Wednesday, March 07, 2007

"Fever pitch of apathy"

Here is the LA Daily News cute headline and coverage of yesterday's forgettable local primary election. The story, however, misses the main point -- that most of the races had been sewn up well in advance. Districts are, of course, gerrymandered. And many candidates ran unopposed, having accumulated huge and daunting war chests early. Special interests have a way of gaming these things.

The "governance" that follows is not a pretty thing to watch.

Voters reach fever pitch of apathy
Yes, there was an election; however, nobody really cared

BY BRENT HOPKINS, Staff WriterLA Daily News

The cabbie's cigarette concerned him more than the future of his city.
On Tuesday, when Angelenos had a chance to vote for city and school board leaders, the most local of politics, the man in the yellow taxi - and just about everyone else - didn't bother to show up.

Only 7 percent of the more than 1.7 million eligible voters took the time to vote.
"Voting? Huh?" the cabbie said, mesmerized by the smoldering butt between his fingers. "Look, I'm very busy right now. I don't have time to talk about that."

Los Angeles voters, some red-faced, said they were too busy, too tired, too unaware or too uninterested to go to the polls. They had the chance to influence local politicians who theoretically have the most influence over their lives, and they did ... other stuff.

Maybe it was the negative campaigning. Or the fact that the previous election came only in November and there's another in May. Or the lack of much competition. Or the fact that the most hot-button citywide issue was whether to amend the City Charter over school board elections. ...