Standing there, I thought: Oh, California, how you have fallen! Today your schools are being decimated, your universities furloughed and even your prisons drained of money. And this monument that celebrates the beginning of your proud English-speaking modern history is a dusty, forgotten wreck.
I called Kevin Starr, the legendary California historian, to tell him about this municipal embarrassment. Starr has a new book about the boom time when the memorial was built: "Golden Dreams: California in an Age of Abundance, 1950-1963."