THE EDUCATION PROP Prop 103: By establishing something called the Arizona Classroom Improvement Program, this prop pries loose $100 more a year for the next ten years for each Arizona public school pupil. My spin: As opponents of this proposition keep saying over and over and over until you want to run across their feet with the lawn mower, you can't improve our schools by throwing money at them. On the other hand: 1) You are much more likely to improve our schools by throwing money at them than by not throwing money at them. 2) Opponents of this prop include the Arizona Coordinating Council of Republican Women, Concerned Women for America and state legislator Wayne Stump--who, considered together, sound like a particularly horrifying episode of Fernwood 2-Night. 3) If I ever get canned here, substitute teaching might be the only job I'll be qualified for. 4) Eddie Basha is a big supporter of this prop, and I really like his bran muffins. 5) Like Prop 200's Heritage Fund, this prop is an opportunity for voters to by-pass the pinheads at the legislature and fund something that actually needs funding.
Scary facts: 1) Arizona ranks in the bottom one third in money invested per pupil. 2) Arizona has the fourth-highest dropout rate in the country. 3) One in three Arizona kids drops out of high school. 4) Among those who do go on to graduate, half are functionally illiterate. 5) Of that 50 percent, two thirds go on to believe that pro wrestling is real. You should: Take a close look at the big cigars opposing this proposition. Among the giant business interests and filthy-rich developer/politician types badmouthing 103, what percentage send their kids to private schools? Since I don't develop shopping centers for a living, I'm voting for it. THE KILLER SLUDGE PROP Prop 202: This prop, titled the Arizona Comprehensive Waste Reduction Recycling and Management Act of 1990, deals with cheery topics such as garbage, landfills and hazardous waste. Supposedly, the overall idea is to try to reduce all solid waste in Arizona by 20 percent. The prop also alters landfill laws and laws governing the disposal of medical waste such as used needles and old issues of Golf magazine from doctors' waiting rooms.
My spin: The prop was written by and for a mega-big company that turns a buck by dealing with garbage, landfills and glowing hazardous waste. It's a long shot that such a company would let its lawyers write anything that might make it less profitable. On the other hand: Generally speaking, companies like this prefer people to trust them. "Oh, don't worry about that doggone glowing toxic sludge," they say. "We'll take care of it."
Scary fact: Most people would prefer to trust giant companies. "Would someone please come and get my glowing toxic sludge?" they ask. "Just don't put it out behind the kids' swing set." You should: Go with your gut on this one. Nix it.
THE VICTIM PROP Prop 104: The Victims' Bill of Rights, as this prop is known, amends the state constitution to "equalize the rights of defendants and victims," according to my voter's guide. My spin: My voter's guide also says there are 47 state statutes and a dozen or more court rules that make this prop somewhat redundant. On the other hand: It could've been worse. According to a reporter pal, earlier versions of this measure were "breathtakingly fascistic." The really scary thing about this version is the section that alters the way court rules are decided. It takes that power away from the courts, and gives it to--gasp!--the state legislature. Even criminals deserve better treatment than that. Scary facts: In Arizona, the state with the third-highest crime rate in the nation, approximately 250,000 citizens become victims every year.
You should: Flip a coin. But not in public, because a criminal might see you have money and take it from you.