The No-on-522 campaign has retained services of Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Winner & Mandabach, the nation’s most experienced consulting firm at promoting and fighting initiatives. Winner & Mandabach worked in 2012 for opponents of the California labeling measure.
Winner & Mandabach was formerly Winner Wagner & Mandabach, and gained initial fame (or infamy if you were on the opposite side) in the 1980′s for successful strategies that defeated anti-nuclear power initiatives in Western states.
Its first setback came in Washington with the so-called “WPPSS initiative.” I-394, put on the ballot in 1981, was aimed at curbing soaring costs of the Washington Public Power Supply System’s nuclear program, which eventually left four abandoned, partially built reactors and caused the biggest municipal bond default in American history.
Shelby Scates: A memorable election night argument.
I-394 required utilities to get voter approval before issuing new bonds to pay for WPPSS’ nuclear plants, whose total costs had reached $23.9 billion.
Major brokerage firms and nuclear contractors spent $1.2 million to beat it, compared to just $200,000 for supporters. But backers aired radio ads produced by famous New York adman Tony Schwartz, creator of the famous “Daisy” ad that implied that Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater might set off a nuclear war.
I-394 rolled up 58 percent of the vote, although courts later threw it out. Election night featured a memorable, not-entirely-friendly encounter at “No” headquarters between firm principal Chuck Winner and Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist Shelby Scates.