It might not look like it locally, but the Nov. 6 election really is important.
Civics lecture aside, we all have a stake in the outcome — especially when it comes to a variety of state ballot measures affecting everything from taxes to public education funding, state criminal justice policy and labels on the food we eat.
The trouble with ballot initiatives is that most fail to capture nearly as much voter attention as contests for public office, which in this area are often partisan races with predictable outcomes that don't inspire a rush to the ballot box.
This year state Sen. Carol Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge), Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D- Silver Lake) and 41st Assembly District hopeful Chris Holden, a Democrat on the Pasadena City Council, are crushing their Republican opponents when it comes to collecting campaign funds.
Secretary of state reports filed earlier this month show Liu raising $380,000 more than Republican challenger Gil Gonzales, Holden with a $615,000 advantage over Claremont Republican activist Donna Lowe, and Gatto gathering more than $1 million in his reelection bid against Republican and Glendale school board member Greg Krikorian, who had $168,000.
The most even playing field is in the 49th Assembly District, where Republican and former San Marino Mayor Matthew Lin has collected $1.1 million and Montebello school board member Ed Chau has gathered $900,000 in the battle to replace termed-out Assemblyman Mike Eng (D-Monterey Park).
Though a majority of voters in the 49th tend to lean left, political observers say the race could be a toss-up settled by a relatively small number of people who actually show up at the polls.
The fate of Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown's call for a state tax hike to avoid devastating public school budget cuts, is also too close to call.
What is certain is that those who fail to cast a ballot will not get a say, and that Monday, Oct. 22, is the last day anyone wishing to participate in the Nov. 6 election can register to vote.
Registration has never been easier: Simply fill out a brief electronic form at www.sos.ca.gov/elections/register-to-vote. In the time it took to read these words, you'd already be done.