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Measure T Debate Heads South Over Campaign Interview Get Involved Today!

James Faulk, Times-Standard
April 21, 2006

EUREKA -- The debate over Measure T has again taken a sour turn.

The proposal, put out by the Humboldt Coalition for Community Rights, would ban contributions from non-local corporations to local races. The issue has spawned heated debate between supporters and opponents, like the newly formed “No on T” campaign.

The groups have had several heated exchanges already, and on Thursday the coalition sent out a press release complaining that Chris Crawford from the “No on T” campaign called Measure T a “piece of sh--” in a recent interview.

In that interview, Crawford also called for a limit of $500 for all campaign contributions -- what he has said would be true and effective campaign finance reform.

”I'm sure the hypocrisy of Crawford calling for us to all get along while insulting us in the next breath is not lost on anyone,” said Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, campaign manager for Measure T. “NOT has been campaigning for just over a week and they've already demonstrated they intend to run a campaign based on name calling, lies and distortion. Let's have a civil debate on the issue before the voters.”

Crawford admitted to the obscenity, but said it was an off-hand comment.

”The Measure T proponents have taken offense at my off-handed and colorful characterization of this ordinance language,” he said. “I and the opponents of Measure T strongly believe that the ordinance is seriously flawed and fails to achieve campaign finance reform. My full quote contains an honest and straightforward offer to work in cooperation to develop real campaign finance reform, and that offer still stands.”

He tried to turn the situation around by pointing out that HCCR said NOT's opposition is based on lies.

”This shows the level of rancor that occurs when we fail to come together to resolve issues of mutual concern such as campaign donation caps, instead of organizing a frontal attack on legitimate community stakeholders, as Measure T does,” he said.

The Measure T campaign has a “forum” planned for April 25, with featured speaker John Bonifaz of the National Voting Rights Institute.

”John is an award-winning national expert on issues of campaign finance reform and a supporter of Measure T,” said Sopoci-Belknap in the press release.

Crawford took issue with the word “forum” being used for a one-sided presentation.

”It is hardly a civil debate to host a so-called 'forum' with a panel consisting solely of out-of-town political operatives and proponents of Measure T,” he said. “I have no problem with them doing so, but forum seems like the wrong word for it.”

The forum -- or gathering -- will be held at the Labor Temple, 840 E St., in Eureka starting at 7 p.m. Other speakers include Sopoci-Belknap and District Attorney Paul Gallegos.

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Paul Gallegos, Humboldt County District Attorney

Peter LaVallee, Eureka Mayor

Chris Kerrigan, Eureka City Council

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Harmony Groves, Arcata City Council

Paul Pitino, Arcata City Council

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