Yesterday, in Arcata, CA, 81.5% of voters approved enacting Measure H, a ballot initiative ordinance which states that in Arcata, to the full extent legally possible, corporations shall not have the rights of people.
Measure H was initiated in the belief that “we the people” must reduce the corporate influence which is subverting our democracy. As a result of the U.S Supreme Court’s misguided Citizens United decision, super PACs have spent billions of dollars this election, nationwide, to support candidates who will further the economic interests of their corporate sponsors.
The ordinance approved by voters yesterday is specifically worded so as to avoid the threat of a costly legal challenge, while declaring that only “living, breathing human beings” are entitled to Constitutional rights granted to “persons” or “the people.”
This measure is complementary to similar national efforts of “Move to Amend,” and includes a call for a constitutional amendment stating that corporations are not people, and money is not speech. It also stands with successful statewide initiatives passed yesterday in Montana and Colorado.
According to Measure H sponsor Dave Meserve, “Our local ordinance is among the first of its kind in the nation, and having been overwhelmingly approved by Arcata voters, can encourage other cities and counties to enact similar measures. It is a baby step forward in the process of education and political organizing on the issue of corporate personhood, but it is a step that we were able to actually accomplish, here in Arcata. We are hopeful that it will help to fuel the national movement to reclaim our democracy.”
Text of Ballot Initiative Ordinance – Measure H on the Nov. 6, 2012 Arcata Ballot
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.