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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP | Ventura

Tobacco Initiative Drive Cost $520,450

August 02, 2000|DAVID KELLY

In its campaign to put a tobacco initiative on the November ballot, Community Memorial Hospital spent $520,450--much of it on legal and consulting fees and signature gathering.

In a financial breakdown filed by Citizens to Safeguard the Tobacco Settlement for Healthcare, the hospital showed it spent $192,967 on consulting fees, $191,743 on petition drives, $100,761 on legal fees, $30,840 on advertising and $4,130 on printing and postage.

The tobacco initiative sponsored by Community Memorial seeks to transfer $260 million in tobacco settlement money from Ventura County to Community Memorial and six other area private hospitals. A judge ruled last week that the issue should be allowed on the ballot.

Michael Bakst, executive director of Community Memorial, said the expenditures were necessary to counter distortions put out by opponents of the initiative. Both sides say they will use the settlement money for health care programs.

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