Corps ≠ Peeps Initiative Filed – February 10, 2012

Friday, February 10, 2012

Kevin L. Hoover

Eye Editor

ARCATA – Activist and former City Councilmember Dave Meserve is spearheading a new grassroots effort to eliminate from the law the idea that business corporations enjoy the same rights as human beings.

On Jan. 31, Meserve turned his proposed ballot initiative in at City Hall. A Ballot Title and Summary is expected from City Attorney Nancy Diamond by Feb. 16, with a published legal notice to follow.

Dave Meserve

To get on the Nov. 6 Arcata ballot, Meserve will have to gather 1,066 signatures from registered Arcata voters, or 10 percent of the total number of Arcatans registered. The signatures must be turned in by April 30 at 5 p.m.

The measure will be formally announced at a press conference, and Meserve said he expects to start gathering signatures by Feb. 23 or 24.

“Wording of the measure balances our concerns about its effectiveness, its vulnerability to challenge and the need to avoid costs for the City,” Meserve said. “Nationwide, this is certainly one of the most pressing issues facing us. Our democracy has been seized from the people, and it is under the control of corporations that are claiming the rights of natural persons. Using the Citizens United ruling, corporations can now spend unlimited amounts of money to get legislators elected who are committed to furthering the corporate agenda.”

Meserve said the Arcata ordinance is consistent with a nationwide uprising against corporations which are now pouring undocumented millions into political campaigns, thanks to the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” ruling.

“Many towns across the country are passing resolutions calling for a Constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United,” Meserve said. “This ordinance is a part of that grassroots effort. We are asking the voters of Arcata to declare in the strongest language possible that, in our town, corporations are not people and money is not speech, and we are also supporting a Constitutional amendment to that effect.”

Those interested in gathering signatures or in helping with the ballot initiative campaign may contact Meserve at (707)  834-3612 or

A website for the campaign is under construction, but active: A Facebook page is also available by entering “Corps ain’t peeps” in the search window.

Text of Proposed Ballot Initiative Ordinance


We the people of Arcata hold these truths to be self evident:
Corporations are not people.
Money is not speech.

We support amending the U.S. Constitution to establish that:
1. Corporations are not natural persons, and the rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only.
2. Money is not speech, and the spending of money to influence elections is not protected speech.

The people of the City of Arcata Ordain as follows:

To the full extent legally possible under federal and state law, and with the long term goal of changing any federal or state laws that may oppose this ordinance,

Within the City of Arcata, CA, corporations shall not have the rights of “Persons” or “The People,” as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment. Only living, breathing human beings shall have such rights.

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