To the people of the San Joaquin Valley and the Sacramento
Valley and the Imperial Valley and the Inland Empire And All Those Other Places
Not On the Coast That I Never Bothered to Learn the Names Of:

Get ready
for an invasion.

An invasion from the coast.

those of us in the counties are really, really worried about you.

And so we are on our way to visit
you and seek your help.

Gov. Jerry
Brown is coming to campaign for his temporary tax extensions. California Republican
Party officials are swinging by to listen to your concerns. The state’s
foundations are redoubling their efforts to engage you and support efforts to
improve your lives. Reformers want you to be part of the conversation about how
we fix California. Economists and unions are poking around, ostensibly trying
to figure out how to revive your economy and reduce your unemployment rates,
which are as high in your neck of the woods as they are anywhere in the

Even this blogger – who has
relatives scattered across the inland, from Modesto to Apple Valley to Redlands
– is planning a visit. (Catch me on May 17 for a lunchtime speech in Visalia,
hosted by the local League of Women Voters!).

That little bit of self-promotion
may be only one sign that the visitors to California’s glorious inland valleys
may not be there entirely for your benefit, but for their own. Brown needs a
way out of the political and budgetary pickle he is in – or he might be forced
to go forward with an all-cuts budget, which would decimate both the state and
his own political future. Republicans are desperately short of money and
voters. And all sorts of scholars and do-gooders are eager for grant money to
support their work.

The good news is: This should give
you plenty of opportunities to take advantage of us coastal interlopers. Other
good news: if we condescend just a little bit, you inlanders have had a lot of
practice at grinning and bearing things.

Make sure your smiles are extra
wide this time. This is the moment for your close-up.