A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence

Community Rights Timeline in Ohio

Wildflowers at Sunset by Craig Goodwin, Flickr Creative Content

Despite numerous attempts by the Corporate State to stifle this Movement Ohio communities are pushing back and advancing the just, fair,  and sustainable communities they envision. The timeline below details a historical account of the Ohio Community Rights Network. 

2011

Youngstown, Ohio (Mahoning County)

  • December 31, 2011 at 3:04 pm - 4.0 EARTHQUAKE  

2012

Broadview Heights (Cuyahoga County)

  • Community group proposes a Community Bill of Rights (CBOR) charter amendment initiative; passes in November general election by 67% of the vote and eventually overturned by the courts 

  • IMPORTANT NOTE: To date no new wells have been drilled in the community since the BOR passed in 2012. No injection wells located in the city. The city refuses to purchase by-products of drilling or brine from drilling as road de-icer because it violates the Bill of Rights.

  • Broadview Heights spurred interest in using a rights based approach to banning other harmful activities in many communities around the state. 

  • City electeds opposed the BOR publicly; CELDF sends lawyer to Board of Elections meeting Subsequent charter change to limit future initiatives by people

Randolph Twp (Portage County)

  • Community group proposed a limited home rule citizen initiative as first step towards a rights-based Bill of Rights citizen initiative for Randolph Township; it was put on the ballot but was defeated, received only 11% of the vote

  • A Township Trustee opposed, saying it would bankrupt the township; the trustee backed a local group spent money on anti-initiative yard signs

Yellow Springs (Greene County)

  • City Council passes BOR Ordinance

2013

2014

Athens (Athens County)

 

  • First attempt - Community Members proposed a CBOR Ordinance by initiative; kept off ballot by Board of Elections; BOE votes to keep off ballot and Refuses to give reasons why

Bowling Green (Wood County)

  • First attempt - Community group proposes CBOR charter amendment to prohibit fracking; it lost with only 45% of the vote.

  • The community initiative was opposed by the Chamber of Commerce, League of Women Voters, city electeds and appointees; Resident protest represented by Lavelle & Associates.

Niles Ohio (Trumbull County)

  • City Council passes CBOR Ordinance banning fracking

  • Niles City Council rescinded their Bill of Rights 2 weeks after they passed it and a closed door meeting with council and members of oil industry

Oberlin (Lorain County)

 

  • Community members propose a CBOR Ordinance; It passes with over 70% of vote

  • City didn’t codify ordinance until 2018 after push by people

Youngstown (Mahoning County)

 

  • First attempt - community group proposes a CBOR charter amendment initiative to ban fracking; defeated in May primary election: NO 56.85%  to YES 43.15 %. The community spent $5,000

  • Initiative labeled as a "Job Killer" - opposed by Plumbers/Pipefitters Union Local 396 and City electeds - Opposition spent: $60,000+   

  • Second attempt: Community group proposes a CBOR charter amendment initiative to ban fracking; defeated in Nov general election: NO 54.66% to YES 45.34%. The community group spent $693

  •  Opposition from Local 396 - spent: $81,757 to defeat the initiative 

  • Lavelle and Associates Law firm hired by Mahoning Valley Coalition for Jobs, Growth and Investment and filed by 5 city residents to challenge legality and keep CBR off the ballot – filed Friday August 30, Labor Day weekend. Hearing Friday Sept, 6, 2013. Two Board members Betras and Winbush are members of the MVCJGI. The challenge was dropped minutes before meeting

Athens (Athens County)

 

  •  Second attempt - Community Group proposes a CBOR Ordinance by initiative; Made the ballot; Passes by 78% of the vote

  • Industry lobby group, EID, says "It's illegal" 

Columbus (Franklin County)

 

  • First Attempt: Residents group proposes CBOR Charter Amendment by initiative to ban fracking and disposal of waste.  Effort fell about 1000 signatures short.

