The source of all legitimate power of any representative democracy is the citizenry. Not elected officials. Not economic power elites. Not the media. Not self-serving interest groups. But the people.
Therefore, any law or rule that weakens the power of citizens to influence elected officials or diminishes the ability of citizens to directly govern themselves is a threat to democracy and self-governance.
Several issues on the ballot in the City of Akron this November pose a direct threat to citizens and democracy. The following are those which pose the greatest direct threat:
Issue 11 doubles the limit (from $15,000 to $30,000) of contracts that can be awarded unilaterally by the Mayor without competitive bids. City Council would have no voice. Citizens would have no voice.
Issue 12 raises the amount of signatures needed by citizens to place an issue on the ballot from approximately 3,600 to 13,000. That’s more than a 350% increase – effectively shutting down any citizen-led effort to place any issue on the ballot for voter consideration.
Issue 14 abolishes the campaign finance limits currently in the city charter – limits passed overwhelmingly by voters in 1998 following a citizen-led initiative to collect signatures to place the issue on the ballot. The limits would be replaced with higher political contribution amounts and permits city council to establish even higher amounts in the future. Higher political contributions amounts will make it more difficult for citizens without money to be heard and their neighborhoods helped. It also reduces political competition. The Brennen Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law issued a report last year that concluded that lower political contribution limits led to greater political competition. Their report examined elections in 42 states over 26 years. Read the report at
Issue 16 allow the city administration to lease Akron’s steam plant to a private corporation. Previous efforts at “privatizing” the facility resulted in loss of public control and taxpayers having to pay millions of dollars. Keep public utilities public.
Citizens deserve to have greater, not fewer, powers and rights to make decisions over their lives and communities. These ballot issues lead citizens in exactly the wrong direction.
Please consider voting No on these ballot issues.