From Lisa Demer in Anchorage -
A Facebook campaign supporting Ballot Measure 2 that features disrobed Homer residents holding strategically placed Vote for the Coast signs is going viral.
Cook Inletkeeper‘s Bob Shavelson came up with the idea during a brainstorming session with a board member about how to fight all the big money on the other side. The Vote No group organized against the coastal management initiative had raised $1.5 million as of its most recent state filing. The Alaska Sea Party, the group behind the measure, had raised about $200,000.
“We thought what can we do? We thought we’d like to expose the Resource Development Council, because they are just the front group, they are the mouth piece for all these big corporations that are pouring all this money into it,” Shavelson said.
The council’s executive director, Rick Rogers, has spoken against the ballot measure at a number of forums, including one this week before the Anchorage Tea Party. Four oil companies, BP, Conoco Phillips, Exxon Mobil and Shell, all have put in $100,000 or more a piece in the effort to defeat the ballot measure. The Resource Development Council also has donated more than $60,000 in money and staff time.
Cook Inletkeeper is posting the photos on its Facebook page. A number of Homer residents volunteered for the project, Shavelson said. The first was a cook with a long white beard who works at Boardwalk Fish and Chips on the Homer Spit. His photo has been shared more than 200 times. Next were three young women who work in a pizza parlor. There’s a man who appears to be wearing only his Xtratufs and a hat. Two young guys with Buttwhackers, a fish cleaning and packing business, are the latest. Each image comes with a quote:
“I’m fully behind Ballot Measure 2,” reads one, with an image of a young woman in a boat, her bare back to the camera.
“Unlike the big corporations, I have nothing to hide,” says another.
One picture was sent in from the village of Nanwalek. It features an Alaska Native seal dancer, in full dress, holding the same Vote for the Coast sign.
Cook Inletkeeper is donating staff time to the effort, and filing the appropriate forms with the Alaska Public Offices Commission, Shavelson said.
He said the photos are generating a lot of traffic.
“We’ve easily hit 30,000 people across the state with this stuff,” Shavelson said.
Willis Lyford, a spokesman for the Vote No campaign, called the photos "an interesting approach to political advertising."
"I haven't seen that anywhere else, so I guess there's a novelty to it," he said. "I'm not sure it's a proven, effective tactic."
The Vote No materials are not so racy. The opponents like to call the ballot measure, which would resurrect a coastal management program that existed for decades, "a wolf in sheep's clothing."
One of the campaign mailers includes a drawing of a snarling wolf disguised as a sheep commissioned from a Ketchikan artist back in 2008. It was used originally in the epic campaign over a 2008 clean water ballot measure, Lyford said. He liked it so much that when one of the leaders on this year's Vote No campaign used the same wolf phrase, he dug the drawing out. (The 2008 ballot measure failed.)
The opponents are about to launch a new TV ad playing off their contention that the coastal management program being proposed would only tie up projects in red tape. It features lots of ... red tape.
Supporters say it would do the opposite and give local communities a strong voice in developments along Alaska's huge coastline.