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If you want positive change for Youngstown, there are two citizen initiatives to support by signing petitions so we the people can vote on them in November.

The first one, the Youngstown Drinking Water Protection amendment, is about protecting our drinking water and ensuring the “discretionary water and sewer maintenance funds” are spent on replacing old water pipes and infrastructure to guarantee we have safe water coming out of our taps.

The second one, the Fair Election and Access to Local Government amendment, is about making our local elections more accessible to all candidates and committees. It proposes that only registered voters within the city can contribute to local campaign funding, and each voter is limited to $100 on any single campaign.

When the Supreme Court ruled on Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, justices prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by nonprofit corporations, for-profit corporations, labor unions and other associations. This ruling has allowed those with the most money to influence the outcome of our elections. And we, the residents have witnessed, over and over again how we are silenced by these corporate donations. The Fair Election initiative attempts to level the political playing field, at least here in Youngstown.

Our petition efforts are about citizen cooperation for the common good. It is people standing up to remind alleged public servants that they work for us, not for their corporate sponsors.

This is exactly what the Youngstown Committee for the Two Community Bills of Rights: Drinking Water Protection and Fair Elections stands for. It’s why we’re proudly part of the coalition collecting signatures for these two initiatives. You can contact us and sign both petitions.

We hope you’ll join us in collecting signatures from your neighbors, family and friends, protecting the people and city of Youngstown, and enabling them to vote yes for our rights in November.

Lynn Anderson, Youngstown

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