California Prop Analysis

Because of all the spam and bombardment of crappy information and confusion out there. I decided to write my own version analyzing all propositions as simply as possible, while at the same time, maintain a neutral status. I hope you enjoy this post as much as I do, because I believe voting is a very essential element for our democracy.

Below are the propositions that myself and my friend, Ariana Faustini, aggregated and edited to explain all the propositions to help California voters, like Ariana and I, to decide more efficiently and effectively.

Prop 30

Temporary Taxes to Fund Education. Guaranteed Local Public Safety Funding. Initiative Constitutional Amendment

A proposition that uses increase in taxes to fund university and education programs in California. Those in favor say it will help provide budget for California’s Education system. Those against it state that it is more important to streamline the current infrastructure than to put money in a broken system.

Selecting Yes Means…
  • You will support increase in sales tax from 7.25% -> 7.5%
  • Increase of income taxes for families that get more than $250K/Year for seven years. If you are less than $250K, you don’t get taxed
  • Puts tax revenues for 89% of highschools and 11% on community colleges
Selecting No Means…

None of the items in Yes will happen

Prop 31

State Budget. State and Local Government. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute

A proposition that aims to revamp and transform the method on how the government takes into account their operations. Basically, it provides a more “business-oriented” rather than “bureaucratic-oriented” perspective of balancing budget and taking financial statement into account. People who support this prop declare that this helps in improving government spending and bring into account their activity, whereas those who oppose it states that this will add further bureaucracy, because in the end, someone has to implement it and take this bill into account legally.

Selecting Yes Means…
  • Establishes two-year state budget cycle
  • Prohibits Legislature from creating expenditures of more than $25 million unless revenues or spending cuts are identified
  • Permits Governor to cut budget unilaterally during declared fiscal emergencies if Legislature fails to act
  • Requires performance reviews of all state programs
  • Requires performance goals in state and local budgets
  • Requires publication of bills at least three days prior to legislative vote
  • Allows local governments to alter how laws governing state-funded programs apply to them, unless there is a veto in play the refuses them so
Selecting No Means…

None of the items in Yes will happen

Prop 32

Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction. Contributions to Candidates. Initiative Statute

In simple terms, this proposition bans corporations and unions from funding a local or state candidate during elections; otherwise wise known as special interest money/funds. Those who support this proposition state that this will help bring out the voice of the residents of California and place emphasis on residents rather than special interest groups; on the other hand, those who oppose it express that this is not expanded for Super Political Action Committees (PACs), which are the main source of political funding, and state that the legislative rule gives Super PACs political immunity against this bill, making it easier for candidates to receive funds from corporations and unions via Super PACs.

Selecting Yes Means…
  • Ban both, exclusively, corporate and union contributions to state and local candidates
  • Ban contributions by government contractors to the politicians who control contracts awarded to them
  • Ban automatic deductions by corporations, unions, and government of employees’ wages to be used for politics
  • Super PACs and other political affiliations are “NOT” bound by this prop, and have permission to fund candidates
Selecting No Means…

None of the items in Yes will happen

Prop 33

Auto Insurance Companies. Prices based on Driver’s History of Insurance Coverage. Initiative Statute

This proposition was a tricky read, but made more sense after I spent around 20 minutes to understand what the hell was going on. In essence, this prop provides car insurance company access to your historical records in driving and base the price of premium, and discount, on your driver history; which includes how long you had your previous insurance, how long you drove well, and what you’ve been charged in the past. Supporters of this proposition state that this will reward insurance buyers with discount because insurance corporation can determine a better price for you; however, opposition states that the penalty is greater than the reward as the insurance firms have a better grasp of your driving history and can harm you through increasing the cost based on only if you hadn’t have insurance coverage in the past five years alone.

