Wednesday, September 17, 2008


PRESS RELEASE: Redwood ACLU Calls For Support Of Lawsuit Against Measure T

...“The proponents of Measure T and especially the Humboldt Coalition for Community Rights by their Co-Chair Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, are renewing the same tactics used in the 2006 election to stifle any dissent regarding the constitutionality of linkMeasure T,” said Redwood ACLU vice chair Greg Allen. “An examination of statements made by Sopoci-Belknap at the Democracy Unlimited website again attacks those with differing legal opinions. This policy has been continued by the HCCR in a letter signed by Sopoci-Belknap, herself a candidate for public office, to direct all candidates for public office in Humboldt County, including her own opponent, to support Measure T even if it is held unconstitutional by the district court.”...

Case Summary
Measure T
Op-Ed - Why we're challenging Measure T in court
Demockery Umlimited

Fred has discussion


  1. Wasn't Gregory Allen opposed to the measure?

  2. Yep. he took alotta heat for that...

    Arcata Green party opposed to measure on contributions 1/23/2006 Arcata’s Green Party chapter is opposed to the recently submitted measure by Humboldt Coalition for Community Rights because of what it said were the initiative’s draft mistakes.

    “This ballot measure was fatally flawed to begin with,” stated Green County Chairman Greg Allen in a prepared news release. “It’s an attempt to use our local tax dollars to fight for a county law which is out of line with state laws governing corporations.

    “Some sections have been superseded by state law and are void on their face. I find it disturbing that the voters have not been informed by the proponents of these patent defects in the initiative,” he stated.

    The release also said Allen “is shocked by the lack of protections against frivolous lawsuits against mom-and-pop corporations, who fall into the non-local category if even one share of stock or a single employee is beyond the county line. His argument about how the campaign activity of wealthy individuals is unaffected by the measure is shared by Arcata Greens Chairman Jesse Goplen.

    “I think it’s a wonderful idea in theory,” Goplen said in the news release. “But I also think it’s important for the initiatives that the progressive movement undertakes to be able to withstand legal challenge.”

    “As an alternative, Allen has drafted the Humboldt Campaign Contribution Limitation Ordinance, which was given support by the Arcata chapter on Wednesday instead,” according to the news release “It would limit all contributions for or against candidates or their recall in Humboldt County to $500 regardless of the source.”

    “This actually gets to the real heart of the issue,” Allen said. “The danger of corporate contributions isn’t the source but the size. This ordinance would fix that.”...

  3. Thanks for the props, Rose.

    It's not really so unbelievable, since the ACLU was never in favor of Measure T in the first place. Heck, we were even against McCain/Feingold on the national level. We apply very strict 1st Amendment free speech standards to campaign finance laws.

    We're looking to have an election reform forum after this fall's contest is over, and we certainly invite your support and participation.

  4. Thanks, Redwood ACLU. That should be an interesting forum. I am surprised and impressed.

  5. ... and add this to your unbelievable category ...

    The business community will join with the ACLU in campaign finance reform after this election. We, like the ACLU and the public at large, are concerned with the undue influence of large campaign donations and support caps. Exactly what those caps are, as well as the related details are worth our collective attention to work out.

    Kudos to the ACLU for stepping up to the plate in this important issue.

  6. I agree with the Kudos.

    BUT - as I have said before - a $500 cap is completely unreasonable and will kill of any meaningful campaign advertising in this County. It is an outdated figure.

    I'm not in favor of caps anyway, but if one is to be set, it has to be based on some reasonable understanding of the cost of advertising and campaign materials, all of which have gone up in recent years. You have to look at the per inch rate of the TS and ER, the cost of a quarter, half and full page ad in the Journal, Eye, Press and Independent, the cost of buying a 30 second ad on Ch 3, cable, the cost of radio ads - AND take into account the number of stations to be advertised on - we have a very high number of news and media sources here.

    The cost of campaign signs, flyers, brochures, buttons, bumper stickers, direct mail pieces - they're all very important means of communication for your candidates - and limiting their ability to utilize them is a form of limiting their free speech. It will definitely harm their ability to communicate with voters.

    I'd also point out that lots of money has not meant automatic win. So the 'undue influence' doesn't necessarily hold.

    Another question would be whether you can cap the tribal donations - they are a separate nation after all.

  7. Make that 'kill OFF' - not 'of' - dang typos.

  8. Here is my suggested starting point on campaign donation limitations, Rose. I am open to adjustments ...

    ** $500 cap on city council races
    ** $750 on special district races
    ** $1,000 on mayor races
    ** $1,500 on countywide races (sheriff, supervisor, DA, etc)
    ** races in whcih there is a primary and runoff means the cap applies to each race, not a cumulative total for both.
    ** Husbands and wives can't "stack" donations, but union members/union and employees/employers can
    ** Some reasonable limitation is needed for in-kind and auction donations.

