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a publication of the
Mineta Transportation Institute
College of Business
San Josť State University
San Jose, CA 95192-0219
Created by Congress in 1991
MTI Report S-01-03
Lessons Learned: A Conference on Transit Referenda
and Why They Succeed or Fail
June 29- July 31, 2001
San Jose, CA

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1. Report No.
4. Title and Subtitle
7. Authors
9. Performing Organization Name and Address
15. Supplementary Notes
12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address
16. Abstract
17. Key Words
19. Security Classif. (of this report)
20. Security Classif. (of this page)
21. No. of Pages
22. Price
18. Distribution Statement
14. Sponsoring Agency Code
13. Type of Report and Period Covered
11. Contract or Grant No.
10. Work Unit No.
8. Performing Organization Report No.
6. Performing Organization Code
5. Report Date
3. Recipient's Catalog No.
2. Government Accession No.
Mineta Transportation Institute
College of Business
San Josť State University
San Jose, CA 95192-0219
California Department of Transportation
Sacramento, CA 95819
U.S. Department of Transportation
Research and Special Programs Administration
400 7th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20590-0001
No restrictions. This document is available to the public
through the National Technical Information Service,
Springfield, VA 22161
Final Report
Technical Report Documentation Page
Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72)
Lessons Learned: A Conference on Transit Referenda and Why They
Succeed or Fail
This research project was financially sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Research and
Special Programs Administration (RSPA) and by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).
This year, the Mineta Transportation Institute joined the American Public Transportation Association, as well
as authorities in transportation to join in a conference on July 29 through July 31, 2001, entitled
Learned: A Conference on Transit Referenda and Why They Succeed or Fail
. The purpose of the conference
was to discuss the history of successful and unsuccessful transportation measures that have existed in various
cities across the United States. Participants represented members from transportation agencies nationwide. Each
table was presented with issues to discuss and present to the conference. Short presentations were made by var-
ious authorities in the transportation and political arenas. The conference included several question and answer
sessions. The moderators were Pete Cipolla and Rod Diridon. This publication, a transcript and summary of the
July conference is a next step in the information transfer effort.
This conference brought together a nationwide representation of transportation authorities as follows:
*Dr. Peter Haas, Professor, Political Science and Transportation Management, San Josť State University
*Dr. Richard Werbel, Professor, Polictical Science and Transportation Management, San Josť State University
*Bill Lind, Director of the Center of Cultural Conservatism at the Free Congress Foundation, Washington D.C.
*Pete Cipolla, General Manager, Valley Transportation Authority
*Gary Richards, Columnist, "Mr. Roadshow,"
San Jose Mercury News
*Max Besler, Campaign consultant, Townsend Raimundo, Besler and Usher
*Carl Guardino, President and CEO, Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group
*Jude Barry, CEO, Catapult Strategies and former Chief of Staff for San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales
There were over 100 conference participants from various transportation agencies across the country.
Public information programs; Public
transit; Surveys; Transportation
industry; Transportation system
November 2001
avg is 196

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To order this publication, please contact the following:
Mineta Transportation Institute
College of Business BT-550
San Josť State University
San Jose, CA 95192-0219
Tel (408) 924-7560
Fax (408) 924-7565
Copyright © 2001
by The Mineta Transportation Institute
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 2002101528

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The Mineta Transportation Institute would like to thank the following co-sponsoring
organizations as well as the following individuals for assisting in producing the "Lessons
Learned: A Conference on Transit Referenda and Why They Succeed or Fail." Without their hard
work and dedication leading up to the conference, or during the three-day event, which included a
Federal Transit Administration "New Starts" Workshop, this symposia would not have been the
success it was.
Event co-sponsors included:
*The American Public Transportation Association
*The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority
*The Center for Transportation Excellence
*The Mineta Transportation Institute
Thanks to the following individuals:
*Art Guzzetti, Director of Policy Development and Member Mobilization, the American Public
Transportation Association;
*The Santa Clara County Chapter of the League of Women Voters and Virginia Holtz;
*Presenters Peter Haas, Ph.D., Bill Lind, Robert Puentes, Richard Werbel, Ph.D., Alan Wulkan,
and panelists Jude Barry, Max Besler, Carl Guardino and Gary Richards; and
*Peter Cipolla, General Manager, Valley Transportation Authority; and Jeff Hanan, Halik
Associates, both of whom acted as moderators for the event.
Additional thanks to the following:
*San Jose Hyatt Saint Claire Hotel
*San Jose Convention Center
*Valley Transit Authority
*Mirassou Vineyards
Thanks also to MTI staff, including Research Director Trixie Johnson, and Communications
Director Leslee Hamilton, Research and Publications Assistant Sonya Cardenas, transcriber Noel
Celene Major, editorial associates Jimmy Young and Catherine Frazier, and student graphic
designer Cedric Howard.

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Table of Contents
Mineta Transportation Institute
FOREWORD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
WELCOMING REMARKS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
FOLLOW-UP STUDY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
BALLOT MEASURES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
GROUND RULES FOR DISCUSSION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129
ORGANIZING THE CAMPAIGN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133
IMPORTANCE OF THE MEDIA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143
HANDLING THE CRITICS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159
THE ESSENCE OF WHAT WINS AN ELECTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183
CLOSING DISCUSSIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 195
ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 205
APPENDIX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A-1

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Table of Contents
Mineta Transportation Institute

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Mineta Transportation Institute
At the beginning of the 21st century, providing funding for transportation
improvements remains a challenge. With numerous programs competing for
local, state and federal funding, transportation planners must often seek special
funding for necessary projects. Taxpayer referenda provide an important
means of securing dedicated funding for transportation projects.
Transportation proponents in Santa Clara County, California, have been among
the most well-informed and proactive when it comes to passing transportation
tax measures. The most recent success occurred in November 2000, when a
one-half percent sales tax was extended for an additional 30 years to provide
funds for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, and for the BART
extension to the Silicon Valley.
It made perfect sense for the Mineta Transportation Institute to become
involved in the American Public Transportation Association's "Lessons
Learned: A Conference on Transit Referenda and Why They Succeed or Fail,"
which was held on July 29 and 30, 2001. This was another in a series of
symposia presented by the Institute on issues of national importance to the
transportation community. MTI research focuses on transportation
management and policy concerns, and we are the proud publisher of two
important studies, MTI Report 00-01,
Why Campaigns for Local
Transportation Initiatives Succeed or Fail: An Analysis of Four Communities
and National Data,
and MTI Report 01-17
Factors Influencing Voting Results
of Local Transportation Funding Initiatives with a Substantial Transit
Component: Case Studies of Ballot Measures in Eleven Communities.
The conference provided an opportunity for over 100 attendees to examine
and discuss the latest information about transportation tax measures.
Presentations included "A Overview of Transit Referendum Campaigns and
the Communities That Have Conducted Them," by Alan Wulkan; "Twelve
Anti-Transit Myths: A Conservative Critique" by Bill Lind; "Brookings
Institute Update on Election Day 2000 Ballot Measures" by Robert Puentes;
and "Passing Local Transportation Tax Measures-A Follow-Up Study" by Dr.
Peter Haas and Dr. Richard Werbel. Panelists for the expert panel "Doing It
Right: Santa Clara's November 2000 Election" included Jude Berry, Max
Besler, Carl Guardino and Gary Richards.

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Mineta Transportation Institute
I would like to take the opportunity to personally thank all the organizations
and individuals who gave their time and talent to make this important
symposium a success.
The Santa Clara County Chapter of the League of Women Voters, and
especially Virginia Holtz, were instrumental in organizing the activities of
the two-day conference.
Thank you to the conference presenters as well as our moderators Peter
Cipolla, General Manager of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation
Authority, and Jeff Hanan of Halik Associates. Their skillful management
of the meeting added much to the productivity of the event.
We especially appreciate the work of Art Guzzetti, Director of Policy
Development and Member Mobilization of APTA. Having the APTA
conference at San Josť State University and highlighting our recent
research was his concept, and he was instrumental in accomplishing every
facet of the event. He and the APTA staff were accomplished partners in
the logistics of the event, and key to its success.
I also would like to thank MTI research and publications staff, including
Research Director Trixie Johnson, Research and Publications Assistant
Sonya Cardenas, transcriber Noelle Major and editors Cathy Frazier and
Jimmie Young for their work on this publication. Thanks also to Dr. Peter
Haas, MTI's Education Director, and Dr. Richard Werbel, our research
team, for participating as presenters at the conference.
Last, but certainly not least, I would like to thank the various transit agencies
who sent their best and brightest people to share their thoughts and experiences
with presenters and participants alike.

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Mineta Transportation Institute
Because it is the mission of MTI to provide the best in transportation policy
research, it is my hope that this publication together with our prior research
will be of assistance to referenda authors and supporters in working toward
successful passage of well-written, truly beneficial transportation referenda in
their own communities.
Rod Diridon
Executive Director, The Mineta Transportation Institute

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Mineta Transportation Institute

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Executive Summary
Mineta Transportation Institute
In the summer of 2001, the Mineta Transportation Institute co-sponsored, with
the American Public Transportation Association, Santa Clara Valley
Transportation Authority, and the Center for Transportation Excellence, a two-
day symposium on July 29 through July 31, entitled "Lessons Learned: A
Conference on Transit Referenda and Why They Succeed or Fail." The
purpose of the conference was to discuss the history of successful and
unsuccessful transportation measures that have existed in various cities across
the United States. Participants represented members from transportation
agencies nationwide. Each table was presented with issues to discuss and
present to the conference. Short presentations were made by various authorities
in the transportation and political arenas. The conference included several
question and answer sessions. The moderators were Pete Cipolla and Jeff
Hanan This publication, a transcript and summary of conference is a next step
in the information transfer effort.
This conference brought together a nationwide representation of election
consultants and transportation reserachers who presented the most up-to-date
reserach on transportation referenda. Presenters included the following
Peter Haas, Ph.D., Professor, Political Science and Transportation
Management, San Josť State University
Richard Werbel, Ph.D., Professor, Polictical Science and Transportation
Management, San Josť State University
Bill Lind, Director of the Center of Cultural Conservatism at the Free
Congress Foundation, Washington D.C.
Pete Cipolla, General Manager, Valley Transportation Authority
Gary Richards, Columnist, "Mr. Roadshow,"
San Jose Mercury News
Max Besler, Campaign consultant, Townsend Raimundo, Besler and Usher
Carl Guardino, President and CEO, Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group
Jude Barry, CEO, Catapult Strategies and former Chief of Staff for San
Jose Mayor, Ron Gonzales

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Executive Summary
Mineta Transportation Institute
Over 100 attendees invloved in the transportation industry took part in the
conference. Their backgrounds were as varied as board members, development
officers, legal counsel, city managers and public/media relations professionals.
Conference participants were treated to several presentations which shared the
most recent research on passing transportation referenda. The subjects
included "An Overview of Transit Referrendum Campaigns and the
Communities That Have Conducted Them;" "Passing Local Transportation
Tax Measures: A Follow-Up Study;" "Twelve Transit Myths: A Conservative
Critique;" "Brookings Institute Update on Election Day 2000 Ballot
Measures;" and a group panel discussion of "Doing It Right: Santa Clara's
November 2000 Election."
Additionally, participants participated in table discussions with topics
including "Organizing the Campaign;" "Importance of the Media;" "Handling
the Critics;" "It's All in the Details;" and "What Wins An Election?" After
brainstroming sessions, participants presented their findings, ideas and
concerns to the expert panel, who provided immediate feedback.
Conference participants were invited to stay in San Jose for an additional day
for a Federal Transit Administration "New Starts" workshop, which was held
on campus at San Josť State University. No transcripts of this event were taken.
This publication is organized chronologically, by presentation title, and the
question and answer session which followed each presentation is in the same

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Welcoming Remarks
Mineta Transportation Institute
Our community rallied behind a sales tax measure and we were successful in a
transit-only vote of 72 percent in favor of transit half-cent sales tax. A 30-year
sales tax, beginning in the year 2006 will generate, in 2000 dollars, around $6
billion. So everybody thinks we have a whole lot of money to spend but we've
got a whole list of projects to spend them on too. So, I'm beating away the
dogs and stuff, saying, "Yeah, [Inaudible], give us some money, we have some
other projects to do." But, we're managing to hold them off and such. This
community has really had a history of self-help, or dealing with its own
transportation measures. We're going to hear a lot more about that tomorrow.
We've got several members of the team on a panel tomorrow morning first
thing, including-Gary Richards, who's from the media. He's from the
Mercury News
, who I will, I'm gonna say it again tomorrow, but he is probably
one of the most knowledgeable people when it comes to transportation and
transportation issues that you're ever gonna run up against. I know that Rod
back here will help me verify this.
We have an extraordinary gathering of people here at this conference, meeting,
workshop, round table discussion, whatever you want to call it. I think there
are about 100 or so participants which is quite impressive as far as I'm
concerned. I will be the first one to say that when I first heard about it
happening, half the staff was shaking their heads back there saying, "Are you
sure that everybody's going to come here for this in July?" I'm really pleased
to see you all here. But we have everybody from political champions,
community activists, business leaders, transit officials, transportation officials,
people who've been involved in the positive outcomes, and the negative
outcomes of referendums. We hope that, through this process, that we
undertake this afternoon and tomorrow, that we're going to be able to generate
a body of knowledge that can be packaged in such a way that it will be useful,
not only to those of you in the audience that need to go back and try again, but
the many other communities in our United States that need to do it for the first
time. To make sure that we capture all of these ideas, large portions of this
meeting are going to be recorded, so be careful what you say. I'm just kidding.
But, actually, I'm not kidding. Be careful what you say. Make sure what you
want to say. You want to be heard. Tomorrow, I don't think the sessions are
going to be recorded during the workshop things. So if you have something

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Welcoming Remarks
Mineta Transportation Institute
that you really want to get off your chest but you don't want it recorded, save it
for tomorrow.
Tomorrow is designed-actually, the whole conference is designed, to have
some pretty frank and candid discussions about the topic of referenda and
such; thus "Lessons Learned, a Conference on Transit Referendums and Why
They Succeed and Why They Fail."
There are a few people, a few organizations that deserve a lot of credit in
putting this thing together. First, I'd like to thank APTA's business members.
They made a significant financial contribution, as they always do, in helping
put this meeting together. Also the Mineta Transportation Institute, headed by
Rod Diridon and Trixie Johnson here; and others of the Institute are here and
have worked real hard to help make this event a real positive outcome and
helped coordinate a lot of the logistics and made arrangements for tonight's
dinner and such. In addition, we'll be reporting on a couple of reports that they
have led the way in putting together.
The other group is the Center for Transportation Excellence. Since that group
formed in 1999, it's been a very proactive source of information on the benefits
of transit, inspired by the concept of what we're talking about today. I also
want to give credit to the first individual that actually raised this issue, Alan
Wulkan. You'll actually be hearing from Alan today also. Alan raised the
issue-"Wouldn't it be great if we put all the people who've been dealing with
referendums in one room and you know, get a real brain drain on them and be
able to package that information?" I think the Center kind of picked up the ball
and ran with it. APTA's picked up the ball and run with it. Mineta Institute has
picked up the ball and run with it. Now here we all are today. I think one of the
other things that you're going to see this generating-and I have to put in a
pitch for this too-is that the Center for Transportation Excellence is gonna be
an additional voice in our PT Squared Program-the Transportation
Partnership for Tomorrow. That's going to be real critical in the weeks and
months to come as we move forward with reauthorization. While the
discussion tomorrow is going to be highly interactive, the focus of today's
program is to learn about the many topics of research that have been going on.
We're going to hear from the Mineta Transportation Institute, who have two
reports; the Brookings Institution Center for Urban and Metropolitan Policy;
Bill Lind to unveil the latest report of the Free Congress Foundation, which I
have had the opportunity to read and I'm very excited about that coming out
and its timing is superb. There will be opportunities to Q&A after each of the
speakers. We'll have microphones out in the audience. So I would encourage

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Welcoming Remarks
Mineta Transportation Institute
you, as the speaker is talking, write yourself a little note or if you have a
question in mind, be sure to jot it down so that we can follow up on it.
We're also very pleased that the Federal Transit Administration has chosen San
Jose to unveil, or at least to have a special half-day workshop here on Tuesday
morning, on the New Starts Program. This is very important to probably most
everybody in this audience. So, I would encourage you to be able to attend that
on Tuesday morning at the Business College of San Josť State University.
Then, just as a final thought, I'll remind everybody that tonight we're going to
have a real nice evening out at the Mirassou Winery, nice dinner and such.
We're going to try to get you out of here at 5:00 so you can run, dash back to
the hotel and be out in front of the hotel. VTA buses will be out there at 5:30 to
take you down to the winery.
With that, I'm going to jump into the meat and potatoes of the program, so to
speak, and it's my pleasure to introduce my colleague and good friend, Rod
Diridon, who is the Executive Director of the Mineta Transportation Institute.
Many of you in the audience know Rod served five terms on the Santa Clara
County Board of Supervisors, and during that term he was also Chair of the
Transit Agency, which was a part of the County. Rod had also served as Chair
of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Chair of APTA, and was also
the United States Representative to UITP. He has really made Light Rail, and
was the founder so to speak, at least we give him the paternal credit of saying
he was the founder of light rail in San Jose, which he was. We wouldn't be
doing what we're doing here today without Rod, so...Rod Diridon.
Actually, many people, when we were first building that system, declared that
it had no father, and used the pejorative term for things that have no father, to
describe it. I'm at least glad that that term has gone away.
Pete, thanks for the nice introduction. I'll move quickly through my comments
so that we can save some time for questions. I'd like to first of all thank a lot of
people. Looking around, I see some good friends in the audience. It's kind of
like "Old Home Week." Whenever we get together with transit people now,
maybe the silver hair is making it, indicating that I've been around long
enough to have gotten to know most of you. But, it's nice to have you in San

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Welcoming Remarks
Mineta Transportation Institute
Jose. I'm glad you were able to avoid the beautiful sunshine and somewhat
cool weather today to be in here, in these dour surroundings, learning about
how to be successful transportation politicians. Passing that tax is the whole
key. If you've got the money, you can do anything in the world. Today, you'll
learn how to do it.
Before I get into that, let me first say some thank-yous. The League of Women
Voters need to be thanked, double thanked and triple thanked. All five of the
local chapters in Santa Clara County offered volunteers to help. Virginia Holtz
was our liaison person with them and the person who organized the activities.
So, go home and hug a League member. While you're here, you can hug one
too. The reason why they were so successful, and Virginia is here by the way-
thank you very much Virginia for all of the organizing help that you
provided-the reason why the League is so involved is because of the
Research Director for the Mineta Transportation Institute. By the way, you
know that we've shortened that name. It used to be the Norman Y. Mineta
International Institute for Service Transportation Policy Studies. I have job
security because I'm the only one who can say it that fast.
So, the Mineta Transportation Institute Research Director is Trixie Johnson.
Trixie is a past president of the local and regional Leagues, then she became a
Planning Commissioner and a City Council member for two terms and was
Vice-Mayor of the City of San Jose before we were very pleased to have her
become the Research Director for the Mineta Transportation Institute. She
brings with her all of her good friends, and we can do wonderful things as a
result of it. So we thank you, Trixie, and you, Virginia and the Leagues.
Let me also thank the Mineta Transportation Institute staff and I'll use that as a
lead into doing the commercial part of the program. I have to give you a little
bit of background on MTI. We are really busy right now. We have 31 research
projects going, many of them in foreign countries. We have over 50 Ph.D.-
level researchers under contract with as many research assistants supporting
them under contract. Trixie is really busy, you can imagine. By the way we do
only policy research; we don't do technical research. So this is our business.
Helping you figure out ways of running your business better is our business,
and we're happy to do that. Trixie will have out for you to review tomorrow
the list of the various projects that we have in process, and those that we've
already published so that if you need copies, either electronically or hard-copy,
we can provide those to you. You can use that information then to help provide
better transportation programs for your local communities. We in addition have
a Master of Science in Transportation Management, and that's something that I

