A lonely day at the polls

first_imgLos Angeles voters, some red-faced, said they were too busy, too tired, too unaware or too disinterested 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 last election came 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. “When you have two or three elections in a two-year period with pleas about `If you don’t vote, the sky’s gonna fall,’ it dulls the senses,” said Kareem Crayton, assistant professor of law and political science at USC. “It’s not that the issues are less important – if anything, they’re more because they affect you most directly. But without a clear sense of what’s at stake, it’s hard to get people involved.” Ironically, the stakes were particularly high in Tuesday’s contest, with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s school board challengers squaring off against union-backed candidates. Though the future of the board and public education hung in the balance, it did not register with residents. “I know the mayor’s trying to take control of the school board, which I don’t like,” said Carol Brown, a Chatsworth voter who did not cast a ballot. “But not enough to do something about it. I’m a little ashamed, because it’s our civic duty.” 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 a fraction 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.” A civic duty that for most couldn’t compete with picking up dry cleaning, getting some gasoline or purchasing lottery tickets. “I completely forgot,” said C.Y. Arrieta, 34, a business analyst from Woodland Hills. “I don’t pay attention to the local stuff. It’s not as big as a presidential election. “I think we ought to care more about this, myself included, because it’s important.” Not important enough, however, to get people into voting booths. As Arrieta enjoyed her morning coffee, Hildy Seligson, a volunteer clerk in a North Hollywood precinct, looked over her sheets of “I Voted” stickers. She had an ample supply. “Nice of you to come by and break the monotony,” she said. “You shoulda been here before – I think we had three people! I’ve been getting four things a day, those slick envelopes with those expensive-looking ads, in the mail for weeks telling me about the election. But where are the people?” They were having lunch at El Indio, a Mexican joint on Roscoe Boulevard in Northridge. The tables were full of prospective voters, but only one had actually cast a ballot. Glenn Thornhill, 54, a stay-at-home dad from Sylmar, cared enough to take an absentee ballot to his hospitalized mother. But he did so more out of a sense of tradition than any excitement about the candidates or issues. “It’s a rule – you have to vote in my family,” he said. “It’s a sad state of affairs in Los Angeles. Almost no one votes, but you’ve got to. I go, shake my head, and that’s that.” At Precinct 900624A in Woodland Hills, inspector Glen Wilson logged 20 votes in his first six hours at the polls. He awoke at 4:45 a.m., arrived an hour later and cast open the doors at 7, hoping for a big turnout. But instead, he found only the cool morning air. Later, a kindly pastor at the church that supplied the room for the polling place lent the workers a television to stave off boredom. “Apathy runs across party lines,” Wilson said. “You get all the supplies ahead of time, fill everything out, get all ready and come in to work. Then, Bleah! Nothing.” [email protected] (818) 713-3738160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

Golden Bears’ unbeaten streak

first_img Clemens completed 36 passes, an Autzen Stadium record, with no interceptions as the Ducks (6-1, 1-1 Pac- 10) handed the Huskies (1-5, 0-3) their 11th consecutive loss against a conference opponent. Demetrius Williams had five catches for 92 yards, including a pair of Clemens’ scoring passes. @Roundup Score: Stanford 20, at Arizona 16 @Roundup Text: Trent Edwards threw two touchdown passes and Stanford took advantage of five Arizona turnovers to beat the Wildcats. It was the second consecutive Pac- 10 road victory for the Cardinal (3-2, 2-1), which beat Washington State last week. Stanford managed just 195 total yards, but the Wildcats’ tough defense was offset by Arizona’s offensive blunders. Arizona (1-5, 0-3) lost its fourth consecutive. Its only victory was against NCAA Division I-AA Northern Arizona. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Matt Moore passed for 196 yards despite three interceptions, and Oregon State’s defense forced five turnovers in a miserable performance by the Golden Bears (5-2, 2-2 Pacific-10 Conference), who lost their second consecutive after the school’s best start since 1996. The Beavers (4-2, 2-1) throttled Cal’s vaunted rushing attack and moved the ball easily themselves for most of the day yet turnovers, penalties and mistakes kept it close. BERKELEY — The scoreboard never reflected Oregon State’s domination, so coach Mike Riley couldn’t enjoy an impressive upset until California made its final mistakes. Yvenson Bernard rushed for a career-high 185 yards and the go- ahead touchdown with 6:41 to play, and Oregon State snapped No. 18 Cal’s 10-game home winning streak with a 23-20 victory on Saturday. center_img “It was scary,’ said Riley, whose Beavers won at Cal for the second time in three seasons. “They were always in striking distance. … (But) our team never thought we couldn’t stop them, and that we couldn’t move the ball.’ With good reason. Bernard rushed 40 times and scored two touchdowns in the second half for the Beavers, whose 35-21 victory at Memorial Stadium in 2003 was the most recent win by a visitor. That Saturday, Oregon State harassed Aaron Rodgers into one of his worst games at Cal and it did the same to Joe Ayoob this time. The Beavers, who celebrated with their band and a large cheering contingent after the game, also snapped an eight-game losing streak against ranked teams. They outlasted the mistake-prone Bears, stopping three potential game-winning drives by Cal’s once-potent offense. “It’s been five years since we beat a ranked team,’ Oregon State linebacker Andy Darkins said. “We’re going to roll with this. … We felt the whole week that if we stop Cal’s run game and make Ayoob throw it, we could win.’ @Roundup Score: At No. 20 Oregon 45, Washington 21 @Roundup Text: Kellen Clemens threw for 425 yards and four touchdowns and No. 20 Oregon decisively defeated northwest rival Washington for the second consecutive year. last_img read more