the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Proposition This!


It’s election time in California again, which means a last minute barrage of commercials and telephone calls, all aimed at confusing the voter. So far, my favorite TV ads are for Tony “The Tiger” Strickland, who is running for California State Controller.  I don’t know much about him except that he always runs around looking active and has the nickname of “the Tiger,” which he wants to hammer into your brain by actually putting in a ROAR at the end of his commerical (as if he was selling some sugary Kellogg’s cereal). 


Look at this guy.  Does he look like a tiger to you?  Or is this what his son calls him on the miniature golf course?

Frankly, I want a State Controller who is sitting at his desk working on the budget problems of the state.  Did I really want a state controller who spends most of his time rushing through hallways, passing off notes to his multi-ethnic assistants?

From now on, I will be Neil “the Leopard” Kramer:

“Neil “the Leopard” Kramer. He is a blogger! But you will never see him actually blogging. Watch as he passes by his Russian-born separated wife as he goes downstairs to the kitchen to make her breakfast!  See him as he smiles and chats it up with the African-American check-out girl at Ralph’s Supermarket.  Look how fast he walks. Watch as a multi-ethnic group of coffee drinkers nod and smile as “the Leopard” zips into Starbucks to buy a “fully-caffeinated” cup of coffee.  Admire “the Leopard’s” virility as he checks out the lovely female Chinese-American’s ass as she pours the coffee.”

Aw, who am I kidding? Tony “the Tiger” Strickland’s political ad was effective, because he is the only candidate I now remember!  I don’t even know what party he belongs to, but I am voting for him.

The one cool thing about voting in Redondo Beach is that voters in my area actually vote in someone’s LIVING ROOM! That’s right. I have no idea why we don’t vote in a school or someplace normal, but no — we wait in line outside someone’s apartment. You can even look into the resident’s kitchen as you are voting!

California usually has dozens of confusing propositions on the ballot about all sorts of issues, from taxing cigarettes to building roads. Being the liberal sort, I usually vote for DOING things with little regard to how California is actually going to pay for it, but there is one issue that I am changing my view on spending, and that is Education. Every year, I vote on allocating MORE money for MORE schools, MORE textbooks, SMALLER classes. Every year, I am told how important education is the success of California.

But are all these propositions I vote in actually working?

After years of more money for education — may I present to you the address of my voting place, as listed on every single one of my CA VOTING GUIDES, including the official one:


A Year Ago in Citizen of the Month: Modern Politics


  1. Tatyana

    NY would surely benefit from a Voter’s Guide. Clearly, there otta be a law.

  2. lux lisbon

    Living ROOMM? Well if that’s not slap upside the head to vote yes on 88 I don’t know what is.

  3. Postmodern Sass

    Sometimes I wish I had the right to vote here, just so I could see those crazy ballots I’ve heard so much about. And so I’d understand what a chad was. But then, I’d rather not have to claim any responsibility for electing a movie star or a retarted cowboy to a position of political power.

  4. Plain Jane Mom

    Are you sure that’s a real sample ballot and not just an elaborate plot to lure you to their house? Sounds like the beginning of a bad horror movie to me.

  5. Two Roads

    I would like to suggest a different nickname than leopard – that just doesn’t roll off the tongue. Perhaps, Neil, the Nubian Bee Eater, Kramer would be more memorable!

  6. s@bd

    someone’s living room?!


  7. Dagny

    *sigh* In a lot of school districts it seems like the money ends up in the hands of administrators.

    A few years ago Oakland’s school district went bankrupt and was taken over by the state. The state administrator appointed to run the district was making at least $200k a year. Meanwhile they were increasing class sizes and trying to cut teachers’ salaries. Because the reality is that in most districts, the largest expenditure is salaries.

    This year Oakland has a new administrator. Hopefully this one is cheaper. Because the last one? Well, he apparently received a lot of death threats so there was that added expense of $100k a year for a bodyguard.

  8. V-Grrrl

    Living Roomm? Is that next to the Land of Spareoom in Narnia? Do you get there through the Wardrobe?

    And Neil the Leopard, I wanta know if you’re really a tiger in leopard clothing.

  9. brooke

    That is the doughiest, pastiest white boy I’ve ever seen.

  10. Lynnster, yeah

    Well, while I guess you have a point about the campaign working to make you remember him as a candidate… dude looks about as much like a tiger as my big toe.

    I wonder if there are any commercials of him roaring on YouTube? I bet those are a hoot…

  11. Jennifer

    I have made a formal, unswayable decision to vote for the candidate opposite the one who groups 25 yard signs in a clump along every spare strip of unused land in the county. I don’t know what he/she is running for, but I know his/her last name and will use it against them.

