The group is announcing that it will hold a public meeting at Brecksville Library from 7-8 p.m. Oct. 17 for discussion of the legislation proposed in the initiative immediately following the Ohio Supreme Court's Oct. 1 decision to deny the city of Brecksville writ of mandamus. Had the court sided with the city, it would have granted a prohibitory injunction preventing the secretary of state and the board of elections from submitting the initiative to electors at the Nov. 6 election.
"We think everyone is uneasy with campaign ads we are watching and the millions of dollars that is being spent in this election in a cycle paid for by those who are allowed to spend millions of dollars while hiding behind a Supreme Court decision called Citizens United," said Rose Petsche, co-founder of Brecksville Citizens for Transparent Politics in a news release for the Oct. 17 event.
The city of Brecksville's standing argument against the petition since it first came to light has been that the legislation violates Article II of the Constitution by proposing the city take action regarding a federal issue that is out of its jurisdiction.
Law Director David Matty filed a complaint with the court Sept. 13, which claimed "the board and its members exercised quasi-judicial power, an exercise of that power is unauthorized by law and denying the writ will resulted in injury for which there is no adequate remedy exists in the ordinary court of law."
The complaint also alleged that the Board of Elections abused its discretion by voting on a similar issue proposed for Newburgh Heights at the same time that it voted on Brecksville's protest.
Also in the complaint is a claim that the secretary of state and the Board of Elections acted in clear disregard of applicable law by denying the city's protest and submitting the initiative to go to the Nov. 6 ballot.
The city also believes the issue should be removed from the ballot because the electorate cannot force the mayor to speak in support of an issue that is contrary to the United States Constitution.
In its report outlining its decision on the city's claims, the court states, "The ordinances proposed by the initiative petition do not require actions that execute or administer laws previously in existence. Instead, they enact new laws requiring specific actions: (1) the designation of "Democracy Day," (2) the conduct of a public hearing to be held on that day to examine the impact of certain political contributions, (3) the issuance by the mayor of a letter to certain state and federal legislative leaders stating that Brecksville citizens in November 2012 voted in support of a constitutional amendment that would effectively overrule Citizens United, and (4) the recurrence of the public hearings biannually for up to ten years.
The board also ruled contrary to the city's claim that the initiative proposes legislation over what it feels amounts to a public opinion poll rather than an issue to be effected by legal action.
The court ruled that his claim lacks merit because the proposed ordinances exceed the scope of any public opinion poll and do indeed require action.
Mayor Jerry Hruby said he will not pursue further legal action on this issue but fears that this could set a dangerous precedent that could be taken advantage of by any special interest group wanting to pass similar legislation.
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