy rainfall. Northern water reserves began to fill and outlook began to look better after 6 years of struggle (Koons).

A consistent weather pattern has allowed a majority of the state to emerge from drought. Rain storms have been persistently hitting all parts of the state, and snow fall is well above the yearly average. By the end of February over 60 percent of the state was considered to not be in a drought. It was not until April 7, 2017 that Governor Brown that the drought had finally ended.

Aside from environmental concerns, the economic implications of the drought have been devastating for California. Agriculture accounts for nearly 30 billion dollars of Gross Domestic Product for the state. Ever since the beginning of the drought, the state has lost billions of dollars due to the implications that came from a water shortage. Even after some of the state had begun to recover from the drought in 2016, California farmers still lost over 600 million dollars. Nearly 80,000 acres of farmland was fallowed after the 500,000 that was lost in 2015. The drought also cost nearly 2,000 farming jobs for the state. Agriculture uses over 80 percent of water in California, so the drought demanded there be changes in use. The most crucial farming areas that have struggled during the drought are found in the San Joaquin Valley (Koons).

The cartoon, The Fried West (Horsey), depicts a tourist in California believing she is visiting Death Valley. She is referring to the desert valley found in Eastern California. It is one of the hottest destinations in the world during the summer, comparable to Africa and the Middle East. The region is famous for its desolate and dry appearance. The farmer responds to the woman by informing her he is a farmer in the San Joaquin Valley. As previously mentioned, the valley is historically known for its bountiful production of agricultural products. Although it is hyperbolizing, the cartoon suggests that the drought in California is so brutal that a once fruitful region has become as bare and dry as one of the most famous deserts in the in the world. The cartoonist aims to inform the public about how bleak outlook has become, and the drought is not only devastating to the environment but also to individuals attempting to earn a livable income.

Horsey’s cartoon above and the previous Knott cartoon entitled The Salvation of Your Soil, regarding the impact over-cultivation had on farmers in the past, are similar by how they represent the struggle of the American farmer. Events such as the collapse of the cotton industry in the 1920s or the drought in California display the reasons the federal and state governments subsidize farming.  Farming is such an integral part of the economy, however there is a constant battle to be profitable. The separation of time between the cartoon is an indicator that the battle for farmers to produce a suitable amount of crop and earn a livable income is constant and never-ending struggle.


Koons, Stephanie. “California’s Drought Is Over, but Water Conservation Remains a ‘way of Life’.” Local

 Weather from AccuWeather.com – Superior Accuracy™. N.p., 28 Apr. 2017. Web. 03 May 2017.

Horsey. “The Fried West.” True Democracy Party, 16 Sept. 2014, truedemocracyparty.net/2014/09/california-mega-drought. Accessed 16 June  2017.

Toyota Gets Rustled By Rick Perry’s Texas



David Horsey’s cartoon Toyota Gets Rustled by Rick Perry’s Texas provides a hyperbolic illustration of the relocation of industries from California to Texas. Through the depiction of former-governor Rick Perry and two other Texans dressed as stereotypical cowboys taking the Toyota headquarters from California, the Texans are likened to rustlers, stealing something that belongs to California (Horsey). Although Toyota decided to relocate to Texas because of Texas’ favorable business climate and to be closer to their Southern manufacturing hubs, the portrayal of the Texans in the cartoon casts an unfavorable light on Texas, further communicating California’s feelings that they had been stolen from (Hirsch). The accompanying editorial “Toyota exit from Torrance inflames Texas/California rivalry” goes on to provide more background behind the tension between the two states’ vastly different economic models. With two powerhouse economies, California and Texas can be “seen as the perfect contrast between a high-regulation blue state and a low-regulation red state” (Horsey). Since the Toyota industry was moving from California to Texas, it only added fuel to the fire for people arguing over which economic model was superior (Horsey). Overall, Horsey’s depiction of Toyota being stolen away to Texas provides insight to the relocation of industries in response to push and pull factors, as well as Californian sentiment about Toyota’s departure.

