Bowling Green charter amendment

BG voters reject anti-pipeline charter amendment

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Many Bowling Green residents distrust pipelines, but they also disliked the charter amendment intended to keep the lines off city land. The charter amendment, proposed by Bowling Green Climate Protectors, failed on Tuesday by a vote of 2,145 (39 percent) to 3,408 (61 percent). “I’m grateful to the voters of Bowling Green for protecting the integrity of the city charter,” Mayor Dick Edwards said as the results came in. The proposed Bowling Green charter amendment was intended to give the community rights to a healthy environment and livable climate. But while that was the intent, critics said the words went far beyond those reasonable rights. Despite defeat on Tuesday, the group behind the charter amendment is not daunted, said Brad Holmes, of the Climate Protectors organization. “We’re going to keep our options open,” Holmes said. And while the issue failed at the polls, it succeeded at making people more aware of the threats from pipelines, he said. “We raised awareness about the severity of these type of issues in Bowling Green,” Holmes said. “We hope to inspire other communities to do such initiatives.” The Bowling Green Climate Protectors, saw the charter amendment as a way for citizens to intervene if the city does not adequately protect its citizens from harm to their environment. The charter amendment would have given citizens a right to peaceably protest projects such as the Nexus pipeline that is planned near Bowling Green’s water treatment plant in Middleton Township. However, the language of the charter amendment seemed to doom the proposal. “It’s a far reaching, almost anarchy type of proposal,” City Attorney Mike Marsh said. “It allows citizens on their own to take actions they deem necessary to protect the environment. It’s up to anybody’s interpretation.” The charter amendment proponents claimed the proposal was Bowling Green’s one chance to protect the city’s water treatment plant from the Nexus natural gas pipeline running 700 feet from the reservoir for the plant. But critics have said this amendment would have no impact on the Nexus pipeline plans. The majority of council members were opposed to the charter amendment and also stressed that the amendment had no place in the Bowling Green City Charter, which has been preserved for city government operations. City Council, however, did take action to deny easements to the pipeline, which gave the city more time to study the issue. Edwards brought in a panel of experts to discuss the threats from the pipeline, and has written letters to legislators and the Ohio EPA expressing concerns. Now the city’s focus, Edwards said, must be to make sure Nexus pipeline meets all the safety standards as it is installed near the city’s water reservoir and as it crosses the Maumee River. “The challenge all along has been to do everything we possibly can to protect our Bowling Green Water Treatment Plant in Middleton Township,” the mayor said.


Last pitch made for BG charter amendment proposal

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   On the eve of the Tuesday’ election, proponents of the Bowling Green charter amendment made one last big pitch for the proposal to City Council Monday. And city officials, whose efforts had been questioned and criticized by the proponents for the past year, ended up thanking the college students behind the proposal for their passion and sincerity. The evening ended with a handshake between Mayor Dick Edwards and Brad Holmes, one of driving forces behind the charter amendment. On Tuesday, Bowling Green voters will determine whether or not the anti-pipeline amendment becomes a part of the city charter. Three BGSU students stood up Monday to defend the charter amendment. Alex Bishop, who is originally from Mansfield, said the Rover pipeline runs about a half mile from her home and spilled thousands of gallons of hazardous material that destroyed a wetlands. She doesn’t want to see something similar happen near her “second home” of BGSU. “This issue is really important to me,” Bishop said. “I wanted a chance to come here and talk about it.” Holmes said the charter amendment proposal had to jump through several hoops to even get on the ballot. “I’m just very happy we made it this far,” he said. Though the wording of the charter amendment has been criticized, the purpose of the proposal is to empower city officials and the community to reject plans for a pipeline that could be potentially dangerous, he said. “We’re very confident, if passed,” the wording would help the city put a stop to a pipeline. With the power of eminent domain, “communities are at the negative receiving end” of pipeline projects, Holmes said. Another BGSU student, Ross Martin took the podium next and questioned the value of Nexus’ offer to pay the city about $80,000 to go across city land located in Middleton Township near the Bowling Green water treatment plant reservoir. Even if that amount were $1 million, divided among the city’s 30,000 residents, that would be like saying “we would like to endanger your water for $33.33,” Martin said. Martin said fighting for health and safety, and inspiring others to do the same, are “noble” efforts. “We have that opportunity to inspire others,” he said. After the students completed their comments, Mayor Dick Edwards offered an impromptu response. “I understand your passion. I understand it totally,” said Edwards, who has worked at several universities. The mayor also agreed that Holmes was “absolutely correct” in his comments when he talked about municipalities being virtually powerless against pipelines. The cities of Green and Oberlin are still battling Nexus, but their communities are actually being cut by the pipeline, Edwards said. Waterville’s charter amendment empowers that city to refuse a construction permit. But that will likely be overruled. In Bowling Green’s case, the pipeline is not coming into the city. It is crossing a 28-acre parcel the city owns in Middleton Township, close to the city’s reservoir. “We’re trying to do everything we possibly can,” the mayor said. “Obviously we don’t want what has happened in southeast Ohio to happen here.” Edwards has received guarantees from the Ohio EPA and FERC that those organizations will monitor the pipeline construction near the water plant, especially at the river crossing. “I just hope that…


