Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Let the People Decide: Pittsburgh City Initiative

"A majority vote in the affirmative will mean that Pittsburgh makes history by taking a stand for Community Rights over corporate privilege, once again."

Just as a constitutional amendment is much stronger than a statute passed by Congress, this proposed amendment will strengthen the voice of the people by putting it directly into the Charter:

"Should the Pittsburgh Home Rule Charter be amended to add Section 104 “The City of Pittsburgh Bill of Rights”, which enumerates the right to water, the rights of natural communities, the right to a sustainable energy future, and the right to self-government, and which secures those rights by banning corporate gas extraction within the Cityand subordinating corporate rights to the rights of Pittsburgh residents?”

Councilman Doug Shields:  “On matters of such importance how can you not go to the people for their advice and consent?  That is something the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania  forgot to do. . . When corporate special interests outweigh people’s rights, well, then where do we go from here? Throughout history, democracy has served us well.  I hope we continue to embrace that concept and let people govern themselves."

Mrs. Harris went on to say that “the Solicitor even goes so far as to say that property owner rights to enjoy their property would fall on the side of drilling rather than banning drilling, and that they might sue. The fear of such suits should not deter us from letting the citizens of Pittsburgh vote on this legislation. The fear of death or degrading of our life, health, and property is much more important.  This one is for the children.  It’s their future, and we have to get it right.”

When unjust lawmaking deprives the citizens of clean water, air, land and local self government to determine what takes place within their own communities, it is possible to take justice into our own hands and create just laws----"thank you" City of Pittsburgh Councilmen for showing the country how to what we did not know was possible!

August 1, 2011
CONTACT: Ben Price, (717) 254-3233

(Tuesday, August 2, 2011) On Monday,August 1st, Pittsburgh City Council, by a vote of 6-3, approved the placing of a referendum question on the November ballot that will allow City residents to amend the Pittsburgh Home Rule Charter. The proposed amendment includes a Community Bill of Rights, and a ban on extraction of“natural” gas within the City to protect those rights. Council members voting in favor of the measure were Burgess, Harris, Kraus, Peduto, Rudiak and Shields. Voting against the measure were Dowd, Kail-Smith and Lavelle.

Councilman Burgess, who had abstained from voting the measure out of Committee on July 27th, indicated that no matter what reservations he may have about the amendment, voting his conscience and principles meant that Council should leave it to the People to decide. His vote created a veto-proof majority for the measure, which is significant since the mayor has indicated he may chose to use his veto power to strike the ballot question.  However,the Mayor has ten days in which to sign, veto, or let slide any legislation.  If he waits the full ten days, it will be past the date when the Division of Elections must have the referendum to put it on the ballot.  Council President Darlene Harris has requested in a letter to him that the Mayor act early.  There is no guarantee that he will do so. If he decides not to act, the measure might not appear on this coming election’s ballot....continued...www.celdf.org