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[whitespace] What's Your GQ?

The day of reckoning, Nov. 5, is fast approaching. Don't know who to choose as the state's governor? Take our test.

WITH THE ENERGY and environmental scandals of the past year, statewide unemployment at 6.3 percent, investment fortunes evaporating like lost bets and the nation on the brink of an unpopular war, Golden State voters want a winner--an honest, ethical, competent and likable leader.

Unfortunately, that's not what has come into view this election year. In one corner we see student body president Gray Davis, who always seems ready to pull another face out of his hip pocket. In the other, there's football captain Bill Simon, whose stumble-footed campaign has discouraged even his most loyal cheerleaders. Then there are those chess club-geeky third-party candidates. Could one of them actually overcome "spoiler" status and find their politically correct self in office?

The electorate can be forgiven for feeling that there's no good choice for governor. There are, however, some key public policy differences between the candidates and important reasons not to throw away votes this year. We've put the issues, key points and quotable gems from this election's gubernatorial candidates into a multiple-choice quiz. Circle the answer that comes closest to your own beliefs. Then go to the key and add up your points to see which candidate's views most closely match your own.

1. If you were standing in the center of the room at a job fair, and four booths at four opposite corners had banners displaying the following promises, in which direction would you be most drawn?

a) North corner booth: "Be a successful self-starting bio-informatics CEO!"

b) East corner booth: "Give to your country in both ways: Serve briefly in the military, then move your way up the political ladder!"

c) South corner booth: "Good intentions don't HAVE to pave the road to hell! Give people socially responsible investment advice!"

d) West corner booth: "Move up smoothly through the cutthroat ranks, then invest your massive wealth and give to charities!"

2. Pretend your health-care plan is not all you'd hoped it would be. Which statement most closely mirrors your own feelings on the subject?

a) "Universal health care, single-payer, what was proposed in 1994 [Proposition 186]. ... This is one of those issues where you really have to take a stand against corporate domination. That is why we're being held back and have millions of people without insurance and why we're paying so much more for medical services than Canadians or Europeans are paying, but receiving less service."

b) "I support cost-effective, prevention-oriented health care, proven to prevent disease and save money in the best possible way, by keeping people healthy. More than 70 percent of disease is prevention."

c) "We have over a million children insured, and we're still growing. I'd like, if it was possible, in the next four years, to have every child in this state covered."

d) "I've proposed an immediate, across-the-board cut of 15 percent in all nonpublic safety expenditures from state operations. My plan could save from $6.1 to $7.5 billion of the projected deficit."

3. In this election, as in all elections, each candidate is carrying a piece of baggage, a piece they'd love to check, but which they must carry on throughout the course of this election and any future term of office. Which piece of baggage would bother you the least if it were tucked under the seat in front of you or neatly stored in the overhead compartments?

a) That your candidate seized upon a fraud verdict in a civil case against an opponent, used it as the subject of a damaging ad campaign and continued to run the ad after the verdict was legally overturned by a judge.

b) That your candidate is a self-identified Druid who says, "I came to understand, as the Druids of old, that a central authority is a dangerous idea and a disastrous reality."

c) Being likened to failed presidential candidate Ralph Nader, who could take votes away from a Democratic front-runner and cause the election of a conservative Republican.

d) That your candidate publicly accused another candidate of illegally accepting campaign contributions in a government building, smugly distributed a photo of "proof" to the media and then found out it was wrong. Add-on: refusing to apologize.

4. Which perspective on undocumented immigrants do you most agree with?

a) "We want to confer this privilege [of possessing a driver's license] on people who are making our economy stronger and taking jobs that many people otherwise wouldn't take, but we don't want to do it in a way that compromises public safety."

b) "I think people who are living here and paying taxes--and all the powers that be know they're here and accept that they're here--cannot be denied to have normal status."

c) "We need greater border control. ... I'm not in favor of amnesty, because I don't think it's appropriate to reward illegal behavior."

d) Limits on legal immigration, end to illegal immigration, no tax-funded benefits to illegal aliens, no amnesty for illegals.

5. Which of the following stances would you support regarding gun law in California?

a) "I personally believe in the Second Amendment. I do believe people should have the right to bear arms, but otherwise I am for gun control." Also supports strict gun-control measures and tight regulation of the market but says the "devil is in the details."

b) Allow citizens to carry concealed guns; ensure law-abiding citizens should not have their security jeopardized by state-imposed regulations.

c) Strengthen enforcement of existing state restrictions on purchase and possession of guns; focus on the existing laws and ensure that only criminals are denied guns--and that they are punished when they commit a crime with a gun.

d) Ban sale and transfer of semiautomatic and assault weapons; maintain state restrictions on the purchase of firearms; require child-safety locks and a ban on buying more than one gun a month.

6. If politicians were rock stars, and you were in high school, which of the following would you have a poster of inside your locker door?

a) Ralph Nader, dude!

b) Hillary Clinton ... sigh!

c) That apple-cheeked Rudy Giuliani

d) Forget rock--I'd rather listen to Druidic chanting

7. Which candidate's position do you agree with on renewable energy?

a) Support state plan requiring the state's three utilities to buy 20 percent of their power from renewable energy sources.

b) "Probably wouldn't" support state's 20 percent plan but support providing incentives for utilities to increase their use of renewable power.

c) Support state's 20 percent plan and propose drawing up a long-term plan to eliminate all power produced by fossil fuels in favor of renewable sources.

d) Support research on power generation and energy alternatives.

8. What direction would you want your taxes to go?

a) Increase state taxes for state's wealthiest citizens, increase vehicle license fees, legalize marijuana and tax it.

b) Do not increase taxes for the state's wealthiest citizens, increase vehicle license fees, increase taxes on cigarettes.

c) Give a tax break to parents who home-school their children, give homeowners a tax exemption and give a tax credit to renters.

d) Do not increase state taxes, lower vehicle license fees.

