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Proposition 10

After the defeat of Proposition 5 in November 1978, its key proponents were exhausted, even though many supporters were urging them to try again. A few months after the Proposition 5 defeat, Glantz and his wife, Marsha, had dinner with Loveday and the inevitable subject of a second attempt came up. Loveday responded, “Are you nuts? I'm going to go out and make some money!” Two weeks later, Loveday called Glantz and asked him if he would join a new effort to try another statewide initiative.

What happened?

In the June 1978 election, California voters had overwhelmingly passed Proposition 13, the Jarvis-Gann Initiative, which drastically cut property taxes, despite the fact that most of the state's political and business establishment opposed it. The campaign to pass Proposition 13 was managed by a relatively new political consulting firm named Butcher-Forde.

A major electoral victory naturally attracts attention to a consulting firm, even if the victory is on a comparatively easy issue, such as getting people to vote to cut their own taxes. But Butcher-Forde also attracted attention within the California political community for the innovative way in which it managed and financed the campaign to qualify and pass Proposition 13. Rather than relying on volunteer or paid circulators to gather the necessary signatures along with a separate fund-raising campaign, Butcher-Forde combined these two operations. They ran a large direct mail campaign in which they sent petitions to prospective

supporters with a request that they sign the petitions (and ask a few friends to sign), then return the signed petitions together with a donation. Thus, rather than costing money to collect the necessary signatures, the process of collecting the signatures became a fund-raising device. In the process, Butcher-Forde built a mailing list of supporters that could be sent subsequent fund-raising appeals to finance the election campaign. And, of course, Butcher-Forde took a commission on every piece of direct mail that was sent.

After winning Proposition 13, William Butcher and Arnold Forde were looking for another campaign to manage. Based on polling, they identified clean indoor air as a popular issue with the voters. They approached Loveday and Hanauer with a proposal that Butcher-Forde manage a campaign for a new clean indoor air initiative. Loveday and Hanauer would write the initiative and serve as spokesmen and Butcher-Forde would do the rest. They would raise the money, qualify the initiative, and run a winning campaign. It all seemed so easy.

Hanauer and Loveday drafted a new initiative, cleaning up some of the problems with Proposition 5 and calling it the Smoking and No Smoking Sections Initiative. The new initiative did not distinguish between rock and jazz concerts, eliminated the need for partitions, limited what government could spend on signs, provided for citations for violators, and gave nonsmokers fewer protections than Proposition 5 would have. Californians for Clean Indoor Air was renamed Californians for Smoking and No Smoking Sections to run the campaign, coalition partners were recruited, and the effort for a new initiative was formally started on August 24, 1979.

Unfortunately, Butcher-Forde found that getting people to give money to support clean indoor air was not as easy as getting them to support cutting their own taxes. The consulting firm dumped Californians for Smoking and No Smoking Sections two months into the signature drive. According to Hanauer,

[Butcher-Forde] started organizing these fund-raising letter campaigns. They discovered early on what we had discovered during Prop 5, that this is not a pocketbook issue for people. That there are a lot of people who say, “Yes, we're with you,” but if you get $10 out of them, you're lucky. …By the time we were halfway through the signature drive, the two of them came up to wine and dine Paul and me at a dinner at the airport, basically to kiss us off and say, “I guess you realize this is not a pocketbook issue and there's no way we can continue on this because we're losing our shirts.” And we were happy to get rid of them because we didn't like them.[4]


Butcher-Forde's departure was a problem for tobacco control advocates, however. It was one thing to run a campaign and be defeated at the polls by a multimillion dollar advertising blitz from the tobacco industry. It was quite another to sponsor an initiative that did not even qualify for the ballot. Advocates felt that they could not back away from the initiative campaign.

Loveday, Hanauer, and their colleagues began a frantic effort to mobilize the old grassroots network and raise money. In the end, they managed to collect the necessary signatures, thanks in part to the opening of the Star Wars sequel, The Empire Strikes Back. The film was immensely popular and attracted long lines. Volunteers worked the lines to collect signatures. On June 26, 1980, the initiative qualified for the November 1980 ballot as Proposition 10.

The tobacco industry started detailed planning to defeat Proposition 10 well before it qualified for the ballot. On February 25, 1980, the tobacco industry's polling firm, Tarrance and Associates, presented a detailed analysis of Proposition 10, showing some changes in voter attitudes since 1978. According to the company's analysis, “These data suggest a strong feeling of `fair' play and equal rights on the side of the anti-smokers that has not been apparent in previous campaigns.”[14] Proposition 10 had the early support of 72 percent of the voters, up from the 68 percent that Proposition 5 had at the same time, primarily because nonsmokers felt that they had a right to clean indoor air. The report warned the industry that its successful campaign against Proposition 5 “did not lessen the public's desire for smoking regulation, it only convinced the public that Proposition 5 was a bad law” (emphasis in original).[14]

Tarrance and Associates suggested that Proposition 10 was more popular than Proposition 5 because it appeared to insure equal rights for smokers and nonsmokers and it lacked specifics about place, time, and enforcement methods. The report recommended these primary campaign themes to oppose the initiative: the ambiguity of the law and the power it would give to bureaucrats, the inequality of the bill because it gave preferential treatment to nonsmokers, the waste of police resources, the outrageousness of the fine, the adequacy of current law, and the undesirability of government intrusion in private lives.

The tobacco industry hired Robert Nelson and Eileen Padberg of the political consulting firm of Robert Nelson and Associates to run the campaign. Nelson incorporated Californians Against Regulatory Excess (CARE) on June 12, 1980, to serve as the front group to run the

campaign. They then proceeded to recruit some prominent Californians to serve on the CARE's board of directors.[15] The fact that the campaign manager recruited the board (rather than the other way around) underscored the fact that the board was mere window dressing. Indeed, before the board ever held a formal meeting, Nelson had retained the advertising agency Woodward, McDowell & Larson, the same agency that had run the campaign against Proposition 5, to develop and run CARE's ads against Proposition 10.

While the tobacco industry's money bought them victory in 1978 in the Proposition 5 campaign, their spending started to hurt them toward the end of the campaign. Mervyn Field, head of the nonpartisan Field Institute, which conducts the California Poll, observed two years later: “Another negative aspect to disproportionately heavy advertising is that it becomes an issue in itself. For example, with Proposition 5, the fact that the tobacco industry was spending as much money as it was to defeat it, became an issue. There was a sort of a counter trend in the closing days of the campaign. If the tobacco industry had spent a couple more million dollars, it might have lost the election” (emphasis added).[16] Aware that the tobacco industry and its money had become an issue in the Proposition 5 campaign, CARE attempted to minimize tobacco industry involvement in the Proposition 10 campaign, despite the fact that the organization was established by and for the tobacco industry. On August 15, 1980, CARE distributed a letter stating, “Cost prohibits the No on 10 campaign from using media.”[17] In September 1980, when an interviewer from the Los Angeles Times asked Padberg, “Do you need the cigarette companies to fight this measure?” Padberg responded, “We could do it without them. It certainly would be a lot easier with them. But we could do it without them.”[18] In the end, the tobacco companies delayed their major advertising blitz until the weeks just before the election, pouring a relatively restrained $2.7 million into the CARE campaign against Proposition 10.

Although proponents of the initiative spent $707,678, it was not enough money to overcome the industry's saturation advertising. The voters rejected Proposition 10 by the same margin—54 percent “no,” 46 percent “yes”—as they had Proposition 5 two years earlier.

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