Santa Monica Lookout
|Big Money Spent on Santa Monica’s November Ballot Measures|
By Jonathan Friedman
February 4, 2015 -- It wasn’t just the City Council race and other contests involving candidates battling for vacant seats that brought major dollars into the local November election. There was also major spending on the campaigns for the various ballot measures.
The most money was spent on the rival Santa Monica Airport measures -- D and LC -- with the vast majority of the cash going toward the pro-airport campaign.
Approximately $935,000 was spent in favor of Measure D, which had it passed would have severely limited the City Council’s authority over Santa Monica Airport, and to oppose Measure LC, the rival proposal the council placed on the ballot.
Nearly two-thirds of the money spent to support D and oppose LC came from the Baltimore-based Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and the Washington D.C.-based National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).
Meanwhile, a much-smaller campaign was run to oppose D and support LC. Three different groups spent a total of a little more than $145,000, with most of the money coming from various Santa Monica residents.
The lesser campaign was good enough to win, as LC passed and D lost by wide margins. Both had a final tally of approximately 60 to 40 percent.
Another campaign that featured large amounts of spending, although significantly less than the airport battle, concerned the proposal for a real estate tax increase.
Measure H called for a hike on real estate transactions of at least $1 million from $3 per $1,000 to $9 per $1,000. The companion Measure HH called for the money earned through the hike to be used to support Santa Monica’s affordable housing program, although it was only an advisory proposal.
Development and real estate interests were involved in both sides of the campaign.
The supporters spent $110,000. Among those donating to the group were KRE Capital with $7,500, Felcor Lodging Trust with $5,000, the Georgian Hotel with $5,000 and developer Jeffrey Worthe with $10,000.
One other measure on the ballot, FS, called for residential landlords' annual registration fee to the Rent Control Board to go up from $174.96 per unit to a maximum of $288.
No money was spent for or against Measure FS, and it won.
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