Six public hearings will take place over the next two months across Northern Ohio on the threat to democracy posed by corporate rule and money in elections. The hearings are mandated by municipal ordinances passed by citizens over the last three years.
Each passed ballot measure also called on Congress to pass an amendment to the U.S. Constitution declaring that only human beings, not corporate entities, possess constitutional rights and that money is not equivalent to free speech, and thus, can be regulated. Hundreds of communities across the U.S. have passed similar ballot measures or city council resolutions. This growing effort has been facilitated by the Move to Amend national grassroots coalition.
The first scheduled hearing on January 22 in Cleveland Heights coincides with the 5th anniversary of the Citizens United v FEC Supreme Court decision of January 21, 2010, which sparked the creation of the Move to Amend movement.
Several of the enacted ordinances designate the day for the public hearings in their communities as "Democracy Day." The purpose of each event is to encourage citizens to attend the hearing to listen and/or testify on the negative impact of big money in elections and influence of corporate entities on the voices of ordinary citizens to be heard politically and ability to influence public policies. Intentional efforts in several communities are also underway to involve students to reflect on the issue of "democracy" and to participate in the process.
The communities planning democracy public hearings -- with logistical details, contacts, and ballot results -- are:
Thursday, January 22, 6:00 pm
City Hall Council Chambers, 40 Severance Circle
Contact: Sally Hanley, yrpalsal [at] copper.net, 216-371-1871
Ballot measure passed in 2013 with 78% in support
Wednesday, February 11, 7:00 pm
Mentor City Hall Council Chambers. 8500 Civic Center Blvd
Contact: Dave Lima, dlima [at] sbcglobal.net, 440-220-0204
Ballot measure passed in 2014 with 70% in support
Thursday, February 12, 6:30 pm
Defiance City Hall. 631 Perry Street
Contact: Dolores Whitman, whitmandb [at] williams-net.com, 419 633 9031
Ballot measure passed in 2013 with 67% in support
Tuesday, February 17th, 6:00 PM
Village Hall Council Chambers, 4000 Washington Park Blvd.
Contact: Mayor Trevor Elkins, t.elkins [at] newburghhtsoh.gov, 216-225-1037
Ballot measure passed in 2012 with 73% in support
Monday, February 23, 6:30 pm
Brecksville Human Service Center, 2 Community Drive
Contact: Rose Petsche, rrpets [at] sbcglobal.net, 216-409-9642
Ballot measure passed in 2012 with 52% in support
TBA for March
Contact: Becky Thomas, robrebthomas [at] sbcglobal.net, 440-247-6878
Ballot measure passed in 2014 with 66% in support
Citizens in several other communities are currently organizing to pass similar ballot measures this year or in 2016 -- including Toledo, Cleveland, Stow, Tallmadge, Berea, South Euclid, Shaker Heights, Newark, Parma, and Lyndhurst.