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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)
Kimberly Wear, Times-Standard
EUREKA - In letters to elected officials and political candidates, businessman Rob Arkley asks for their response to a ballot initiative that would ban outside corporations from donating to local races - saying that Measure T will open the county up to a lawsuit and suppress free speech.
In one letter sent this week to the county counsel and the entire Board of Supervisors, Arkley asks them to "do everything in your power" to make sure the proposed ordinance never becomes law.
"Should the ordinance pass, one can be sure that its legality will be challenged promptly," Arkley wrote. "That, of course, will require the county to spend money, at least in trial court and perhaps on appeal as well - in a futile attempt to sustain it."
"That is not how the county needs to spend its precious money," he adds later.
Measure T, called "The Humboldt County Ordinance to Protect Our Right to Fair Elections and Local Democracy," would make it illegal for corporations from out of the area to throw money into the local political ring.
Arkley said it would also prohibit his corporations from making contributions because some of his employees live out of the county.
The Measure T campaign took issue with the remarks.
"Apparently Mr. Arkley either doesn't understand the political process, or he is seeking to deny the citizens of Humboldt County their right to vote," said campaign manager Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap. "We collected over 7,000 signatures to put the 'Fair Elections and Local Democracy' petition on the ballot - a local record."
"At this point, the county doesn't have the authority to stop the vote on June 6. This issue is for the voters to decide directly, even if Mr. Arkley would like to see otherwise," she said in an e-mail.
Arkley also sent letters to District Attorney Paul Gallegos, his challenger Deputy District Attorney Worth Dikeman, Supervisor Bonnie Neely and her challenger Nancy Flemming, in which he asks for their take on the measure.
Arkley writes that the measure suppresses speech by attempting to limit campaign contributions - a "hallmark of fascism."
"We do not need any form of fascism here in Humboldt County," Arkley said in the letter dated April 7.
Arkley goes on to ask Gallegos, Dikeman, Flemming and Neely to send any legal analysis they might have to offer if they disagree with his assessment ofGallegos said he didn't have a chance to read the letter and was not ready to comment. Attempts to reach Dikeman, Flemming and Neely for comment were unsuccessful.
Kimberly Wear covers the cities of Eureka and Arcata. She can be reached at 441-0512 or email@example.com
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