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Media Coverage
$25,000 Spent In Item H Fight
October 27, 1997



Monday, October 27, 1997
Section: news
Page: A03
Scott Andrews 

RICHMOND More than $25,000 has been spent in the battle over the Measure H ballot proposal, with advocates of the city tax outspending opponents through mid-October. 

But forces opposed to the tax had a strong lead in contributions and were poised to outspend tax proponents in the final 17 days of the campaign, according to finance statements filed Thursday. 

Measure H would tax city property owners a combined annual maximum of $3.4 million for 30 years to pay for seismic retrofit and for fire and police programs. 

In City Council campaigns, incumbent Irma Anderson led in both fund raising and spending for the most recent reporting period of Sept. 21 to Oct. 18. But she trailed fellow incumbent Richard Griffin in overall fund raising since July 1996. Incumbent John Marquez had spent the most money overall and was deeply in debt. 

Citizens for Measure H had raised $9,085 through Oct. 18, with nearly half the money coming in $1,000 chunks from councilmen Tom Butt and Alex Evans, from Mayor Rosemary Corbin and from the Penterra Co., which is developing the Marina Bay area. City Manager Floyd Johnson and his wife, Jewell, gave $250. 

But the pro-Measure H group outstripped its resources as it printed five different campaign brochures, going $6,957 in debt. 

The opposition organized into two political action committees, Black Men and Women Against Measure H and Richmond Fire Fighters Association No on Measure H. Together, the groups amassed $15,300 and spent $11,160. 

The firefighters' union contributed the highest amount, $10,000. The rest came from local industry. Berlex Laboratories, a biotechnology firm, paid $1,000; Levin-Richmond Terminal Corp., a shipper in the port, gave $1,500; and Marwais Steel Co. gave $2,500. Industrial property owners such as Marwais Steel would bear the tax burden under Measure H. 

Both Evans and firefighters' union president Henry Hornsby discounted the importance of money Friday. They said the truest message would carry the election. Both claimed to have righteousness on their side. 

In the council race, banker Gary Bell continued to lag in campaign spending against the three at-large incumbents he is challenging. He had spent $7,413 through Oct. 18, almost $9,500 less than Griffin, the next lowest spender. 

Griffin has kept more in reserve $15,135 than the other candidates. And the 14-year council veteran had raised the most since July 1996: $31,935. 

Anderson also had ample reserves $12,180 as she went into the home stretch. She was second in overall spending ($21,064) and fund raising ($28,485) since July 1996. 

Marquez is out on a financial limb with his campaign, spending more than any other candidate ($22,520) but also getting the least in contributions ($6,810). He has accrued $11,397 in unpaid bills since Sept. 21. 

Three special interest groups made significant contributions to the council incumbents, including $9,000 in soft money to Marquez's candidacy from the firefighters' political action committee. The Richmond Police Officers Association gave a total of $1,850 each to Marquez, Griffin and Anderson. Black Men and Women's committee reported only $250 raised since Sept. 21 but earlier this year reported $2,500 contributions to Griffin and Anderson.