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Reading the fine print, getting a haircut and not running around with a stick in your mouth.

By Richard von Busack

Prop 304: Gubernatorial Tonsorial Initiative

Should .00005 percent of the state revenues be set aside for the governor's monthly haircut? No means yes and yes means no: Do you want us to hit you? Answer fast. Cost to the taxpayers: Infinitesimal.

Argument for: An unkempt governor reflects an unkempt state; and there are possibilities of the state's Standard & Poor's rating being made worse than it is already by the governors of other states by referring to our chief executive as "Ringo" or "Shaggy."

Argument against: California's well-known propensity for earthquakes, combined with the presence of sharp scissors next to the governor's neck could cause blood poisoning or death. Things are bad enough now without the lieutenant governor running the place.

Prop 305: Tort Liability Restriction

Establishes a ceiling on tort liability and exempts CEOs of indemnified corporations from personal financial responsibility. A rider also exempts CEOs from stockholders' jokes, puns on their names, satirical songs, psychic threats, prank phone calls, obscene limericks and self-published pornographic comic books. Cost to the taxpayers: yes.

Argument for: Each year, trillions of businesses are chased by frivolous lawsuits straight out of California and smack into refugee camps in the sagebrush-choked wastes of the Humboldt Basin and the Mojave Desert, left to eat the leather in their belts and be buried by the side of the road in unmarked graves. We urge you to vote for Proposition 305.

Argument against: You'll get your answer from our lawyers.

Prop 306: "Hotel California" Bill

Names the Eagles' song "Hotel California" as the official "Battle-Hymn of California." Cost to the taxpayers: Our self-respect.

Argument for: The poignant, chiming guitar solo at the beginning represents our pride in being Californian. The martial reggae tempo is a warning to those who would invade our sacred borders, and the dirge-like minor key is a reminder of the funeral laments that will be sung over the graves of our enemies.

Argument against: A depressed rock star checks into a hotel and bitches about the service, whines about the waiter and complains about the orgies he doesn't get invited to. What's so intimidating about that? How are we supposed to put a scare into Oregon, Nevada and Arizona with this wail of self-pity? Some come to remember, some come to forget--we urge voters to forget this inane idea.

Prop 307: NIMBY Measure

Protects the back yard of Fred Gephardt, 1908 Moaning Oak Circle, San Timonious, from his neighbor's use of power tools, mowers and leaf-blowers before 10am on Saturdays. Cost to the taxpayer: Sleep.

Argument for: Look, I'm just trying to get a little shuteye, OK? It's the one morning of the week I get to sleep in.

Argument against: Fred is exaggerating as usual; this has only happened once or twice. Get the state government off of our backs--I urge you to vote NO ON 307.

Prop 308: Protect Our Youth Initiative

Prohibits the use of photographs of toddlers wearing sunglasses in advertisements for movies, records or clothing, automobiles, and other goods with criminal penalties of up to five years of imprisonment on the first offense. Cost to the taxpayer: Money isn't everything, you know.

Argument for: Our youth are more vulnerable now than they've ever been in recorded history, and media portrayals of them wearing sunglasses robs them of innocence and forces them to "grow up fast" by imitating the "cool" criminal with his smirk and "shades."

Argument against: Well, I think they look adorable.

Prop 309: Obfuscation Measure

Proposes language in descriptions of ballot propositions that encourages zeugma, superlativism, facetiousness, neologisms and other forms of elliptical obfuscation in descriptions of initiatives. Cost to the taxpayers: Unknown, but estimated at ten dollars per word.

Argument for: Returns to the ballot the ornate language of the founding fathers, replacing the barbaric yawp of the culturally bereft with the pellucid oratory of yore which was, we attest, meant for a purpose. To wit: we must persevere in the ever-necessary delusion of the shambling, odiferous helots who make up the electorate of our great state.

Arguments against: Say what?

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From the October 31-November 6, 1996 issue of Metro

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