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Welcoming Remarks
Mineta Transportation Institute
hope you take very seriously and take it back to your bright, young potential
managers and maybe yourselves. We can provide that Masters Degree
anywhere in the state, in the United States, through video streaming. It's an
accredited California State University Master of Science. It's very innovative
in that it teaches transportation systems, not how to do individual elements of
transportation, but it teaches how to run a mass transportation system or how to
run a public works department or a state transit agency or whatever. So, it's
quite good. The classes are often times taught by top experts in the field of
transportation. In the state of California, they're taught through the
videoconference bridge of the California Department of Transportation. So all
you'll have to do is go over to your local Caltrans Regional Headquarters, and
you can take the class. They're 5:30 until 9:30 in the evening, so they're
designed for working people. We'd love to be able-we have liberal
scholarship programs for the students that are in the program, so that the cost
bite is not at all serious-and we'd love to be able to provide that service to
you. We know that because the gas taxes are very high in the rest of the world.
We can't outspend the rest of the world when it comes to building transit
agencies, so we have to outsmart them. That Master of Science in
Transportation Management, is going to help us outsmart them.
Let me go on now and talk for just a little bit about what you're going to be
treated to over the next couple of days. First off, this afternoon, you're going to
be presented with 11 case studies on ballot measures that have been successful
or unsuccessful and the professors who have been our research directors on
this project, which isn't even published yet. It's in pre-peer review form. It's
not quite published. So it's really hot off the griddle. The professors are Dr.
Richard Werbel and Dr. Peter Haas. This is their second study that they've
combined to bring to you. I think it's going to be very insightful. What we
bring to that is the background in this county of success. We've had... in
March 1976, the first half-cent sales tax in the State of California was passed.
A half-cent sales tax forever, for transit. That's what's running Pete's program
now. In 1984, we had a half-cent sales tax for highways for 10 years. Highways
got even with us for the 1976 tax. Then in 1994, 10 years later, we had a half-
cent tax adopted for highways and transit. That was overturned by the courts
and we went right back in 1996 and passed a half-cent sales tax again. Each
one of those at about 54, 55, 56 percent, and the half-cent sales tax in 1996 was
for 9 years, and it was passed by 54 percent of the vote. It was part transit and
part highways.
Then the great success that surprised us all, which was a very pleasant surprise.
Last November, we had a half-cent tax for 30 years, passed by over 70 percent

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Welcoming Remarks
Mineta Transportation Institute
of the vote. It was a classically good campaign. It was for a good reason
because we'd had a reputation in the valley for delivering projects ahead of
schedule and under budget. Also, we have a very bright electorate. Silicon
Valley tends to attract people with good educations and they could understand
why we needed transportation and transit. This last tax was all transit-30-year
half-cent sales tax for only transit. So it gives you an idea that maybe this is the
place for you to look at when you want to model your tax programs.
You're going to learn about that from Dr. Werbel and Dr. Haas. Then
tomorrow, we've put together a panel for you that really involves the people
that were involved in passing those taxes. The professional consultant, the
manager, the community organizer, and the head of the manufacturing
association. As Peter mentioned, the newspaper columnist, who is very, very
bright and effective in terms of transportation, has always been supportive of
our transportation programs. We call him Mr. Roadshow on his column in his
media, which he kind of chafes at, because he's very pro-transit. So, you'll
enjoy Gary Richards tomorrow, as Pete said you would.
So please, make sure you're here and not out on the golf course. We're gonna
be checking. Well, maybe the day after you can be out on the golf course. And
enjoy yourself. Santa Clara County is a wonderful area. The dinner tonight is at
Mirassou Winery, which is a world-renowned winery. I know you'll enjoy that.
Make sure you're not late for the 5:30 bus departures. Thank you very much
for coming from all over the nation, as you have, to learn about how to create
funding for transportation in your community.

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An Overview of Transit Referendum Campaigns
Mineta Transportation Institute
Earlier I thanked APTA's business members for their financial support for this
conference. I'm especially pleased to call upon Alan Wulkan, who's the chair
of APTA's business member Board of Governors, and serves with me on the
APTA Executive Committee. Alan's a senior as many of you know. He is a
Senior VP with Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade and Douglas. He's had extensive
experience and involvement with transit elections, some successful, some not
so successful. Notably, the last election last year in Phoenix, Arizona, his home
community. Alan's role today is to give us a general overview of transit
referendum campaigns and the communities that have conducted them. Now
this is his birthday weekend, and we dragged him back from Las Vegas. We
probably saved his house, his ranch and everything else, but we dragged him
back from Las Vegas to be here with us today, so please welcome Alan
Hello. Good afternoon everybody and welcome.
Usually a lot of times at APTA meetings we go around and everybody
introduces everyone. But it looks like we have almost 100 people. So we
shouldn't do that maybe today. How many of you, however, have been
involved with elections for transit that have lost, raise your hands. How many
of you have been involved in transit elections that have won, raise your hands.
How many are here for the first time because you want to win an election
coming up soon? Great, thanks. You know, for all of you who raised your
hands you know in the transit business you can become very pessimistic very
quickly when you start thinking about the daunting task of passing a tax in
your community for transit.
I have a little story I want to tell you. I want you to remember this as you go
through the most difficult times of your campaigns, especially if you're about
to become pessimistic to the point where you're not sure it's worth it. I want

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An Overview of Transit Referendum Campaigns
Mineta Transportation Institute
you to remember the guy who cuts my hair, Roger. Roger is the most
pessimistic person I have ever met in my whole life. One summer I wanted to
go to Italy on vacation. I went in to get my monthly haircut. Roger said,
"Where are you going on vacation?" I said, "I'm going to Italy." Roger said,
"Why would you go to Italy? They hate Americans over there." I said, "Roger
I've been there before and I want to go again." He said, "When are you
going?" I said, "I'm flying on Saturday." He said, "Saturday, the worst day of
the week to travel. Everyone travels on Saturday. There's going to be long
lines." And then he said, "Okay, what airline are you flying?" I said, "Al
Italia." He said, "Al Italia? They're never on time. They lose your luggage. It's
going to be a terrible trip. Where are you staying?" I said, "Well, last time I
was there, I stayed at the Plaza de Navona." He said, "Plaza de Navona? My
God, all the street people hang out there. You'll not get any sleep. They'll
accost you every day. All right, what are you going to do when you're there?" I
said, "Roger, last time I was there I didn't get a chance to go see the Pope or
the Vatican. I really want to do that." And of course he says, "A million people
a day try to go see the Pope. You have no chance at all."
Well, despite all that pessimism, I went anyway. I came back the next month to
get my haircut. And I said, "Roger, you're not going to believe it. I went to
Italy and the people were fantastic. They treated us like gold. We flew on
Saturday, and it must have been a holiday weekend because there was nobody
in the airport. And Al Italia was right on time. The baggage got there right
when we arrived. Plaza de Navona, maybe because it was a holiday weekend,
was empty. We had the whole place to ourselves. We went to the Vatican. And
all of you have probably seen pictures of the Vatican, and there's double doors
and there is this beautiful courtyard where lots of stairs that come down." And
I said, "Roger, you're not going to believe what happened, but while we were
milling"-and again, I guess a lot of people living in Italy and Europe are on
vacation in August, so there's not a lot of people at the Vatican-"The doors
open and the Pope starts walking out onto the courtyard in the Vatican. The
tradition there is you line up so the Pope can welcome you to the Vatican, and
we all line up. And he's coming straight down the line and he stops." I said,
"Roger you're not going to believe it but he stops right by me." And Roger
says, "You're kidding." I said, "No." And the Pope leans over and whispers in
my ear, "That's the worst haircut I've ever seen in my life."
All right, so when you start thinking you're getting pessimistic, and times are
tough, remember my friend Roger.

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Over the last 28 or 29 years, I've been involved with over 25 transit elections
throughout the country. When I was asked about the idea of having this
seminar/conference, I thought it would be a great idea. They asked me would I
share some observations about what's happened around the country, especially
most recently. Then I added to that because any of you who know me, I like to
talk about the things that I feel passionate about, and this I do. Those are some
of the lessons learned and some of the principals that I've picked up over the
last 28 or 29 years on the keys to being successful in transit elections.
You're going to hear, I hope, a lot of overlap over the next two days, because
that means we probably are beginning to get it right in understanding some of
the lessons together. I'm going to do a few things. I've got three case examples.
For those of you in the audience who I know, if I offend anybody, I'm sorry.
But they are my observations in elections that you have had. So, Danny, don't
get upset with me from Dade County. Or others I know who are here from
Phoenix. But I'm going to run fairly quickly through this overhead
presentation. You have copies. We did not make those copies up to try to take
them off of the PowerPoint, which frankly, with this projector, doesn't project
very well. I brought a backup in the overhead. So I'm going to do those instead
of the PowerPoint. I can get you the color copies or whatever after the seminar.
Obviously, in the last couple of years during a lot of elections, you have seen
similar headlines. We took these from some of the headlines around the
country on elections that have been held in many of your communities and
others. Nationally, over the last three years, data that was available, it's kind of
interesting. In 1998, when you look at how many elections failed versus
passed, transit elections, as you can see, about 70 percent of the transit
elections that were held in 1988 failed. In 1999, it became about 50/50. We lost
a few more than we won. Then in the year 2000, you can see we won almost as
many as we lost in 1998, almost 70 percent of the elections that were held. All
of those people who are pessimistic say these things never pass, and that's not
true. They're passing, and the more we do them, obviously the more we learn.
In 1998, as you can see, we had about, just under 15 transit elections that we
lost, 71 percent of them. In 1999, a few more, and as I said, we split. Then the
year 2000, there were over 30 initiatives throughout the country. Of those, as
you can see, we won almost 70 percent of them.
Now I wanted to take three case examples, and I hope you'll bear with me.
There were so many that I just wanted to pick the ones that I thought contrasted
well. Two of them are going to be from the same community, the first being
Dade County. I'm from Dade County, it's my home. That's where I started my

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career. I'm very proud of what's happening in Dade County and what
continues to happen. We've had a history in Dade County of elections and they
have not been overly successful in the recent times. They were successful
earlier. The last election in July of 1999, was a special election.
For those of you who don't know Dade County, they pay for almost the entire
budget of a rail, bus, people mover, para-transit program out of the general
fund in transit. It puts a lot of pressure on the voters, on the policy makers of
the community every budget year. There's been a move for many, many years
to try to get a dedicated revenue source. So the concept in Dade County was to
go for 1 percent sales tax. This was somewhere where they wanted to make it
palatable to an electorate that had been negative on new taxes before, and tolls
used in Dade County to finance the maintenance and operation, and in some
cases, the construction, but mostly the maintenance and operation, of many of
the roadways. The mayor came up with a concept of trading tolls for the sales
tax. There was an awful lot of discussion about replacing general funds support
with the sales tax, eliminating tolls, expanding transit. And all their polling and
surveys said tolls were a terrible burden on the community and they hated
them. They decided this would be a concept that would work.
Unfortunately, the way it came out was-a very strong mayor, a very popular
mayor, one who I believe that at the time the decisions were made most people
would say could pass just about anything this mayor thought was a high
priority-the mayor decided that he was going to closely control the campaign.
Although there were a lot of people involved behind the scenes in raising
money and doing strategy, the overall approach to this campaign was in the
hands, and I hope that Danny would agree, of the mayor's office. The mayor's
office was closely controlling the campaign; he had the strategy. The business
community would raise the money, and they did. They raised almost $2
million. They would appeal to special interest. They don't want a real big turn
out. They want those people who really care. They would play traffic and tolls
against the transit issue. And a lot of the polling and surveying said that was a
good idea. They had polling results that, to be very blunt, early on, showed that
they might be ahead. But they weren't ever really far ahead. They always
showed a relatively close election. I'm going to come back to that issue later on
some of the lessons learned.
What were the results? Strong champion, the mayor. Special election, the
strategy was-let's get a low turnout. Highly targeted, you'll hear this, the high
propensity voter. By the way, in your communities, I know there will be some
campaign people that will disagree with me. When you hear high propensity

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voter campaign in a transit election, watch out. Because what usually happens
is you don't get only the high propensity turnout in transit elections. You get
high turnouts. Dade County lost 2 to 1. The turnout was over 30 percent. What
happened was they came out with not an anti-transit vote. Dade County has
had its challenges in the past. It came out as an anti-government vote in many
cases. Hispanic and Anglo vote where the mayor, particularly in an Hispanic
community, was the single most popular elected official in the county, went big
time against transit. There was an anti-tax mood as things had been changing in
Dade County. It's much more conservative today. And frankly, the strategy of a
low turnout, high propensity voter, highly controlled election, simply did not
work. The election did not come up from the grass roots. It came up from the
top down.
A second campaign that I wanted to highlight very quickly is a smaller
community, one where I happened to have my office. At the time of the
election I was Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce. What happened here
was in Arizona for the last ten years, there have been four unsuccessful
regional votes in Maricopa County to get a transit tax. So we decided we were
going to try to do something a little different. If I was to ask you what state has
the highest number of dedicated taxes for transit in the United States, what
would you guess? What state?
New York
Anybody else?
California. Anybody else? Arizona? No. Believe it or not, it's Texas. It's not
because Texas is some great champion of public transportation overall over the
last 20 years. It's because they have a piece of legislation that allows local
governments, city by city, to vote as they feel it's needed on transit. If the big

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city approves it, it doesn't make any difference what everybody does. The tax
is approved and it's initiated. Then, all the other communities join in. What we
decided is we would do the same thing in Arizona. We can't win regional
transit taxes. We can't win regional taxes for education and health in an elderly
community; it's a very conservative community. So we decided we'd go city
by city. We went to the citizens of our local community and worked on a transit
plan. We got very strong business support. In fact, it was the Chamber of
Commerce that went to the city council and asked for the election. The council
didn't want to do the election. In Arizona, elected officials, God bless them,
they're wonderful people, but if you want to win a major tax election, a lot of
times, they're not your closest friends. Because everybody thinks, again, this
anti-tax mood, anti-government mood, "Why are they going to ask us for more
money?" So we asked our elected officials to take a very low profile.
Tempe is a community of only about 140,000 people. So that's why I wanted to
talk about it because you don't just have to be a big city to pass a transit tax.
We went for a half-cent sales tax forever. No term limits on it. Expand a bus,
dial a ride, rail planning, etc., and we won the very first transit tax in Arizona
by 54 percent of the vote. And I'll go into some of the lessons on that later. But
everyone thought, well, if we can pass it in Tempe, then Phoenix, the biggest
community in the state, certainly with the most needs, we'd clearly be able to
pass a transit tax going locally. In 1997 they tried right after the 1996 Tempe
election, a high-targeted campaign. We're going to get those people who
always vote. Once we win that part of the election, we're going to win. Strong
vote by mail.
By the way, in my judgement, that is the future of elections, not just in transit.
Vote by mail, at least for transit, is a great system. This is not absentee
balloting. It's the next step. Anybody who wants to vote by mail has a right to
get a ballot. These parties distribute these ballots. Now, people who are
involved with issues distribute the ballots. The vote by mail ballot, coming in
early, if you can think about it, usually is more targeted to the issue. Because
it's later in the campaign that the anti-government and all the things that have
nothing to do with your campaign, begin to rise to the top of the debate. So, in
almost every election in Phoenix, especially this one, we won in 1997 over 60
percent of the vote by mail that came in a week before the election.
However, we had a governor who opposed it. Our governor Simington-I'll
talk a little bit about that in a minute-as you remember, he was being
impeached around this time, and finally was impeached. I'll tell you why that's
an issue. Nobody wanted to talk about the rail vote in 1997. We had lost a vote

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in 1989 and everybody thought, "My God, if we talk about rail, we're going to
lose again," even though rail was in the plan. Anti-government voter, we
appealed to people that this was not coming from the city council. We had
strong business community support. We were going for a half-cent sales tax.
We had a committee of 600 that the mayor appointed to bless the plan. So we
had strong business community support, and the mayor of Phoenix became the
champion. We kind of converted them.
But what happened? All the polls showed we were way ahead. The mayor is
Republican. The governor is Republican. About four weeks before the
election, the mayor, while the governor was under investigation, asked the
governor to resign. The governor didn't want to resign. Internal squabbling.
One thing led to another. Three days before the election, the governor asked
the head of the Department of Environment Equality, and the Department of
Transportation, to hold a press conference, and announced that public
transportation does nothing for air quality and congestion, simply to get back at
the mayor of Phoenix. On his way to the press conference, the governor in his
limousine got a phone call the jury was in on his case. To show you how these
political feelings go, he picked up the phone, called his department directors,
said, "I can't be there, do it anyway while I'm in court." Headlines the next day
were, "Absolutely transit does nothing for air quality and congestion." Two
days later, we lost the vote by 122 votes. Ironically-this is a true story-the
very next day, we had an air quality alert. The headline in the paper was, "DOT
says use public transit, air quality alert." One day too late.
So we lost our election. Out of 185,000 votes, we lost by 122 votes. If that
press conference wasn't held, would we have probably won? Probably. But our
polling said that we were way ahead, and it really shouldn't have swung that
closely. So the mayor decided let's go back. And in 2000 we held a second
election in Phoenix. Ladies and gentlemen, you are going to lose the first time.
Hopefully you're wrong. When we won in Austin, when I was Executive
Director there, we were lucky. We were one of three or four that won the first
time. But the chances are you're going to lose the first time. That's not
embarrassing, there's nothing wrong with that. It's part of the education process
in your local communities. That's what we decided in Phoenix-"Let's go back
again. Let's build on the things that we did well."
We knew that we were going to get a good mail campaign. We won 60 percent of
the vote last time. So this time we targeted 70 percent of the vote to get that in
before the election day. We had a very specific, defined plan. Instead of a
committee of 600, we went with a committee of 2,000. We actually put, as I'll

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show you in a little bit, we put the maps of the ballot measure on the ballot.
When someone walked in, they could see a map right in front of them and what
they were getting for their vote. Most places don't allow you to do that legally.
We can do that in Arizona. We addressed the opposition. We took them head on.
This was not like we did in 1997, a stealth campaign. We decided when the
opposition said something, we were going to counter it. If they were going to
have 50 people at a rally, we were going to have 150 people at a rally if we can.
We took the opposition on every single turn of the campaign. We polled our
conservative voters. Our conservative voters love rail. I am sorry for my friends
who are only doing bus initiatives. They are much more difficult to win than an
initiative that has rail in it. Conservative voters are not going to use a bus. They
don't think they are going to use a bus, and it doesn't make any difference what
you think they are going to use. They want to use quality transit only, and in their
view, quality transit, which Bill and I have talked about, and so has Paul, is
defined in many cities as rail transit. So we elevated the rail issue, and we
weren't worried about the anti-government voter because we realized we were
going to lose them anyway.
Okay, what happened? We changed the ballot a little bit. The mayor decided he
would not go back for the same exact campaign. So instead of a half-cent, we
went for four-tenths of a cent-65 percent for bus, 35 percent for rail, a citizens
based campaign. The chamber took a leadership role. The mayor of Phoenix,
almost to the flip side of what he did in the first campaign, became a zealot.
This was something that he was going to basically predicate his history of a
mayor on and really became one of the best champions I've ever worked with
in the last 20 or so years. I do want to say, because the first one gives it away
how we did, the night of the election, we all went around the room. We had a
little dinner for the people who were involved. A little dinner-it was about 60
people and the key people in the campaign. We were all asked to give our
projections as to how we are going to do. I've been to many of these so I didn't
want to tell the mayor I thought we were going to lose, because I didn't think
we were going to lose. But I know these are always close and I said 52 to 48. I
mean it scaled all the way, I think from everyone in the room, the highest
someone got bold and said we might win 55 percent of the vote. The mayor
said, "Nonsense. I think we are going to win close to 70 percent of the vote."
We thought he was crazy. But I got to tell you, he put his machine to this thing.
We won 2 to 1, almost 70 percent percent of the vote. This is one of the reasons
why is we put together a citizen's commission which helped create this part of
the referendum. Again, the ballot included exactly what was in it for me. That's
a theme you're going to see in a little bit. If you can't answer the question-

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"What is in it for me?"-in your city, you are not going to get that person to
vote for your initiative.
Okay. Those are three real quick case studies and you're going to hear a lot
more. I didn't want to spend my whole time on that. This is what I think is
more important to this presentation, and for what I think you're going to be
doing in the future. I think first of all there are some principals that you've got
to follow. Ladies and gentlemen, you can disagree, debate, or you can say your
community is different. You all live in different communities. But you are not
different. Every issue you are going to face in your communities has been
faced before. Every reason that you are going to win or lose has been faced
before. You can do things differently. Every city has its own little campaign
group that has got to be different. But take my word for it. If you don't pay
attention to the basics, you're going to lose.
First, focus on winning. The story I love to tell in Tempe is-I come from a
transit background. I grew up in the transit industry. I know that bus pullouts
from a transit operator standpoint is a nightmare. They hate them. We in transit
think they are the worst thing in the world. We did a poll when we were putting
our plan together for the election. We asked people, "Rank the things that you
like or don't like about public transit." The number one thing in our
community people hate about public transit was that damn bus sitting in traffic
and they were sitting behind it. They thought that was a terrible thing. When
we polled, what they hate about public transit, and what they would vote for,
bus pullouts are the number one things the voters in Tempe said they vote for.
Our transit manager went bonkers-"You can't give me bus pullouts. It's going
to ruin the operation of the transportation system." I said, "Mary, listen to what
I'm telling you. Do you want a bigger transit system and more money and win
an election? Or do you want the best operated small transit system in
America?" It's very simple. We had more bus pullouts in that plan that you've
ever seen in your life. And we won. Focus on what the voters want you to give
them; not what you think is the best thing for them.
Follow the keys to success, which I'm going to talk about in just a minute.
Survey early and often. As I said, most of these elections are not going to turn
on whether people like public transit. Ladies and gentlemen, you can ask these
questions all day long, up to the day you lose, and your voters are going to say,
"We think public transportation is great." All in favor of public transportation
raise your hand. The issues in most of these elections have nothing to do with
public transit. Recognize that there are going to be a whole range of other
issues you are going to be dealing with.

