Saturday, August 02, 2008

Paul Gallegos, the poster boy for Measure T,

may now get the chance to put his money where his mouth was. And it will pit him against teachers and parents.

It'll also be a test of his "equal justice" sloganeering. Because Measure T was designed for one reason and one reason only and that was to prevent Palco from contributing to local campaigns ever, ever again. But there are serious flaws in that measure, and serious problems that have now caught an unwitting victim in the net.

Last June, the McKinleyville Union School District put Measure C on the ballot in order to raise money for improvements and renovations. What happens next will be very interesting. Not prosecuting because you like this group isn't really an option.

Jack has the full story in the McKinleyville Press: here are excerpts: This year the MUSD may have provided the first opportunity to test measure T in court. School Board officials and the Board of Trustees worked hard all year to develop a different ballot initiative, Measure C, that authorized MUSD to issue $14 million in bonds "to replace, renovate, acquire and construct school facilities."

The bonds would be paid for by an increase in property taxes over the next 40 years. Measure C was passed by the voters of McKinleyville on June 3, after a short political campaign.

MUSD did not accomplish this goal unaided. A number of corporate consultants from all over California were hired by the Board to determine the feasibility of selling the bonds, ascertain the best time to place the measure on the ballot, poll the community, and to actually sell the bonds once the measure passed. The consultants included Godbe Research, a corporation from Half Moon Bay, KNN Public Finance, a subsidiary of Zion's First National Bank in Oakland, and Jones Hall, a San Francisco financial consultant.

While there is nothing illegal about hiring consultants, each of these firms then contributed funds to Citizens in Favor of Measure C, the campaign group formed to sell the Measure to McKinleyville residents. KNN contributed $8,500; Jones Hall contributed $6,500, and Godbe Research contributed $250, North Valley Bank, which contributed $100, also falls under the definition of a non-local corporation, because its headquarters are in Redding, and it has branches all over California.

A fifth non-local firm, Siskyou Design Group, from Yreka, conributed $1,500 to the campaign, although that company may not fall under the definition of a corporation. Siskyou Design is the architectural firm that the school board plans to use to renovate its buildings.

These five contributors account for more than 90% of the money used to convince voters to pass Measure C. Local contributors raised only $1,750, less than 10% of the $18, 600 kitty.

Gallegos is supposed to prosecute Measure T violations. Will he do it? Citizen plaintiffs can initiate action through the Superior Court. Once they have done so, they must notify the District Attorney within 14 days of their action. the District Attorney is supposed to take over the suit, but if he does not, the measure says that citizens can proceed on their own.

Measure T
County link
☛ ER Measure T backers look to curb corporate election influence
☛ ER No on Measure T Committee launches effort to defeat June ballot measure
☛ ER Know the facts: Vote No on Measure T
☛ ER 'No on W' group violates Measure T guidelines
☛ ER Eureka Chamber formally opposes Measure T
☛ ER Speakers gather to voice support for Measure T ordinance
☛ ER Measure T groups duke it out
☛ ER Measure T passes with 55 percent majority


  1. Doesn't Measure T only apply to county races?

    I could be wrong. Don't know much about the laws, but someone told me that the folks who wrote it wanted it to apply to the entire county, but there wasn't a way to do it because municipalities have their own rules, or something like that.

    Anyone know for sure?

  2. When did McKinleyville incorporate?

  3. The Measure T text reads (in part):

    Section 7. Statement of Law

    The Prohibitions in Section Five shall apply to all municipalities, districts and special districts in which the jurisdictions are located wholly within the geographical boundaries of Humboldt County, California.

    ... so yes, it applies to a local school district bond measure.

  4. Oh yes, I still remember the Measure T video of PVG and Kaitlan (the pancake breakfast gal) saying over and over "people have rights, corporations don't have rights". It was laughable.

    I'm all for it ..... the justice for all that is.

    Thanks for the post Rose.

  5. Don't forget - Humboldt Coalition for Community Rights - and who is that exactly?


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