Selecting Yes Means…
  • Changes current law to allow insurance companies to set prices based on whether the driver previously carried auto insurance with any insurance company
  • Allows insurance companies to give proportional discounts to drivers with some history of prior insurance coverage
  • Will allow insurance companies to increase cost of insurance to drivers who have not maintained continuous coverage
  • Treats drivers with lapse as continuously covered if lapse is due to military service or loss of employment, or if lapse is less than 90 days
Selecting No Means…

None of the items in Yes will happen

Prop 34

Death Penalty. Initiative Statute

This is a sensitive legislation regarding the banning death penalty in California. There are 725 people on the death row in California, and the passing of this proposition will change their sentences will be replaced with “life in prison without the possibility of parole”. Those who support it state that death penalty is intrinsically wrong and will save money through layoffs of prosecution officers and attorneys responsible for death penalties. On the other hand, those who oppose this proposition state that death penalty is a necessary act for society to bring order and justice into community for crimes that are beyond the realm of traditional jail sentence.

Selecting Yes Means…
  • Repeal the death penalty as maximum punishment for persons found guilty of murder and replace it with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
  • Apply retroactively to persons already sentenced to death.
  • Require persons found guilty of murder to work while in prison, with their wages to be applied to any victim restitution fines or orders against them.
  • Create a $100 million fund to be distributed to law enforcement agencies to help solve more homicide and rape cases.
Selecting No Means…

None of the items in Yes will happen

Prop 35

Human Trafficking. Penalties. Initiative Statute

This proposition promotes the increase of penalties and funding for Human Trafficking initiatives and programs in California. Those who support the ballot state that this will bring further justice and increases the training of the Peace Enforcement Officers regarding human trafficking, sex slaves and sex offenders. Opponents state that the legislation does not provide a good financial plan of this program, and this program can be abused due to bureaucratic and inefficient components of the judicial system.

Selecting Yes Means…
  • Increase prison terms for human traffickers.
  • Require convicted sex traffickers to register as sex offenders.
  • Require all registered sex offenders to disclose their internet accounts.
  • Require criminal fines from convicted human traffickers to pay for services to help victims.
  • Mandate law enforcement training on human trafficking.
Selecting No Means…

None of the items in Yes will happen

Prop 36

Changes in the “Three Strikes” Law

This proposition re-examines and re-defines the “Three Strikes” Law rule in order to provide a fair judicial trial for those who have committed mild felonies, while at the same time, maintain or change sentences for individuals who have committed serious crimes. Supporters say that this will save the prison system financially and allocate proper justice to those who were convicted wrongly. Opponents state that this measure will make judicial system more lenient; thus, increasing potential crime due to leniency in the system.

Selecting Yes Means…
  • Revise the three strikes law to impose life sentence only when the new felony conviction is “serious or violent”
  • Authorize re-sentencing for offenders currently serving life sentences if their third strike conviction was not serious or violent and if the judge determines that the re-sentence does not pose unreasonable risk to public safety
  • Continue to impose a life sentence penalty if the third strike conviction was for “certain non-serious, non-violent sex or drug offenses or involved firearm possession”
  • Maintain the life sentence penalty for felons with “non-serious, non-violent third strike if prior convictions were for rape, murder, or child molestation”
Selecting No Means…

None of the items in Yes will happen

Prop 37

Genetically Engineered Foods. Labeling. Initiative Statute

This proposition requires labeling on raw or processed food offered for sale to consumers if made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways. Supporters of the proposition state that this will provide consumers with the right information about the food they consume, and that this initiative has been implemented all over the world except for few countries such as United States. On the other hand, opponents state that this measure will increase cost of agricultural services in California and supports special Interest groups.

Selecting Yes Means…
  • Requires labeling on raw or processed food offered for sale to consumers if made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways
  • Prohibits labeling or advertising such food, or other processed food, as “natural”
  • Exempts foods from this proposition include: certified organic; unintentionally produced with genetically engineered material; made from animals fed or injected with genetically engineered material but not genetically engineered themselves; processed with or containing only small amounts of genetically engineered ingredients; administered for treatment of medical conditions; sold for immediate consumption such as in a restaurant; or alcoholic beverages
Selecting No Means…

None of the items in Yes will happen

Prop 38

State Income Tax Increase to Support Education

This proposition increases income taxes of individuals earning $7,316 and greater starting from 0.4% to 2.2%. The purpose is to allocate more funding of the taxes to California K-12 system. Supporters state that this will help California’s education system go back on track and open the schools that were shut down by the government. Proponents state that this measure lacks financial credibility and accountability functions that are stated in Prop 30 (which is mentioned in the Yes section as “Prohibits state from directing new funds.”

