A new season of The Walking Dead starts October 17.
I am not a fan of the zombie genre as a rule, but the AMC hit is an exception. When you combine interesting characters, a good script and excellent acting, any story line can be a success.
Aside from the Walking Dead, only The Night of the Living Dead and the gorily funny Shaun of the Dead have earned my thumbs up as far as creepy zombie flicks go.
But who needs a TV or film version of a zombie apocalypse when we have the real thing in our own backyard?
I’m referring to the 85% of the registered voters who consume city services as readily as zombies devour the living but do not bother to vote. Of course, that’s the way our city council members, controller, mayor and city attorney like it. It is much easier to fool 15% of the people most of the time than a majority of the people some of the time.
By contrast, New York City, despite a steady decline in turnout since the nineties, still saw 29% of the voters cast a ballot in the last mayoral election in 2009. Chicago was disappointed in its turnout rate of over 40%, although you can argue that some of those voters were truly the walking dead.
Regardless, the voter turnout in those two cities further emphasizes how pathetic Angelenos are in exercising civic responsibility. It is even more tragic in that many of the 85% are educated; some even have good jobs! There is simply no excuse for them to shirk involvement.
But what constitutes involvement?
At a minimum, reading a newspaper, even an on-line edition, or one of many blogs covering details of city governance. Attending an occasional workshop or forum is also advised, offering residents a chance to interact with officials and other citizens. The total investment in time should be no more than an average of an hour a week. Is that too much to ask?
How does our zombie apocalypse affect the outsider candidates for city positions – Cary Brazeman, Ron Galperin (both running for office City Controller), and Kevin James (for mayor)?
Their success depends on tapping into a small portion of these disinterested registered voters. Even a 10% slice could make the difference between victory and defeat. Given the sad history of local election apathy, they may as well be trying to wake the dead.
Right now, DWP bills are showing up in mailboxes reflecting outrageous charges – and with rate increases yet to be felt. Measures that would double the real estate documentary tax and increase the parking tax could be on the ballot for March, supported by the mayor and city council. The mayor wants the half-cent Measure R transit sales tax to be extended. Real pension reform has not been enacted, which means there is no cost relief in sight.
These things add up and, with personal incomes likely to languish, the impact will be more severe.
Somewhere in the vast 85% pool there are many who would be disturbed by the possibility of higher taxes and no cost reductions. Brazeman, Galperin and James must find a way to reach them in a manner that will drive them to the voting booth.
Reaching out successfully to the all too silent majority may seem unlikely, but nothing is impossible. However, it might help if the three outsiders pooled resources. They have a common interest. Joint advertisements in the media informing voters of just how irresponsible their insider opponents have been and what their actions will cost the city’s residents would be a good start. A show of unity, at least into January or early February, might have a favorable impression on voters by making them aware of what is at stake. They can still deliver their own messages.
It will be crunch time after the holiday season. Brazeman, Galperin and James would be wise to use the intervening time to plot a strategy.
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