PUBLIC HEARING “DEMOCRACY DAY” WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2021
Mayor Fiala called to order the Special Meeting of Kent City Council for purposes of a Public Hearing for “Democracy Day” at 6:00 p.m. A quorum was present.
Mr. Jack Amrhein; Mr. Michael DeLeone; Mr. Garrett Ferrara; Mr. John Kuhar; Ms. Gwen Rosenberg; Ms. Heidi Shaffer Bish; Mr. Roger Sidoti; and Mr. Robin Turner.
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; Mr. Jim Bowling, City Engineer; Ms. Rhonda Hall, Budget and Finance Director; Ms. Melanie Baker, Service Administration Director; Mr. Gary Bishop, IT Manager; Ms. Joan Seidel, Health Commissioner; and Ms. Amy Wilkens, Clerk of Council.
Ms. Tracy Wallach
Mayor Fiala welcomed everyone and read portions of the Charter as outlined below:
In accordance with the Kent City Charter Article XII, Section 12.05 titled “DEMOCRACY DAY PUBLIC HEARING/POLITICAL INFLUENCE”:
“Beginning in 2016, City Council shall designate one day a “Democracy Day” during the first week of October each year in which a local, state, or national election is held in Kent. On this day, the Mayor and City Council shall sponsor a Public Hearing in a public space within the City. The public hearing shall be held during the evening or weekend time. The City will publicize the public hearing on its website and in area media at least one month in advance. The Public Hearing shall examine the impact on our City, our state and our nation of political influence resulting from campaign contributions by corporate entities. Corporate entities include business corporations, Political Action Committees, PACS, Super PACs, 501(c)(4) groups and unions. Members of the general public in attendance shall be afforded the opportunity to speak on these matters for up to five minutes per person. The City shall record the minutes of the hearing and make them available to the public no later than November 1 of each year in which it is held by posting them on the City’s website.
Within one (1) week following the annual Public Hearing, the Clerk of City Council shall send a letter to every elected state-level representative of the citizens of the City, to the leaders of the Ohio House and Senate, to our U.S. Congressional Representative(s), and to both U.S. Senators from Ohio. The letter shall include a brief summary of the Public Hearing and will state that the citizens of Kent in November 2015 voted in support of a Citizens’ Initiative calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution declaring the following principles:
- 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.
The annual Public Hearings will no longer be required if and when a Constitutional Amendment reflecting the principles set forth in Section 02 is ratified by three-quarters (3/4) of the state legislatures.”
Mayor Fiala then referred to Clerk Wilkens to read each name, in turn, of the Visitors who signed-in. There were eight (8) visitors who wished to speak.
Mr. Bill Wilen of 867 Stonewater Dr., Kent read from a prepared statement. (See Attachment #1)
Ms. Deborah Barber of 7531 Diagonal Rd., Kent read from a prepared statement. (See Attachment #2)
Mr. Greg Coleridge of 3016 Somerton Rd., Cleveland Heights, read from a prepared statement. (See Attachment #3)
Shawn Schreckengost of 250 River St. Apt. A16, and Alex DiDonato of 330 Lincoln Ave., Cuyahoga Falls, read from a prepared statement (See Attachment #4)
Mr. Andrew Rome of 2063 Conwill Rd., Stow, read from a prepared statement (See Attachment #6).
Mr. Lee Brooker of 814 Hudson Rd., Kent, read from a prepared statement and did not submit his comment to Clerk Wilkens.
Mayor Fiala thanked everyone for coming. Meeting adjourned at 6:18 p.m.
Amy Wilkens Clerk of Council
Jerry T. Fiala
Mayor and President of Council
THE CITY OF KENT, OHIO SPECIAL COUNCIL MEETING for
“DEMOCRACY DAY” PUBLIC HEARING THURSDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2021Read more
Letter to the Editor
October 1, 2021
The city of Kent will be holding Democracy Day next week, on Oct. 6. I imagine your first impression of the Democracy Day label is that it may be a holiday to celebrate our form of government because of what the United States has achieved. No! It is not a day of celebration but a day of mourning.
This public hearing before City Council will be about how corporations have abused democracy and taken control of our political and financial lives in the name of capitalism, renamed corporatism. Why? Because corporations control democracy. They are the winners and we are the losers. Capitalism is about making “big and dark money” that is accumulated by the plutocrats at the top and not shared with “we the people.” For more background, read New Yorker journalist Jane Mayer’s books and articles.
Democracy Day is an invitation to listen to how our corporations have acquired personhood and how their money has been ruled a form of speech. If “we the people” don’t act, the next presidential election could further erode our democracy toward an autocracy. For more information on the event, Google “Kent Democracy Day”.