Californians can agree that something needs to be done about the state’s rising homelessness, wildfires, and drought. But recalling the governor proves to be a more controversial issue.
The Epoch Times talked to passersby at random in Redondo Beach, California, asking their opinion on the recall on Sept. 4.
Out of nine individuals, six said they were opposed to the recall and three were in favor.
Those supporting the recall all said they were voting for Larry Elder, a conservative radio talk show host who is the top contender in the polls of likely Republican voters who are voting “yes” to recall.
Elder is an Epoch Times contributor and host of “Larry Elder with Epoch Times” on EpochTV.
Mike Gage, a 32-year resident of Redondo Beach, is voting to recall Newsom because he “made things worse” while in office.
“[Newsom] is incompetent and he’s made a lot of mistakes, and there’s nothing that’s gotten better about this state in a long time,” Gage told The Epoch Times.
“I’ve seen things just deteriorate … Everything else is just too expensive. It’s a shame that I live in a state where the seniors who retire and are now on a retirement income have to sell [their homes] and go elsewhere to live. It’s a shame they pay taxes all their lives and now they have to leave. Everybody I know has to leave because again [they can’t] afford to live here.”
Gage said Newsom doesn’t keep his promises.
“When he ran for election last time, he said he was going to stop that crazy rail train to San Francisco project. He said he was going to stop it when he was running for election, and when he got elected, he said, ‘I’m not going to stop it,’” Gage said.
“I would support Larry Elder. He’s the obvious, good candidate who’s got the support out there to get elected. He’s the only one that’s going to get any votes at all.
“[Elder will] downsize the government here; he’ll allow the free market to work and things will get better; he will have a conservative view versus liberal view.
“Everybody I know is voting for him.
“We have the highest home prices, we have the highest cost of living. Its seniors have to move out of the state when they retire because they can’t afford to live here. It’s just ridiculous.”
Susan S., of Redondo Beach, said she’s voting “yes” on the recall because of how Newsom handled the pandemic.
“I think that Gavin Newsom was a disaster during the COVID,” she said.
“He didn’t play by the right rules. When you keep Macy’s and Lowes and you keep all these big stores open and you close all the mom-and-pop stores, what are you doing for our community? What are you doing for the people that live in the neighborhoods? What are you doing for people’s livelihood?”
Susan said the rising suicide rate among high school students resulting from school closures during the pandemic is “never talked about.”
“More people have probably died from that, or been exposed to that, than people who have died because of COVID,” she said.
Susan said the recall is bipartisan because the issues related to Newsom’s recall aren’t political.
“[Newsom’s] whole family was not affected by COVID at all. He didn’t lose his job; his children got to go to school; his children got to go to camp; he got to go out to eat, while everybody else is locked down. I just think if you’re going to be a political figure, you need to play by all the rules and I don’t think that he has,” she said.
Susan said there’s a huge divide between the Republicans and Democrats, “that’s not the way it should be,” and that Newsom is partly responsible for that divide.
“If you’re transparent and you’re trying to work together … either Elder or [Kevin Kiley] could do that better. Newsom has caused more of a divide than he has an equity.”
Suzie K., of Redondo Beach, doesn’t support the recall and said Newsom “did the best he could,” during the pandemic.
“I’m very happy with what he’s doing and what he’s done. I’m not saying he’s perfect,” she said.
“I don’t think anyone could have done a good job under the circumstances. … I believe he adverted multiple [COVID-19] deaths.”
Suzie said she agrees with Newsom’s principles of helping “all the immigrants” and the “homeless. It’s okay for us to have to pay a little more in taxes to help the community.”
Cumby Jones, of Calistoga, also said the wildfires have severely affected the air quality in his hometown.
“We’re still getting the smoke from the fire down in Tahoe … the air quality goes way down because of the fire,” Jones told The Epoch Times.
Jones said his hometown of Calistoga has been affected by major fires three times in the past six years.
However, Jones isn’t supporting the recall because “[Newsom] has done a pretty good job with the COVID issues. And I know that it’s a big state and we’ve kind of done pretty well during this troublesome time.”
Naomi Mizushima, of Torrance, called the recall “a total waste of time [and] waste of money.”
“I just don’t think that that’s a real recall. To me, the election is next year, so why do it at this time? It doesn’t make any sense to me,” Mizushima told The Epoch Times, adding that Newsom “did a decent job.”
Mark Olson, of Torrance, concurred that the governor has done an overall “great job.”
“He’s made a few mistakes. But overall, after reflecting on what he did wrong, he turned it around and he’s done some things right,” Olson told The Epoch Times.
Louise Williams, of Carson, also said homelessness was a major issue in the state and that Newsom is “doing all he can.”
She said people are blaming Newsom for the homeless situation but that there were homeless people in California before he became governor.
“I blame some people because of their own [problems] because they’re not paying their bills. They’re doing everything else but paying their bills,” Williams told The Epoch Times.
“I think a lot of people are homeless because their minds are not together. And I think we should open up places to treat people with mental problems.”
Williams added that she likes the governor and wouldn’t like to see him replaced by Elder.
“Anybody but Larry Elder. … I don’t think he has what it takes to be a governor,” she said.
Steven W., of Redondo Beach, said he voted for Elder in the recall election because Elder is “very conservative; he’s very outspoken,” and “a very popular candidate.”
“I just think that he’s the one to beat Newsom,” Steven told The Epoch Times. “I’m just glad he showed up and threw his hat in the ring, so to speak, and I really hope that he gets elected.
“I think he’ll do the best job he can, and anything that he can do I think would be a good thing.”
“We’ve got to do something about the homeless crisis,” Steven said. “It’s not just a problem, it’s a crisis—people that are on drugs, mental issues that are made worse by drug and alcohol abuse.”
Steven said Newsom has done many things wrong, “but the one that stands out was when he had the dinner for everybody during the COVID [lockdowns]. That’s a real pompous attitude for somebody in government to take, and he should pay the price for his transgression.”