9. How would you stimulate the economy?

a) Increase research and development tax credits; approve a boost to the amount of past losses companies can write-off once they are profitable; approve increasing workers-compensation benefits; support more exports.

b) Propose "living wage" standard to reduce poverty; support helping first-time home buyers with down payments; spend more on public transit; initiate universal health care.

c) Eliminate bureaucratic burden on taxpayers; increase truck speed for truck drivers to match car speed limits; shut down government programs such as methadone clinics; create jobs by building more hydro power plants.

d) Lower state tax on capital gains; change the way sales tax and local property tax revenues are distributed to encourage more construction; relax endangered-species and environmental-protection laws; create a moratorium on taxing Internet commerce.

10. Which of the following statements made by the candidates comes closest to your own beliefs on global warming?

a) "The cause is not agreed upon right now. There is a dispute in the scientific community as to what the cause is. And so, therefore, you can't know precisely what the solution is."

b) "If you're in a car going 65 miles per hour toward a cliff, and someone says slow to 40, of course you're for it, but it may not be the answer. I do think [the other candidate] is just dead wrong to say we don't know if there is global warming. The ... scientific knowledge on that is overwhelming."

c) "I am committed to increasing both energy efficiency and the use of renewable, safe, nonpolluting energy sources such as hydrogen fuel cells."

d) "In time, every state--and, hopefully, every country--will act to protect future generations from the threat of global warming. For California, that time is now. ... Global warming is no longer a theory. It's an urgent reality."

11. Picture each of the following quotations printed in cursive text on a poster overlaid with a filmy image of the ocean skyline. Which of these inspirational posters would you most likely purchase?

a) "My goal is to make it easier to follow our dreams: Reduce our tax burden. Honor parents' rights and responsibilities for their children. Care for poor families with aid vouchers--not long lines for government-rationed state services, but individual sovereignty and economic freedom."

b) "There is no good time to raise taxes, but recession is the worst time for government to pull money out of the private sector and take a bigger share. ... We must trim that bloat that has grown in our budget while we feasted on the revenues of the past boom."

c) "I'm strong pro-choice. ... I do vote for sensible gun control. ... I do not think it's right that people have to choose between being a good parent and a good employee."

d) "Women and people of color will play a major role as we form a government truly reflecting the people of California. Fundraising in office would not be permitted--period--by the government, staff or appointees."

12. On the state's multibillion-dollar failed bailout of Enron, which statement do you agree with most:

a) "Someone from Enron should go to jail. Not only did they drive small businesses out of business in this state, they bilked us of about $20 billion. The wholesale price of electricity before deregulation in this state was $7 billion. The first year of deregulation, it was $27 billion."

b) "[The state] should have looked at more options and not gone into the power-buying business. I said at the time that the state did go into the power-buying business, that we should fly the flags at half-mast because I knew they'd bungle it. I just didn't know how."

c) "What [the state did] is utter incompetence ... writing a $43 billion check to a whole bunch of energy companies. It's unbelievable. In six months, the package of contracts was worth about $11 billion. That's a world record. That's the worst investment ever made in the history of humanity."

d) "The free market offers the only way forward, and it is nothing more radical than Econ 101: Prices set by supply and demand both encourage more supply and restrain demand. Encouraging more supply promotes competition, and allowing higher prices promotes conservation and alternative energy sources. When government stays out of the picture, this system works very well."

13. Which statement do you most agree with on the subject of oil drilling off the California coast:

a) "It's complicated. I don't have specific answers. The valuation of these [leases] has to be based on how much it took to invest, how much is to be made. Those formulas should be studied carefully, but we are totally opposed to all of this."

b) Opposes "any and all new drilling," wants the federal government to pay off the existing leases and opposes the development of any undeveloped offshore oil leases.

c) "I strongly oppose further offshore oil development and additional drilling off the coast of California, and it is time to phase out our offshore oil platforms." Wants the state and federal government to share the burden of buying back the leases.

d) "We are the environments, and the environments are us. Why are we defecating where we eat? Our web of life is so interconnected, that to desecrate one is to desecrate all."

14. When you were a transparently sneaky high schooler, which of the following would you have used to brown-nose your civics teacher in a blatant but honest attempt to raise your B- to a B+?

a) "I think it's just terrible the way teachers aren't given authority. Teachers should be empowered on issues like classroom size, testing and curriculum. I mean, we so totally should be closing prisons and opening colleges!"

b) "Why doesn't the state just get off your back, anyway? We really should replace today's command-and-control culture with a culture of decentralization that empowers every district, school, teacher and family to shape educational programs that are best for each child! You know what I'm saying? Hey, I really like that shirt."

c) "You know, I'm in school because I really want to be. That's the way it should be. None of this compulsory education stuff. Direct application of knowledge should be the foundation of our school, not drab regimental training."

d) "That school voucher stuff is such B.S. And prayers in school? Forget it. All we'd pray for is better grades. But, honestly, I am so glad that teachers are now being forgiven their education loans. You really deserve it. You are perfect in my eyes.

15. Pretend you're gay. (If you are gay, this'll be easy for you.) Which of the following bumper stickers might you paste on your car's heinie?

a) "Get the Government Out of Our Bedrooms. Wield a Druid Staff Instead."

b) "I'm OK With a Gay Pride Day! Maybe. Maybe Not. ... Forget I Said Anything."

c) "'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Smells. It's Worse Than Car Exhaust."

d) "Slow and Steady Wins the Queer Race: Domestic Partner Rights, No Employment Discrimination."

Governor's Test Key: Match your answers from the test and get your total score.

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From the October 30-November 6, 2002 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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