Democracy Day • February 25, 6:30 pm
Brecksville Human Services


Democracy Day was held February 25, 2013, pursuant to the new Ordinances adopted by the electorate on November 6, 2012. The Brecksville Citizens for Transparent Politics circulated a citizens initiative petition that placed on the ballot four new sections to the Codified Ordinances of the City of Brecksville entitled: “Brecksville Initiative in Support of Movement to Amend the U. S. Constitution to Establish that Corporations are Not People and Money is Not Speech.”

Sections 129.01 through 129.04 of the Codified Ordinances
was approved by the voters and reads as follows:

Section 129.01:  Beginning in the year 2013, the Mayor and City Council will designate one day in the month of February following the November federal elections as, “Democracy Day.” On this day, the Mayor and City Council will sponsor a public hearing. The City will publicize the hearing on its web site and through area media at least one (1) month in advance of the hearing. The hearing will examine the impact of political contributions of corporations, unions, PACS and Super-PACS on the City. The Mayor and at least one (1) City Councilperson will submit testimony at the public hearing. In addition, all citizens of Brecksville will be permitted to submit oral testimony for a period of at least five minutes per citizen.

Section 129.02: Within one (1) week following the Public Hearing, the Mayor shall send a letter to the leaders of the Ohio House and Senate, and Brecksville’s U. S. Congressional Representative, and both Ohio U. S. Senators stating that the citizens of Brecksville in November 2012 voted in support of a Citizens’ initiative calling for a constitutional amendment declaring:

A) Only human beings, not corporations, are legal persons with constitutional rights.

B) Money is not equivalent to speech, and therefore regulating political contributions and spending is not equivalent to limiting political speech.

Section 129.03: The bi-annual Public Hearings will continue for a period of ten (10) years through February, 2023, or until a constitutional amendment reflecting the principles set forth in Section 129.02 is ratified by 3/4 of the state legislatures.

Section 129.04: This initiative shall take effect and be included in the City Ordinances at the earliest date permitted by law.


Recently, I met with representatives of Brecksville Citizens for Transparent Politics and agreed that the City would hold a Public Hearing on Monday, February 25 beginning at 6:30 pm at the Human Services Center and encourage residents who wish to either present input or just observe the process to be in attendance during a three hour window (6:30 pm to 9:30 pm).  The Hearing may continue beyond 9:30 pm if more time is needed to allow everyone who wishes to speak the opportunity to do so.   We also hope to have important political leaders speak at our Hearing.  Please stay tuned for further announcements regarding this.
The Ordinance provides that, “all citizens of Brecksville will be permitted to submit oral testimony for a period of at least five minutes per citizen”.  All Brecksville citizens are welcome to speak.  We ask that speakers please confine their comments to five minutes or less to afford everyone an opportunity to speak. 
Per the Ordinance, “The hearing will examine the impact of political contributions of corporations, unions, PACS & Super-PACS on the City”.  We ask that speakers please confine their comments to this issue.
In compliance with Sec 129.02 of the Ordinance, within one week of the Public Hearing the Mayor will send a letter to our federal, congressional and state representatives stating that on November 6, 2012, the citizens of Brecksville, Ohio voted in favor of calling for a constitutional amendment declaring that corporations are not people and money is not equivalent to speech and therefore can be regulated.  The letter will include an overview of the comments submitted by our Brecksville citizens at the Public Hearing.
Please come and help us make this a significant and successful Democracy Day by attending our Public Hearing at 6:30pm on February 25th at the Human Services Center/Community Center, Two Community Drive.

Mayor Jerry N. Hruby

 

The following comments regarding our Public Hearing was prepared by Jack Petsche, Co-founder, Brecksville Citizens for Transparent Politics, and advocate for Citizens to Amend.
On November 6, 2012, the citizens of Brecksville, by passing this citizens initiative petition, exercised a right written into the Ohio Constitution in 1912, almost exactly one hundred years ago to the day.  The right of Ohio citizens to draft, introduce, and pass laws by citizens initiative petition was added to the Ohio Constitution in 1912 as part of the Progressive movement of the day.  Americans across the country were tired of political corruption and robber barons buying their politicians.  A grass roots movement began at the local level and soon grew to national prominence under the name, the Progressive movement.  National leaders of the Progressive movement included Teddy Roosevelt and Williams Jennings Bryan, both of whom spoke at the Ohio Constitutional Convention of 1912. 
During the Ohio Constitutional Convention of 1912 politicians debated whether citizens should be given the right to introduce and pass laws by citizens initiative petition.  One politician stood up and said he had lived in Switzerland and people there introduced and passed laws by petition quite regularly.  Another prominent politician of the day stood up and said that the Swiss were so much smarter than Americans and that the business of passing laws in America should be handled by elected representatives only.  Thankfully, our political leaders in 1912 ultimately decided that Ohioans were smart enough to be given the right to pass laws by citizens initiative petition and that right was written into our Ohio State Constitution. 
Recently, constitutional scholar Jonathon Turley said that the question for citizens today is, “How passive do you want to be?”  On November 6, 2012, the citizens of Brecksville, faced with millions of dollars of corporate political contributions distorting their democracy, answered Professor Turley with a resounding, “Not passive at all.”  On that day the citizens of Brecksville passed the new city ordinances by citizens initiative petition that created Democracy Day.
Jack Petsche, Co-founder

Brecksville Citizens for Transparent Politics

 

Council President Gregory Skaljac, Co-Founder Brecksville Citizens for Transparent Politics Jack Petsche and Mayor Jerry Hruby will be speaking at the Public Hearing sharing their insight regarding the Movement to Amend the U.S. Constitution to Establish that Corporations are Not People and Money is Not Speech” and the impact of political contributions of corporations, unions, PACs and SuperPACs on the City. 

Planning is ongoing and invitations will be sent to various public officials to participate as part of Democracy Day either sharing their comments or being part of a panel discussion that will follow the completion of the testimony given by our citizens. 

Please check back to this webpage from time to time for additional information regarding Democracy Day.  Any comments or suggestions regarding Democracy Day and what our citizens may wish to see included should be directed to mayorhruby@brecksville.oh.us.