I have sent the following e-mail to L.A. Times Readers’ Representative Jamie Gold:
In his May 28 column, Michael Hiltzik writes that, between 1998 and today, California’s population has increased 30%.
Hiltzik’s math is wildly off. California’s population in 1998 was 33.3 million (.pdf). Given a current population of roughly 38 million, the increase has been between 13% and 15% (depending on the precise numbers used). It has been nowhere near 30%.
The incorrect statistic is a central underpinning of Hiltzik’s argument. Certainly, a correction is warranted — but I think a new column explaining the mistake would be more appropriate.
As always, I’ll let you know what I hear back.
UPDATE: The column has been corrected. The correction is wrong. And the column still reeks. Details here.