Campus Crusade for Christ disclosed Thursday that it has pumped an additional $70,000 into the campaign to defeat Proposition A, a last-minute contribution that brings to $217,000 in cash and services the amount that backers of the La Jolla Valley project have donated to defeat the slow-growth initiative.
The evangelical Christian organization's contribution, made through its local subsidiary University Development Inc., now gives anti-A forces a political war chest of $534,711--the largest ever to be collected by any side in a City of San Diego proposition campaign. The previous record was $454,529 collected in 1980 to defeat a proposed rent control ordinance, officials with the San Diego city clerk's office said.
The Campus Crusade contribution also serves to underscore the kind of stark contrast in resources and styles in an initiative campaign that has become a kind of David and Goliath contest. While developers have dumped large sums of money into their anti-A media campaign, proponents of the initiative have relied on a grass-roots movement backed by a mere $44,000 in contributions to date.
The proposition, which would force developers to submit plans for building in the urban reserve area of the city to a public vote, resulted from discontent among local environmentalists and neighborhood groups about the growth policies of their elected City Council members. Sponsors of the initiative gathered more than 75,000 signatures to place the proposition on the ballot.
John Jones, director of communications for Campus Crusade, said Thursday the Christian organization has become the largest contributor in the fight against Proposition A because the initiative would reverse a San Diego City Council decision that allows immediate development of Campus Crusade's 1,000-acre university and 750-acre industrial park, part of a project called La Jolla Valley.
He declined to say exactly where the organization was getting the money for political contributions but added that it came from "what you would call normal capital sources that a business would use. It is certainly not Campus Crusade for Christ ministry money. It is not from fund-raisers."
Jones also declined to say whether Campus Crusade will be spending more money on the race before Tuesday's vote.
The campaign against Proposition A has received several large infusions of money during the last week or so, according to city clerk records. Since Oct. 23, Pardee Development has contributed $60,000 and Campus Crusade has added $140,000 in cash to the anti-A coffers.
The latest donation from the Christian organization was $70,000 given Wednesday by William J. Parizek, executive assistant for University Development Inc. It was reported to the city clerk's office on Thursday, an action required because the amount is in excess of $1,000 and comes after the last official campaign reporting period before the Nov. 5 election.
Those last-minute contributions, say anti-A officials, were not emergency infusions of money but planned donations to help pay for mailing campaign materials and radio commercials as the race comes down to the wire.
"This was part of the pattern that was agreed to in the beginning," said Lee Grissom, president of the Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce and a leader in the anti-A campaign.
"This is the time that you're buying the ads, the radio spots, and doing the mailings and all that," Grissom said. "This is when you need the money. It doesn't do you any good to have the money sitting in the bank, early in the campaign."
Despite the record-setting political cache, Grissom said he believes the campaign against the initiative has been run "judiciously" because early estimates predicted a fund-raising effort that netted $750,000.
In contrast, initiative proponents have raised $44,000, said Jay Powell, coordinator of the local Sierra Club Chapter and Proposition A advocate.
Powell said Thursday that the latest contribution from Campus Crusade was a sign of desperation by developers. "The polls must not be going their way and they feel they have to pour it on at the last minute," he said.
"They've been deliberately wanting to spend their money at the last minute so it wouldn't get that much attention . . . so the voters see, in essence, they are trying to buy the election."
Environmentalists and slow-growth advocates placed Proposition A on the ballot to wrest control of individual development decisions in the urban reserve from the City Council and throw them open to direct vote. In addition, the initiative is aimed at reversing the council's September, 1984, decision permitting parts of the La Jolla Valley development, which is planned for 5,100 acres of Campus Crusade property in the urban reserve.
The initiative would not only mean a difference in how San Diego would grow but would also be a fundamental change in the way the city governs itself, both sides agree.