Government

Activists Submit Signatures for Community Bill of Rights Initiative

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Members of the Youngstown Community Bill of Rights Committee have submitted 1,900 signatures in support of a proposed charter amendment that would ban oil and gas exploration activity within the city and limit the influence of corporations in the electoral process.

The latest initiative, The Youngstown Fair Election Bill of Rights, says city residents have the right to clean water and a safe environment, free of pollution caused by the oil and gas industry.

However, this initiative also includes two measures that call for corporations capping donations at $100.

“We have fought to keep fracking projects out of our city for several years, with six ballot measures that asserted our right to clean water and to local community and self-government,” said Lynn Anderson, a lead organizer with the Youngstown Committee. “We have been vastly outspent by industry and their corporate allies. It is clear to us that we are trying to advance the rights via the ballot in an election system set up to favor corporations. This time, we’re addressing the election system, too.”

The measure intends to place candidate selection in the hands of voters rather than in the hands of political parties, according to a press release distributed to media outlets Monday.

Similar measures to curb hydraulic fracturing have appeared on the ballot six times over the last several years. All of them were rejected in either the primary or general election.

An analysis by Energy In Depth found that the past six ballot initiatives have cost the city of Youngstown $187,970 in advertising, ballot printing, poll workers and ballot space. The organization found that the city pays about $6,000 in required advertising costs each time the measure is placed on the ballot.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.