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...

Sentinel Tribune – Bowling Green, Ohio

Relying on EPA not enough in Nexus fight; local law must be changed Wednesday, August 9, 2017 To the Editor: I’m writing in response to the Aug. 8 article about the mayor’s communications with Ohio EPA. We cannot afford to rely on an oil and gas captured agency like Ohio EPA to save our water from Nexus pipeline. They have set an enticing trap that would waylay us from taking real measures, like changing local law by passing the BG Charter Amendment, to stop Nexus. If we fall for their bait, then the joke will be on us and it will be too late to do anything else to stop the harm. Certainly Ohio EPA won’t come right out in a letter and tell the mayor of Bowling Green that they can’t help city residents or BGSU faculty, staff, students, and parents because that would make them look very bad indeed. In fact it would blow their cover as protectors of our environment. Just imagine what would happen if people started noticing that OEPA is protecting the interests of oil and gas from regular people like us who just want safe water to drink. Read...

Athens New LTE By Dick McGinn, Athens County Bill of Rights Committee, Jul 26, 2017

Editor Smith’s critique of proposed charter is seriously flawed “…There are three serious flaws in this paragraph alone. First, Smith begs the question of who wants a charter form of government while forgetting that it can only be answered at the ballot box. Second, he implies that the people of Athens County are better off if decisions affecting their health and the quality of their environment are made in Columbus, by politicians, most of whom don’t live here and very likely don’t care about what happens….Read...