For most of its history, Ventura county was the slightly ignored step sister stuck between L.A. and Santa Barbara.
(SOUND OF IDLING RV'S)
But for one group---retirees in RV's---Ventura county has always been something of a magnet. Retirees drive their massive, wheeled, homes away from home to the beaches where they take up temporary residence at the edge of the ocean. From the RV to the green blue water, it's a distance of perhaps five hundred feet.
(SOUND of WADING IN THE SURF)
In the shallow surf here, a stocky man wearing an Ernest Hemmingway beard, a large straw hat and sunglasses, leans on his walking stick as he wades through the water.
MURPHY: I'm from Cherry Valley California, and my name is Leeland Murphy.
Leeland is a retired firefighter. He tells me, in a very proud way, he is a Native Californian. He's is on his first day of vacation, and he says he tries to make it to the beach once a year. Standing in the surf with the sun at his back, Leeland says there was a time when the weather and the ocean were enough to keep people coming to the state. California's past, Leeland says, was glorious---
MURPHY: I used to really be proud, but I'm not so proud anymore. It's become a liberal state. And I am very conservative.
So---we might as well put it on the table right now---Leeland's done with Jerry Brown. But as for Meg Whitman, Leeland's not sold on her either. He questions her conservative bona fides.
MURPHY: Who knows? We've got to many candidates that come into office as a conservative, but after they get there, they turn tail on us. I want a true conservative. Now is she? I don't know.
Leeland says if Whitman were to come out strong against illegal immigration and if she would endorse the Arizona law… he would have an easier time backing her.
MURPHY: It's already out of hand, they've let it go on to long. I don't mind if people come to the United States under the laws that we have currently. But when they are illegal, my opinion is they don't have the right to be here. Just if I wanted to go to their country, I wouldn't have the right to be there and they would make sure I didn't get all the benefits they're getting here. California has been a good place, but it appears it's being taken over. And I don't like what's happening to it. And then you say where do you go to get away from it?...I don't know.
Leeland Murphy, a retiree at the beach in Ventura County. As he looks towards this year's election, the two issues he cares about are illegal immigration and whether Meg Whitman's conservative enough.