+ 100 ... electric start is the only way to go. You never want to be "that" guy on the trail with your buddies and you can't get your bike kicked overYes they are that bad. It really depends on the terrain. A 2 stroke is perfect for wide open trails where you can stay on the power band but sucks for hill climbs where you can't pick up speed because you need to avoid obstacles.
I used to ride smokers all of the time on tight trails and would always recommend them until I took an 03 yz250f out for a long ride and was hooked. My smoker was quickly sold and I bought an 07 crf250x. Also trail bikes have additional features that are well suited for trails such as wide range gear boxes, kick stands, electric start and since you're in ca they also come with spark arrestors
You may think that electric start isn't necessity but it sure is damn nice to have when you stall in the middle of a huge hill climb, you're tired and its over 100 out. They call it magic button for a reason.
Ride several to see what feels best to you and make sure you know why your buying one ... what kind of riding you want to do. I love my WR250. I was able to so some free "mods" to it after I bought it that made more YZF-like but with more torque and softer suspension. Plus I picked up a lowering link and dropped it down almost 2" so that helped too.
You'll probably notice that your dirt riding will improve your street skills too ... good decision to get dirty!!