City Council Scolds Citizens For Bringing Move To Amend Initiative

Despite validation of the citizen initiative process in Article XX of the Lakewood City Charter, City Council rebuked the citizens who spoke in support of the Move To Amend ordinance at its October 7 meeting. City Council reacted to a petition drive which gathered 520 valid signatures of Lakewood voters. At the October 7 meeting, four residents of Lakewood spoke for the ordinance; no members of the public spoke against the ordinance. After hearing the citizens' remarks in support of the ordinance, City Council called the initiative "an abuse" and voted unanimously to defeat the ordinance.

Prior to the Council vote, Rules and Ordinances Committee chair, Tom Bullock, recommended against the proposed ordinance, however, in his committee report, Bullock spoke respectfully about the efforts of the citizens group.

The citizen's initiative was brought to City Council under Article XX of the Second Amended Charter of the City of Lakewood. The ordinance created by the initiative would have established an annual Democracy Day in Lakewood to give residents an opportunity to discuss money in politics and would have added Lakewood to the growing list of states and municipalities calling for a Constitutional Amendment that states that 

A)  Only human beings, not corporations, are legal persons with Constitutional rights and

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

While it is rare, citizens of Lakewood repealed a monthly water customer service charge in September 1998 through a citizen's initiative. The citizens initiative was used in Brecksville and Newburgh Heights in fall, 2012, to enact a Move to Amend ordinance and is currently being used in Mentor and Cleveland Heights to achieve the same goal.

trudy hutchinson

I am a Lakewood resident and am interested in community activism.

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Volume 9, Issue 21, Posted 8:53 PM, 10.15.2013