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Measure X

Measure X was a challenging and unique campaign. Newport Beach had already passed, Measure S in 2000, establishing the concept of “citizens right to vote” on any developments that needed a General Plan amendment. However, X went one step further, requiring public votes on most developments of any consequence. Communities like Newport Beach are typically inclined to vote in favor of these types of measures.

In order to defeat Measure X, therefore, the campaign needed to establish that Measure X was full of flaws that made it wrong for Newport Beach. In fact, we settled on a slogan that Measure X was “Just Too Flawed for Newport Beach.”

In the context of this campaign, we knew we had to transcend the core argument about property rights, because that was not sufficient to win. Instead, we wanted voters to know that, no matter what side of that debate they were on, Measure X wasn’t the answer due to its severely flawed provisions.

We identified several flaws that we then set out to repeatedly hammer home to the voters:

  • Many single family residences, as many as 65% of Newport’s residents, would be subject to the strict requirements envisioned for large projects.
  • The Newport Coast was exempt.
  • Hospitals were exempt, while the medical offices across the street were not.
  • Aside from being haphazardly applied, Measure X threatened to open a bevy of lawsuits and elections that would have potentially cost Newport Beach taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. Measure X was so erroneously drafted that someone wanting to add something as simple as a room addition to their home could have had their project subjected to a citywide vote!
  • The author made sure to exempt his own property.

The campaign received a huge boost when, at a city council hearing on the Measure, the author admitted when confronted with these flaws, that he had made “oversights” in the drafting, an omission that we would ram home repeatedly to the voters.

Working together with No on Measure X financial contributors and coalition members, Schubert Flint Public Affairs was able to devise a solid, winning campaign strategy, focusing on its many flaws, ensuring Measure X was defeated at the ballot box on Election Day.

The No on Measure X campaign strategy was heavily focused on Direct Mail and Fundraising, but was also comprised of Earned Media, Coalition, Slate Mail, Outreach, Paid Media, Automated Phone Calls, and Yes on Measure X monitoring. Each component was extremely crucial to achieve the overall result, defeating Measure X.

The Orange County Office of the Registrar certified the election on December 6, 2006 with an end result of 18,649 (63.3 percent) No votes and 10,820 (36.7 percent) Yes votes.



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