The car production company Toyota had been in California since 1957 (Ohnsman). Although it started as a Japanese company, Toyota eventually grew large enough to begin international sales, setting up a headquarters in California to be closer to the American market (Toyota History). However, over the 50 years that Toyota was stationed in California, California’s regulations grew stricter and taxes increased (California Code of Regulations). California’s businesses were “strangled by red tape that [made] starting and running a successful business difficult” (Fleeing California). All of these issues created a push factor, pushing businesses to look to other states for a more business-friendly climate. When compared to California, Texas had far less restrictive regulations. Since “[b]eing unfriendly to business isn’t good for the economy,” Texas’ regulatory simplicity, lower tax rates, and decreased red tape were all pull factors for industries in highly-regulated states, incentivizing them to relocate to Texas (DeVore).

In addition, the sentiment depicted in the cartoon is worth noting. Because the cartoon and editorial were published in the LA Times, they take on a very California-sympathetic tone. Instead of objectively showing Toyota making the choice that best benefited their business, the cartoon’s imagery makes the Texans out to be the bad guys. It is not coincidental that former-governor Rick Perry is portrayed as a rustler. The term rustler is used to describe cattle thieves, but it is commonly associated with the wild west cowboy era during the second half of the 1800s. Because California felt Texas had taken something from them, the Texans were likened to rustlers, stealing hard-working ranchers’ cows for profit in the time of the cowboy. By choosing to depict the Texans as rustlers, the cartoon is not only equating the Texans to thieves, but also presenting them as old-fashioned and stereotypical. The humor lies in understanding the common stereotype of Texans as antiquated cowboys, giving an additional layer of negative connotation to the representation of Texans as rustlers.

The factors surrounding the relocation of production from one state to another closely parallels the decentralization of industries towards the end of the Great Depression. In a similar fashion, John Knott’s cartoon Come to Texas! depicts industries coming to Texas to take advantage of Texas’ better business climate in the late 1930s (Knott). Just like how northern centralized industries decentralized to combat the problems of the Great Depression and the utilize the benefits of production in Texas, Toyota left California’s harsher business climate and regulation in favor of the advantages of being stationed in Texas. Even 70 years later, industries like Toyota still decentralize production to Texas because of its more business-friendly environment.

In conclusion, David Horsey’s political cartoon Toyota Gets Rustled by Rick Perry’s Texas provides commentary on the relocation of Toyota’s industry from California to Texas, including insight to the Californian viewpoint of the events. Despite some sour feelings in California, Toyota chose to come to Texas to escape high levels of regulation and take advantage of the business-friendly climate, similarly to the proceedings portrayed in Knott’s cartoon. Whether in the 1930s or the 2000s, Texas continues to draw in industries due to its lower regulations and environment that’s kinder to businesses.



Works Cited

“California Code of Regulations.” Westlaw. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016. https://govt.westlaw.com/calregs/index?__lrTS=20161130033726038&transitionType=Default&contextData=%28sc.Default%29

DeVore, Chuck. “What Makes Texas The Most Small Business-Friendly State, And Rhode Island The Least.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 18 Aug. 2015. Web. 29 Nov. 2016. http://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckdevore/2015/08/18/less-regulation-taxes-unionization-make-texas-most-small-business-friendly-rhode-island-least/#71f9cff76d37

“Fleeing California.” The Washington Times. The Washington Times, 17 Feb. 2015. Web. 29 Nov. 2016. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/feb/17/editorial-businesses-flee-californias-high-taxes-a/.

Hirsch, Jerry. “3,000 Toyota Jobs to Move to Texas from Torrence.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 28 Apr. 2014. Web. 06 Nov. 2016. http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-toyota-move-20140429-story.html

Horsey, David. “Toyota Exit from Torrance Inflames Texas/California Rivalry.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 1 May 2014. Web. 06 Nov. 2016. http://www.latimes.com/opinion/topoftheticket/la-na-tt-toyota-exit-20140501-story.html

Knott, John. “Come to Texas!” Cartoon. Dallas Morning News. 27 March 1937. Sec 2: 2. Print.

Ohnsman, Alan. “Tesla Leads in California Auto Jobs as Toyota Plans Exit.” Bloomberg.com. Bloomberg, 16 May 2014. Web. 06 Nov. 2016. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-05-16/tesla-edges-out-toyota-as-california-s-top-auto-employer

“Toyota History: Corporate and Automotive.” Toyoland. Toyoland, n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016. http://www.toyoland.com/history.html