As Claremont voters decide whether or not the city should be authorized to issue water revenue bonds up to $135 million to pay for the acquisition of the water system, the committees—both for and against Measure W—have been working overtime to parlay their message into a deciding vote in their favor. The committees’ efforts are noble, their messages clear and one thing is obvious, sharing that message with Claremont voters doesn’t come cheap.
There’s no doubt about it, water is big business for Golden State Water Company (GSW). With big business comes deep pockets, and it appears GSW is feeding on that mantra and using their resources in their attempt to defeat Measure W at the polls next month.
Stop the Water Tax—No on W—sponsored by Golden State Water and supported by Claremont Taxpayers and Homeowners filed their Recipient Committee Campaign Statement on October 6, giving voters some transparency into the tactics and resources used by the committee. The California Form 460 covers No on W’s pre-election contributions and expenses from January 1, 2014 through September 30, 2014.
With contributions totaling $288,299.67, it’s not surprising the primary contributor is the committee’s sponsor, Golden State Water at $277,556.34, with an additional $10,743.33 coming from their previous committee, Let Claremont Vote on the $80 Million.
In addition, the records credit GSW for an “in-kind contribution for meeting” with a fair market value of $126.69, bringing their total committee contribution to $277.683.03.
The No on W committee’s expenses are equally as staggering totaling $171,487.51 with Tustin based Manter Communications receiving the bulk for the payment for campaign consulting services at $40,000 in total. Public Relations firm Randle Communications follows a close second with $33,483.57 towards their campaign consultant fees as well as travel and office expenses, although $18,284.42 has yet to be paid by the committee.
The Insight Group, an Arizona consulting firm focused on helping product-based companies implement high-growth services strategies, received $31,181.32 for polling and survey research as well as travel, lodging and meals for staff.
SDA Creative Inc., a full-service design agency in Orange County, received $20,001.80 for their work on the campaign, including but not limited to paraphernalia and literature, information technology and consulting.
Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk, the Sacramento law firm listed as Treasurer for the No on W committee, has been paid $15,016.15 to date for their legalese expertise.
Campaign literature and mailings totaled $46,399.45. The committee also spent an additional $4,575 on various slate mailers. The cost of postage, delivery and messenger service totaled $38,200.
Print ads, including those published in the COURIER, cost the committee $10,987.45.
No on W’s Campaign Disclosure Statement Summary Page reflects an ending cash balance of $116,812.16—minus the $18,284.42 still due to Randle Communications—leaving plenty of funds in the remaining weeks to continue their fight with the hope of defeating the city’s water revenue bond measure.
Those pushing for a Yes vote on Measure W have also filed a pre-election statement. Claremont Friends of Locally Owned Water (FLOW) reveal their monetary contributions and expenses from July 1, 2014 through September 30.
In the three months recorded, the grassroots committee has received $23,845 in monetary contributions ranging from $100 to $1,000 from roughly 80 local donors. An additional nonmonetary contribution of $32.70 adds to the total, bringing the committee’s total to $23,877.70.
FLOW’s largest expense has been to various businesses for campaign paraphernalia at $6,626.63. Additional expenses include fundraising events at $230, a $50 FPPC filing fee as well as $97.50 for postage, delivery and messenger service.
Void of any outstanding debts, Claremont FLOW has an ending cash balance of $16,784.81 to continue their Vote Yes on Measure W campaign.
According to the city’s Public Information Officer Bevin Handel, the city of Claremont has spent approximately $11,000 for two mailings and $13,680 in legal advertising and consulting services with Martin & Chapman for legal notices calling the election in various languages in various publications. In addition, the city has paid $52,350 on the $176,000 Fiona Hutton & Associates contract. The contract, which includes the ballot measure education and information, also focuses on other matters relating to Claremont’s water including the potential system acquisition, so pulling out the expense just for Measure W would be difficult.
The hours put forth by the city manager’s office and the city clerk in regards to Measure W are included in staff salaries, so it’s of no additional expense to the city.
Ms. Handel also says the city will not receive a bill from the County of Los Angeles for election services, such as adding the ballot to the General Election, until after November 4.
With money still in the coffers and a little more than three weeks remaining in this contentious water fight, Claremont voters can expect to be flooded with messages from both sides of the ballot measure.
Residents still seeking clarification on Measure W are encouraged to visit the city website at http://www.ci.claremont.ca.us/ps.water.cfm?ID=2401