YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Activists hope the third time is a charm for the Community Bill of Rights amendment.
Youngstown voters will be deciding the issue once again this May.
Proponents think there is enough support for the issue this go-round. At the same time, a radio ad with Mayor John McNally is asking voters to say no.
Ad Excerpt: “You can feel it, Youngstown is coming back. Unfortunately, this is all at risk because of a dangerous charter amendment that is once again on the ballot in Youngstown.”
Plumbers and Pipefitters Local No. 396 is paying for the ad. McNally said he was approached by trade groups, political parties and the Regional Chamber about the spot.
McNally said the amendment, which bans fracking in the city, has a negative effect on jobs coming to the area with the oil and gas industry. Specifically, he is concerned about the overall effect of the bill, not only with actual drilling, but with ancillary business that comes with it.
“It basically says you cannot take anything through the city of Youngstown that has anything to do with the oil and gas industry. I think that is very short-sighted,” said McNally.
At the same time, McNally said the group’s concerns about fracking are genuine.
“I have already voted no on the Community Bill of Rights issue,” said McNally. “I don’t’ diminish those concerns, but I do think the Community Bill of Rights goes beyond that.”
Heidi Kroeck supports the charter amendment and is new to the group behind it. She thinks getting the issue on the ballot for the third time shows why it is so important.
“I became interested in getting involved and wanting to have an effect in what was going to happen to the future of Youngstown,” said Kroeck. “I just want to know that Youngstown is safe and that we as citizens have a say in what goes on in our community.”
Republicans and Democrats have publicly spoken out against the charter amendment. Last May, voters said no by a margin of 57 to 43 percent. In November, 55 percent said no.
Resident Tracey Winbush said the issue is “unenforceable and unrealistic.”
“It is actually not telling the residents of the city of Youngstown about hydraulic fracturing. It has nothing to do with water and air purification. It has to do with an agenda,” said Winbush. “It is not worth the paper it is written on.”
In the meantime, supporters of the Community Bill of Rights are hoping to chip away at voters a little at a time.
“We are getting more and more voters every time,” said supporter Lynn Anderson. “We are going to win by a landslide this time.”