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Early fund raising. You can't win these things without money. Certainly the
size of the community makes a big deal. We only raised $250,000 in Tempe. In
Phoenix, we raised $2.3 million. So, wide range, but you have to have money.
Keep it simple. I know that sounds like it's so easy to think about. I can't tell
you how much ballot language has played in losing elections. Despite the fact
that you live and die with these issues, a vast majority of people that are going
to vote on your referendum's future won't focus on it until the day before they
go into the ballot booth. No matter what you think how many headlines you
have, how many TV, how many radio shows. They're not going to focus until
the day before they go into the ballot booth. If they walk into the ballot booth
and they don't understand what you're asking them to give them, they're going
to vote "no." A confused voter is a no-vote. An uninformed voter is a no-vote.
Make it simple so they understand it.
Transit elections are unique. It's a principal I keep preaching everywhere I go.
The vast majority of the people that are going to vote on your future will never
use what you are asking them to vote on. I don't care if you've got the greatest
transit system in the world. The best split you're going to get is going to be 15
to 20 percent of the people in your community. So, again, why would the other
80 percent that are never going to step on your transit system vote for you?
You've got to answer that question when you put together your initiative.
They're unique elections. Spend a lot of time thinking about what's in it for
I think I'm doing okay with time. Keys to success. I won't go through all these
in great detail. Timing. Simple things. We had an election once in Phoenix. We
did it, I think, the week after income tax time. Everybody said April would be a
great time to do it. A lot of people would be around. You have to be around
because you have to file your taxes. Not the best time to hold an election.
If you're community is in a depression, laying off people, other issues, it may
not be the best time. It's up to you and your campaign consultants to think
about that. The other side of it is, I will tell you, in every election I've ever
been involved with, there's never a good time to hold a tax election. Show it to
me. What's the best time to go ask people to give you more taxes? It's never a
great time. But in each individual election, I think this is where cities are
different, you got to get a sense. I always lean toward going earlier, not later.
But you still have to have enough time to do a campaign. Have a specific plan.
Be able to answer what's in it for me. Economical development may be in it for
the business community, and they'll never use transit. There may be a whole

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range of other issues. We polled in 2000 even though in 1997 the opposition
really killed us in Phoenix on air quality. Transit is not going to do anything for
air quality. Transit is not going to solve any community's air quality problem.
We know that. It's one piece of a pie. One piece of a puzzle that you have to
put together. We polled our voters in 2000 in Phoenix. They thought transit is
going to help air quality. All of our ads showed the dark cloud and the air
quality problems. Even though, technically, most people would say it's not
going to solve it. It doesn't make any difference. Make sure you have enough
in it for everyone to vote on.
Keep it simple, I talked about that. Champions, make sure you show the
benefits. Public involvement. There are, to me, a four-legged stool, a three-
legged stool, I added the fourth one for funding. You have got to have a grass
roots campaign. You can't just go out and decide what the plan is going to be
based on all your wealth of experience and think the voters are going to
embrace it. You have got to have public involvement, grass roots plan. You got
to have champions. We talked about that and it's up there. You got to have
professional help. If you don't have those three things and then combine
funding to tie them all together, you are going to lose. Some people think they
can have two of those three, or one of those three because they are so strong.
Take my word for it, you are going to lose.
Listen to your community. If they tell you they want something, stay ethical,
don't do anything you can't do. Give it to them. Make sure you have a regional
balance. That's something I don't want to talk about too much. Governance
and accountability. A lot of people if you're creating a new agency, that's
another issue. We can talk about that at another time. Be a little creative. Some
communities really want to see the high tech solution, some people don't.
Understand what your community is really attracted to. As I said, have
adequate funding when you're doing the campaign. And don't think you can
get by. So many campaigns I've talked to people, "Oh well, that's a problem
but we can get around it." They lost.
Champions, you can not win a transit election without a champion. If you go in
it and say, "Well, we've got a lot of people who like us, they are supporters, but
they're not people that really are champions that will lead a campaign," you're
not going to be successful. They should be a recognized household name. They
should not have any inherent political interest. I was surprised that the mayor
of Phoenix turned out to be a much better champion than I thought he was
going to be. He knew his constituents and did a great job. Most of the time if
it's the mayor, if it's someone that looks like they have a political interest,

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they're not the best champion. They've got to have the time to work on it. It's
one of the reasons why elected officials are not the best champions. They have
other jobs. They don't have time to work on the campaign. But we had a
former mayor in Austin that helped us win. She was by far in 1984 the most
recognized household name in our community. She was a three-term mayor,
the only woman mayor in the history of Austin at the time. And really helped
us tremendously. Chamber leaders, former city council people. We had a radio
station in Dade County that helped us win our first election. Needless to say,
we got great coverage on his radio show. Professional help. You're going to go
through this debate every single time.
Local versus national. In my judgement, you need to stick as best as you can to
local political consultants. The people that win elections in your communities
are who you want to win election in your community. That's not to say that
they're aren't some very good national consultants that can give you advice.
But there are too many, in my judgment, that have a cookie-cutter approach to
winning transit elections. Winning transit elections in San Jose or Los Angeles
is not the same as winning in Salt Lake where we won the second time around.
Basically with local election people, we had the best numbers eight years ago
or whatever it was in Salt Lake, maybe more now. We had the best survey
numbers I've ever seen six months before an election. National campaign came
in. This is how we win, I'll leave him unnamed, this is how we win them in
California. It's a stealth campaign. We don't take on the opposition. It's high-
propensity voter, we've won nine out of 10 elections in California this way,
we're gonna win. We got killed. Okay, it doesn't always work because it works
in California.
The other thing I'll tell you about polling. If you are not 2
to 3 times ahead
in your polls when you start thinking about the election, I don't care if that's
six months ahead or a year ahead-don't go. Don't think because your're 55-
45, it looks good. You need to be in rule of thumb, 2
to 3 times ahead, six
months or longer outside of the election, or you're going to lose. Those
numbers get tighter and tighter and tighter, and you need to have that kind of
margin. Listen to your consultant. What would you expect from a consultant to
tell you, okay? Listen to him. That's why you hired him. You know, you might
be a great transit manager. You might be a good public relations person. You
might be a great operations manager. You don't do transit elections. Listen to
the consultants that you hire. If you don't like the advice, change the consultant
maybe, but listen to the consultant, okay?

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Issue campaigns, frankly, they're different. They're different than election
campaigns for individual office. That's one of the reasons why a good local
campaign manager or consultant, paired with some of these people you're
going to hear about today, including myself, who could give them a little bit of
a perspective on what happens nationally on the transit issues, make a very
good time. Have a realistic budget. All of your money, 75 percent of your
money, is going to come in late. It's going to come in the last 30 days of the
campaign. So make sure you're realistic. When you're thinking about buying
TV and radio and newspaper, make sure you understand it's in the cash flow,
and that's where your consultants are going to be very helpful to you. Of
course, the campaign strategy is critical, and that's why good professional
consultants are going to give you great advice. Grass roots, the business
community today is key in many, many communities. Make sure you have
them on board. Neighborhood groups, community organizations, the Speakers
Bureau, there's a whole lot of things we can do and talk about during the
conference, but it's critical that you have that grass roots.
Before I run out of time, make sure you've got enough money. Community
Chair is important. I always love picking or getting the banker, the leading
bankers involved as my finance committee. They know how to raise money.
No one says "No" to the banker because they don't know when they're going
to need that bank to help them the next month in financing. Set realistic
budgets, and I won't go through all of that.
Okay, some lessons learned, and then I'll shush. Election issues-you're gonna
deal with these, we'll talk about them, I know others are going to deal with
`em. What's in it for me? I've already talked about that. The One Percent
Myth. Only one percent of the people in the community are ever going to use
public transit. And, if you believe that, then it doesn't do anything for
congestion, it doesn't do anything for air quality, it doesn't...the problem is,
when you get into debates on these issues-listen to the question. One percent
means nothing. The major freeway in your community carries less than three
or four percent of the total trips in your community. Understand the question. If
it means nothing, get rid of it. Talk about what's strength for you. Most people
try to debate our opposition on their turf. Their questions. Most of them are
getting very good. They're better than we are in most communities in
understanding what plays with the general public. So, stop thinking like a
transit person. Start thinking like someone who's focused on winning an
election. Then you have a better chance of winning.

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"All rail systems are over budget with little ridership." We know that's not true,
but you're going to be dealing with that issue if it's rail in your plan. "Transit
should pay for itself." We've heard about that, cheaper options are always an
election issue that you've got to deal with. Why do transit? We have schools,
we have other issues that we have to deal with and you're going to have to be
prepared for that. There are other priorities, just like I just said, other issues.
Government mistrust; you may have that, you have got to deal with that
government mistrust in part of your planning. Empty buses-everyone is
seeing empty buses, so why would anyone think they're going to use it if you
give them more money? You're going to deal with that issue. "Transit does
little for air quality." I touched on that. There are a lot of people that go around
this community. If you think you've heard all of the debate on transit in your
communities, wait. If you're doing a major election, you're going to be visited
by a number of people that do this for a living-going around and trying to
make sure that transit initiatives are not passed. We know these folks, we know
where they're coming from and of course, the industry would be happy to help.
Lessons learned, and I got five minutes so I can do it real quick.
Usually you're going to go, as I said, more than once. Hopefully, you're going
to win, but most of the time you're going to do it more than once. The outcome
is influenced by other issues. Understand that, deal with that the best you can
within your community to try to clean the deck on whatever issues your
community is faced with during this time. All local elections identified, most
of them were all or nothing propositions. You can't pick and choose whether
you vote for bus versus rail. That's a good thing. You want to put your plan
together so there's a little bit of something for everyone. By the way, one thing
you're going to go through, everyone does this, you're going to go through a
debate-do we go for a quarter cent, a half cent, three quarters of a cent? I will
tell you, most of the survey research I have done, of these elections, the people
who are going to oppose you at a quarter cent are going to oppose you at a half
a cent, they're going to oppose you at three quarters of a cent. If your plan is
not big enough to answer the question of "What's In It For Me?", you're going
to lose. I don't mean be grandiose, don't be bigger than you need to be. You
want to be conservative in the way you approach the financing, but make sure
you have enough money to do the job, because if the voters don't perceive you
have enough money, they're going to not support you. You can succeed as a
standalone or in combination with highways. We've seen that happen in both.
So, it's not one or the other. The most successful campaigns, as I've said, have
had grass roots and professional management, they're well-financed...Pete,
how am I doing? I'm almost done on time? Couple more minutes? Okay.

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A successful transit election is more likely to be linked with the funding
request. Make sure there's a trust factor there. People want to know what
they're paying for and what they're getting and the proposition should be
focused on short-term and immediate time frames. In Miami, we used to say,
"We don't go try to sell the people in Northeast Dade County on something
that requires them to buy more than green bananas." These people don't buy
green bananas. They don't, people are short-term focused. They want to see
what I'm going to get today. You try to tell them it's going to ripen in the
future, and 10 years from now you're going to get a great rail system, they
think they're going to be dead by then, okay? They're not, it was funny, the
opening of MetroRail after we won our election, I had some of the same people
that said, "Why would I support you? I'm going to be dead by the time we
open." Then sure enough, I reminded them that they're still here. That's fun, if
you have a chance to do that, but they don't trust you up front. So be careful
with that. Don't try to sell the long-term vision, unless again, in some
communities, long-term vision is paired with the short-term benefits. That
really does work well.
Most elections are close. They're, you know, thank God for San Jose's and the
second election in Phoenix. I mean, you can surprise people. You can win by
the, huge majorities. But I'm going to tell you. You're campaign is going to be,
probably within three or four percentage points one way or the other, especially
if you win. You lose more by wider margins and we win more by narrow
margins. Um, interesting-every community that I've studied and been aware
of-eventually, after they went the first time, they passed their tax. Now some
communities have just gone for the first time. San Antonio and a few others for
rail. Eventually, we win. That's what you saw on that first chart. We're
beginning to win more often. We're beginning to educate voters better and
frankly, you don't have to be pessimistic. You don't have to always think about
my friend Roger. If you're here, and you listen to the wealth of knowledge that
we have on the panel, and others coming up, you have a lot of reasons to be
optimistic. This is a great time to be in public transit. This is a great time to be
offering options and choices for people in this country. If you just pay attention
to some of the basics, you're going to be successful too. Thank you for inviting
me today. It was really a lot of fun.
Alan, thank you.

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We're just gonna take, let's do a couple little housekeeping-type things. One,
after each of the speakers, we'll allow a couple of minutes for some quick
Q&A. Then, toward the end of the session today, we'll open it up to actually
asking questions of anybody on the panels and on their other presentations.
The other thing is, we're gonna go straight through folks, so we're not gonna
take a break this afternoon. So, if you need to stretch, there's some goodies out
in the back there, so feel free. Speakers, don't be offended if people stand up or
have to go to the restrooms or whatever, or if you have to stand up, you can
stand up and stretch too. But, I think it's important that we do try to just kind of
push forward and push through this, so that's going to be the routine today.
Does anybody have...yes, go ahead. Well, you're going to have to move faster
than that, Art. Alan...I can repeat the question.
Could you talk a little more about selling the short and long-term vision?
I think the biggest issue you have with most people is, the day after the
election, and I swear this is true, the day after our election in Phoenix, our
Transit Office got phone calls asking "How come I don't have service, since
we just passed this thing?" I mean, the day after. I'm not kidding. So, people
focus on the short term. Now, as good planners, as good policymakers in our
communities, you need obviously a long-term vision. You need to know where
you're trying to get to. If you hired good consultants, they'll help you get to
that. But, if you're trying to win an election, don't try to sell the long-term
vision as the cornerstone of the election. Certainly in San Jose, they had a 10
year plus, and you'll hear more about that, vision of where transit was going. I
will also tell you it helps you a lot, if you're trying to sell the long-term vision,
it helps a lot if you've got a real homerun on your hands locally. If you've got a
great system, like here, and others like in San Diego, which first put their major
system in place first, before they went for the long-term vision, then people
begin to trust you a lot more, and you have a chance to sell that vision. But a lot
of people want "What's In It For Me?" answered in their lifetime and, as they
perceive it...

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Alan, are we going to celebrate your next birthday? Well, one more, a couple
more questions. I'd like to follow up just a little bit. You're going to hear a lot
of different thoughts and a lot of different opinions and you're going to hear
me saying this often, over the next day and a half, take it all with a grain of salt.
Because you all have to, you have to take what you get here and package it for
your own system and package it for your own situation. It's a lot different for
us; it's a lot different going forward with the first sales tax or the first measure
than like us, going forward with our fourth one. And, you know, we already
have a lot of things going, so we could move forward with a measure that
doesn't even start collecting tax until 2006. So, it's a different situation for
everybody. So, take what you learn and kind of go through it and shake it up a
little bit and sees what falls and..oh, we have somebody with a mike there. Go
Alan, you said, you said that, in general, the bus initiatives don't do well. Rail
does. What about BRT-Bus Rapid Transit?
First of all, I don't want to over-generalize there. Bus initiatives, in some
communities where rail has absolutely no role, is a little bit more difficult to pass
with conservative voters. That doesn't mean that bus initiatives alone won't pass,
`cause they do. In Austin, when we passed ours in 1984, we were bus-only, with
just rail planning involved. There wasn't, rail was not a major issue. But they are
more difficult, particularly today, when people are looking as what we, and
you'll see the Weyrich reports that are back there, and I think Paul and Bill have
done a great job, of defining quality transit. BRT plays into that very well. If you
can convince your conservative suburban voters, or people that don't see
themselves, whether we like it or not, they're not on there today because of a
reason. They don't see themselves sitting in a bus, stopping often, and what they
perceive is not a quality ride, today. But, we have seen rails, commuter rail and
Bus Rapid Transit, be successful in attracting people that won't normally use
transit. So if you're looking at a BRT as the future express bus component of
your plan, test it in your community. If it makes sense, use it. But if it doesn't,
then you might have to look...... sales tax or first measure than like us, going
forth with our fourth one. We already have a lot of things going. So we could
move forward with a measure that doesn't even start collecting tax until 2006.

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So, it's a different situation for everybody. So take what you learn and kind of
go through it and shake it up a little bit. And see what falls.
Oh, we have somebody with a mike there. Go ahead.
Alan, you said that in general, the bus initiatives don't do well, rail does. What
about BRT, Bus Rapid Transit?
First of all, I don't want to over generalize there. Bus initiatives in some
communities where rail has absolutely no role, is a little bit more difficult to
pass with conservative voters. That doesn't mean that bus initiatives alone
won't pass, because they do. In Austin, when we passed ours in 1984, we were
bus only with just rail planning involved. Rail was not a major issue. But they
are more difficult, particularly today, when people are looking... and you'll see
the Weyrich reports that are back there. I think Paul and Bill have done a great
job of defining transit.
BRT plays into that very well. If you can convince your conservative, suburban
voters, or people who don't see themselves using it, whether we like it or not,
they're not on there today because of a reason. They don't see themselves
sitting on a bus, stopping often, and on what they perceive is a quality ride
today. But we have seen rails, commuter rails and BRT, be successful in
attracting people who won't normally use transit. So if you are looking at a
BRT as the future express bus component of your plan, test it in your
community. If it makes sense, use it. But if it doesn't, then you might have to
look for some other [Inaudible].
Alan, I was wondering if you could just comment on sunset versus
imperpituity? And that ties in very much with the issue of short term/long term.

