in reply to
Are we a dying breed?
It takes time to find good people. That's life. If you can't find good Perl people, then I'd suggest finding good people and teaching them Perl. (It doesn't take that long.)
As for the job situation out West, I don't know what 10 companies you're thinking of, but apparently at least 6 of them are in LA. (And that's not counting the companies that occasionally have a position from time to time.) My understanding from friends in other cities suggests that this is far from the only good local market.
As for Perl vs Java, judging from recent conversations on boston.pm, PHP is seen as a far more direct threat.