Many DOCers were heavily engaged in the successful effort in Athens to get Issue 7 on the ballot and to get it passed with the large majority (78%) that supported it. There are two good outcomes: 1) Getting it on the ballot was a victory for local control, and 2) Passing it was a victory for the preservation of the local environment (and at least a step toward protecting the City water supply).
Victory #1 was the most fundamental because the Initiative included a Bill of Rights statement. This Bill of Rights is in the tradition of the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution. It says to the Ohio government, “You shall pass no law that tramples on our inalienable rights recognized by the Ohio Constitution, namely ‘enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and seeking and obtaining happiness and safety.’” This principle applies not only to fracking, but potentially to a host of other issues. It limits government overreach.
Victory #2 was a victory for protection of the City of Athens from deep shale oil and gas drilling (fracking), because that protection is what the people of Athens want. The people of Athens clearly regard fracking within the City as a threat to these inalienable rights.
The effort to get this issue on the ballot started in DOC two years ago when we viewed videos of the Democracy School put on by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF). DOC members and others, under the leadership of Dick McGinn, carried the effort forward as a separate committee, the Bill of Rights Committee (BORC). CELDF provided legal assistance to the Committee. CELDF will be presenting a live Democracy School in the Athens area on December 5-6; for more information contact Dick at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next DOC meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, December 16, in the UCM basement. It will be a celebration of our accomplishments of the year and of the faith in the possibility of meaningful change. It will also be an opportunity for sharing ideas about the future directions in our efforts in support of real democracy – where everyone’s vote counts.