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CA voters say ‘no’

Halie Johnson

California voters went to the polls Tuesday to weigh in on eight special election measures, including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Rebuild and Reform California package.

All of the governor’s initiatives were trailing, some narrowly, as of 2 a.m. press time on Wednesday morning.

“I voted no on all of the propositions the governor supported, so that [the propositions failing] makes me happy,” said senior Ayla Steadman.

Mills senior Melissa Rizo expressed dismay at the voter apathy she witnessed on campus. “Despite the apparent enthusiasm of liberals like myself, I am shocked by how uninformed many potential voters actually are,” she said. “I am disappointed … hardly anyone can discuss with me a proposition other than 73.”

In contrast, Allie Clayton, 18 and a sibling of a Mills student, voted for the first time Tuesday and said she was so excited that she read everything in the League of Women’s Voter guide.

“I strongly disagreed with most of the propositions and I wanted to make sure I got my vote in,” she said.

Proposition 73, which would have amended the State Constitution to require parental notification for minors seeking an abortion, stood out as an initiative that California voters felt passionately about. The initiative failed by a slim 51 to 48 percent.

Junior Diana Galbraith, a sex assault counselor at Rape Trauma Services in Burlingame, said she’s relieved that the initiative failed. “There’s nothing worse to do than to take a pregnant 14-year-old’s decision away from her and make her have to face her parents after she’s been assaulted,” she said.

Proposition 74, which sought to change the waiting period for teachers seeking tenure status from two to five years, as well as simplify the process for terminating permanent teachers designated as ‘underperforming’ failed 54 to 46 percent.

Sam Nordemann, 32, followed the election results from the Cat Club in San Francisco. He said he didn’t feel that Proposition 74 would have fixed the problem. “The education system is screwed up but this prop is not the solution. It’s a bandaid on an amputation.”

Proposition 75, Schwarzenegger’s proposal requiring public employee unions to receive written consent from members before allowing union dues to be used for political contributions, failed 52 to 48 percent.

Prop 76, which sought to limit state spending to the prior year’s level, change minimum funding requirements for California schools and give the governor full authority to cut the state budget, was rejected by 60 percent of voters.

Prop 77, which failed 59 to 42 percent, would have amended the process for redistricting California’s Senate, Assembly, Congressional and Board of Equalization districts by requiring a panel of three retired judges, selected by legislative leaders, to adopt new redistricting plan after each national census.

Disappointed that the initiative failed, Nordemann said he “would like to see a more conservative voice in the legislature – there isn’t enough balance, ideally it should be 50-50 [liberals and conservatives].”

Voters also decided against Prop 79, one of the prescription drug discount initiative. The initiative, which drew support from various consumer, health and senior groups was countered by Prop 78, the discount measure sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry which would have covered fewer Californians and been optional for drug companies, which also failed to pass.

Voters also rejected Proposition 80, an initiative which would have allowed the California Public Utilities Commission to regulate electricity and limited the ability of customers to choose electricity providers. The initiative was rejected by 65 percent of voters.

Many voters said it was important for them to vote in the Special Election and felt vindicated that the governor’s propositions failed.

“I voted no on all of the propositions the governor supported,” Clayton said. Almost all of the props hurt California and the election cost a lot, so I am really glad that his props failed.”