Dallasfan824 saidSD is probably the best city in CA. Not too big, not too small. Perfect weather. Lots to do. Hard part is finding a job. LA is big and spread out. Lots to do. But lots of traffic, etc. SF is nice. Very expensive and very hippyish. Inland is nothing but meth labs and poor people.
Generally true. Take a long trip and visit the various areas - they are all very different. (Assuming you are looking for a metropolitan area). Southbeach is right on the taxes - they are very high (except for real estate taxes, which are low) and income and sales taxes are going higher. The California economy is in a death spiral -among the highest unemployment in the nation. That will improve but VERRRRY slowly. A good place not to have kids - schools are now horrible, and state spending on schools and universities is decreasing.
SF is pretty and hip, but very small and very provincial. The SF city government thinks it is eco-friendly by making it harder to drive and park anywhere (everyone is now supposed to ride bicycles or take public transit)- except the city has the worst public transit system of any "major" city in the country. It can take an hour or more to cross the 7-mile wide town on the bus system. Also Twain remains correct today in his assessment of the weather: "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." The freezing wind almost never stops in the summer in SF. Otherwise lots of gay men here. We have a higher class of corruption than LA, generally (although not on a New York or Chicago scale). The SF sheriff just pled guilty to a violent crime and has no intention of resigning, and the local radical politicians, who could remove him won't, because they like him. In LA, the mayor's son, who had been in prison for murder, was just pardoned by the governor as a political favor. There are lots of young people who live in the Mission District and seem to get by without using cars much (although a lot of them commute by free bus to their $150K+ salary jobs in Silicon Valley (San Jose) where no self-respecting hip person would want to live. A lot of gays do live in the valley (warm with swimming pools, like LA), but is a very sub-urban lifestyle.
LA is much bigger and spread out (spreads for many miles) - bigger economy, lots of different neighborhoods to live in, etc. And much warmer. Don't worry about the Kardashians (or movie actors) - you will never see them anywhere - The film people mostly live on the beach in Malibu - in multi-million$ houses. West Hollywood and Silverlake are very gay. The old Hollywood still exists, but is mostly known as a strip where one can pick up street hustlers if so inclined. LA still has a bit of smog. For many years I visited there on business before waking up on the odd clear morning to see that there was a snow-covered mountain right there that I had never seen before.
San Diego is warm - very pleasant all year.
So, take the time to explore various areas. Be warned, that despite the bad economy,everywhere that you would probably want to live is very expensive to rent.