The cash is starting to roll in for Measure J, the November ballot initiative to extend the county's half-cent sales tax to accelerate transportation projects.
The "Yes on J" campaign has raised more than $2 million -- almost all of it in the last three weeks -- enough to go up on the air with this TV commercial
That puts the Yes campaign way out ahead of the ragtag "No on J" effort, which reported just $5,000. But will it be enough for passage?
The top donor to Yes on J is Museum Associates, a.k.a. the L.A. County Museum of Art (LACMA), which sits along the route of the Westside subway extension. LACMA gave $900,000 to the effort to pass Measure R
in 2008, and has given $500,000 to Measure J.
The full fundraising report is posted below. Other contributors to Yes on J include the new owners of L.A. Dodgers, Guggenheim Baseball Management, who kicked in $250,000. Frank McCourt, the Dodgers owner in 2008, gave $150,000 to Measure R.
Billionaire Eli Broad also coughed up $250,000 (up from the $100,000 he gave to Measure R), and AEG gave $200,000 (up from $25,000 in 2008). Also on the list: Kiewit Corp., the construction company now building the new lane on the 405 freeway, who gave $100,000; Occidental Petroleum, $100,000; Unite Here, $100,000; and Skanska, the company building the Expo Line Phase 2 project, $15,000.
So far, Measure J is outpacing the fundraising efforts for Measure R. At this point in 2008, the Yes on R campaign had raised $1,728,000, on its way to raising $3,876,000. Yes on Measure J has now raised $2,127,000.
However, in 2008, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority spent about $1 million sending a full-color brochure on Measure R to every registered voter in the county. Wary of accusations of politicking with taxpayer money, the MTA opted not to do that this year.
Despite the lopsided fundraising totals, polling shows this should be very close. Measure R passed with 67.2% -- just above the 2/3 threshold required for approval. An internal poll
from the Yes on J campaign shows the measure up 68-22.
460-2 - Yes on Measure J