The mood among voters who hit the polls Tuesday in Burbank and Glendale was a mixed bag of frustration, anger, fear and uncertainty — not exactly a ringing endorsement for the next four years.
“It was like picking the lesser of two evils,” said Margaret Mansour, a mental health counselor, as she emerged from a poll station in Glendale after casting her vote for president.
While she declined to divulge her preference, plenty of voters did, sounding off on President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a slate of state propositions and down-ticket races, including a contentious campaign for the 43rd Assembly District.
In that race, incumbent Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) has been locked in a heated battle with Republican challenger Greg Krikorian — a Glendale school board member — with both campaigns accusing the other of misleading voters and playing dirty.
It did not escape the notice of voters.
“I think they're both superficial,” said Elizabeth Wood, a paralegal, in Glendale. “I don't care for Gatto, but I don't care for Krikorian more.”
But Krikorian got Harma Mirzakhanian’s vote after the La Crescenta doctor heard accusations that Gatto’s campaign was trying to mislead voters in a series of last-minute phone calls.
“Anything that's dirty, I don't like,” Mirzakhanian said.
Voters also sounded off on the competing tax proposals — Propositions 30 and 38 — with some wholeheartedly supporting the dedicated education funding, while others derided the measures as just another financial burden on struggling households.
But the presidential race is what prompted many people to come to the polls — many voters said they hadn’t even heard of the Assembly and state Senate candidates.
And presidential politics is where the divide was starkest.
“Obama hasn't done anything,” said Ivonne Almeida, an immigrant from Portugal who’s been out of work for six months. “For me, Romney, he's offering business; he's offering jobs.”
But with the economy on a slow mend, some voters on Tuesday said they allowed social issues to weigh more heavily in deciding who should be president for the next four years.
For Kika Martin, a 43-year-old entrepreneur and producer, positions taken by Romney on women’s issues — including his desire to see Roe vs. Wade overturned and funding cut off from Planned Parenthood — kept him from getting her vote.
“I definitely don’t see him representing a woman like myself,” she said outside a polling station in Burbank.
Susan O'Hara — a 48-year-old finance manager for an affordable-housing developer — recently moved to Burbank from Petaluma because her husband lost his job.
Despite the financial turbulence her family has weathered, social issues played more of a role when it came to O'Hara’s vote because she said she feels the nation is slowly moving toward an economic recovery.
And with both presidential candidates pledging to push the economy forward, O'Hara said she felt the biggest divides were on the social issues.
“I don't want Obamacare taken away,” she said. “I like it.”
WHAT VOTERS SAID
“Obama hasn't done it.” Gerald Rettke in Burbank
“I've never been so scared about the future.” Tom Darrah in Burbank
“I'm very frightened about Obamacare.” Jake Johnson in Burbank
“Schools are really suffering. More money needs to go back to school district.” Brandon Bennett in Burbank
“[Obama] knows about poor people.” Edwina Rabanes in Glendale
“I don't want to start all over from zero.” Harma Mirzakhanian in La Crescenta
“Overall I think [Romney] has a different course for this country.” Raul Corona in Glendale
“It affects the fabric of society. Shortchanging education isn't the answer.” James Biskey in Glendale