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Anger, apathy keep voters away
VOTER: None of them is worth a darn
Polling clerks, from left, Dolly Almendarez, Sophia Zemke, and East Union High senior Kim Tumakay had a slow day on Tuesday at the precinct in Lathrop City Hall. Half an hour before closing time, only 60 of the 1,129 registered voters at this precinct cast their ballots for this special election. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO
Norma Bologna does not agree with the way state legislators are handling the budget in Sacramento.

“That makes me sick every year. They vote themselves raises, and they dilly dally. I would like to vote every one of them out of office. None of them is worth a darn.  I don’t think we need all these legislators myself. Some states don’t even pay their legislators. I think they’re just in for the money and the glory,” said the longtime Manteca resident.

Still, despite her rant, Bologna voted for Proposition 1A, the first of six ballots in Tuesday’s special elections, which would mean more taxes collected from taxpayers, herself included.

And that puts her at the opposite end of the totem pole from many angry and fed up voters who are against any more tax raises. But, as Bologna explains it, “We need more (money) for fire and police for our protection and everything. Yes on 1A means they will raise our taxes, but how else are we going to pay for our law enforcement and fire protection? And I just feel that’s important. I know we’re going to have to pay more taxes, but if we don’t we’re going to be laying off our protectors – fire and police. Of course, I could be wrong and that’s only one vote.”

Actually, Bologna was one of the few interviewed on election day who even took the time to go to the polls or had the interest in finding out more about the six ballot propositions.

“To tell you the truth, I haven’t (voted) for a long time now,” said 83-year-old Caroline Tolan who admitted to not being able to get around as much because of a bad hip.

“My daughter who lives with me does the voting. Of course, I read the papers and I don’t quite understand it all. But it’s getting pretty bad,” Tolan said of the budget woes coming from the state in Sacramento as well as in the local governments.

“You do hear about what’s going on, and it’s sad that so many people don’t have jobs and are losing everything. Who’s going to take care of them if they lose everything?”

Marilyn Roberts echoed Tolan’s sentiments, if not more so with her words bordering on apathy.

“I didn’t go and vote because I’m too upset about it,” she said of the state of the economy and what the state is trying to do to remedy the budget crisis.

“They’re trying to take money away from the schools. I don’t like that one,” she said, referring to Prop. 1B.

She does not like to see legislators get any more pay raises either. And while they are getting more pay raises, “they are charging us more taxes. It just does not seem fair, what they are doing. We need woman in there in the governor’s seat,” she said.

“I don’t vote because every time I vote and I want something to pass, they hold it back. I don’t like what they (the legislators) are doing, but what can you do? They don’t listen to us, I feel,” said the sexagenarian Roberts who has run a day care out of her home for 19 years.

Bologna shared Roberts’ apathy about seeing any changes in the government and in their elected officials.

“There’s not much you can do about getting them to change their ways. It takes only one bad apple to spoil the whole barrel. They (new elected officials) get in there and they get dragged into the same thing,” she said of elected politicians. “They should stop voting themselves pay raises every year, get on the ball and get the budget done,” Bologna said.