    Reasonable minds can disagree, but working on these details is MUCH more productive than Measure T.

  9. Measure T is a flat out worthless piece of shit scam (I did steal the POS from you I think) - so in part I agree, any deal you come up with is better than that.

    BUT - I still do not agree with the caps. There are existing caps, as I recall, and they are set fairly high. VERY VERY few people have the means to meet those caps so those donations are few and far between, but they are just as legitimate as the smaller ones.

    And, of course, any big donations are justifiably scrutinized and used as ammunition by opponents - but, the public doesn't seem to care much - they didn't mind Arkley's donations to Gallegos, they don't seem too upset by the Tribe's huge donations to Bonnie and Clif, and Gallegos - and they are equally unimpressed by people who pledge to take no donations (Pitino and others).

    What you'll end up doing is hogtying the good people - and the bad guys'll still get away with murder.

    And the Alliance for Oh-SO-Ethical Business is still untouched. Still unexamined.

    I have no faith.

  10. See, I guess first you have to convince me the system is broken. I don't think it is. I think it works just fine, even if I don't agree with the outcomes sometimes.

    I do think Salzman skirted the rules bigtime and got away with it bigtime and I wish to God someone would look into it, but no one will, and no one will ever look into whether someone violates Measure T, either, unless of course they are conservative....

  11. Arcata has contribution caps and their elections are still strenuously contested. $1k to $1.5k for donations (cash or otherwise) seem fair for a county-wide alternative to Measure Turkey. Probably $750 for Eureka, $200 to $400 for the other cities. Of course these would all be pegged to inflation like Arcata's is, and would crawl up over time...although Arcata uses CPI, which has been a manipulated, artificially low figure since Clinton played with the measuring stick in the mid-90s, we could use some sort of ad rate-related indexing to cover the real rate of inflation for political campaigns.

  12. Check out KMUD News when it replays in the morning, Rose. You'll be impressed.

  13. Redwood ACLU - can you tell me what the ACLU has to do with this -
    New York Times Thursday June 7
    ACTIVIST Summer jobs
    Restore our Constitutional Protection
    $5,500 - $8.500/summer
    Work for grassroots campaigns on behalf of the American Civil Liverties Union
    Stop Executive Abuse of Power
    full time/career call Sam (212) 219-1502

    What exactly does the ACLU do with the kids they recruit?

  14. And where do they get the money?

  15. I am genuinely curious. Because there was a time when I believed the ACLU was a force for good. But I have seen a turn.

    Today's action, locally, reminds me of the ACLU that used to be. Honestly standing up to protect free speech.

    And I want to understand what this other side is - is the ACLU being used by other groups?

    What is this side that recruits young college kids, turns them into community organizers and sends them out into communities like ours to wreak havoc on the political system?

    Because that ad, above leads on - an interesting trail...

    who is (212) 219-1502?

    It's not the ACLU. It's
    Grass Roots Campaigns
    53 W 36 St
    Manhattan, NY 10018

    with ads all over the country:

    Summer Jobs to Take Back the White House: $5500-$8500/summer
    Help put the country back on the right path! Call Steve at 212-219-1502. Compensation: $5500-$8500/summer; Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact ... - Jun 6, 2007 - Similar pages

    Summer Jobs to Defend Civil Liberties: $5500-$8500/summer
    The ACLU is fighting back against illegal laws allowing warantless wiretapping and torture. Call Stephanie at 212-219-1502 ... - Similar pages

    Summer Jobs - Campaign to Help the Democrats Take Back the House ...
    Call Rachel at 212-219-1502. How To Apply:. Please contact an office near you, or call our central office at ... Phone:, 212-219-1502. Email:, New York ...

    Grassroots Campaigns is hiring to work with Political ...
    To Apply: Email your resume to Diane: or apply online at: Grassroots Campaigns, Inc. runs ...

    Grassroots Campaign?

  16. I don't get the connection, Rose, unless you're talking about the same recruiting firm contracting with both the ACLU and with some other campaigns.

  17. Posted this on Fred's blog as well.

    Chris and whomever else,if the ACLU doesn't support Measure T then they shouldn't support any contribution limitations,as by their accord it would be a restriction on free speech.As a matter of fact,they should declare that Arcata's limitation ordinance is unconstitutional as well,and should back any lawsuit against that.

  18. One difference, if not the biggest difference, would be that Measure T doesn't affect all parties equally. Unions are given beneficial treatment over businesses, period.

    If everyone is limited to contributing a certain amount- and I mean everyone- then it would seem to be fair across the board.

    Problem I have with it is- and I've brought this up long ago- the proposed contribution limits would give whatever side has the most people behind it a permanent spending advantage.

    To make it simple: You have 100 voters and each is allowed to spend $50 on a candidate or issue.

