We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I just finished three days grueling hiking in Kings and Sequoia National Parks, before moving on to more hiking in Yosemite and Gold Country for another six days. Visalia is in the heart of the central San Joaquin Valley, population 135 thousand, economy agriculture.
Thanks to Google Maps I took two routes fir the fastest hour to the entrances to the parks, off main roads zigging and zagging through side roads of field crops, orchards, and cattle grazing. Sets the mind at ease to see before and after hiking (hiking will be another post). Visalia is clean as a whistle, wide well paved streets, well kept houses, and downtown steps out of the 1930s without a single chain store besides one Starbucks over ten blocks, surrounded by gorgeous large public buildings and fine old homes from that same time. Visalia is a refreshing vision of America. No wonder the population has grown from 75 thousand in 1990, around the last time I was here.
Read some of Victor Davis Hanson's comments over the last couple of years regarding Visalia and surroundings. His family farm is not far from there. Things are not nearly as rosy as you wrote about. Far from it.