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“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.

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City fulfilled Democracy Day obligations in 2021, law director says


April 19, 2023

by Melissa Martin

March 7 city council meeting

Brecksville City Council and the city’s legal department said there will not be a city-sponsored Democracy Day in 2023, even though the ballot issue, approved by voters in 2012, specified a 10-year term.

The determination was made March 7 after city resident Bob Belovich questioned council and the administration about city ordinance 129.03. The ordinance stipulates the “biennial public hearings will continue for a period of 10 years through February 2023, or until a constitutional amendment reflecting the principles set forth in section 129.02 is ratified by three quarters of the state legislators.”

Democracy Day is a biannual public hearing before city council and the mayor. It examines the impact of political contributions of corporations, unions, PACS and super-PACS on the city.

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Letter to the Editor: Move to Amend Miami County Shares Responses

To the editor:

People are increasingly concerned about big money in politics and the influence large corporations have on policies that affect us at the local level, such as rail transportation safety and toxic substance disposal.

In advance of the March 19 primary, members of Move to Amend Miami County surveyed candidates on the ballot for Congressional Districts 8 and 15 and Ohio House District 80. We asked candidates to answer “yes” or “no” to this question: “I support amending the U.S. Constitution to make clear that corporations and other artificial entities do not have constitutional rights and that money is not speech and campaign spending should be limited through regulation.”

Here are the responses:

• Congressional District 8, Republican race: Kay Rogers answered “yes.” Incumbent Warren Davidson did not respond.

• Congressional District 8, Democratic race: Dr. Vanessa Enoch and Nathaniel Hawkins both answered “yes.” David Gelb did not respond.

• Congressional District 15, Republican race: Incumbent Mike Carey, running unopposed, did not respond.

• Congressional District 15, Democratic race: Zerqa Abid answered “yes.” Adam Miller did not respond.

• Ohio House 80: Johnathan Newman, running unopposed for the Republican nomination, did not respond. Melissa VanDyke, running unopposed for the Democratic nomination, answered “yes.”

The candidates’ full responses can be found at www.movetoamend.org/pledge2024

Move to Amend Miami County is an affiliate of the national, nonprofit, nonpartisan coalition of people and organizations promoting the proposed We the People Amendment, reintroduced last spring in the 118thCongress, to affirm that constitutional rights belong to natural persons only and money spent on campaigns at all levels of government shall be regulated. You can read the proposed amendment at www.movetoamend.org/amendment.

Move to Amend neither supports nor opposes candidates, regardless of their response or nonresponse to the survey. Rather, volunteers work to educate the public about the need for the proposed amendment and explain what the amendment will and will not do.

Thank you.

Dede Wissman


Greater Dayton Move to Amend Honors Young Artist

Corinne Simpson, a 10th grader at Archbishop Alter High School in Kettering, was honored March 9, 2024 for her entry in the We the People Art Contest, presented by Greater Dayton Move to Amend in partnership with the Dayton International Peace Museum.

Titled “We All Deserve to Be Heard,” Corinne’s submission captured the spirit of the contest theme, “The Democracy We Want,” and was beautifully executed using pen, alcohol markers and acrylic paint. She had entered the contest at the encouragement of her AP Government teacher, Brad Clough, who said Corinne routinely produces creative covers for assignments.

Corinne said she enjoys class discussions about different forms of government and hearing different perspectives on what needs to change in society. As she thought about entering the contest, she considered what could be improved in our democracy.

“Some people think they don’t have a voice in what’s going on,” she said. “I wanted to put that as the title because I don’t think everyone is getting heard.”   

The art contest was open to Dayton-area students in grades 9-12, with cash prizes to be awarded in three categories: visual arts, performing arts, and political cartoons. Corinne’s artwork, however, was the only submission.

“We were disappointed to find that our outreach to the schools fell short,” said Mary Sue Gmeiner, affiliate co-coordinator. “Fortunately, her entry is awesome, and so we are awarding her all of the prize money in the visual arts category and having her artwork framed.”

Two local artists also provided written critiques of Corinne’s artwork, which will be on display at the Peace Museum through April 6.

Although Corinne was unable to work art into her busy schedule this year, she intends to be back in the art room with art teacher Eric Hall, who, along with Clough, attended the reception held at the Peace Museum.

Corinne is the daughter of Tania and Roderick Simpson of Miami Township. In addition to enjoying art, she runs track and cross country. She also plays the violin and is a member of the Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra Youth Strings.

“Corinne, while our contest turned out not to be a contest, we consider you a winner,” said Deb Hogshead, contest coordinator. “And we want to remind everyone that change often begins with one person stepping up and taking action.”

For more information about our pilot art contest and what we learned from the experience, contact Hogshead at [email protected].

