Schwarzenegger Pumps Up Proposition 49





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Arnold's back-and speaking in support of Proposition 49, which will expand state funding for after-school programs. Schwarzenegger greeted a packed auditorium and a flurry of camera flashes from students yesterday.

"There's some serious anticipation here," said UC Berkeley sophomore Rhianna Bauer, who staked out a second-row seat.

Visiting Political Science 179, the undergraduate colloquium on political science, Schwarzenegger entered the hall with professor Alan Ross to a chorus of cheering students demanding "Fight him!" and "Arm wrestle!"

He flexed for a few camera shots, but it was Proposition 49 he came to address. He donned a jacket with a bright slogan that read, "Vote Yes on 49 for Kids Afterschool."

The proposition on Tuesday's ballot will pool funds from future growth in state revenue to provide grants for K-12 schools to create after-school programs.

"We spend billions of dollars every year, thousands of dollars each day to keep children in prison when it only costs $5 a day for a child to be in an after-school program," Schwarzenegger said.

He pointed to other youth-focused programs he has supported. including Arnold's All Stars and the Inner-city Games, which he said have improved student performance.

"We see those kids changing from shooting dope to shooting hoops," he said.

The programs provide a supervised environment during the 3 to 6 p.m. time period, which is the riskiest time for youth, he said.

He drew from his childhood as an Austrian farm boy, emphasizing how one-on-one attention from his parents brought him success.

"My mother made sure I would read aloud, and if I stopped, she would whack me on the head with a yard stick," Schwarzenegger said. "I learned very quickly how to defend myself."

Although many students came to ask for autographs and photos, Schwarzenegger stressed his charitable and political work over his film career.

"Even though you know me for my movies, for destroying all the enemies, the terrorists, the villains, the space creatures, what I'm most proud of is the fight in real life for the children," Schwarzenegger said.

When the floor opened up to questions, most students focused on the proposition with an occasional compliment, autograph request or question about "Terminator 3."

The governor's race in 2006 was a quick issue to arise as Schwarzenegger, an avowed Republican, has flirted with a possible political career.

"I leave this up to the Almighty-my wife, Maria," he said.

It wasn't all fans and fawning for Schwarzenegger, as some students questioned how the proposition will ensure attendance for the programs.

"He doesn't understand how the proposition is going to work," said junior Abe Gardner, a political science major. "It's asking for too much from voters, and it takes away from state legislators."

Schwarzenegger exited the building with his famous one-liner.

"I promise you, if you vote yes on 49, I'll be back."

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