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Originally Posted on Santa Barbara News-Press

I recently tested author Thomas Wolfe’s famous expression: “You Can’t Go Home Again.”

Of course, Wolfe’s point was that if you attempt to return to a place you remember, it will be different than you recall. My return visit to Santa Barbara last month strikingly confirmed the accuracy of that statement ­­ — and the importance of the upcoming election to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom.

My wife Dee and I bought a home in Montecito in 1997 and sold it in 2017. We moved to Nashville, which has become home to an expatriate community of former Californians — most of whom fled because of the increasingly oppressive political dominance of California’s leftist unions and the blatant arrogance of its all too secure elected elites.

For us, the move was fortuitous as our former home was destroyed in the 2018 flood. Luckily, the new owners were not home at the time.

But our former homesite is now a four-acre field, and visiting it elicits an eerie sense of unease. Much to my surprise, I had a similar sensation when visiting downtown Santa Barbara.

Standing on State Street, I felt as if I were in a scene for the classic film “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I had left Bedford Falls and returned to find Pottersville. All right, I know Santa Barbara is not a den of sin and villainy, where prostitutes freely roam the streets. But it is far different than the place I left.

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