Local politics is not only the most intense, local politics is not only the most blatant, local politics is also the most vicious and corrupt in its pettiness.
In Los Angeles County there are many rural town councils to help the county administrate the rural area of the county. These boards, although elected by the communities they represent, do not have any legislative power. The best description for these boards is that they are elected lobbying firms, lobbying the county on behalf of the communities.
They do have the power to write the rough draft of the zoning laws, but the rough draft is then turned over to the county to implement, and the county does rewrite them before they implement them. They collect community complaints and relay them to the county, whether it be road conditions or any complains that the community may have with regards to law enforcement and other county services.
Given the importance of these boards, one might think that they are not important enough for political corruption. That would be an unfair assumption.
The political intrigues that go on, although on an amateur level, are vicious. There are attempts to stack committee meetings and council elections, taking advantage of the low involvement in general at politics.
At higher levels of politics, the corruption actually eases the activity. Democrats and Republicans will vote for each others programs in order to get votes for their own programs, since they have exempted themselves from the laws and they are not paying for the programs themselves.
At local levels, things get mean. On condo boards, people do sue each other. On town councils people have been known to lodge baseless police complaints against each other, calling law enforcement to harass the competition.
The stakes are so small, the fights are so vicious, and most of the people involved have no intention of using the local boards as a stepping stone to higher office.
Why are things so vicious? Some people sarcastically answer that it is because the stakes are so small. Others point out that there actually are some results. Whatever the reason, local politics really is the meanest.