City Council Work Session & Democracy Day Hearing, Sept. 9, 2019

October 4th, 2019  |  Published in Observer Reports

The meeting started at 7:07 p.m., and all council members were present. The first half of the meeting was dedicated to a Democracy Day public hearing. Introduction by Mayor David E. Weiss, followed by a statement from Shaker Heights resident Bruce Ente.

Introduction to Shaker Heights Democracy Day Hearing

Mr. Ente spoke on behalf of Shaker Heights Move to Amend and Cleveland East Move to Amend.

A summary of his statement: Democracy Day had its origins in 2015 with a group of Shaker Heights residents who shared two grievances: first, that campaign contributions—large, growing and often secretive sums of money—are corrupting our political process and undermining our representative democracy; and second, that the assumption of human rights by corporations, aided and abetted by Supreme Court decisions over the past 160 years, has granted Constitutional rights to business entities, which our country’s founders never intended. Shaker Heights voters passed a citizens’ initiative referendum in November 2016 by an overwhelming 81 percent—the largest margin of any community in Ohio to this day. The national Move to Amend objective is passage of a 28th constitutional amendment to redress these grievances by establishing that money is not speech and can therefore be regulated in politics, and that corporations are not people protected by the inalienable human rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

The Move to Amend agenda is often identified as “We the People,” the first three iconic words of the Declaration of Independence. This emphasizes that via a grassroots, small “d” democratic peoples’ movement, the group intends to remedy a fundamental power imbalance in our country. Specifically, MTA supporters reject the privileges and control that the wealthiest Americans, special-interest lobbyists, and corporate entities exercise over the lives and best interests of “we the people.” This imbalance must change if the highest ideals of our democracy are to survive.

This was followed by other citizens’ thoughts on democracy, global warming, the eroding right to Home Rule, bond reform, gun safety and (by Lori Shepherd, a junior at Shaker Heights High School), general school lockdowns. There was a full chamber, with students from Shaker Heights High School observing as well. This part of the meeting ended at 8:20 p.m.

The Joint Council Work Session with the Finance and Administration Committee followed at 8:30 p.m. The proposed 2020 Budget was reviewed. Presently the city is short $2 million for 2020. Ways of making up that shortage are being considered and will be decided upon by the end of the year.

There was a discussion of a proposed sewer fee for residents of $10/month to pay for capital i

The meeting finished at 10 p.m.

Stevie Robinson

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