"I thought it was going to be close," says Garfield of the May vote on a 0.7-mill tax to expand bus service in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Ypsilanti Township. "But it broke our way in the last few days. On election day we were very nervous, but I was so wrong!" Voters turned out in force to pass the millage by a margin of 70-30 percent.
"I expected us to lose by the end," says Libby Hunter of Better Transit Now, the group opposing the millage. "I didn't have a clue that it would be 70-30." BTN's Kathy Griswold likewise didn't expect so resounding a defeat, and offers an additional explanation. "We weren't as well organized as we needed to be. The press gave us a lot more credit for being an organization than we were."
"The voters have decided the matter," emails former transit authority treasurer and BTN leader Ted Annis, who argued that AAATA could raise the necessary funds by slashing its management staff. "I have no more to say."
"It's a difficult thing to win a millage campaign against an organized opposition," explains Garfield. "You really need a well thought-out campaign and lots of support--which we had."
Though the whole campaign was hard fought, both sides deployed their heaviest artillery in the final weekend: mailings and door-to-door canvassing.
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