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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)
Contact: Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, Humboldt Coalition for Community Rights, (707) 362-0626 or kaitlin@VoteLocalControl.org
Humboldt County, CA Stands Up for Local Control and Community Rights as "Measure T" Goes Into Effect
EUREKA, CA - On June 6 voters of Humboldt County, California passed the Ordinance to Protect Fair Elections & Local Democracy by 55% of the vote. Known locally as Measure T, the groundbreaking citizens initiative forbids out-of-county corporations from making political contributions in local elections. The ordinance went into legal effect yesterday.
Although no lawsuit has yet been filed, Measure T opponents repeatedly threatened to sue to overturn the law if it passed. Billionaire financier Robin Arkley Jr, who is one of Governor Schwarzenegger's largest contributors, sent a memo to the County Board of Supervisors during the campaign warning them of a lawsuit if Measure T passed.
"The people of Humboldt County sent a powerful message that our confidence in the integrity of our own elections is undermined by corporate money," said Measure T spokesperson Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap. "Corporate leaders should respect the will of the people, but if a corporation tries to deny our community's right to local control of our elections then we are prepared to offer the County assistance in defending the people's will," she continued.
Measure T received national attention because it includes a direct challenge to "corporate personhood," which is the legal doctrine that allows a corporation to claim constitutional rights. "Money does not equal speech, and corporations should not be allowed to claim First Amendment rights - we the people have an obligation to challenge unjust laws," said Sopoci-Belknap. "Measure T follows in the footsteps of the suffragists, the abolitionists and the Civil Rights activists who fought against segregation. Humboldt County has taken a stand for the rights of people and communities over the so-called rights of corporations, and we invite other communities to stand with us."
Robert Benson, Professor of Law at Loyola University in Los Angeles, defended the rationale for Measure T. "Citizen activists play a vital role in our society when they challenge the courts to justify judicial doctrines that have lost touch with fundamental democratic values. Measure T does just that," he said. "If I lived in Humboldt County I would have proudly voted for it," he concluded.
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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!
Learn more about Measure T in a Pros and Cons Video, produced by Eileen McGee (51 mins)
Humboldt Coalition for Community Rights