Selecting Yes Means…
  • Increases personal income tax rates on annual earnings over $7,316 using sliding scale from .4% for lowest individual earners to 2.2% for individuals earning over $2.5 million, for twelve years
  • During first four years, allocates 60% of revenues to K–12 schools, 30% to repaying state debt, and 10% to early childhood programs. Thereafter, allocates 85% of revenues to K–12 schools, 15% to early childhood programs
  • Provides K–12 funds on school-specific, per-pupil basis, subject to local control, audits, and public input
  • Prohibits state from directing new funds
Selecting No Means…

None of the items in Yes will happen

Prop 39

Tax Treatment for Multistate Businesses. Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Funding. Initiative Statute

The measure would only affect out-of-state businesses and not California-based companies or California residents. Currently, out-of-state businesses can reduce their California income taxes by not locating facilities or employees within the state. If passed, Proposition 39 would add possibly $1 billion to the state’s revenue and create approximately 40,000 construction and clean energy jobs, according to the non-partisan California Legislative Analyst’s Office. Supporters state that this will promote business and increase growth of California jobs by encouraging businesses to employ more Californian residents and base their businesses in California. However, opponents argue that this measure would increase business taxes and eventually lead to businesses to seek other states for business.

Selecting Yes Means…
  • Require out-of-state businesses to calculate their California income tax liability based on the percentage of their sales in California
  • Support the elimination of the “three-factor” method (tax loophole) allowing businesses that operate outside of California to avoid paying taxes for California sales
  • Dedicate $550 million annually for five years from the initiative’s anticipated increase in revenue in order to fund projects that “create energy efficiency and clean energy jobs” in California.
  • Of the revenue raised by this measure over the next five years, about half would be dedicated to energy efficiency and alternative energy projects.
  • Of the remaining revenues, a significant portion likely would be spent on public schools and community colleges.
Selecting No Means…

None of the items in Yes will happen

Prop 40

Referendum on the State Senate Redistricting Plan

Supporting this proposition states that you support a non-political organization be responsible in redistricting California State Senate regions. In essence, this ensures that the organization responsible for redistricting areas within California are non-partisan, its commissioners are selected via lottery, and maintain a diverse and objective break down of regions. Supporters state that this gives citizens the power to redistrict their areas rather than have politicians influence redistricting; opponents argue that this method decreases chances for fair elections to proceed due to redistricting.

Selecting Yes Means…
  • Approving new State Senate districts drawn by the Citizens Redistricting Commission
  • If the new districts are rejected, the State Senate district boundary lines will be adjusted by officials supervised by the California Supreme Court
  • State Senate districts are revised every 10 years following the federal census
Selecting No Means…

None of the items in Yes will happen

The Tape

You miss someone so much as to wish your heart was made of water to forget and shift away;

staying up late to not sleep so you won’t dream of her, either.

You pray it’s just another tape that got accidentally played;

your mind scrambles around to catch the mischievous trigger.

It’ll be just fine, it’ll be alright.

And as time clocks away, things will get better.

The Courage of Malala Yousafzai

Who is Malala Yousafzai?

Malala Yousafza, born 1998, is an eighth-grade Pashtun student from the town of Mingora in Swat District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, known for being a children’s rights activist. Her little town was dominated and controlled by the local Taliban, whom they’ve shut down local school for girls in her area. During those periods, young Malala, under the pseudonym “Gul Makai”, shared with BBC Urdu of the experience of her little town under the order of the Taliban.

Due to her courage and advocacy for the rights of Children and Education, The international children’s advocacy group KidsRights Foundation included Yousafzai among the nominees for the International Children’s Peace Prize, making her the first Pakistani girl nominated for the award. South African Nobel laureate Desmund Tutu announced the nominations during a 2011 ceremony in Amsterdam, Holland, but Yousafzai did not win the prize.

