ENFRANCHISEMENT IN THE HOLLYWOOD HILLS
I walked to the school that serves as the east Hollywood Hills voting place at 6:40am. My neighborhood is about 80% entertainment industry people, and, pretty much, successful ones.
There were already about 20 tense people in line, even though the polls didn't open till 7am. People were standing there all grim and silent, and then a weird thing happened.
We were lined up along Franklin, which is a major thoroughfare that runs at the base of the hills. A red car at the school corner a few yards from us, was waiting to make a right-hand turn while the crosswalk escorted a couple of five year olds and their nanny (I presume) across the street.
All of a sudden, we heard screeching tires and then a car that was looking at the
line of voters smashed into the rear of the red car. Nearsighted though I am, I instinctively made a note of the license number. Everyone in line watched in shock as the smashing car, watched the red car pull over around the corner, and then zoom away - a hit and run. People started yelling and shaking fists. I said the license number aloud, and the lady next to me (in a "Whack Bush" T-shirt) helpfully offered me a pen and paper to jot it down. She said, "Go help her. I'll hold your place in line."
Three of us approached the distraught red car driver, who was looking at her dented bumper. We had all jotted down the offending car's license number and car info, and provided our phone numbers in case she needs witnesses. When we walked back to the line, people started applauding. The ice broken, everyone spent the next twenty minutes talking about the incident. It was a nice American moment, and I felt better about today, regardless of what happens.
When the poll doors opened, we all filed in, most of us gripping the voter booklet that had been sent us by the State. Mine specified that I should vote at the "Green Table." The lady ahead of me was an "Orange Table" and the fellow behind, "Blue Table." When we got inside, there was one long line with no obvious distinctions between the three sets of tables and polls in the auditorium. I leaned across the red, white and blue streamers meant to keep us in line and asked a poll-worker lady, "I am supposed to be voting at the green table. Where is that?" She said, "Huh?"
So, the lady in front of me waved her booklet, "And I am orange. Where do
I go?" The poll worker shrugged, "There is no green and orange here."
Then, I noticed that at the front of the room, written on a black board in chalk were the words "GReEN tABle" (kind of just like that - five year old handwriting). The three poll workers were sitting in front of it eating donuts and talking to each other without any voters to distract them. I broke out of the line and said, "Is this the green table?" One of them said, "Yeah." I said, "Why don't you put something green on it? People don't know which of the three sides of the room to go to, so everyone is milling around..." The lady said, "Yeah, somebody should do that."
I made my way to the person recording L-Z people. She asked my name and found me in her print-out. I tried to show her my license but she said, "We don't need that." I said, "Really. Cause I'd kind of feel better if you looked at it." She said, "It's against the law. We aren't to cause voters any undue burden." I said, "But how do you know I am me?" She shrugged, "We trust."
In the poll booth, I did the Bush-Cheney thing, and then Bill "Not a Chance Against Boxer" Simon (or is it Jones? He hasn't exactly run a hell of a campaign), and then was disgusted to see that my Congressional Rep, Diane Watson (D) is running unopposed - unless you count the Libertarian guy - who got my vote, btw. Times like these, I almost wish I was pro-choice so I could run for Congress from Hollywood, CA.
The only thing controversial on the ballot here in CA are the 17 referenda. Prop 71, for example, is on the ballot as an additional "Screw Bush" measure. This measure is to allocate $6 Billion dollars to breed baby humans in utero, and then suck out their cerebral cortexes, so as to heal ailments in selfish baby boomers. This, in a state with a $50 Billion dollar debt! Thanks, Arnold.
Anyway, it took me twenty minutes to vote and get out of there. Leaving
the building at about 7:20am, I noted that there were probably about
seventy-five people in line.
The local news are reporting huge lines all over the city. Good, I guess.
I went to Mass right after and was comforted by the first reading for
today...tell me these things are accidents:
But the souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall
touch them...For if before men, indeed, they be punished, yet is their hope
full of immortality; Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
because God tried them and found them worthy of himself. As gold in the
furnace, he proved them, and as sacrificial offerings he took them to
himself. In the time of their visitation they shall shine, and shall dart
about as sparks through stubble;
They shall judge nations and rule over peoples, and the LORD shall be their
King forever. Those who trust in him shall understand truth, and the
faithful shall abide with him in love: Because grace and mercy are with his
holy ones, and his care is with the elect.
God bless America.