BG Chamber: Charter amendment will scare off businesses

As a representative of the business community, the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce believes it is important for citizens to thoroughly read the proposed City Charter Amendment. If passed, there are real unintended consequences to our community. A portion of the actual ballot language reads “If the City of Bowling Green fails to enforce or defend this Amendment, or, a court fails to uphold this Amendment, any person may enforce this Amendment” and “City of Bowling Green law enforcement, and cooperating agencies acting within the jurisdiction of the City of Bowling Green, shall have no lawful authority to surveil, detain, arrest, or otherwise impede persons enforcing these rights.” The BGCC finds this specific language very disturbing. It implies anyone acting on behalf of this amendment, can break laws without consequences; our local law enforcement agencies are restricted from safeguarding our community from potential harmful activities ‘protected’ under this amendment; and even our court system is belittled. This proposed amendment would directly obstruct or stop any business/industry interested in locating or currently operating in Bowling Green who is affiliated with fossil fuel (whether used by residents or businesses). Passage essentially puts a sign on the city limits proclaiming “Bowling Green is closed for business.” Also, this amendment impacts our city treasury. The cost to enforce and the first time it attempts to enforce, there will be a lawsuit challenging the amendment. And yet, individuals who claim to be so concerned about the welfare of Bowling Green residents have no qualms about taking funds out of the public treasury… funds potentially earmarked towards projects that maintain our quality of life and make Bowling Green a ‘Best Hometown’. The Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce and its Board of Directors encourages citizens to vote NO. This proposed amendment is neither community nor business friendly, it drains the public coffers, and prohibits our law enforcement and judicial systems to protect Bowling Green from potential harmful activities. If these concerns are not enough, then read sections (c), (d) and (e). These sections are aimed at stripping the rights of anyone to challenge the amendment; claims to be preemptive of any state/federal laws; and states any form of government ‘is illegitimate and has no authority over the people” if the government does not protect the rights stated in the amendment. To find the entire ballot language go to www.co.wood.oh.us/boe under Questions and Issues List. Earlene Kilpatrick, Executive Director Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce  


Callecods: BG charter amendment “ill-conceived”

We consider ourselves to be avid environmentalists and share the concerns of many citizens of Wood County about the potential negative environmental impacts of the several proposed pipelines through the area, particularly the Nexus project which will run under the Maumee River near Bowling Green’s water intake and distribution plant.   A local activist group succeeded in getting sufficient signatures on a petition to place an amendment to the Bowling Green City Charter on the November 7 ballot.  The petition was touted as an action to protect the city’s water by banning the pipeline project. However, the actual language of the amendment goes far beyond the issue of pipelines:  It states that “The people…and the natural communities and ecosystems…possess the right to a healthy environment and livable climate.”  No problem with that, other than how does one define “healthy” environment and “livable” climate? But the scary part comes next: “If the City…or court fails to enforce or defend this amendment…ANY person may enforce these rights through non-violent direct action…(and)…law enforcement, and cooperating agencies…shall have no lawful authority to surveil, detain, arrest, or otherwise  impede persons enforcing these rights.” Power to the people is an admirable objective.  Citizens of Bowling Green are free to, and often have demonstrated openly on issues, have packed City Council meetings to voice their concerns, and most importantly, voted for candidates who share their views on those issues. For the health and safety of its citizens and the environment, the city has zoning laws, codified ordinances and policies; and we have highly trained and qualified safety officials and judges to enforce those laws and procedures.  The concept of an individual or group of individuals to be able to act with impunity against a corporation or agency (or their neighbor, for that matter) because their interpretation of a “healthy environment” has been violated is what we would  refer to as anarchy. This amendment is well-intentioned (we hope), but ill-conceived.  The language is too vague and undefined to be meaningful but broad enough to be used to the detriment of the city, corporations and the citizens themselves.  We urge voters to cast their vote against the proposed charter amendment. Bob and Joan Callecod Bowling Green


