As someone who grew up in the Bay Area, I think it's largely irritating exaggerated bullshit. The Bay specifically has a LOT of problems, but the right wing grifters who make it out to be some kind of turgid, third world country are completely full of it. I spent my early childhood to adolescence on the Peninsula, and while growing up in a community full of illegals had sketchy moments for the most part it was completely safe and fine. I don't recall the area around San Mateo and Palo Alto ever looking dirty or run down as a kid, even in the "Little Mexico" areas, and while drive by's and other spooky shit occasionally happened over by EPA I don't ever recall feeling like crime was a problem. From what my dad tells me, it was also still pretty cheap when he got to the US in the 80's.
I moved to the East Bay as a teenager and the vibe is a little grittier in San Leandro, Oakland, Gayward etc. but you're pretty fucking safe unless you go into the historically Black™ ghettoes on the East side of Oakland or over by the (former) Acorn Projects near BART. Fremont, Milpitas, San Hoe are all incredibly safe relative to their size and population. There is no "lawlessness" here from what I can tell, other than asshole drivers but traffic is so dense it's not like piggies can do anything about it.
At least from what I can remember, FB (and big tech in general) really began to shit up the area when they moved to their current Menlo Park location. It took a few years for the changes to become noticeable to me, but I'm sure it got pretty shit in the Peninsula fast. My dad would always be telling me about the places we used to go to when we we're young getting torn down for campus space and what not, and it kind of seemed like everything here began to revolve around Google, Facebook and Apple. Around 2015 the traffic suddenly became really noticeably bad, there was a day when there was a 4 hour, MILES long traffic jam that ended up with Waze being banned from my city or something and multiple road restrictions being put in since it was so bad that even residential streets were packed with cars. It felt like people started fucking flooding in like sardines every month after that, everything was so busy all the time. The homeless problem reached the East Bay suburbs around 2017, and a bunch of really coddled wypipo and rich Asians suddenly got up in arms on Nextdoor and Facebook talking about how California has been ruined forever, and is now a lawless third world country comparable to Somalia. Not wont to look at the poors for too long, multiple efforts have been made by the local Schutzstaffel detachment to break up these homeless encampments and relegate them to obscure side streets and along the BART tracks.
Depending on where you go, the infrastructure can be really bad. Some streets in San Jose look like fucking Detroit road wise, and East Oakland looks literally like a Syrian warzone in terms of potholes. There's pretty stark income inequality, and you can go places in SF where you'll see tall white bois in suits making 300k a year walk past a guy smoking crack in a puddle of his own shit. The poop streets meme is a little exaggerated though, the Tenderloin is fucking frightening (and seeing it as it is now is probably what planted the seed for my radicalization) but for the most part the city is pretty clean, at least from what I've seen.
Certain parts of the Bay are extremely diverse, it's arguably the most diverse place on Earth. Having to look at brown and yellow people triggers rightoids, so I assume most of what their real issue is that they can't do cross burnings in San Leandro or Milpitas anymore, so they just fuck off to Arcata or Eureka or some other bumfuck meth town north of Sac.
The area is extremely expensive, but the weather is very, very nice and you can pretty much find and do literally anything you can think of here. There's all kinds of world class professionals, services and vistas here, and going past the Bay you'll see farms that stretch for hundreds of miles.
I haven't been to SoCal enough to comment on it too much, but Los Angeles seems like literal hell on Earth from what I remember. There's homeless people EVERYWHERE, and while the sheer spectacle of seeing a city stretch as far as the eye can see in the middle of the desert is compelling, it's quickly stripped away when you realize what a miserable wasteland of poor urban planning and hubris it is.
On the whole, California is pretty nice if you can afford it, but you'll have to put up with a lot of traffic.
It's worth noting that we also have some really good labor protections compared to other states.