Column: Good information for Gavin Newsom — California is now not the place it was in 2003

Former Gov. Gray Davis and current Gov. Gavin Newsom.

California is far modified since former Gov. Gray Davis, left, was recalled in 2003. Gov. Gavin Newsom faces an identical try. (Associated Press)

Lots has occurred in 18 years. A conflict in Iraq. Two impeachments. Four presidents.Five “Pirates of the Caribbean” films.

And right here we’re once more dealing with a gubernatorial recall election, the second in California historical past and solely the fourth tried wherever within the U.S. (While it isn’t official, a fall referendum on the way forward for Gavin Newsom is about as seemingly because the water provide dwindling between now and September.)

California is a a lot completely different place than it was in 2003, the final time voters determined whether or not to provide the state’s chief government the heave-ho.

The inhabitants is older than it was, housing prices are larger and tens of millions extra folks dwell right here. (Exodus, schmexodus). Perhaps most vital, California has change into significantly extra Democratic.

Every election is completely different. So, too, are the roots of the 2 recall efforts

Democrat Gray Davis was blamed for mishandling an electrical energy disaster that, it seems, was precipitated in good half by profiteers and corrupt Texas vitality merchants. (It did not assist that Davis was not significantly well-liked to start with and solely grudgingly gained a second time period.)

Newsom’s circumstances are completely different. He was elected in a landslide and stood on politically strong floor till lockdowns and the upheaval attributable to COVID-19 catalyzed efforts to pressure a vote on the Democrat’s efficiency a 12 months forward of the commonly scheduled 2022 election.

One fixed: the French Laundry restaurant remains to be catering to the wealthy and epicurean, because it did 18 years in the past, although nobody cared again then if a politician confirmed up for a masks-off celebration. Newsom’s ill-considered November go to is what pushed the languishing recall drive into excessive gear.

The French Laundry restaurant's kitchen window

Back in 2003, the French Laundry was only a restaurant and never a political catalyst. (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times )

Here’s a statistical snapshot of California then and now, exhibiting how a lot the state has modified because the final recall election. Some statistics are for 2019 or 2020, the final years for which full information can be found.

A shoutout to of us on the state Department of Finance for his or her analysis help.


2003: 35 million

White non-Latino, 45%; Latino 34%; Asian American/Pacific Islander, 12%; Black non-Latino, 6%

2021: 40 million

White non-Latino, 38%; Latino 40%; Asian American/Pacific Islander, 14%, Black non-Latino, 6%

Median age

2003: 34

2021: 38

Median age of mom having first little one

2003: 28

2021: 31

Registered voters

2003: 15 million

44% D, 35% R, 21% Decline To State/Other

2021: 22 million

46% D, 24% R, 30% No Party Preference/Other


2003: Gray Davis, Democrat (reelected November 2002, 47%)

2021: Gavin Newsom, Democrat (elected November 2018, 62%)

Statewide elected officers (eight)

2003: D 7, R 1

2021: D 8, R 0

Congressional delegation (53 members)

2003: D 33, R 20

2021: D 42, R 11

State Senate (40 members)

2003: 25 D, 15 R

2021: 31 D, 9 R

State Assembly (80 members)

2003: 48 D, 32 R

2021: 58 D, 19 R, 1 unbiased, 2 vacancies

Economic rating, worldwide

2003: seventh largest

2019: fifth largest


2003: 6.9%

2020: 10.2%

Median sale value for current home

2003: $371,520

2020: $659,380

Hollywood Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles

The median sale value for a home in California was $659,380 in 2020, although neighborhoods like Hollywood Heights are a lot pricier. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Minimum wage

2003: $6.25 an hour

2021: $14 an hour ($13 for companies with 25 or fewer workers)

Median family earnings (inflation adjusted {dollars})

2003: $60,978

2019: $73,226

Average value of gasoline

2003: $1.83 gallon

2020: $3.05

Average commute time (minutes)

2003: 27

2019: 31

Biggest companies (Fortune 500, ranked by annual income)

2003: ChevronTexaco; Hewlett Packard; McKesson; Safeway; Wells Fargo

2020: Apple; Alphabet (Google); Chevron; Wells Fargo, Intel

Oscar, finest image

2003: “Chicago”

2021: “Nomadland”

Actress Francis McDormand

Frances McDormand settle for Best Actress Oscar for her position in “Nomadland.” (A.M.P.A.S.)

Biggest home field workplace Hit

2003: “Finding Nemo”: $339,714,184

2021: “Godzilla vs Kong”: $90,300,000 (by way of Sunday)

Grammy, track of the 12 months

2003: “Don’t Know Why”

2021: “I Can’t Breathe”

This story initially appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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