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Yeah, we have dealt a lot with this and in Phoenix, and it was a real problem
with us. There are those who really believe-and you'll go through this
debate-you'll get more voters who will support you if you have a 20-year
term, or a 30-year term on your tax, as opposed to imperpituity.
The research that I've been involved in the past does not support that. It might
be intuitive-people might think that's the case. But the research says the
priorities of why people support or oppose something is the length of the tax.
Yet, our mayor in Phoenix would not let us put the initiative back on the ballot
if it didn't have a 20 year sunset. So now we're faced with financing a multi-
billion dollar program, and we can't bond long term against it, we have other
problems with it. Yet, again as Pete said, every community has got its unique
circumstances. If the mayor won't let you get on the ballot unless you've got
sun setting in there, it's probably got to be something that has a sunset
Okay, we're going to take two more questions here, then the gentleman over
there, and then we're going to move on. You'll have opportunities to ask more
questions later on.
Is there a significant difference in how you would approach a campaign in a
small urbanized area with mixed rural setting than in a major metropolitan
Well, I think the first thing in either one is understand your voters. Understand
what their priorities are. I mean, clearly a campaign in Tempe is different in
Phoenix. In a rural community it is going to be different than in other places.
So, again, it's the survey research part. It's understand the voters. It's
understand how they vote. There are clear voting trends in rural communities
that are different than in the major metropolitan areas. Bringing in the
professional people that have won in your rural communities on major
initiatives if there are any, I think are key. And listen to them. Have them tell

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you what's going to get that rural farmer to support you. Or that rural resident
to support you. That might not be the same issue in a major metropolitan area.
Okay, sir?
A lot of our opposition on the industry will say to you-of the total trips made
in your community, less than 1 percent ever use public transportation. Even if
you were to win-and I have heard this over and over again... let's say you go
from no dedicated revenue service to one penny, and it gives you this
tremendous amount of money, the best you'll ever do of all trips is go from
maybe .5 percent to 1 percent.
Well, first of all, they are talking about all trips. Every time you walk, every
time you bicycle. Most of the trips in your community that don't even have
transit in your neighborhood, they count all the trips in that area. So if you
listen real closely, they're giving you something that is probably true. Less
than 1 percent of the total trips in any community will ever use public transit.
Just like less than 3 percent of the total trips ever use any given freeway link.
Because there are so many trips. We're not trying to get all trips. We're looking
at work trips. We're looking at medical trips. We're looking at those trips that
we can compete for. In the areas where we provide quality transit, we compete
very well for those trips. But don't fall into the trap. The trap is-1 percent of
all trips, therefore why make the investment. You wouldn't invest in freeways.
Again, when they come into a community, as they did in Austin, they'll talk
about the whole community, where there is no transit. There's only transit in a
very small part of the service area, where Capitol Metro provides service. So
when they come in there and they say, "Well, look at these numbers, they're
terrible." Well, they're terrible because there is no transit in those parts of the
community. We never are going to compete well if we can't provide transit. So
there are traps. And as you get closer to the election we can...

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I think you are going to see a lot of this in the discussion as we follow through
to that. Okay?
Alan, thank you, but we really do need to move along.
During dinner tonight or the bus ride to or from, corner these folks and do the
brain drain on them too.

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Passing Local Transportation Tax Measures: A Follow-Up Study
Mineta Transportation Institute
I am now pleased to introduce two fine gentlemen from the Mineta
Transportation Institute-Dr. Peter Hass and Dr. Richard Werbel. They have
co-authored two studies on transit referendum, which they are going to discuss
with us.
Peter Haas is professor of the department of Political Science at San Josť State
University. He has numerous scholarly and professional articles on the subject
matter, which also includes the 1998 report entitled, "Capital Versus Operating
Variance For Transit. Economic Impacts For California."
Richard Werbel is the professor of marketing at San Josť State University and
is an expert on research methodology. He has published numerous reports on
Please welcome Dr. Hass and Dr. Werbel.
Hi, I am Richard Werbel. Peter is my colleague. We have a little bit of a power
play presentation, so we'll be alternating here.
We're allotted 45 minutes. We are going to each try to go about 10 minutes and
then leave a lot of time for questions. We have a lot of research here. We can
only touch upon that. We do recommend that you do read our reports. The first
one you can get currently; it was published last year. The second one, as Rod
said, is in a pre-review stage. But that should be ready in hopefully a few
The title of the study which was on the last slide, is "Passing Local
Transportation Tax Measures: A Follow-up Study." I like to use the word ballot
measures rather than referendum or referenda, even though I took four years of
Latin in high school and I know plural with Latin, it's easy to get screwed up
with that. With ballot measures, it's much easier.
To go into more detail, let's start with the last factor. We are focusing on what
we refer to as actionable factors. Those refer to primarily the nature of a

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transportation package and the process used to determine it. For example, we
have looked at the expiration date of an x-ray machine. Peter will have more to
say about that. Peter is going to go over the findings. We're going to refer to
them as findings rather than recommendations because this is a research study.
I'm going to go over some of the methodology. Anyway, the actionable factors
deal with the nature of the transportation package, the process used to
determine it, proponents campaigns, opponents' campaigns, nature of
coalition. We also have looked at background factors, because they certainly
come into play. Just as an interesting background factor that is fairly unusual.
In Salt Lake, which is an unusual case by the way we generally found as Ellen
found that if you aren't starting with a two to one margin, you're in trouble. In
Salt Lake, a month before the election, they did polling and they were, I think,
about 10 percent points behind, which was very ominous. In addition, their
campaign raised only $200,000. So, those were a couple of factors, combined,
that were rather ominous. They won, by about 53 percent I think. The transit
agency actually did a lot of communications and there was a lawsuit involved,
which was eventually decided in their favor, after the election of course.
But the interesting thing, and a typical thing about that, is roads. They were
doing construction on a major interstate and people were really angry at roads.
Actually some of the funding was required to go to roads, and some people
almost opposed it because it was going to roads. Clearly the sentiment against
roads did help here. So there are some unusual features. [Inaudible] actionable
features. We found that the best way to study this is through a case approach.
That involves interviewing and written documentation that I will describe in a
little bit more detail.
In the second phase of the study, we've looked at about 10 ballot measures in
communities. Actually in some of those communities, and you'll see a slide of
that shortly, not yet, we'll list the communities studied. Phoenix is one of the
communities we studied. Each of the ballot measures we're looking at and this
is a fairly narrow focus-does have a substantial rail component. That, of
course, means that it tends to be done in larger communities. These are the
communities that we focused on in this most recent one. In a few of these
communities-and I am going to refer to this again later-they actually had
two measures. In Alameda County, they had a measure that failed in 1998, two
years before the measure that succeeded. As Alan said, Phoenix had a failed
attempt by 123 votes in 1997 and won by about a two thirds to one-third
margin in 2000. Denver failed in 1997, came back in 1999, and won again by
about a two thirds percentage. Sonoma County had another measure in 1998
that failed. The 2000 measure also failed. Although in California, there's a

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higher threshold for failure. They actually got 60 percent and failed because
the super majority requirement is needed.
In our first study, we included Denver in 1997; Sonoma County; Santa Clara
measure in 1996; and Seattle had two measures in 1995 and 1996. So in both
studies, I think they've looked at 17 different measures in 12 different
What is different about our case approach, and we need to thank the Mineta
Transportation Institute for that, is we've been able to do an intensive study,
which usually you can only do a few cases, with 17 different cases again.
Again, we needed substantial funding for that and we got it through the Mineta
Transportation Institute.
So, let me tell you a little bit about the information that we collected. Because
again, we are focusing on these actionable features. We mostly did onsite
interviews. For four communities, we did telephone interviewing. And is there
anybody here from Salt Lake? I'm not sure if I talked with any of you on the
phone, but hopefully I have talked with a few of you.
Since we were interested in the package and the campaigns, we always talked
with somebody from the transit agency. We typically talked with somebody from
elected officials and/or the representatives aides. We talked to political
consultants. We always talked to an opposition. We generally talked to people
from the business community. Sometimes we talked to people from the
environmental community. In some instances, particularly in California, if you
have the environmental community opposed to you, that can be a problem. It was
a problem in Alameda in 1998, and a problem in Sonoma County in 1998 and
We also found it helpful generally to talk to people in the press, particularly
newspapers. We would usually try to talk to them at the end, and have them
from an objective perspective, maybe clarify some conflicting information we
might have received.
We also looked at a lot of written information. We tried to get a lot of the
written information before we did the interviews, so that those would frame
some issues for us. We looked at some major investment studies. We looked at
a lot of survey results. I certainly agree with Alan and found that a lot of
research, not just during the campaign, but in putting the package together,
makes a lot of sense. People were open with us about the research that was

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done. We saw [Inaudible], budgets... We did a lot of content analysis of
newspapers. So we have a lot of information on these ballot measures.
One of the interesting things that I mentioned before, we were able to do two
measures in a very short time in some communities. If we include our first
study, we have Seattle in 1995 and 1996; Sonoma in 1998 and 2000; Phoenix
in 1997 and 2000; Denver in 1997 and 1999; and Santa Clara, actually, in 1996
and 2000.
One of the interesting things that we found then supports what Alan said. That is
there could be substantial changes within a community in a relatively short time.
I think the biggest increase was in Alameda where they went from 58 percent to
81 percent in a two-year period. Some of the others were generally changes in
the voting percentage in the 15 percent to 23 percent range. Seattle had the
smallest increase, but that was about 9 percentage points. In all those instances,
there was an increase, which again suggested optimism. But it also suggests that
this is-as Alan said-these transit initiatives may be unusual in a sense that it
isn't a philosophical issue. Voters may have some ambivalence. There are things
they like. Will the money be worth it? Although sensitivity has been on the
upward side, I don't know if that's necessarily grounds for optimism.
What we found in looking at some of these studies is that there could be
significant changes in voting primarily on the campaign. In Phoenix, the
measure in 2000 was fairly similar to the measure in 1997. Rail did play a more
prominent and explicit role in 2000. The tax was reduced. There was a sunset
date. The tax was reduced, our understanding is, primarily at the insistence of
the mayor so that he could say it wasn't a tax increase. I guess there was a
[Inaudible] sales tax for some other purpose that was being phased out. As a
Republican, he felt much more comfortable saying that it technically was not a
tax increase. So we found big campaign differences. Phoenix is an interesting
campaign. I may talk about it a little bit later, particularly in terms of how they
dealt with the opposition. Alan talked about that a little bit.
Seattle on the other hand-and Alameda County-there really wasn't that
much difference in the campaign. There was more difference in the two
different transportation packages. So we certainly found that the nature of the
package and the nature of the campaign both can have a substantial effect on
results. Peter is going to go into some more details on what our findings were,
dealing with the package and the campaign.

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Hi. Welcome to sunny San Jose. I'm really glad to see you all here. I rode my
bike over here. Yet another trip that won't be one of that 1 percent, but a luxury
for me I guess.
The social scientist in me wants to warn you a little bit about the validity for
the findings. That is given that we have such a small... even though, as
Richard pointed out, we had the luxury of lots of case studies-still, they don't
really comprise a scientific type of sample. So the findings that we make are
not definitive in a scientific way. Yet we find them to be pretty compelling in
many ways.
I would also add that our findings, to the extent that I was able to pick up on
what Alan was saying, are pretty much congruent with what Alan had to say.
So, I think we are going to find a lot of dovetailing here, and that's a good
thing. You'll find that we use slightly different terminology sometimes, and
our findings are nuanced in different ways. But I think you're going to find a
fair amount of congruence.
What we did was essentially try to isolate factors that we thought would be
critical to the outcome of elections. The problem is of course that these factors
tend to, using social science lingo, co-vary. They tend to correlate. So you'll
find that a community, for example, that has a lot of support from the business
community, will also have a lot of funding from that business community.
Those that have a business community participated in the planning of the
process. All those things tend to roll together. So it's very hard to say from this
list of factors which is particularly the most important. But let me just roll right
into the findings.
One of the most important things we found, or one of the things that would
kind of be most important I should say, is unfortunately something that is
probably the least actionable of all the things that we found. That is the
perception of a transportation crisis. The communities that were successful in
passing these measures tended to have a measurable, palpable sense of
transportation, congestion, pollution-all those things bundled together-
crisis. The way you can measure that is through survey results, through
interviews, and things like that. So communities that did not have this kind of
sense of crisis really struggled to convince voters that they needed to pass this
particular package.

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The second factor that seemed to be a positive in terms of promoting success
was, as I mentioned, sponsorship from the business community. Again in the
communities that passed, the measures-and that was in this case six out of
ten-virtually every one of them had substantial sponsorship from the business
community. Locally, for example, the business community here, the high tech
community, was clearly instrumental in helping to pass the Measure A/BART
measure here.
However, it's not all the business community as the third factor suggests. It's
really important, and I think this goes largely with what Alan said, to have a
visible... In our case, in these larger communities, they were all elected
officials. But somebody with a lot of credibility and a lot of name recognition
had to take the lead and be associated with the head of the campaign. Virtually
each of the six measures that passed in our recent study, have this key
recognizable elected official up front. I won't take the wind out of the sails of
the local community, but in Charlotte for example, the Republican mayor of
Charlotte was very active and out front and lead their measure successfully.
Whereas in the communities that failed, they simply lacked that one
recognizable person who could be the symbolic leader of the campaign.
Fundraising is the next factor. Now bear in mind that all of our communities
are big communities, so I don't want to take the wind out of the smaller
communities. But in these large communities, there is almost an acid test. If
you had a $1 million or more, you passed. If you didn't have $1 million, you
failed. There was one case in Austin which did have more than $1 million and
they managed to fail. But every other case in our study, that rule was
Again, these are findings...not recommendations. And so it may be possible to
do it in other communities with less money. But I think if you are in a big
community, you ought to think about at least getting close to that $1 million
Finally, what we found was that multi-modal projects, and by that we are being
very narrow in our description in what we mean by multi-modal. Essentially,
we mean a mixture of us and reality. Because remember, all of our studies
involve a rail component. But the ones that also threw in some money for bus
service tended to be more successful than the ones that were rail only. Now
there was at least rail only measure that did pass. But, most of the failed
measures were rail only. Again, it doesn't mean you can't pass a rail only

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measure. It just seems from our results that having a mix modal approach may
appeal to more voters. I think you can see why.
Let's move on to the second list. These are a few more factors that are
positively associated with successful campaigns. Now, consultants, and I think
Alan will concur with this, will disagree about exactly which medium is best
for passing a local transportation measure of this kind. But what we found is
that in each of the successful communities, a pretty strong combination
approach of both television, some radio, but usually a lot of television mixed
with a very targeted, extensive direct mail campaign was successful. Whereas,
communities who tried to do it, basically only with television were a little less
successful. But, for the most part, if you had that mixture, we found success.
Again, you will find consultants who are sold on one or the other. All I can say
is the cities that we looked, the cities that were successful did use a mixture.
Some of the cities that were not successful did not use a mixture. That's the
basis for that finding.
We, of course, dovetailed with Alan on the importance of an experienced
consultant. By that, we mean pretty much the same thing he meant. We mean a
consultant who is experienced with local measures, particularly local
transportation measures if that's possible. The cities that were less successful
tended to use either inexperienced consultants-academics who were working
in their spare time; and/or, consultants who were out of their element working
on a transit election.
Another thing we found is voters in these cities tended to be much more
supportive of rail systems when they were an extension of an existing rail
service. That, of course, dovetailed again with Alan. When you have a system in
place-and this is my interpretation-it gives voters something to have
experience with, they know that it is good, and they feel comfortable expanding
it. But trying to present a brand, new comprehensive system, particularly, is
going to be a lot of trouble. In Seattle for example, back in 1995, they came out
with a proposal for this very grandiose rail system. Ultimately, they were
successful the second time around with a scaled back initial rail system.
We also found a few things that were particularly associated with failure, or
lack of success. First of all, there were some agencies that seemed to be tainted,
for whatever reason. We weren't there to judge the transit systems by any
means. But, certainly, there were communities that had a problem image with
their transit system. If you believe that you are in that boat, you need to

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probably think about doing things to try to remedy that. Because none of the
systems that had this kind of image were ultimately successful. Whereas the
successful elections were all associated with pretty good, well regarded transit
systems. This could be things like public arguments about routing; public
partisan bickering about where a route is going to go. In St. Louis for example,
there was big to do. The funding was already there for these routes. But that
disagreement, that public pain spilled over into the election and helped them
defeat that particular ballot.
Organized opposition. Believe it or not, none of the successful measures really
faced what we would call "an organized, well-funded opposition." Whereas a
couple of measures that lost did face such an opposition. So if you have reason
to believe that you are going to face an organized funded opposition, you need
to take particular care and be prepared to deal with that opposition in some
ways that we may have time to get into later, or we may have to wait to other
parts of the conference to get into.
Special elections. This is a fairly subtle one. But what I can say about special
elections is... and by special election I mean-do you put the ballot on during
a Presidential or Congressional election, or do you have an off year, special
dedicated election?
What we found in our study is that every failed vote, that is the four that failed,
occurred during a special election. Now that doesn't mean that special
elections doom you. Because three of our winning campaigns also occurred in
special elections. So it's just something to bear in mind. I'm not as confident in
this particular finding as in the others. Nevertheless, it does bear repeating that
all the failed elections occurred on a special elections date.
Then, finally, and again this is something that dovetails with Alan, we found
that in the losing campaigns, there was a distinct lack of what we call public or
stakeholder input. That these were essentially top down. They tended to be
initiated more by the transit agency acting more or less alone and sort of as an
expert. They failed to get other members of the community involved in the
planning and the creation of the transportation package and this seemed to be
associated with failure.
Okay, we found a couple of things that really could not be described as factors,
per se, but we found them to be important enough that they bear discussion.
These were the issues of, "How do you manage the message of your

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campaign?" And, "How do you lessen the potential for opposition arguments?"
Richard was just going to chime in with a couple of quick comments on that.
These two things are related and let's deal with the opposition issue.
This is a tough issue. I don't think this is an area where we can generalize. We
found successful ones going from ones that pretty much ignore the opposition
and just stay on their message and focus primarily, if not strictly, on
advertising. Because the opposition rarely has much by way of funding. But on
the other hand, Phoenix was very aggressive in engaging the opposition. That
was important.
Let me just tell you some of the things that Phoenix did that were, I think, quite
Firstly, they came up with a very interesting acronym that was also used in Salt
Lake for the opposition. The acronym was "CAVE." Anybody want to guess
what that stood for? Yeah, "Citizens Against Virtually Everything." In other
words, trying to put the onus on them for a solution. Maybe that's one of the
things you can try to do to really get the focus and attacking on them to some
extent. Although. I think the opposition may adjust. I'm going to talk a little bit
more about opposition research. I think, particularly after the 2000 elections,
which generally went positive, I would not be surprised if the opposition
makes some adjustments. I'm not sure what those adjustments are going to be,
but I think that is something that should be anticipated. I mean, it just makes
sense once you start losing more, that you're going to make some adjustments.
They also attacked the credibility of some of the lead opponents, which in this
case, were fairly easy to attack. I mean, one of the lead opponents actually
worked for the state Department of Transportation, but seemed to be in favor
of private enterprise solutions. He was being paid by taxpayers money. So
there was a little bit of a conflict there. One of the other lead opponents was
also fairly easy to criticize. They actually criticized both in ballot arguments,
ballot arguments in states that have voter information pamphlets. My
understanding is that Texas doesn't, for example, and maybe other states don't
even have these pamphlets. But, it`s a place where you can make a lot of good

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They also did an interesting thing. Normally, I would probably argue that
getting into debates with opposition is something to avoid doing. I mean, it
puts them on sort of the same platform of credibility as you. It gives them a
chance to get their message out because debates tend to be publicized. They
have a lot of statistics that at a minimum, can confuse the voters. But, in fact, a
couple of the places that lost, they got involved in debates and I think the
proponents tended to lose control over the message then.
In Phoenix, they did something very interesting. In 1997, they thought one of
the things that contributed to the failure-although the Governor's last second
opposition was probably the deciding factor given the small margin of the
vote-was the talk radio stations really killed them. So, they decided to go to
the top radio stations, saying they would be willing to debate the opponents if
the talk radio stations stayed neutral, in other words a quid pro quo. That
worked. They were able to air a series of debates and the radio stations did
honor their word. I'm not recommending that this be used in all communities.
This is again where I think you need some consultants with understanding of
the local community. A lot depends on the nature of opposition, maybe what
some additional polling shows, whether you're ahead, how far you're ahead, in
terms of how you engage the opposition. I think some of the opposition is
where you need some contingency planning. Surprises can happen and if you
have plans ahead of time, that's good. If you're going to do contingency
planning, it's very important to do research on what the opposition arguments
are likely to be.
We only have a few more minutes so we do want to move on to our final
Obviously this issue of managing the message and dealing with opponents is
very subtle, and it's different in different communities. That's why we didn't
place it with the other conclusion. It's a lot more nuanced and we don't really
have time to get into every nuance there.
So moving on to our final conclusions, first of all bear in mind that combining
the two studies together, only 8 of the 17 passed. We had 6 of 10 in the last
study, but overall, 8 of 17 have passed. So, there's nothing certainly guaranteed
about passing these measures.

