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Anti-fracking issue on May 7 ballot triggers controversy: Can it be enforced?

Published: Sun, April 28, 2013 @ 5:00 p.m.

Anti-fracking issue on May 7 ballot triggers controversy: Can it be enforced?


Supporters of a Youngstown anti-fracking charter amendment on the May 7 ballot say the proposal returns the rights to clean air, pure water and self-government to the people.

But opponents of the citizens-based initiative see the proposal quite differently.

First, they say, the proposal isn’t enforceable; something disputed by the Committee for the Proposed Amendment to the Charter of the City of Youngstown, the group backing the amendment.

“If it’s adopted, it will be part of the city law,” said James B. Callen, the group’s legal counsel. “If it’s passed, it’s the law. If someone believes it’s not enforceable, it can be challenged. This has been adopted around the country. If the citizens of Youngstown adopt the amendment, it’s the law for the city.”

The ballot language calls for Youngstown to circumvent the federal and state constitutions. No city charter amendment can legally do that, said Atty. Alan Wenger, a member of the Mahoning Valley Coalition for Job Growth and Investment, an organization opposed to the proposal.

Read the full story Monday in The Vindicator and on Vindy.com.


1Metz10987(145 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

If it is uneforceable as opponets cliam then why fight it at all/ Msot likely because either they know it klikely is or will be bad PR.

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2howardinyoungstown(591 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

"The Declaration (of Independence) specifically mentions three rights which human beings possess by birth or by nature-life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. No one may rightfully deny us these things. Nor, since they are "unalienable," may we rightfully surrender them.

It is worth remarking that the Declaration does not proclaim a right to happiness itself. Happiness is not something we have by nature. Rather we are born with minds and talents that we may use to pursue happiness.

The Declaration says that these three rights are "among" our natural rights. We have others in addition. Among the most important of these are the rights of conscience and property. These are among the rights specifically guaranteed in the Constitution's first ten amendments, known as the Bill of Rights.

The right of conscience means religious freedom. As explained in the Virginia Declaration of Rights of 1776: "religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience." Each of us has a right to worship God in his own way and time.

As for property rights, they were at the heart of the dispute which led to the American Revolution. When Americans at the time listed the rights of man, they often said "life, liberty, and property." Boston's 1772 "Rights of the Colonists" were typical: "Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: First, a right to life; secondly to liberty; thirdly to property." As with happiness, this is not a right to property itself, but a right to use one's talents to acquire property, and to use it as one sees fit, as long as one does not injure oneself or others." -- from The Claremont Institute website www.Founding.com

The argument for the Community Bill of Rights is based the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and the Bill of Rights which are the the highest laws of our nation and have precedence over state or local laws.

We, the people of Youngstown, have the right to define additional unalienable rights in order to protect our bodies and property from toxic trespass and the potential for financial harm that high volume slick water hydraulic fracturing (fracking) will cause to our local environment; to wait until our bodies or our property are irreversibly harmed would be irresponsible.

In the many communities that have enacted Community Bill of Rights laws or charter amendments over the last 3 years NONE have ever been challenged in court; to do so would require the plaintiff to argue that citizens do not have such rights.

Early voting has already started, please vote YES on the Community Bill of Rights; to protect yourself and your family.

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3bumbob(142 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

To answer this article headline question: Yes, yes the amendment can be enforced. Cities pass their own laws all the time.

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4Debbie(22 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

This headline poses an incredibly silly question. There is now nothing left for opponents of the amendment to do but to state that the amendment is unenforceable? The many jobs that were supposed to come with drilling turned out to be but a few, and the positions are filled by out-of-staters. The flow of gas & oil that was supposed to flood us all with riches isn't panning out. Any monies that are coming from this debacle are ending up in the pockets of a very select few (again, out-of-staters). This entire "shale-play" is a farce that is going to end up harming us all in ways we can't imagine. At that point, these companies will pack up and move on. And, UticaShale, nobody cares what the Vindy votes. That publication has been WIDELY KNOWN for it's industry/corporate bias for a very long time, so on that note, your point is absolutely moot.

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5Askmeificare(803 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

Just frack. What is the problem people?!

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6Debbie(22 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

Askme.....That's sort of funny in an odd way! Thank you. The truth is, we all do have only so many years here. It's not like any one of us is going to be here forever. Most every society/civilization that has existed has caused some major catastrophic problem for itself. You'd think by now we'd have learned something about how to AVOID these rather than rush headlong into them. I will continue to believe and hope that each of these societies had some group of people waving the red flag and pleading with the others to "stop!, wake up! look!, listen!"
Hey, create the extraordinary, yes?

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7JoeFromHubbard(1389 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago


Realize that this industry is under intense scrutiny and will not be permitted to cause the imagined disaster that so many fear.

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8Debbie(22 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago


Thus far, it is private citizens and in-house whistleblowers who have been active in reigning in these companies when they overstep their bounds. Those who are charged with the professional duty and obligation of doing this have removed all bounds. It's all become so sad and so sick.

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9JoeFromHubbard(1389 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

@ Debbie,

Thanks for the confirmation of my point.

Someone is always watching, be they government or private citizen. No wrong doing will go unnoticed.

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