Why don't our politicians listen to us?
Our politicians are going into backrooms to draw districts which benefit themselves -- to ensure their
own re-elections without being accountable to the voters. In order to gain political advantage, they
have created bizarre districts that zig zag across Ohio and split apart numerous cities and counties.
And then within three months of adopting new congressional districts, the politicians exchanged new
maps in secret, changed the districts again, and even changed the date of the election'
Instead of voters choosing their politicians, politicians are picking their voters.
What is the solution?
A coalition, supported by over 25 nonpartisan organizations in Ohio, led by the League of Women
Voters, Ohio Citizen Action, and Common Cause allowed private citizens to create districts using
nonpartisan redistricting principles. These nonpartisan principles have been incorporated into a
proposed constitutional amendment which would reform Ohio's redistricting process. Willi enough
support tins issue can be on this November's ballot, so that Ohio's voters can decide.
What would the new process look like?
- Politicians will no longer be able to draw their districts. Instead an Ohio Citizens Redistricting Commission, consisting of 12 qualified people, will determine our districts. Politicians, lobbyists, large campaign contributors, and other political insiders will not be permitted on the commission or to choose who is.
- The Commission will be nonpartisan with four Republicans, four Democrats, and four voters not affiliated with either party. New districts will require the approval of 7 of the 12 commission members. Districts can not be created to favor or disfavor a political party, incumbent, or potential candidate.
- No more backroom deals! All commission meetings and records, including proposed plans must be public. The commission must consider plans submitted by the public and must provide the public with an opportunity to review and comment on proposed plans.
- Requires fair and objective redistricting practices, The commission will be required to adopt the plan which complies with all legal requirements, including the Voting Rights Act, and which best meets the following nonpartisan criteria:
- Creates compact districts.
- Minimizes splits of counties, municipalities, townships, and wards.
- Maximizes the number of politically balanced districts.
- Balances the number of districts which favor each political party to reflect the preferences of Ohio voters.
What can I do?
To move forward, we need to identify sufficient resources to gather 385,000 signatures by July 3,
2012 and mobilize a statewide educational campaign for the Nov. 2012 election. You can help by:
- Encouraging your group or organization to endorse this plan.
- Committing your time, money, and influence to supporting the effort to put this On the ballot.
- Communicating your support to
- Following our efforts at www.drawthelineohio.org and on our Facebook page.
It's Time to Tell the Politicians,.. Voter's First!
Ends "Fox in the Henhouse" Politics
- Leaving politicians in charge of drawing their own districts is like letting the fox guard the henhouse.
- For decades politicians have protected their jobs and their friends by hiding out in backrooms drawing districts that benefit them and their friends, leaving voters out in the cold.
- This amendment puts a non-partisan commission of Ohioans in charge, We draw the lines, so politicians, lobbyists and political insiders need not apply.
- Everything the Commission does will be out in the open for all of us to see.
Gives us a Real Voice
- Ohio is an evenly divided state politically, yet because Republicans were in charge of drawing the districts they now control over 60% of the Legislature and 70% of the Congressional seats, The Democrats created similarly lopsided margins when they were in charge.
- This reform will keep either political party from unfairly dominating our State.
Take Political Power back from the Politicians
- Under the current system, politicians operate by their own rules and rig districts to favor themselves and their political party.
- Tile Voters First Amendment will stop the backroom shenanigans and force real accountability. Politicians, lobbyists and political insiders are not permitted on tile redistricting panel- nor can they appoint or remove commission members.
Make the Voter's First Amendment a Reality
- Help us gather the 336,000 signatures needed to place the amendment on the ballot by July 4,2012.
- Encourage your group or organization to endorse the plan.
- Support the plan by committing time, money and influence.
- Follow our efforts at www.votersfirst.org and on Twitter and Facebook,
(from left to right: Aaron Lieb, Matt Page (front), Gary Haba (back) Andy “John J. Rambo” Calvey, Mark Sahley (middle), Brian Ryks, Rich Kemer (front), Jerry Chase (back) & Manus McCaffery.
“Tough Mudder events are hardcore 10-12 mile obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie. As the leading company in the booming obstacle course industry, Tough Mudder has already challenged half a million inspiring participants worldwide and raised more than $2 million dollars for the Wounded Warrior Project. But Tough Mudder is more than an event, it’s a way of thinking. By running a Tough Mudder challenge, you’ll unlock a true sense of accomplishment, have a great time, and discover a camaraderie with your fellow participants that’s experienced all too rarely these days.”
(The above was quoted from the Tough Mudder web site.)
Gary Haba, Brian Ryks, Andy “John J. Rambo” Calvey, Matt Page, Rich Kemer and Aaron Lieb are members of the Beachwood Police Dept. and participated in the Tough Mudder event along with Manus McCaffery (Sgt. Wickliffe PD), Marc Sahley (Cleveland Fire Department) and Jerry Chase, a friend of them all. All 9 team members trained tirelessly for the event. On April 15, 2012, I had the pleasure of photographing the event for the team. Watching them go through the course was simply “inspirational.” Individually, all members of the team worked together to ensure that all members completed the course as a team. It was amazing watching not only the team but all participants in the event struggle though the course and not give up. As a spectator, I could almost feel the excruciating pain each participant felt digging deep within, not only physically but emotionally and the feeling not of relief but of a sense of accomplishing something bigger than themselves and conquering it. This is similar to the mission of the “Wounded Warrior Project.” Well done to all and to all who participated, you will always be “One Tough Mudder” acting as one!”