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Secondly, we found that essentially, it's hard to quantify, it's hard to even
qualify. But we found that the passing measures featured well researched
proposals and well planned campaigns. If you don't have those elements in
place, the odds are probably going to be against you.
Then, finally and this is a message that I hope we're getting between the three
of us by now, if you don't succeed, definitely try again. Because we have
plenty of examples in instances where communities have gone back, they've
learned from their mistakes, they've learned their marketplace, they've come
back, and they've done very well.
We'd like to take a few questions now. Thanks a lot.
You said multi-modal, and then you said by that you meant rail and bus. I'm
wondering if you looked at any measures that also included road
improvements? And whether you could comment on whether that was helpful
or not because it might be an indicator of a more broadly based supported
campaign versus actual support from a margin?
The second one is clarifying on special election. Do you mean a special
election that was called at a time, like a municipal election where it might nor
normally occur? Do you just mean even year versus odd year elections?
First of all, we did look into the issue of highway funding. Because we thought
originally that would be something good, that would help measures pass. But
in fact, in this particular study, we did not find very good support for that idea.
What we found was that the highway-bus combination worked fine, but adding
in highways in this particular go around was not particularly helpful. You have
to almost read the report to get the nuances there. But, we're giving you a
shortened version here.
You meant rail-bus version, Peter?

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Oh did I say highway? I'm sorry. Rail and bus we found seemed to be the most
successful combination, whereas the results on throwing in highway were at
best inconclusive. Again, that doesn't mean that you can't win with a highway
component. Because back in 1996, Santa Clara had both. These are trends, not
definitive conclusions in most cases.
Second of all, with respect to the elections, we are basically talking about any
odd year election. But most of these special elections were just dedicated to
that particular issue. Actually, you could come up with maybe four of five
classes of elections, but with only ten cases then you don't really have any. So
what we basically did was divide it between Congressional and Presidential
elections versus everything else. Everything else clearly fared worse than a
more general either Presidential or Congressional election.
That would be the conventional wisdom but our data doesn't really support
studying that.
Let me add a few things about the highway issue. It's a complex issue and I
think it's hard to generalize. I think in Austin the fact that there was no highway
component and that there had been very little highway work done, yeah, I think
that was an important indicator on the debate. The opponents acronym was
"ROAD"-"Return Our Allocated Dollars." I think that was an important
argument there. Austin was also a case where the prior transit agency actually
had gotten into some problems. I think they were an issue also.
I think in Alameda County, they got over 80 percent. I think they needed a road
component. I don't think they would have gotten the support of the business
community there, without that support.
Richard, Alan wants to throw his two cents in.

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When I grew up in the East Coast, I thought big turnouts were great for issue
elections. Then I moved to Arizona. Big turnouts for conservative voters on tax
issues usually don't work too well. So, be very careful drawing conclusions on
whether big turnouts on general elections are in your best interest.
I think it goes to the question or the statement-"Poll early and often," and
give your voters what they want, whether it's roads, transit, bus transit, transit
only, or whatever.
I would add that the election issue is a finding but it's one of our less strongly
supported findings. So you need to be very careful. I agree with Alan about
that one.
You had a question?
Tom Shroud from St. Louis. I would just comment on our 1997 election which
was a special which we lost on the suburbs. The opposition didn't need any
money, because it dominated the news. So, the opposition didn't have to raise
money, They got on all the talk shows, etcetera. We went into the election
showing 55 percent, 60 percent in favor. The week after the election that we
lost, we showed 55 percent or 60 percent in favor. So, I think...
Sorry, but yours is one of the cases that I am basing that observation on to be
honest. So, yes, it is something worth looking at and it's not just turnout. It also
has to do with this issue of managing the message.

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Speaking of the news, we did find that there tended to be rather substantial
local news coverage, certainly in special election years because what else is
there? But that's true even in election years. In Austin, where you have got in a
sense a local son running for president, it got a lot of coverage. But of course,
that was the first measure. But what we did find and maybe this is one of the
reasons why later measures combined are more likely to pass that tends to be
an old issue for the press and they may give it less coverage-the opponents in
Phoenix were upset that it didn't get more coverage in 2000. And the
newspaper reporter said, "Why repeat the same arguments we made in 1997?"
So the press is an issue. You have got to deal with that.
Let's get two more questions. Go ahead.
Karen Ray from Austin.
My question is-there has been a lot of debate around the country about the
amount of money you spend educating the public with public sector dollars
from the authority versus the money invested by the campaign which is purely
the political. Salt Lake took a very aggressive stance. We didn't have as good
luck with some of the things we dealt with in Texas.
I'm just curious what that meant, because I felt that we made a conscious
choice and I'm not going to second guess that. But did you look at that at all?
About the dollars invested by the agency, public sector dollars which are
constrained? Versus the information on a campaign and how that affected the
That's a very tough issue because there can be legal problems and as you say,
Salt Lake took a very aggressive approach. I mean, they did what I call
"television advertising" during the campaign. They started behind and they
didn't have much of a budget to work with. They were sued and there position
was supported.

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In San Antonio, I think the agency was much less aggressive and they were
sued and the lawsuit, I believe, was against the agency.
So, I'm not a lawyer, but...
I think it's highly doubtful hat you're going to win with a public agency's
money. I think you're going to need private funding out there to do it.
One more question.
Actually, that was my question.
Regarding using public education...
I'd like to chime in and say that we did look at that, not systematically in terms
of amount of dollars spent, but I would say in a good percentage-I don't have
the number on the top of my head-a good percentage of the successful
campaigns did include an extensive public education effort by the transit
agency. I'm thinking Charlotte, Phoenix, Seattle and their second go around.
So that's' certainly something that can help you, but there are legal and other
One final question, if I may. I did have one part B to this. Just any chance on
defining public education? Just in terms of Salt Lake's case. I mean, what did
they say in terms of how they defined that? Because we're struggling with that
and I can see that question coming up.

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I think tomorrow's session is going to be more suited to get into that type of
We've got one more question back here and that's it, because we really need to
move on. Sorry to be the monarch up here but that's my role today folks.
Richard Brannaman from Portland. I think everything we do in Portland defies
convention. Because we won our first couple and then we lost a couple. We
had a million dollars but we lost. We were doing an extension but we lost. We
learned a lot, and we know pretty much why we lost. But, one of the things that
happened in our last campaign was the media was relentless. They took every
argument that the opposition made, which were a handful of people, and repeat
them in the paper as if the were truth. It was day after day that it was going to
be "$4 million a trip on this light rail line," the "1 percent," and all that kind of
So I am wondering if you dealt with campaigns where the media itself was
biased in their news stories. Because the editorials were all with us, the
editorial board was totally positive, yet the stories on the front page day after
day were very negative.
I don't know about extreme bias, but we found examples like yours. What we
found is that in successful communities, they were prepared for that
opposition. Maybe not the city where you were. But a hallmark of a successful
campaign was one that was already prepared to deal with those kinds of
contingencies and had experts ready to come in and testify in some cases. Or
essentially, they were prepared for all those.
Now there are other nuances to this in terms of whether you want to go to a so-
called "stealth campaign" and try to avoid any confrontation or not. I think we
are going to get into that in specific sessions.

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You can also use the editorial to some extent to maybe counter that. If they're
going to support you in Phoenix for example, there was one whole editorial
written on the 1 percent solution. It totally debunked that. So I think if you
have got them on your side, that's one thing you can possibly do. Again, there
is a lot of coverage. At best, it going to be balanced.
Okay, Richard and Peter, thank you very much.
We're going to move on now. Their reports are in the back of the room.
They're going to be with us tomorrow, so you're going to have ample
opportunity to keep them fit.
Again, there's no magic potion. Just a lot of good ideas.

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Our next speaker is Bill Lind. Bill Lind, as most of you know, is with Free
Congress Foundation. He has just issued a brand new report-and I think
everyone is grabbing copies of this. It is an excellent report on twelve anti-
transit myths, a conservative critique. Bill, as you know has teamed with Paul
Weyrich on a number of other reports, including the 1966 report,
"Conservative and Mass Transit-Is It Time For A New Look?"; in 1999,
"Does Transit Work-A Conservative Reappraisal." Currently, he is working
on a fourth study-"Bring Back the Streetcars-A Conservative Vision of
Tomorrow's Transportation." So please welcome, Bill Lind.
As was just noted, we are just releasing our new report, the third in a series on
conservatives and mass transit here today. So we hope that is one of the events
of the conference.
What lead us to do this study is the fact that we noted what we call the "anti-
transit troubadours" and their travels around the country. As has already been
mentioned, if your town is going to have a referendum in transit, you will get a
visit from these people, probably with Wendell Cox in the lead. We noticed
something else. Wherever the troubadours go, they always sing the same
songs. It doesn't matter what type of rail transit you are proposing. It doesn't
matter what it's cost is, where it is going to go, who it is going to serve, what
it's ridership productions are, or anything else. They always say the same
things. In that, we saw an opportunity.
So what we have done here-and I am not going to stand up here and read to
you what is in it, with a couple of exceptions where I want to make a couple of
specific points about it-but what we have done in this our longest study to
date, is identify twelve of their major arguments and a bunch of the minor ones,
and give you some perspective answers that can at least get you started.
It is critically important in the view of Paul Weyrich as well as myself-and
Paul is one of the most knowledgeable people in the country on how to
organize for and win elections, including referendum-it is absolutely

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critically important that you answer these people, that you answer the charges.
We have seen one referendum after another go down in defeat because the
charges were not answered. The transit authority had its polls and it had its
money and it had its consultants and it thought, "Well, we're all set. We don't
need to pay attention to these people." Then they lost, because in fact, these
guys do a pretty good job.
The reason they can do a good job is that a referendum is not like an election
between one of them. Except for me, I voted for Pat Buchanan.
In a referendum, that's not true. In a referendum, all you have to do is create
doubt. The voter who has doubt, the voter who has questions, the voter who is
uncertain, has a perfectly simple answer. He votes no.
So, you're in a situation where all the opponents have to do, and they do it
pretty well, is come in with some of these statements like, "Transit only carries
1 percent," raise some doubt in the mind of the voter, who again is not paying a
lot of attention for the most part, and he goes and votes "no."
So you have got to answer. What we have tried to do here is again at least get
you started by identifying what the traveling anti-transit troubadours are most
likely to say in your town.
Now our study, of course, addresses their arguments from a conservative
perspective. We are conservatives. But beyond that, most of the people are
likely to vote against you in a referendum are also conservatives. For the most
part, the liberals think transit is just a good thing. So they're going to vote for it
regardless of whether it makes any sense or not.
Conservatives look at transit with a cold and fishy eye. First of all because we
don't like government. Secondly, because we really don't like taxes. Most
conservatives figure that transit is not something they are ever going to use and
therefore it's just another damn transfer payment. This gets to the bus and rail
issue also. Our study, like most of our studies, focuses on rail. Very few
conservatives see themselves riding a bus. Almost all conservatives are riders
from choice. They have a car. They have a car available, usually a pretty nice
car. We're not poor most of us. If we want to drive, we can. We're not going to
leave the BMW in the garage and take the smoke-belching bus, burping its way
down some local street, stopping at every other corner and taking forever to get
into town. There can be exceptions-express buses, if we look at the

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demographics, probably a lot of those people have pretty good incomes and
view themselves as conservatives and probably vote accordingly.
But for the most part, conservatives want rail. Some of this is rational. Some of
it isn't. But, it is an absolute and overwhelming fact that most people-I
suspect even a lot of people who aren't conservatives-see rail as the
definition of high quality transit. Most conservatives want quality. Again, they
are middle class or upper middle class people who can afford quality in other
aspects of their lives. They want it in transit too. So therefore, if they're
interested in transit, it is going to be rail transit. Now many of them also don't
even know what rail transit means.
Remember most rail transit disappeared in this country a very long time ago.
My colleague Paul Weyrich was in Denver at one point with a conservative
senator who was very much opposed to transit, including light rail. And Paul
said, "Will you ride it with me?" And the senator said, "Okay." After about ten
minutes on it, the senator turned to him and said, "This is nice." Very few
conservatives, very few Americans, have any idea of what rail transit is really
like unless they are in one of the few towns that already has it. This gets to the
issue of expanding from a small segment and so forth which we have said in
the past is very important. Simply because, even conservatives don't know
what it means. But, once they do figure out a lot of conservatives do ride rail
transit, then it is something they will in many cases vote for.
The study answers the critics on two levels. This is not explicit in it, so let me
draw out what I mean. We identify, as I said, 12 major arguments and a bunch
of others, and we provide some specific answers. My favorite, which I will talk
about a little here, because it is one of the ones the press loves, is the arguments
that it would be cheaper to buy or lease a new car for every rider than to build a
new light rail system. In each of the myths, we quote from the transit critics so
they can't deny that they said that. I will quote here from our old friend,
Wendell Cox, "Finally, light rail is very expensive. With respect to virtually all
new systems, it would have been less expensive to lease each new commuter in
perpetuity, in some cases a luxury car such as a Jaguar XJ8, or a BMW 740I."
This was in a publication from our good friends at the Heritage Foundation.
As we note in our answer, this one is a real howler. To put it into perspective, a
new BMW 740I goes for about $62,900. APTA estimates that approximately
13 million people use transit on a typical weekday. 13 million times $62,900
would be $817.7 billion, almost half of the annual Federal budget.

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We get a little more specific as we go along. We look specifically at St. Louis,
which is one of our favorite examples. St. Louis' 18-mile MetroLink Light Rail
Line cost $450 million to construct the initial line. It carries about 42,500
riders on an average weekday. Onboard rider surveys indicate that about 80
percent of the riders are new to transit. They are Mr. Cox's new commuters. To
buy each one of them a new BMW 740I would cost $1.1 billion, about 2.5
times as much as it would cost to build MetroLink. That's only the beginning.
Light rail equipment is often in service for decades, as those of us who like
PCC cars can note. In around 5 years, all of those BMW's are going to need
replacing. So you have to spend the $1.1 billion about four or five times before
you have to rebuild MetroLink. Plus of course, the cost of MetroLink includes
the cost of the road, or in this case, the track. Very few BMW's come with their
own roads attached. To the cost of the car must be added the cost of the roads
to carry them, the parking spaces to hold them, the police to ticket them when
they are driven as BMW's are meant to be driven, and the fire and rescue crews
to pry them open when they run into each other.
In short, it's poppycock. But you have got to be able to make a point that it is
poppycock. This comes to sort of the metal level, as a philosopher would say.
What you can use our study to do is inoculate your local community, and
particularly the press, about what's going to happen. Right at the beginning,
you can say, "By the way, our town is going to get a visit from the anti-transit
troubadours. Here's what they are going to say. We know that because they say
the same thing everywhere they go. And, here's the act." You reveal it as what
it is. It is a traveling road show. It is an act. "Here's the act they are on. Here's
why they do it. Here's what they are going to say. Here's why it is nonsense."
So, you have inoculated, you have vaccinated, your local community against
them before they even come on the scene. Does this totally nullify all
arguments against transit? No.
Let me touch on another one, just briefly, that we mention here. Another one
that has to be answered, not just rhetorically but in the design of a system. That
is-that transit brings crime into a community. I think that this argument is
going to become more and more common. But it's different, because local
people are, in many cases, the ones who are advancing this. They are doing so
because they are scared. This is not a phony argument about giving everyone a
BMW. We know from the experience with the Baltimore Light Rail Line that
indeed rail transit can bring crime into a community. It did, particularly car
theft. Now, it's not real easy for the thief to come out from the light rail line
and steal a television and then carry it back on the light rail line under his arm.

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But, it is easy to go out into a suburban area where crime is low and a lot of
people still leave the car in the driveway with the keys in the ignition-and
spending my summers as I do back in the west side of Cleveland, yes there are
parts of America where we still live that way. And it's kind of nice. They don't
have to take the light rail line back into town because they have just acquired
alternate transportation. Here where the argument is real and where the
concern is genuine on the part of locals.
What's happened all too often were these guys came to town, took everybody
by surprise, got all kinds of headlines, and the charges they make are never
responded to effectively. The voter goes into the voting booth with questions in
his mind. So when that happens, you lose. On that, I'll be happy to take some
I've read from some communities that there has been an effort to discredit
these troubadours by suggesting that they are self-interested or paid message-
bearers. How has that played? Has that been successful and is that an approach
to take?
I'd be a little cautious there, because we haven't seen solid proof of that. Plus,
they can always play the same game in reverse and say, "Well, look how many
people advocating this worked for the transit system." Guess what, you think
they're not self-interested? What we've actually done here that we think may
be somewhat more promising, and is certainly a great deal more fun, is that we
have dug around and found some of their own prescriptions for how to solve
transportation problems. Mr. Cox had a wonderful one for Atlanta that would
have literally paved the entire city with eight-lane highways a mile apart in a
grid every direction, double-deck highways, underground highways. I mean, it
literally became self-satire. It was all you had to do to discredit him was to
quote him. That is very effective, in our view. Indeed, we include in our study
here the quotations from Mr. Cox on that. We strongly encourage you, if he
comes to your town, to let your newspapers know before he gets there what his
solution is. That, I think, may work better.

