Economy top priority for many Westwood voters
As voters lined up at the polls in Westwood on Tuesday afternoon, one issue that was not on the ballot weighed heavily: the economy.
Sarah Wehrle, 23, considered herself a nonpartisan voter, but she said the stalled economy under President Obama's administration affirmed her beliefs that the government should remain hands-off. She changed her political party affiliation to Republican so she could vote for Ron Paul.
"People are so dissatisfied with the way the country is run," Wehrle said. "It is important to come to the polls to do something about it."
Wehrle, who moved to Los Angeles from Maryland five months ago, spent weeks researching the candidates and issues before casting her ballot. She arrived at Westwood Recreational Complex with her boyfriend, armed with several mental notes about each candidate.
When she was deciding which Los Angeles district attorney candidate to vote for, she said she turned to law reviews and newspapers to read up on the candidates' platforms. To pick a superior court judge, she read through some of the candidates' legal decisions to determine how conservative they were.
"I didn't want to leave any ballot unmarked," she said.
In the end, Alan Jackson got Wehrle's vote for the county's top prosecutor because she read that he made the list of the top 100 prosecuting attorneys in the nation, and she agreed with his lenient stance on marijuana penalties.
Diane Racine, 68, almost let the raging debate about the Proposition 29 cigarette tax keep her away from the polls, but she said she felt it was her civic duty to vote.
Racine teaches adult education in the Los Angeles Unified School District and said she would be laid off in two weeks when the district cuts the adult education program. She cast her ballot with hopes that the candidates can restore jobs in the state.
"We need jobs here," Racine said before putting on her orange wide-brim hat to shield her face from the hot afternoon sun.
She said she hopes unemployment benefits will keep her afloat until the economy makes a full recovery.
-- Angel Jennings
Photo: Voters cast their ballots in Venice in 2010. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times