August 21, 2010
Ami Marcus, 530-918-9444
Molly Brown: 530-926-0986
Shannon Biggs, Global Exchange, 415-298-9419

On Friday, August 20, the Mt. Shasta Community Rights Project filed an elections complaint to restore Measure A to the 2010 general election ballot. Siskiyou County Clerk Colleen Setzer is denying Mt. Shasta voters the right to vote on “Measure A”, which was stripped from the city’s ballot earlier this week.The Measure, which would prohibit outside corporations from bulk water extraction and corporate cloud seeding, is the first ordinance of its kind in California because it is designed to assert the rights of residents over the rights of corporations.

Through California’s Initiative Process, citizens have the right to place matters on the ballot. Proponents in Mt. Shasta gathered the necessary number of voters’ signatures, and they worked closely with County Clerk Setzer throughout the process of filing to ensure that the initiative (Measure A) was successfully placed on the November ballot.

But in a surprise move, Setzer threw Measure A off the ballot earlier this week, claiming it had been filed in the wrong office and also citing a one sentence difference between the initiative filed with the City and the version petitioners signed.

However, the previous week the City Council had already voted unanimously to leave Measure A on the ballot, because the error did not change the meaning and intent of the initiative.

“Citizens are being denied their fundamental and constitutional right to make laws and vote,” said Shannon Biggs, California Community Rights Director for the advocacy group, Global Exchange. “Even more fundamentally, this Ordinance is about who decides—residents or corporations?”

“Our community deserves to know the facts,” states Jennifer Mathews, of the Community Rights Project. “We filed an elections complaint because our only other option was to allow citizens’ efforts to be undermined. Instead, we are choosing to stand up for residents’ right to vote on issues affecting the place that we live.”

Proponents dispute the charge of incorrectly filing with the City Clerk. They argue that the city is the correct jurisdiction for filing a municipal initiative. “We have followed correct procedure as instructed by the City and County Clerks,” said Molly Brown, the official proponent for Measure A. “The City of Mount Shasta accepted our initial filing, petitions were verified and the City Council voted unanimously to place it on the November 2 ballot.”

The elections complaint contends that Siskiyou County Clerk Setzer acted improperly and illegally in taking Measure A off the ballot. “This issue goes straight to the heart of our right to direct democracy through the initiative process,” states Ami Marcus, also of the Community Rights Project. “Setzer lacks the authority to make this decision. We want Measure A back on the November ballot.”