Here’s what you can conclude if Newsom survives the California recall effort
As the sun set over the Great Pacific in Venice Beach on Monday, it also set on the California recall election. With only election day left, most of the ballots have already been cast. Gavin Newsom’s future rests on the votes, which now mostly need to be counted.
With its burger spots and mildly aggressive T-shirts for sale on the Venice boardwalk, election signs were few and far between.
A small camera crew interviewed some passersby for a cable news network. An older gentleman exercising in his Make America Great Again hat exercises while listening to conservative radio. But most of what was in the air was the bubbling smell of grass, not election day enthusiasm.
“I want him to be called back but that’s not going to happen,” JJ told me. I heard this a lot.
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He is a retired Los Angeles cop who lives in Venice Beach. “I’m a conservative,” he told me, somewhat quietly, adding, “but you have all the drugs and abortions you want.”
We landed on the idea that perhaps he is more liberal. His pessimism about the recall was rooted in the belief that most Californians don’t care.
It was clear that this attitude was informed by his police work, where he felt that his hands were tied by the government.
He used to work at Los Angeles International Airport, where he told me that homeless and mentally ill people would just take up space in some places because of free WiFi, and the police couldn’t stop it.
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On a Venetian resort this summer, Sheriff Alex Villeneuva’s efforts seemed to have helped lift beach-side shadows. And yet, there were many lost souls who had nothing to do and little life in their eyes. I also saw a quick fist fight that seemed amusing to tourists filming on their phones.
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But not everyone thinks there is a crisis in California under Newsom’s leadership. The CPA, Casey, told me he fully supported the governor, saying, “I think he’s done a great job.”
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You can see why someone in Los Angeles might feel differently about Newsom’s performance than someone in San Francisco. COVID restrictions are more stringent in the Bay Area. No one asked for my vaccinations in the cards in LA and put on your mask – take off your mask. Entering a dance restaurant is more silly than hard.
One question I asked many people who think Newsom will survive the recall attempt, and that was most people, would have been different if Election Day had been six months earlier.
Almost everyone told me that Newsom might have been defeated at the time. It is difficult to say how much this attitude is driven by the feeling that California is coming out of the COVID crisis, or if they have resigned themselves to it.
After spending 7 days in California, from San Francisco to the Central Valley, to the beaches of LA, what I saw was not a state in crisis, but a state in which the state of crisis seems to be hanging over some areas. But the people I talked to for the most part can divide the very obvious bad signs, the lack of order in some places, and the impact it has on their daily lives.
If Gavin Newsom remembers it will be because his day-to-day life does not feel an emergency that must be addressed by removing the governor.
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