Letter: Democracy Day hearing was entertaining and informative

To the Editor:

I was both entertained and informed by the Democracy Day at CH City Hall on Jan. 25. Underlying this event are the modified-free speech activists of Move to Amend, [who want] to restrict the First Amendment because even a court of nine Bader Ginsburgs would never agree with their objective. I didn't ask, but I doubt anyone there has actually read the Citizens United (itself a nonprofit) decision, because even the justices in the minority agree that corporations are an assembly of people and have First Amendment rights. The minority could not convince another justice why General Electric would have free speech by virtue of owning NBC, but not the media-light Ford Motor Company, for example.

There was universal concern at the meeting, and the startling revelation that there is too much money in politics. Yes, and pool parlors, right here in River City.

Anyway, most speeches were well-prepared and limited to five minutes, which was plenty of time for some of the assorted cranks, crackpots and (from a narrow capitalist viewpoint) losers (you know who you are) who shared one common theme—government good, corporation bad. These are not folks you want toying around with your First Amendment.

I did take away some food for thought: The co-owner of a Coventry bookstore talked about how unfair it is to compete with Amazon, which has largely escaped local taxes, and the impact on our neighborhoods of losing local businesses. I don't shop online unless I would have to drive a long distance to get something. For a couple extra dollars, I am happy to know a local person. If my neighbors don't keep raising my taxes, I would be happy to spread around a few more dollars.

I also heard a thoughtful comment about rent-seeking crony businesses, and how certification is used to limit competition and drive up prices. Plenty of proof around of that.

Also, I thought a comment about how parts of the education testing industry takes good care of itself had some merit.

Robert Shwab

Robert Shwab
Cleveland Heights

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 2:42 PM, 02.28.2017