The infamous gestapo-style assault on an Ohio anti-nuclear referendum is now headed to the Ohio Supreme Court.
The pro-nuke campaign has featured widespread physical attacks against peaceful canvassers, as well as phone threats, bribery, signature-buying, a fake pro-nuke petition, a massive lie-filled PR campaign invoking the Chinese Communists, and more.
The bitter battle has been sent by a federal judge to Ohio’s highest court, which is dominated by Republicans.
Here are the key points ( a full-hour discussion can be heard here).
- In July, the gerrymandered Ohio Legislature passed HB6, a massive bailout to keep two dying nukes operating on Lake Erie.
- Akron-based FirstEnergy is bankrupt, and says it will shut both reactors without the $1 billion promised by the bailout;
- The Davis-Besse reactor opened in 1974; Perry opened in 1986;
- Both suffer from massive internal age-related defects;
- HB6 also bails out two coal burners (one in Indiana) and subsidizes ten small solar arrays while slashing successful energy efficiency/conservation programs and killing broader support for renewables.
- Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts filed for a referendum to repeal HB6, with a requirement of 265,774 certified signatures to be gathered within 90 days.
- Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State sat on the application for 38 days, effectively reducing the petition-gathering window from 90 to 52 days.
- OACB’s hired petition gatherers were required by the state to make their contact information public, and immediately began receiving phone threats and bribe offers.
- Signature gatherers in the field were physically assaulted by pro-nuke thugs, including one attack in which a hand was injured and a cell phone smashed.
- Up to three “blockers” repeatedly surrounded individual signature gatherers and drove away potential signers;
- Signature gatherers were offered as much as $2,500 to turn over their signed petitions.
- Pro-nuke thugs aggressively collected multiple duplicate signatures for a fake non-binding petition while disrupting legitimate gatherers;
- FE then claimed it had gathered more than 800,000 “pro-nuke” signatures;
- FE accompanied the assaults with a massive radio/TV/mailer campaign claiming Chinese Communists were buying Ohio’s grid;
- OACB’s court filing showed that state regulations imposed on certification have vastly reduced the number of referenda Ohioans can vote on.
But on Wednesday, October 26, a federal judge rejected OACB’s request for more time to gather signatures, and sent the case to the Ohio GOP-dominated Supreme Court.
OACB is rumored to have about 225,000 signatures on hand, some 40,000 short of the threshold. Far more will be needed to overcome a Secretary of State certain to disallow as many as he can.
But polls show Ohioans vehemently opposed to the bailout. Most observers believe if it gets on the ballot, the referendum would pass by a large margin.
Should federal appeals fail, and the Ohio Supreme Court refuse the request for more time, the referendum process will have suffered a potential death blow nationwide. It will mean fascist thugs will be free to assault legitimate signature gatherers at will.
It will also mean two extremely dangerous, decrepit atomic reactors will continue to threaten the entire Great Lakes region with a radioactive holocaust.
The whole world had best be watching.
Attorney Bob Fitrakis is publisher of www.freepress.org. Harvey Wasserman’s The People’s Spiral of US History: From Deganawidah to Solartopia, can be had by writing firstname.lastname@example.org.