Let me pitch you a movie based on that 224-page official state voter guide that’s coming your way. Like many big Hollywood action-thrillers it’s a tale that contains sex, drugs, guns, big money and death. The title: Bad Day in the Ballot Booth–the California Ballot Propositions.

Our protagonist, Politico Joe, is after a big score.

He figures to get it in the drug market either with the legalization of marijuana if PROP 64 passes or dealing in the black market. There are a couple of opportunities in the black market, Joe figures. If PROP 61 fails, the measure that would require the state to pay no more than the Veteran’s Administration for drugs it acquires for state supplied patients, then he’ll try to hoodwink consumers that he can get their drugs cheaper, kind of what the yes campaign is promising.  Or if PROP 56 passes, a $2 tax increase on a pack of cigarettes, there is an opportunity selling cheaper cigarettes on the black market.

Politico Joe might need to rob a bank to get start up money for his venture or, he figures, hit up the schools. Heck they’ll have the money, with PROP 51, the $9 billion dollar school construction bond or PROP 55, the extension for a dozen years of the increased income tax rates on the rich.  The tax was supposed to expire in 2018. Politico Joe believed Jerry on that one, but if the money is still going to come in after it was supposed to expire, Joe wants his share of the take. After all, other budget concerns like Medi-Cal have jumped in to grab a piece of the action under Prop 55, skimming off money that was once all dedicated for the schools. Joe wants his piece.

But there are forces working against Politico Joe’s money grab.

Not all the plans to stop the money flow will work, and Joe knows it. Some have no punch just like that PROP 59 on the ballot that demands that California elected officials work to overturn the US Supreme Court decision allowing unlimited money in political campaigns from corporations and unions. This is more like a suggestion, not a mandate.

Then there are those who think they can make it tougher for people like Joe to get money. Set up new obstacles, along the lines of PROP 53, which would require voters to approve any Revenue Bonds costing more than $2 billion. Voters now vote for general obligation bonds, which are paid from the General Fund. But revenue bonds come into play when projects that use a revenue stream pay the bond costs. Think about building a bridge with funding from a bond and paying tolls to cover the bond’s cost.

What might be affected? Most immediately, the Delta Tunnels and the bullet train. Joe thought he might use the bullet train as a means of escape after his bank job until he learned it really wasn’t going from Los Angeles to San Francisco at 220 miles per hour.

Of course, as in any good Hollywood action movie, Joe runs into a femme fatale along the way. He might have to use a condom if PROP 60 passes.

To make the big hit he’ll need his gun, if he can get the ammo to go along with it. PROP 63 demands a background check for ammunition purchases and Joe’s background, shall we say, has a few demerits. Joe’s got a long rap sheet.

But Politico Joe has an idea how to clean up his reputation. Be the good-hearted guy when he makes his fortune. When Politico Joe makes his score he figures to give some to the poor who use Medi-Cal for health care. PROP 52 requires that a fee paid by hospitals and matched by federal dollars continue untouched by legislators who may want to use the funds for other purposes. Joe’s also going to dip into the two tax measures, PROP 55, the income tax extension and PROP 56, the tobacco tax, and use some of those revenues for Medi-Cal folks. Makes him look like a Robin Hood character, good rep in the neighborhood.

It’s time to rob the bank. Joe moves in and demands his money—in two languages if PROP 58 removes the requirement for English only in the schools.

He’s ready to take his haul away in a plastic sack, that is, if PROP 67 fails. It’s a referendum on a legislative law that would ban plastic bags throughout the state. Plastic bag manufacturers oppose the idea so they qualified a measure to refer the matter to voters. If voters vote yes they approve the ban; if they vote no it goes away. Alternatively, Joe can use a paper sack and pay a dime for it with the money going to an environmental fund if PROP 65 passes.

But the authorities move in and catch him. Joe hopes a judge will use discretion granted by PROP 57 to go light on him; or maybe he can get reduced time if he has good behavior in the pen, another provision granted by PROP 57.

However, his capitol crime during the bank job puts him in jeopardy.  Now, Politico Joe faces the death penalty. Or does he? Depends on how PROP 62, eliminating the death penalty and PROP 66, making it come faster, with fewer appeals, play out.

Well, we’ll all know how it works out for Politico Joe because we will have a clear and transparent record and recording of the official proceedings in the spirit of PROP 54, which demands transparency in legislative lawmaking. No more of those last minute gut and amend bills when they pull the content of a bill and put in unrelated matter the last minute.

Too bad, Joe thinks, he liked the sound of gut and amend.

The End.

And you thought that 224 page voter guide would be boring.