The Coast News Group
Rancho Santa Fe

Tally gives outlook on funds raised for Prop A

ENCINITAS — A tally of campaign contributions over Proposition A, which won at the polls over two months ago, shows that the two groups opposed to the initiative raised more than three times the amount of the sole group in support. 

The two groups opposed, Encinitas Residents, Businesses and Taxpayers Opposing Proposition A and the Homeowners to Preserve Encinitas, raised a total of $99,800 this year.

The lone group in support of Prop A passing, the Encinitas Project, which started raising funds in 2012, managed to bring in $32,300 in total.

Though it didn’t raise money for the Prop A campaign, the Downtown Encinitas Mainstreet Association spent $2,400 in advertisements advocating against the initiative.

According to city records, the group Encinitas Residents, Businesses and Taxpayers Opposing Proposition A’s contributions totaled nearly $46,800, and expenditures were $53,200.

Under rules from the California Fair Political Practices Commission (CFPPC), a group’s expenditures can be greater than contributions, because the organization can raise money after an election to pay down debt, according Rich Hertz, spokesman for CFPPC.

Of the money Encinitas Residents, Businesses and Taxpayers Opposing Proposition A received, the Issues Mobilization Political Action Committee gave $22,000, the single largest contribution of the entire election.

The committee, run by the California Association of Realtors, is based in Los Angeles.

Homeowners to Preserve Encinitas took in $53,000 and spent the same amount. Encinitas Town Center LLC, which owns and leases the Encinitas Ranch shopping center to tenants like Target, gave $15,000 to the organization.

Forms show that the Encinitas Project took in $22,900 this year, with expenditures listed at $24,400. The Encinitas Project was listed as having $9,400 in contributions when it began collecting last year.

Jim Kydd, publisher of The Coast News, gave roughly $9,000 as an in-kind contribution for advertising space to the Encinitas Project this year, according to campaign records.

The three groups sent out mailers, posted campaign signs and licensed “robo-calls.”

A final report listing contribution totals was due at the end of July for all of the groups that spent money on the Prop A campaign. However, contribution reports can be amended at any point in time to fix “incorrect or incomplete” information, according to CFPPC rules.

Gary Jacobson, a political science professor at UC San Diego, said he’s not familiar with Proposition A fundraising, but in general, “there’s firm evidence that having more money helps a political campaign, but it doesn’t guarantee you’ll win,” Jacobson said.

He added that out-raising the opposition could potentially backfire in some circumstances.

“If a group has less money, it can try and make the case that the opposition is trying to hijack the community with big money,” Jacobson said.

“A lot of money isn’t always necessary if you can get your message across in the media and other ways,” he added.

Proposition A was created to eliminate the City Council’s ability to “up-zone” beyond current height and density limits with a four-fifths vote. Additionally, Proposition A tweaked how building heights are measured.

Following uncertainty related to the California Coastal Commission, officials clarified that Proposition A is in effect for the entire city.