    60 of those voters are initially opposed to Measure X, 40 support. The majority opinion can raise $3000, the minority $2000. That's it. The minority already suffers in support, the campaign limitations don't allow the minority to try and catch up with the majority.

    With campaign contribution caps, minorities have an even bigger chance of remaining a minority since they can't rely on a big donor to help them level the playing field. That assumes that more money equals more votes and I can't remember the last time I've voted one way because of an advertisement I've seen, but it seems a lot of people do.

  19. Rose, we'll have to get back to you on the advertisements you noted here. We simply don't know anything about them, since they're not concerning the Redwood Chapter or the ACLU of Northern California (as a matter of record, our local chapter has never had paid staff). We do know that standing ACLU policy is dead-set against our organization supporting or opposing any candidates.

    In terms of contribution limits, while our local chapter is neutral on laws such as the one in Arcata which concern candidates, the ACLU on the local, state and national level is entirely opposed to limiting contributions in support of or opposition to ballot initiatives. The ACLU-NC is heavily involved in efforts to support and oppose various statewide propositions in nearly every election and we don't want such efforts restricted.

  20. Thank you again, redwood aclu.

  21. But where does redwood aclu stand on nambla?

  22. What about Proposition 5 ? George Soros has already kicked in 1.4 million.

  23. Looking back at some of Anon.R.mous' posts:
    Wednesday, February 15, 2006, not a local Corp? Naw..... oh wait!

    Domain ID:D103184490-LROR
    Domain Name:VOTEPAUL.ORG
    Created On:26-Nov-2003 17:34:31 UTC
    Last Updated On:30-Jan-2006 15:44:18 UTC
    Expiration Date:26-Nov-2007 17:34:31 UTC
    Sponsoring, Inc. (R1368-LROR)
    Registrant ID:DI_2357775
    Registrant Name:Default Profile
    Registrant Organization:N/A:28405198
    Registrant Street1:404 Main Street
    Registrant Street2:4th Floor
    Registrant Street3:
    Registrant City:Boonton
    Registrant State/Province:NJ
    Registrant Postal Code:07005
    Registrant Country:US
    Registrant Phone:+1.9737362545
    Registrant Phone Ext.:
    Registrant FAX:+1.9737361355
    Registrant FAX Ext.:
    Admin ID:DI_2357775
    Admin Name:Default Profile
    Admin Organization:N/A:28405198
    Admin Street1:404 Main Street
    Admin Street2:4th Floor
    Admin Street3:
    Admin City:Boonton
    Admin State/Province:NJ
    Admin Postal Code:07005
    Admin Country:US
    Admin Phone:+1.9737362545
    Admin Phone Ext.:
    Admin FAX:+1.9737361355
    Admin FAX Ext.:
    Tech ID:DI_2357775
    Tech Name:Default Profile
    Tech Organization:N/A:28405198
    Tech Street1:404 Main Street
    Tech Street2:4th Floor
    Tech Street3:
    Tech City:Boonton
    Tech State/Province:NJ
    Tech Postal Code:07005
    Tech Country:US
    Tech Phone:+1.9737362545
    Tech Phone Ext.:
    Tech FAX:+1.9737361355
    Tech FAX Ext.:
    Name Server:NS1.MORSEMEDIA.NET
    Name Server:NS2.MORSEMEDIA.NET

    I do think this is the first time that I have seen someone use a local hosting company though. ICANN might not be happy with the lack of real ownership data though. But as it sits right now, is owned by a non local Corporation, and that's just so damn funny!

    We are not a "one man" shop (like many domain registrars and resellers) or a "here today gone tomorrow" business, we have invested substantially in positioning as a global industry leader.

    I guess corporations are evil, unless you need a product or to run a campaign. And I guess we should give a shout out to for hosting this.

    posted by Anon.R.mous

  24. As far as the school bond in McKinleyville, the big money came from the bond financier in Oakland - no employees in Humboldt and the bond attorney in San Francisco - no employees in Humboldt. They both made two separate contributions that totalled $16,000. They both will make a lot of money from the bond as their bills are paid from the bond money before anything would be done to the school. There were ads run in newspaper and fancy professional flyers done by out of town campaign consultant mailed to all voters in McKinleyville.

    I remember when Sara Senger ran for Supervisor against well known incumbent and she would not take more than $99 as a contribution. She only lost by 40 or 41 votes.

  25. Measure T appears to have died yesterday. Sopoci Belknap once again proclaims the courts are wrong. Thank god her common sense is alive and well otherwise we would absolutely screwed because we cannot actually make rational decisions for ourselves.

  26. YES! The TS, ER and The Journal all have it up as breaking news. Fred has a post, and I have a new post up.

    Kaitlin says the Judge ruled against the People - and fails to see the Judge rules in favor of the Law and the Constitution.

    I don't think the pro-bono lawyers are going to help her.


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