Mendocino County had two local measures on the ballot in this year’s general election, and last week voters approved them both by a landslide.
Measure F, part of Move to Amend’s national campaign to overturn Citizen’s United, was called the Advisory Measure to End Corporate Rule and Defend Democracy. It passed with a 46-point margin 73% to 26% calling on the federal government to enact a constitutional amendment challenging the political power of corporate money in our elections.
The key word in Measure F’s title is Advisory. Passing Measure F sends an unambiguous signal to the rest of the nation about where Mendocino County voters stand on the issue of corporate personhood but due to the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution, federal issues cannot be legislated on a local level. In and of itself, the passage of Measure F does not change federal law.
Like Arcata’s "Corporations are not People," measure, however, it does enable activists around the nation to point to Mendocino County as one part of a nationwide movement to pressure politicians into effecting change.
"It’s a tactic in the long-term strategy to educate the public, and let people speak through the ballot," said Margaret Koster of Move to Amend Mendocino, "to let the elected representatives know that the people are behind this."
Measure G also passed by an unusually wide margin. It required a two-thirds majority to pass, but more than 78% of Mendocino County voters approved the renewal of the Abandoned Vehicle Abatement Program, which removes abandoned or wrecked vehicles on public and private property. Measure G adds a $1 fee to every vehicle registered in Mendocino County, with some commercial vehicles paying $3.
This was not a new fee but funding for the Abandoned Vehicle Abatement Program has to be renewed every ten years. According to the Ukiah Daily Journal, the program raises roughly $90,000 per year, and has cleared more than 11,000 vehicles off the roadway over the past ten years.
"I’m gratified that the voters passed Measure G. It doesn’t increase taxes," said Supervisor John McCowen. "It simply continues a $1 vehicle registration fee to cleanup abandoned vehicles from our roadways and private properties throughout Mendocino County. It’s small price to pay to preserve the beauty of our environment."
Mendocino County’s Abandoned Vehicle Abatement Program has been in place since 1992.