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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)
EMBARGOED UNTIL 10 AM: January 19, 2006
Humboldt Coalition Sets New Signature Gathering Record for Local Initiatives
EUREKA - The Humboldt Coalition for Community Rights (HCCR) successfully exceeded their target goal of 7000 signatures for the local ballot initiative - the Humboldt County Ordinance to Protect Our Right to Fair Elections and Local Democracy. This was a huge victory for the dedicated volunteers and demonstrates the tremendous community support for this campaign.
Today, the group was joined by dozens of supporters and volunteers at the Humboldt County Elections Office in Eureka to celebrate this historic moment. The Coalition organized a press conference with a variety of speakers to announce that they collected 7,668 signatures. Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, HCCR Campaign Manager stated, "It is a great day for democracy when the people of our local community come together by donating their time, getting involved, and recognizing the vital principle that we have the authority to create laws that benefit our local community. This is the way the initiative process is supposed to work."
No other ballot initiative in Humboldt history has successfully collected this amount of signatures on any issue brought before the public. The group also faced a shorter time frame than usual to collect their petitions, only 120 days, rather than the full 180, and the entire effort was conducted by volunteers.
Speakers at the press conference included Sopoci-Belknap, District Attorney Paul Gallegos, Bob Borck, Secretary/Treasurer of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, and Sheryl Esperanza on behalf of the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee. "This campaign is what democracy is all about - regular people engaging their fellow citizens in the process and making sure that the system works. When this law passes in June, our elections will be more just and our community will be better off. The vast support this campaign has received so far just shows what a solid initiative this is," said Patrick Riggs, Chair of the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee.
"The working class could never compete with outside corporate interests who have bottom line profits as the driver of their decisions," stated Bob Borck, Secretary/Treasurer of Building and Construction Trades Council. "Our democracy was founded on the principle of people's right to participate and organize around the issues of their community. I am proud to support a local ordinance that brings politics back to listening to worker and community issues--not just the largest contributor."
This ordinance would prohibit non-local corporations from contributing to elections in Humboldt. The Humboldt County Elections Office has 30 working days to certify that the group has 4389 valid signatures before this initiative is brought before the Board of Supervisors. It is anticipated that this initiative will be on the June 2006 election ballot.
"I want to thank the volunteers who dedicated many hours for the benefit of their fellow citizens. I know that you weren't doing this for personal gain, and your commitment to improving the integrity of our local elections is admirable," said District Attorney Paul Gallegos.
The group will continue celebrating their long awaited success into the weekend. On Friday night, they are hosting a Victory Party for completing the signature gathering phase of the campaign. If you are interested in joining this event, call 707-444-0407 or email nicole@VoteLocalControl.org . The campaign website is www.VoteLocalControl.org.
Press Conference Statement from Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, Campaign co-manager of the Humboldt Coalition for Community Rights
Press Conference Statement from Bob Borck, Secretary and treasurer of the Building and Construction Trades
Press Conference Statement from Sheryl Esparza, Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee
Press Conference Statement from Paul Gallegos, Humboldt County District Attorney
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