“Democracy Day” Public Hearing held in Toledo

Democracy Day 2024 in Toledo was held Wednesday March 20 in the Council Chambers, One Government Center. Forty-four people were in the audience. 

Last year there were 4 council members present, this year 7 members attended. There were 19 presenters including music and messages from labor, health care, climate, redistricting to correct for gerrymandering, constitutional conventions, highway expansion through a community and Gaza crisis.

The asks were for the audience to sign the MTA “Motion to Amend” petition and council members to take the MTA “Pledge to Amend.”

A dozen new petition signatures from attendees and three more Pledges from council members were collected.

Twenty education department students from the University of Toledo attended as part of their class.

Dennis Slotnick and Tony Szilagye were the main organizers.

“Democracy Day” is a mandated city-sponsored annual public meeting inviting anyone to speak specifically on the impact of big money in elections and corporate rule in their lives, community and nation and/or more generally on the issue of democracy. 

The public hearing was a provision of a citizen-driven ballot initiative passed by Toledo voters by 64% in 2016 calling on the U.S. Congress to pass an amendment to the U.S. Constitution declaring that “Only human beings, not corporations, are legal persons with Constitutional rights,” and “Money is not equivalent to speech, and therefore regulating political contributions and spending does not equate to limiting political speech.” 

Toledo is one of 12 Ohio communities that hold annual or biennial “Democracy Day” public hearings.

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