*We just had a major election in Los Angeles – a mayoral primary election to be exact.
Mayor is an important position in City government. It’s the top spot in most cities and Los Angeles is no exception. Our mayor has achieved rock star status and the coup de grâce that catapulted his star was when he was chosen as the chair of the 2012 Democratic National Convention. That was huge.
It’s an important election. You’d think it would be important to Angelenos and who is at the helm of a city like Los Angeles. Los Angeles is no slouch town. It is a major economic force not just in the United States but the world. It has the fifth busiest port in the world and is ranked as the 15th largest economy in the world. Not to mention that it is the entertainment capital of world and has the best weather all around. A lot of dollars flow in and out of this town. Los Angeles politics matter.
But in the minds of Angelenos does it matter? You have to wonder and ask the question. The turnout at last Tuesday’s primary election to elect the next mayor of one of the most high profile cities in the nation was dismal. It was only 16% of the nearly 1,800,000 registered voters in the City. Granted, we had lovely weather on Election Day while so much of the country was shoveling snow. But was it the weather that kept nearly 1,500,000 voters from the polls or was it something else?
It could have been the lack of snap, crackle and pop in the candidates that people have come to expect in elections. We just came off of a rancorous and testy Presidential election season that was full of hell, fury and brimstone. It was consuming, engaging and exhausting.
The field of mayoral candidates on the other hand are fairly moderate in their appeal; three out of the four of them come right out of city government. They aren’t glamorous or grand, yet all are solid in their public service and contributions to the city.
Today modern day politicking is as much about personality as it is about position or policy. When it comes to personality, the mayoral candidates there were no standouts or lighten rods – no one seems to edge out the other in terms of rhetoric or posturing. Their policies weren’t particularly divergent from each other neither were their personalities.
So were Angelenos simply uninterested in the mayoral race because the candidates just weren’t exciting enough or could it be election fatigue and over saturation from the Presidential election or could it be something else?
It has to be something else.
Los Angeles is about 475 square miles of the most economically diverse territory in the state. Its blight and beauty is precariously juxtaposed to its wealth and poverty. The lives of the haves and have not’s intersect at few points. There is distain and distance between the two in this town.