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For Immediate Release: July 6, 2005
Contact: Humboldt Coalition for Community Rights, Yvonne Doble

Local Group to Run County Petition That Would Ban Non-Local Corporate Involvement in Elections

Get Involved Today!EUREKA - On Tuesday, July 5, a newly formed citizen's group called Humboldt Coalition for Community Rights (HCCR) handed in language to the Humboldt County Elections office for a proposed county ordinance. The "Humboldt County Ordinance to Protect Our Right to Fair Elections and Local Democracy" would prohibit any non-local corporation from contributing to any candidate campaign, referendum or recall in county elections.

"Our hope is to ensure local control over our elections. We want to make sure that elections - a vital part of democracy - happen fairly. We think that the folks who live in this county should be the ones deciding who is elected and we think that large corporations from outside our community should not have the ability to dictate what happens in our local elections," said HCCR spokesperson Yvonne Doble. "I was born and raised here and I want to preserve the way of life I grew up with - the people who live here should determine our future."

The ordinance also restricts corporations from claiming constitutional rights as the basis for disqualifying non-local corporate participation in politics. Corporations have been able to claim 1st Amendment protections when contributing to political campaigns ever since the Supreme Court ruled that money was equal to speech in the 1970s. "Only people should have rights - the idea that corporations can claim rights is false and ridiculous," said Nezzie Wade, a College of the Redwoods professor and another member of the Humboldt Coalition for Community Rights. "The issue is simple, who do we want deciding the future of our county - the people who live here or outside corporations? We need to protect our right to fair elections and local democracy."

Larry Glass, a local business owner in both Eureka and Arcata was pleased to hear about the ordinance, "I think this will go a long way to level the playing field. Large corporations like Walmart have been forcing themselves on communities by way of the initiative process - communities are helpless against their deep pockets and so called 'rights' - this will really help protect our community and will be good for the local businesses that are here."

The group is responding in part to the 2004 recall attempt of District Attorney Paul Gallegos that was financed primarily by Maxxam Corporation and Palco Corporation, a subsidiary of Maxxam. "Obviously we are acting in part because of what happened with the recall. Some folks may see this issue as resolved - but we're concerned about the potential chilling effect the recall may have had on other public officials. Will they think twice before enforcing the law against other corporations? The reality is that large corporations have the money to bully our elected representatives - Maxxam/Palco spent $250,000 to try to buy an election. They failed this time, but shouldn't we make sure that never happens again?" said Doble.

"Research has shown that 64% of Humboldt residents think that city or county governments should be able to prohibit non-local corporations from participating in our local elections. And 78% believe that corporate participation in elections makes political corruption more likely - obviously the community has identified that there is a problem and we're trying to fix it," said Wade.

HCCR is hoping to qualify their ordinance for the June 2006 ballot. Once the County Counsel approves the language of their ordinance, the group will begin gathering signatures and will need just under 5,000 signatures in order to qualify for the ballot.

The Humboldt Coalition for Community Rights can be reached by writing to PO Box 1334, Eureka CA 95502 . The group is in the process of opening an office in Eureka and creating a website.

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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!

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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)