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The Wellness Grant

In March the California Wellness Foundation, which had financed the voter education campaign about Proposition 188, gave the ANR/AHA media strategy a huge shot in the arm: a $250,000 grant to run a series of advertisements on the status of the Proposition 99 Health Education and Research programs and their importance. The campaign was not designed to lobby for any particular piece of legislation, but rather to educate and involve the public in the debate over the future of Proposition 99.[28]

The Hall of Shame ad had attracted the attention of Herb Gunther, director of the Public Media Center in San Francisco, which had run the nonpartisan advertising campaign on Proposition 188 with a grant from the Wellness Foundation a year earlier (see chapter 11). Gunther had been interested in helping restore the integrity of Proposition 99 but had not met any credible players with whom to work. The fact that the AHA had adopted such an aggressive approach impressed Gunther, and he arranged a meeting between Glantz and Wellness Foundation president Gary Yates to discuss Proposition 99. Glantz later described the meeting in an interview:

Gary basically said, “I know what you want. You want some money to run ads about Prop 99 and I had thought it over and decided not to do it.” I had pitched the idea to him at the meeting after an adequate amount of wine, and my whole idea of engaging the public. They had just come off this victory in [Proposition] 188 and really shown a whole new way foundations could play a positive role in public health. I basically said we wanted to do something like the 188 campaign and that the Heart Association was showing some guts. And it turns out that Wellness had been kind of watching. Tobacco isn't one of their priority areas, but they'd been watching Prop 99, wanting to do something to help and not seeing any place to put the money, because they looked at it as the same old same-olds, making the same old mistakes.

And they had noticed the [Hall of Shame] ad, too. And they had seen the article about the threats from the CMA, too, and were impressed by that. And were impressed that the Heart Association was willing to do it. ANR had a very good reputation with them for some other projects they'd been involved with.

And in the end Yates said, “Okay, I'm interested in doing this.” And he looked at Gunther and he said, “How much money is this going to take?” And Herb said, “A hundred thousand dollars.” And then Yates looked at me. I mean, that was more money than I had thought we had needed at the beginning. And then Yates looked at me and he says, “You know, you don't take on the CMA and the governor and lose. How much do you need to win? Can you win for a hundred thousand dollars?” And I said, “I'm pretty sure.” And he said, “I don't want to be pretty sure. I want to be sure. How much do you need to be sure?” And I thought for a minute, took a deep breath, and said, “A quarter of a million dollars.” And he looked at me and he said, this was about nine-thirty on a Thursday night, and he says, “I want a grant on my desk by five o'clock Tuesday morning for $250,000. I want ANR Foundation to be the fiscal agent. And you work it out with them and Heart and the Public Media Center.” So we had one hysterical weekend of putting together this proposal.[7]

The resulting grant to ANRF paid for a series of advertisements to be developed by the Public Media Center in concert with Glantz, ANR, and AHA. The ads were to appear in major California newspapers and discuss issues surrounding Proposition 99. In addition, there were funds for public opinion polling and grassroots education. Gunther knew the hard-hitting advertisements would be out of character for the voluntary health agencies: “Our side invariably thinks the only way you win is by being nice, and the voluntaries are into that. I mean certainly around tobacco issues, it's been about, `Oh, you know, I hope my back isn't hurting the heel of your shoe, Governor. We really appreciate your standing on us in this way. Let us know what else we can do to make you even more comfortable.' And that's the approach the voluntaries have had.”[29]

Carol invited ACS and ALA to a meeting at the Public Media Center to discuss the strategy and encourage their participation. Beerline, however, had very little interest in Gunther's approach:

At the ad agency that was going to run their campaign, we had a major meeting. And all the players were there and we spent a lot of time talking about our differences on how we wanted to run the campaign and basically what we agreed upon at that point in time [was] that there was no way that we could come together on this. So ANR and Heart would wage their campaign, we would wage ours, we would keep each other informed. They felt very comfortable about the type of campaign that they had in mind and we dubbed it the “black hat.”…We said, “Okay, but we're not going to do it and we can see that this might present some political problems in Sacramento and we're going to have to distance ourselves from you.”…But there was just no other way that we could reconcile it because of the extreme difference in the way that we were planning to run our campaigns.[8]

While ACS and ALA tried to work within the existing power structure (which included the CMA), AHA, ANRF, Glantz, and Gunther started trying to change it. Their first goal was neutralizing the CMA.


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