Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

The Kettering Hope

Kettering, Ohio, reforms, initiatives, illustration

Maybe President-Elect Donald Trump can whip Washington into shape. We can hope. And help. Especially on congressional term limits.

But remember: local political fiefdoms can oppress as harshly as the Feds. So . . . who is whipping your town into shape?

Well, welcome to Kettering, Ohio.

Just months ago, Kettering’s powers-that-be placed a new charter amendment on the ballot to weaken term limits. And one citizen, Ron Alban, wasn’t amused. He and two other longtime residents formed Citizens for a Better Kettering (CBK), but not merely to fight the attack on term limits. They also petitioned five new reforms onto the city ballot.

I met this busy activist back in January, while he was working to place an ethics reform measure on the Ohio ballot — before being blocked by the state ballot board. In 2012, Ron had organized a petition drive to put a pay cut and council term limits on Kettering’s ballot. Both passed.

Ron’s CBK measures were: to protect citizen input at council meetings; to require greater transparency on city salaries; to hold elections for council vacancies; to strengthen citizens’ ability to enforce charter provisions; and banning the city council from proposing future charter amendments dealing with term limits, council pay and the citizen ballot initiative process.

On Tuesday, the anti-term limits charter amendment failed.

And all five reform amendments passed overwhelmingly.

Alban and CBK aren’t as media savvy as Mr. Trump, or as wealthy. But their incredible success is a bright beacon of hope.

Most cities in this country have a petition process whereby thoughtful, hardworking citizens can change their local world. Most of us can do what Citizens for a Better Kettering just did.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

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Kettering, Ohio, reforms, initiatives, illustration


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