I spent the morning in University City, a northern San Diego neighborhood near several major research institutions, UC San Diego and the University Towne Centre mall and business district. We dove into the neighborhood’s traffic woes and proposed bridge over Rose Canyon earlier this year. And more recently, we figured out that University City is the place where four of the biggest local races besides mayor — City Council, county supervisor, school board and congressional rep — overlap on the ballot.

Here’s a roundup of some of the things I heard and noticed.

My first stop: Mission Bay Montessori Academy. While I waited for people to come out of the polls, I happened across this adorable scene. (You can’t make this stuff up.)

Watching these ones raise the flags. Kid walks past humming “sweet land of liberty” @ Mission Bay Montessori instagr.am/p/Rsa3gQI_r4/

— Kelly Bennett (@kellyrbennett) November 6, 2012

Vida Melroy, 43, told me that Prop. 37, the one that would require food labeling when ingredients have been genetically modified, was the most important thing on the ballot for her today. “We should all know what we’re eating, what our kids are eating. There’s a lot of information we’re not given.”

Here’s Vida, who also voted for Ray Ellis. Wouldn’t say who for mayor. #sdvote twitter.com/kellyrbennett/…

— Kelly Bennett (@kellyrbennett) November 6, 2012

Self-proclaimed “40-something” Ruth Bush talked with me about her reluctant choice for mayor, Bob Filner. “I think, sadly, he’ll be very combative.” She said voting for Sherri Lightner for City Council was “the easiest thing I voted for today.”

When people are walking out of a room where they’ve taken great care to keep their choices secret, it can be tricky for a reporter to persuade them to talk about their votes out on the sidewalk. Not so with Stewart Westdal. He flagged me down.

Stewart Westdal, 80, mailed his ballot 4 days ago. Votes? “Hell, I don’t remember. I’m tired. I’m worn out.” #sdvote twitter.com/kellyrbennett/…

— Kelly Bennett (@kellyrbennett) November 6, 2012

He did remember voting for Mitt Romney and for Carl DeMaio for mayor, he told me. And then he waved, grinned and told me he was going to vanish over the hill.

I didn’t think I could top that, so I drove to the La Regencia apartments near the UCSD campus.

Now I’m at La Regencia apartments polling place in UC. #sdvote twitter.com/kellyrbennett/…

— Kelly Bennett (@kellyrbennett) November 6, 2012

I met Tomohisa Kusano first, who said he works on campus and hopes the governor’s tax increase for school funding, Prop. 30, passes.

Tomohisa Kusano, 30. Top prop: 30. Obama, Filner, Peters, and Sherri Lightner- “she’s a UC girl.” #sdvote twitter.com/kellyrbennett/…

— Kelly Bennett (@kellyrbennett) November 6, 2012

Roberto Tinoco said he voted for Barack Obama for president and thinks the Democrats support his values for inclusiveness and diversity.

Local races, Roberto said Filner, Lightner. “Didn’t hear too much” about county supervisor but voted Roberts. #sdvote

— Kelly Bennett (@kellyrbennett) November 6, 2012

Marcella Ellis, 36, told me she’d found Voice of San Diego’s guides to the local elections helpful — a plug I can’t resist passing along. She thought the mayor’s race was the most important one on the ballot this time around, and she voted for Filner.

“I really bought into the Filner ‘neighborhoods first’ thing,” she told me. She also voted to repeal the death penalty; she said she isn’t confident in the criminal justice system’s ability to implement the sentence without error.

Ellis’ daughter felt strongly about another candidate.

Here’s Marcella, with Eppy, 3, and baby Adele. How’d Eppy vote? “Elmo!” #sdvote twitter.com/kellyrbennett/…

— Kelly Bennett (@kellyrbennett) November 6, 2012

I went next to the UTC mall, where the poll station was set up conveniently close to a half-yearly sale.

One-stop shop at UTC. #sdvote twitter.com/kellyrbennett/…

— Kelly Bennett (@kellyrbennett) November 6, 2012

The first woman I tried to talk to shook her head and pointed silently to a frozen jaw. But the next guy was more forthcoming.

Ron Tyneski, 57, voted Romney, DeMaio. City Council: “That was a tough one. Very ugly campaign.” Went w Ellis. #sdvote twitter.com/kellyrbennett/…

— Kelly Bennett (@kellyrbennett) November 6, 2012

Ron hopes Ellis shakes up status quo. “Not happy with the way the city is run.” Hates Prop 30. “That one pissed me off.” #sdvote

— Kelly Bennett (@kellyrbennett) November 6, 2012

Thanks to everyone who shared their perspective with me this morning. Where do you fit among the opinions these folks expressed? Did a different race or proposition stand out to you as most important? Chime in in our comments section below, and stay tuned to VOSD as we share analysis and outcomes from the election.

I’m Kelly Bennett, reporter for Voice of San Diego. You can reach me directly at kelly.bennett@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0531.

And follow Behind the Scene on Facebook.

Kelly Bennett is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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