On Jan. 23 at 6 p.m., Cleveland Heights residents are invited to attend and participate in the first annual We the People public hearing sponsored by the City of Cleveland Heights. It will take place in Council Chambers at City Hall.
The hearing will examine the impact of political influence by corporate entities (these include business corporations, Political Action Committees, Super PACs, 501c4 groups and unions) and big money in connection with elections.
This public hearing was established by ordinance with the passage of Issue 32 in November 2013—supported by 77 percent of those who voted on it.
Issue 32 was organized by Cleveland Heights Move to Amend. Move to Amend is a national coalition seeking to amend the U.S. Constitution to establish that only human beings, not corporations, are legal persons with Constitutional rights; that money is not equivalent to speech; and, therefore, regulating political contributions does not equate to limiting political speech.
The Jan. 23 Cleveland Heights We the People public hearing provides a unique opportunity for the community celebrate and strengthen democracy, to come together to listen, learn and testify on issues that directly impact the ability to citizens govern themselves—specifically on the role of corporations and large campaign contributions by wealthy individuals in our elections and society.
Citizens will have up to five minutes each to testify. Cleveland Heights Mayor Dennis Wilcox will convene the public hearing. As stipulated by ordinance, a summary of the hearing will be sent to Ohio’s two U.S. Senators, and to federal and state elected officials representing Cleveland Heights. The same public officials will also be notified that citizens of Cleveland Heights voted last November for an initiative calling on Congress to support amending the Constitution [in a way] consistent with the Move to Amend language.
Ohio voters in Brecksville, Newburgh Heights and Defiance have enacted similar initiatives. Ohio city councils in Athens, Oberlin, Barberton and Fremont have passed similar resolutions. More than 500 communities across the country have passed similar initiatives or resolutions.
For more information on Issue 32 and CH Move to amend, contact Carla Rautenberg, Carla@Simmertildone.net, 216-932-5618 or Sally Hanley firstname.lastname@example.org, 216-371-1871, or go to https://movetoamend.org/oh-cleveland-heights or https://www.facebook.com/pages/Move-to-Amend-Cleveland-Heights/579622338715730.
Greg Coleridge is director of the Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee and member of the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy collective.