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Keeping corporate hands off

James Faulk, Times-Standard
July 8, 2005

Get Involved Today!EUREKA - A local group recently turned in a proposed ordinance to strip the rights of nonlocal corporation to participate in local politics.

The group - called the Humboldt Coalition for Community Rights - turned the language in to the Humboldt County Elections Office Tuesday.

Elections Officer Lindsey McWilliams said his office has received the ordinance.

"We will send it to county counsel for an impartial analysis," said McWilliams.

The effort arises out of the group's objection to Pacific Lumber Co.'s support of the recall campaign against District Attorney Paul Gallegos.

"Obviously, we are acting in part because of what happened with the recall," said spokeswoman Yvonne Doble in a press release. "Some folks may see this issue as resolved, but we're concerned about the potential chilling effect the recall may have had on other public officials."

Doble said the group is relying on a recent survey by a Humboldt State University graduate student Adrian Chevraux-Fitzhugh that showed some significant local distrust of corporations' role in politics

The concerns cross party lines, she said, and come from all sides of the political spectrum.

The ordinance would "prohibit any nonlocal corporation from contributing to any candidate campaign, referendum or recall in county elections," the press release states.

Doble said her group did some significant research to make sure the law would stand up against any challenges that would claim the law violates the right to free speech currently afforded corporations. Since the ordinance is framed around an issue of local concern, it should pass muster, she said.

If the language is approved by county counsel, then the group will begin gathering the 5,000 signatures to get it on the ballot for June 2006.

The full title of the ordinance is the "Humboldt County Ordinance to Protect Our Right to Fair Elections and Local Democracy."

The group is made up of some 30 members

"I think it is something that has a real chance for success here," she said.

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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

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