"We ran a low-budget campaign," says Griswold. "The door-hangers weren't very expensive--3,000 for less than $500. And the McCullough [Creative] ads were in-kind."
Garfield says the big late push was part of the long-term strategy. "That's typical for any ballot campaign. Most communications are sent out in the last week because most voters make up their mind in the last week. We called [prospective voters] for two months, and up until a week before the election, more than half the people we talked to didn't know how they were going to vote."
The final weekend, the pro forces put out an ad and mailer accusing the opposition of "using tea party tactics of distortion and deception." At issue was the opponents' claim that the authority employed "a 52 person management staff for 133 bus drivers." In fact, that number included every non-union AAATA employee--and the counter-ad featured effective mini-profiles in which some of them described just how they contributed to the system's work.
Garfield says supporters decided to counterattack "after the opponents publicly repeated the '52 managers' argument at least a half dozen times, even after being corrected, and after we heard from at least as many proposal supporters that they were questioning their support." It was, he says, ""a blatant misrepresentation [that needed] to be corrected. They based their whole campaign on the AAATA being bloated and inefficient, and that was not true."