Citizens Initiative

November 13, 2014

The high-profile Issue #6 has implications for public spaces far beyond Port Clinton and Water Works Park.  ABC-13 in Toledo invited C.O.R.D. members to a “Roundtable” discussion to defend Issue-6.   The initiative ordinance was widely seen as a showdown over the proposed sale of a publicly owned piece of prime real estate to private developers.  Currently the citizens of Toledo are facing a similar loss of prime public property in downtown’s Promenade Park.

After months of public debate, Port Clinton voters chose by a narrow margin to support an overhaul of the city’s municipal code that will trigger a new vote on the sale or lease of Water Works Park.  One thing’s clear about Port Clinton’s vote to raise the standard for selling public parks: the current proposal is not what the majority of citizens want to see happen on their park.    

Whether the city will consider what the citizens want remains an open discussion.

Toledo’s Channel ABC13 aired November 9th  




November 4th, 2014 Port Clinton residents passed Issue 6.  Residents  want a voice in the future of our parks, open spaces and precious shoreline.  Passage of Issue 6 raises the threshold for sales of city parkland property.  The new ordinance will require at least five city councilmen to approve a sale of any of the protected properties, and it will trigger a citywide vote to ratify any such sale decision passed by city council.  The people will decide.




Do you want the right to vote?  

Sale of Water Works Park establishes a dangerous precedent allowing the city to sell valuable public space for private development with minimal justification. This means any public space could be a future candidate. That’s why I’m voting YES to protect Port Clinton Parks on November 4th. Are we a city that wants to sell our public parks to private developers without giving citizens the right to vote on it? Do you want the right to vote on the sale of public parks? YES, I DO! Water Works Park is not “saved” by this initiative. A YES vote simply gives the voters the right to decide its fate. A YES vote ensures it goes to a public vote to let the citizens of Port Clinton decide. It shouldn’t be easy to sell our public parks! It’s shameful the city is neglecting our parks and then calling the neglected parks failed. The city is using the same old chestnuts: we need jobs and if you don’t give away the farm, all development will dry up. We don’t need to give away our public parks to develop our city thoughtfully and with vision. We don’t need to sell our most valuable ‘liquid’ asset – Water Works Park – to produce jobs. There is intense development pressure; we must make smart decisions that allow us to grow while protecting what makes Port Clinton unique.

Issue 6 will create a new ordinance; a new law.

Do you want a new law that gives citizens the right to vote?

The Park Protection Ordinance Issue 6 will give you the right to vote.

Issue 6 asks a simple question – Do you want the right to vote?

Jerry Jonke, Chairman Citizens Organized for Responsible Development



Your Parks, Your Vote, Yes on 6


Issue 6 is about people having a vote. The yard signs on Issue 6 in and around Port Clinton seem to be confusing a lot of people. Issue 6 is about the people having a vote on selling or leasing our public park properties.

Still confused? Well ask yourselves this: Do I want to decide whether our parks should be sold or leased? I would say yes. Do I want to keep our parks open for every man, woman and child to enjoy? I would say yes! Do I want to protect our future? I would say yes! If you really and truly want to protect our parks future, I would encourage you to vote yes on Issue 6. Your Parks, Your Vote – YES on Issue 6. Elva Cortez Citizens Organized for Responsible Development



Vote yes on Issue 6 to protect our parks

Ohio ranks 47th per capita among the 50 states in the amount of public land available for outdoor recreation. Private land makes up approximately 95% of our state. Decades of unrestricted development have left the Buckeye State little space for woods, open fields, wild streams and open shoreline on the Great Lake Erie. Ohioans have very limited access to the 312 miles of Lake Erie shoreline, making it hard for residents to directly experience Ohio’s greatest natural resource. Of Ohio’s 312 miles of shoreline, only 16% of that shoreline is available to the public. Few cities in Ohio have major open waterfront accessible to Lake Erie and Port Clinton has 1 whole mile of this coveted access. It’s what makes us unique. Today, encroaching development threatens to pave over the last of our parkland, not just here but across the state. Our local parks are at risk. We have a historic opportunity, perhaps a once in a lifetime opportunity to protect our natural heritage by voting yes on Issue 6. If Issue 6 passes Citizens Organized for Responsible Development will present Issue 6 to environmental groups committed to protecting Public Lands – for a similar initiative at the state level. Jerry Jonke, Chairman Citizens Organized for Responsible Development


10/08/2014 – Port Clinton group pushes for voter control of park land. Toledo Channel 13 reporter Tony Geftos interviews Mayor Leone and C.O.R.D spokesman Rick Noderer on ISSUE 6. Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports


Presentation to Voters at Candidates Night, October 2, 2014

Also on You Tube

Our local parks are at risk. Ohio ranks 47th per capita out of 50 states in the amount of public land available for outdoor recreation.  Ohio’s private lands make up approximately 95% of the state.  Decades of unrestricted development have left the Buckeye state little space for woods, open fields and most importantly the shoreline of our Great Lake Erie.

Today, encroaching development threatens to pave over the last of our parkland, not just here but across the entire State of Ohio. When Issue 6 passes it will be presented to state organizations committed to protecting public lands – for passage at a statewide level.  We have a historic opportunity to efficiently protect our natural heritage and to ensure that taxpayers’ lands remain protected.