Ben Otley: Charter amendment “promotes anarchy … is deeply flawed”

On November 7, you will be asked to vote on an Amendment to Bowling Green’s City Charter.   Even if you are against pipelines, I urge you to vote no on the proposed Amendment.  The type of language contained in this Amendment will keep new businesses from locating in Bowling Green and will drive existing businesses out.  Simply put, it promotes anarchy.  It will also cause the city great expense to defend because its constitutionality is certain to be challenged.   Let me be clear that I do not question the sincerity of the local group of activists pushing this initiative.  I believe the local organizers genuinely wish to ensure a healthy environment for future generations.  Unfortunately, the initiative they are pushing is deeply flawed, and I do not believe it was authored by the local organizers.  The proposed Amendment goes way beyond its stated purpose of banning pipelines, lacks basic definitions, is vague, confusing and leaves me wondering if the author has a hidden agenda.  For example, it extends rights to “natural communities” and “ecosystems”, then goes on to state “the right shall include the right to be free from new infrastructure for fossil fuel”, but is completely open ended as to what other rights it extends.  The language allows any citizen enforcement rights using “non-violent direct action” with direct action defined as “any activities carried out to directly enforce . . . this Amendment.”  It further states that “City of Bowling Green law enforcement . . . shall have no lawful authority . . .” to intervene.  Please take time to read the Amendment which can be found at www.co.wood.oh.us/BOE/ under Questions and Issues List.  Then vote no on this poorly written Amendment.     Ben Otley, President Bowling Green Economic Development


Accusations fly at council meeting over charter amendment

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Supporters of the Bowling Green Charter Amendment on the Nov. 7 ballot accused their opponents Monday evening of engaging in “smear politics to sway the vote.” But one of several Bowling Green City Council members opposed to the charter amendment called the proposal “an attempt to legalize anarchy.” The charter amendment proponents spoke first at Monday’s City Council meeting. Lisa Kochheiser said the amendment purpose is “expanding rights of people to protect their families and community” against environmental harm. She spoke of the Nexus pipeline route that is proposed near the city’s water treatment plant, and said that a second pipeline by the same company is in the works. Wood County is “caught in the crosshairs” of many pipelines since it is located on the natural gas route from southeast Ohio to Canada. Kochheiser accused city leaders of knowing two years in advance about the Nexus project, but not telling the public. She asked when the city was going to inform the public about the second proposed pipeline. Though city council denied an easement for the pipeline, that was the only action taken to stop the project, she said. City council “refused” to take formal action against the pipeline, did not pass an ordinance against the project, and would not file complaints about the proposal. “The city refuses to support the rights of the people,” she said. Kochheiser was also critical of multiple council members who have stated that the issue does not belong in the city charter – that it would “sully the pristine charter.” “Seriously people. Who are you protecting?” she asked. Kochheiser accused the opponents of “spreading hysterical rumors” and of engaging in “smear politics to sway the vote.” Next to speak was Brad Holmes, who said the charter amendment proponents were forced to petition for the change because city council would not act. He said the document allows citizens to “peacefully demonstrate” against pipelines and other environmental threats without the risk of being arrested. Then Sally Medbourn Mott spoke of her concern about the city not having an ordinance to keep oil and gas operations out of the city. Without such language in the City Charter, the city is “powerless” to keep such operations out, she said. At the end of the meeting, council member Bob McOmber added to his criticisms against the charter amendment that he voiced last month. At that time, he spoke primarily about how the amendment had no place in the city’s charter which focuses solely on the mechanics of local government. “Even if this was good legislation, it does not belong in the City Charter,” McOmber said. “But it is not good legislation. It is terrible legislation.” This time, he took on the charter amendment’s wording. “My biggest objection to the proposal is that this is special interest legislation brought forward by a very small group of people who hold extreme views,” he said. “In all the talk and speeches that have come out in council meetings in recent months regarding the proposed amendment, I do not believe anyone has ever quoted a single word or phrase from the proposal itself.” McOmber suggested that citizens take time to read the charter amendment before the election. He cautioned that people not be fooled by…


