WHAT-WHY-HOW

WHATSpokane River

A Community Bill of Rights would: 

WHY

Everyone agrees that building a sustainable, democratic, and healthy Spokane is an admirable goal. Getting there through a system run by a handful of powerful special interests however isn’t going to happen. That means that it’s up to us, the residents of the City, to get it done.

To do so, a Community Bill of Rights seeks to build a healthy, sustainable, and democratic Spokane by securing rights for neighborhoods, residents, workers, and the natural environment that the big developers, corporations, and the City government must respect. And if they don’t, it gives residents the legal muscle to make sure that they do.

Let Neighborhoods Decide - Today, residents don’t control how their neighborhood is developed.  A Community Bill of Rights would give residents decision-making power on zoning changes for major development in their neighborhoods. Residents get to decide whether or not to approve such a development, not corporations.

Protect Our River and Drinking Water - Today, the Spokane River is one of the most polluted in the country.  A Community Bill of Rights would create greater protections for the river - and for our aquifer, which supplies our drinking water - by expanding who can act to protect each, and by guaranteeing that those who harm the river or aquifer must pay to restore it.

Constitutional Protections for All Workers - Today, workers in the private sector forfeit their federal Bill of Rights protections when they cross the threshold into the workplace. A Community Bill of Rights would ensure that you don’t lose your constitutional protections when you go to work along with protecting union’s right to collective bargaining.

Community Rights, Not Corporate Rights – Today, corporations are seen as “persons” under the law, but in reality they are super-persons both by the power of law and wealth. On a daily basis, they use this elite status to override community health and welfare. A Community Bill of Rights would limit corporate power when it conflicts with the rights of the community.

HOW

Let Neighborhoods Decide - Today, residents don’t control development within their own neighborhoods.  A Community Bill of Rights would do the following:

  1. Zoning changes for major development would have to be approved by neighborhood majorities.
  2. Neighborhood majorities would  also have a right to reject major development that is incompatible with the provisions of the City’s Comprehensive Plan or this Charter.

Protect Our River and Drinking Water - Today, the Spokane River is one of the most polluted in the country.  A Community Bill of Rights would create greater protections for the river and for our aquifer by:

  1. Expanding legal standing on who can protect the Spokane River and aquifer.
  2. Requiring violators to pay for the restoration of ecosystems that they have damaged.

Constitutional Protections for All Workers - Today, workers in the private sector forfeit their federal Bill of Rights protections when they cross the threshold into the workplace.  A Community Bill of Rights would ensure such protections as:

  1. Restoring First Amendment free speech protections within the workplace.
  2. Eliminating the ability of corporate employers to interfere with unionizing in the workplace.
  3. Eliminating “captive audience” meetings, and other non-work related mandatory meetings in the workplace.

Community Rights, Not Corporate Rights – Today, corporations are seen as “persons” under the law, but in reality they are super-persons both by the power of law and wealth, and on a daily basis they use this elite status to override community health and welfare. A Community Bill of Rights would limit those powers by:

  1. Eliminating their status as “persons” under the law.
  2. Restricting other constitutional protections, which enable those corporations to override the rights of neighborhoods, nature, and people.