With voting underway, a divided and frustrated electorate take to the polls

It wasn’t long after the polls opened here at Glendale Community Church of God that a line formed out the door, made up mostly of voters who were on their way to work.

And like what’s been reflected in a national polling, this was a divided and frustrated bunch, particularly regarding the presidential race.

"It was like picking the lesser of two evils," Margaret Mansour, a mental health counselor, said of President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Ivonne Almeida, who said she’s been looking for an administrative job for six months, had given up on the incumbent president and was putting her support behind Romney and his experience in the private sector.

“Obama hasn't done anything,” said Almeida, an immigrant from Portugal. “For me, Romney, he's offering business, he's offering jobs.”

But others were sticking with Obama, pointing out that the economy has been on a steady – albeit slow – recovery since taking one of the worst hits the nation’s ever seen.

They also said Obama was more genuine and able to relate to the plight of the middle class.

"He knows about poor people," Edwina Rabanes, a stay-at-home mother of two.

While the presidential race may have dominated the national discourse in recent months, California is all but a lock for Obama. What wasn’t such a sure thing, though, was the fate of two competing tax measures for education funding -- a top political priority for voters here.

Griselda Avila, a social worker, said schools are important for the children she sees during home visits.

"I think we need to continue to educate," Avila said.

Polls show voters are split over Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax plan, Proposition 30, which would raise more than $6 billion annually to patch the state's budget deficit. Two other tax measures -- Proposition 38, an income tax proposal to raise money for schools, and Proposition 39, which would change the way corporate taxes are assessed, are also on the ballot.

George Dawson, a school bus driver and Vietnam-era Marine, said he voted against the tax measures.

He said he didn't want more taxes and he didn't believe the drastic cuts laid out by proponents are going to happen.

"They have other accounts," Dawson said, adding that he believed the schools have more money then they let on.

James Biskey, an engineer, doesn't have children, but said he still voted to approve Prop. 30.
"It affects the fabric of society," he said. "Shortchanging education isn't the answer.'


California voters head to the polls

 Presidential campaign winds down with battleground state visits

-- Brittany Levine, Times Community News; with reporting by Los Angeles Times staff writer Anthony York.

Follow Brittany Levine on Google+ and on Twitter: @brittanylevine.


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