The dust has settled on the 2012 election and all of us are affected in one way or another. Voters in East Contra Costa, both winners and losers, are asking themselves the same questions. What's in it for me? What did I gain? What do I now have to fear?

Random interviews were conducted with locals. They commented on both the national scene and California, where passage of Proposition 30 and its tax increases dominated most of their responses.

Antioch's Jill P. De Stefano is a teacher at Los Medanos College. "I'm delighted with Prop. 30 passing. It's a big boost for education and everyone agrees it is vitally important. I will be delighted to see it first-hand in my work with students," she said.

Liz Claflin of Antioch also is happy for the kids, but is worried about the tax pressure that Proposition 30 will have on her. "I'm just starting a small business and increased taxes will make it hard for me. Nationally, I trust Obama will do the right thing to help small businesses," she said.

Ruth Kurtz of Brentwood works for a school district. "The money generated from Prop. 30 will help a lot of people. I know it's going to help me. I have kids in school and the minor increase in my taxes is more than OK with me," she said.

Oakley's Gloria Brown is retired and talked about Proposition 30 and Social Security. "We must educate our kids. Without an educated workforce our country can't compete. I don't mind the small tax increase. Obama's re-election makes me more confident that Social Security will continue to help me."

Kathy Smith of Oakley agrees. "Obama isn't going to mess with Social Security or Medicare. I rely on it heavily. But regardless, the elderly will go on being short changed," she said. "But, I am happy that California's schools got the boost they so sorely needed."

Juan Ramirez of Brentwood is pleased with the election results. "The tax increases are small and I can afford it. It's as simple as this. Governments supply vital services and someone has to pay for it. I pay my share willingly. We have a lot of catching up to be done," he said.

John Miller of Brentwood is adopting a wait-and-see attitude. "A lot of good things were said in the campaigns. Now we need to see what's going to happen, particularly with taxes," he said. "It'll be OK if Obama doesn't raise my taxes and keeps American money at home. We've got to get Americans back to work."

Mike Mougeot of Oakley is angry. "I can't afford health insurance, and with Obama back in the White House, I'll be taxed for not having it," he said. "In California, I understand that we have to pay for education. But I don't know where Prop. 30 money is going and I still have to pay."

Contact Ed Arnow at BrentwoodBuzz@aol.com.

Antioch's John Riley is even more adamant. "The whole election was disgusting. The entire country is so divided that we're faced with nothing being able to get done. Even in California there was nothing worthwhile on the ballot. It's not only me. Everyone is going to be much worse off."

Nazareth Massey of Antioch also is unhappy. "I see everything costing more, which hurts a lot of us," she said. "And, we're not facing the crucial problem for America. Immigration should be restricted. Aside from that, I was happy with California's election results."

Contact Ed Arnow at BrentwoodBuzz@aol.com.