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Morning Brief: Young Voters, LA Protesters, And Gas Station Topiary Art

A light brown-skinned young man, lit by soft reddish sunlight, stands leaning against a railing. He has a neutral expression, wears glasses, and has a blurred background of large buildings behind him.
Alex Valdivia, a junior studying political science at UCLA, became interested in politics during the pandemic and is now policy director at Project Superbloom, a PAC focused on training young people to run for the state Legislature in 2022.
(Shae Hammond
For CalMatters)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s September 1.

The gubernatorial recall election is less than two weeks away, and some experts think that Gov. Gavin Newsom’s fate may rest in the hands of California’s young adults.

Our newsroom’s partner, CalMatters, reports that 43% of recently polled 18-29 year-olds said they would vote no on the recall. And many Democrats are hoping for a replay of the November 2020 presidential election, in which 54% of Californians ages 18 to 29 voted, with most casting their ballot for Democrat Joe Biden.

“This segment of young voters ... is going to clearly be the most critical part of the electorate for the ‘no’ side to turn out in these last two weeks,” said Paul Mitchell of Political Data Inc.

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Newsom seems to know that, as he addressed members of the California Young Democrats group last week. He suggested that the recall effort has a long history, and isn’t just about what he’s done as governor over the past several years.

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“This began as an anti-immigrant push,” Newsom said. “This all predates the pandemic … This is about all of us, this is about all of you, this is about your future and our ability to live and advance and prosper together across our differences.”

Diane Le, president of California Young Democrats, said that the group has been working hard to encourage reliable voters to cast their ballot. Their messaging revolves around the governor’s handling of the pandemic and his record on environmental issues.

Le believes that young people could represent the “margin of victory” in the election.

“Even if you know you don’t see a perfect candidate there,” she said, “you have to think about what’s really important.”

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A., and stay safe out there.

What Else You Need To Know Today

Before You Go ... The Curious History Of LA's Gas Station Topiary Art

Topiary art outside the Mobil station at Melrose and Highland (Image capture: Apr 2019/Copyright 2019 Google)
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In the 1990s, Jeff Appel, the son of United Oil's then-president, was refurbishing one of the company's gas stations in Corona Del Mar. In the course of his comings and goings, he would frequently drive past what he called "a topiary place." Appel wondered if he could create the same magic at his gas stations, and a dream was born.

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