lead poisoning petition?

Submitted by Susan Miller on Sun, 09/02/2007 - 21:43.

Didn't we just try to put something else on the ballot?

Ohio Supreme Court says voters can decide lead-paint issue

8/31/2007, 5:31 p.m. ET

The Associated Press


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court on Friday ruled that voters can have the last word on whether paint companies should be subjected to paying damages to families whose children were sickened by exposure to lead paint.

The high court on Aug. 1 struck down Democratic Governor Strickland's Jan. 8 veto of a bill that limited such damages, saying it came after a 10-day time limit for vetoes laid out in the state Constitution.

The court, in Friday's 4-3 ruling, said although Strickland's veto was out of bounds, voters could decide whether the bill should become law by submitting petitions for a referendum. They would have until Oct. 30, or 90 days after the ruling, to come up with enough signatures on petitions to force voters' reconsideration of the law.

The court -- in today's 4-to-3 ruling --says although Strickland's veto was out of bounds, voters could decide whether the bill should become law by submitting petitions for a referendum. They would have until October 30th --or 90 days after the ruling -- to come up with enough signatures on petitions to force voters'

Children are stricken with lead poisoning by eating chipped-off pieces of paint or inhaling its dust. The poisoning can cause irreversible brain damage, can retard mental and physical development and reduce attention span. It can also retard fetal development, even at extremely low levels, according to the federal Consumer Product Safety Division.

Benson Wolman, a civil rights lawyer representing several Ohio-based housing groups, had asked Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner to seek the Supreme Court's reconsideration of its ruling. Wolman said the groups likely would collect petition signatures with an eye on the November 2008 ballot. They would need 241,366 valid signatures of registered Ohio voters, or 6 percent of the total 2006 vote for governor.

The law, which placed a $5,000 limit on certain court damages and created new protections for companies that once sold paint with lead in it, was passed by the Republican-controlled state Legislature before its members adjourned in December. Former Gov. Bob Taft, as he left office, intended to let the bill become law without his signature, but the Strickland administration pulled it back.

In a motion filed Aug. 13, Brunner asked the Supreme Court whether Ohioans still had time to circulate referendum petitions to keep the bill from becoming law, or if a 90-day time period for that expired while the bill was tied up in court. Republican lawmakers had sued Brunner — also a Democrat — over the veto.

"The constitutional right of citizens to referendum is of paramount importance," the majority said in an unsigned opinion. "In light of the unique circumstances of this case ... , the only satisfactory solution is to move the beginning of the 90-day referendum period to the date of the (Supreme Court) decision."

The majority ruling is in conflict with the Ohio Constitution, which dictates that the effective date of a bill is 90 days after the governor signs it or allows it to become law, Justice Robert Cupp wrote in a dissent. The Supreme Court, in its Aug. 1 ruling, determined that date was Jan. 5.

"However desirable an extension of time for a referendum in this case may be, it has no authorization in the text of the Constitution and in fact contradicts it," Cupp wrote.

Justice Judith Lanzinger agreed with the majority but objected to what amounts to a 60-day petition signing window, instead of the full 90 days.

Wolman agreed the period is too narrow.

"We're right now in the process of seeing if it could be done in 60 days. Basically, it's never been done in that time period," Wolman said.

Strickland remains opposed to the portion of the law that limits damages, spokesman Keith Dailey said.

"The governor has concerns about this law, specifically that it limits the ability of an individual to seek justice," Dailey said.

The Ohio Manufacturers' Association, which filed a brief with the court on behalf of paint makers and other businesses, argued that the opponents of the law have had seven months to challenge it and failed to do so. The group feels it's too early to tell if it will oppose efforts to repeal the law, lobbyist Ryan Augsburger said."

Will they fly planes over Ohio cities and towns saying "Don't sign the petition -- we need lead poisoning!

You want to protect your kids and yourself from poisons the government had foisted on you? Circulate a petition. If you think that a family that has a lead poisoned child has time to leave work and family to circulate petitions... think again. Who is running this ship? And do they have a moral, ethical bone between them?


( categories: )

money or justice



I posted a link to the legisaltion in question.  

Spend sales tax general funds on lead eradication

Many cities and the state sued Sherwin-Williams and other lead poisoning paint companies before the Republican-controlled state Legislature made their corrupt deals - and they didn't even really protect Sherwin-Williams but did protect lots of crooked car dealers etc by stripping Ohioans of the right to due process and consumer justice - pathetic but too complex to get anyone to sign a petition about....

On the other hand, I am glad the Cuyahoga Commissioners passed the 1/4 cent tax increase and put those funds into the general fund as Cuyahoga County does not have nearly enough money to pay for lead eradication so those funds should be used for that before anything else... when Evelyn applied last month for funds for lead eradication for the house in East Cleveland she was told that the County was out of funds for 2007 and there is a waiting list for 2008. There is no excuse for this when the county can so easily raise funds for a convention center or whatever else they choose to spend public tax money on.

The commissioners did not choose to spend enough on lead poisoning elimination in 2007. The public must demand change in how lead poisoning elimination is funded. $800 million would make a huge difference in the lives of all in this community and our economy forever - far more valuable and economically impactful than anything else the commissioners could ever imagine.

Disrupt IT

yes, spend the sales tax increase on lead eradication

Here's another view of the county's plans from Roldo this week and why they raised the tax for the general fund.

I love this quote, of course, "I picked up chatter this week that “the fourth floor,” - meaning the County Commissioners and their staff – now considers it possible that it will not be able to pursue construction of the new County Administration building at E. 9th and Euclid." So stop screwing around with the buildings I say! Abate the asbestos carefully and put that building back on the market!

Aside: When we were in the Rotunda the other day I thought that it would make a great satellite of the Western Reserve Historical Society to exhibit the history of the rise of the banking and philanthropic industry here in Cleveland as it paralleled the rise of manufacturing. I still think that the idea of the two major foundations moving in there is a good one. The Foundation Center Library, too would fit nicely into some of those redone floors.

You're right, Norm, they should spend it on lead eradication. To casually sidestep the problem of lead poisoning while imposing a regressive tax on the poor people of Cuyahoga County while we are on the brink of a depression is ludicrous. What were they thinking? Or more to the point, were they thinking?

PS Good to see you writing here again!

Irrational fears

 Norm and Susan, don't hate me for saying this, but I think that by constantly raising the spectre of lead in the city, you are only creating business  and fanning the flames for attorneys constantly on the look-out for the "new asbestos."  Yes--I want a better environment for the next generation and yes we need to stop allowing companies to use externalities to drive a profit, but don't dredge up the past.  Stop companies from creating more love canals today. I grew up when this city was shrouded in a toxic lead haze with two parents, who smoked cigarettes like chimneys.  I had a permanent headache until I moved out at eighteen.  You may say, well, the proof is in the pudding.  You are as mad as a hatter.  Maybe, so.

Oh if only

Oh if only lead poisoning was in the past... For your kids, the ones you deal with each day, read Martin's study A Strange Ignorance and be convinced as I was on the insidious way that not adressing this issue is killing our economy and how this environmental issue may well be at the crux of the safety and education perils we face today. If you want to see how insidious it is in terms of the past and how difficult it was to get the lead out of gasoline, revisit the recent past and say thanks to Ralph Nader for his work on air quality. The Secret History of Lead. If only it was in the past... But it is not. These fears are not irrational.


Alright, somehow make the  polluters pay, but using our tax dollars to rectify the situation doesn't make sense to me.  What do you think of the $250,000 grant from Cuyahoga County to OneCommunity $400,000 for the CFA.  Misplaced priorities?