There’s a lot of people talking these days about Measure P, the Eureka ballot measure that would fragment the City into distinct wards for the purpose of ensuring that only those living within the confines of said district can vote for the City Council member who will represent them.
Earlier this morning, we were on the fence about the whole thing. THC’s brain trust argued back and forth, saying things like “Who gives a shit? The liberals already have a majority, what’s this going to accomplish?” and (predictably) “it’s pointless and costs money!” to “No the last Mike’s Hard in the fridge is mine!”
But that was until we started reading some of the letters to the editor submitted by folks on both sides of the equation, some in favor of Measure P and some against. (We did notice there was a lot more in favor of – seems like the Measure P folks are good at organizing.)
One of our favorite letters to the editor of the Times Standard – and the one that ultimately made up our minds – was a letter submitted by Pam Service, of Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee fame. In the great Measure P debate, she starts off by dissing on Tom Hannah for being an out-of-date old curmudgeon who’s politics are way out of touch with the times.
That’s actually why we started reading, because Tom Hannah is a tool and we love us some mud-slingin’. But then we got to this sentence from Pam’s passionate anti-City wide election argument: “True Ward would take big money out of elections.”
And we thought to ourselves, hold the gosh darned phone.
What about the damn money laundering scheme the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee ran in a major election to funnel a shit ton of money to critical races in California? You know, that whole thing where majorly wealthy interests from around the state funnel money into the HCDCC coffers, which in turn donates it to hotly contested political races in California. Yeah, so, that part about “big money”…
Don’t take it from us, either, because we don’t know how the shady inner mind of the HCDCC beast works. Take it from Liberal Jon aka Jon Yalcinkaya, former HCDCC Treasurer and City Council almost-ran. He’s written about how sickened he felt by the dishonest tactic:
Hell, he even compares HCDCC’s political donations to the donations made by boogeyman and “feudal overlord” Rob Arkley in this piece:
Here’s one of our favorite excerpts from the first article:
“A 497 is the report the $25,000 we received on 1/6/16 would have been reported on if received 1/7/16. The HCDCC has received this money and it is theirs to keep and spend as it likes (in theory). Turns out, each year we receive this money we also happen to feel very generous and spend money in the most competitive statewide races. In the end, we generally don’t spend approximately 7% of what we received in these donations.
That’s from my experience. I’ve never been privy to these conversations even as Treasurer for the last year plus so I don’t know how the decisions are made expect that they include members of the Executive Committee without the Treasurer.”
So the HCDCC is not only funneling money to out of area elections, but there not even including their Treasurer in talks about major cash transfers? Jon Boy has, to his credit, since stepped down (at least last we checked) – but there’s no doubt that the HCDCC has not stopped their money laundering.
Heck, here’s an article by Liberal Jon that details some of their past donations: The Stories 460s Tell: HCDCC Edition
Or if you don’t want to read at his site, go to the Secretary of State website (conveniently linked below) and see for yourself. (THC has queued up the pertinent info so you don’t have to!). This is for contributions of over $5,000 just for this year:
That’s a lot of cheddar! We’d have pulled it all out into an image for you, but the list is too damn long.
So, all of this is to say that people like Pam Service – and Gregory Conners, another HCDCC alum who writes in favor of Measure P – aren’t pushing for a True Ward system because it’s more democratic. They aren’t doing it to get big money out of elections (because, as you read above, they are big money in politics.)
They are doing it to gain a political advantage. And that’s all well and good. Just don’t buy the dog and pony show they’re trying to sell you on how they’re doing it for the good of the people of Eureka.
As a point of contention, one could also argue that not allowing the entire city to vote for the Council members that represent them is in fact less democratic than a True Ward system, but that’s none of our business.
On the merit of Measure P and the motivations behind it, we even saw this cool article (thanks to a comment left on a post at Fred’s Humboldt Blog) which expands further on the notion that ward redistricting isn’t at all aimed at creating a more democratic election process. Admittedly, the piece trends a little closer to the conspiracy theory kind of things, but food for thought nonetheless. (Might we remind you that HCDCC and their supporters have brushed off claims that they are laundering money as “conspiracy” too.) Check it:
We particularly liked the simile that compared what a True Ward City of Eureka would look like with a broken pane of glass. Sorry, guys, we’re just not that literar-ary.
THC, personally, hopes that you vote according to your heart’s desire when it comes to Measure P. We also hope that you ask yourself whether you want to have a say on who the entire City Council, or whether you want only one chance every 4 years to effect a change given the chance a Council isn’t representing you the way that you ought to be.
THC thinks that more chances to vote and have a say in your City’s future is better – turns out that the Measure P folks definitely don’t.