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Columbus Free Press:

Corporate State says DEMOCRACY is too EXPENSIVE

by Tish O’Dell

August 18, 2017

In several “news” articles posted over the past few weeks, oil and gas industry and their allies argue that a local Community Bill of Rights ballot initiative submitted by Youngstown voters is “too expensive” for the community. Inside Sources  (, WKBN News ( and The DailyDigger  ( present facts and figures provided by the industry (note: Inside Sources and The Daily Digger are the industry), leaving out the full story.

The Bigger Picture

The oil/gas industry lobbyist quoted in the articles is Jackie Stewart. Contrary to Stewart’s claim, there have been no special elections. Each community rights measure has been either on the primary or general election ballot. Yet, she claims the initiatives account for the cost of holding regularly scheduled elections.

There are approximately 40,000 registered voters in Youngstown. The only expenses that can be directly attributed to the people’s initiatives are the required advertising costs of $19,000. Over the course of six elections, that is approximately 8 cents per voter.

In her analysis of the cost of democracy, Stewart neglects to mention the cost of contaminated water sources and poisoned air. Who pays for clean water supplies? For repairs from earthquakes? For illness from the leaks, spills, and venting of toxic chemicals into the air we breathe? For the loss of property values?


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