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Measure T PartyGet Involved Today!

James Faulk, Times-Standard
April 26, 2006

EUREKA -- Likening the effort to pass Measure T to the historic Boston Tea Party, initiative organizers led a meeting Tuesday in support of their effort to ban non-local corporations from giving to local elections.

Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, a campaign manager for Measure T, said the Boston Tea Party was really a demonstration against corporate power in the form of the East India Company. Measure T is a similar reaction to the flexing of corporate muscle in recent local elections, she said.

The highlighted speaker of the evening was John Bonifaz, founder of the National Voting Rights Institute, now their general counsel, and Democratic candidate for secretary of state in Massachusetts.

He said he was proud to stand in support of Measure T because it would signal the community and the rest of the nation to take the democratic process back from corporate money interests.

”The people come first, corporations second,” he said.

The system has turned into a process by which big corporations and donors preselect issues and candidates, he said. The people are only allowed to vote on those selections, he said. Money is not tantamount to speech, he said, it is an amplification of speech.

Courts have ruled that it's not OK to drown out other people's speech, and that's what corporations are doing, he said.

He said he was confident that Measure T would pass legal muster because there is a proven track record of corporations trying to pervert the political process locally -- Wal-Mart and Maxxam, during the attempted recall of District Attorney Paul Gallegos.

There is a window in the law that allows local governments to restrict that behavior, he said.

If Measure T occurred in a vacuum, without such earlier cases of corporate influence, it would be a much harder sell, he said.

He also said the court has traveled in the direction of allowing limits on corporate political giving if it preserves the integrity of local elections.

”It's time to reframe this and make clear that citizens have rights to reclaim their democracy,” he said.

District Attorney Paul Gallegos, running for re-election, also spoke on behalf of Measure T.

He said the founding fathers declared that human rights come from a creator and pre-exist government. He said that if rights pre-exist government, and corporations are a creature of government, then how does the government have the right to confer rights on a corporation?

”We need to correct this wrong to our rights,” he said.

He said the only legitimate power in a democracy comes from the people, not from corporate money and influence.

”Let's stand up,” he said. “It is our challenge.”

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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!

View the full list of public endorsements!


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Pros and Cons of Measure T

Learn more about Measure T in a Pros and Cons Video, produced by Eileen McGee (51 mins)


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Chris Kerrigan, Eureka City Counsel, and Kate Christensen, owner of The Garden Gate, support Measure T! (1 min)


Paul Gallegos, Humboldt County District Attorney, and Nezzie Wade, community member, support Measure T! (1 min)


Larry Glass, owner of The Works, and Dennis Rael, owner of Los Bagles, support Measure T! (1 min)