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Builder Main Donor to Group Backing Lake Miramar Project

A Scripps Ranch community group spent more than $457,000--$400,000 of the total contributed by BCE Development--to oppose a rival group’s bid to block development of the hills north of Lake Miramar, according to campaign finance reports made public Tuesday.

The reports show that the Committee to Protect Your Community, which supports BCE’s city-approved plans to build 3,360 homes on 1,200 acres north of the lake, raised virtually all of the money from BCE and other development firms.

The organization spent the funds gathering more than 52,000 signatures in support of the project and opposing a rival group’s effort to gather enough signatures to force a citywide referendum.

The total is about four times the amount that Bob Dingeman, chairman of the Committee to Protect Your Community, told reporters that his group had raised during the January campaign.

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Most of the money was spent to hire a professional petition-gathering firm, to mount a citywide telephone campaign and to pay for public relations work and direct-mail literature.

Nevertheless, the rival organization, the Save Miramar Lake Committee, gathered about 45,000 signatures, nearly 20,000 more than needed to force a citywide referendum. The group, which has not yet filed a disclosure form, spent about $20,600, said its co-chairman, J. Gary Underwood.

The Save Miramar Lake Committee is opposed only to the 658 homes planned for the slopes north of Lake Miramar.

BCE has filed a lawsuit in Superior Court claiming that the petitions are invalid. A hearing on a temporary injunction in the matter is scheduled for Tuesday.

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