PCRG County Charter

The Rights it Secures

  1. Right to untainted elections, initiative, referendum, and recall.  Currently, only residents of chartered municipalities have local rights of initiative, referendum or recall.  Rural residents have no such rights, making them second-class citizens.  The Portage Charter ensures urban and rural Portage citizens equal rights of local initiative, referendum, and recall.

  2. Right to a healthy environment.  

    1. The Ohio Farm Bureau lists 18 Portage County farms with farmers’ markets.  The Portage Development Board records over 700 farms in our county.  The Portage Park District manages 1300 acres of parks and preserves with 14 miles of hike and bike trails.  We have much to protect.

    2. Portage County is part of three watersheds into Lake Erie---The Cuyahoga, Chagrin & Grand, and two going east and south into the Ohio River---the Mahoning and the Tuscarawas.  We owe it to ourselves and our neighbors downstream to keep those precious waters clean.

    3. The Portage Charter we’re proposing secures us the right of a healthy environment, by banning any new drilling or oil and gas infrastructure, (except for individual residential or local business use), “fracking” waste injection, and other activities that violate our right to protect our community.

  3. The Right to a Sustainable Community. 

    1. As of March 20, 2018, HB 393 was moving through the energy and Natural Resources Committee of the Ohio House of Representatives.  If passed into law, this would “authorize the sale of brine as a commodity for surface application.  It can’t be “cleaned” enough to make it safe.   If there are ways to remove the toxic chemicals, they are expensive and so not likely to be used.   There is no mechanism or agency that is monitoring how “clean” it is before spreading.   Even if toxic chemicals can be removed, it is radioactive, as it comes from “frack” wells.  In Ohio, the law states that you cannot use brine from horizontally fractured wells on roads.  There are claims that the liquid is only from conventional wells, and that they filter the waste.   However, a number of active concerned citizens have asked how, and can’t get answers.    These same active, concerned citizens have asked what is done with the filtered out toxins and can’t get answers to that question, either.

    2. We have Portage residents working with organizations like the Sierra Club, developing ideas for how communities can become sustainable with policies that look towards sustainable energy, incentives for sustainable building and rehabbing for energy efficiency, more efficient transportion.

    3. The Portage Charter secures us the right to pass local laws, establishing sustainable policies and prohibitions about our water, energy, construction, transportation and other activities that might secure our sustainability.

  4. Rights Secured against Corporations.

    1. Local Portage Chambers of Commerce list over 50 small local businesses (including 9 manufacturers).   Local businesses need a local government willing and able to protect and further their interests.

    2. Corporations are created by legal documents issued by government.   Large outside corporations ought not be able to come into our community and pollute or damage our environment and leave us to clean up the mess.    The violator of our community ought to pay for cleanup of pollution they cause.  

    3. Our charter secures the right of our local public officials and Portage residents to govern corporate activities in ways that protect human & community rights.   

  5. The Right to Own Property and be protected against eminent domain for private profit.  

  6. The Right to Peaceful Enjoyment of Home, free from interference intrusion, or impediments resulting from activities prohibited in this Charter.

  7. Equal Rights of All. Every individual is equal before and under the law, and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, or mental or physical disability. 

  8. Our Charter ensures that changes to the charter or the form of government under this charter can be made---with the signature gathering requiring only 8% of the vote in the last gubernatorial election, and prohibitions of interference with getting it on the ballot.   Obviously, the public still gets to vote on amendments or other changes.  We’ve been assured by the lawyers we’re working with that if we want to change the form of government, we may do that with amendments.   Also allows for a review after 2 years.    Designates a public forum to discuss issues, with a regular review every 5 years.

For Complete Details, read the entire Charter.