  • City blocks CBOR from the ballot by changing city charter's petitioning process

Gates Mills (Cuyahoga County)

 

  • Residents group proposes CBOR charter amendment to ballot; Loses by 32% - 68% because of scare tactics of industry and electeds

  • City Council and Mayor strong opposition

Kent (Portage County)

 

  • Community members proposed rights-based city ordinance by initiative; it went to the ballot but lost by 307 votes

  • The city council and law director strongly opposed the Issue; the group Partnership for Ohio’s Future contributed $5,000 to oppose the ordinance

Youngstown (Mahoning County)

 

  • Third attempt: Community group proposes a CBOR charter amendment initiative to ban fracking; defeated in May 6 Primary election: NO 54.13% YES 45.87%

  • Money spent by Community Group $5,800; Money spent by Plumbers and Pipefitters UA Local 396 $81,613

  • Fourth attempt: Community group proposes a CBOR charter amendment initiative to ban fracking; defeated in Nov General election: NO 57.68% YES 42.32% with a 15.36% margin

  • A post election calling survey by Issues and Answers Telephone Poll of approximately 600 voters showed that we won by 2.1%; spent $9862

  • Opposition from Local 396 spent $80,881

2015

Athens County

  • First attempt: Community group proposes a county charter by initiative; BOE claims it is invalid and Lower court agrees

Fulton County

 

  • Community group proposes county charter by petition to prohibit pipelines; kept off ballot. 

  • Resident Charles Saunders filed protest to keep it off the ballot - Lawsuit with Ohio Supreme Court

Medina County

 

  • First attempt: Community group proposed an initiative for a CBOR County Charter; they turned in over 17,000 signatures with more than enough valid signatures; it was kept off the ballot by the Medina County Board of Elections and Secretary of State Husted.The Court of Appeals ruled to keep the County Charter/Bill of Rights Initiative off the ballot

Portage County

  • First attempt: Community group proposed County Charter by initiative to ban fracking/injection wells; gathered approximately 1250 signatures, insufficient to submit 

Youngstown (Mahoning County)

 

  • Fifth attempt: Community group proposes a CBOR charter amendment initiative to ban fracking; defeated in Nov General election: NO  51.47% YES 48.53% - the differential is 345 votes or 2.94% - a RECOUNT determined that differential 299 votes (2.54%) -- Official November 21, 2015: NO 6143 votes (51.27%) YES 5839 votes (48.73%)

  • Voters for Ballot Integrity spent $2,201 - new group urges BOE to keep CBR off the ballot

  • August 26 BOE at special meeting votes unanimously to keep the CBR off the ballot;

  • August 28 City of Youngstown files a complaint to the Ohio Supreme Court; Sept 1 CBR committee files a complaint to the Ohio Supreme Court; Sept 18 Ohio Supreme Court rules 7-0 BOE must put the citizen’s initiative on the Nov. ballot

  • October 6 BOE certifies the CBR for the November ballot;

  • Plumbers and Pipefitters Union spends $46,212 in opposition​

2016

Athens County

  • Second attempt - Community Members propose a CBOR County Charter by initiative; BOE says its invalid 

Columbus (Franklin County)

 

  • Second attempt: Residents group proposes CBOR City Ordinance by initiative to ban fracking and disposal of waste.  Effort fell short about 1000 valid signatures.

Medina County

 

  • Second attempt: Community group proposed an initiative for a CBOR County Charter; they turned in over 17,000 signatures with more than enough valid signatures; it was kept off the ballot by the Medina County BOE and Secretary of State Husted.

  • The Court of Appeals ruled to keep the County Charter/Bill of Rights Initiative off the ballot

Portage County

 

  • Second attempt: Community group proposed County Charter by initiative to ban fracking/injection wells; turned in 5020 signatures with 4,078 required; the County Charter was kept off the ballot by the Board of Elections and Secretary of State.

Toledo (Lucas County)

  • Community members propose a CBOR charter amendment, Lake Erie Bill of Rights (LEBOR) to protect Lake Erie from pollution with the Rights of Nature; Citizens launch signature collection effort in November 

Waterville (Lucas County)

 

  • Community group proposes CBOR charter amendment by initiative and passes

  • Chamber of Commerce borrowed identical arguments from Bowling Green to try to keep charter amendment from passing

Youngstown (Mahoning County)

 

  • Sixth attempt: Community group proposes a CBOR charter amendment initiative to ban fracking; defeated in Nov General election: NO 55.04% YES 44.96%  Community group spent $4,383; Opposition from Plumbers and Pipefitters Union  - spent: $113,149  

2017

Athens County

 

  • Third attempt: Community Members propose a CBOR County Charter by initiative; Court challenges - Athens County court falsely rules not enough signatures, keeps us off ballot,

  • Appealed to higher court - told it was not an appealable ruling - still awaiting trial for new ruling 

Bowling Green (Wood County)

  • Second attempt: Bowling Green State University led group proposes CBOR charter amendment to prohibit pipelines and protect climate future; Kept off the ballot up until two weeks before election. With only two weeks to campaign the initiative lost 40%-60%​

Columbus (Franklin County)

 

  • Third attempt: Resident group proposes CBOR City Ordinance by initiative to ban fracking and disposal of waste. 

