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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)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 23, 2005
Local Group Launches County Campaign to Prohibit Non-Local Corporate Involvement in Elections
EUREKA - Last weekend a local citizen's group called the Humboldt Coalition for Community Rights (HCCR) officially launched a petition drive for a proposed county ordinance. The ordinance will prohibit non-local corporations from contributing to elections in Humboldt County. In just three days, non-paid volunteer residents collected over 1000 signatures. HCCR must collect approximately 4,500 valid signatures by next January to qualify for the June 2006 ballot.
Nezzie Wade, College of the Redwoods 2005 Professor of the Year and member of HCCR said, "Research has shown that 78% of Humboldt voters believe that corporate participation in elections makes political corruption more likely. The community has identified a problem and we're trying to fix it. We not only have the legal right to protect our elections, we have the moral responsibility to do so."
Campaign Manager Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap agreed, "The U.S. Supreme Court has said it will uphold corporate restrictions in political campaigns when such restrictions are necessary to protect the integrity of the democratic process and the confidence of the people in their government," she said. "In recent years Wal-Mart Corporation spent almost $250,000 in an attempt to change Eureka's zoning laws and Maxxam Corporation spent over $300,000 in an effort to recall our duly elected District Attorney only three months after he took office. Our right to fair elections and local democracy is under attack, and this ordinance is a common-sense response and solution."
The group originally submitted an ordinance that included a provision that would have prohibited corporations from claiming constitutional protections. The ordinance was revised last month and now states a single purpose - to prohibit non-local corporations from making contributions to elections. The current ordinance does not prohibit corporations from claiming constitutional rights or otherwise affect individuals. HCCR also consulted with local and state union leaders to ensure that local unions are not affected by the ordinance. The Humboldt County Counsel approved the revised language last week.
"Large outside corporations are targeting communities like ours. These companies are trying to rewrite local laws and elect people who will work for their corporate interests instead of what is best for our community," said Yvonne Doble, an HCCR spokesperson. "I was born and raised here, and I hope to raise my children here too - as long as we can protect what makes Humboldt County special. We have a right to preserve our way of life and ensure local control over our elections, which is what this campaign is all about."
"This campaign will receive broad support from across the political spectrum," predicted Sopoci-Belknap. "This is not about ideology, this is about protecting the integrity of our electoral process. Everyone supports that."
Anyone interested in getting involved in the campaign is invited to attend campaign meetings and petition gathering trainings on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of every month at the campaign office at 6:30pm. Their office is located in Old Town Eureka at 350 E Street Suite Suite #102. The full text of the final ordinance and a list of other campaign events is on the HCCR website at www.VoteLocalControl.org. The campaign can be reached at 444-0407 or by email at info@VoteLocalControl.org.Return to News
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