by Bob Doran
This just in from Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, Humboldt Coalition for Community Rights:
SAN FRANCISCO – Federal Court judge Susan Illston ruled against the people of Humboldt County in yesterday’s hearing on Measure T, the local law passed in 2006 by citizen’s initiative. Measure T bans non-local corporate contributions in local elections.
The Pacific Legal Foundation sought a preliminary injunction against Measure T, arguing that the law violates the First Amendment rights of corporations. The judge granted the injunction, allowing corporate money back into local elections.
The proponents of the Measure were disappointed by the ruling, but unfazed. "The court is wrong - and this isn’t the first time," said Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, spokesperson for the Humboldt Coalition for Community Rights (HCCR). "Measure T follows in the footsteps of the suffragists, the abolitionists and Civil Rights activists who fought against Supreme Court decisions that upheld unjust laws. The majority of Humboldt citizens believe corporations have too much power in our society, especially in elections. Our democracy is deteriorating. We have an obligation to stand up for what’s right, even if the courts are not currently with us."
"This ruling proves how undemocratic it is to allow a corporation to claim to be a person with constitutional rights," said Megan Wade Antieau of Democracy Unlimited, an organizer of the event. "Apparently the judge believes upholding corporate influence in elections is more important than the rights of the people of Humboldt County."
"We don’t need to depend on the courts to tell us the difference between right and wrong. We have candidates running for office in November who should respect the will of the voters," said Wade Antieau.
Democracy Unlimited, one of the member organizations of HCCR, is holding a community meeting this Wednesday (Sept. 24) to invite residents to get involved in defending Measure T.
The meeting will be at the Labor Temple in Eureka (840 E Street) from 6:30pm to 9:30pm. Light dinner will be served. Carpooling is available from Arcata. For more information contact Democracy Unlimited: 269-0984.