Two initiatives for the November ballot kicked off last night with good attendance and hope for success.
Take Back Toledo had about 150 people at their 'recall Carty' meeting at the Erie Street Market. (Details on the door-locking issue are available here.) The first prong of their approach is to recall Mayor Carty Finkbeiner and they distributed petitions for that effort at the meeting.
COAST (Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes) representative Chris Finney was in from Cincinnati to help start the Toledo charter amendment to ban red-light cameras. Finney explained how they were successful in Cincinnati in building a coalition with such groups as COAST, Americans For Prosperity-Ohio Chapter, Cincinnati Chapter NAACP, and the Libertarian, Green and Republican Parties to prohibit Cincinnati from installing any red-light or speed cameras.
As this was an organizing meeting, several leaders were identified and details of the requirements for a charter amendment were provided. Petitions, detailed instructions and talking points will be distributed to attendees by the end of the week.
Take Back Toledo will hold additional kickoffs Wednesday at 5:30 at Dave's Home Cooked Foods on Reynolds Road and at Arnies (Monroe Street) on Thursday at 5:30. They have to gather around 20,000 signatures in a 90-day period.
The red-light charter amendment only requires about 4,700 signatures that must be submitted 75 days prior to a regularly scheduled municipal election. The amendment could appear on either the September primary or November general election, though the consensus appeared to be to place it on the November ballot.
One of the observations from both these meetings was the positive attitude of the attendees. While those present were angry about various issues, (decisions by the mayor or the lack of due process in the camera citations) they were very positive about the options for success.
For quite some time, I've been seeing what I call 'pockets of change' - little groups of people who band together to attempt to do something different to better our community. Those little pockets, however, are isolated and small. These two efforts seem to bring people together in common causes - to merge those pockets into a bigger and more powerful group. As people looked around the room, saw the number of people who were also interested, they developed a optimism that I haven't seen in a long time.
I think the success of getting both these initiatives on the ballot will be the start of better things, as people realize they do have the power to impact and influence their local government.