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CONTACT: Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, Democracy Unlimited (707) 269-0984 Get Involved Today!

Group in Humboldt County, CA Takes Campaign Finance Reform to a New Level

EUREKA, CA - The Humboldt Coalition for Community Rights (HCCR) has collected over 7,600 signatures in support of its proposed ballot initiative, the Humboldt County Ordinance to Protect Our Right to Fair Elections and Local Democracy. If passed, this ordinance will prohibit out-of-county corporations from contributing to any Humboldt County campaigns, including candidate campaigns, initiatives, referenda, or recalls. 

HCCR is a broad-based coalition of county residents, labor unions, local elected officials and community organizations. The entire signature-gathering effort was conducted by volunteers. No other ballot initiative in Humboldt County has successfully gathered this amount of signatures on any issue brought before the public.

Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, Director of Democracy of Democracy Unlimited (one of the founding organizations of the Coalition) 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."

The group announced its success to over 50 volunteers and supporters at a January 19 press conference at the Humboldt County Elections Office in Eureka. Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos joined representatives from organized labor and numerous social justice organizations in support of the group's work. "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 Gallegos.

The Humboldt County Elections Office has 30 working days to verify that 4389 of the collected signatures are valid. It is anticipated that the initiative will be on the June 2006 ballot.

"This campaign is what democracy is all about--regular people engaging their fellow citizens in the process and making sure that the system works," said Patrick Riggs, Chair of the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee. "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."

Some have questioned whether Humboldt County has the legal authority to pass this measure. Gallegos addressed this concern head-on, "Of course we do! The ability to protect the integrity of our elections is not merely our right--it is our responsibility. As a lawyer, I am acutely aware that there are times when the courts have been wrong. And on those occasions, it is the responsibility of citizens to engage in the process to change such laws. Remember that the courts once held that indigenous people were not legally "persons," that Africans could be held in slavery, that women had "lesser" legal rights than men, that trade unions were a criminal conspiracy, and that Jim Crow segregation did not violate the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Courts and judges were profoundly wrong in each of those instances, and thank goodness engaged and active citizens challenged those legal doctrines."

"This campaign will have implications for communities across the country. Humboldt is not unique in being targeted by large corporations like Wal-mart, who seek to use the democratic process for economic gain. We hope that other communities will recognize how a local ordinance like ours will ensure local control over their community. This campaign is our attempt to act local and think global," said Sopoci-Belknap.

For more information on HCCR and the proposed ordinance, call 707-444-0407 or visit the campaign website at


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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!

View the full list of public endorsements!


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Pros and Cons of Measure T

Learn more about Measure T in a Pros and Cons Video, produced by Eileen McGee (51 mins)


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Chris Kerrigan, Eureka City Counsel, and Kate Christensen, owner of The Garden Gate, support Measure T! (1 min)


Paul Gallegos, Humboldt County District Attorney, and Nezzie Wade, community member, support Measure T! (1 min)


Larry Glass, owner of The Works, and Dennis Rael, owner of Los Bagles, support Measure T! (1 min)