Next Tuesday, primary elections will be held in Los Angeles for City Council and School Board members, among others. If the trend in recent elections continues, turnout will be low. This gives disproportionate power to those who vote in the local elections.
This injustice of very few people choosing the best paid city council members in the country has a simple solution: people have to vote. This turns silenced voices into voters whose participation is magnified by the low turnout around them.
On this occasion, La Opinión has followed the pattern of certain previous elections by not giving endorsements in the primaries. In this case, our endorsements are limited to voting yes on Charter Amendments 1 and 2, which, to increase voter turnout at elections—like the one on Tuesday—propose to change the years of local elections so they coincide with other state and/or national elections to spur greater interest and turnout at the polls.
It is a shame that we must turn to this change in election dates to increase turnout, since there is always a great deal at stake in local elections.
This Tuesday, for example, there are important races for the City Council, including former Supervisor Gloria Molina’s attempt to unseat City Council member José Huizar in District 14, or the 14 candidates seeking to replace outgoing Council member Tom Labonge in District 4 and the race for the vacancy left by Council member Bernard Parks in District 8.
At the same time, on the Los Angeles Unified School District Board, the seats of incumbents George J. McKenna III, Tamar Galatzan, Bennett Kayser and Richard A. Vladovic are up for election in Districts 1, 3, 5 and 7, respectively. The struggle continues for control of the Board between reformers and the teachers’ union.
Candidates who do not garner more than 50% of the vote will go to a run-off in May. Of course it is also possible that the races will be determined on Tuesday. Don’t sit idly by; get out to the polls because those who do not vote have no voice, and as the saying goes, silence grants consent. Don’t let others make your choice for you