Please vote Yes for the Charter Amendment (CA). This amendment will return some of the home rule rights that Ohio elected officials have systematically stripped away from us over the years. Actually, the CA has already done that, as the Ohio Supreme Court decision on October 13, 2017 affirmed, “…Boards of Election do NOT have the authority to sit as arbiters of the legality or constitutionality of a ballot measure’s substantive terms.”
This strikes down the last minute addition to HB463, passed in December 2016, that gave the power to B’sOE to strike down ballot issues. Ballot issues that have followed Ohio law and have thousands of signatures of citizens; a right Ohio citizens have enjoyed for over a century without fear of scrutiny and interference.
Pipelines are being built in our area now, and more are to come, with the recent federal legislation allowing fossil fuels to be exported for sale to other countries. There are other threats, too. Back in 2013 I spoke with a family living on the south end of town that was contacted about selling their mineral rights. How would you like having gas wells in town? With pipelines nearby this scenario looks increasingly likely.
Our city council has not acted on behalf of citizens, but they and others are spreading far-fetched scenarios of hypothetical situations that won’t happen. There will not be mass anarchy and mayhem in the streets. According to the CA, citizens can peacefully enforce their rights IF the city does not. Of course the city will follow the law. I received in the mail a recycled version of a pamphlet that was used against the CA in 2013, which also spread essentially “made up” scenarios that had no basis in fact. This pamphlet stated that the CA would “prohibit the infrastructure for fossil fuel transportation within the City of BG.” This is a lie by omission. The critical part omitted: “…EXCEPT for infrastructure to transport fossil fuels to end-users with Wood County.” If the opposition has to take ballot language out of context in order to turn people against the CA, then I question the strength of all of their arguments.
Last year the city of Waterville passed a similar Citizens’ Bill of Rights and there has not been mass anarchy and mayhem in the streets. In fact, what did happen, was the Waterville City Council told Nexus/Endbridge they were not allowed, per their Charter, to use city roads for pipeline construction, which would make it impossible for the pipeline to be built on its proposed path through the village. This Citizens’ Bill of Rights is reasonable and beneficial for all their citizens. I am sure the citizens of Waterville are grateful to have this legal protection, where before they were absolutely powerless to stop this massive, polluting project from cutting through their city.
Please vote YES for the Charter Amendment.