Grassroots campaign to boost CA ballot measure

SAN FRANCISCO: Cities throughout California are facing a tough electoral season, as the fascination with the gubernatorial recall captures public and media attention.

SAN FRANCISCO: Cities throughout California are facing a tough electoral season, as the fascination with the gubernatorial recall captures public and media attention.

In San Francisco, proponents and opponents of ballot measures must also deal with what many expect to be a contentious mayoral race.

Given this backdrop, Singer Associates was recently hired to support the "Yes on D" campaign, which strives to push through an initiative that makes the city's Small Business Commission more influential by separating the entity from the Mayor's Office of Economic Development.

The firm said it is keenly aware that part of its challenge will be to deal with public and media attention being diverted to sexier stories, such as the recall and the race for the mayor's office.

"We've been asking ourselves this a lot," said agency VP Marcus Young, speaking about the communications challenges created by the high-profile races. "This will have to be a grassroots information campaign. We need to use the small businesses that this will impact - the small retail store, the dental office, the packaging store - to keep this in the minds of the voters."

While slate cards and editorial-board endorsements can help keep the issue in front of voters, these things do not drive voters to the polls, explained Young. One key message Singer hopes to help push is that small businesses can help add to the vibrancy and diversity of neighborhoods in San Francisco.

The campaign aims to enlist and educate those small businesses to highlight these same points, so that their customers will hear the same messages regardless of which small businesses they visit.

"There's been an outpouring of support from the small-business community," said Young. "We're going to make sure the businesses present the same message across the board, with their own color and favor."

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