Housing, immigration, inequality are among Californians’ concerns

Californians whom The Times asked about the top issues facing the state.
(Los Angeles Times)

For some, it’s immigration. Others, housing and homelessness.

We asked Californians to name the top issues facing the state today and what the next governor should do.

Here's some of what they said.


Donna Weese, 57, Shingletown

“The cost of living here is just insane. It’s hard. It’s almost impossible to live.”


Foster Anderson
Foster Anderson is the director of the nonprofit Shared Adventures, which provides recreation activities for people with special needs. Phil Willon / Los Angeles Times

Foster Anderson, 57, Santa Cruz

“I like how they’re talking about affordable housing. That’s one aspect of my life that I depend on. Affordable, wheelchair-accessible housing.”

Linda Subero
Linda Subero lost her home in the recession and has struggled since. Paloma Esquivel / Los Angeles Times

Linda Subero, 55, Banning

Subero worries about homelessness because if it weren’t for her family, she might be out on the streets. “Now to get a rental it’s like you're buying a house,” she said. “It’s very hard. It’s very difficult.”


Javier Zamora, 53, Royal Oaks

“Obviously, we have the immigration issue that has scared our community, especially the Hispanic community, tremendously. My hope is that Washington gets its [act] together and politicians understand who’s really wearing the boots and who’s really growing the food.”

Javier Zamora, a strawberry grower, is concerned about U.S. immigration policy.
Archie Evans
Archie Evans. Mark Z. Barabak / Los Angeles Times

Archie Evans, 77, Vacaville

“Immigration’s out of control. Law and order’s out of control. Spending is out of control.”

Gail Varhoe
Gail Varhoe is a registered Republican who voted for Hillary Clinton. Paloma Esquivel / Los Angeles Times

Gail Varhoe, 68, Upland

Varhoe says she worries about immigrant families that “are here and working and obeying the laws and paying taxes … are they going to be deported? How is California going to address that?”

Taxes and the Economy

Juan Santos
Juan Santos is a Salvadoran immigrant and carpenter. Michael Finnegan / Los Angeles Times

Juan Santos, 46, East Hollywood

Santos says many working Californians get little benefit from the booming economy. “We don’t really see it,” he said. “Maybe rich people can see it.” He bemoaned the recent surge in homelessness.

Bill Johnson
Bill Johnson is a truck driver from Red Bluff. Mark Z. Barabak / Los Angeles Times

Bill Johnson, 64, Red Bluff

“Too much taxes and too many fees. Everything’s got a fee and you’ve got to have a license for everything.... You can’t move without a tax or a fee or a penalty.”


Marilyn Evers
Marilyn Evers, who works as a water district manager, is an independent when it comes to politics. Mark Z. Barabak / Los Angeles Times

Marilyn Evers, late 70s, Shingletown

“I think the bullet train is something people are paying for and it’s not going to happen in their lifetime or mine, that's for sure.”

George Green, 65, Arbuckle

“Building tunnels and bullet trains instead of building reservoirs so that we can maintain the productivity of California. That’s what we need to do.”



Harry Masatani
Harry Masatani is the owner of Masatani Market in Guadalupe. Phil Willon / Los Angeles Times

Harry Masatani, 91, Guadalupe

On Democratic proposals in Washington and Sacramento to provide government healthcare to all: “Can we afford to pay for everybody? Who’s going to pay for it?”

Loretta Gordon
Loretta Gordon. Michael Finnegan / Los Angeles Times

Loretta Gordon, 60, Hollywood

Gordon wants the next governor to provide universal healthcare. She’s also wary of former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a leading candidate. “He was too involved in schmoozing with the celebrities,” she said.

Julissa Prieto, 18, Santa Ana. Says she
Julissa Prieto. Paloma Esquivel / Los Angeles Times


Julissa Prieto, 18, Santa Ana

Says she “probably” won’t vote. But she’s worried about safety because of the number of gangs in her community and wishes there were better jobs for low-income people.

Louis Thomas
Louis Thomas is a retired L.A. County firefighter. Michael Finnegan / Los Angeles Times

Louis Thomas, 57, Inglewood

Thomas says California needs better job opportunities for young people as the cost of living rises. He also wants the state to take action against racism in law enforcement.


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