Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A challenge to Piece of Crap Measure T - FINALLY! w/UPDATE

EUREKA, CA; August 27, 2008: Humboldt County is violating First Amendment free speech rights by prohibiting incorporated businesses from donating to local election campaigns if they have any employees or shareholders living outside of the County. So contends a federal lawsuit filed today by attorneys with Pacific Legal Foundation.

"The County’s donation restriction runs the First Amendment through a shredder," said PLF Attorney Damien Schiff. "The Constitution guarantees open and vibrant political debate, with all sides and all points of view allowed into the fray. The County’s ordinance is an outrageous assault on these free speech rights, because it targets a class of employers to be shut out of the political process."

The lawsuit challenges Measure T – the Humboldt County Ordinance to Protect Our Rights to Fair Elections and Local Democracy – an ordinance enacted by initiative in June, 2006. If a corporation has any employees or shareholders living outside of the county – even a single worker or stockholder over the county line – Measure T bans the business from donating to campaigns relating to local ballot measures or candidates for local office.

Measure T also violates the Constitution’s Equal Protection guarantees, according to the PLF lawsuit, because it does not impose the same campaign donation limits on unions. "Besides restricting core rights of political expression, Measure T also unconstitutionally discriminates against businesses, because union donations are not restricted," said Damien Schiff. "An incorporated business is silenced, when it comes to campaign contributions, if it has employees or shareholders outside of the county, but unions that have members in other counties are allowed to continue donating to election campaigns in Humboldt County. This double standard violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment."

A public interest legal organization headquartered in Sacramento, PLF is the nation’s legal leading watchdog for limited government, property rights, and constitutional freedoms. In the Measure T lawsuit, PLF attorneys represent Mercer, Fraser Co., a highway contractor and heavy construction business located in Eureka, and O & M Industries, a commercial and industrial contractor. O & M is located in Arcata.

The lawsuit complaint, along with the text of Measure T, may be found at PLF’s Web site:

About Pacific Legal Foundation - Headquartered in Sacramento, PLF is the oldest and most successful public interest legal organization that litigates for limited government, property rights, and individual liberty, in courts across the country.

Not just Unions - but the Orgs are completely unfettered.

Featured Case
Complaint (I can't get it to load)
Pacific Legal Foundation - 35th Anniversary Video

Updated links:
☛ TS Measure T facing legal challenge
☛ ER Campaign contribution ordinance challenged
Fred: Measure T Going To Court

Question is will the Mckinleyville School Bond people join in? Hope they do.

To our friends and supporters:

We received news today that Measure T (Humboldt County Ordinance to Protect Our Right to Fair Elections and Local Democracy), the ballot initiative we helped to pass banning campaign contributions by non-local corporations to local elections here in Humboldt County, has been challenged in federal court. We will be posting links to information about the suit on our homepage at

Both Democracy Unlimited and the Humboldt Coalition for Community Rights understood that such a legal challenge could occur when we worked on the Measure T campaign, and we are working together to create a plan of action. Constitutional law expert John Bonifaz, who pledged during the campaign to serve pro bono as special legal counsel to Humboldt's county counsel, has already confirmed his ability to do so.

We sent out this statement to local inquiries earlier today:

"The people of Humboldt County have the right and duty to protect our electoral process. Voters enacted Measure T based on a legitimate concern that corporate influence in elections is undermining the integrity of our elections. It is our community's right to protect itself from threats to our democracy. The idea that a corporation's so called "rights" are more important than those of our community is unjust and illegitimate.

Measure T ensures that owners of corporations will operate as individuals in the political process, just like every other citizen, rather than gaining undue influence through their corporations.

We are not surprised by this action, but we are certainly disappointed that these companies have so little regard for the will of the people of Humboldt County."

Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap
Spokesperson, Humboldt Coalition for Community Rights

We'll be keeping everyone updated as we find out more information and further develop a strategic response.

AND WHO IS Humboldt Coalition for Community Rights? HAH!

