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Ordinance FAQ

Q. What will the Measure T do for Humboldt County?

Get Involved Today!A. Measure T will strengthen our local democracy by prohibiting any non-local entity including non-local corporations, unions, and non-profits from making contributions to Humboldt County Elections.  

Q. How does Measure T ensure my right to Fair Elections and Local Democracy?

A. Measure T will ensure that out-of-town corporations do not try to buy our locally elected officials. This ordinance will ensure that local residents decide who represents us in local government and that our elected officials are free to represent us all without fear of corporate intimidation. That's what local control is all about.

Q. Would Measure T affect my right as an individual to influence and contribute to elections in Humboldt County?

A. No! This ordinance does not apply to individuals. People who own corporations or work for corporations would still be allowed to contribute their personal money to local elections.

Q. Who will the Local Democracy Ordinance affect?

A. This ordinance will ONLY affect non-local corporations - such as Wal-Mart and Maxxam. Individuals and local businesses would be able to contribute to Humboldt elections to the same extent permitted by the Fair Political Practices Committee and as defined by city and county laws. Local corporations are defined as those whose employees and stockholders (if any) live in Humboldt County, whose headquarters is in Humboldt County and who are not owned by another corporation.

Q. Why are local corporations allowed to contribute?
A. Measure T is pro-local control and local businesses are a part of our community. But most importantly, research has shown that local corporations are not heavily influencing our local elections.

Q. Why does the law state that unions with only one member residing in Humboldt County can still contribute?
A. Research shows that unions, local or not, do not heavily influence our local elections. Unions focus their energy and financial resources on state and national issues that affect workers.

Second, unions are not organized in the same manner as a corporation so they could not fit our definition of a "local corporation". There is simply no standard for how unions organize and each has a different structure so it was difficult to define.

The definition in Measure T will allow our local unions to continue to participate and prohibit unions who don't have members in our community from making contributions.

Q. Where does Measure T apply and to what elections?

A. This ordinance applies to all Humboldt County elections, referendums, and recalls. It does not include races that have districts outside of Humboldt County such as state senate or assembly.

Q. Why is Measure T timely and necessary?

A. Unless we pass Measure T, large outside corporations will continue to target our community and attempt to use the electoral process to manipulate Humboldt County laws and elected officials. In 1999 Wal-Mart corporation spent $235,000 to try to change Eureka's zoning laws by ballot initiative and in 2003 Maxxam corporation spent over $300,000 to try to recall the Humboldt County District Attorney. These two campaigns were the most costly campaigns in Humboldt history.

These campaigns are harmful to our community because they undermine citizen's confidence in the electoral system. See the Humboldt Voter Survey for more information about how Humboldt residents think corporate involvement in elections makes political corruption more likely.

Q. What if a corporation sues the county when we pass Measure T?

A. Passing Measure T is the right thing to do - both ethically and morally. Just as no one thinks Rosa Parks should have gone to the back of the bus because what she did was challenged, we cannot allow wealthy corporations to prevent us from doing what is right by threatening us with lawsuits.

Measure T should withstand any challenge because it clearly states that the people of Humboldt believe that outside corporate money is undermining the integrity of our elections. The courts have said that in such instances, restrictions on corporate contributions are appropriate. 78% of Humboldt voters believe that corporate contributions make political corruption more likely.

Q. Is Measure T legal?

A. The courts have said that a community may restrict corporate money from campaigns if they are believed to be undermining the integrity of our elections (Bellotti case). The two local examples, that being the Wal-Mart campaign and Maxxam's attempted recall, would become part of the legal record to demonstrate that non-local corporations are in fact undermining the integrity of our elections. There two campaigns were also the two most costly in Humboldt history.

Consider this--where would our country be if the American revolutionaries had been unwilling to challenge the "legal authority" of the king?   If women had not challenged laws that prevented them from voting?   If trade unionists had not violated unjust laws claiming efforts to organize workers for better conditions and pay were a "criminal conspiracy."

Read more in-depth information about what the courts have said about limiting corporate involvement in elections.

Q. Don't corporations have the same rights as people?
A. Corporations certainly have legitimate interests, that should be considered, but these interests should never outweigh our right to do what is best for our community. The ordinance clearly states that the people of Humboldt believe that outside corporate money is undermining the integrity of our elections. The courts have said that in such instances, restrictions on corporate contributions are appropriate because people's rights are more important than the idea that a corporations has rights.

Corporations are not people. Activist judges granted "personhood" to corporations illegitimately. Only human beings can have civil and political rights. Corporate "personhood" harm democracy. Wealthy corporations use their "personhood" status to overturn democratically enacted laws and diminish community rights and local control. Humboldt County has a right to assert local control over our elections and to pass laws to protect the democratic process.

Q. Who is the Humboldt Coalition for Community Rights?

A. The Humboldt Coalition for Community Rights is a group of working people who represent a broad cross-section of the Humboldt County population. We come from diverse backgrounds and our goal is to ensure that only local money determines who represents Humboldt residents in local government.

We believe our community has the right to protect ourselves from outside interests with deep pockets that want to transform our community to suit the needs of large corporations. See our public endorsements page for a complete list of people and organizations who are part of the coalition.

Q. What can I do to Protect My Right to Fair Elections and Local Democracy in Humboldt County?

A. Get involved with your local community and help us pass Measure T. Contact us today!

Not much time? You can still help!

  • Sign up as a public supporter.
  • Donate to this local grassroots effort.
  • Put a bumper sticker on your car.
  • Place a yard sign at your home or business.
  • Wear a Fair Elections and Local Democracy button.
  • Talk to your friends about this important issue! Let us know if you would like us to send you brochures or other information to pass out to folks you know.
  • Volunteer a few hours of your time.
  • Host a house party! We will send you information.
  • Or, contact us directly to find out how you can get involved this important campaign.

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!


Learn More!

Pros and Cons of Measure T

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


Radio Ads


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)