SFPA successfully managed a public education campaign entailing earned media, coalition, paid media, public opinion research and grassroots components for the Orange County Transportation Authority’s plan to renew Measure M, their local option transportation sales tax..
By 2005, Measure M was nearing the end of its authorized 20-year life and needed to be renewed by voters in order to continue generating local funds for local transportation projects. It was SFPA’s responsibility to design and carryout a public affairs campaign that touted the successful transportation projects that have been completed in Orange County for the last 15 years, as well as the need for further improvement projects in order to meet the growing demand of those living and commuting within the Orange County limits. We had to design a transportation plan to be funded by Measure M’s renewal that had broad public support. And we had to communicate with both opinion leaders and the public at large about the contents of the plan, the need for funding to realize the benefits of the plan, and earn their support for placing the matter before the voters.
While under contract to OCTA, SFPA was careful not to advocate for the renewal of Measure M. However, we could and did advocate for the placement of the Measure on the ballot. We educated the public about nearly 50 transportation improvement projects that have resulted from the original Measure M funding. We educated the public and community leaders about the improvements that would be funded by a 30-year renewal. And, we managed the very specific process that must be legally followed for such a measure to earn its way onto the ballot.
At the conclusion of this phase of the project, all 34 cities voted (by a collective city council vote of 161-4) to place the Measure M Renewal on the ballot for November 2006.
And while not directly relevant to our public contract with OCTA, it should be noted that after the Measure was on the ballot, SFPA was retained by the private committee overseeing the advocacy campaign for the ballot measure itself. We served as the lead campaign strategists and managers. Under our guidance, Measure M was renewed by nearly 70 percent of Orange County voters.