November 5th, 2014
Community Rights took a big step forward in yesterday’s elections, with a record number of CELDF-drafted measures on the ballot in Ohio, Oregon, and California.
Athens, OH, and Mendocino County, CA, passed Community Bills of Rights initiatives banning fracking as a violation of community and nature’s rights. In Athens, voters approved the measure with 78% of the vote, and the Mendocino initiative passed with 67% of the vote.
The Community Bills of Rights laws establish community rights to water and a healthy environment; the rights of nature to exist and flourish; and the right to local, community self-governance. Further, they ban fracking as a violation of these rights, and eliminate the authority of corporations to wield their corporate “rights” to override community and nature’s rights.
CELDF celebrates and congratulates the hard work and commitment of each and every community to move Community Rights forward this election cycle, and we look forward to working with more communities over the coming year to advance the rights of people, communities, and nature.
OHIO: Athens, OH, voters approved a Community Bill of Rights banning fracking. CELDF-drafted measures were also on the ballot in Youngstown, Kent, and Gates Mills.
In Youngstown, residents demonstrated incredible commitment by qualifying four Community Rights ballot measures in the last two years which would ban fracking. They’ve been repeatedly and overwhelmingly outspent – opponents outspent community members by 20-to-1 this election to defeat the measure.
Undeterred, the Youngstown community plans to move forward. “We don’t lose until we quit, and why would we quit this civil and environmental rights movement, a movement so important and vital for our children and the future of all living things?” stated Susie Beiersdorfer, a leader in advancing Community Rights in Youngstown and beyond. .
In Kent and Gates Mills, OH, our community partners worked hard to advance Community Rights and protect themselves from fracking. In response, local government officials and law directors propagated fear through disseminating misinformation. Despite the opposition’s distortions, residents continued to advocate for Community Rights throughout their campaigns, demonstrating determination and commitment, and today are evaluating next steps.
OREGON: In Josephine County, OR, the Freedom from Pesticides Alliance qualified the CELDF-draftedFreedom from Pesticides Bill of Rights to the ballot – becoming the first community in the state to vote on a Community Bill of Rights measure. Opponents (including CropLife, a D.C.-based industry front group) outspent community members by 8-to-1.
Residents are committed to moving forward. Audrey Moore, spokesperson of the Freedom from Pesticides Alliance, stated, “This is but the first of many campaigns needed in order to put a stop to the chemical assaults taking place all across Oregon.”
CALIFORNIA: Mendocino County residents adopted the first-in-the-state Community Bill of Rights law banning fracking by a vote of 67%.
Mendocino County residents contacted San Francisco-based Global Exchange for assistance to ban fracking and protect themselves and local ecosystems. CELDF provided support as well, both in the drafting of the Community Bill of Rights citizens’ initiative, and in providing education through CELDF’s Democracy School training held in Mendocino for residents last spring.