Press Release: Bowling Green Residents Tip OH Supreme Court in their Favor, Win Fight for Right to Vote

Oct 19, 2017 HB 463 – corporate state legislation to block citizen initiative – struck by Court BOWLING GREEN, OHIO:  Today, the Ohio Supreme Court affirmed the right of Bowling Green residents to vote, ordering their first-in-the-state Right to Climate charter amendment on the November ballot. The Wood County Board of Elections (BOE) approved the measure for the ballot last month. One resident challenged the decision, arguing in part that the substance of the initiative was unconstitutional and, under HB 463 should be kept off the ballot. HB 463 was adopted by the people’s legislators last December. The legislators granted BOEs broad authority to keep measures off the ballot based on content, making it difficult for residents to propose legislation that challenges unjust law. The Ohio Supreme Court would have none of it, striking HB 463 down as a violation of the separation of powers, and ordering the charter amendment on the ballot. The Court stated, “To the extent that [HB 463] authorizes and requires boards of elections to make substantive, preenactment legal evaluations, it violates the separation-of-powers doctrine and is unconstitutional.” The charter amendment emerged out of Bowling Green residents’ growing alarm when they learned of the proposed Nexus pipeline threatening their City’s water supply. Students and residents joined together to work with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) to draft their charter amendment, which asserts the community’s right to a healthy climate, and bans the pipeline as a violation of that right. Brad Holmes, a Bowling Green University student, celebrated the decision. “When the people rise up and take action to stop climate change, state actors...

Columbus Free Press:

Corporate State says DEMOCRACY is too EXPENSIVE by Tish O’Dell August 18, 2017 In several “news” articles posted over the past few weeks, oil and gas industry and their allies argue that a local Community Bill of Rights ballot initiative submitted by Youngstown voters is “too expensive” for the community. Inside Sources  (http://www.insidesources.com/activists-costing-youngstown-anti-fracking-bill-of-rights/), WKBN News (http://wkbn.com/2017/07/27/keeping-fracking-issue-on-ballot-costly-for-youngstown/) and The DailyDigger  (http://www.thedailydigger.com/) present facts and figures provided by the industry (note: Inside Sources and The Daily Digger are the industry), leaving out the full story. The Bigger Picture The oil/gas industry lobbyist quoted in the articles is Jackie Stewart. Contrary to Stewart’s claim, there have been no special elections. Each community rights measure has been either on the primary or general election ballot. Yet, she claims the initiatives account for the cost of holding regularly scheduled elections. There are approximately 40,000 registered voters in Youngstown. The only expenses that can be directly attributed to the people’s initiatives are the required advertising costs of $19,000. Over the course of six elections, that is approximately 8 cents per voter. In her analysis of the cost of democracy, Stewart neglects to mention the cost of contaminated water sources and poisoned air. Who pays for clean water supplies? For repairs from earthquakes? For illness from the leaks, spills, and venting of toxic chemicals into the air we breathe? For the loss of property values? Read...

Vindy.com: LTE: Outside money suppresses voice of people in Y’town; the time has come to act

Vindy.com: LTE: Outside money suppresses voice of people in Y’town; the time has come to act Aug 13, 2017 Residents of Youngstown concerned about our community, our water and our health have tried for years to pass a local law asserting our right to do so. I am one of those residents. Each attempt has been fiercely opposed by those who have much to gain, but little to lose because they don’t live in Youngstown. These opponents provide large amounts of money to defeat the people’s initiative. I mean a lot of cash, like 50-1 compared to what the people can raise and spend. This money and other support comes from unions, chambers of commerce and even political parties that do not want the people to have an equal voice in the election process. In a way, it is a form of voter suppression because their paid messages can be so “loud” that the people’s message is suppressed. For every glossy color mailer you get telling you to vote against the people’s proposed initiative, to the dozens of robo-calls telling voters how to vote, to the people at every polling location telling voters to oppose the people’s initiative – the opposition buys the results they want. This is why “we the people” felt it was time to level the playing field in Youngstown elections. Besides limiting how much can be donated to a local campaign, only voters of Youngstown can make contributions to campaigns. We also felt that in order to give more residents a fair chance at running for office and to allow all voters to choose who...
Ohio Community Rights Workshop in Medina County, OH

Ohio Community Rights Workshop in Medina County, OH

Ohio Community Rights Workshop in Medina County, OH October 14, 2017 what’s happening? Medina County residents are fighting the Nexus pipeline and compressor station. The fracking infrastructure projects threaten clean air and water, and community health and well-being. For the third year, the corporate state of Ohio has blocked residents from advancing a county charter ballot measure that would protect residents from fracking harms. As frustrations mount and growing numbers of residents are demanding answers, Sustainable Medina County and Medina County Together are hosting the Ohio Community Rights Workshop. In the one day workshop, we examine why we don’t have the power to stop compressor stations, pipelines, and others issues facing our communities. We look at how the corporate state overrides local democratic decision-making and forces unjust labor, environmental, and discriminating practices into our communities. And we delve into what communities are doing to elevate the rights of communities and nature over the corporate state. when? Saturday, October 14th, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. where? The Medina Library 210 S. Broadway St. Medina, OH join us! Register here:...

Ohio Community Rights Workshop in Bellbrook, OH

Ohio Community Rights Workshop in Bellbrook, OH September 23, 2017 what’s happening? Greene County Progressives and Miami Valley Progressive Caucus are hosting the Ohio Community Rights Workshop, presented by the Ohio Community Rights Network and CELDF. In the one day workshop, we examine why we don’t have the power to stop factory farms, pipelines, and others issues facing our communities. We look at how the corporate state overrides local democratic decision-making and forces unjust labor, environmental, and discriminating practices into our communities. And we delve into what communities are doing to elevate the rights of communities and nature over the corporate state. In preparation for the workshop, the groups are hosting a screening of We the People 2.0 – The Second American Revolution, on August 27th. when? Saturday, September 23, 8:45 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. where? Roaring Brook Experimental Farm 691 S Alpha Bellbrook Rd. Bellbrook, OH  45305 join us! The cost is $50. Brown bag lunch. Sign up...