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Prop V Gains Momentum as Votes Trickle In

By Olin Ericksen
Staff Writer

November 27 – After being kept afloat by a handful of votes, the tide is turning in favor of Proposition V, the local $40 million tax aimed at reducing urban runoff.

As of Friday afternoon, the measure – which requires a two-thirds majority – was ahead by 312 votes, with 19,296 votes in favor (67.03) and 9,492 against (32.97). With only 70,000 absentee ballots still to be tallied countywide, the proposition appears on its way to becoming local law.

"There's still a faint possibility it won't win… but it's looking pretty good," said former mayor Denny Zane who ran the campaign.

A long-time political player in Santa Monica, Zane said it has been quite a ride for measure V so far.

Up by 55 votes on election night, he watched as the lead shrank to just two votes. Then, this week, the measure rebounded.

"I did think it was getting a little hairy there, but I wasn't sweating," Zane said, noting that there tends to be a pattern to the voting.

While early absentee voters appear to be more conservative in their choices, provisional ballots tend to follow the trend at the polls on Election Day, according to Zane.

Although 57 percent of the absentee votes were cast in favor of the measure, 70 percent of those who cast ballots at the polls favored the proposition, Zane said.

Some late-absentee ballots could still reduce the slim lead, but the provisional ballots – those cast by voters who may have shown up at the wrong polling station – will likely mirror the election results, Zane said.

"Provisionals tend to be more like the election," Zane said. "They have the same demographic and political leanings as those that go to the polls."

While many of the absentee votes were cast before the last-minute campaign in favor of the measure kicked in, the provisional voters got the message before heading to the polls.

The campaign didn’t kick off until the Edward Thomas Management Company -- which owns Casa del Mar and Shutters on the Beach hotels -- launched a fundraising effort that raised some $100,000 just weeks before voters went to the polls.

If the measure passes, it will boost Santa Monica's ability to reduce pollution into the environmentally damaged Bay -- making upgrades to the storm drain line under the Santa Monica Pier -- and serve as a model to other communities, City officials said.

With less federal funding in recent years, the City has had to rely on State and local funding, which has already been used on Santa Monica’s new diversion systems.

To bankroll the $40 million measure, homeowners can expect to contribute $7 a month, while renters will pitch in $2.





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