Second BG council member against charter amendment

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A second Bowling Green City Council member has come out in opposition to the proposed charter amendment which is aimed to stop pipelines and protect a healthy climate and environment. Just as Monday’s council meeting was coming to a close, Bruce Jeffers asked to speak his mind on the ballot issue. Last month, council member Bob McOmber spoke out in opposition to the charter amendment. Jeffers said the city has taken all the steps possible on the pipeline issue. City Council rejected an easement request for the Nexus pipeline. And Mayor Dick Edwards bought in a panel of experts to discuss the risks involved with the pipeline proposed so close to the city’s water treatment plant. The mayor also reached out to the Ohio EPA and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which responded to specific concerns expressed by city officials. “We in Bowling Green are not the experts on pipelines,” Jeffers said. That is FERC’s job, he added. “It is beyond our expertise and power.” Jeffers said the proposed charter amendment would be difficult to work with and is too far-reaching. “I find the amendment cumbersome,” he said. “And there’s almost no chance of it standing up in court.” Earlier in the meeting, City Attorney Mike Marsh was asked about the status of the proposed charter amendment. The issue is still waiting for a ruling by the Ohio Supreme Court, he said. But because the Wood County Board of Elections could not wait for the decision, the charter amendment is already on the printed ballots for the Nov. 7 election. Also at Monday’s council meeting, Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter reported on the use of the Community Development Block Grants in the past year. The grants, administered by Tina Bradley, were used for the following projects: 7 mobile home repair projects. 3 elderly home repair projects. 2 direct homeownership assistance projects. 2 home repairs. 1 rental rehabilitation (Wood Lane Residential). 97 BG Transit reduced fare ID cards issued to adults who are disabled or elderly. 113 homeless people received transitional housing (partnership with Salvation Army). 7 jobs created via business revolving loan funds. In other business at Monday’s meeting: Edwards declared Oct. 15 as Crop Hunger Walk Day. The walk will take place at 1 p.m. in City Park. Brandy Laux, from Wood County Children’s Services talked about the renewal 1.3 mill levy for Wood County Human Services. The funding goes to protect children and the elderly from abuse. The levy has not been increased since 1987, and costs the owner of a $100,000 home approximately $3 a month. Laux noted that since the last time the levy was on the ballot, Wood County has seen six deaths of young children from abuse. Five were from head trauma and one from smothering. Planning Director Heather Sayler was congratulated for the Court Street Connects project winning a planning award. “The community earned this award,” Sayler said. Sayler reminded people that comments on the Community Action Plan should be submitted by Oct. 13. Tretter reported the BGSU Homecoming parade will be Oct. 13, starting at 5:30 p.m., in the Wooster Green area then heading along Wooster Street to Mercer Road. Parks and Recreation Director Kristin Otley announced the second annual birthday bash for Ridge Park…


Two sides at odds over proposed BG charter amendment

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Words matter. The proposed Bowling Green charter amendment is intended to give the community rights to a healthy environment and livable climate. But while that may be the intent, critics say the words go far beyond those reasonable rights. The wording of the charter amendment may be difficult for voters to digest. The supporters interpret it as giving citizens a right to peaceably protest projects such as the Nexus pipeline that is planned near Bowling Green’s water treatment plant. But others see the wording as so open to interpretation that it goes far beyond what most city residents would want. It hardly seems possible the two sides of the Bowling Green charter amendment issue are talking about the same two pages of text when they describe the proposal. Lisa Kochheiser and Brad Holmes, of the Bowling Green Climate Protectors, see the charter amendment as a way for citizens to intervene if the city does not adequately protect its citizens from harm to their environment. “We’re not trying to overthrow the government. We want to strengthen our government by adding to citizen rights,” Holmes said. The majority of people don’t want pipelines in or near their communities, he said. “This is going to be the most tangible way of people legally protesting.” City attorney Mike Marsh doesn’t want pipeline in the city either. And if there were a ballot issue to not allow Nexus on city land, he would support it. But the charter amendment goes far beyond that, he said. “It’s a far reaching, almost anarchy type of proposal,” Marsh said. “It allows citizens on their own to take actions they deem necessary to protect the environment. It’s up to anybody’s interpretation.” Kochheiser said the charter amendment will allow citizens to protest a pipeline or other threats to the environment by peaceful protests, like a sit-in or forming of human chains. “This gives us the right to do it without the threat of being thrown in jail,” she said. “We’re not going to be throwing rocks. We’re not going to be looting,” Holmes said. But the charter amendment draws no lines at the types of “non-violent direct action” that would be allowed. If people found the transportation of fuel tanker trucks to be a threat, “you could have a sit-in on I-75,” Marsh said. “That would be non-violent, but it would create chaos.” And if a citizen doesn’t approve of a neighbor’s use of fertilizer on their lawn, they would have the right to flood their neighbor’s lawn. The charter amendment prohibits the police from stopping such actions, he said. “I don’t believe the proponents we see every week at city council are aware of the ramifications,” Marsh said. “I think they’re well meaning people.” But there is a definite lack of trust between the two sides on this issue. Kochheiser said city officials were aware of the Nexus pipeline proposal for months but were unwilling to take action to stop it. “The city resisted this for months,” she said. “We wasted a tremendous amount of time.” City Council, however, did take action to deny easements to the pipeline, which gave the city more time to study the issue. Mayor Dick Edwards brought in a panel of experts to discuss the threats…


