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SG-W:/ Proposal B update


In the past few days, several conversations have turned to the question of
"How is the Natural Areas Proposal doing?" I've been working on Proposal B
seven days a week for several months, so I thought I'd share my thoughts
on this question with you.

I think our Natural Washtenaw campaign has done a fine job on most of the
critical campaign tasks.  We won the the Board of Commissioners vote,
earned endorsements from a broad cross-section of organizations and
individuals, printed great literature, and planted lots of eye-catching
yard signs.  This is all required to win a county ballot proposal.  If we
keep executing right to the last day, I'll have no second thoughts about
our work in these areas.

In the 1998 land-use proposal campaign, I think we all agree that the
opponents' aggressive ad campaign was our biggest problem. With nine days
left before election day, it's highly unlikely we'll see even a shadow of
such a campaign.  However, I'm still *very* concerned about our election
prospects.  It will not be easy to add over 8 percentage points to our
1998 Ann Arbor vote, and over 12 percentage points in Ypsilanti and the
big townships.  These huge - and rare - vote changes must occur for us to
have a chance of winning.
While it's a relief to not have organized opposition, we face another
formidable opponent this year:  voters don't know about Proposal B.  This
is what people all over the county are reporting. With voters looking at
four or more ballot propositions, including the very high-profile Proposal
1, our Proposal is struggling for recognition.  This problem is compounded
by the deluge of ads and media on the hot state and national races.  Few
people are going to vote for a new tax just because they read the obscure
Proposal B ballot language in the voting booth. If we lose, I think it
will be because the volume of our campaign was too low to cut through the
political noise so that enough nature-inclined voters were aware of the
purpose of Proposal B.

This line of thought brings me to the fundamental issue we face in the
last nine days of our campaign:  money.  Last Friday our campaign
leadership group agreed to spend several thousand dollars *more* than our
fundraising has brought in to date; we will be personally accountable for
this decision. We chose to take this risk in order to do extra mailings,
and newspaper and radio ads. However, we could do *far more* if we get
some checks or pledges in the next few days.  Every dollar we bring in
during the next week will be converted to more mailings and ads beyond
what we've already committed to.  Since lack of awareness of Proposal B is
our fundamental problem, I think that these extra marketing efforts will
yield substantial "Yes" votes.

If you can pledge to send a check (or another check - thanks to those who
have already made a contribution), please let me know by replying to this
email so Natural Washtenaw can commit to spending more money in the next
nine days.  Your timely contribution will create added "Yes for B" votes
that could win this campaign.

Checks should be written to "Natural Washtenaw" and sent to Natural
Washtenaw at 1308 E. Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI 48104.  Campaign contributions
are not tax deductible.

Please forgive any excessive preaching to the choir,

Doug Cowherd
concerned fellow choir member,
for Natural Washtenaw

P.S., The last 9 days are a critical time to volunteer time for Proposal B
literature distribution and mailings. If you will do this, please reply to
this email.

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