I had a routine conversation with someone today. A good person, responsible and sensible. She was aware that there was an election, but knew nothing about the candidates, measures or issues.
She represents the typical profile of a registered voter in Los Angeles.
Until someone figures out a way to reach people like her, incumbents will win ninety-five percent of the time.
A few of the incumbents did not make a spectacular showing, but they still won by a safe margin.
As of late this evening, Bernard Parks held a modest lead, but CD8 was not your normal affair. The challenger was backed by the combined treasuries of the major public unions and outspent Parks by almost two-to-one.
There is another way to unseat incumbents. If people get angry enough, they will toss even the most entrenched politicians. Just look at Bell.
So, then, what will be the Bell of Los Angeles that will awaken the otherwise docile citizens who remain absent from the polls?
I fear it will take nothing short of financial collapse.
Even the steady erosion of city services will not be enough. People do not tend to notice a slow but steady decline until it is too late and perhaps irreversible.
Maybe my fear can be abated. Maybe we can figure a way to reach another ten percent of the registered voters.
We need marketing expertise more than political consultants. Political consultants can only tell you how to reach the likely voters – the ten percent or so the established politicians count on.
We need the expertise that convinces people to watch reality television shows, because municipal elections in Los Angeles are nothing more than reality shows with poor ratings.
Until then, the city’s motto is “Apathy Uber Alles.”