Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
December 22, 2015 4:41 PM

  • California, 3 neighboring states much different
  • We get along with Oregon, not Arizona and Nevada
  • Relations with Nevada are particularly frosty

There’s always been an incongruity about California’s having three disparate states on its borders.

As California’s population exploded during the 20th century, those of Nevada, Arizona and Oregon remained relatively sparse and today, collectively they have just one-third of California’s population.

The economies of California and its neighbors developed differently, but they once shared a generally conservative political outlook. Recently, however, we’ve shifted to the left, and Oregon has as well, while Nevada and Arizona still lean rightward.

California and Oregon seem to get along fairly well, although that may be because their population centers are many hundreds of miles apart and there’s relatively little human or economic commerce between the two.

Arizona and Nevada are a much different story. California jousts with the former over Colorado River water and with the latter over just about everything.

Earlier this month, the relationship between California and its neighbors to the east declined another couple of notches when Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown referred to their looser gun control laws as “a gigantic backdoor through which any terrorist can walk.”

The comment, made after a homegrown terrorist attack left 14 dead in San Bernardino, drew sharp rebukes from the Republican governors of both states.

The California-Nevada relationship has been particularly frosty. There’s a long-running conflict over environmental issues around Lake Tahoe, for instance. And in recent months, Nevada has tweaked California by seemingly luring away California firms.

To read expanded column, click here.