Well, I knew it was too good to be true. I couldn't fathom the state making 3 strike less severe, no matter what the polls suggested. In this day of right wing radio (and elections, for that matter), I didn't see how common sense would prevail over pure emotion and lies.
In the end, our governor, Arnold, stumped big-time for the end of 3 strikes. One of the best reasons I saw that prop 66 would pass was that there were so many big-money propositions on the ballot, including all of the Indian Gaming initiatives that Arnold opposed so much, I thought they would drown out prop 66 and it would slide under the radar. It did, for all but 2 weeks of the campaign. In the end, lies won out.
What lies? Well, Arnold went on wall to wall TV suggesting that 27,000 violent criminals, like rapists and murderers, would be released under prop 66. As I explained earlier, this is a complete fabrication. First of all, no one convicted (in the present offense) of a violent crime was eligible for release consideration, only people who may have that in their past (and it could be way in their past). The opponents of reasonableness found a few people who had done really bad things in the past, done their time, gotten out of prison, and now were serving time for minor offenses enhanced due to their prior convictions and alleged that "murderers and rapists" were getting released. Well, guess what, they were already released and weren't murdering or raping (that we know of, or yet, I guess they would retort), they were doing small time thievery or using drugs.
The other large lie was that 27,000 of these people were going to be released. A judge in Sacramento had already struck that language from their argument against the initiative on the sample ballot mailed out to voters. The true amount was about 4,000 (perhaps as much as 7,000) non-violent offenders would possibly be released under this law.
Ultimately, though, complex discussion has no place on 15 second ads (in a true testiment to the intelligence and honesty of our governor, he couldn't even come up with 30 seconds of lies, and had to restrict his ads to 15 seconds so as not to give too much information to the voters). I have TIVO, so I rarely watch commercials, but I was watching a rerun of Columbo (the greatest detective TV show ever) the night before the election and happened to stop and see an ad, so I looked out for them, and guess what, they were wall-to-wall anti-prop 66 ads. Sometimes I saw 2 or 3 ads per commercial cycle, they were so short they couldn't have cost that much to run. I'm sure that it was the same on other channels. I've always held that you could probably try to pass an initiative called "Tough on Crime, mandatory Dog-shit eating" proposition, and it would pass by virtue of the name. Hell, execute all murders, all felonies, all crimes, all traffic infractions, they'd all pass far as I can tell.