The Proposition That Wasn't 

As if the real ballot wasn't overwhelming enough, we quizzed voters on a few that we made up.

Safer Schools Initiative
Levies a 5 percent tax on vending machine products in state schools to fund antibullying programs.

"[Nods] That one's a good one. There's definitely a need for that because of gangs and stuff. Out where I live — in Antioch — it's a big problem. There's a lot of gang activity there, with the colors and all." — Larry, 36, Antioch

Tax on Invasive Cosmetic Procedures
Levies a 2 percent tax on certain cosmetic procedures to fund self-esteem programs in public middle schools. Laura (left): It doesn't affect me either way. It isn't really that important. I'll vote against it.
Sylvia (right): But if they can pay for their big ol' boobies, they can afford to help with the other stuff, too.
Laura: Oh, well, I hadn't thought about that. I change my mind. It won't bother them if they have the money. I'm sick of the people who get it every two weeks.
Sylvia: Like Michael Jackson: His taxes could pay for everything in the schools.
Laura: But if it's medically necessary, like your chest is so big it's hurting your back or you have some deformation, you shouldn't have to pay the tax. — Laura, 38, Berkeley; Sylvia, 36, El Cerrito

Youth Voting Initiative
Creates a certification process that lets voters ages 18-35 vote from Web sites including, MySpace, and YouTube. "If I could vote, I'd vote for this. It would make more people vote, 'cause it's easier. So we don't have to walk to that place." — Virgilio, 16, El Cerrito
"Yeah. I think the same thing." — Afin, 15, El Cerrito

Energy Research Funding
Taxes industrial producers of wind- and solar-energy systems to fund research into the extraction of oil from oil shale. "Geez! Nah, I think Chevron and those people should be taxed to get oil from shale. I think money should be funneled to alternative energy producers. So I'd vote against that." — Joel (age unknown), Emeryville

Tax on Medical Cannabis
Levies a 10 percent tax on medical cannabis to help fund neighborhood drug treatment centers and marijuana-use prevention in high schools. "I don't even know what to say about that — you've got me there. I guess I'll vote for it if it'll be better for educating students. But if it's for the government, I will not support that." — Norma, 23, Richmond

Healthy School Lunches
Compels California school districts by 2009 to replace half of the processed meat in school lunches with the high-protein substitute Soylent Green. "I'd support [this] because I think it's important to teach kids healthy eating habits early if the schools support it." — Alison (age unknown), San Francisco

Voter Guide Transparency
Restricts legislative analyst's explanation of ballot measures in the Voter Information Guide to one page, and requires that the language conform to the sixth-grade reading level. "Oh, yeah, I got that guide in the mail, so I know what you're talking about. That would be better because some people probably feel intimidated from voting because they can't read the stuff. I can't understand what some of the words mean, but I can get the point. But I think now, some people are afraid to vote, because they don't know what they're talking about in the guide." — Alex, 22, Oakland

Carpool Lane Enhancement
Require a hybrid vehicle registration renewal tax of 5 percent to pay for carpool lane repairs. "I don't drive a hybrid, but I won't support this. I think people who drive hybrid cars are already doing a service to society. Why should they have to pay more?" — Jen, 24, El Cerrito


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