Anti-pipeline charter amendment now in limbo

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The legal battle to get an anti-pipeline charter amendment on Bowling Green’s ballot has come down to two sides – those who want to stop the pipeline and those who would want the jobs building it. On Thursday morning, the petition submitted by citizen activists worried about the effect of Nexus pipeline on the city’s water plant was challenged by a Bowling Green man who is a member of the local plumber-pipefitter union. The Wood County Board of Elections took information from both sides and will come back with a decision. Last week, the Wood County Board of Elections voted to allow the November ballot to include the controversial charter amendment. However, then a Bowling Green resident, David W. Espen, filed a protest with the board of elections about the charter amendment. Espen was not present at Thursday’s hearing, but was represented by the Columbus law firm McTigue & Colombo. Espen’s objections cite two possible problems with the charter amendment petition – one questioning the number of valid signatures, and the other questioning the authority of the city to grant the power requested in the petition. The complaint zeroed in on five specific signatures. Normally, that might not matter if a handful of signatures were found to be invalid. However, the pipeline petition had only one more signature than required to appear on the ballot. A total of 1,230 signatures were collected on the petition. By law, to make it on the ballot, the petition needed 714 valid signatures. It had 715. The five signatures in question are from Bowling Green State University students who live on campus and therefore have dual addresses of their residence halls and of street addresses. Terry Burton, of the Wood County Board of Elections, testified that the board cross checks street addresses and dorm addresses, and allows either for students when they register and cast ballots during elections. The Ohio Secretary of State appears to support this process, according to Terry Lodge, attorney for the citizens behind the petition. However, Donald McTigue disagreed. “The law requires you to put down your street address,” not university residence hall, McTigue said after the hearing. “The law clearly requires that they have the legal street address.” On the second challenge, McTigue said the charter amendment exceeds the city’s role allowed in the Ohio Constitution. The protest claims the issue goes beyond the limits permitted to municipalities. Lodge said the Wood County Board of Elections already considered the constitutionality argument, and decided the issue should go on the ballot for voters to decide. Last week, the board of elections voted with three in favor of the charter amendment being placed on the ballots. John Cuckler, Dick Newlove and Mike Zickar voted in favor, while Mike Marsh recused himself since he is the city attorney for Bowling Green. “This board has traditionally, philosophically had a tendency to put things on the ballot and not keep them off,” Newlove said prior to last week’s vote. But McTigue said it’s the board of elections’ responsibility to determine the constitutionality of an issue – not to leave it up to the voters. “I think we made a very forceful argument that this goes well beyond municipal power,” he said. “It’s their responsibility. The law…


