Unfortunately, it is this kind of thinking that has caused California to be flat broke. You thought this last economic downturn was bad, just wait until California runs out of ways to juggle its debts and declares bankruptcy. While this article is a bit dated, this article seems to cover it nicely (and there are many more like it).
This isn't to say a good earthquake warning system isn't money well spent simply that California should be less knee jerk about all the projects that they spend their citizens money on.
And j ust so you know, I'm going to drive my SUV no matter what they tell me I might be doing to the weather patterns of some random exoplanet.
And while you are at it, could you pass the refried beans?
That may be true. However, self driving cars are an entirely different matter. While they are really cool, do you really want to be in one hurling down the highway at 85MPH (I'm in Utah) and trusting that the automated systems are going to know the difference between a coyote or a tumbleweed? There are an incredible number of obstacles that a person can instantly recognize that even today, a computer can't. If a child and a dog run out into the street at the same time from opposite sides, do you trust the car to make the right decision as to which it will run over? How would you like to be legally responsible for your self driving car if it runs over a child? What about black ice? What if a person is in the road and the car has a choice of running over the person or crashing and possibly killing you. Do you trust the car to make the right decision?
As much as I like software (and writing it), there are IMHO too many judgement calls for a computer and in many situations too many for a lot of (supposedly sane) people.
The only way I can see self driving cars really working is to have special roads to carry them. These would be isolated from regular traffic and most of the regular road hazards. They would be in many ways analogous to a set of rail road tracks. (You don't see trains often running into problems with obstacles -- though when they do, the train usually comes out ahead.) Once you get to where you generally plan on going, you jump off and drive the rest of the way manually.
On the other hand states like California, New York, Illinois (Chicago especially), Massachusetts, Hawai'i etc.etc. etc. by in large have significantly higher crime rates and stricter gun laws to the states mentioned.