‘Happy Days’ Star Scott Baio Is Latest Celebrity To Leave California Amid Surging Crime, Homelessness

Baio, who’s lived in California for 45 years, has placed his $3.85 million Los Angeles-area estate on the market. This follows star Mark Wahlberg moving to Nevada to give his family ‘a better life.’

AP/J. Scott Applewhite, file
Scott Baio speaks during the opening day of the Republican National Convention at Cleveland, July 18, 2016. AP/J. Scott Applewhite, file

Amid a rise in homelessness and crime in California, a star of “Happy Days,” Scott Baio, will sell his home at Los Angeles, making him the latest celebrity to flee the Golden State. 

Mr. Baio, 62, announced last week he will be leaving California after 45 years. Among the reasons, he says crime and homelessness rates are increasing, making the state a less than safe place to live. 

“After 45 years, I’m making my way to finally ‘exit stage right’ from California,” Mr. Baio tweeted last week. He then said about 69,000 people are experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County and 41,000 in the city, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

California has had the largest homeless population in the country for more than a decade, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. Since 2022, about 30 percent of people experiencing homelessness in America are in California. Half of the unsheltered people in the country are also based in California. 

Almost four in 10 people said homeless people in their neighborhood made them feel unsafe, according to a 2021 poll conducted by Los Angeles Business Council Institute in cooperation with Los Angeles Times.

Mr. Baio placed his $3.85 million house on the market last month. He lives in the gated community of Westchester County Estates, at Woodland Hills, according to Realtor.com. The actor paid $1.85 million for the property in 2010.

According to the real estate website, the home is on one of the largest lots in the community. It is a 6,300-foot property with five bedrooms, 4.5 baths, a pool, and a spa.

Earlier this year, actor Mark Wahlberg sold his Beverly Park mansion for more than $55 million, $30 million below the initial asking price. The star of “Uncharted” and “Father Stu” moved to Nevada last year to give his children a better life, he said on “The Talk.”

Actor Jim Carrey listed this year his Brentwood mansion for $28.9 million, a year after announcing he was retiring from acting. In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Carrey said he is selling the property because he does not spend much time there. 

Celebrities such as Rosario Dawson, Busy Phillips, Joe Rogan, Rob Schneider, Chris Hemsworth, and Blake Lively have also decided to leave California and move to other states including New York, Arizona, New Jersey, and Texas. 

California lost more than 500,000 residents between 2020 and 2022, according to the United States Census Bureau. It was the second-largest population decrease in America after New York, which lost about 15,000 more people than California. The reasons for the exodus include high housing costs, long commute times, crime, and pollution.

A majority of people in California are concerned about being a victim of a crime, according to a 2023 poll conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California. About 21 percent are “very concerned,” 44 percent are “somewhat concerned,” while 29 percent are “not very concerned,” and 6 percent are “not at all concerned.”

Despite its crime woes, California is among the states with the highest average home prices in America. According to Forbes, it is second on the charts, after Hawaii, with an average price of $686,000. The median household income is about $75,000. 

In addition, California’s personal income tax rates are among the highest in the nation, with a rate of 12,3 percent. If the income is above $1 million, the rate goes up to 13.3 percent, according to TurboTax. 

The exodus of celebrities could continue with a bill introduced by a Democrat assembly member, Alex Lee, that proposes to tax extreme wealth in California. It would apply to households with net worths higher than $50 million or the top 0.1 percent of Californians. If approved, it would be in effect in January 2024. 

The New York Sun

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