NEWPORT BEACH -- Airport backers have put their fund-raising effort in
gear but still trail supporters of a March anti-El Toro ballot measure by
a wide margin.
With little more than a month left before the March 5 election, the
Airport Working Group's political action committee has raised $42,219
this year, county records show. The "No on W" committee, led by three
Orange County supervisors, has not raised $1,000.
The working group filed its first report Monday, the final day of the
second reporting period.
"We put out a fund-raising request [in early January], and you're
starting to see the results come in now," group spokesman Dave Ellis
said. "The community is starting to come together."
In addition to the contributions, the group also reported $12,415 in
expenditures and $26,000 in outstanding debt. The group also has $9,366
cash on hand.
The "No on W" committee didn't raise any money during the filing
period, group spokesman Bruce Nestande said. The period started Jan. 1
and ended Jan. 19.
There are two more filing periods before the election.
The working group's fund-raising efforts compare with the
approximately $280,000 raised by two groups working to pass Measure W,
which would rezone the closed El Toro Marine Corps Air Station from
aviation to open space.
The Committee for Safe and Healthy Communities, the primary group
promoting Measure W, has raised $98,383 for the year so far.
"We needed to start early," said Leonard Kranser, the group's
spokesman. "It takes a long time to get a grass-roots organization to
raise money from a lot of people."
The committee also counts $219,767 in expenditures and $185,542 in
outstanding debt. The group has a $510,455 war chest of cash in the bank,
according to county records.
Also, a group billing itself as "Great Park, Yes! Measure W, Yes!"
raised $59,606 so far this year. The Irvine-based group reported $70,724
in expenditures and $52,679 in debts. The group's cash balance is
The wide fund-raising gap has raised consternation among some airport
supporters, including Costa Mesa Councilman Chris Steel.
"The whole airport is in a little bit of trouble politically and
certainly financially," Steel said. "We don't have the money, and if we
can't get the money privately we can't really put on a campaign. And if
we had a vote today, the Great Park initiative would pass, probably
The working group, on Monday, also filed a finance report for the
second half of 2001. During the final six months of the year, the group
raised only $3,824, compared with $14,651 in expenditures.
For all of 2001, the working group raised $46,084 and spent $21,990.