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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Measure J Deceptions Mar Election

Seismic Canards & Machiavellian Polling Data Used
City & School District Complicit In Misleading Campaign

Emeryville voters are being targeted in a blistering city-wide Measure J mailer campaign that hides the true nature of what they're voting on and gives residents the impression that the schools need to be replaced for seismic safety, residents complained. The $95 million measure would build a Center of Community Life on San Pablo Avenue and would cost residents at least $383 million after finance charges are factored in according to the Oakland Tribune.

The need for earthquake safety being promulgated by the city and the school district has caused some residents to cry foul. Measure J watchers have noted that the earthquake argument arose after paid campaign consultants told officials that it would be effective in softening up voters as part of the larger campaign for Measure J. In fact, any replacement of school buildings in Emeryville would be strictly voluntary and the State of California has not said school buildings need to be replaced here.

Long time Emeryville resident Liz Altieri expressed concern that the Measure J proponents are using fear as a tactic, stating there's an "implication that if there's an earthquake and the building collapses, there will be blood on our hands". She added, "if it's that bad, they obviously wouldn't let the kids in there".

The mailers have highlighted that school buildings in town are not up to "today's seismic safety standards" but they have failed to inform voters that earthquake building standards are upgraded every three to five years as a matter of course in California. One resident who wished to remain anonymous claimed that "we'd have to replace every building every five years to meet current standards. Their argument is ridiculous. They're just trying to scare voters so they'll vote yes on this expensive pet project".

The election consultants also told city and district officials to play down the fact that Measure J is in actuality, a bond initiative for the Center of Community Life and not a 'school bond' per se. CEO Catherine Lew of the Oakland based election consultancy firm The Lew Edwards Group told officials last summer that their polling data suggested weak support for the Center of Community Life but much stronger support for the schools and that if it could be sold as a 'school bond', it would likely pass with the necessary 55%.

Ms Altieri noted the campaign mailers have been deceptively silent about the Center of Community Life, "there's nothing in there about it" she observed.

1 comment:

  1. They're not fooling anyone with the earthquake bit.