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Jewish World Review June 13, 2005 / 6 Sivan 5765

Steve Young

Steve Young
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Consumer Reports

Governor placed California up for sale and now it can be yours...on Ebay | Have you ever wanted to own your very own state? Well, it seems that California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is trying to make your dream come true.

With his campaign contributors getting product placement in his TV commercials as well as access to his private policy conversations, the governor has placed California up for sale to the highest bidders. Some have admonished him for, in affect, selling out California. I happen to think he's not selling out big enough. Why stop at his supporters? Let's open it up to those who can actually pull this state out of its dire budget crisis. And let's do it the way that everyone gets a chance... ON EBAY!

Despite its great debt and cuts in almost every economic safety net, California still has great "Q" (popularity quotient). No matter how bad the press, it remains H-O-T. And that means it's got value. Value that could draw some heady interest AND big bucks. So what are we waiting for?

I say we offer the entire state on Ebay and get the bidding started. Let's find the solvent conglomerate out there that can use California for its great merchandising value. Is there any question that Microsoft's California or The Golden State of Walmart wouldn't bring customers to their door.

It's done with arenas and stadiums. Even life-saving vaccine (Salk). Hell, we already name cities and states after people. Why not companies? And why not naming the state after people while they're still alive and can enjoy it? There's got to be some multi-billionaire who would love to make a vanity purchase. Warren Buffet's California just shouts "Look at me!" What else do they have to do with all that dispensable income? Who wouldn't want to have the thrill of having their name plastered all over their own, one-of-a-kind state? They get priceless publicity and we get out of debt. After all, it's just a name. Would you mind living in the state of Oprah if it meant that we won't ever have to face another bond issue again? The buyer benefits. We get back our benefits. It's a win-win.

I'm not talking about a tiny crib like Vermont or New Hampshire, but one complete with over-sized room and ocean view. We're talking California! Las Vegas adjacent.

Your own vineyards. Mountains. Rivers. Beaches. From Sacramento down to San Diego, mudslides, earthquakes, sweltering deserts and borders that say, "Welcome...Whomever You Are Or Whatever You've Done."

And California has plenty to offer the right buyer. History? There's plenty. As far back as the mid-1960's. From the assassination of Robert Kennedy to the trials of Michael Jackson, Robert Blake, and O.J. Simpson, California's rich heritage shouts out to wealthy alleged felons around the world, "Hey, Killer, have we got an idiot jury for you!"

Like watching movies? Well, hell, now you can make your own in California, a state that comes complete with your very own film industry, filled with enough ego and humiliation to share at any of the A-list parties your friends who haven't talked to you in years will be dying to attend.

And while you'll become responsible for billions in budget deficits, there's a California-sized upside. Located on the panoramic, Pacific ocean front, western U.S., spacious California provides every imaginable amenity: imported Terra cotta, affordable domestic and labor force (payroll taxes an option), more gay pride parades per square foot than any other state, delicious ballot initiatives to dance around an annoying elected legislature, and a couple of condors.

A state with ever-increasing population, yet no overbearing weight of tangible culture, can't you just picture you kids climbing their very own 2,000-year-old giant redwood? How about allowing the lumber industry to chop them down? Now, it can be your choice.

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As our governor — soon to be YOUR governor — has shown, your state can be a solid revenue least for the person in charge — YOU.

Merchandising your product alongside your state makes for a super sales tool which, like California, just screams "health" no matter how toxic it might be.

Come on, folks. Do we really need to reduce our poor governor to having to do small time product placement shilling when big time product placement shilling is available?

As a California citizen I am taking the left coast bull by the horns. Monday morning I am placing the entire state on Ebay. And what will I get out of it? Nothing. It's not about me. If I could keep my name out of this, I would. But, of course, it's too late for that. I'm just one Californian who wants to take some of the pressure off the brawny back of our governor. I'm forwarding every cent that comes in directly into the state treasury.

And for anyone who is concerned with legalities of selling the state, if it puts California in the black, I don't think anyone's going to have a problem.

For those interested in bidding on their very own one-previous-owner state, go to:

Only serious offers please.


JWR contributor Steve Young is author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful: Mistakes, Adversity, Failure and Other Stepping Stones to Success," and can be heard on Los Angeles's KTLK AM 1150, Saturdays 1-4 PM. Blog at Comment by clicking here.


© 2004, Steve Young