The social environment consisting of local television, radio, social media (Facebook, Twitter), billboards, chain-link fences, residential lawns, etc.
There isn't much in my current day job that actually forces me to look at politics, local or national, so it isn't a focus at this point. I'd been unconsciously even blocking the information that did come my way about local propositions and candidates.
As of now, about 8AM, election morning 2016, a day off for me, I have just finished researching candidates and propositions. It was a 4-hour long process, extending from yesterday as I sifted through the 200+ pages elaborating on the various ballot measures. And by 'sifted', I mean I skipped to the "Quick Reference Guide Sections", read pros vs. cons, and looked at who was supporting what.
Of course, the research yesterday was not about Trump vs. Clinton or Clinton vs. Trump (that I decided long ago), I am talking about the local stuff that does immediately impact me.
The guide-book mailed to me was fairly comprehensive with propositions; I used the internet to cross-reference a few things, but overall, I think I was able to get a fair reading for who what to vote for/against.
However the guide-book does not give you information on your local district representatives, such as your Congressional representative, your State Senator, your member of State Assembly, and of course your Nonpartisan Offices.
For local representatives, were all on our own, and that's when I relied on the internet: an exercise in cross referencing Ballotpedia, KPCC's interviews of judges, LA Times endorsements, metnews.
KPCC's interviews give some insight into personality; though brief, they gave me a sense of whom I could relate to. I particularly caught on to Kim L. Nguyen's story, though her opponent, David A. Berger seems alright too.
LA Times endorsements I imagine carry a lot of weight for voters, especially in low-information battles. However, the reasoning on a few of their endorsements wasn't satisfying. Why? They do not supply much if any supporting evidence of the strength of their choices or even the weaknesses of their opponents.
Especially when it comes to the choice between Berger vs. Nguyen.
Nguyen received a "Well Qualified" rating from the LA Superior Court whereas her opponent received a "Not Qualified."
The LA Times immediately disqualified this rating when it came to this race because...he can express his opinions?
Here's what they wrote:
As a deputy district attorney, and as a candidate for Los Angeles city attorney, Berger was never shy about expressing his opinion, including about his rivals.
He has a long and successful record as a prosecutor, and his free expression of opinion in that capacity do not make him less fit to serve impartially as a judge.
Deputy Attorney General Kim L. Nguyen is keenly intelligent and capable and would also make a good judge, but could benefit from another few years of experience before taking the bench.
They don't elaborate on his "long and successful record", they don't tell us why the ratings by the County Bar don't matter in this case, or why Nguyen needs "another few years of experience before taking the bench."
My cynical reading is that whoever wrote it just likes him better because he's older and deserves it, though the LA County Bar thought otherwise, for some mysterious reason.
Second example of less-than-satisfying reasoning, for Office 11, they wrote this about their endorsement of Steven Schreiner:
Deputy District Attorney Debra Archuleta brings a combative style that may serve her as a prosecutor but would not translate well to the bench. Deputy District Attorney Paul Kim may someday make a good judge.
Of the four candidates, Steven Schreiner — also a deputy district attorney — has the most experience. He also is the one with the calm demeanor that a judge must have, and that is somewhat ironic, given that the knock on him when he ran two years ago was that he supposedly lost his temper when making his argument to a jury that couldn’t reach a verdict. Given his record in his many other trials, it seems more likely that he didn’t lose his temper at all, but was just going for effect. It wasn’t a great tactic, but it was a departure for a candidate who would likely make a model judge.
They endorse someone based on his temperament against someone with a "combative style", but they then note that he's supposedly lost his temper. They like him usually, but man can he melt down? It's befuddling.
They don't really put any substantiating evidence for anything: why he would be a 'model judge', what his 'record' is in his many other trials, why his opponent's combative style would make her suck.
Another election, another cram session. I just wonder if there's ever going to be a time in future elections when we'll have as much information about these local candidates as we do these national ones.