Pipeline charter amendment faces another challenge

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The effort to get a pipeline charter amendment on the ballot for Bowling Green voters is facing another challenge. Last week, the Wood County Board of Elections voted to allow the November ballot to include the charter amendment, which was petitioned for by people opposed to pipelines that could negatively affect the city. However, this week the charter amendment faces a new challenge. A Bowling Green resident, David W. Espen, has filed a protest with the board of elections about the charter amendment. Espen’s objections cite two possible problems with the charter amendment petition, according to Wood County Board of Elections Director Terry Burton. First, Espen claims the petition did not have a sufficient number of valid signatures. His complaint questions five specific signatures. Normally, that might not matter if a handful of signatures were found to be invalid. However, the pipeline petition had only one more signature than required to appear on the ballot. A total of 1,230 signatures were collected on the petition. By law, to make it on the ballot, the petition needed 714 valid signatures. It had 715. Second, Espen is challenging whether or not the charter amendment exceeds the city’s role allowed in the Ohio Constitution. The protest claims the issue goes beyond the limits permitted to municipalities, Burton said. A hearing is scheduled for Thursday morning at 8:30, in the fifth floor hearing room of the Wood County Office Building. Espen is being represented by the Columbus law firm McTigue & Colombo. The group supporting the petition will be represented by Toledo area attorney Terry Lodge. “The Charter Amendment belongs on the ballot,” citizen activist Lisa Kochheiser said after the latest challenge was filed. Burton said if the decision on this challenge is appealed, the issue will go straight to the Ohio Supreme Court. Last week, the board of elections voted with three in favor of the charter amendment being placed on the ballots. John Cuckler, Dick Newlove and Mike Zickar voted in favor, while Mike Marsh recused himself since he is the city attorney for Bowling Green. “This board has traditionally, philosophically had a tendency to put things on the ballot and not keep them off,” Newlove said prior to last week’s vote. Prior to last week’s decision, Kochheiser urged the board to let Bowling Green citizens vote on the issue. “I speak for the people of Bowling Green who want to protect their community from corporations, like Nexus pipeline,” Kochheiser said. Kochheiser said the charter amendment gives city residents a right to “peacefully enforce these rights.” That means, according to Kochheiser, giving people the right to hold sit-ins or put up blockades on roads to prevent deliveries. “We’re talking about peaceful demonstration kind of stuff,” she said. “To try to stand up for our rights.”


Pipeline petition cleared to appear on BG ballot

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Wood County Board of Elections voted this morning to let Bowling Green voters decide the fate of a pipeline charter amendment. It may then be up to the courts to decide of the amendment is constitutional. The board voted with three in favor – John Cuckler, Dick Newlove and Mike Zickar. Mike Marsh recused himself since he is the city attorney for Bowling Green. “This board has traditionally, philosophically had a tendency to put things on the ballot and not keep them off,” Newlove said prior to the vote. After the vote, Newlove said a new state law (House Bill 463) does add some complexities to the process since it asks local entities to decide if ballot issues are constitutional. In this case, it charges the board to determine if the charter amendment is asking the city to give citizens rights that the city has no authority to give. “The new law does kind of put us in a difficult position,” Newlove said. “Our attitude was to let the voters decide.” Zickar agreed. “They did all of the work collecting signatures and meeting deadlines,” he said. “We wanted to let the people to decide.” Ultimately, however, it may be up the courts to decide if the charter amendment is constitutional. Prior to the decision this morning, citizen activist Lisa Kochheiser asked the board to let Bowling Green citizens vote on the issue. “I speak for the people of Bowling Green who want to protect their community from corporations, like Nexus pipeline,” Kochheiser said. Kochheiser told the board of elections that they had no legal standing to keep it off the ballot. Since they are not elected officials, “it is not legally possible for you to tell us what is best for us,” she said. “Is it legal for a pipeline like Nexus to poison the people of Bowling Green,” she said. “You will be denying our right to protect our community. The Bowling Green charter amendment belongs on the ballot.” Kochheiser warned that organizers would take the petition to the Ohio Supreme Court if the local board of elections rejected the issue for the ballot. Sally Medbourn Mott also defended the ballot issue. “I just hope you guys will let people vote on the issue,” she said, reminding the board members of their commitment to “government for the people, of the people, by the people.” After his morning’s meeting, Terry Burton, director of the Wood County Board of Elections, said the ballot language for the charter amendment may be exactly as worded in the petition, since it is so complex. The language of the proposed charter amendment is difficult to wade through, so the organization that filed the petition addressed each point in simpler terms. The petition calls for: Right to a healthy environment and livable climate. Bowling Green residents and the environment have the right to safe air, water, and land without contamination caused by oil and gas infrastructure projects (such as pipelines); this legislation does not restrict oil/gas consumption by Bowling Green residents. Right to enforcement. Bowling Green residents can non-violently enforce those rights if city officials and/or local courts do not; it cannot be deemed illegal for community members to attempt to peacefully enforce these rights. Right to…