Needham Citizens Tell Town Meeting: Vote YES on Article 23

As part of our preparation to present our citizens petition to Town Meeting, we asked Needham residents to weigh in. At a small number of community gatherings (including LWV Candidates’ night) and online, over 100 people signed their names in support of passing Article 23.

Town Meeting Members, these are comments from your constituents:

We need to do all we can to eliminate Super PACS. Thank you.

Thanks for doing this.

The US is teetering toward democracy and welfare for the corporations and very rich–with the rest of us left in the dust.

We need to restore some sanity and some equanimity to the election process. This is a first step–let’s take it together.

Free speech belongs to the citizenry.  A corporate entity does not enjoy the same rights as citizens and should not be given this overwhelming financial advantage over each individual voter.

In a democratic republic, politicians should serve the people – all the people, not just the highest bidder.  Corruption is bad enough without letting businesses looking for favors fund candidates to do their bidding; or worse, pay off both sides with funds to ensure they can’t lose.

Since Congress won’t take action, the people need to. This is one of the most important issues of our time. Thanks for doing this.

A terrible hurt has been thrust upon the public by the indefencible decision made by our Supreme Court-it’s a licence to buy elections for those with the most money.

Corporations are not citizens because their decisionmakers’ first loyalty is to their shareholders’ interests, not those of the nation, even if those interests conflict.  If they were citizens, they would be traitors. Corporation members already have the rights and responsibilities of citizens as individuals; they should have no added power to influence public affairs as corps. Incorporation protects them from personal accountability for their actions as a corp. No accountability, no rights.

Town Meeting is my voice, representing real people–not corporations. Let’s use the people’s voice –Town Meeting–to return our democracy back to the people!

I fully agree with the warrant article. 

Town Meeting Members can request the list of names by emailing WethePeopleNeedham@gmail.com. Continue reading

UPDATE: 52 Massachusetts Cities/Towns Have Passed ‘Citizens United’ Resolutions

In Town Meetings and City Councils across Massachusetts, municipalities are calling for an end to Citizens United.

On WEDNESDAY May9 Monday, 5/14, Needham Town Meeting will vote on whether passed its resolution to call for a Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizens United.

At the time of writing, here’s the list of towns/cities that have passed Citizens United resolutions (click to expand): Continue reading

James Hugh Powers: Town Meeting Should Decide

This effort to stifle Town Meetings enraged the Towns,

and lit the fuse of the American Revolution.

When our 2012 Annual Town Meeting convenes on May 7th next, it will find an unusual article on its warrant, inserted by the Selectmen on a citizens’ petition under state law.

Warrant Article 23 calls upon the Town Meeting to support an amendment to the United States Constitution which would overturn a decision of the United States Supreme Court relative to corporate and union spending on elections.  It would also petition our State Legislature to endorse such a constitutional amendment.

The citizens’ petition addresses the rights of “persons” under the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments of our Federal Constitution, as interpreted by opinions of the United States Supreme Court over nearly two centuries.  It concerns basic rights of all Americans, including residents of Needham, and of the town itself.

In this essay, I do not debate the citizen petition.  Instead, I address only (a) whether the subject matter of the petition is properly before our Town Meeting, and (b) whether Town Meeting has the power to deal with it.  Constitutionally-speaking, the fundamental challenge has to do with the right of individuals, whether alone or in groups, to petition the Congress, their state Legislature and other governmental authorities for redress of their grievances.

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NEWS: Foxboro: A town divided (local election time inundated with ads)

some wonder whether the media onslaught is meant to have an impact on voters’ choices.

A foreshadowing of what big-moneyed interest can do to influence a local election in a “Citizens United” world…

Residents are hearing about their town frequently in commercials on Boston radio station WBZ and TV spots on MSNBC and other networks supporting a vote on a potential resort casino.

Las Vegas developer Steve Wynn announced plans last year to build a $1 billion destination casino on land owned by the Kraft Group across from Gillette Stadium on Route 1.

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NEWS: Framingham joins effort to overturn Citizens United decision

Framingham Town Meeting has a request for Congress that resonates around the country: Help stop runaway election campaign spending.

Framingham is one of the latest cities and towns to join what state Sen. Jamie Eldridge, D-Action, calls an “amazing grassroots effort” to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial 2010 Citizens United decision.

Town Meeting last week overwhelmingly passed a resolution that members now want to see make its way to the state Legislature and then Washington. It calls on Congress to pass and allow each state to ratify a constitutional amendment that sets “reasonable limits” on all election contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own spending.

“In other words, the last thing we want to do is leave all the major offices to multimillionaires and billionaires,” said lead sponsor Mel Warshaw.

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