  • Effort successfully obtained about 3000 more signatures than required. BOE blocks CBOR from the ballot using HB463.

  • September 14 - OH Supreme Court rules 6-1 in agreement with the BOE's action. 

Medina County

 

  • Third attempt: Community group proposed an initiative for a CBOR County Charter; they turned in over 17,000 signatures with more than enough valid signatures; it was kept off the ballot by the Medina County Board of Elections and Secretary of State Husted.

  • The Court of Appeals ruled to keep the County Charter/Bill of Rights Initiative off the ballot

Portage County

  • Third attempt: Community group proposed County Charter by initiative to ban fracking/injection wells; gathered  approximately 1890 signatures, insufficient to submit

Youngstown (Mahoning County)

 

  • Seventh attempt: Community group proposes 2 Bills of Rights for Nov election: Youngstown Drinking Water Protection Bill of Rights & Free and Fair Elections and Access to Local Government

  • July 24 - Turned in Water Protection BOR; Aug 7 Turned in Free and Fair Elections and Access to Local Government

  • Aug 23 City passed both ordinances and then filed them with the Board of Elections on Aug 25; Kept off ballot by HB 463; Money spent: $3,336

  • Lawsuit – Youngstown “loses” 4-3 at OH Supreme Court

Ohio Ballot Board unanimously approves BOTH proposed people’s amendments to move forward

2018

Portage County

 

  • Fourth attempt: Community group proposed County Charter by initiative to ban fracking/injection wells; gathered approximately 2300 signatures, insufficient to submit

Youngstown (Mahoning County)

 

  • Eighth attempt: Community group proposes a CBOR charter amendment initiative for Youngstown Drinking Water Protection Bill of Rights for May Primary election; NO 55:46% to YES 44.52% - Community spent $1,871

  • BOE again invokes HB 463 to rule that it should not go on the ballot;

  • March 16 - Lawsuit filed in the OH Supreme Court; April 24 - OH Supreme Court rules 5-2 to put the Charter Amendment on the ballot though early voting started 2 weeks ago  

  • Ninth attempt: Community group proposes a CBOR charter amendment initiative for Youngstown Drinking Water Protection Bill of Rights for November General election; NO 57% to YES 43% - Community spent $2,200

Toledo (Lucas County)

  • Lake Erie Bill of Rights community group submits over 10,500 signatures with more than enough valid signatures; BOE keeps the initiative off the ballot; a win in the Ohio supreme court prompts city council to advance the charter amendment to a special election set for February 2019 - a Columbus based law firm represents Toledo resident Josh Abbernathy to protest the amendment; Community groups wins hearing held by BOE - special election set for Feb. 2019.

2019

Toledo (Lucas County) 

  • Josh Abbernathy takes BOE to Ohio Supreme Court and loses - Community group does not wait for response from courts and begins campaign right away; Community group spends $6000 on campaign. Opposition - oil and gas- spends $300,000 in two weeks in an attempt to sway voters - LEBOR passes in Feb. 2019 with 65% of the vote

  • The City of Toledo is sued the follow day by a corporate farm

Columbus (Franklin County)

  • Fourth attempt: Residents group proposes CBOR Charter Amendment by initiative to ban fracking and disposal of waste 

Portage County

 

  • Fifth attempt: Community group continued to collect signatures on last year's initiative, insufficient to submit

Williams County

 

  • Community group proposed County Charter by initiative to protect regional aquifer; gathered enough signatures to qualify for ballot; group currently fighting to get on ballot 

  • BOE declares it won't go to ballot; opposition from BOE, state, and County Commissioners. Ohio Supreme Court ruled against community group, ballot access denied

Federal Civil Rights lawsuit filed on behalf of 7 communities based on civil rights violations by the state of Ohio and 7 county boards of elections by keeping citizen initiatives off ballots unconstitutionally and violating due process, separation of powers and voter suppression. Case is still pending in appeal 

2020

Toledo (Lucas County) 

  • Court overturns LEBOR - declaring it harmed the state's ability to issue permits to pollute and is simultaneously too vague; City of Toledo files a motion to appeal in March and quietly and voluntarily withdraws appeal in May 2020

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