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.
460-2 - Yes on Measure J
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.