Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Redwood ACLU Thanks Humboldt County Supervisors For Conceding Unconstitutionality Of Measure T

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

For Immediate Release

Redwood ACLU Thanks Humboldt County Supervisors
For Conceding Unconstitutionality Of Measure T

At the regular monthly meeting of the Board of Directors of the Redwood Chapter, American Civil Liberties Union, local civil rights leaders thanked the entire Humboldt County Board of Supervisors for voting to settle the lawsuit against Measure T, admitting its unconstitutionality on the grounds of First Amendment protections for free speech and Fourteenth Amendment grounds of equal protection.

“The ACLU has constantly attempted to extend all constitutional safeguards to all persons,” said Redwood ACLU vice chair Greg Allen. “Measure T on its face sought to limit speech and was clearly an attempt to limit constitutional rights to some persons. We’re glad that the Board of Supervisors realized that Measure T litigation was un-winnable and expensive and we’re pleased that the Board responsibly decided to cut huge losses to the county at a relatively early stage of the proceedings.”

Allen went on to defend the duty of Supervisors to face reality in terms of what a protracted set of appeals would cost local taxpayers.

“With any organization of any kind, be it public or private, there is a requirement that the board exercise ordinary prudence in all transactions, and it’s apparent that the Board of Supervisors has made a decision on the advice of counsel,” he said. “It is further clear that counsel in this litigation did not believe the county could prevail. Congratulations to the Board of Supervisors for being prudent and responsible.”

Allen represented the Redwood ACLU at a Town Hall Meeting held by Eureka Councilmember Jeff Leonard at the Wharfinger Building last week, where election reforms which could survive constitutional muster were considered. Local civil rights leaders are planning an election reform forum just after the new year where a diverse panel of local activists, attorneys and government officials will discuss various means of improving local elections, including but not limited to campaign contribution caps, instant run-off voting and the reform of district elections for local offices.

“We’re not only interested in opposing ill-fated campaign finance measures, but in fostering healthy and open dialogue on what kind of reforms can actually work and can actually bring together our community instead of dividing it,” Redwood ACLU chair Christina Allbright said. “We look forward to building bridges and moving past the failed legacy of Measure T towards lasting reforms which enhance voter rights instead of taking them away.”

For more information, call the ACLU Hotline at 707-442-4419 or visit redwoodaclu.blogspot.com.

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