(This above paragraph was written by Jamey Appell, a Beachwood Police Officer who left the event wondering and wishing he knew that feeling the participants had when they crossed the finish line. The finish line is only as far away as you make it and how you get there is your own destiny to discover.)
Scenario: Officer X posts on his public Facebook page the following comment: “Fellow citizens of City, it is unfortunate that your wasteful Chief of Police and spineless City Council members have refused to fund the purchase of new tactical weapons for the police department. This decision will someday lead to certain harm for the citizens of City.” Officer X is terminated.
I indicated in my previous article related to recent trends in the social media and the workplace (OPBA Police Beat, Volume 33, Number 2, Summer 2011) that there were potential 1st Amendment issues with regard to employer policies. Many employers have instituted social media policies that restrict or limit a public employee’s ability to criticize, denigrate or voice any opinion about the employer. This is seen, from the eyes of the employer, as insubordination or conduct unbecoming. For the most part, the courts have upheld discipline or termination for certain employee speech and by virtue of these decisions, placed reasonable limitations on the public employees right to speech (conduct is also considered a form of speech). Speech or conduct that disrupts or interferes with the public employer’s efficient and effective operation is punishable regardless of the 1st Amendment protection afforded the average citizen. The Supreme Court has held, “When a citizen enters government service, the citizen by necessity must accept certain limitations on his or her freedom.” See, e.g., Waters v. Churchill (1994), 511 U.S. 661, 671, 114 S. Ct. 1878, 128 L. Ed. 2d 686 (1994) (plurality opinion) ("[T]he government as employer indeed has far broader powers than does the government as sovereign"). Government employers, like private employers, need a significant degree of control over their employees' words and actions; without it, there would be little chance for the efficient provision of public services. Connick v. Myers (1983), 461 U.S. 138, 142, 103 S. Ct. 1684 ("[G]overnment offices could not function if every employment decision became a constitutional matter").
However, the Supreme Court has adopted a standard to determine whether a public employee’s speech is protected speech or unprotected and subject to discipline. The Supreme Court has held that the Constitution's First Amendment protects a public employee's right, in certain circumstances, to speak as a citizen addressing matters of public concern. Under the First Amendment, (1) the speech restrictions that a government entity imposes in its role as employer must be directed at speech that has some potential to affect the entity's operations; and (2) so long as public employees are speaking as citizens about matters of public concern, such employees must face only those speech restrictions that are necessary for their employers to operate efficiently and effectively. See Garcetti v. Ceballos (2006), 547 U.S. 410 at syllabus; 126 S. Ct. 1951. “Thus, two inquiries guide interpretation of the constitutional protections accorded to public employee speech. The first inquiry requires determining whether the employee spoke as a citizen on a matter of public concern. If the answer is no, then the employee has no First Amendment cause of action based on his or her employer's reaction to the speech. If the answer is yes, then (1) the possibility of a First Amendment claim arises, and (2) the question becomes whether the relevant government entity had an adequate justification for treating the employee differently from any other member of the general public.” Garcetti at 418, citing Pickering v. Board of Educ. (1968), 391 U.S. 563, 88 S. Ct. 1731. However, “when public employees make statements pursuant to their official duties, the employees are not speaking as citizens for First Amendment purposes, and the Constitution does not insulate their communications from employer discipline.” Garcetti, at 421.
The Court reasoned that, “The Court's decisions, then, have sought both to promote the individual and societal interests that are served when employees speak as citizens on matters of public concern and to respect the needs of government employers attempting to perform their important public functions. See, e.g., Rankin v. McPherson (1987), 483 U.S. 378, 384, 107 S. Ct. 2891, 97 L. Ed. 2d 315 (recognizing "the dual role of the public employer as a provider of public services and as a government entity operating under the constraints of the First Amendment"). Underlying our cases has been the premise that while the First Amendment invests public employees with certain rights, it does not empower them to "constitutionalize the employee grievance." Connick, 461 U.S., at 154.
The Court has gone on to note in Borough of Duryea v. Guarnieri (2011), 131 S. Ct. 2488, 2501, that a petition that “involves nothing more than a complaint about a change in the employee's own duties” does not relate to a matter of public concern and accordingly “may give rise to discipline without imposing any special burden of justification on the government employer.” United States v. Treasury Employees (1995), 513 U.S. 454, 466, 115 S. Ct. 1003. “The right of a public employee under the Petition Clause is a right to participate as a citizen, through petitioning activity, in the democratic process. It is not a right to transform everyday employment disputes into matters for constitutional litigation in the federal courts.” Duryea, at 2501.
So back to our scenario regarding Officer X, is the speech protected under the First Amendment so that Officer X can be reinstated or is it unprotected and Officer X’s termination will be upheld? Every case involves different facts and circumstances, but how would you decide?
The Civil Service Commission of Middleburgh Hts. is conducting a competitive examination to Establish an Eligibility List for Patrol Officers. click here for more information
Terry Gallagher Wins the Samuel Miller Lifetime Achievement Reward
click here for article
Senate Bill Analysis for SB 340 for the changes passed by the Senate for the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund.
Senate Bill Analysis for SB 343 for changes to the Public Employees Retirement System for SB 343
The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is recruiting for current and future Security Officer job openings. The position requires a current and valid Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA) basic training certificate.
Please check the link below for further details.
NEORSD Careers: http://www.neorsd.org/careers