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It should also be noted that the anti-Measure T campaign has repeatedly published false and misleading information about the measure. For example, Measure T opponents have repeatedly put out campaign materials falsely claiming that the measure would allow high-rises next to Aquatic Park. In truth, Measure T excludes Aquatic Park from development. In addition, opponents of Measure T have engaged in dirty political tricks, defacing and destroying pro-Measure T signs throughout the city.
When asked why the pro-Measure T campaign hasn't filed ethics complaints against opponents, de Tienne said his group thought about it but "decided to take the high road. We believe in what we're trying to do."
So why did the county political leadership of SEIU 1021 do what it did? Both Cluver of the building trades union and Ross of the firefighters' union said they were surprised by what happened. Cluver added that he believes the decision is connected to the mayor's race. SEIU 1021 also has endorsed ultra-left Councilman Kriss Worthington, who opposes Measure T, over Mayor Tom Bates, who supports it.
Zoo Spending Tops $800,000
Finance reports released late last week revealed that the private nonprofit that runs the Oakland Zoo had cut checks for more than $800,000 to support Measure A1, making the parcel tax campaign one of the most expensive political contests in the East Bay this year. The reports showed that the East Bay Zoological Society wrote two checks in recent weeks for $200,000 and $225,000, which were in addition to the $375,000 that the nonprofit already spent on the campaign. In addition, the reports indicated that the Zoological Society is still operating its campaign headquarters at the zoo, which violates local and state laws because the citizens of Oakland own the property and because it's illegal to run political campaigns on public land (see "Oakland Zoo Operators Violate Election Laws," 10/24).
The huge donations to the Measure A1 campaign also come in stark contrast to assertions made by the Zoological Society that it's in desperate need of money and will have to eliminate programs for children if Alameda County voters reject the property tax measure. The Express previously reported that the Zoological Society's federal tax returns show that the nonprofit appears to have plenty of money. From 2008 through 2010, the most recent year for which data is publicly available, the Zoological Society reported to the IRS that it had net operating surpluses averaging $2.6 million per year.
As of October 24, the Zoological Society had committed to spending at least $819,620 in support of Measure A1. Attendees at a recent public forum on the measure said that Zoological Society Executive Director Joel Parrott told the audience that his organization planned to spend $1 million trying to get Measure A1 passed.
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