Sometimes Utilities and City Departments wonder if printed collateral like flyers are actually worth the investment. A recent victory for the Sierra Madre Police Association is a great example of just how influential a flyer campaign can be.
In April, Sierra Madre faced a vote to repeal their UUT, or Utility Users’ Tax. A repeal of this tax would have slashed the city’s budget by 24%, or about 2.6 million dollars. It would have meant layoffs for the Police and Fire Departments and would have decimated funding for the Library and Community Services.
Luckily, the Police Association decided to create and distribute a flyer breaking down the realities of the UUT repeal. Detective Supervisor Henry Amos explains that the Police Association was planning to distribute a flyer alongside one from the City, but when the City’s didn’t materialize, the Police Association decided to create their own to get the word out. The Association isn’t active on social media, so they didn’t think that trying to make a push on Facebook made sense. They decided that they could actually reach more community members with a mailer campaign than via the Internet.
The Measure D to repeal the UUT was worded in such a way that a vote of “no” would save the tax, while a vote of “yes” would cut it. It was crucial that the Police Association make sure people understood that they needed to vote “no” in order to keep the funding. They knew they needed to spell out the facts about losing the UUT in a way anyone could understand.
“Because people don’t always read the fine print,” says Amos. “We wanted the big, bold letters to say VOTE NO.”
A flyer with clear graphics and a focused message was exactly what they needed. They worked with Goldstreet Designs to communicate the most important information in the clearest way possible. Says Amos of working with Goldstreet: “They were able to research information the Association didn’t have the skillset to find, and they were also able to get the info to where it made sense.”
The final flyer uses graphics to show just how many positions and services would be lost if the UUT was repealed. It translates the complicated wording of Measure D into concise points of information that get at the heart of what was at stake. It was distributed as a mailer, so voters would be able to hold it in their hands as they read it, rather than just clicking past it online.
In the end, the UUT was not repealed, and the vote was shot down 1841 to 400, according to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. Does Amos think the flyer helped win the vote they needed? “Oh yeah,” he says, “The repeal was shot down by about 80% because of it.” The largest margin of victory in voting history.