Weary voters glad it's over

Many voters Tuesday expressed relief that a campaign season filled with record expenditures and negative political ads was drawing to an end.

With epic battles to replace Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and unseat Sen. Barbara Boxer drawing two wealthy former chief executives into the fray, the ubiquitous and often-negative campaigning had locals saying Tuesday they'd had enough.

Voters at polls in Burbank and Glendale singled out Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman as bearing much of the blame. The former EBay chief spent $141 million of her own money on a campaign that went on attack mode early on in the season.

"Anyone who spends millions and millions of her own money is suspect," Yadhira De Leon said after voting at Burbank City Hall.

Still, she said negative ads this year weren't all without merit.

"We want to know the dirt, not just the good, shiny stuff, too," De Leon said.

Local campaigns for the 43rd Assembly District and the 29th Congressional District have been relatively subdued compared with the larger state battles, in part because Democratic incumbents in both races enjoy a left-leaning electorate in their respective districts.

Outside the polling station at Temple Sinai in Glendale, Armand Garabidian said he could barely recall the name of Rep. Adam Schiff's challenger, Republican John Colbert.

And Democratic Assemblyman Mike Gatto faced a late-in-the-game campaign from his Republican challenger, Sunder Ramani. Ramani, who lost in the June special election, did not begin campaigning for today's election until August.

Still, Glendale and Burbank had prominent roles on the larger stump stage this year, with President Obama and his wife reaching out to Latino voters in separate Spanish-language radio interviews in downtown Glendale, and Whitman and Republican Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado making stops at Porto's Bakery.

Whitman also pledged to support entertainment jobs during a stop at Bob Hope Airport, and Boxer challenger Carly Fiorina, former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, used a failed Glendale nonprofit project to campaign against wasted government spending.

But for all the stumping, Burbank voter Caitlin Muelder said the two former executives failed to give a clear picture of how they would lead the state.

Why not first spend those millions on charity, she asked, "so that your actions prove your record."

As for the ballot propositions, those that would legalize and tax marijuana sales and postpone landmark global warming legislation were foremost on many voters' minds.

Garabidian said he voted against Proposition 19, the pot legalization measure, because he felt that although police resources would be better spent on other issues, "ultimately, we don't need another [legal] vice out there."

But others, like De Leon, said she voted for the proposition despite her fears of how it would mesh with federal law.

"I just think it's about time," she said.

As for Proposition 23, which would indefinitely suspend California's greenhouse gas reduction goals, Muelder said she voted against it to preserve the state's status as a trailblazer.

"Part of why I love California is because it's been a little ahead of the pack," she said.

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