☛ ER Striking a blow for free speech


  1. PLF is one of only a hand full of advocay groups trying to provide some balance in todays enviro/prog assults on free speach,individual rights and the freedom we have fought and died for in America. It's fitting that this should come together now at Robin Arkley's death. Robin was at the beginning with PLF and righting this wrong is a fitting tribute to him. Thank you to both.

  2. "This double standard violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment."

    There are so many violaitions of the United States Constitution perpraded by local 'goverment' it's amazing. My favorite is the constant ignoring of the Commerce Clause: Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 US Constitution - like they can just walk over it. Some how their power is above all that 'stuff' like the Constitution ...

    anyway another subject - same rant in away though - same 'engine' driving it ... Power mad Nazi Progs_

    From probibly the most libral person that come to your blog Rose! (wink)

  3. Oh, you'd be surprised, DT(?)

  4. (Why would local government have to abide by the commerce clause (a grant of power to the national government).

    Regardless, thank you PLF. You deserve the highest praise!!!

  5. Hallelujah !!

    Now let's work on REAL campaign finance reform. Let's cap donations from any source instead of letting some donate whatever they wish while others couldn't donate at all.

    How about $500 for city/school/special district races, and $1,000 for county races? How about allowing some reasonable matches, say, an employee and employer but not a husband and wife? And let's either exclude in-kind donations and auction items altogether or raise the cap on these to no more than $2,000. We'd also have to address self-funded campaigns.

    People have every reason to dislike the undue influence of campaign donations, but no one is going to buy a candidate's vote for $1,000.

  6. 2:21PM,
    Why not use the true nomenclature of "National SOCIALIST" instead of the acronym Nazi?

  7. Chris, I hafta disagree with ya on that one - in order for the candidate to communicate with people in their various districts, they need to buy ads, and a cap on donations will cripple their ability to do that, especially a $500 cap. Maybe $5,000 IF you don't think that campaign contributions are the same thing as free speech. But $500 will eliminate a candidate's ability to buy ad space and time, mailers, signs, everything that goes into getting their message out - and it will kick things over to PACs and 527s, and we've seen where that goes.

    I'm not in favor of caps, but I am in favor of looking very closely at who donates big money - the casinos are a case in point - and others have certainly been upset about timber companies donating, which is what brought us Measure T in the first place.

  8. A corporation is not a person. Each person who owns a share of a corporation has an individual voice. Denying them a megaphone by restricting their corporate voice via campaign contributions isn't a denial of equal protectoin of them individually. A corporation's only responsibilty is to make as much money as possible for its owners. Corporate money, lobbyists and jobs on leaving government have corrupted our system probably beyond repair and only a fool would deny that.

  9. Well I deny it.

    your cause succeeded in beating back the palco driven recall. I don't think you give the voters much credit.

    If you wanted to silence Enron and even that would be a breach, your broad brush condemnation of small corps would be specious.

    Corporations protect investors, employees and local economies. I understand that you don't like it very much. But the fact is there.

    All those little, family owned businesses got skewered with this spaghetti strainer of an argument.

    "Make as much money as possible"....absolutely. It supports families and local economies.

    I think you watched far too many westerns as a child where good and evil were so clearly defined.

    Have you asked yourself why people will go to Winco...with the worst customer service on the planet? It's because they can feed the kids for less. I guess you think that's a moral outrage, but it's a practical reality for a lot of families.

    Get a grip 5:25. There's a balance and a check on that balance. Your 'good guy bad guy' world needs a reality check.

  10. 749 you must be one of the fucking idiots who voted for this. Please explain the fairness of having different rules for different types of organization.

  11. Corporation: "a body formed and authorized by law to act as a single person although constituted by one or more persons and legally endowed with various rights and duties including the capacity of succession."

  12. How do corporations large enough to sell stock and support Washington lobbyists benefit American working families after they have coerced the American government to change laws that allow them to shop for labor over-seas. Losing American jobs to a country with a population of 1.2 billion and a low wage labor pool that's so large that the unemployed percentage of that pool will be used to keep wages low in that country and guarantee a large unemployment rate and lower wages in the U.S.A..

