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Proposition funds flow from out of state

Large amounts are targeted for and against gay marriage initiative and Prop. 2, a farm cruelty measure.

August 01, 2008|Dan Morain | Times Staff Writer

Large sums from outside the state are pouring into the campaign coffers of several hotly contested initiatives that will appear on California's November ballot, including funding for and against measures that would ban same-sex marriage and require egg ranchers to provide roomier quarters for hens.

With about three months left before the election, the campaigns for and against the 12 propositions on the November ballot have amassed a total of almost $70 million, according to campaign finance statements filed with the California secretary of state Thursday, and the sum is almost certain to soar as the election nears.

Four propositions account for two-thirds of the donations.

Proposition 8, perhaps the most emotional measure on the ballot, would overturn a recent California Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage.

At least 39% of the $3.3 million supporting Proposition 8's proposed ban on same-sex marriage has come from outside California -- much of it from Focus on the Family, the Colorado Springs group headed by conservative Christian James Dobson.

Opponents have drawn 52% of their $5.7 million from outside the state.

Bruce W. Bastian, an Orem, Utah, philanthropist who helped found WordPerfect Software, gave $1 million two weeks ago to the No on 8 campaign and hopes his contribution will encourage others to do the same.

"There are a lot of other rich gay people. They can do something," Bastian said. "They don't have to be gay. They just have to oppose discrimination."

Bastian, 60, said he decided to get involved when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints decided to help raise money to support the measure.

"I wanted to level the playing field so our side has sufficient funds to tell our story," said Bastian, who was a Mormon in his youth. "I believe if you tell people the truth and let them decide and let them know who we are, people will come down on our side."

Proposition 2 would require ranchers to provide laying hens and livestock with enough space to fully extend their wings and limbs, lie down, stand up and turn around for most of the day.

Backers have poured $4.2 million into the measure. Of that, $3.3 million has come from the Humane Society of the United States, which is based in Washington, D.C. Farm Sanctuary, an animal rights group in New York, has given $200,000.

Opponents, including several out-of-state egg producers, have raised $1.7 million.

Two energy measures have also attracted large sums:

Proposition 7 would require major increases in renewable energy.

Phoenix billionaire Peter Sperling has poured $3 million into the effort, accounting for nearly all of the money raised by the committee. Sperling's wealth comes from Apollo Group Inc., which owns the for-profit University of Phoenix colleges.

Foes, led by California utilities, have raised $23.7 million. PG&E has donated $12.25 million so far and Edison International $10.25 million.

Proposition 10 would authorize the state to sell $5 billion in bonds to help increase the use of natural gas-burning vehicles.

Backers have raised $3.75 million -- with $3.25 million coming from Clean Energy Fuels, a Seal Beach firm that supplies natural gas. Clean Energy's chairman is Texas oil and gas billionaire T. Boone Pickens.

Aubrey McClendon, chief executive of Chesapeake Energy in Oklahoma, donated $500,000 last month. There is no organized opposition.



Times researcher Maloy Moore contributed to this report.



To track where contributions are coming from for and against Proposition 8 and to see who is giving, go to

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