by Nick Welsh

A coalition of anti-alternative transportation campaigners has
charged that ballot arguments made on behalf of Measure D are false
and misleading. The legal papers challenging the language on
Measure D, which is on the ballot this November, were signed by
Scott Wenz of Cars Are Basic and Greg Gandrud, a Carpinteria City
Councilmember seeking reelection this fall. If passed, the ballot
initiative would increase county sales taxes by three-quarters of a
cent to fund a host of congestion relief projects, including
freeway widening, mass transit, commuter rail, and basic road
repairs. Gandrud and Wenz support widening Highway 101 to six
lanes, but have opposed many of the other initiatives that would be
funded by Measure D, especially commuter rail. Their legal briefs
itemize a host of claims made by Measure D supporters, but don’t
explain how they are false or misleading.

Gregg Hart of the Santa Barbara County Association of
Governments, the agency sponsoring the renewal and expansion of
Measure D, dismissed the legal action as a campaign publicity stunt
with no legal significance. But in order to pass, Measure D — which
would raise $1.6 billion during 20 years — needs a two-thirds
supermajority of county voters; given this difficulty, any
opposition could prove fatal. Measure D is backed by an uneasy
coalition of environmentalists, alternative transportation
advocates, and elected officials who came together only because
they realized that if they didn’t, Measure D’s renewal was doomed.
The pro-Measure D campaign also got underway this week, as
volunteers and phone bankers began a drive to ask 6,000 voters
throughout the county for donations, endorsements, and support.


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