Anti-fracking ballot issue fight must end

September 30, 2019

The Vindicator. We are glad to see that anti-fracking activists are rethinking, at least for now, their ongoing and repeatedly unsuccessful attempts to gain voter approval on a resolution that would effectively ban, or at least heavily restrict, the oil and natural gas industry from doing business — any business — in the city of Youngstown.

The ballot issue has failed eight times since 2013. Think about that — eight times.

We believe it’s safe to assume the issue has failed so many times because voters realize the negative longterm effects the issue could have on business and the local economy. Legal experts also have argued that the costs could be astronomical to taxpayers in terms of legal battles that likely would ensue if the issue passed.

Known as the “Community Bill of Rights,” this amendment to Youngstown’s charter has been described by economic development experts as a “dangerous amendment” that would lead to an economic recovery setback.

Supporters of the anti-fracking charter amendment decided this year not to submit documentation in an attempt to return the issue to the November ballot, and they say they may not do so next year either.

Still, they say it may not go away permanently. Instead, they are regrouping.

But one group member admits they are tired of defeat, even after begging people to help the cause.

“I’ve spent so much time going door-to-door getting signatures and doing it with so few people. I haven’t given up, but where are the people standing with me? We have a small group, and we’re not getting help from others. We need people to stand up and get the facts. We want people to join us.”

That anti-frack activist also raised concern about the amount of money spent campaigning against the charter amendment issue.

“It’s so sickening,” she said. “It’s endless money. What I’ve learned is, money is speech. I thought we had a democracy, but we have an oligarchy. It’s stacked against us,” said anti-frack committee member Lynn Anderson.

We disagree on that assessment of our political system.

No one should dispute that we live in a democracy. In fact, this issue repeatedly has been handled democratically. But after eight attempts and eight failures, we believe it is time for the supporters of the Community Bill of Rights to realize the majority of voters have spoken. Now, the group should stop trying to force the matter on voters who have defeated the measure soundly eight times.

It’s time for the frack-free group to realize that and give up on its plans to consider new ways of seeking passage in the future.


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