The Best Place to Live in California
The annual "best places" to live polling has been completed by the National Gallup-Healthways group. This is a poll for the best places to live in the USA. The ask numerous questions about job satisfaction, health and environment, projected well being, mental happiness etc.
Sonoma County, 70 miles north of San Francisco, with its largest city, Santa Rosa (150,000), got the fifth best in the USA and first, numero uno, in California. A very close second for California remained Santa Barbara, 100 miles north of LA on the coast. Boulder, Colorado received the #1 spot to live in for the USA. San Francisco got 5th for best large city in the USA.
Hmmm. Living in Santa Rosa and knowing SF all to well, it makes one wonder just who do the pollsters ask and what other data do they use to justify the results. Sonoma County and the county that Santa Barbara resides in, both are very similar in most respects and with only minor differences. Both cities are about the same size, have lots of vineyards, rolling oak studded hills, have the same traffic congestion at the wrong time and both contain UC campuses. Sonoma County is a bit more rugged and scenic, but Santa Barbara has the huge beach, much warmer ocean water you can actually swim in, a much more tropical look with its swaying palms. Both areas have rather high unemployment because neither is really high tech, although, Sonoma County does have more of it. Both are basically agriculture (vineyards) and tourist economies.
Both have about the same high cost of living and taxes. Housing costs differ only a little. Both only have one main highway artery running through it, meaning, if traffic is bad, you have few alternate routes. Oddly enough, Santa Rosa is a common name in the Santa Barbara area, both were early Spanish Missions. Many in SB think SR is near to them. it is, about 6.5 hrs to the north.
I certainly cannot believe that SF is America's 5th best city to live in. Its 700,000 people are crammed into a few miles, usually soaked in fog and coolest, parking there is a total nightmare, getting around is no picnic. If you commute in, you pay $6 simply to cross the Golden Gate and when you commute in during work hours, you actually crawl most of the time making your day much longer. For all its culture it offers, it usually is a real pain to get there to enjoy it.
Thus, these kind of polls are simply BS. Santa Rosa is nice, but #1 in California? I would vote for Santa Barbara or South Lake Tahoe with its Alp-like vistas. Even Redding, which is centrally located to snow skiing, water skiing, low cost of living and clean environmentally ( a few hours north of Santa Rosa and Sacramento) might be a good place. As to best large urban areas, I think only Sacramento or San Diego would qualify. SF? oh please........ did they only ask those living there?
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