More than simply the northern half of the state of California, Northern California is the idea of the part of California characterized by clean air, open spaces, and people who aren't vapid and hollow. I like to think that Berkeley and Davis are good examples of Northern California. Under this definition, some portions of the Bay Area are really not part of Northern California, they are really more like Southern California, even if they are in the northern part of the state. And who knows, maybe this place exists only in my head.

Some people want change Northern California from an idea into a thing.

75% of California's available water originates north of Sacramento. 75% of the state's water use is south of that point. Every drop the Feather River pours into the delta is destined for Los Angeles.

One of these days there's gonna be some trouble.

There is one big problem with The Other Dan's definition of Northern California - it makes it seem as if Berkeley, Davis, and San Francisco are the only parts of California that can truly be considered Northern California. After all, I live in a suburb of Sacramento and the air is polluted (although not as much as LA), the open spaces have been consumed by housing developments, and I still have yet to meet someone who isn't vapid or hollow around here. It only gets worse as you get further up north. Sure, the air is cleaner up there, and spaces sure are open, but the people are mostly hicks. After all, the far north of California is where the police dabbed pepper spray into the eyes of protesters with a Q-tip to make them shut up. The people there are conservative and scary.

While San Francisco and the larger Bay Area are considered to be Northern California, a glance at the map quickly dispells that notion. San Francisco lies nearly smack dab in the middle of California, as far as North and South are concerned. Recently there was a movement in (geographically) Northern California to adopt the name Upstate California for the counties north of Sacramento. Regardless of geographic squabbles, Northern California is more of an idea than a thing, and San Francisco (as well as the Bay Area as a whole) fits the description.

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