The case against local political involvement is strong in California. Local governments have little power and discretion in our highly centralized and regulated state. We discourage political engagement at the local level by requiring local elections to be nonpartisan, thus keeping out political parties, the chief way human beings engage in politics. And the few decisions left to local governments are virtually always determined by the interests with money – developers and public employees.
Plus, in the Internet era, those who engage inevitably have to deal with online nastiness and personal attacks.
When you think about how little benefit derives from local political engagement in California, it’s no wonder that skepticism is rising in polls. What’s remarkable is that so many people still believe such engagement has real value.