‘Yes on R’ Campaign Raises $330K, Opponents $50K

Proponents of Measure R doubled their funding this quarter, adding 32 new donors and more than $175,000 into coffers, bringing their fundraising total to over $330,000. 

The opposition, led by local developer Steve Soboroff and now called the Voter Education Committee, got off the ground with $50,000 coming in during the period from July 1 through Sept. 30. This is according to expenditure information provided by the Malibu City Clerk’s office.

Measure R, which will appear on the November ballot, seeks to place a 30 percent limit on the number of chain stores permitted to operate in Malibu shopping centers. It would also require a citywide vote on major shopping center development and commercial or mixed use construction over 20,000 square feet. 

Save Malibu, a campaign funded partially by $100 donations from homemakers and partially by $10,000 donations by Hollywood directors, added more notable donors in the quarter ending in October.

The largest of these contributions came from Victoria Principal, a Malibu resident, philanthropist and actress best known for her role as Pamela Barnes Ewing in the hit ‘80s television show “Dallas.” Principal unloaded a staggering $100,000 onto the Reiner-led campaign.

Producer Donna Arkoff Roth, director James Cameron and talent manager George Shapiro each donated $10,000 to the campaign. Shapiro had previously donated $11,000 to the organization.

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DreamWorks co-founder David Geffen, billionaire film producer Ryan Kavanaugh and Malibu local Ozzie Silna each pledged $5,000 in August and September. Kavanaugh and Silna had each also contributed in the second quarter of 2014.

Smaller contributions came from producer/director Shelley Curtis, Doors drummer John Densmore, CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, and Hollywood couple Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, who each made a contribution.

Details on contributions made to the Voter Education Committee were also released by city staff, which detail the group raising $50,000 so far, all from a single source: Whole Foods in the Park, LLC. The corporation is operated by Steve Soboroff.

While some of the donations came from permanent Malibu residents, it has been a common complaint from the Voter Education Committee that the big-budget Save Malibu campaign is dependent on Malibu outsiders who do not have a stake in local politics.

This idea was shot down at Monday night’s City Council meeting by Malibu local Will Jacobus, who said the argument doesn’t hold water for environmental reasons.

“It doesn’t matter who supports Yes on R, whether they live here or not, because what we’re talking about is preserving the character and the ecological fragility of this area,” Jacobus told council during the public comment portion of the evening, adding, “It’s a preservation move. There is no requirement for someone to live here to be a legitimate supporter.”

While supporters of the measure cite ecological preservation as a priority in creating the new ordinance, Soboroff and many others have said it could jeopardize important developments, new and old, in the city, including the building of a Whole Foods, updates to Malibu Urgent Care and the relocation of Malibu Twin Cinema.

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