    We should thank corporations for this?

    Free speech democracy is a fine and wonderful thing when it has not been usurped by a pool of money controlled by interests that are not in line with interests of middle class working families.

  13. You know 6:34 - Don't get me started.

  14. OK, Rose, let's move the campaign donation cap to a reasonable figure. $5,000 seems a little high for a city council race, but perhaps not for mayor.

    I just think an entity throwing $25,000 at a candidate is obscene, whether it's Exxon/Mobil or the Sierra Club.

    I also agree that the unintended consequence of imposing a donation cap is usually a proliferation of 527s pulling an end run by running "issues" ads.

    It's just that the public is deeply concerned with campaign finance reform and the Measure T advocates used this to push their special interest power grab. If they had pursued a donation cap instead, it would have been better all around, despite the other drawbacks.

  15. I see your point. I'd argue though that money doesn't always get a candidate in office. Look at Huffington. There are other examples I can't think of right now.

    I am more concerned about the abuses by the Orgs and PACs, about the Soros influence, nationally and locally, I'm more concerned about things like the public airwaves and public TV programming being used by those activist orgs.

    Right now what I see is clamps on legitimate people and businesses that are not matched by clamps on those who attack them and seek to manipulate and influence the elections.

  16. 634 Free speech democracy is a fine and wonderful thing when it has not been usurped by a pool of money controlled by interests that are not in line with interests of middle class working families.

    Exactly why the rules should be the same for the unions, the PACS and the Corps. You really think the 527s interests are in line with the middle class? Also, your argument does not even address measure T. Do you even know what it says? A company with 99% of its employees in Humboldt County is defined as Non Local, while a 527 or non profit with only 1 person living here is local. Please explain the equity for me.

  17. The corporations that gave to the school district had already been hired by the district so it was in all of their best interests to donate to make sure that the bond measure passed. A couple of them donated again when more money was needed. Do you think they made those donations because they cared about the schools?

  18. The Casinos/Tribes have donated tens of thousands of dollars to Clendenen and Neely.

    Do you think they just care about them as people?

    Does Measure T affect the Tribes? Does it limit the Orgs?

  19. "I hope we shall crush in it's birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country."

    Thomas Jefferson

    Maybe if Corporations didn't exert so much influence over elections and state and federal legislatures, money from PACs and org.s would never have become an issue.

  20. Maybe 4:06. Like I've said before, they've become everything they ever railed against. Corrupt, and without a soul a conscience or any morals - and I am talking about the activist/orgs.

    As evidenced by the So-Called Alliance for Ethical Business - they are willing to buy a public official and fight to keep their weapon in office, and will do anything it takes - as evidenced by Measure T they are not about free speech at all, but about shutting off any voices they disagree with.

    We will all lose unless something is done to correct this virulent and unregulated phenomenon. They are essentially operating outside the system, away from any oversight, any reporting requirements, any checks and balances, and they do not care what the unintended consequences of their winning at all cost is.

  21. I dunno Rose, I think they are clearly intended consequences...what they don't care about is the damage they inflict on the very principles they claim to defend.

    by the way, when is your birthday?

  22. Heh, the 24th. Pretty close, eh? Had to renew my driver's license!

    And yeah, you're right, they don't care. Or - all they care about is making sure that no one can get in their way, they want an unfettered playing field with no opposition.

    Measure T was about preventing their target from being able to fight back - and people fell for it.

  23. But it's bigger than that. Beyond all the anti-corporate angst, there is a balance that has been squandered. As we strive to punish the Enrons and the Walmarts of the world for their abuses, we also diminish the ability of small business corporations to compete on a level playing field with the Democracy Unlimited Humboldt (or DUH), non-profits, the Watershed Councils, and the Baykeepers and all those 527 org's that do not have to declare in the same way as legitimate organizations.

    Measure T is and was a pathetic power grab and somehow succeeded in convincing a majority of voters that corporations are inherently evil and the DUH's have an argument at the local level. They have sought and won silence over thought or speech.

