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The Coalitions Form

Following the December 1995 meeting, ANR, AHA, and Glantz decided to move ahead without ALA and ACS, in the hopes that, once things started happening, the two other organizations would join them. Adams invited Roman Bowser, AHA's executive vice president, to a meeting to work out how ANR would run a grassroots campaign coordinated with AHA's lobbying effort. AHA was to help finance this campaign by providing $25,000 to ANR. Under Bowser's leadership, the AHA had been evolving from an organization that did not even have a lobbyist before 1988 to one that was willing to engage in a political fight. When asked about this change, Bowser replied,

I think that if we look back over time—the origin of Prop 99, the passage, the lawsuits—I think you see somewhat of an escalation of our activity and involvement each step of the way. The more I learned about it, the more interested I was in it. …When the lawsuits started, then we started getting a little bit concerned. I think that the real turning point for me was [when] Stan Glantz called our national executive vice-president and left him a voice mail message saying that “we've really got some problems out here with Prop 99” and…he passed the message to me. …I knew who he [Glantz] was. I wasn't real thrilled about meeting him because I'd read some unflattering remarks he made about the Heart Association. Anyway, I called him back. I asked him if there was anything I could do to help him, what he wanted, and that was the turning point, that telephone conversation, because he spent quite a bit of time with me basically educating me on what was really going on behind the scenes with Prop 99. Also, I did not realize until then that we were in serious danger of losing the whole thing. …[but] I was still bound and determined to have the American Heart Association stay with the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association.[23]

When the meeting started, Bowser announced that the ACS had just told him that it would put $120,000 into an effort to save Proposition 99 on the condition that ACS run the campaign. ANR and Glantz reacted skeptically, as did Adams. They were concerned that ACS, as the least combative of the voluntary health agencies, would simply adopt earlier failed strategies, and Glantz urged Bowser to move ahead with the original plan to work with ANR. Bowser, although doubtful about ACS, felt that he simply could not ignore his colleagues at ACS and ALA. The meeting ended without agreement on how to proceed.

The next several weeks were devoted to extended discussions among ANR, AHA, and Glantz on how to deal with ACS. By mid-January, Glantz felt that saving Proposition 99 was impossible.[7] ACS and ALA were unwilling to confront the CMA and the governor, and AHA was unwilling to move without them. The governor had released an unacceptable budget, but the health groups did nothing more than issue a press release. On Friday afternoon, Glantz told Carol that he was recognizing reality and giving up. Carol replied that the only reason ANR was involved was because of pressure from Glantz and that without Glantz, ANR would drop out, too. (She had joked that she knew Glantz would write the history of Proposition 99 and she did not want ANR blamed for letting it die.) Glantz called Adams and Bowser as a courtesy. Adams asked Glantz to keep an open mind over the long Martin Luther King Holiday weekend.

The following Tuesday, Adams called Glantz and Carol and said that AHA had decided to break with ACS and ALA and asked them to reconsider working with AHA. AHA intended to confront the CMA and the governor and mount a major campaign to reengage the public in the future of Proposition 99. Carol was particularly surprised. Following the December meeting, ANR had decided not to get involved in the Proposition 99 reauthorization fight. Rather than simply saying no to AHA at that time, Carol had laid down a set of four conditions that AHA would have to accept about the campaign that she was sure would scare them off:

One, that it'll really be hard hitting. And that means taking on Pete Wilson and the CMA. Two, that I can find a grassroots coordinator who I really trust, because otherwise I can't do this. Three, they were going to have to pay us. And, four, we're not going to be in a coalition with Cancer and Lung, given their position on not wanting to bash the governor and the CMA. …It was clear that they had different strategies in mind. So they chose us and you could have blown me away. I thought I was off the hook. …So there we were. Stuck running a campaign![3]

When asked about the change at AHA, Mary Adams said,

We were not going to sit back on our heels and watch yet another year go by and dismal failure. Cancer and Lung put together this group called…“Keep the Promise to Our Kids, the Coalition to Restore 99.” They were going along on a similar path but in a much less rapid way and a much less contentious way. …They were simply…not going to play an “in your face” game. …And my thought had been from the get-go that we had played nice in the past and it didn't work; that we had to take the gloves off and play the game differently, period.[5]

AHA committed $50,000 for a grassroots lobbying campaign and hired a Republican lobbyist. Up until that point, the health voluntaries were closely allied with the Democratic Party; now the Republicans controlled the Assembly. AHA, ANR, and Glantz began a paid advertising campaign to publicize the failure of the governor and the Legislature to follow the will of the voters. They also started to work to force the CMA to stop supporting the tobacco industry.

Meanwhile ACS, joined by ALA, had been pursuing their nonconfrontational reauthorization strategy. Beerline explained, “We're going to be nonpartisan, positive, try to take the high road and create win-win situations. …Heart decided that the campaign that we were putting together was not aggressive enough and that they wanted to have a more aggressive campaign but still remain a member of the coalition. And, of course, they were talking by then with ANR. And we basically told Heart that they couldn't have it both ways. …And ANR, of course, has their own style, the way they do things.”[8] Beerline went to on to say that if AHA went off to work with ANR in ANR's style, then AHA could not be part of the old coalition.

While not willing to be confrontational, ACS was planning to change its tactics from the past. The organization planned to devote staff to coordinating a grassroots campaign and to hire a professional public relations firm to help attract media attention to Proposition 99 and arrange meetings with editorial boards.


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