SMART train tax foes raise $35k, proponents raise $332k
- Published Thursday, November 2, 2006, by the Santa Rosa Press Democrat
Foes of SMART train tax raised $35,000
Late campaign report shows opponents generated only about 10% of
money backers had
By Kerry Benefield
The Press Democrat
Late-filed campaign disclosure statements show nearly a five-fold
increase in contributions to the opponents of commuter rail in Marin
and Sonoma counties, but the movement still trails the SMART train
tax-measure forces by a wide margin.
In statements that were filed after last week's deadline, Marin
Citizens for Effective Transportation reported pulling in nearly
$29,000 since the beginning of the year. Combined with $6,175 from
Citizens Opposed to the SMART Train Tax, opponents have generated
Proponents of Measure R have raised more than $332,000, according to
the most recent campaign finance statements.
Measure R will appear on Tuesday's ballot in both counties and would
impose a quarter-cent sales tax to construct and operate Sonoma-
Marin Area Rail Transit between Cloverdale and Larkspur. The tax
would be collected in both counties, generating about $668 million
over 20 years.
Measure R requires a two-thirds majority in the two-county district
to pass. It marks the first time both counties have voted as one
Georgiana McCarty of San Rafael, treasurer of Marin Citizens for
Effective Transportation, said she didn't expect her opposition
group to be penalized for the late report.
"I was late getting them done. I do them by hand," she said. "They
weren't so late that I would be penalized."
McCarty said she mailed the paperwork to Sonoma County on Tuesday.
Officials in Marin County said paperwork was filed there Monday.
The state Political Reform Act requires groups participating in
multi-county races to file paperwork in the county with the largest
number of registered voters, as well as the county where the group
A $10-a-day late fee can be assessed. Failure to file can trigger a
The deadline was Oct. 26, but a five-day grace period exists from
the date voting officials send a warning letter. It was unclear late
Wednesday whether Sonoma County officials had notified McCarty of
the missed deadline.
The largest contributor to Marin Citizens for Effective
Transportation was Peter Palmer of San Rafael, who donated $10,000.
The Marin Audubon Society contributed $6,980. Basia Crane of Ross,
Grace Hughes of Larkspur, the Marin Conservation League and Robert
Arnold of Palo Alto each gave $1,000.
The group has spent more than $17,000 on mailers and $1,320 on a
full-page newspaper ad, according to their report.
[BATN: See also:
SMART tax measure backers outspend opponents 12-1