Outta control? California? Try Missouri

The new president cited California as a problem he might have to threaten into obedience, calling the state  “out of control.”

The battle has gotten so heated that a California group is trying to get enough signatures to start a process aimed at leaving the U.S.

I’m a new resident of the Golden State, so I started looking around more carefully after I heard Trump’s claim. My wife and I just relocated in a city not far from Los Angeles in California’s Inland Empire.

We moved from the mid-sized city of Springfield in Greene County, Missouri.

According to the maps showing votes in the presidential election, we moved from dark red to dark blue.

 Greene county’s voters chose Trump by a margin of about 78,000 to 43,000 and Missouri overall voted for Trump, 1.5 million to 1 million. Most smaller counties in Missouri favored Trump overwhelmingly, in the 60-70 percent range.

By contrast, Californians voted for Hillary 8.7 million to 4.4 million and, in Los Angeles County, voters chose Hillary by a margin of 2.4 million to 770,000.

My wife and I have now lived in the alleged “out-of-control” state for only about a month. We lived about a decade in an area of Missouri some call the Buckle of the Bible Belt, where many people espouse liberty and dislike government overreach. Now, we live in what those same people would call a nanny state.

Missouri’s state flag. Though quite different in political ideology, this heartland state has on its flag a bear, like the “out of control” California.

Of course, I’m no expert on politics or sociology. But, here are some everyday differences I’ve already noticed. I offer them to help you assess the president’s comments about California.

Here ya go:

— On our first visit to a California gas station, I didn’t know how to use the gas pump.


We lived in Missouri only 10 years but I had become so complacent I didn’t realize some pump nozzles (in more progressive states that care about ozone levels) had gotten more sophisticated. The next-level nozzles with their flexible collars form an air seal created with a bit of pressure from the holder of the nozzle. If you don’t push with enough force, the pump shuts off,  a congenial station manager showed me.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch

I’ve seen many nozzles in Missouri that still spit a couple tablespoons of gas on the asphalt with every use.


California mandated the newer nozzles, not without controversy, in a quest to set new standards for controlling greenhouse gases.


Missouri’s political leaders want to turn back the clock on what many see as gains in Clean Air initiatives. With Trump in office, it looks like they will get their way.

— I almost walked into a garbage truck. I didn’t hear or smell it running.

The truck ran on natural gas.

 Encouraging the use of that fuel is another way the Golden State tries to clean up the air.

In Springfield, the city doesn’t even try to regulate garbage haulers.

The city seemed afraid of the clout of the big hauling companies. Even though the city has the power to regulate at least in basic ways, like mandating zones for the operation of different companies, the city has not acted. The companies operate mostly as they please.

That means one company’s noisy, smelly truck might hit two or three houses on a street with another truck following along minutes later on the same street, collecting from different houses, each spewing smoke as it goes.


I never saw one using natural gas.


— I had to wean myself from my cell phone while driving.


California law requires drivers to have phones mounted to the car and to use hands-free technology if calling or talking to someone. Fines can be hundreds of dollars.

How does that jibe? An out-of-control state exercising such control?

Golden State leaders have bought into that crazy-liberal theory that using your phone while also trying to control a large, heavy moving vehicle can be as dangerous as driving and drinking.

What’s the law in Missouri? Here’s what the Missouri Department of Transportation website says under the category of “Cell phones and texting”:


“Although an increasing number of states are placing restrictions on cell phone usage, Missouri has no law regarding the use of cell phones while driving.”

“The state does, however, ban texting for all drivers 21 years old or younger.”

Progressive critics in Missouri (people who haven’t yet moved to California) say the police don’t even enforce the texting law for kids. Would you? How would you tell the difference between someone aged 20 and 21 or 22 in a moving vehicle?

Notice how the transportation officials worded that section on their site. It’s like they’re taking a shot at their own state’s lack of courage to do something about a recognized, deadly problem.

No nanny state, the conservatives say.

— When I see people walking toward around in our new state, I don’t see as many bulges.

From big bellies or hidden holsters.

Studies (if you believe in science) consistently show Missouri up there high on the list of states with the most obese people; California is near the bottom.

A Missouri lady at a garage sale we had before we left Springfield.

As for weapons, California has a tough law regarding permits to conceal a firearm. Missouri just killed its conceal-carry law. Yup, no law at all requiring training or permits to hide your Glock on your flabby hip.

Odd, huh? With that penchant toward residents who like to hide things, Missouri should no longer be allowed to have the nickname “Show-Me State.”

— I cannot remember to take a bag into a grocery store.

I have been stuck, on numerous occasions, paying more for a bag at the register or wheeling the groceries in a cart to the car.

California became the first state to ban free plastic bags at groceries in late 2010.

The Golden State’s legislators saw the wisdom in this argument: Consumers use plastic bags for only a few seconds but they cause environmental damage for decades.

Missouri is one of the states that didn’t like that progressive move. So what did Missouri’s legislators do?

They passed a law trying to stop the more environmentally conscious cities in the state from getting rid of plastic bags. Yup, they passed a ban on bans. Yet, they call the federal government intrusive.

Who’s out of control?

Enough. I know. I know.

I hear the wailing and gnashing of Ozarkian teeth all the way out here in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. I understand there’s another point of view to all this.

Before you send a hit squad from the Southwest Honkeys (yes, that’s a real Missouri gang), I’m not criticizing everyone in Missouri. 

Many well-meaning, compassionate, generous and empathetic folks call the Ozarks home.

I’m not calling everyone in Missouri backward of xenophobic. 

This is no nasty elitist postcard from the West.

 Please, don’t take this a slap. It’s not meant to be — unless, of course, you voted for Trump without any regret.

Author: David Iseman

Longtime newsguy. Retired. Tinkering with words. Lemme know what you think.

2 thoughts on “Outta control? California? Try Missouri”

  1. It’d be interesting to research what CA vs MO was like a decade or 2 ago. I suspect they’re becoming more different, and I bet they’ll be different countries in standard of life if not actual title in another 20 years.

    1. Hopefully, with retirees from California going to Missouri for cheap land, the Show-Me State will show evolution.

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