Letters: Money is not free speech and a corporation is not a person

Akron Beacon Journal | Jan 28, 2024

Jan. 21 marked the 14th anniversary of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. The ruling increased the amount of money spent in political elections from the very rich and corporate entities, drowning out the voices of people to be heard by elected representatives who didn’t politically contribute. 

Many, if not most, people believe Citizens United was the first time the court ruled that “money equals free speech,” as well as the constitutional right of corporate entities to donate politically. It wasn’t. 

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‘We the People’ Amendment needed

Miami Valley Today, January 20, 2024

To the editor:

January 21 is a good day to reflect on the state of our democracy. Why? Because it’s the 14th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

The court’s 5-4 decision upheld two misguided notions: The first, that a corporation has inherent, inalienable constitutional rights same as you and me. The second, that money spent on political campaigns is protected speech.

These interpretations of the U.S. Constitution thwart democracy in two ways: First, something created on paper through a state charter often has more power than flesh-and-blood people (think companies given the right to dump fracking wastewater in communities where residents object). Second, those with the most money have greater access to lawmakers and influence over laws and policies that affect our wallets, let alone our health (think Akron-based FirstEnergy Corporation, the company behind the largest public corruption scandal in Ohio history).

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The 2024 election money train is on the move.

Dayton Daily News | Jan 20, 2024

The 2024 election money train is on the move. I receive emails every day asking for money from candidates near and far. How about you? Of course the dollars that you and I send in are only a small portion of the money being contributed to candidates. Of greater concern is the money given by corporations, trade associations, political action committees, unions—all attempting to have influence over their chosen candidates.

Jan. 21 is the 14th anniversary of Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, the Supreme Court ruling that is widely recognized as ushering in all this money. After Citizens United, we saw the creation of SuperPACs and “dark money”— donations that are made in secret— making it almost impossible to follow the money.

History tells us that this problem started long before Citizens United. In 1886, the Supreme Court gave standing to the Southern Pacific Railroad Company under the 14th Amendment. Later decisions added the 4th Amendment, the Commerce Clause, the 1st Amendment and more. Political spending became a form of free speech in 1976, thus protecting corporate entities from spending restrictions.

Move to Amend is an organization dedicated to ending corporate constitutional rights and money as a protected form of speech. We have legislation in the U.S. House to amend the Constitution, the We the People Amendment, HJR 54. Ask your representative to co-sponsor. Learn more about our efforts and sign our petition at movetoamend.org/motion.

- Mary Sue Gmeiner, Dayton


Overturning Citizens United won’t be enough to restore citizens’ political voice

Cleveland.com | Published: Jan. 10, 2024

The Jan. 21, 2010, “Citizens United” Supreme Court decision has reduced democracy in our country. Federal election spending was $14.4 billion in 2020, up from nearly $5.3 billion in 2008, according to Open Secrets. The flood of spending by the super-rich and corporate entities has drowned the political voices of most people.

It’s a mistake, however, to believe that the following originated with Citizens United:

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A proposal to restore power to the American people

Chronicle Telegram: Elyria and Lorain County Ohio

January 13, 2024

The anniversary of the Citizens United vs. FEC decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is coming up on Jan. 21. It will be 14 years since that damaging ruling was made.

Citizens United is simply the latest in a long line of anti-democratic Supreme Court decisions that have empowered the super rich and corporations to trump the ability of we the people to make decisions protecting our lives, communities and the natural world. What’s needed is not simply a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizen United, but rather the proposed We the People Amendment that  would abolish the bizarre constitutional doctrines of “money equals speech” and “a corporation is a person.”

We need to put the people back in we the people. The We the People Amendment (House Joint Resolution 54) has been introduced in Congress. Please encourage U.S Rep. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green, or your representative to co-sponsor it.

Kathleen Hazelton


Kent Democracy Day Public Hearing

City of Kent
Wednesday October 4, 2023
City Council Committee Meetings
320 S. Depeyster Street, Kent, OH 44240



Democracy Day Public Hearing
At 6:00 p.m. Mayor Fiala called the Democracy Day Public Hearing to order.

Present: Mr. Jack Amrhein, Mr. Michael DeLeone, Mr. John Kuhar, Ms. Gwen
Rosenberg, Ms. Heidi Shaffer Bish (6:16 p.m.),Mr. Roger Sidoti, Mr. Robin

Also Present: Mr. Jerry T. Fiala, Mayor, and President of Council; Mr. Dave Ruller, City
Manager; Ms. Hope Jones, Law Director; Ms. Bridget Susel, Community
Development Director; Ms. Melanie Baker, Service Director; Mr. Jim Bowling,
City Engineer; Ms. Joan Seidel, Health Commissioner; Ms. Rhonda Hall,
Budget and Finance Director; Mr. Nick Shearer, Chief of Police; Ms. Suzanne
Stemnock, Director of Human Resources; Ms. Amy Wilkens, Clerk of

Absent: Mr. Garret Ferrara, Ms. Tracy Wallach

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