100 signatures reached
To: Columbus City Council
Columbus City Council: Let the People Vote on Protecting Our Water!
We, the People of Columbus Metro*, who purchase and depend on safe Columbus Drinking Water for our families, demand that the Columbus City Council put the Columbus Community Bill of Rights (CCBOR) charter amendment on the November 2020 Columbus ballot.
Why is this important?
The CCBOR charter amendment, if passed, will ban disposing of radioactive frack waste in our city and hold polluters within our watershed liable. Currently, we have 11 active injection wells (with 3 more pending permits) having accepted over 613 million gallons of frack waste and a permitted landfill site for taking radioactive drill cuttings within our watershed. (Full language here: https://columbusbillofrights.org/our-initiative/)
In 2018, concerned volunteers gathered over 12,000 valid Columbus voter signatures, and with all legal requirements met, the Columbus City Council voted to put the CCBOR on the ballot. However, due to a state law of questionable constitutionality, the four Franklin County Board of Elections members, unelected by the public, voted to deny the people of Columbus their right to vote on the CCBOR on the Nov 2018 ballot.
Because safe drinking water is critical to our community, the volunteers did not give up; so they began another initiative to allow voters to have a voice on the November 2020 ballot. Due to a charter amendment passed in 2014, petitioners in Columbus have only one year to collect signatures, and Primary Day would be a prime focus for collecting many signatures. Governor DeWine, however, considered the hazard to public health to be too great to hold in-person voting on March 17. Out of concern for public safety, the group ceased signature gathering with nearly 9,000 signatures already collected. Time limits on signature collection, especially in this pandemic, are destroying our constitutional right to initiative.
In good faith, the CCBOR group:
1. Requested an extension of the one-year time limit equal to the time lost during the shelter-in-place order. City Council denied the request.
2. Requested that the Columbus Department of Health (CDH) toll the time requirements due to the pandemic emergency. CDH deferred to City Council.
3. Requested that City Council use its authority under the charter to place the CCBOR, by a two-thirds vote, on the November 2020 ballot. City Council denied the request.
Columbus City Council tells us it could cost the City money if it passes and if the City were to be sued. That is a risk that the People should have a say on by voting on it.
We ask how much is clean and safe drinking water worth to the people of Columbus? Let the People decide! City Council should enable our democratic right to vote on citizen-initiated proposals to OUR City Charter, especially during this pandemic.
SIGN HERE to tell the Columbus City Council that YOU WANT A VOICE on protecting our water - Put the Columbus Community Bill of Rights on the November 2020 ballot.
Note: Because this decision has consequences beyond Columbus, Ohio, this petition may be signed by Columbus Metro residents and other concerned Ohioans, Americans, and Global Citizens.
* Columbus Metro Communities that purchase their Water from the City of Columbus: (https://www.columbus.gov/utilities/water-protection/Water---Sewer-Contract-Communities/)
Various other small county pockets like Brookside Estates, Hamilton Meadows, Ridgewood, Village Park, etc. - various contracts with Franklin County
* Columbus Metro Communities that the City of Columbus does not serve but are within the Columbus area watershed:
Canal Winchester, Pickerington, Westerville, and various townships, like Blendon, that Aqua Ohio serves.