The Corner

Politics & Policy

Why Newsom Is in Trouble

Peter Hamby has a good piece on the California recall (language warning):

These days, the messiah of All Politics Is Local here is Alex Villanueva, the Los Angeles County sheriff. “Nothing will change your political viewpoint more than a transient taking a shit in your front yard,” he told me. Villanueva is a Democrat, elected in 2018, but he’s since gone full-blown Law and Order, appearing on Fox News to belittle “woke privileged Democrats” who want a more “compassionate” approach to criminals and homeless people. “The Democratic Party of 2021 has smoked some powerful stuff that’s made them blind to what’s happening on the ground,” he said. “Democrats think party loyalty alone is going to help them survive? They’re fooling themselves. This has nothing to do with politics. It’s not a Trump thing, it’s not a Republican thing. Normal people just want normal stuff they should expect from a functioning government and civil society.”

That frustration is on full display in Venice. After an outcry from westside residents fed up with the homelessness, crime, fires, and rampant drug use all around them, Mike Bonin, the progressive city councilman representing parts of Venice and the westside, finally put into motion a plan to clean up the tent encampments along the Venice boardwalk this summer. But it might be too late to save his political career. Bonin is facing a recall effort of his own over his slow response to the homelessness crisis, supported by plenty of local Democrats who listen to NPR, practice yoga, and drink green smoothies.

While I was on the phone with him, Villanueva texted me a photo from an I-10 underpass near Banc of California stadium showing a quarter mile-long pile of trash. “There’s garbage everywhere, and no one wants to clean it up,” he said. “The city isn’t doing shit.” Crime is also up throughout the state. Even former California Senator Barbara Boxer was attacked and mugged in broad daylight in a “nice” part of Oakland last month. “How could you do this to a grandmother!” she cried.

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