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Paul Gallegos, Humboldt County District Attorney (6 mins)
Kaitlin-Sopoci-Belknap, Campaign Co-Manager for Measure T (19 mins)
John Bonifaz, Attorney and Founder of the National Voting Rights Institute (17 mins)
Q. What will the Measure T do for Humboldt County?
Q. How does Measure T ensure my right to Fair Elections and Local Democracy?
A. Measure T will ensure that out-of-town corporations do not try to buy our locally elected officials. This ordinance will ensure that local residents decide who represents us in local government and that our elected officials are free to represent us all without fear of corporate intimidation. That's what local control is all about.
Q. Would Measure T affect my right as an individual to influence and contribute to elections in Humboldt County?
A. No! This ordinance does not apply to individuals. People who own corporations or work for corporations would still be allowed to contribute their personal money to local elections.
Q. Who will the Local Democracy Ordinance affect?
A. This ordinance will ONLY affect non-local corporations - such as Wal-Mart and Maxxam. Individuals and local businesses would be able to contribute to Humboldt elections to the same extent permitted by the Fair Political Practices Committee and as defined by city and county laws. Local corporations are defined as those whose employees and stockholders (if any) live in Humboldt County, whose headquarters is in Humboldt County and who are not owned by another corporation.
Q. Why are local corporations allowed to
Q. Why does the law state that unions with
only one member residing in Humboldt County can still contribute?
Second, unions are not organized in the same manner as a corporation so they could not fit our definition of a "local corporation". There is simply no standard for how unions organize and each has a different structure so it was difficult to define.
The definition in Measure T will allow our local unions to continue to participate and prohibit unions who don't have members in our community from making contributions.
Q. Where does Measure T apply and to what elections?
A. This ordinance applies to all Humboldt County elections, referendums, and recalls. It does not include races that have districts outside of Humboldt County such as state senate or assembly.
Q. Why is Measure T timely and necessary?
A. Unless we pass Measure T, large outside corporations will continue to target our community and attempt to use the electoral process to manipulate Humboldt County laws and elected officials. In 1999 Wal-Mart corporation spent $235,000 to try to change Eureka's zoning laws by ballot initiative and in 2003 Maxxam corporation spent over $300,000 to try to recall the Humboldt County District Attorney. These two campaigns were the most costly campaigns in Humboldt history.
These campaigns are harmful to our community because they undermine citizen's confidence in the electoral system. See the Humboldt Voter Survey for more information about how Humboldt residents think corporate involvement in elections makes political corruption more likely.
Q. What if a corporation sues the county when we pass Measure T?
A. Passing Measure T is the right thing to do - both ethically and morally. Just as no one thinks Rosa Parks should have gone to the back of the bus because what she did was challenged, we cannot allow wealthy corporations to prevent us from doing what is right by threatening us with lawsuits.
Measure T should withstand any challenge because it clearly states that the people of Humboldt believe that outside corporate money is undermining the integrity of our elections. The courts have said that in such instances, restrictions on corporate contributions are appropriate. 78% of Humboldt voters believe that corporate contributions make political corruption more likely.
Q. Is Measure T legal?
A. The courts have said that a community may restrict corporate money from campaigns if they are believed to be undermining the integrity of our elections (Bellotti case). The two local examples, that being the Wal-Mart campaign and Maxxam's attempted recall, would become part of the legal record to demonstrate that non-local corporations are in fact undermining the integrity of our elections. There two campaigns were also the two most costly in Humboldt history.
Consider this--where would our country be if the American revolutionaries had been unwilling to challenge the "legal authority" of the king? If women had not challenged laws that prevented them from voting? If trade unionists had not violated unjust laws claiming efforts to organize workers for better conditions and pay were a "criminal conspiracy."
Q. Don't corporations have the same rights
Corporations are not people. Activist judges granted "personhood" to corporations illegitimately. Only human beings can have civil and political rights. Corporate "personhood" harm democracy. Wealthy corporations use their "personhood" status to overturn democratically enacted laws and diminish community rights and local control. Humboldt County has a right to assert local control over our elections and to pass laws to protect the democratic process.
Q. Who is the Humboldt Coalition for Community Rights?
A. The Humboldt Coalition for Community Rights is a group of working people who represent a broad cross-section of the Humboldt County population. We come from diverse backgrounds and our goal is to ensure that only local money determines who represents Humboldt residents in local government.
We believe our community has the right to protect ourselves from outside interests with deep pockets that want to transform our community to suit the needs of large corporations. See our public endorsements page for a complete list of people and organizations who are part of the coalition.
Q. What can I do to Protect My Right to Fair Elections and Local Democracy in Humboldt County?
A. Get involved with your local community and help us pass Measure T. Contact us today!
Not much time? You can still help!
Humboldt County Leaders Endorse Measure T!
Democratic Party of Humboldt County
Green Party of Humboldt County
Central Labor Council of Humboldt and Del Norte Counties
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local #1684
Building and Construction Trades of Humboldt and Del Norte Counties
Carpenters Union Local #751
Operating Engineers Union Local #3 AFL-CIO
Paul Gallegos, Humboldt County District Attorney
Peter LaVallee, Eureka Mayor
Chris Kerrigan, Eureka City Council
Dave Meserve, Arcata City Council
Harmony Groves, Arcata City Council
Paul Pitino, Arcata City Council
Bob Ornelas, Former Arcata Mayor
Connie Stewart, Former Arcata Mayor
Elizabeth Conner, Former Arcata City Council
Julie Fulkerson, Former Humboldt County Board of Supervisors
... and hundreds of other individuals and local businesses! Join us today!
Learn more about Measure T in a Pros and Cons Video, produced by Eileen McGee (51 mins)
Humboldt Coalition for Community Rights