Citizens United petitions verified in Shorewood, Whitefish Bay
Matter to come before elected officials
Village officials in Whitefish Bay and Shorewood on Monday morning completed verifications of petitions calling for referendums on the U.S. Supreme Court's controversial Citizens United ruling.
After a 60-day petition drive, local progressive group Grassroots Northshore and state progressive group United Wisconsin in late-August turned in the petitions, outlining referendums that call for a reversal of the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling. The two groups claimed the ruling "granted corporations the right to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections."
On Monday, Whitefish Bay clerk Kayla Chadwick reported 1,246 verified signatures while Shorewood clerk Sherry Grant reported 1,173. Whitefish Bay exceeded its required signature total — 1,027 signatures, or 15 percent of the number of votes cast in the 2010 gubernatorial election, according to statutes — by 8 percent, while Shorewood topped its requirement by 14 percent.
According to United Wisconsin, 16 states and more than 500 municipalities across America have taken similar measures to declare opposition to the Citizens United ruling. Nearby Wauwatosa recently decided to place a referendum on the spring 2014 ballot, and 18 Wisconsin counties and municipalities have already created petitions or passed advisory referendums.
Having cleared the verification hurdle, identical resolutions will be considered by the Whitefish Bay Village Board on Sept. 16 and the Shorewood Village Board on Oct. 7. At those meetings, village officials will have the option of approving the resolution immediately or sending it to voters in spring 2014.
"A referendum would be preferable because it would really show the support behind changing the way we do politics now," Grassroots Northshore founder Keith Schmitz said. "It seems like there's an enormous amount of fatigue on both sides of the political spectrum. It's great to see that we were able to get the signatures...it shows that on this issue that people still have a keen interest in politics, and a keen interest on the part of the people to take their system back."
The twin resolutions, identical save the name of the village, read:
"Shall the Village of Whitefish Bay adopt the following resolution:
RESOLVED, the Village of Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, calls for reclaiming democracy from the corrupting effects of undue corporate influence by amending the United States Constitution to establish that:
1. Only human beings, not corporations, are entitled to 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."
WHAT: Shorewood Village Board meeting, consideration of Citizens United petition
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 7
WHERE: Shorewood Village Hall, 3930 North Murray Avenue
WHAT: Whitefish Bay Village Board meeting, consideration of Citizens United petition
WHEN: 7 p.m. Sept. 16
WHERE: Whitefish Bay Village Hall, 5300 North Marlborough Drive
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