ARCADIA FIRST - MEASURES N AND P
Concerned about the plans of the powerful Caruso Affiliated mall
developer to convert the historic Santa Anita Racetrack
in Arcadia, California to a 800,000 square foot outdoor mall and a 100,000 square foot gambling facility, local citizens founded
Arcadia First to block the massive building. Confronted
with Caruso's aggressive public relations and lobbying campaign,
Arcadia First hired Burnside & Associates to slow the political process, eliminate certain features of the project, and stop the project
from moving forward.
Burnside & Associates hit the ground running in February 2006 with a multi-phase program:
- Using site based and door- to-door petition gathering, Burnside & Associates qualified two measures for the November
Measures N and P required the city of Arcadia to enforce
its strict outdoor advertising ordinances and to ensure
that all parking in the city remain free of charge.
These measures were designed to reduce the proposed
outdoor mall's profitability by up to 30% and thus dissuade the developer from proceeding.
- After successfully qualifying Measures N and P for
the ballot, Burnside & Associates placed a full time, experienced campaign
staffer on the ground to direct a paid phone call and
paid canvass operation.
The campaign's objective was to identify supporters of Measures
N and P and motivate them to vote by mail and at the
Voters were identified as supporters, undecideds, or
Supporters were offered a vote-by-mail application which was either mailed to them or
filled out by the voter at the door.
We then used several rounds of chase phone calls to
ensure that our supporters turned in both their applications
and their ballots.
Those who had not were targeted with an aggressive
phone and door-to-door based Get out the Vote program.
- After the success of the N and P canvass, Burnside
& Associates began an intense persuasion, membership
recruitment, and mobilization canvass directly for
Bilingual Chinese canvassers visited registered voters,
informed them about the issue, and collected membership
signup and endorsement forms from supportive voters,
while explaining facts about the project's negative impact to those who were undecided or leaning
towards supporting the project.
The canvass resulted in 1,219 residents joining Arcadia First, of which 495 people agreed to attend a community meeting.
- A paid canvass and paid phone calls were used to educate
and mobilize supportive residents to attend both the
Arcadia Planning Commission and City Council meetings
to speak out against the project.
This mobilization resulted in turning out 400 supporters to each the planning commission and city
council meetings to voice their opposition to building
The November 2006 election resulted in both Measures N and P being approved
by a very narrow margin.
Measure N passed by 99 votes, or 50.3% - 49.7%.
Measure P passed by 308 votes, or 51% - 49%.
A close scrutiny of the vote totals brought one fact
both measures were defeated by voters who actually
went to the polls. But they passed in the final count because of the overwhelming
vote margin provided by ballots cast by mail.
Burnside & Associates' aggressive vote-by-mail program made the difference.
Arcadia First removed the simulcast gaming center and
the housing elements from the final approved project.
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