Larry Elder Rally
By Robert Bernstein
Larry Elder is running for governor as a possible replacement for Governor Newsom in the event that Newsom is recalled. He held a rally on Wednesday afternoon in the Courthouse Sunken Garden.
Here are my photos.
Here is my complete video of his speech, with one brief cut to change the battery:
Here are selected frames from my video.
A few hundred people showed up to hear what he had to say. There was also a rally to support Newsom and vote no on the recall across the street.
When I arrived at the Courthouse at 3PM it was interesting to listen in on conversations. People were offering a range of conspiracy theories about elections and other issues. One woman was talking about how the government is using tracking devices to follow people. Various mumblings about how Communists were trying to take over. There were signs and t-shirts to that effect as well.
This "pro-Choice" sign puzzled me as I did not realize Republicans became pro-Choice.
"Liberty" is used selectively, it seems.
Not everyone was there to support Elder. Like me, many were curious to hear what he had to say. But I did also meet some people I knew who were there to support him.
This woman wanted to know if she would appear in Edhat.
Former County Supervisor Mike Stoker rallied the crowd before Elder spoke. Stoker claimed that this was the biggest political rally ever in Santa Barbara. An echo of Trump claiming that his inauguration was the biggest ever. In direct contradiction to photographic evidence to the contrary. Anyone who attended the Women's Marches in Santa Barbara or the rallies against Reagan's devastating wars in Central America or the Bush war in Iraq knows there have been rallies that were vastly larger.
Here was Mike Stoker with local recall organizer Bobbi McGinnis:
A few protesters quietly stood with signs in the middle of the crowd. Here was a notable sign.
As people waited for Elder to come out, several people jumped onto the stage to voice their personal issue. One talked about how the protesters were "Communists" and we had to fight them to save the country. Another talked of how we need to let Jesus be our guide. Interesting contrast, since Jesus told his followers to give up all their possessions and give the money to the poor. "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God."
Here was the crowd just before he took the stage:
Elder strode out to the stage with one final rally cry from Stoker:
Then he began his 34 minute speech.
Elder came across as reasonable to anyone who has little understanding of how government works. He offered "solutions" to a range of California's problems that involved making emergency declarations to evade existing laws. Most notable was the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), signed into law in 1970 by then-governor Reagan.
Elder claimed that CEQA causes housing to be too expensive and that this is the main reason we have homelessness. He also stated that many of the homeless have mental health and substance abuse problems.
What he failed to understand is that many are homeless now because they have been evicted from housing that they used to have. In Venice in Los Angeles this happened to hundreds of long time residents whose landlords kicked them out in favor of high-priced vacation rentals.
And that many of those with mental illness used to have residential treatment and this ended under Reagan as governor.
At one point he asked the crowd if any of them had been in San Francisco lately. A murmur went through the crowd of revulsion at the very idea of going to such an awful place. He talked of how there are homeless people everywhere. As it happens, my wife and I went to San Francisco in May for Mother's Day. We were astonished to see no homeless people at all! The city was housing them in the hotel that we usually stay at as well as other hotels.
He claimed that the fires ravaging California are due to the government failing to "clear the forests". No mention of the Climate Crisis. The only significant variable that ties together the devastation in California and in the rest of the country is the Climate Crisis, but he made no mention of that.
But he did mention the imaginary "war against oil and gas". In fact, fossil fuels receive vast subsidies. And there is still no meaningful carbon tax to pay for the cost of using the public atmosphere as a garbage dump for greenhouse gases. The Sierra Club has been critical of Newsom for being too timid on solving the Climate Crisis. But they are strongly opposing the recall because Elder would try to roll back the small gains that have been made. Here is the statement for the California Sierra Club:
As for COVID, Elder attacked Governor Newsom for his measures to protect citizens with vaccination and masking and remote work and education. He said it should be a matter of personal choice. He said that if you get vaccinated then you are protected and if someone doesn't want to get vaccinated that should be their choice. He said it only puts that person at risk. He clearly does not understand epidemiology or how vaccines work as well as their limitations.
He claimed that public schools are failing to educate people of color and that vouchers for private education are the solution. Even though he produced no evidence that this works.
I can certainly see why he has a following. He tells feel-good stories of how anyone can do well in America through honest hard work. He claims racism is just not a significant issue compared with people just being lazy. Or Black families lacking fathers. It is not clear what his point is, as the Governor has no power over such matters. He makes jokes about people calling him an Uncle Tom for saying these things.
H. L Mencken said "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong. That was what I heard from Larry Elder.