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Yes On Measure J Campaign Rakes in $2 Million; "No" Campaign Raises Just $5,000, But Vote Is Likely To Be Close

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. 

Measure R imposed the half-cent transportation tax for 30 years, ending in 2039. If passed, Measure J would extend the sunset date to 2069, thereby accelerating the transit projects in Measure R, which include the Westside subway extension and the Sepulveda Pass corridor project.

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.

The No on J campaign, a coalition of Beverly Hills parents, the Bus Riders Union, and Crenshaw-area activists, reported a single contribution of $5,000 from the Labor/Community Strategy Center, a BRU affiliate, and not a dime from Beverly Hills. (C'mon, people.)

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