I have seen the desert on Google maps, ha ha ! I am not certain if like what I saw or not. I moved to Reno about 12 years ago. Born and raised in the Golden State. There are things I miss about California. For one California has nice beaches and forest in addition to very active urban life. But I do not particularly miss the politics or the state income tax.
Politics in California are controlled by many special interests. What I would point out is that California for all the perception voted against same sex marriage and on the first pass, voted against legalizing marijuana. The reason and only reason gay marriage is law now in California is because of a judge who is gay. Then you have large cities like Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles etc that politically are controlled by minority, ethinic, and gender issues that do not represent the majority of what Californians feel.
The media focuses on fringies because fringies are more interesting than people who are "normal". Then the fringies become the perception of what is truth.
I do not like changing laws through judicial or legislative action. I can deal with the laws that come through a vote by the people. It is difficult being spoon fed laws that come from special interests or politicians and judges who are themselves sick or accumulating wealth from some industry.