•Prop. 36 would apply logic and cost-effectiveness to California's three-strikes sentencing law. A third strike would need to be violent or serious before a career criminal could be sentenced to 25 years to life.
Now, a third-striker could get life for stealing a loaf of bread. Under Prop. 36, he'd be treated as a two-striker and serve double the normal time, with some exceptions. If he'd been previously convicted of murder, rape or child molesting, the 25-to-life sentence still could be doled out.
Reducing these sentences to more reasonable lengths would save an estimated $70 million. Grab it.
•Prop. 37 would require labeling of food products that contain genetically modified ingredients. But no one is arguing that such products are harmful.
This seems to be an almost cult-like cause. There are two major problems: Grocers would be responsible for the correct labeling, a harassment they don't need. And opportunistic lawyers could make bundles by dragging grocers into court. This measure isn't cooked.
•Prop. 38 is civil rights attorney Molly Munger's alternative to the governor's Prop. 30. Her proposal would raise income taxes on practically everyone — all but the very poorest — and generate $10 billion annually, mostly for schools.
But the taxes wouldn't kick in soon enough to help schools during the current academic year. Even if it passed and received more votes than Brown's, education still would need to be slashed by $5.9 billion. Schools need help now.
•Prop. 39 involves complex corporate tax law. But here's the simple heart of it: The measure would end an illogical tax incentive for out-of-state companies not to hire workers or build facilities in California.
The state would gain $1 billion annually, roughly half for retrofitting public buildings with alternative energy and the other half for regular government services, including education. It's fair and sensible.
•Prop. 40 would ratify state Senate districts drawn by an independent citizens' commission. Failure of the measure would require a costly redo. This is the easiest "yes" vote on the ballot.