Wayne Township voters, Kris Deyne and Frank Esposito, plan to file a writ of mandamus with the Illinois Circuit Court on Thursday, August 16th to force Wayne Township elected officials to obey Illinois law and hold a requested Special Meeting that gives voters a chance to voice their opinion on whether corporations are people.
A press conference will also be held at 4:00 PM on Thursday, August 16th in front of the Wayne Township Administrative Building at 27W031 North Ave., West Chicago, IL (0.3 miles east of County Farm Rd.) to discuss the legal action and why it was needed. In addition to Deyne and Esposito, also participating in the press conferences will be DuPage County Board candidate (6th district) Dave Barry.
At 7:30 PM, at the same location, Ms. Deyne and Mr. Esposito will inform the board during the public comment portion of the Wayne Township monthly meeting that they have filed a Writ of Mandamus with the Illinois Circuit Court and inform the board that the Township is wrong in denying citizens their right to petition the government. Deyne and Esposito welcome other citizens to speak and ask why the Township is denying Wayne voters a voice.
David Barry, a candidate for the DuPage County Board said,
“Our country’s Founding Fathers held sacrosanct a citizen’s right to petition the government. I’m deeply disturbed that the Wayne Township lawyers summarily dismissed Ms. Deyne’s Petition to schedule a Special Township meeting. Every level of government must be responsive to a citizen’s right to petition the government. Not only, did they violate Ms. Deyne’s right to petition the township, Wayne Township citizens may now become liable for her substantial attorney fees as she pursues this matter in court.”
Ms. Deyne and Mr. Esposito, who are members of DuPage Coffeehouse Move to Amend, submitted a petition to call for a special meeting with Township Clerk April Murphy, on July 6, 2012. Illinois law allows local township voters the right to submit a petition and request a special meeting be held to put forth agenda items allowed in Annual meetings. A special township meeting called by Township voters have the same rights as elected township officials as long as there is a quorum of 15 registered township voters. The filing called for a meeting agenda item that asked voters at the Special Meeting to vote on whether to place a non-binding, public advisory question on the November 6th, 2012 ballot for Wayne Township voters. The question would give voters a chance to voice their opinion regarding a constitutional amendment that clearly states the rights enumerated in the U.S. Constitution are for human beings alone.
The special meeting is required to be held within 45 days of the petition filing, however as of this date, the Township Clerk has not yet scheduled the meeting as required by Illinois law. Deyne and Esposito received a letter from Township Lawyer Brian Armstrong, (Schirott, Luetkenhans & Garner, P.C. Attorneys at Law), stating that their request was denied and Mr. Armstrong has since refused further communication. According to Tom Arends, Township Supervisor, “It costs too much money for [the] lawyer to respond.”
Because Wayne Township officials refuse to comply with Illinois law or discuss the matter at all, the Township will now waste taxpayer funds as the petitioners now have no other option but to file for a legal remedy. If the township loses the lawsuit, which is very likely according to several lawyers consulted the township taxpayers will be required to pay the court costs and the plaintiffs’ legal fees.
A further embarrassment for Wayne Township Supervisor Arends is that registered Naperville Township voters, in the same County of DuPage, filed a petition with Naperville Township calling for a special meeting in the exact same manner as the registered Wayne Township voters did. However, Naperville Township scheduled their Special Meeting in accordance with Illinois law and it was held on August 8, 2012. Naperville Township voters were allowed to voice their opinion and were not shut out of democracy like those in Wayne Township.
Citizens across the United States are petitioning their cities, townships, and counties to place questions on the November ballot asking voters to voice their opinion on a constitutional amendment to overturn the precedent set by the January 2010 U.S. Supreme Court Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission decision. Last week local citizens filed petitions to place a Move to Amend question on the ballot in the City of Warrenville as well as all of Kane County. Earlier this year, registered voters in seven townships across the state that attended their Annual Township Meetings on April 10, 2012, voted to place a similar question on the ballots for their township: Avon (Lake County), Northfield and Oak Park (Cook County), Lisle (DuPage County), Champaign and Urbana (Champaign County), and Carbondale (Jackson County). The Chicago City Council also passed a resolution (47-0) calling for the constitutional amendment, and voted to place the Move to Amend question on their ballot this November for all Chicago voters.
As a result of these citizen ballot initiatives, both by circulating petitions door-to-door and by citizens voting at township meetings and the Chicago City Council resolution, over 2.5 million Illinois voters will have a chance to voice their opinion on whether corporations, unions and special interest organizations are allowed the same rights as living, breathing human beings this November.
The Citizens United ruling upheld the concept of corporate personhood which gave constitutional rights meant for human beings, to legal entities such as corporations, associations and unions. In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the concept that money is considered speech and is thus granted First Amendment protections. This has allowed a few wealthy individuals, corporations and special interest organizations to contribute to Super PACs that covertly finance political campaigns from domestic or foreign sources.
Move to Amend is an all-volunteer, nationwide, grassroots movement dedicated to amending the U.S. Constitution so that corporate and special interest money stay out of OUR elections.