If you live in Los Angeles, there's big election coming up tomorrow. March 3rd. You've got all day-from 7am to 8pm-to cast your ballot at your local polling place (so find out where here).You can vote for a bunch of quite important things, including: the Mayor, City Council (in odd numbered districts), and five ballot measures.It's time to start cramming. (Below I'm running through general info with some links, all focused on LA. If you're in one of the other places with an election tomorrow, here's some starter links for you: Contra Costa, Fresno, Los Angeles, Marin, Monterey, San Joaquin, Santa Clara, Sonoma (All California). And St. Louis, Missouri.
In LA, here's how to figure out what district you're in (and in turn what Council member you're voting on).And now a quick election overview, edited and paraphrased from this fuller writeup on the Young Progressive Majority website:You can vote for the Mayor (the executive) and the City Council (the legislative) seats for Districts 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, and 15 are up for grabs. You can also vote on the Controller who oversees the accounts (money) of all the offices departments and boards, and the City Attorney who is the legal advisor and the chief prosecutor for the LA City (a position presides over one of the the largest government legal offices in the country.)Then you've got the City Treasurer, LA's banker, investor, and custodian of public funds whose cash management program exceeds $50 billion annually. And finally there's the School Board Members who oversee the Los Angeles Unified School District, and the Community College District Board of Trustees who oversee LA's Community Colleges.After all the people, there's still Ballot Props A-E:Charter Amendment A: FIRE DEPARTMENT INDEPENDENT ASSESSORShall the Charter be amended to empower the Board of Fire Commissioners to appoint and remove an Independent Assessor, exempt from Civil Service, who shall be responsible for auditing, assessing and reviewing the Fire Department's handling of complaints against sworn and civilian employees? Charter Amendment & Ordinance B: GREEN ENERGY AND GOOD JOBS FOR LOS ANGELES PROGRAMShall the Charter and Administrative Code be amended to authorize creation of a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power program to require production of at least 400 megawatts of solar power energy by 2014; provide for voluntary participation in the program by commercial, industrial, and institutional customers to allow installation of solar power systems on their property which would be operated and maintained by the Department in exchange for potential incentives; establish a jobs program and training academy to meet program participation demand; provide contract bid preferences for local solar power equipment manufacturers; require quarterly oversight committee reports and annual City Controller audit; and utilize a variety of funding mechanisms? Charter Amendment C: DISABLED CHILDREN SURVIVOR BENEFIT OF THE FIRE AND POLICE PENSION PLANShall the Charter be amended to allow disabled children of deceased members of the Fire and Police Pension Plan to marry or be adopted without losing their Dependent Child benefits and to provide additional options for the payment of benefits belonging to disabled children of deceased members that do not increase the amount of the benefits being paid? Charter Amendment D: SURVIVOR BENEFIT PURCHASE PROGRAM FOR RETIREES OF THE FIRE AND POLICE PENSION PLANShall the Charter be amended to allow retired members of the Fire and Police Pension Plan to purchase, at their own expense, a survivor benefit for a spouse or domestic partner? Charter Amendment E: ECONOMIC INCENTIVES FOR BUSINESS DEVELOPMENTShould the Los Angeles City Charter be amended to clearly express the authority of the City of Los Angeles to provide incentives to businesses that will encourage economic development and provide public benefits to the City of Los Angeles and its residents? Clicking the links above will get you the good, raw details from Smartvoter.org (by the League of Women Voters). For more easy-to-read writeups, you can download this nicely thorough (and printable) Voter Guide pdf assembled by LA's resident champions of the "Voting Local": Young Progressive Majority. They even give you their reccomendations based on the work of a team of researchers. Technically it's non-partisan, but still the "progressive" point of view. I have not been able to find any other voter guides from other sources, but I think this one will serve me well.If you're still looking for more, here's a playlist of videos statements by people running for City Council, also by YPM:[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7bY6YbvymkCheck out the full collection of those videos here.I think that's it for now. Please let me know if I forgot anything critical, accidentally misled, or if there's any great sources of information I've neglected to mention.Happy Cramming and Happy Voting.Oh, and make sure to tell your friends.