facebooktwitterRSS
- Advertisement -
  • Most Commentedmost commented up
  • Most Emailedmost emailed up
  • Popularmost popular up
- Advertisement -
 

« News Home

City residents have right to decide on Bill of Rights



Published: Thu, September 5, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

City residents have right to decide on Bill of Rights

It’s been a few years, but when I was in ninth grade, I learned that citizens could access direct democracy in this country through three avenues: initiative, referendum and recall. The most commonly used procedure, initiative, allowed us to affect public policy by proposing new legislation, getting it endorsed by a certain percentage of registered voters, and having it appear on the ballot for all voters to decide.

Evidently, the right of voter initiative is no longer a given of our democratic system.

The Board of Elections of Mahoning County will decide on Friday whether to allow citizens of Youngstown to vote on the Community Bill of Rights that would ban fracking and injection wells in the city. This proposed ordinance would be put before the voters on Nov. 5 because over 1,600 people thought the citizens of this city should have the opportunity to decide for ourselves about whether to risk the quality of our drinking water, the possibility of more earthquakes and the certain degradation of our environment.

You can argue about fracking and injection wells. But is it legitimate to have a debate about our fundamental right to vote on an issue of this magnitude? Where am I? Where are we, when a small group of powerful people and their corporate handlers can rip a voter initiative — a cornerstone of democracy — out from under us?

And who are these board of elections members who will make this decision on Friday at 5 p.m.? (Be there, folks.) Two of them, Tracey Winbush and David Betras, are members of the pro-fracking coalition that wants this Citizens Bill of Rights off the ballot. Will they recuse themselves? Evidently not, according to the Vindicator article of Aug. 31.

And since when do four members of the board of elections get to decide whether a proposed ordinance will stand up in a court of law? Shouldn’t that be decided after detailed and careful consideration by a panel of judges, once the initiative passes?

Do we or do we not, as citizens, have the right to determine our collective future? Yes, the Community Bill of Rights was defeated in the May primary — with only 17 percent of the electorate voting. Surely, we must have a better measure of public sentiment on an issue this important.

Jean Engle, Youngstown


Comments

1Kernaloftruth(64 comments)posted 7 months, 2 weeks ago

In all fairness, this measure already made the ballot back in May, so this right to the voter initiative was never infringed.

The voters already voted no on this measure, and you didn't like what they had to say.

You know the initiative I want to see? An initiative that limits putting an initiative on the ballot to one time a year. The voters shouldn't have to say NO twice to subsidize someone who doesn't know how to take a hint.

Suggest removal:

2Kernaloftruth(64 comments)posted 7 months, 2 weeks ago

The fact 17% of the electorate turned out is neither here nor there. If 80% turned out I doubt you would be satisfied.

Suggest removal:

3ohioption(45 comments)posted 7 months, 1 week ago

I just wished they would drill the wells at Stambaugh Golf Course. Then maybe the drilling company would repave Fifth Avenue south. The City hasn't been able to get anyone to do it yet. Liberty Township got their section of Fifth Avenue paved last year. State paid for most of it. What is Youngstown doing? Not much!

Suggest removal:


News
Opinion
Entertainment
Sports
Marketplace
Classifieds
Records
Discussions
Community
Help
Forms
Neighbors

HomeTerms of UsePrivacy StatementAdvertiseStaff DirectoryHelp
© 2014 Vindy.com. All rights reserved. A service of The Vindicator.
107 Vindicator Square. Youngstown, OH 44503

Phone Main: 330.747.1471 • Interactive Advertising: 330.740.2955 • Classified Advertising: 330.746.6565
Sponsored Links: Vindy Wheels | Vindy Jobs | Vindy Homes | Pittsburgh International Airport