    Also, minutes after arriving home from a long weekend away this afternoon, my phone rang.

    Guess who?

    Rush Limbaugh.


  12. Rhea

    No way. How can you vote in a livingroom? Even a convenience store would make more sense. You have convenience stores in Redondo Beach, don’t ya?

  13. Abigail

    Do you look in their medicine cabinet too? Cause I totally would.

  14. Churlita

    Tony the Tiger? I think his publicist should be fired. What a joke.

    You should have an animal nickname that starts with the first letter of your name. What can we do with Neil? Neil the Noble Lampfish? Neil the Naked Barracuda? Neil the Nothern Rock Fish?…Okay, Neil the Leopard it is!

  15. better safe than sorry

    that is the most bizarre thing. i wonder if they do this all over the states or it’s special, just for you.

  16. Denise

    Um, if you’re a liberal, you definitely don’t want to vote for Strickland because he’s very conservative. Of course, John Chiang’s ads drive me up a wall because he looks like he’s computer animated, so I don’t see a better alternative on either side.

  17. Charming, but single

    Hey Leopard, doesn’t that political ad violate campaign law because it doesn’t include you saying, “I’m Neil ‘The Leopard’ Kramer and I approved this ad”?

    Do y’all not do that in California? I mean, hell, you probably don’t … who cares about election laws when you’re voting in some dude’s living room while he watches Springer reruns in his boxers.

  18. V-Grrrl

    After carefully examining the picture, I decided I know why he’s calling himself Tiger. It’s because he has a secret, sexually immoral life that involves threesomes with a certain prominent evangelical pastor and a male escort in Colorado! Tiger indeed, that’s the meth talkin’, hon.

  19. Jakob

    Yeah. And you should definitely wear a leopard-skin pill-box hat!

  20. Alissa

    The typo was done on purpose! What a dirty trick to sway the voters!

    PS: Hope Sophia is feeling better!

  21. kristen

    OK that’s just weird, voting in someone’s living room. The best place I ever voted was in the laundry room on Mason Street in San Francisco. I hope your living roomm proprietress at least offers refreshments while visiting her abode.
    To me, that Tony the Tiger guy looks like some pervy man or evangelical TV show guy and even with his catchy slogan, I’d be disinclined to vote for him, just because he looks so smarmy.

  22. Marilyn

    The Tiger must feel like he’s either a) got NoCal sewn up and doesn’t need to buy ads here, or b) assuming Chiang’s taking all the NoCal votes. We’ve been bombarded with TV ads and I’ve never heard of this guy. But I did see a Chiang ad last night (the first one I could recall) and wondered, “What exactly does the controller DO? And how is he/she different from the Treasurer?” Speaking of Treasurer, Angelides is gonna get WHOMPED, I think…and will deserve it (and I’m a Dem). (Speaking of Phil, my sweetie played a gig for Tsakapoulos on Saturday.) I’m getting so tired of the TV ads and robo calls…last night I hung up on Bill Clinton (and I love me some Bill). Bring on Tuesday…can’t WAIT to get some of these (national) losers out of office.


    Smear campaign: Neil “the Leorard” who always changes his spots…. not that you personally change your spots, but Neil the Lampfish would give your opponents less to work with.

  24. wendy

    Am I mistaken, or wasn’t Tony the Tiger the name of the mob boss in “married to the mob” wasn’t it Dean stockwell character..great movie..Michelle phieffer (sp?) as angela..It wasn’t a blockbuster, but Tony the tiger = the mob…I remember walking up strangers driveways to vote… In a’s very strangely american, to enter another American’s home, and cast your vote. Very neighborly…you remember neighbors..dn’t ya?

  25. Serena

    I truly detest political ads and wish I could find some humor in them.

  26. EEK

    I’m sorry, but voting in someone’s apartment is just bizarre. Do you get to hang out in the guy’s living room and watch TV while you wait?

  27. psychomom

    The living roomm? You can not have all those strangers tracking in mud on the carpet. Voting would have to be done in the office or perhaps the den.

    Speaking of school. We were treated to a “bomb threat” this morning. Not a good way to start a Monday.

    “Leo Pard” for President!

  28. melanie

    The “Tiger” has a lot of makeup around his eyes.

    this will be my first time voting in the state of CA. and it wont be in a living room. I hope i get it right! LOL.

    so prop 86 yes or no?

  29. Bama Girl

    Wow, down here in the civilized world of San Diego, we actually vote in schools! Does anyone actually expect us to remember the numbers on all these props? I have to actually read them to see which way I want to vote. Is that strange?

  30. Jessicool

    My voting place here in CA is FRATERNITY HOUSE – MEETING ROOM /ORANGE TABLE. Not quite as good as a living roomm, but close.

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