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As the sun sets over the great Pacific at Venice Beach Monday, the same goes for the recall elections in California. With Election Day only remaining, most of the ballots have already been cast. The future of Gavin Newsom rests on the votes that remain only to be counted.
On the The Venice promenade with its burgers and slightly offensive T-shirts to sell, election signs were scarce.
A small film crew for a wired news network interviewed passers-by. An older man doing a photo shoot training in his Make America Great Again hat exercised by listening to the Tory radio. But what was mostly in the air was the smell of grass, not the excitement of Election Day.
"I want it to be reminded but that's not going to happen, " JJ told me. I have heard that a lot.
CALIFORNIA ELECTION REMINDER: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
This is a retired Los Angeles cop who lives in Venice Beach. "I'm a conservative " he told me, a little softly, adding, "but have all the drugs and abortions you want.
We stumbled upon the idea that he may be more libertarian. His pessimism about the recall was rooted in conviction that most Californians don't care.
It was clear that this attitude was influenced by his police work, where he felt his hands were tied by the government.
He was working at Los Angeles International Airport, where he told me that the homeless and the mentally ill would be just take control of the spaces, partly because of the free Wi-Fi, and that the police could not stop him.
On the Venice promenade, it seemed Sheriff Alex Villenueva's efforts this summer had cleared the encampments along the beach. And yet there were many lost souls, with seemingly nothing to do and little life in their eyes. I also saw a quick brawl that seemed to amuse tourists by filming it on their phones.
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But not everyone thinks there is a crisis in California under Newsom's leadership. Kasey, a CPA, told me he fully supports the governor, saying: " I think he did a really good job. "
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You can see why someone in Los Angeles might experience Newsom's performance differently than someone in San Francisco. In the Bay Area, COVID restrictions are more severe. Nobody 'asked for my vaccination card in LA and put on your mask - taking off your dancing mask when entering restaurants is more silly than painful.
A question I have asked several people who believe Newsom will survive the recall effort, and it was most people, was whether it could be any different if polling day had taken place six months ago.
Almost everyone told me that at the time, Newsom would likely have lost. It's hard to say how much of this attitude is driven by the feeling that California is emerging from the COVID crisis, or whether they just quit themselves.
After passing 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 a state of crisis seems to hang over certain areas. But the people I've spoken to for the most part can compartmentalize the very obvious bad signs, the lack of order in some places and what impacts their day to day lives.
Si Gavin Newsom survives the recall, this will be because their day-to-day lives don't look like emergencies that need to be addressed by removing the governor.
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