Term used to indicate personal superiority. When spoken in conversation, the receiving party immediatley knows that the person saying the word is of a high class because of that person's NorCal roots.
Thusly, if the receiver is not of the same geography and stature, negative emotions arise from envy. A primary example is that of the frustrated SoCal dweller who is frequently subjected to the mighty and humbling presence of NorCalers.
Alternatively, Hella can alert other prestigious NorCalers that they are dealing with a higher species much like themselves.
NorCaler: "That was Hella cool!"
SoCaler: "Huh? Wha? Hella? That sounds dumb."
NorCaler: "No sir. You sir are Hella dumb. Good day."
SoCaler: "Oh yah. You're...dumbererer. Keanu rules!!"