To those of you still recovering from the interminable 2008 presidential campaign, that title may seem a bit anachronistic, but we are having municipal elections today in Los Angeles County. It seemed the campaign signs starting sprouting up as soon as the Obama signs were taken down.
And judging by my conversations with peers, no one seems to be paying much attention. Turnout at my precinct was sparse. Even so, the poll workers seemed overwhelmed. I stood waiting even though there was no line. I have no clue what the poll worker was doing. He seemed to be trying to whispering something to his colleague
Then, one man who was ferrying voters to the polls, barreled in, and asked a question of him. Now, he was paying attention. I realized my error, so I said in a loud voice, “Excuse me, but I’m in line here.” (“In line?” I was the line.)
That got the poll worker’s attention. I gave him my name, then voted against the incumbents on West Hollywood City Council, largely to protest their bone-headed decision to put time limits on parking meters in “downtown WeHo.” That strategy all rules out meeting friends there for lunch–unless you delight in continually getting up from the table to feed the meter.
It’s not just that. They have this fetish for public-private development partnerships, often after only perfunctory consultation with neighborhood groups. They’re basically using government money to increase congestion in an already congested area.
Oh, and then, there’s the big race in the City of Los Angeles. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is running for a second term and no one seems to be paying much attention. When he first won four years ago, I was concerned he might fire the city’s law-and-order Police Chief, William J. Bratton, who has done a great job keeping the city’s streets safe.
Shortly after his victory, the then-Mayor elect met with Bratton, signaling his intention to keep that good man on. This year, Bratton appeared in TV commercials endorsing the Mayor’s reelection. Those very commercials touted the Mayor’s anti-crime record.
For those of us who don’t live in the City of Los Angeles, but “travel” there on a regular basis for shopping, socializing and entertainment, that most directly impacts us. Maybe that’s why I haven’t paid much attention to the mayoral election. Perhaps, that helps explain the more widespread voter apathy across the region.