Mayoral election: It doesn't matter if you can't decide

Seeing as many of the editors in the newsroom didn't know when the Los Angeles mayoral election was, it wouldn't be surprising if most of the student body didn't know either. It is on May 21, by the way.

The election is a campaign that does not really matter very much. Just 21 percent of registered voters in Los Angeles turned out for the primary, down from 34 percent the last time there was a primary with no incumbent in 2001.

The two liberal Democrats, Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti, also have few apparent policy differences. They both would be the first-something mayor — Greuel would make history as the city’s first woman mayor, and Garcetti would be the first Jewish elected mayor. They both have long-standing ties to public-employee unions, and they both have created drama by releasing negative ads about one another.

Moreover, Garcetti and Greuel both favor expensive projects, such as increasing film jobs support and building a rail tunnel from the San Fernando Valley to West Los Angeles. This leaves us to believe that both are unsure of how to fix pension costs issues of the county.

It is evident that voters are having a tough time deciding between the two — a poll by the Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs at California State University, Los Angeles shows Greuel with 46 percent of likely voters and Garcetti with 45 percent, and nine percent who are undecided; 12 days before the election.

Basically, Garcetti and Greuelare fundamentally the same; although that is not necessarily a bad thing, it is useless to voters.

The two candidates even agreed in a debate on May 5 that they were not so different on many of the plans they have for the city.

Whether it is Garcetti or Greuel, the new mayor will face a $216-million budget gap and rising pension costs that could cripple municipal finances, which is as daunting as it sounds.

It is difficult to engage roughly 4 million residents in the nation’s second-largest city to vote, but the lack of interest cannot be all due to voter apathy. For voters, it has been a
struggle to differentiate them in this runoff.

The Los Angeles Times endorsed Garcetti in late April stating that "he lacks executive experience but is the candidate with the most potential to meet the challenge." The Los Angeles Daily News supported Greuel for the same reason.

Not even county news sources know who to pick, so how can we?

At least this race has been a break from the current, tabloid-laden mayor Antonia Villaraigosa.