Richard Paddock gave disturbingly short shrift to California's true roots ("Don't Whine for California," Sept. 24). The state's history did not begin with Anglo-American control of the territory, or with statehood. Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo "discovered" California in 1542, although the Spanish did not formally colonize California until 1769. The Spanish Crown subsidized exploratory expeditions and ultimately funded a three-pronged settlement plan for the Southwest. This provided for the establishment of presidios, missions and pueblos for defense, for the Christianization of natives and to generate profit.
People of mixed blood--Indian, Spanish and African--started the grunt work of settling this land (in some cases, after seizing it from indigenous peoples). With food supply a major problem and expense, the Crown gave California considerable support above and beyond the initial-settlement amount until it became relatively self-sufficient.
Paddock could also have mentioned the federal action deemed necessary for California to become a part of the United States: warfare with Mexico. Without that crucial maneuver anchored in the Monroe Doctrine and Manifest Destiny, this land may well have remained in Mexican hands.