Community members are looking forward with great anticipation to the 2nd annual “Democracy Day” scheduled for Monday March 5, 2018. This public forum was created through city ordinance as a result of citizen initiative and calls for a public hearing sponsored by the Mayor and City Council. As stated in TMC Chapter 111:
“Beginning in the year following passage of this initiative, the Mayor and City Council shall designate one day in the month of March as "Democracy Day." On this day, the Mayor and City Council shall sponsor a Public Hearing in a public space within the City. The City shall publicize the Public Hearing on its website and through area media at least one month in advance of the Public Hearing. The Public Hearing will examine the impact of political contributions of corporations, unions, PACS and Super-PACS on the City, as well as other issues that arise from the Supreme Court's decisions to give corporations the rights of real persons. The Mayor and City Council Members may submit testimony at the public hearing. In addition, all citizens of Toledo shall be permitted to submit oral and written testimony.”
This year, citizens are preparing testimony on a wide range of topics related to undue corporate influence on a democratically run society. Anticipated topics include environmental protection, disinvestment in public schools, healthcare, for-profit prisons, labor issues, and much more. We are encouraging the mayor and members of council to engage with the process by asking follow up questions of presenters. Some suggestions include:
- How does this problem affect the daily lives of people in our community?
- What is the scale of this problem? What proportion of community members are affected?
- Is the severity of this problem getting worse? What will we face in five years if no action is taken?
- What is the economic impact on our community of addressing/not addressing this issue?
- This may be a federal level problem, but can you give local examples of this as an issue?
- What steps can community members and/or local political leaders take to address this problem?
- How can actions we take at the local level affect decisions made at the state/federal level?
- Why can’t we just trust in our elected representatives to deal with this issue?
- Can this issue be effectively addressed without amending the constitution to abolish corporate constitutional rights and money as speech?
We encourage all citizens to attend and even testify at this event to be held on Monday, March 5, 2018 at 4 PM in Toledo City Council Chambers at One Government Center, Toledo. More information on how to participate can be obtained by contacting Doug Jambard-Sweet at djambardsweet [at] gmail.com or (419) 265-9066.