Common Council Session of 12.18.12: Citizen Comments

Here’s the second of my posts on Tuesday’s session.

Move to Amend. James Hartwick, a resident and leader of the Starin Park Neighborhood Association, introduced a petition (in support of the Move to Amend campaign) for our 4.2.2013 ballot calling to amend the U.S. Constitution, under this question:

Shall the City of Whitewater adopt the following resolution:

Resolved, that We the People of the City of Whitewater, Wisconsin, seek to reclaim democracy from the expansion of corporate personhood rights and the corrupting influence of unregulated political contributions and spending. We stand with the Move to Amend campaign and communities across the country to support passage of an amendment to the United States Constitution stating: 1. Only human beings – not corporations, limited liability companies, unions, nonprofit organizations or similar associations and corporate entities – are endowed with constitutional rights, and 2. Money is not speech, and therefore, regulating political contributions and spending is not equivalent to limiting political speech. Be it further resolved, that we hereby instruct our state and federal representatives to enact resolutions and legislation to advance this effort.

Although I am strongly opposed to the petition (libertarians generally think Citizens United was a sound, pro-speech decision), I am strongly supportive of placing it on our ballot. Residents should have a chance, following the collection of hundreds of other residents’ petition signatures, to vote on a resolution like this.

If anything, I wish we had more petition drives for more ballot resolutions.

I recall seeing Mr. Hartwick at a table across from the Old Armory, at the November election, collecting petition signatures for this resolution. Good for him. I briefly thought about stopping over and talking to him about it, but I quickly thought better of it. He was working, so to speak, and did not need the distraction of a pesky blogger.

I’ll write on this topic closer to the election, in opposition to the resolution, but not to those working toward it. I wish well anyone who works sincerely in a case like this, as his or her conscience sees fit.

My preferred outcome: the most successful unsuccessful ballot resolution in the history of our city.

Dr. Nosek’s Remarks. As is his annual custom, toward the end of each year, this year Dr. Nosek spoke on topics of concern to him. There just aren’t many people in any community who care enough to commit to annual remarks like this. There also aren’t many people who are – regardless of views – as interesting. I’d don’t think there’s ever been a time that Dr. Nosek hasn’t held my attention.

Next: On the Police and Fire Commission.