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Gullixson: Something different: The state of 'us'

  • The railroad tracks serve as a freeway to those transients that sleep by the Petaluma River and downtown Petaluma, Wednesday Sept. 18, 2013. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2013

"The idea that the future is unpredictable is undermined every day by the ease with which the past is explained."

-#8212; Daniel Kahneman, psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002.

As any prognosticator will tell you, predicting the future is not difficult. Being right is the hard part.

When it comes to looking at what's ahead, we really have only ourselves and our past to analyze. And in that way, people are like stocks: Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Nonetheless, it's all we've really got when it comes to looking at where we're going. So with that in mind, I present my own year-opening analysis -#8212; the State of Us.

This is not a State of the Union, which you will get on Tuesday (6 p.m. Pacific time) or a State of the State, which you got in a compact 17-minute we've-got-a-surplus-don't-blow-it message on Wednesday from the governor. Nor is it like the we're-OK-the-Central-Valley's-not State of the County address and economic forecast you heard Friday.

This is a state of us.

First, it should come as no surprise, but we are growing older, heavier -#8212; and more Latino.

Latinos now equal the number of whites in California -#8212; 39 percent -#8212; and sometime in the coming days, if not already, are projected to become the largest ethnic group in California. It's a landmark moment.


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