Today, Malala was shot in the head while she was heading to school by a Taliban Militant. Different stories recount that she was waiting for the school bus to arrive as the gunman was searching for her. Fortunately, her injury was not severe, and by the decree of the Pakistani government, she was transfered to a better hospital to be hospitalized and receive care. In addition, security measures were put in place to protect her against the Taliban, as they waged their threat towards her.

Significance of her Work

“Education is the fundamental right for every child” – Malala Yousafzai

After the closing of the schools in her town, through the help of a local BBC journalist, she blogged about the condition of her classmates and her fellow residents under the military operation of the Taliban. The blogs were published on BBC Urdu, shedding light to the reality and horrors of the rule under the Taliban regime. Given her courage and strength, she was nominated for multiple Peace Awards, one of which she was awarded within Pakistan.

What is amazing for me is the fact that a 14 year old has taken the initiative to rise against the outrageous and venomous conditions of her community. And after the removal of the Taliban rule in Pakistan, she returned to her school and resumed her advocacy publicly.

These are stories of true courage, this is the story of Malala Yousafzai

BBC Report
Interview with BBC (November 2011)

Foursquare Badges

The Book Klub

The past few weeks I took a course on Coursera called Gamification

In simple terms, Gamification is the utilization of Game Design and Game Elements for a non-game context and objective. These objectives can be for Internal Growth (firm trying to motivate its employees), External Growth (firm trying to market a product and make it engaging), and behavior change (a government health institution aiming to improve its communities health). Of course, all to be done in a fun and voluntary fashion.

The following is one of the assignments we had to do, which was quite interesting and relevant to the current age of market needs. In addition to the question, I am submitting the answer I have provided for my assignment.

Now that you know the essential concepts about gamification and game design, it’s time to use them. For this final task, we ask you to bridge this gap as you meld creativity and structure to match peoples’ needs with technical feasibility and business realities.

You are approached by Cheyenne Kendrick, the CEO of Go Digital Press (GDP), a global publisher of electronic books for devices such as the Kindle, Nook, and iPad. She knows you are one of the top experts on gamification, which she has heard can revolutionize publishing. She asks you to present a proposal for a gamified system to take her business to the next level.

GDP concentrates on the trade segment of the book market, i.e. non-fiction publications that would traditionally appear in bookstores, rather than mass-market paperbacks. Approximately 50% of its titles are targeted at business professionals; 25% are educational resources on technical topics such as computer programming; and the remainder address a variety of different subjects.

As a pioneer in e-book publishing, GDP faces the challenge that many users, even in the U.S., do not yet own reader devices. As of April 2012, only 21% of American adults reported that they had read an e-book in the past year, although those numbers are increasing rapidly. Kendrick tells you that another concern is that the device manufacturers and their associated distribution platforms control the sales process, making it difficult for publishers such as GDP to obtain data or develop direct customer relationships. On the positive side, an e-book is a flexible digital asset, which can offer interactive features beyond any physical book. Kendrick asks you to propose a way to gamify the distribution or consumption of e-books, or both.

Provide a detailed description of your proposal, organized according to the design framework described in the lectures in Unit 7:

1. Define business objectives
2. Delineate target behaviors
3. Describe your players
4. Devise activity loops
5. Don’t forget the fun!
6. Deploy the appropriate tools

A summary of each concept is provided on the Gamification Design Framework page.

Go Digital Press (GDP) is a global publisher of ebooks for ebook devices. Cheyenne, CEO of GDP, is seeking a solution via a gamified system that can take her business to the next level. The challenges that are hindering GDP’s growth:

  • Small number of users own reader devices.
  • Sales process is controlled by device manufacturers and distribution platform.
  • Limited accessibility to customers.

Despite the challenges, Cheyenne noted that ebooks are flexible digital assets, which can offer interactive features beyond books.

