Biennial Democracy Day set Feb. 6 at Mentor city hall

February 2, 2019
Betsy Scott

Mentor residents have an opportunity to provide testimony on money and politics, and their impact on democracy at 6 p.m., Feb. 6, at Mentor Municipal Center, 8500 Civic Center Blvd.

A Mentor ordinance provides for Democracy Day hearings to be held biennially in February following a federal general election.

The event is a result of the effort by Mentor Move To Amend, a grassroots non-partisan organization, which obtained enough signatures to have an issue put on the November 2014 Mentor ballot. Voters approved the ordinance by a 70 percent affirmative vote.

Move to Amend activists achieved several victories this year in promoting a constitutional amendment to end corporate “personhood” and money being legally defined as “speech,” according to a news release.

Similar citizen-driven ballot initiatives achieved a 64 percent affirmative vote in Toledo; 77 percent support in South Euclid and 82 percent in Shaker Heights. Resolutions were passed by elected officials in Bedford Heights and Oakwood Village.

Democracy Day events are being held throughout Ohio as a result of citizen initiatives and municipal resolutions. Other events are occurring in Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, Kent, Brecksville, Chagrin Falls, Defiance, Newburgh Heights, Shaker Heights, South Euclid and Toledo.

A Move To Amend constitutional amendment will be introduced as a resolution in the Ohio House and in the Ohio Senate this year. The same resolution has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives with 66 co-sponsors and will be introduced in the U.S. Senate this term.

“Our grassroots movement is growing and is a reflection of the public's concern about the erosion of our democracy,” said Mentor Move to Amend Coordinator David Lima.

The national coalition launched its campaign following the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in the case Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission, in which some provisions of the Campaign Reform Act of 2002 were overturned, and corporate entities and labor unions were granted the same rights as individuals to unrestricted spending on political speech, the initiative petition said.

The Mentor Democracy Day event is on the third floor of the Municipal Center, 8500 Civic Center Blvd.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was edited at 10:50 a.m., Feb. 4, to correct start time for the event.

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