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Have you ever seen a situation where, as you said, people can by raising doubt,
cause them to simply vote no? Where you basically put an A or a B on the
ballot? You basically say, "Here's our plan, as we understand their plan is this,
select one of the two plans."
I have not. I don't know of any case where that's happened. I don't know
whether anyone else on the panel... no. I don't know legally how possible that
is. I'm not sure the way the law is written on these matters, whether you could
do that, without at least giving the option of "Do nothing." Then of course,
you'd be worse off, because now you'd have to get a majority in a 3-way
I'm Vickie Shaffer, Huntington, West Virginia, a much smaller community's not it is. I'm Vickie Shaffer, from Huntington, West
Virginia, a much smaller community than many that we've talked about.
What are the dangers, in the case of living in a more liberal community, of
taking your enemy's arguments to the press when your enemy probably won't
show up?
Um, that could be a factor. You may want to calculate that in, if the other side
looks at it and says, "Hey, this is hopeless." Then you may want to soft-pedal
this whole thing. I'm talking generally about larger communities here, where
they see a pretty good chance of coming in and derailing something. the back?
I think that the discussion that you have done here is to address issues where
the opposition and the proponents see no meeting of the minds. I would hope
that this would not mean that those who are proponents of transit measures
would not try to incorporate into their proposals, and their programs, the kinds

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of issues that some of these, the opposition leaders, really do have at heart
when there are serious issues and not just political issues. For example, I think
the issue of bus versus rail is a serious issue. The issue of operating costs
versus capital costs is an important issue. Equity and environmental justice
really mean that our packages for the proposals that go on the ballot have to be
tailored to address all of the community needs and not just building a rail
What we're addressing here falls under the category of what I was talking
about in crime. These are genuine local concerns. Yes, of course, you try to
address those by satisfying the different constituencies, building a consensus
and so on. What we're addressing in this study is specifically what I might call
national arguments of the traveling anti-transit troubadours. Again, we do that
because these guys have been pretty successful. They have done a lot of
damage in a lot of places. But, there's absolutely a distinction between what
you're talking about, which are genuine local concerns that tend to be quite
specific, and their arguments, which again don't change town to town, project
to project. They're always the same. The 1 percent was mentioned earlier. It's a
classic. I would just note our whole second study-this transit study addresses
that-by saying, "Hey folks, the measurement itself is wrong, and here's why
and here's a different measurement, which is transit competitive trips."
Just a quick question. Paul has, you know, made it really a habit of his to go
and do the debates very effectively. In your opinion or in his opinion, do you
believe that they have been effective? I mean, I think one of the panelists said
that debates are risky. How do you feel about that issue?
I think that in general you must address the opponents. Absolutely. Now, Paul
is particularly effective, because of course he's a widely known conservative.
Where are most of these debates taking place and who's participating in them?
The audience is the local conservative community who are skeptical about this
to start with. The venue is often a conservative radio talk show host's program
and the opponent is someone who's at least calling himself conservative. In
fact, he's usually libertarian, which is in fact a very different thing altogether.
But the two tend to get confused in the public mind. So, when you have

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somebody on the right coming in advocating the transit program, then that
changes the political dynamics. I think that is effective. But, more broadly, I
would say that except in special cases such as where your community has got a
unique nature politically, I would say it is extremely dangerous not to answer
the critics and not to do so quickly and well. Okay, two more questions. One
To follow on that point just made, it might be instructive to look at what
happened in Columbus, Ohio, where we had a debate in which a local fellow
who lived in one of the nearby inner-city neighborhoods that was beginning to
turn around was able basically to organize and spend $250 and derail our last
issue. What happened was that Wendell Cox sought him out and then
parachuted his data and his material and his stuff into that guy's hands as well
as into the newspaper and the alternative newspaper took up the fellow's
cause? The big mistake that you don't want to make in terms of a debate is
having had this fellow who was a local organizer debating the Director of the
Transit Authority. This fact, right away, just elevated this guy and gave him all
the ink that you could possibly want it to do. So, you do want to debate, but
you want to frame it within your local context. You know Wendell's gonna
come. Wendell tried to crash something I did, and I'll tell you this story over
drinks, but the point is-Don't have your agency as part of the debate.
I think that's true, the self-interest question works against you, because the
easy thing for the opponent to say is "Well, your salary is paid by this money.
We're just increasing your empire, aren't we?" You're very vulnerable on that.
Keep in mind the opposition can succeed with a very small budget, because the
newspaper wants to write a balanced account. So, it is going to seek the critics
out in many cases, even if they have very little money, and give them a fair
amount of ink. Otherwise, it's not a story from their standpoint. It's certainly
not a balanced story. So they can get a lot of free publicity. Then, keep in mind
once again, that all this guy had to do was raise doubt. He didn't have to prove
a point. He just had to raise doubt and raise questions in people's mind. And

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It appears to me that in the Cincinnati region, Wendell and his troubadours
have essentially preempted the debate. The Cincinnati plan is really not very
far up the growth curve yet, but Wendell's already copped some significant
politicians, the editorial pages of the major newspapers and many talk shows,
before the debate even started. First of all, everybody should be aware of that, I
think it's an evolving strategy on their part. Secondly, how do you overcome
that once he gets the first jump?
Well, I think even then, you can start to sit down and explain to people. Here is
the act that's going on. This is a national act. They do this on a national basis.
The very fact of pointing out that the arguments are always the same I think, is
powerful, because that, from a local standpoint, gets people start to say "Oh,
well maybe he really doesn't know our local situation." It does, however,
underline the importance of preempting. This is true in almost any type of
conflict, that the guy who gets his blows in first has a tremendous advantage.
These people are not incompetent at what they do. They have generally done
what they do pretty well.
I would also note, however, that in Cincinnati, he's got fertile ground, because
there is a lot of disagreement on what the route ought to be. The politicians are
at each other's throats over this. It isn't where it's a case of the political
establishment agreeing, then having to deal with its critics. That, of course,
makes the job of people like Wendell Cox all the easier. All right, I guess that's
I'll pull the mike down. Thank you, Bill.
Looks like we're going to have about 15 minutes for Q&A after our next
speaker. I think what we'll do is devote a few questions directly to our next
speaker and then open it up for about 15 minutes or so. Don't forget we got all
day tomorrow too.

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Our next speaker is Robert Puentes. Rob is a Senior Research Manager at
Brookings Institution. He's going to also focus his discussion, where are you,
in back of me, or down there...oh, there you are, down there. Regarding the
2000 ballot measures, Rob has recently authored papers on Flexible Funding
for Transit; Growth-Related Ballot Measures and a Policy Agenda for Older
Rob-all yours
Well, thanks a lot for having me here tonight. My head is spinning
...[Inaudible] I wish I had the ability to edit some of the things I was going to
say, because I've definitely learned a lot just sitting up here today. There's
going to be a lot of redundancies, not redundancies, dovetailing, as we call it,
with what everybody else has said before. But I think it's definitely consistent
with what this audience is looking for and what we've talked about here today.
There are copies of the report that's on that back table. Please take them with
you. I don't want to haul them back to D.C. I've been asked to talk about a
paper that we prepared in connection with last November's election.
The paper came out in February, where we looked not only at transit measures,
but at every single measure that went on throughout the country, that we
thought had the ability or the potential in some way to shape the pace, the
quality, the speed of growth in metro areas and communities, regions
throughout the country. The growth issue is very hot, obviously, keeping us
very, very busy. There's a lot of discussion around the country about this, not
just from the transit perspective, but a whole host of issues. I think there's a lot
of commonalties between the stuff you're trying to do and the stuff that we
looked at here in the report. Just a quick commercial about us.
The Brookings Urban Center-our mission is to understand all the key trends
that are going on across the country. That's why this report is very important.
We knew that these ballot measures, not the referenda-I don't speak Latin-

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but the ballot measures definitely had some kind of key role in shaping growth
around the country last November. So this report fills that part right there. We
identified the most promising strategies for dealing with growth, for promoting
healthy cities and strong regions. We developed a metropolitan and an urban
agenda that's based on this empirical evidence, based on the trends. It includes
the best practices. We do some of it in Washington. We do some of it with
academics and other people from all over the country. So, I think again, a lot of
this is very complementary. The nexus of the report was how growth-related
issues were dealt with at the ballot box last November. In summary, there were
553 measures we found that came before voters that dealt with some aspect of
the growth debate. There are lots and lots of different measures. They were in
many different categories; we got them down to five specific categories, which
I'll talk about in a minute.
One of those categories was Open Space; Open Space measures that were
designed to build and maintain parks and recreational facilities. This is the one
element of the report that's consistent over the last three years. We did reports
in 1996 and in 1998 that just focused on Open Space. These measures continue
to be highly, highly popular. About 80 percent of these passed last year and
that's about the same percentages that we saw in 1996 and in 1998. Less than
10 percent of the overall measures were initiated by citizens. A lot of the
measures that got a lot of attention-national press too-were citizen
initiatives that dealt with growth-related issues. They were contentious, they
were very controversial, but for the most part these only made up about 10
percent of all the measures that went before voters last November related to
growth. Again, these citizen initiatives were related to growth management
and were very contentious. The regulatory restrictions on growth were
controversial and contentious, as I said. The transportation measures really
received a mixed reception. We didn't just look at transit. We looked at
everything. We looked at the roads, multi-modal, pedestrian, whatever you're
talking about, but they did receive a mixed reception. I'll talk about those.
Measures that just focused on transit, however, really did perform very, very
well, probably one of the best. But the main summary is that the growth debate
in this country is very, very diverse, very complex and that echoes a lot what
the panel's already talked about. Just a couple of quick cautions, the ballot
measures by definition are only actions that required public approval. We
didn't look at all the other things that are going on. A lot of states are doing a
lot of things related to "Smart Growth" if you will, but they don't appear in this
report. It reflects voter sentiment, which in some cases was highly influenced
by spending, by the media; this has already been covered by everybody here

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and it doesn't capture the diversity in local and state governments. There are
lots of different statutory, legal requirements. Again, we kind of already
touched on these. It was just too much for us to get into at the time. The
measures again are a snapshot in time. These are just the measures that took
place last November. If there are inconsistencies with the other thing the
panel's already talked about, I hope that those are because they weren't in last
November's elections. But again, just a snapshot in time.
Lots and lots of things have changed since then. But probably most important
is that a "yes" vote or a passage of a particular measure in this report doesn't
necessarily indicate a vote for "`smart growth" or for "good things" that are
going to beneficially shape the way that our regions grow. I have a hard time
even saying that, because we had a very hard time internally trying to qualify
whether a measure was "good" or "bad". There are lots of these that are slam-
dunks-they're obviously good measures. But a lot of the other ones were so
strange and screwed up, that we didn't even know how to talk about them
internally. We didn't know how to talk about them in the report. There are a
couple of those case studies that I will touch on here, though.
But again, this is why you have to be careful with the percentages, where
measures have passed 80 percent, 90 percent. You have to be just a little
cautious. So, here are the five categories. Again, there were 553 total, almost
half of these were related to open space, to the preservation of open space,
usually on the suburban fringe. About 80 percent of these passed. The
Governance category was related, basically, to the way governments do
business. There was government's flexibility, mergers, decision making by
local governments. There were a few of these. There were Economic
Development measures, Growth Management measures; again, very
contentious. Only about 54 percent of these passed, as opposed to the others
you could see, very high numbers. Infrastructure is where the transportation
and transit stuff lives. You break these down-most of the Infrastructure
measures were transportation-related. A good portion were related to schools.
Not programs within the schools, but the actual construction of, you know, a
school on the suburban fringe definitely has effects on the way regions grow.
Affordable housing-very important issue I'll talk about and a little bit about
Water quality.
We broke these down by states and we found that the top five states, as far as
the ballot measure went, made up a little more than half, of all the measures in
the country. It's for a lot of reasons, and not necessarily because these places
are experiencing tremendous growth crisis. Most of them are; most of the

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country is. But there's a whole host of reasons. We already talked about a little
bit of them: Government fragmentation, judicial precedence, legal
requirements, whatever the case is, definitely had an effect on how many
measures appeared in different states. California-there's fragmentation,
there's tremendous growth pressures. In Colorado, there are legal requirements
that require things to come before voters. If the local government wants to
spend a budget surplus, for example, they have to send it before voters. In New
Jersey, there is enabling legislation that allows local governments to put before
a vote referenda that are designed to raise sales taxes to preserve open space.
So all those things have an effect on how things get onto the ballot in different
states. We broke them down by region; this isn't too interesting; it's pretty
much evenly spread out. You can see in the northeast that about 91 percent of
the measures passed in that region. Most of these again were related to open
space as opposed to places in the west, where only 62 percent passed; it's a
relatively very low number. Again, a lot of these were related to growth
management, to regulating how growth occurs in a community, and these
didn't do so well. We'll look at how the measures actually got on the ballot.
In a lot of cases, as you know, there's lots of different ways, but really, broken
down, they can fit neatly into two categories.
The citizen initiatives, you know, the standard signature campaigns, made up
only about 10 percent of the measures, with most of them in growth
management. But there were in a couple of other categories, transportation
included. The vast majority of the measures were referred to the voters by
legislatures. It's important to note though that a lot of legislative referrals
started out as citizen initiatives, where citizens were generating a lot of
interest, they had a really good idea, and the legislature would kind of co-op
the measure. I don't mean that in the pejorative. Sometimes it's a good thing. It
kind of helps it to move along. Maybe that's a reflection of why the citizen
initiatives didn't do so well. They were hot-button issues, they're ones that
legislatures probably didn't want to touch.
It's also important to point out though that these citizen initiatives are not
necessarily just the guy standing with a clipboard outside of a grocery store.
These are well-financed, in some cases, they're very well-financed,
sophisticated campaigns, financed by wealthy individuals. There were a couple
of cases in Florida and Washington where this was true, or by very well-heeled
special interests. The measures in Arizona related to growth management were
an example of this as well. We wanted to see what the measures were designed
to do. Again, we knew that they were, they have, they dealt with different

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aspects of the growth debate, but they didn't have the same intentions. Most of
them were related to funding. They were designed to provide funding for a
specific project or plan. The overwhelming majority of these were in the open
space category, designed to purchase open space and protect it from
development. There was a pretty good number, actually, that were advisory
measures. They were just designed to kind of get a sense of the electorate.
They were pretty much in all the categories, but they didn't have any real
binding authority, but they did very, very well; almost all of them passed. The
other category was Regulatory. This was to develop growth management plans,
affordable housing ordinances, whatever the case is, they made up a pretty
good portion of them as well.
We also wanted to break them down spatially to find out where these things
were taking place. We knew that the economic development measures seemed
to be coming up a lot more in the central cities. So we had a research assistant
actually spend a lot of time breaking them down, and plotting them on a map.
It's all included in the report, and we found that the absolutely overwhelming
majority of these measures were located in the suburbs. Again, most of these
related to open space, and most of them related to growth management. These
are places that are experiencing tremendous growth pressures for the most part;
these things are appearing on the ballot. In fact, suburban led in all the
categories except for economic development and I'll talk about that in a
second. Actually, I'm going to talk about each of the categories very quickly. I
want to spend a lot of time on the transit part of it, but, the reason I want to talk
about all these categories is because they're all in some ways related. They are
all kind of, hate to use the phrase, inexorably linked. I mean, they're all related
to how communities are growing, and it's important if you're putting, I think, if
you're putting transit measures on the ballot, that you understand what else is
going on around the country.
In a lot of cases, you'll find allies in the people who are working to influence
the growth debate. There are a lot of these measures and I'll talk about the ones
that are `linked' with other categories. They're not intentionally linked. They
don't know about our report. But they had different elements to them and they
weren't just necessarily transit, but they dealt with a lot of aspects of the
growth debate, and we can talk about how it's consistent later. For economic
development, of the 40 measures again, 18 were in the center city. In fact three
of the top five cities that are ranked by population lost in the 1990s had ballot
measures related to economic development, namely Philly, Baltimore and
Detroit. I think all of these passed except for one that was in Baltimore, and
rural voters approved six out of nine of the economic development measures.

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These charts on the left shows, it's hard to read, suburban, rural and central
city. The black is the total number of measures and the light blue is how many
of them passed. Statewide is not reflected on that. Just two quick examples; in
Philadelphia, there was a $162 million bond for capital investments. It had a
transit element, it had an economic development element and it had an open
space and parks element. In Alabama, there was a $350 million bond and in
Detroit, $55 million.
The Governance Inflexibility category was a very hard one for us to qualify,
because we don't know the intricate workings of all of these local
governments. But for the most part, they were designed to affect local and state
authority; mergers, regional government's decision-making. All of the local
measures in this category were located in the suburbs and almost all of them
passed-13 of 15 were approved. But of the statewide measures, there were 10
of them; only three of them passed. This is probably the worst performing
subcategory that we had. Again, all 15 were located in the suburbs.
These measures probably aren't that relevant to the stuff we're talking about.
None of these were linked with anything else. These were all very, very
specific, but still, I think it's important. In the Louisville area, voters approved
a referendum to merge the city and the county. It elevated the city from the 64
largest to the 23
. It had a lot of support from local officials, which is
surprising, because a lot of these people will lose their jobs because of this
merger. But it was very well supported by the civic community, by a lot of the
officials, and it passed pretty good. Voters in Massachusetts, again, had the
benefit of having local governments support a measure to create a regional
council governance in Cape Cod. They did not have that same benefit in the
Berkshire area and that measure was killed. The Open Space category: again,
these are measures designed to protect open space from development, the
green infrastructure as it's commonly referred to. These are really, really
picking up steam as we've seen over the last couple of years. Most of these are
right in the suburbs. A couple are in rural areas, central cities, but for the most
part, these are suburban phenomena. Local governments in New Jersey, have
just 46 measures. They passed 45 of them, directly related to the Governor's,
well, the former Governor's billion dollar Open Space Initiative which let local
governments put the stuff on the ballot to preserve open space. A lot of these
measures were linked with other things-with economic development, with
transportation, and I'll talk about those. But two very interesting ones: voters
in the St. Louis region-there was a bi-state referenda that went before voters
in six counties in Missouri and Illinois. It had a .1 sales tax to create a Regional
Park District; there's an inter-governmental agreement in the two states to

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coordinate planning and development-very well thought out plan. It was very
sophisticated and it was a little bit of a-from St. Louis you may know-it was
a little bit of contentious issue I think going forward. But it finally did pass in
four of the six counties, and then it was approved.
Another very interesting one was in Ohio, where voters authorized-it should
be $400 million, really it was one measure. It was $400 million where $200
million of it went to preserve open space on the fringe, another $200 million
went to remediate brown fields and promote economic development in the
center cities. The two main issues that they're dealing with in Ohio related to
growth were loss of open space on the fringe, from people leaving the center
city, and enough economic development in the center city. This addressed both
those issues, wildly supported by the voters and also by the governor, wowed
local officials-it soared to victory. The growth management issues, again,
didn't have such and easy task. These are traditional or innovative methods to
regulate development, either through zoning, moratoria on building, urban
growth boundaries, whatever the case is. Most of these, again, obviously, were
in the suburbs. This was very hard for us to qualify, because some of these
would actually have a negative effect on the way these regions are growing.
The measure in Oregon, the Takings Measure, would actually undermine a lot
of the Smart Growth measures that are there in the first place. That one actually
passed and I think it's now in litigation, but it did pass.
So, it's very hard for us to say, again, which was good or bad. But most of these
measures, again, were located in California, where only 21 of 44 passed. They
did not do very well. Also, the growth management measures weren't linked
with anything else. All of these were strictly growth management measures
and may show some lessons why they failed, but they weren't linked with
anything else. But there are relationships to the stuff we're talking about here
The two main ones that got probably the most media attention in the nation
were in Arizona and Colorado. These were statewide measures to establish,
essentially, urban growth boundaries around a lot of communities in the state.
In Arizona, I think it was all of them. In Colorado, it was just the major ones.
In both cases, they were defeated overwhelmingly by about 70 percent of the
vote. Interestingly, in both cases, at least I know in Arizona, about this time last
year, both, the Arizona measure was, it had a 70 percent approval rating. It
looked like it was going to be approved, and like the issues we're talking about
before, as soon as opponents heard, there was a $4 million campaign targeted

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against it. As soon as that campaign started, the numbers plummeted and the
measure was destroyed. Business interests in Colorado raised $6 million and
defeated that one by about the same amount.
The last category in Transportation is infrastructure. These are mainly capital
spending programs with the greatest potential to help communities grow. We
chop it up into four categories, which are Affordable Housing, Transportation,
Water Quality, and Schools. These are very important issues going on in the
debate across the country. 95 percent of these infrastructure measures were
local. Only a very small percentage of them were statewide and many of these
infrastructure measures were linked with other categories. Again, they weren't
intentionally linked. They don't know about the categories. I'm not saying it
was like a happy by-product where development of a bus line, for example,
would have economic development benefits. But where there was money for
augmenting a light rail in Denver, for example, and money for affordable
housing or plans to promote affordable housing, where it was specifically
targeted to do more than one thing. In fact, all of the linked affordable housing
measures passed. I think there are about 15 of these affordable housing.
There's an affordable housing crisis in this country. A lot of local officials
recognized that and they had very systemic solutions for addressing affordable
housing in their area and all of these passed. The largest number of the
infrastructure programs were related to Transportation. It was 70. Four of the
six statewide measures were located in the northeast, but almost 90 percent of
the local ones were located in the south and the west. Again, they were places
which were experiencing tremendous growth pressures. The local ones, in the
south and the west, did pretty well: 76 percent of them passed. But of the
statewide ones in the northeast, 50 percent passed. They did not do very well.
This is a map just breaking down the statewide ones. You can see the four in
New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island and we can talk about
the other two, if we have time.
For transportation, 35 measures were on the ballots in the suburbs, an even
amount in the rural areas and in the center cities. As with the affordable
housing ones, the transportation measures that were linked with other
categories that had elements related to the preservation of open space, and that
somehow dealt with other aspects of the growth debate, did very, very well.
Linked transit measures passed in Denver-it had an affordable housing
element. Also in Philadelphia where it dealt with economic development and
open space. Again, not in a haphazard by-product kind of way, but it very
specifically dealt with all these other issues.