Based on the information above, the objective of the gamified system is:

  • Increase in the sales and profits generated from ebooks sold.
    Justification: The ultimate goal of the project is to take GDP to the next level of growth in terms of business.

It’s essential to note that gains derived from the objective must benefit both GDP and its user base; otherwise, disregarding the demand of the user base and focusing on benefits for GDP will only lead to short-term progress.

Target Behavior:
The behavior the gamified system must promote within GDPs market segment is the shift to the use of ebook devices rather than hardcopy books. Through the increase of ebook device users, more readers will be motivated to purchase and interact with GDP products and services. In order to reach the greater market of users who have yet to purchase, or use, ebook devices, the system will utilize the power of influencer marketing, integrated with game elements, to bring aboard users more quickly. Influencer marketing is marketing focused on key individuals that have influence over potential buyers, such as friends, family and their social network.

Within the gamified structure, metrics and analytics will be put in place to tweak and improve the gamified system; leading to identifying ways of encouraging the needed behavior. Due to limitation of access to user data through the ebook devices, the data must be acquired through both the GDP ebooks and their website interface.

In order to build trust and respect users data, the privacy of users must be maintained and respected.

The Players:
GDP publishes and sells books that are:

  • 50% targeted at business professionals
  • 25% are educational resources on technical topics
  • 25% address variety of different subjects

The information provides us a good perspective of the players of the gamified system. To narrow it further, the players can be categorized into four groups in the order of significance:

  • The Entrepreneurs: They can be the CEO of a Forbes 500 company, or owner of a Laundromat in a neighborhood. Their demographics vary greatly; however, their psychographics share many common elements: Learning how to improve their business, being up-to-date with the current business practices in the industry, and lack of time to seek proper education in universities/seminars that provide business courses. They’re experienced individuals that can add tremendous value to the gamified system based on their feedback and contribution to the gamified environment.
  • The Explorers: They’re passionate and curious individuals that want to learn about the topic of their interest or discover other realms of knowledge. Their goal is to expand their knowledge and skill. Their passion is the key element to further promote GDP products if it appeals their curiosity and learning. They’re powerful influencer marketers that reach out to their circle of interest; whether it’s friends, family, colleagues or social network.
  • The Educators: Instructors of educational institutions seek titles that are suitable for their curriculum, provides their students with ample amount of information that can help them learn, and simplifies their work as educators (through online homework and quizzes, online forum discussion, etc). They’re very powerful influencer marketers as the books they recommend, or request their student to purchase, will lead to the increase in the purchase of ebooks.
  • The Embarkers: Individuals that embark, on the journey of learning or knowledge for the sake of completing a class/seminar, satisfying their employer’s request, or other factor that lead them to purchase the ebook. They’re only motivated through extrinsic means (salary, grade…etc). However, they have potential influence over their social network if they acquire intrinsic motivation; leading them to becoming loyal customers of GDP products.

Based on the categories above, it’s evident that demographics are highly variable. However, the goal is to target the demands of the users based on their psychographic needs (for example, “I want to learn about the new business practice in the field of gamification”). Through the deployment of the gamified product by GDP that carries extrinsic motivators, combined with the potential intrinsic motivation of learning within the players, GDP can successfully delineate the behavior they seek (purchase of ebooks and ebook reading devices), and satisfy their objectives (growth in sales/profit, gain access to users).

“The Book Klub”


The Book Klub is an online community that is integrated within GDP ebooks and website. Its purpose is to transform concrete non-fiction materials fun, sociable, and valuable. It encompasses elements such as points, badges (no leaderboard), and creativity forums. The elements devise activity loops, ensures fun, and aims in deploying appropriate tools (the three sub-elements are interconnected within the system) whose aims are to satisfy The Book Klub’s purpose and the business objectives of GDP.

The Journey of the Apprentice:

When purchasing a GDP ebook, the user will be prompted to either login or signup. Once they sign-up, an account will be made both online (The Book Klub website) and the front page of their ebook. The user will start as an Apprentice (level 1 user), whose journey is based on the skills they learn from the subjects they’re interested in. Depending on their path and journey, they will elevate to new levels for the title; such as Mentor, Consultant, Specialist, and Craftsman. The user’s profile represents a virtual shelf of the books and badges the user acquired from their journey. On the front of each title, they can see the progress bar of their reading and their total score for each title.

