San Francisco surgeon seeks partial recount of anti-tobacco Prop. 29

A San Francisco surgeon has filed a request for a partial recount of the June 5 tobacco tax ballot initiative, which lost by less than 1 percentage point of the statewide vote.

The measure, known as Proposition 29, would have imposed a $1-per-pack tax on cigarettes and raised $860 million for research on tobacco-related diseases and for smoking-prevention programs. It faced opposition from tobacco giants Philip Morris USA and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., which poured nearly $47 million into the campaign against the initiative.

Dr. John Maa, a member of the American Heart Assn., requested the recount Monday, asking the California secretary of state’s office to re-tally 190 voter precincts in the Los Angeles County areas of Sherman Oaks and North Hollywood, said Dean Logan, registrar-recorder/county clerk for Los Angeles County.

Maa, a professor at UC San Francisco, was a strong supporter of the measure, according to a spokesman for the Yes on 29 campaign, which conceded defeat in late June.


The American Heart Assn., American Cancer Society and biking champion Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong Foundation were among the strongest supporters of Proposition 29, which lost by 29,565 votes out of more than 5 million cast statewide.

Any voter can ask for a recount after official results are announced by the secretary of state, although requests must be made county by county and be paid for by the person making the request. The requester can cease or expand the recount at any time.

The request, first reported Thursday by the Sacramento Bee, called for recounts in precincts in the 46th Assembly District, Logan said.

Maa’s representative already has deposited $29,237 for the recount, which will begin Monday at a cost of $3,817 a day, Logan said.

Maa’s attorney, Bradley Hertz, could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.