Initiative mailers that inevitably ended up in recycling cost millions. Photo by Lydia Chávez

When it comes to ballot measures, this has been the most expensive election cycles since at least 2011, and that year doesn’t even come close in spending.

Proponents and opponents of 12 city ballot measures, which range from a tax on sodas to approval of soccer fields in Golden Gate Park, have poured a whopping total of $16,724,644 million (not including third party expenditures).

That is more than the total money spent on all ballot measures in 2013, 2012 and 2011 combined — with $3 million to spare.

That’s enough money to give $20 to every resident of San Francisco or to fund Mission Local or any other start up for decades.

It’s possible that this election might rank as the costliest in a decade, but we were only able to crunch the numbers for the past four election cycles by publication time.

One of the big reasons why these year’s total are so high is because of a fizzy drink. Soda companies have poured more than $8 million to oppose proposition E, which would levy a two-penny-per-ounce tax on soft drinks, (Note: these numbers are based on the latest numbers posted at the Ethics Commission website. The Chronicle is reporting that soda companies have poured an additional $1.1 million to their efforts bringing their grand total to $9.1 million).

Those are, as Scott Wiener told the Chronicle, Eye popping numbers. But even without big Soda’s money there are still 17 other groups who have contributed more than $8 million into these years ballots.

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Rigoberto Hernandez is a journalism student at San Francisco State University. He has interned at The Oregonian and The Orange County Register, but prefers to report on the Mission District. In his spare time he can be found riding his bike around the city, going to Giants games and admiring the Stable building.

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