Opponents of a 15.5-acre retail and residential complex in downtown
Glendale are getting the first say in a 10-week election campaign,
and election experts believe that could affect the election's
Funded by Glendale Galleria owner General Growth Properties,
opponents of the Americana at Brand have posted signs, launched a
website and run television commercials urging residents to vote no on
measures A, B and C in the Sept. 14 special election.
"With a special election in [less than] 90 days, reaching out to
over 80,000 Glendale registered voters is something we felt we needed
to do quickly," General Growth spokesman Arthur Sohikian said.
The measures, forced by referendum petitions circulated by
General Growth, will determine the fate of the $264.2-million
project, which includes a $77.1-million public investment. The
measures must be approved to set the zoning required for the
"A special election is very tough to get people sufficiently
interested to undertake the effort to learn something about the
issue," said Herbert Alexander, a political science professor at USC
and the founding director of the Citizens' Research Foundation. "If
one side is getting a head start, that may be an advantage."
Officials from Caruso Affiliated Holdings, the project developer,
insist that Glendale voters will hear plenty from both sides before
the September election.
"General Growth is definitely not going to dominate this debate,"
said Linda Berman, vice president of corporate communications and
brand strategies for Caruso Affiliated Holdings, the project
developer. "You're going to start seeing a Yes on A, B and C presence
in Glendale as early as next week."
Berman said the decision to launch its campaign after General
Growth was deliberate and strategic, but would not elaborate. Both
sides have been using extensive polling to determine the pulse of the
community, and the decision could be a response to poll results.
"When you're talking about a very well-funded organization holding
its fire and saying we'll start a week or two later, my guess is
there's some kind of very serious strategy," said Mona Fields, a
political science professor at Glendale Community College.
General Growth has already been criticized for its signs being
posted on public property, including utility poles and overpasses,
which violates city code. City workers will remove those signs, and
General Growth's campaign committee could be charged for staff time
for removal of the signs, Assistant City Clerk Rita Buchanan said.
"Our goal is to comply with all city ordinances," Sohikian said.
In a flier sent to Glendale residents this week and on its new
website, www.noonmeasures abc.com, General Growth asked residents for
permission to place lawn signs in front of their homes. Lawn signs do
not violate any city codes.