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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)
'No on Measure T' Campaign Begins
James Faulk, Times-Standard
Chris Crawford, spokesman for the group and for Humboldt Business Council, told a group of supporters at Roy's Club in Eureka that the proposed initiative is unfair because it seeks to limit the ability of businesses to participate in local elections while doing nothing to limit the involvement of labor unions and other interest groups.
Crawford said the local political scene is full of rancor, and this initiative does nothing to stop it. He advocated an across-the-board limit of $500, which would allow all groups to participate in the political process while not allowing any one side to dominate. He asked if the Humboldt Coalition for Community Rights -- which sponsors Measure T -- would be willing to take part in that effort.
Crawford said that as it stands, Measure T is a blatant "power grab" by one side of the political spectrum to control the election process. He said the initiative would allow a labor union with only one local member to make contributions while a business or corporation with only one non-local employee or shareholder would be disqualified.
"Think about this," he said. "How many businesses are ... corporations that are family owned, in which the shareholders are family members, sometimes the children? They don't always reside in Humboldt County and yet these small employers who employ our work force are going to be disenfranchised from participating in the political process under Measure T."
Crawford said his committee, and the effort to defeat Measure T, would be made up of a wide political spectrum who are united in opposition to the initiative.
"We may disagree on some of the reasons why we're opposing measure T, but they usually revolve two major issues," he said.
That is, fairness and the need for true financial reform, he said.
"We think there's way too much rancor and way too much money in local politics right now and we think we need finance reform," he said. "That's not what Measure T does."
Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, the campaign manager for Measure T, said the group will consider the limit to $500, but she disputed the assertion that the proposal would protect one side of the political spectrum.
"The only special interest group that Measure T will protect is the people of Humboldt County," she said. "Hundreds of people have endorsed Measure T and we collected more signatures than ever before for a county ballot initiative. Crawford's group is already trying to misrepresent the truth, which is an unfortunate way to begin their campaign."
She said Measure T will work to see that only local entities are involved in local elections.
"Measure T will ensure that for any entity to participate in elections, it needs to be local," she said. "Unions are formed to advocate for worker's rights. Corporations are formed to make a profit for shareholders. The vast majority of our local unions share members with many of the other surrounding counties -- this is necessary because we are in such a rural and isolated area."
On the idea of working together to pass broader campaign finance reform, Sopoci-Belknap said the group would be happy to work on such a contribution limit.
"There are many aspects of campaign finance reform - less money in politics is a fine idea and one that would be very complementary to our local control ordinance," she said. "There's no reason for this to be an either/or choice."
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