With regard to the Patch.com editorial comment that Brecksville Ballot Issue #25 calling for a constitutional amendment that states: 1) Corporations are not people and 2) money does not equal speech and therefore can be regulated for political purposes was “won by a narrow margin”. I have to dispute that in light of the following facts: 1) Brecksville city council fought this initiative appearing on the ballot all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court. They allocated the use of unlimited, taxpayer funds to fight this measure. Our last count was that it cost Brecksville taxpayers at a minimum of $8,000 but in all probability the amount is much higher 2) a local group that sprung up to fight this measure sent out a professional mailing to all registered voters in Brecksville at a projected cost of at least $4,000 3) the local Sun Star-Courier, on the editorial page, recommended a "no" vote on this issue & finally our state representatives were against this measure. On the other hand, Brecksville Citizens for Transparent Politics had about $135, people power and a powerful message. So, in light of all the forces allied against our measure, the citizens of Brecksville, Oh voted to affirm ballot issue #25.
With that said, Mayor Hruby has been very inclusive in allowing our group to participate in the planning of our first Democracy Day/Town Hall meeting. It's our hope that we can engage the high school & middle school students in learning how the citizen initiative process works and helping them to understand their pivotal role in the functioning of a healthy democracy.
As an aside, it’s important to note that all rights obtained by human beings have been obtained through amendments to the constitution. All rights obtained by corporations, which were not granted by state legislatures, have been obtained by judicial decisions. The most damaging of all was the 2010 Citizens United v FEC decision that swept away regulations passed by a bi-partisan congress in 2002. “The majority ruling unleashes a new wave of campaign cash and adds to the already considerable power of corporations” (David Kelly 1/22/2010 slate.com).
The final cost to the 2012 campaign has been tabulated: $7 Billion. Approx 37 corporations and wealthy donors comprised the bulk of that money. I ask you, how can a democracy survive under such an onslaught? How can any of our individual voices compete with the “funders” of our political campaigns? Is it any wonder that people are apathetic? Is it any wonder that our legislative bodies have been “captured” by the moneyed interests?
The people of Brecksville, Oh, have recognized that we have a deep problem with our democracy. The upcoming Democracy Day/Town Hall Meeting is an effort to educate, inform and discuss this issue.
FACT: Wherever this issue has been placed before the voters it has won.