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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)
Say Yes to Local Control of Humboldt Elections
Times-Standard MY WORD By Nicole Spencer
Arnold's November special election has passed and we are rewarded with another sweet victory in saying "No." Humboldt County and the majority of the state overwhelmingly rejected Arnold's special election and all the propositions. We succeeded, but what have we gained? Millions of dollars spent and hundreds of volunteer hours gone - to keep what we already had.
Can we now go back to our daily lives and ignore the fact that these propositions were predominantly funded by wealthy corporations? Do we wait for the next attack, like paralyzed victims always on the defense?
History is known to repeat itself when an individual, community or society does not learn from the past. Throughout history, local communities have been violated by wealthy outside interests time and time again. In the past six years, Humboldt County's elections have been assaulted by outside corporations whose interests do not benefit or serve us.
First, it was Wal-Mart.
In 1999, Wal-Mart spent over $235,000 on a failed ballot initiative to change Eureka's zoning laws so they could build on the waterfront. At that time, this was the most expensive campaign in Humboldt's history. The community soundly rejected Wal-Mart's egregious assault and succeeded by voting "No."
After thousands of local dollars lost and hundreds of volunteer hours spent, we succeeded by keeping zoning laws that we already had.
Four years later it happened again.
This time, it was Texas-based Maxxam Corp. who dumped over $300,000 into a recall campaign of our district attorney. Again, we came together and generated over $250,000 from hundreds of community members to defend our local democracy and fight Texas interests.
With over $300,000 spent, Maxxam made a new record and trumped Wal-Mart as the most expensive campaign in Humboldt history. Once more, we stood strong and celebrated the 61 percent no vote to keep who we had already elected into office.
Thus far, we have maintained our local democracy -- but what will come next?
It is time for change.
The Humboldt County Ordinance to Protect Our Right to Fair Elections and Local Democracy is a proactive response to recent attacks on our local laws and our elected officials. The initiative is quite simple and direct. It would prohibit non-local corporations, such as Wal-Mart and Maxxam, from contributing to Humboldt County elections.
Finally, a "yes" vote to celebrate!
We are well on our way to place this initiative on the June 2006 election ballot and have already collected over 4,440 signatures. If you have not yet signed, take a moment the next time one of our volunteer petitioners stops you.
Together, let's send a message loud and clear -- Humboldt residents will no longer waste money and time fighting to keep our democratically enacted laws and our democratically elected representatives. We want local control over our elections.
Humboldt County elections are not for sale!
Nicole Spencer is campaign co-manager of the Humboldt Coalition for Community Rights. Spencer can be contacted at nicole@VoteLocalControl.org . She lives in Eureka. The full text of the ballot initiative is at www.VoteLocalControl.org .
The opinions expressed in this My Word piece do not necessarily reflect the editorial viewpoint of the Times-Standard.
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