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Breaking down the transportation category, the road construction measures
made up most of the category. They're about 51 percent of these. They did
pretty well. About 72 percent of them passed. The transit measures made up
about 31 percent of the category-did extremely well-almost 87 percent of
these passed. 19 out of 22 passed. By our calculations, this may or not be
consistent, but there were light rail referenda that failed in Austin and Kansas
City, I think where Wendell Cox made an appearance. There was a tax increase
proposal to offer a regional transit pass in Boulder, that I think was narrowly
defeated. Other than that, I think all of the transit ones passed. We talked about
multi-modal before. In this sense, multi-modal refers to transit/road/pedestrian,
whatever the case, the broad way we think about multi-modal. These did not
do so well. I mean, there were only 7 of them, 4 of them passed, so the
percentage was pretty low-57 percent. The reason, and we talk about it in the
report, we speculate why these didn't do so well, and there was a question
before about this, is that in these cases, the transit, I mean this is one measure,
was designed to have support, broad support for the measure. But even within
that support, there was fragmentation.
For example, the people who favor road construction as a way to alleviate
congestion didn't really care about the transit element. There was in-fighting,
even within the supporters, and that's probably why a couple of these failed.
We know in a couple cases that's true anyway. Some examples of the transit
ones: light rail measures failed in Austin and Kansas City, but there were four
Utah counties that created a Regional Transit Authority. That one passed.
Existing transit systems in San Jose, and of course, Philadelphia, Washington,
Baltimore did receive funding. All of those did pass. For road measures, voters
in the Galveston area approved a $1.2 billion bond for constructing and
maintaining roads. A lot of road measures in Texas did well. There was a
Washington state measure that was designed to require 90 percent of
transportation funds to be spent only on roads, and it would have made road
building the primary way to address transportation issues in that state. This one
also was leading by about 60 percent about this time last year. A very
organized campaign was developed to defeat it; thankfully, it wound up being
crushed. It was a ridiculous one. For multi-modal, there was a $6.2 million
measure to maintain Rhode Island roadways, and also to provide transit
funding and to relocate I-95, I-195. That one passed. But there were more
balanced transportation measures in New York State and Charleston County
that failed. The one in New York state was a huge bill. It was a $3.2 billion
bond that had a lot of problems, not the least of which was that it had limited
support from statewide officials. The measure in Charleston County failed by a
very small margin, and it had a lot of support from local people, from local

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officials. Actually, they were kind of encouraged that it only failed by a little
bit, for the reasons I guess we talked about before, that the next time they knew
they're going to have it sail through.
So for transportation, we broke down the revenue source. Most of these were
funding issues, to find out if we could figure out which ones passed and why.
All the ones where the revenue source was to be appropriations, passed. It's not
hard to understand, but there were four of these, and all of them passed. If there
was the issuance of a bond to pay for these, they did pretty well; 86.7 percent.
If it was for raising taxes to pay for this, not so good; 63 percent. All of the
ones that had a property tax element failed; sales tax did a little bit better, but
you can see the breakdown there. It's also in the report.
So again, although this is not exactly the debate we're talking about here today,
there are definitely lessons that can be learned from what we did, and lessons
that are learned from the growth debate that's going on across the country. It's
a lot of the same people having the same discussion. Not necessarily from a
transit advocacy standpoint, but from people who are sick and tired of growth.
They have no idea how to deal with it. They know or, they should know, in a
lot of cases we're seeing that they are knowing, that some very sophisticated
discussion is going on across the country. You would really be surprised.
Citizens are definitely concerned with the way that their regions are growing.
They're concerned with the shape, the pace and the quality of growth, they're
realizing that road building is not necessarily the way to address the problems
in all cases. So I think you're definitely going to have allies in the people that
are working on the growth debate and the folks that you're talking to.
The Open Space Preservation measures remain highly popular. We saw this in
1996, 1998 and we saw it last year. If there's a way that you can link up with
them somehow, to have a measure that provides trade of funding, for example,
and then preserves open space or parks or whatever it is, I think that you would
be very successful. Growth management, on the other hand, is likely to remain
very contentious. Even since the election, they haven't even been able to get
together to work out what they did wrong last time. That discussion is just
barely starting and we are not optimistic that it's going to be solved easily.
Probably some of the issues you may want to stay away from. Infrastructure
measures, I kind of see mixed. That may be a little strong. You know they did
okay. But when you broke it down we saw in a lot of cases where it wasn't
great. But the long-term acceptance of transit is apparent. Again, a lot of these
measures did very well.

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The relationship between affordable housing and smart growth is rising as a
public concern. We're seeing this all across the country. A lot of local officials
get this and they don't understand some more complex issues, but this they
understand and they're willing to do a lot of different things to address it. They
don't know how to address it and they're looking for ideas. Finally, measures
that align urban, suburban and rural constituencies also seem promising. We
saw this at the statewide level, particularly in Ohio, where they were able to
talk to the central city constituents and the rural constituents. They got together
on one issue; it had the "What's in it for me?" at both ends. It also had a
suburban element to it. The thing soared to victory. If we can replicate that,
then I think we'll be in good shape. Copies of these are in the back. They're
also available up on the web site. You can e-mail me if you have any questions
or if you need other copies of the report.
Okay, Rob, Thank you. If we have a couple of questions specifically for
Rob...the moderator's bringing the mike for you.
A couple of comments.
One, the St. Louis Parks Tax, a tenth of a cent, it was on a general election. I
tell you, no one knew it was on the ballot until they went into the ballot box
and voted for Parks. I think the earlier lesson about when you should be on the
ballot is instructive in that case, at least in Missouri.
The second comment, I'll represent my friends in Kansas City who are not
here. They would take issue with that being a light rail defeat last year. That
was an initiative petition that was like a 10-year tax, assuming 99 percent
federal funding on a measure and the Transit Authority opposed it as did any
responsible citizen, so...just a caveat.
Yeah, and we talked about some of those in the report, you're right. To get the
nuances, as was [Inaudible] before, please read the report.

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Other questions? Okay, for Rob specifically? Go ahead.
Just a quick one. Under what situation you would recommend transit ballot
initiative to re-link to Affordable Housing or to Open Space? Do you see any,
relation to what, where or, when you would link the two, or when you would
link to Open Space, or when to Affordable Housing?
Again, it depends. One thing we didn't talk about here, are the wild differences
across the country; we mentioned it before, so I didn't get into it. It definitely
depends on the region, it depends on the locality, it depends on a lot of different
things. In Denver, they could do it. They were talking about augmenting the
transit system, they were talking about affordable housing; it was a natural fit.
You know, I think affordable housing is definitely an issue in most places
across the country, but, it's not a one-size-fits-all. In Ohio, the issue was
definitely the declining core and the exploding ex-urban area and the loss of
open space. That was a natural fit. I don't think it was too hard for them to
figure it out, even for the local officials, but they were able to link those two
things together. It got a lot of support. If it had affordable housing instead of
open space, would it have done so well? I doubt it, but it really depends on the
Okay, and then we'll come over there.
Relating to a similar presentation that's been given earlier, there is a transit,
Anti-Transit Roadshow. Is there, in your studies or in your analysis of these
campaigns, an organized Smart Growth Roadshow or an Anti-Smart Growth
Managed Growth Roadshow that's emerging?

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Yes. Again, not in most cases. I mean, people don't necessarily associate the
provision of affordable housing near a transit line as a smart growth issue that
they want to attack. These aren't necessarily that contentious. There's
definitely a NIMBY factor, but for the most part, that's not the kind of issue
that's attacked from the anti-smart growth people, if you will, if I can over
generalize. But, the growth management measures, absolutely, positively. The
Arizona and the Colorado growth management measures suffered terribly from
the fact that these people did fly in-not the same people, or maybe it was-
but they definitely had national people came in to tell people why this was bad.
This was going to affect their quality of life. It was going to take time away
from your kids cause you're going to have to spend time in planning meetings.
Just a lot of different things and you're right, people didn't really respond to
them. These measures were crushed.
You know, "Rail-Volution" is going to be in San Francisco next month. That's
another opportunity where the tie-in of transit and transit projects and smart
growth all works together in a very positive vein. There are a lot of people
involved in that presentation, in those series of presentations that would be
more than happy to come into your communities and help out.
There's another question over here, sir?
Yeah, could you say a couple more words about the difference between open
space preservation and growth management? I'm thinking in particular about
the urban growth boundaries as a way of preserving open space and how this
gets painted and where you draw the line?
I think we probably suffer from being too close to the issue, so it's easy for us
to make sharp points on them. But the open space measures were designed
solely, in most cases, just for the purchase of open space, usually by a local
government, for the purposes of not building on it. Okay? We don't think that
these alone are the smartest way to regulate growth in a community because

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there's leap-frog development, there's all kinds of things. In a lot of cases it
may make traffic congestion and these kinds of issues a little bit worse cause it
only pushes it further and further out. That's probably too much of my own
opinion in there, but...the growth management measures are designed to be
much more systemic and they're designed to regulate growth. It's urban
growth boundaries as you mentioned, which as you know, in California they
use quite a bit. It's drawing a circle around a community, a county, a region,
whatever-no growth on the outside of that. These are very contentious. It
always raises issues, but other growth management issues, I mean, it could be
something as simple as zoning or it could be something as very contentious as
a moratoria on building. We find that those strike out every time.
I just think we need to be very careful. If anything is unique to the area that
you're.... You're looking at these referendums and it's these kinds of issues. In
some areas a linkage with growth or no growth could be very damaging. Some
of the same people in Phoenix who were supporting us for transit were viewing
that as a way to continue to manage growth, to continue growth, to do it in a
more logical way. But the anti-growth folks that were out there. Frankly we
had to walk a very thin line, because all the people that were contributing that
$2 Million to our campaign were also some of the same people contributing the
$4 Billion to the anti-growth Campaign. So making these linkages, you have to
be real, real careful. Not that, I think that "Rail-Volution" takes a very positive
way. I think Pete was right. If we could find a way where we could attain
mutual ground, where achieving mutual objectives by investing in transit
makes affordable housing more interesting, makes additional opportunities for
development, then I think those linkages are very positive. But I think, we
meant doing that through many, many, many years. If you looked at the same
bars of win and loss elections in those that were Highway versus Transit, of the
1970s and 1990s, we would not be where we are today if we continued the
dialogue of trying to choose one over the other. We came a long way in the last
10 years of trying to work together on managing how we develop. I think that's
the key to most of these elections.
Okay, I want to open it up to all the speakers. We'll take about 10 minutes of
questions. Don't forget Rod is here who's lived through what, five
transportation sales tax measures in one way or the other and lived to tell about
it. So, we'll start around here and I'll come back around and circle back.
Go ahead, sir.

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Thank you.
The earlier presentation by Mr. Wulkan made an admonition that we needed to
have, I think you said, two to three times a lead, public opinion lead, at least six
months before we go to the polls. What about those of us who need that just to
survive the polls? Those of us who need a two-thirds majority just to pass?
How do you adjust that number up?
You know, I think honestly that's where people in California and I know in the
state of Washington have had that problem for a long time. I think that's where
you've got to bring in people that have won elections under those
circumstances. My guess is, it's not going to be that difficult to factor it up. If
you're not way ahead, but your erosion, depending upon... I don't know what
happened in San Jose. We'll hear a lot more in this area. You'll hear more
about how that happened. But I have to tell you, obviously, this is so simple.
You guys got a tough road ahead of you
If you've got super majorities, as you've had here, I mean, it took a lot of years
for the things that Rod did and Pete did to build up that kind of confidence in
the voters that you couldn't get 70 plus percent of the voters. So, it's a tough
one with super majorities.
Can I comment?
Yeah, Rod, please.
I think if Santa Clara County were starting now, we may never pass a tax
election. But by having started back in 1976 and squeaking that first one

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through on a rifle-shot special election where we had 18 percent vote turnout
and we concentrated only on bus riders and environmentalists and a very few
others and didn't put out one press release and just a very, very rifle-shot
campaign, with low voter turnout, and yet we still won by only 54 percent.
That was the nexus. Once that was on the books and we had a chance to build
some system with that money, and prove that the program would work, then
the public confidence began to build and we were able to get into the higher
numbers. But you, to try to get a super majority on a first ballot-very, very
tough. I'd recommend, by the way, that you not combine with other measures.
You can only lose. Your support base for a transit program brings in
construction labor, and is usually funded by the industrial and building
community, I mean the business and building community If you try to put a
growth measure on top of that, you're going to lose some of that basic support,
even though I'm very pro-controlled growth.
Another question. Yes, sir?
A lot of the election results that you've been talking about occurred during a
period of relatively strong or exceptionally strong economic conditions. Any of
you that have looked at that data care to speak on how significant that was?
You know, what percentage points do you get because unemployment's at 2
percent and folks have money in their pockets?
I'll answer it. I'll guarantee, I mean I'm probably, the panel tomorrow might
kill me, but I don't think we would pass it today. We would not have passed our
election today under today's circumstances. All the stars, all the moons,
everything-earth was right in a perfect alignment. We had just come off a
really good transit project where we finished up a project a year ahead of
schedule, congestion was at its worst, all sorts of things, factors were in there.
But I will guarantee you, maybe Rod will disagree with me, under current
economic conditions, I don't think this county would have passed it.

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I concur, in that particular instance that macroeconomic conditions probably
did contribute to that. On the other hand, we've done a more rigorous statistical
analysis that preceded this study, was associated with our former study. But at
any rate, we didn't find any systematic linkage between those kinds of
macroeconomic statistics and the outcomes of elections. So there's some hope.
I think you'd have to look at the local specific conditions, and not base too
much just on a generalization like that.
Could I add kind of a funny response to that? Probably the major impact would
have been that we would not have had $1.8 million from industry to run the
campaign on, because they've cut their donations to nothing. You know, the
Crippled Children's Society isn't getting any money from the industry in Santa
Clara County now. So, what you'd probably have to do, if you're in a down
economy, is run a very carefully chosen special election with a very careful
rifle-shot campaign, where you didn't tell anybody at all, except those people
that you know are going to vote for you, that there's even an election
occurring. You can do that with a minimum amount of money, and you focus
on a low turnout. That's risky, because if you get a strong opposition, you're
I've just got to say. I've been involved with winning elections in the 1970s, the
1980s, the 1990s and the beginning of 2000. I've lost elections in the 1970s,
the 1980s, the 1990s and the beginning of 2000. [Laughter] I think there are
these macro issues, but really, it really comes down to how are things in your
community at that time, and timing was the number one issue I put up on the
Lessons Learned.
Other questions?

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Thank you.
First, I'd like to thank the whole panel. I think these have been great
presentations and very informative for me.
I did have a question for Bill Lind in particular, although I'd be interested if
anyone else is preparing anything. If I understand the theme of most of the
presentations, it seems to be that you have to build coalitions to win, and those
coalitions have got to include local elected officials, the business community
and grass-roots organizations. I couldn't agree more. I've been through two
Denver elections-a losing one and a winning one-and I think that's certainly
true. I think Mr. Lind and Mr. Wyreck are doing some of the best work I've
seen to help debunk the myths and arm folks with the facts-the real facts-
about transit and the difference it's making in our communities. I think your
reports have been great.
I'm wondering, hopefully, what more you might have planned to help arm
these coalitions with the campaign kind of training and materials that they need
to go out and win? In particular, I might put in a plea if you are planning
anything, to focus at least some effort on the West. Because I think the West
has some particular opportunities and some particular challenges. And could
use exactly your kind of help and resources.
Well, let me just reference two things. Let me mention again the offer Paul has
made to APTA. Of course his work has been nationwide, including the West, to
essentially take all the expertise that he and that Free Congress as an institution
have developed in 25 years of electoral process work, at the grass-roots level.
Essentially how to win elections and how to train people to win elections and
put it at the disposal of APTA, for the purpose of trying to win these transit
referenda. As I said, if you're interested in seeing that happen, let APTA know.

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Second, the study I'm now beginning, which will be next, our fourth in the
series, "Bring Back Streetcars," is an attempt to do two things: First, to open
the door to rail transit in smaller communities. We think that there are a lot of
smaller communities that once had rail transit, that once had streetcar lines. We
think that can be done again if, and this leads to the second purpose of the
study, the cost can be kept down. We see Mr. Cox and company as the second
greatest danger to rail transit. The first and greatest danger is what it's doing to
itself by inflating its own costs. The standard cost for light rail is now $40
million a mile, it's creeping up towards $60 million, there's some at $80
million. Seattle has something it calls Light Rail at $150 million a mile. This is
There are a number of things that should be done to try to control this. In our
view, FTA should set a $20 million "should cost" figure. If it exceeds that,
except in special circumstances, it gets a "not recommended" rating.
We also think that there should be a rule that there should be no Federal
funding of any rail transit system where the consultants are paid as a
percentage of the value of the project. Because that is definitely one of the
things driving the gold plating. We are hoping in this study, at the same time, to
show a much less expensive way to get started with rail transit. Remember
what I said-that people don't know what you mean by "rail transit." Most of
it disappeared 50-60 years ago. Streetcars can be brought back very
inexpensively. So we are hoping, through this new study, to show that and to
get a lot of towns that look at light rail and say, "Well, we can't possibly do
that. Hey, here's a form of rail transit we can do." Once people see what it is,
they want more.
Okay, why don't we call it a night or at least, let's get a glass of wine, all right,
and then we can call it a night. The buses are going to be departing in front of
the hotel at 5:30. We're going to start precisely at 8:30 tomorrow morning.
There's going to be, I guess, a little breakfast, coffee and rolls and stuff like
that out here around 8:00. So we will see you tonight and see you tomorrow
morning. Thank you all.

