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April 18, 2024

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    “gAyPRIL” (Gay-April) continues on Falcon Radio, sharing a playlist curated by the Queer Trans Student Union, sharing songs celebrating the LGBTQ+ experience. In similar vein, you will enjoy Jeanette Winterson’s books if you find yourself interested in LGBTQ+ voices and nonlinear narratives. As “dead week” is upon us, students, we can utilize resources such as Falcon […]
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    As we enter into the poetics of April, also known as national poetry month, here are four voices from well to lesser known. The Tradition – Jericho Brown Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Brown visited the last American Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP 2024) conference, and I loved his speech and humor. Besides […]
Spring Housing Guide

City charter campaigns bolster as election nears

The fate of a fracking ban rests in the hands of the community as they decide whether to amend the Bowling Green city charter on Tuesday.

A Yes vote will add the fracking ban, while a No vote will keep the charter the same.

As election day approaches, both petitioners who started the amendment and coalitioners against it are taking their debate to the public to sway the votes.

“One of the most important things about any action is letting people know why they need to be concerned,” said Lisa Kochheiser, a member of Protect BG, which petitioned to get the amendment on the ballot. “It’s not just about environmental damage but human health, economics, industry and government; they’re all tied together.”

Protect BG has hosted speakers every Tuesday for nearly two months to educate people on the dangers of fracking, Kochhieser said.

The city has taken a similar strategy to promote voting against the amendment, which it argues has nothing to do with the charter.

“It’s been more of an effort to inform people, to enlighten people and heighten awareness,” said Mayor Richard Edwards, who started the coalition against the charter amendment. “I can’t believe the number of people coming up to me or calling me saying, ‘I understand your concern’ once they’ve read the charter.”

The city charter is a document that outlines how the government should function, whereas the amendment takes a stance on fracking.

City council passed an ordinance to ban fracking in September to try to appease the petitioners. However, Kochheiser argues that the state can preempt city ordinance but has yet to overturn a city charter.

Regardless of discrepancies, a key to winning any election is getting the word out to get votes, particularly with students, said Andrew Kear, assistant professor in political science.

“They could turn the tide in the election,” Kear said.

In the past, the student vote has made a difference such as the passing of the Fair Housing Act in 2010 and electing First Ward Council Member Daniel Gordon, then a University senior, in 2011.

One way to get the student vote is by promotion on social media, Kear said.

Protect BG has a social media presence on Facebook through the Northwest Ohio Alliance to Stop Fracking, while the city has a link on its home page to the city charter and the charter amendment.

“If you neglect the student population, you’re neglecting a very big voting block,” Kear said.

While the city may not have much of an online presence, Edwards said it is more focused on informing everyone, not just students.

“I like to think we do a reasonably good job in helping people understand out concerns,” he said. “The city banned fracking under the criminal code, you couldn’t ask for more direct action.”

Another issue the city has with the fracking ban is that it not only outlaws the storage of wastewater, but also the creation of “fossil fuel” production facilities such as pipelines and storage facilities by any corporation. The city interprets this to include them, which could increase utility rates if they had to switch to sustainable power immediately. Protect BG contested this at the last city council meeting and said the city misinterpreted its language.

“[The amendment] was written very broadly, with a lot of room for interpretation,” Kear said, noting that the city has taken it more literally.

Kochheiser doesn’t think the language would affect the existing systems within the city.

“The intent is to not allow oil and gas companies to come in the city and set up oil and gas-based energy systems,” she said.

If the amendment passes, the city could invoke a charter review if they found a problem with it, Edwards said. A commission would decide which parts of the charter to review and take out. But the process is timely, according to Edwards.

Pushing for an amendment to the charter instead of the current ban offers a better probability that it could halt future attempts to extract oil and gas through harmful measures, Kochheiser said.

As to how the election will turn out, both sides see it as close race.

“We’ll let the people decide,” Edwards said.

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