    Maybe PLF can change that.....maybe we can change that.

    I know two things... Measure T is corrupt and my birthday is very close to yours. I got a good present this year in Courtroom #8.

  24. It was indeed an excellent present! We will drink a toast to that some day, Dog.

    PLF deserves all of our thanks, appreciation and support. Did you know there is also a Mountain States Legal Foundation? These are the good guys!

  25. Power to the Walmarts, Enrons, Exxon-Mobiles, MAXXAMs, and Haliburtons! Power to the p-p-pe-peep, er, corporations! Yea for the Pacific Legal fund good guys! Down with the c-c-cor-corp, er, people. Yeah! Power to the powerful!

  26. As does Mercer Fraser and O&M

    How about tomorrow...I'll be in the crowd tomorrow night at Roy's for dinner. Don't mistake me for resquan, he is much older than me and he dines there often.

    I won't be easy to spot. Except for the fur, the ears and a tale (not a typo)

  27. You don't get it, 8:49.

    That's nice rhetoric you got goin' there.

    But look - who's the first one to get caught in the Measure T web? Wasn't Enron. Wasn't Walmart.

    Do the owners of Holly Yashi(*) have kids? Do their kids live here? Or are they away at college? Is it a family owned business? Do the kids sometimes work for the business, then go away to school? Oooops - they can't donate any longer to all your causes.

    (*) Just using that name as one example of a local business that you can relate to - one that MIGHT fit one of those categories. There are many others. many, many others.

  28. There are many, many, others? Are they Powerful?

  29. What? Measure T is only supposed to apply to POWERFUL corporations? Is that so?

    You mean like Palco? Sierra Pacific, maybe? Those deep pocket targets.

    Yep. As I said. It's very very clear.

  30. Do you want Sierra Pacific influencing local politics?

  31. Absolutely

    Just on the same plane as loco solutions, AEB, the Baykeeper and Demoncracy Unlimited.

    What are you fearing?

  32. What are you fearing?

  33. 10:23/10:49. 19:43 is right. Even playing field.

    Do you know that the big timber companies all used to give $5,000 donations routinely? That was back when that was alot of money, too. And do you know what I always found amazing? They gave to both candidates in a race. Figuring one of them was going to win. I don't remember anyone thinking twice, and none of those politicians considered themselves 'bought.'

    And whaddya know? The world didn't end. We're still here.

    I would take the donation of a legitimate business, that employs people in my community, and contributes to local projects any day over the donation of a predatory litigious org that is seeking to use my position and my vote to further it's goals and line its pockets while it destroys the business that employs the people and contributes to local projects.

    I support the right of a business to fight back against a dishonest rogue DA who files a lawsuit at the behest of those activist backers, who have, in him secured a politician that will do their bidding.

    Yes. I guess I do.

    You bought the line that Palco was trying to buy its way out of a lawsuit.

    You never got that the lawsuit was politically motivated and shouldn't have been brought in the first place. You ought to get it now - the case was tossed out of every court that heard it.

    That means nothing to you, I know. You think it is just Gallegos' incompetence that did it. You think a different lawyer could have put a silk lining on that sows ear, woven gold out of dung-laden straw.

  34. What Rose is trying to say is that if someone offers her candidate $5000 they should be able to accept it under the Campaign Finance Reform cap. But if her opponet recieves the same $5000 donation, then it must be scrutizized to death because they obviously have evil motives.

  35. I believe there's plenty of scrutinizing on all sides 7:31. Those who accept money from timber companies find if used against them, just as one example. And that's fair enough.

    Question is, for all your bluster, what do YOU do when a guy gets elected and then acts FOR those backers? Files a lawsuit, for example? Dismisses a whole bunch of felonies?

    Do YOU cry foul? No. You defend it.

  36. Foul! Quit framing what you think I represent. You bought the line that Palco was trying to buy it's way out of a lawsuit and you were correct, Rose. Are you a little bit preg, I mean progressive.


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