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I hope you had a nice evening last night, whether you joined us out at Mirassou
or were out on your own. I know the folks at Mirassou really did, I think had a
nice time. I know my drivers did, even though they weren't able to sample the
wine, but we feed our drivers that way all the time
Today's discussion is going to focus on everyone's experience on transit ballot
measures and transit ballot initiatives. We're going to hear from those people
and this afternoon we're going to be sharing a lot of experiences and
observations and such from everybody at round-table type discussions. But this
morning what we're going to do is jump right into San Jose's experience and
doing it right-Santa Clara's November 2000 election.
Here comes Jude Barry, our last speaker, our final speaker. I don't know if you
really noticed it yesterday, but I'm sure you did, that we had several reports on
subject matter. A lot of the bickering that was going on back here was of
people not agreeing with whatever the other speakers were saying and such. So
I think it proves one fact that should come across very clear-there is no right
way, there is no wrong way. There's the successful way. You have to kind of
pick and choose whatever is going to be able to work in your particular
situation, your particular community. The suns and the stars had to be perfectly
aligned. After all the work, the effort, the crystal balling, we still had to have a
little bit of luck. That's what we had going into our successful ballot measure
last year. As much as anything, I think it means that you have to take whatever
can you learn here and gather it and funnel it and come out with your own
proposal. Technically, we in Santa Clara Valley, mostly these gentlemen that
are behind me and Rod, as we pointed out yesterday, took pieces of all the
approaches that we had talked about over the past several ballot measures that
we've had. In one instance, the effort was heavily on the roadway side. The
very first ballot measure was just pure transit and that's what funds us pretty
much on an ongoing basis. Then there was following a roadway effort.
Another was a balanced roadway/transit effort, and that was... [missing text]
...had talked about over the past several ballot measures that we've had. In one
instance, the effort was heavily on the roadway side. The very first ballot

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measure was just pure transit. That's what funds us pretty much on an ongoing
basis. Then there was a following, a roadway effort. The other was a balanced
roadway transit effort, and that was in 1996. And then most recently the transit
only effort.
We're fortunate to have with us four of the individuals who in one way or
another had a major role in one or all of these recent transportation sales tax
efforts. The first speaker that we're going to be hearing from I'll describe as
the strategist. Mr. Max Besler is from Townsend Raimundo Besler and Usher
(TRB&U). Now where would we be, as we were talking about yesterday,
without the individuals like Max, the "consultant," who could help us wade
through the tons of data, the public opinion surveys, and help us reach viable
strategies and approaches that get our message across to the voters that we
need to get to the polls.
Then we have the campaigner, Mr. Carl Guardino. He is President and CEO of
the Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group. This organization represents the core
of business of Silicon Valley. Not only are they instrumental in raising the
necessary funds for a viable campaign, they also loan their CEO, Carl, to the
campaign to help lead the effort. Carl can technically chalk up four successful
transportation sales wins. Although one of them was ultimately overturned by
the State Supreme Court, we still classify it in the "W" column. We definitely
would not have had success without his skills, his campaign knowledge, and
most importantly, his passion for the effort.
Then there's the media, Gary Richards. Probably Gary has as good a feel for
what this community wants, needs, and desires in transportation as anyone in
the field. You can see his column in the morning papers. Mr. Roadshow as we
described him yesterday. He not only has the pulse of those loyal readers who
correspond with him daily, I can't remember exactly, I think he gets 400 e-
mails a day... somewhere in that area-and to his credit, Gary is as
knowledgeable as any so called transportation professional I know, on what it
actually takes for project delivery. Credibility with the media-we touched on
it a little bit yesterday but credibility with the media is essential for any
successful campaign. That credibility doesn't begin with the inspiration with,
"Gee, let's have a campaign." It begins long, long before that and it takes a
great deal of time and effort on everybody's part to nurture and come to a trust
factor with the media.
Finally, we have the political force, or in this case, Mr. Jude Barry. Now a
political consultant, but at this time last year, he was the Chief of Staff to San

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Jose's Mayor Ron Gonzales, who unabashedly, was a political strength behind
the campaign. During the sales tax effort, Jude took a leave of absence from the
Mayor's office and served as Co-Chair of the campaign. His professional
skills, knowledge, record of successes, and know how of what it takes to win a
campaign, served us all well. He was a major factor in our success.
Our format for this morning's session will include a 10-15 minute presentation
by each of the speakers, followed by an open discussion and Q&A. Please,
really probe into these folks. They are very knowledgeable people. Our focus
as you know is on the November 2000 30-year sales tax measure that we
passed in November. I mentioned it yesterday; it will generate about $6 billion
for transit only transportation projects.
There are just a couple of things though that I think it is important to set the
stage and perhaps reflect upon this from a general manager's perspective. The
transit system is benefiting from this.
Like most communities, transportation and housing are two of the most critical
issues facing us in Silicon Valley. Unlike many communities, this one has
taken the action steps to deal with those issues. An organization like VTA must
constantly be working towards those moments in time, being ready to take full
advantage of these opportunities, as we were last year. During the time frame
that we will be discussing, our focus at VTA, candidly, was the 1996 sales tax
measure. Now this is last year, about this time last year, a little bit earlier in the
time frame. But, our goal at that time, and our entire focus at that time, was to
really bring in... It was a nine-year sales tax measure split pretty evenly
between transit and highway programs. At the time, we were really focusing
on trying to bring all these projects in under 2004/2005 time frame, in order to
bring them in under budget, which is always a trick. But, it actually was to
prime ourselves to go back to the electorate in 2006. So that was where our
focus was. I don't recall the precise time line, but I think it was the early
spring, maybe March, perhaps Carl can verify that. But, I got this phone call
from Carl. We were moving into the presidential election year. He along with
some of his organization's leaders had done some polling. Things seemed to
look good for an add on measure, like the one that we had passed before,
except not in 2006, but now, ready to move right now. We had just opened our
Tasman West line and many of you have ridden that, in December of the year
before December 1999. We had opened it up a full year ahead of schedule. We
had continuously increased our level of service at VTA about three to five
percent per year for the past five years. We kind of cleaned up our act a little bit
in many respects. We were also riding on the success of a very good economy.

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Our sales tax revenues were high. We had good labor relations. We had
resolved our contracts in a professional business like manner. There wasn't a
whole lot of internal strife going on at VTA.
The seeds of the previous sales tax measure, which also had [Inaudible]
management issues and other rapid transit projects in it, were really starting to
take root. We promoted the hell out of... every time we had a new project, we
made a spectacular display of this project going on and we put up a lot of
signage, "Paid for by your Measure B dollars." Perhaps you have seen some of
those efforts continuing and going on.
So, everything is really going pretty good for us. In a nutshell, people knew
what we were working on. They knew that there were a number of
transportation projects that were in the mill. Based on our economic conditions
here, congestion was reaching just horrific heights, and I think it goes to the
issue of crisis proportions in Santa Clara Valley. Two or three of the roadways
were number one or two in the country when it came to congestion issues. So,
people wanted more done in transportation and they didn't want to wait. They
wanted it done now.
I don't remember exactly what Carl said to me when he told me the results of
that poll, but it was something monumental like, "Well, Pisan, what do you
think?" So, the rest is history. And now I am going to have these good folks tell
our their story from their perspective. The first speaker we are going to have is
Mr. Max Besler.
...represented as something other than a slime ball, which is usually the way
people in Jude's and my business tend to get described these days. So it's nice
to wake up one morning and find that we actually provide a service that people
One of the things that I want to talk about today-because you get a lot of folks
talking about what happened on this campaign and what happens generally in
these types of campaigns-is to talk about a lot of the work that goes on
beforehand. In a sense, a campaign for transportation campaign, a sales tax
campaign, any kind of an initiative campaign is basically rather different from
a candidate campaign. Most of the work goes on, I think, way before. It's a
little bit like an iceberg. Everybody looks at an iceberg and they think they
know what it looks like, until they read in a book that most of it is underneath

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the water. Well that's the case here. What happens is, most of the work has
been going on for a long time. I want to talk a little bit about that because it's
all very important about the way in which a successful campaign actually
coalesces and works.
But, I just want to describe, very briefly, the stark contrast that I think exists
between a candidate campaign and an initiative campaign. In a candidate
campaign, you do absolutely anything that you can in order to get attention. It
doesn't make any difference what it is. You remember the old song, "I don't
care what they say about me, just make sure they spell my name right"? Well,
that is pretty much how it is. You try to put as much mail in the boxes as you
can. You get as much television as you can. And radio and so on and so forth
and on it goes.
You get a phalanx of people who, if you're lucky, will go out into the precinct
and talk to folks and spread the good word about it. You do everything every
day you possibly can to get somebody like Gary Richards to write about you in
the newspaper. You know that the other guy is going to get something to say, so
what you try to do is to try to knock the other guy as much as you possibly can
so he or she is back on his or her proverbial heels trying to field something. In
an initiative campaign, it is sort of the opposite. It becomes kind of corporate in
a sense. There is a lot of planning beforehand, but we'll describe that.
The other thing that goes on is that the tone of the campaign is different. It
should be positive, not negative. When people start hearing negative messages
about the side that is supporting a measure, they wonder what is going on. The
other thing about it is that voters have a tendency, a very strong tendency, to try
to figure out on their own, to separate the fact from the nonsense. Which is
another reason why you want to try to stay away from fluffy, atmospheric stuff
and try to give them as much information as possible. They really are
interested in what they see. If you're positive about the presentation of it, they
understand that a lot better as well.
Finally, the other thing you have to do is that you have to find that marvelous
combination of just enough communication and not too much communication.
In the closing two weeks of a highly contested campaign for say a state senator,
state assembly seat in the state of California, actually for most congressional
seats too, you'll find that the goal will be to get at least one piece of your own
mail in the mailbox every day. If you get two or three in there, so what. That's
better. Because that means that you'll have more competition on that day to be
able to get your point across. Here what we try to do is to do something that is

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just enough so that we can get people to think about it, but not do too much.
Because if you do too much, people sit back and they say, "Well, who is paying
for this? What's going on here? Is there an agenda that is going on?" Of course,
the problem is that on the day after the election, you're trying to figure out if
you've sent enough or too much or too little. The way you determine that is
whether you win or lose. But generally speaking, you have got to be a little less
Now let's move into the underside of the iceberg for a second. First off, there
has to be a greater deal of need. Voters have got to understand. They have to be
so angry with what's going on in transportation that that issue rises up to the
top. If you take a look at a listing of all the major issues in this county, what
you'll see is that transportation is right up at the top. So, here we knew that
there was a major desire for it. Now the reason that is important is because,
sooner or later, someone is going to come along and an opponent is going to
say, "Transportation is fine, but don't you think we should do education? Don't
you think we should do cops? Don't you think we should do fire? Don't you
think we should do homeless?" I mean, there are going to be a variety of things
put forth. If your issue isn't up towards the top, people will think, "Well,
maybe he is right. Maybe the priorities are wrong."
Then you have to figure out what the wants are. Now there are two sets of
wants-what the transportation planners want and, what the voters want.
Occasionally they collide, but often times, they don't. So what you have to do
is find a way to be able to separate the two. Since most of you out there are on
the planning side, what you'll have to be aware of is that when a gang like this,
minus Gary, shows up at your door and says, "We think that's good and that's
bad," don't throw the baby out with the bath water. Because what happens is
that there's got to be a balance in there. Often times what a transportation
planner will come up with is something that voters aren't interested in. And,
how you handle that will depend upon the size of the expenditure plan and
whether or not you can fit it in. Barring that, if there's not enough money, then
you excise it and do it on the next go around.
But it's important to make sure that you cannot view one of these ballot
measures as just a simple grab bag to get everything you've ever anted into
here. There has to be a need that fits the voters desires to see something fixed.
In order to do that then, you have to come up with the projects and services the
public wants. Polling is absolutely necessary to do that. We did a couple of polls
on a previous go around where we tried a really cockamamie scheme of putting

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two measures on the ballot. At one point, a general tax increase which only
required a five percent vote, and a company advisory measure where there was
none binding to let voters know what we would spend it on. That took a lot of
polling. I think we did about six or seven polls and we did almost as many focus
groups, which again are little small groups of conclaves. You get people in there
asking questions about things. Because we had to figure out every little nit and
nat of how people regarded this thing. So polling becomes real important
because it allows you to determine what projects are important, what projects
and services are important, where your strengths lie, where your weaknesses lie,
who are good spokespeople, who aren't good spokespeople. When the taxpayers
or somebody else decides to whack you, you can determine whether or not you
have got an opportunity to being able to get past it.
Now there's another element in this and that's trust. Santa Clara County has
loads of trust. What I mean by that is-they have done four or five of these
things. When somebody like Carl says, "We're going to put another one on
there," it actually does have an impact. Because people realize that they've
done it in the past, they've done what they said they were going to do, they did
it on time, they can be trusted in doing this. The important elements are need
and trust. Because the need tells me I have to do it. Trust is will they do it. So
what happens here is you have got a very good nexus between those people
who are saying, "we can do it, "and the needs." Of course, the trust [Inaudible]
is also important. There are another couple of things you can do to make sure
that people understand that there are some reasons that things will be carried
out, which I'll talk about in a second.
Raising awareness is important. We talk about that because it's just not the
campaign. What we're talking about now is the pre-campaign stuff. What Carl
has done for a number of years, and what his predecessors have done at the
manufacturing group, is in effect beat the permanent campaign. It's not just on
this issue. It's other issues. But the importance of it is two fold. Number one,
what they do is to work on telling the entire community about these issues. In
other words, it's important for us, it's so
for us, that we the members
of this organization, want to go out into the community and let other people
know abo ut it. We're going to sell them on what we think is an important plan.
You need to have almost a permanent engine doing this. Because a permanent
engine means permanent funding. Permanent funding means permanent
presence. That's what you have to have in order to make sure that these notions
go foreword. So an organization such as the manufacturing group or some of
their equivalent in your community, I think, is absolutely important if you're
going to be able to set the stage.

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Then the other thing about it that is important is that that becomes your funding
base. If you think you can put a measure on the ballot and just let it go, forget
it. Nine times out of ten you'll lose. The tenth time is because you just
happened to get everything totally right and everybody was asleep at the
switch when they voted you in. But what happens is that you've got to have a
permanent funding mechanism to do things. Now you have got to come from a
variety of states and communities. So there are lots of ways in which this can
be done. But in some instances, public education at the early part can be done
through public expenditures. Because you're telling people about what is going
on. You're not advocating anything, but you are telling people. You are
educating the public and that is a legitimate expenditure. Then there's the other
side that comes with the advocacy. That's where you need to have somebody
who [Inaudible] private funding because that group migrates into the campaign
when it goes forward.
Then there is ballot labels and ballot language. After you have done the polling
and you've decided what's going on, and after you've put together these
expenditure plans based upon all this good research, and you've got tons of
people around supporting you, then you've got to put the ballot label together.
Here in California, it's a maximum of 75 words. That 75 words, the ballot
label, is the single thing that everybody will see when they go into the voting
booth. Because that's the one things that tells them what they're voting on and
it's got a yes behind it and a no behind it. You have got to work that as best you
can to get the strongest possible language for it. Just to give you an example of
what is good and what is bad in a general way-what's bad is tax on a tax with
a half cent [Inaudible] tax on tax is a good thing right? As opposed to passing a
measure which will provide the construction of freeways and maintenance of
roads in the county. That's a different thing. Because people look at the word
tax and they immediately think all those bad things that are associated with tax.
What you have got to do is get beyond that. So what you really need to do is to
make sure that you focus them on what the measure is about. So that by the
time that they come to the notion of tax, which will be brought up by the
opponents, they'll already understand that not all taxes are the same.
Unfortunately, you're fighting an uphill battle because that is what people
automatically look at as a bad thing. They think of tax. So that's a really
important thing to get right because if you get it right, you've done probably 5
percent of the work right there.
Then there are the ballot statements that are made, the arguments. Those are
very important too because you want to get the best signers that you can in
your community and hammer home your notions as strong as you can.

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Finally, and then I'll turn it over to Carl so he can talk next, the campaign itself
is really based upon, I think, a few simple premises. Number one, we call it
"run silent, run deep." Sometimes there are variants of it. In Santa Clara
County, you can't be too silent about it because everybody knows about it. But
what we try to do is communicate very specific messages by targeting specific
groups within a community. We split Santa Clara County into about 30 or 35
different areas of interest. An area of interest can be a neighborhood or an
aggregation of neighborhoods, or a whole city or a half a city. Then what you
do is talk about those specific kinds of projects and specific kinds of services
that are going to be provided. Then you let the people in those communities
carry the message about that so that you've got people who are in the local
communities, and people in other communities saying, "Well, you know what?
The reason I think that Measure A and Measure B, Measure Q, whatever it is,
is important, is because that measure is going to fix those potholes out there;
it's going to fix that street over there." Remember the accidents that took place
on that interchange down there? That's what we're going to fix by this
measure. That's what you want people talking about. It's that local kind of
impact that takes place.
As I say, focus on projects and be positive about it. Don't be negative about it.
The other side is going to go negative on you, but resist the notion to go
negative. All you have to do is to talk about projects. If you have good projects
and good services, you have got a good chance of being able to prevail.
The other thing about it is don't be too slick. You don't have to be real slick.
You just have to have a presence. You have to be able to get the presence
across. You have to be able to do it in a way that people understand that all
local folks are being involved in the measure.
Finally, you have got to be well-funded. Whatever it costs to do it, you have
got to do it. Because if you come up short, you lose. And, in a state like
California, which requires a two thirds vote at the local level to pass these
things, when you specify what kinds of projects there are, it becomes really
important to be able to make sure you get the message out in every possible
best way. That takes a lot of money.
Finally, the one last thing is don't talk about taxes. Don't try to decide, "You
know, I'm just going to tell them that it's going to be less than half the cost of a
newspaper per day, or just a couple of pennies per day." Because as soon as
you set foot on that slippery slope, they'll start talking about it, you'll start
talking about it, and the next thing is you've lost control of your message and

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you're talking about taxes. So when somebody talks about taxes, believe me,
that will be aired enough. What you want to talk about is projects, because that
won't be aired enough.
So, I'll get off the podium now, and I think Carl is next. Then we'll all answer
questions. Thanks.
Thank you. It is such a pleasure to be with all of you this morning. As Max and
Pete mentioned, my name is Carl Guardino. I have the pleasure of working for
an organization called the Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group. I want to
mention quickly what the group is, to put it in context, and then jump right into
the message.
The organization was formed 23 years ago by a legend here in the valley,
David Packer, cofounder of Hewlett Packard, as a way for private sector
employers at the executive level, to get positively and proactively involved in
the issues impacting their community. Not only for their companies and the
economic health of the region but also for the quality of life of their employees.
That's just good business. Because the toughest issue facing employers in
Silicon Valley is the ability to recruit and retain a world class work force. So,
being aggressive and proactive, I think the quality of life issues is the key to
success here in this valley. I was asked to talk today about doing it right,
relative to transportation sales tax measures. So I would like to share some of
the best practices for the next ten minutes. I want to emphasize that we need to
learn from each other. So to the extent that we have done anything well here,
please take that home with you, and then during the Q&A we're hoping to
learn from you ways to improve our next measures. Plagiarism may no have
been okay in college, but it is truly okay when we are talking about trying to
improve our communities in providing the transportation infrastructure that
our commuters and citizens deserve. So with that, three quick themes and then
a few choices that we need to make as we conduct these campaigns. The three
quick things that help to set the stage for success are: horrendous traffic, a
history of results, and a healthy economy.
First, we'll look at horrendous traffic. We are either blessed or cursed with that
here in Silicon Valley. The average urban highway speed, in the nine county
Bay Area, that includes Silicon Valley, during commute times, is about 23

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miles an hour. And in Santa Clara County alone, until recently, we lose our
commuters about 40,000 a morning, stopped in speeds below the speed limit.
So convincing folks that we need to do something about traffic is not the issue.
It's what do we need to do. So, we have met that hurdle.
Second is a history of accomplishments. Pete alluded to this. Then there is the
1976 permanent measure that Rod Diridon ran-and I hope you've had a
chance to pick his brain about that-and then the three sales tax measures that
expired in 1984, 1996, and 2000, those were all delivered-the 1984 measure
and the 1996-the improvements were delivered on-time and on budget. When
you have that history of success, your voters trust you. Will you then come
back to them and say, "We need to do more."
The third vital ingredient is a healthy economy. When the economy is going
well, it's easier to raise funds for the campaign, obviously. But consumer
confidence is up as well. That helps in terms of voters' willingness to reach
into their own wallets to tax themselves and to move forward. Now that was a
key ingredient last year. Because as we met with our CEOs and spoke with
Jude Barry and Mayor Gonzales, we knew that the economy was at risk. It was
probably at risk sooner rather than later. If we were going to strike, we were
going to need to do it soon. That bode very well for a successful raise last
November 7, 2000. Because, I tell you, I would hate to be running for co-
directing that campaign in this economy climate. That's the overall 20,000 foot
level. What I would like to spend the next few minutes on is choices.
First choice, are you going to seek good data or are you going to guess? I am
referring of course to polling. As Max mentioned, in 1996, to run that very
uniquely structured half-cent sales tax campaign, we conducted five major
public opinion polls and two major focus groups over an eight-month period,
just to determine if we were going to go to the ballot. Those polls went macro
to micro. The first polls being very board and the final poll really focusing on
the specific language that we would use for those twin ballot measures. That's
how narrow it got. What's important about polling besides getting good
information though, is that you can actually use it as a coalition building tool.
Let me give you an example. When you go macro to micro, and you want to
bring everyone into that tent to build that coalition, that first group meeting of
your coalition, everyone has a different feel of how you should go forward.
The type of tax mechanism; the projects; how many of the projects are transit
how many are road; how long the tax should go on, etcetera. We always use
that polling to narrow that down, so that well meaning can come in and say,

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"You know, the right type of tax is $5 a gallon gas tax. I just know it. I would
pay for it. I know everyone else would pay for it. All my friends would pay for
it." So you say thank you, and you poll on it. When the poll comes back and
finds out that only two percent would support it, then that person feels hurt.
They helped to write the language for the poll. Their question was included for
the poll. Then they had the data coming back. And reasonable minds would
then say, "Well, that was my idea, but now what is practical and pragmatic?"
So we use that polling, macro to micro, to keep everyone around the table, and
make sure they feel heard.
The other key about good data is a good pollster. We use a gentleman out of
Sacramento named Jim Moore. I've known and wor