I live in SoCal and it is bad, but not as bad as described. There are too many people, too many cars, and too much meth. This year is actually a very wet year, it's raining right now. I pay about 2K/month for my huge house. My water bill is around 30-40/month and I have a large inground pool/spa and run my sprinklers twice daily 3x a week AND I have 4 children and a husband. We are not water conservers by any means. I have never paid to park anywhere in my mid-large sized city.
Gas is around 3.75/gal. What will hit hard is tags/DMV fees, a truck will cost around 1000 for tags per year. Income/property taxes are high, but you adjust to this. It is hot and the air quality sucks, so maybe not a good choice for asthmatics or those with chronic lung conditions. I make 6 figures and do not have an advanced degree. I've never had an issue getting a job and my city has many nursing schools churning out new grads twice a year.