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Politics: If not marijuana, can an old-fashioned political brawl boost the youth vote?

February 8, 2011 | 12:08 pm

Huizar

If Proposition 19, which would have legalized the possession and cultivation of marijuana, couldn't get younger voters to the polls during November's midterm election, does the March 8 election even have a prayer? While younger voters should care about pensions (Measure G) and whether or not the DWP's being sketchy with its annual rate increases (Measure J), many just aren't there yet -- much less planning about what they will care about in the future.

When L.A. City Council President Eric Garcetti met with the editorial board in January, he spoke a bit about engaging the younger demo in local politics. He discussed leveraging social media (he's nominated for a Shorty Award) and initiating such special projects as "Operation Pothole" to get the community involved.

But, in the case of the upcoming election, it may just be the nasty, scandalous race for the City Council's 14th District seat between incumbent Jose Huizar and Rudy Martinez (you may know him from A&E's "Flip This House") that gets tongues wagging all the way to the polls.

In Tuesday's Opinion pages, Jim Newton lays out all the juicy details in "Bare-knuckle politics." Huizar hasn't made much progress during his current term, and he doesn't seem connected to the people. Martinez has misdemeanor assault convictions on his record; and what's this about him possessing an LAPD badge that didn't belong to him? A Huizar aide, since fired, said he wanted to put "a political bullet" in Martinez's forehead. (Uh, where was that guy during last month's all-encompassing national conversation about vitriol in the wake of the Tucson massacre?) At Martinez's sushi restaurant in Eagle Rock, he renamed his "Huizar" sushi roll to the more generic "CD 14" roll. And to think, these guys used to be friends.

Scandal. Soap opera plot lines. An underdog. It makes for juicy reading, which helps get the local election on the radar. Is it enough, though, to get the under-30 crowd to the polls?

RELATED:

Los Angeles Times Endorsement: Rudy Martinez for L.A. City Council's 14th District

Reader opinion: Rudy Martinez vs. Jose Huizar for L.A. City Council's 14th District

Decoding the ballot: Think Measure M for Marijuana, N for No-good-reason...

Voter guide: March 8 Los Angeles Election

-- Alexandra Le Tellier

Photo: Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

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