Utilizing progression loops, the end of each chapter of an ebook carries a mini-quiz. The quiz can be repeated infinitely, where the last grade will be taken into account. The purpose is to promote fun and motivation through performance-contingent rewards. If the user completes all quizzes (i.e. complete the book) with an average over a pre-defined score, they receive a special badge depending on the score and retain a special title in the Book Klub community.

Utilizing engagement loops, actions include:

  • Highlighting – When highlighting important point, the highlighted will go to the Book Klub community which will be scored based on community voting (one Like = +1). If the point was highlighted before, the user will receive the total score derived from the originally highlighted information. Such function will utilize “Achievement” methodology which surprises the user that they received a certain number of points just from highlighting a point. In addition, the power of crowd sourcing discourages improper use of highlighting.
  • How much you read today compared to past – Provides feedback to the user on how much more they’ve read compared to before; appearing as a pop-up after they bookmark the last page they read. This encourages the completion of the ebook faster, leading to purchase of other ebooks much more quickly, and encourages the habit of reading and using ebook reader devices. Special badges can be provided for those who read 25%, 50% or all the ebook in one instance.
  • Submission of creative content – Some individuals derive inspiration from the ebook, leading them to either generate notes, artwork, model systems, or create useful powerpoints based on the title they’re reading. If they publish the content to the online community, they receive points based on community voting and GDPs specification; special badges, prizes or awards can be provided depending on number of votes, uniqueness and author-provided badges. This action must be nourished as it’s the true form of fun and outlet of intrinsic motivation. Furthermore, it makes GDPs content human-centered, rich and fruitful; leading to increase of users purchasing GDP products to tap into the knowledgebase of the Book Klub community.

To maintain an exclusive status, the online community is only accessible by individuals that purchase GDP products (similar to Xbox Live). The more titles of GDP purchased, the more access the user will gain to the content shared by the community members of different titles. The exclusivity provides a sense of status and fosters a sense of learning. However, users can invite their social-network to join the community by encouraging them to purchase the titles. Such action can be rewarded through points or badges depending on the number of accepted invites.

GDP can hold online or regional events based on the findings they received from their user base to further increase customer loyalty, expand their customer base and increase customer satisfaction; such as talks by the author, or invitation of active members to discussion panels to improve the title (similar to Ebay’s Top Seller Conference), or a fun conference like Dreamforce. Badges and titles can be awarded for participation at these, making the players more reputable and recognizable among their online peers.

The system will foster a fun collaborative environment where value is derived from a fun social-oriented activity, while maintaining individual uniqueness and progress (both sparking intrinsic motivation). In addition, the system will guarantee the satisfaction of business objectives while ensuring that the users benefit greatly, too.

Mother’s Love

One day a man tempted an ignorant boy
Using his money, in order to achieve his objective

He said, “O young one, bring me the heart of your mother
And money, jewels and pearls will be yours!”

So he went and plunged a dagger into her chest
And took out the heart and returned the way he came

But because of his haste, he fell
And the dusty heart rolled away as he stumbled

The heart of his mother called him, and he was covered in dust,
“My son! My beloved! Are you hurt?!”

The voice, although it was so gentle, yet
It was like the wrath of the Heavens had fallen on the boy

Thus he understood the enormity of his betrayal that nobody
Had committed but him in the history of mankind

So he rushed back to the heart washing it with the tears
Of his eyes that flowed from the flood of sorrow

And he said, “O heart! Take your revenge from me and do not
Forgive, because my crime is unforgiveable.

And if you forgive then surely I will kill myself
Like those before me who have committed suicide.”

So as he unsheathed his dagger to kill himself,
A stabbing that would remain as an example to those who seek lessons,

The heart of the mother called him saying, “Stop your hand and do not strike my heart twice in succession!”

Ibrahim al-Mundhir

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