What is Issue 6?  Issue 6 is for those living inside the city limits only.  It will answer a SIMPLE question – Are we a city that wants to dispose of a park without allowing the citizens to vote on it. THAT’S IT.  NOTHING MORE.

The decision to sell or lease is a HUGE decision. Right now 6 people can make that decision for nearly 6000 residents in Port Clinton – the Mayor and 5 City Council members.  Passage of Issue 6 will guarantee that the city’s decision will have to be approved by registered voters in a General Election.

Why a General Election?  Because more voters VOTE in general elections than in special or primary elections.  That means a bigger representation of the voters will be making this monumental decision.  For this very reason, Ohio requires that votes on referendums and initiatives be done at General Elections. It just makes sense.

Selling a park is a HUGE decision.  It is one that requires consistency at its base.  Let’s look at that aspect.  THE MAYOR – Mayors can change every 4 years.  Two years as councilman, 3 years as Mayor, Vince Leone campaigned on improving the city’s infrastructure, helping the downtown be more viable, taking better care of what we already have and not spending any more money on Waterworks Park, then spent $8,250 on an appraisal of the park.  Now he’s leading the charge for commercial development – condos and a hotel in Waterworks Park.  Not much consistency there.

Let’s look at City Council – The average length of time a council member has served is less than 2 years – 20 months to be exact. If you throw out the longest serving member  – Mike Snyder at 7 years and the shortest serving member – Beth Gillman with 0 months – the average for the remaining 5 council members is slightly over 1 year of tenure and experience.  No consistency there and definitely no experience.  And, they don’t want you to have a vote.

How about council’s attitude about the potential developer?  The developer being dealt with took out a 3.1 million dollar loan for a project in Wooster, Ohio.  We the taxpayers through a US Department of Agriculture program guaranteed 80% of that loan.  Well, in 2009 the developer defaulted and we the taxpayers paid off the loan to the tune of $2,391,261.18. City council was notified, when asked at a recent City Council meeting if any of them had looked into the matter there was seven seconds silence.  I think it’s very important for them to look into a $2.39 million taxpayer payout.  And I think you do, too.

This attitude, this lack of consistency and scrutiny is in violation of the public trust and is why the citizens need to have a vote on the sale or lease of their parks. It doesn’t get any more democratic then that.  It’s your parks, it should be your vote.

The opposition is currently pointing at Issue 6 and saying that it will impede our growth, block our progress and our future.  Actuality, it is the opposite – what is happening downtown this very day and the private development of public lands puts Port Clinton in full reverse – back to the 1960’s.

Right now Port Clinton city government has its blinders on. Damn the torpedoes – full speed ahead.  Sell the park, sell the park, sell the park. Develop, develop, develop. You know, it’s like a dog without a leash – free to go wherever it wants – to make its mess and then leave it for the citizens to step in it and have to clean it up. It doesn’t have to be that way.  Issue 6 gives the citizens a rare opportunity to control their government, not be controlled by it.

Port Clinton residents — Vote YES on Issue 6. 



Vote YES on Issue #6


Put simply, the question is whether or not we are a city that wants to lose our public parks to private developers without giving citizens the right to vote on it.

A YES vote ensures that any sale, lease or transfer of city parks goes to a public vote for residents of Port Clinton to decide – not just the Mayor and City Council.

A YES vote means that you can continue to have festivals in the parks and reserve pavilions and the gazebo just as you always have done.

A YES vote is not a vote against development, just a citizens’ control on what your City Government is doing.

A YES vote is a vote for understanding that Port Clinton’s reputation is mostly built on it’s public parks, shoreline access, and open spaces.

A YES vote gives you, the citizen, a say over the future of all our city parks.

A YES vote makes the Mayor and City Council pay more attention to what you want if parks are sold, leased or transferred.

A YES vote makes the Mayor and City Council more open with you on any future park plans.

A YES vote gives you, a citizen of Port Clinton, the right to decide on the sale or lease of city parks, not the people from Catawba or Marblehead.

A YES vote will give citizens the opportunity to decide how public land is used.

ISSUE #6 does not keep parks from being developed – it just gives you the right to vote on it if it happens.

Let the People Decide


 The actual wording of Issue #6 as it will appear on the ballot in November. 






The problem is the actual idea that it’s ok to consider selling a public open space.

The Citizen’s Initiative 

The initiative process is a form of direct democracy.  Initiative processes are intended to solve the problem of governmental action that is inconsistent with the will of most citizens and that cannot be resolved by the election of candidates.

Many factors may cause a government’s policies to fail to align with citizens’ preferences in a way that elections cannot resolve.  If the government acts in a manner inconsistent with most citizens’ preferences or declines to implement a policy that most citizens prefer, citizens may bypass the government and directly enact the laws they wish. Where the agenda initiative has been implemented, citizens may compel an unresponsive government to consider a law or policy that enjoys strong popular support.

The Initiative process has been used throughout its history as a tool for the people to utilize to reign in government when it has become too powerful and when government refuses to deal with the issues supported by the people.  Since the end result of most initiatives, especially those that reign in government, has been to limit the government’s power, elected officials have taken offense.

FAQ:  Council was already elected by the people to make decisions, why do we need to vote?

Many from both sides of the political spectrum feel that lawmaking is best left to legislators who presumably have a deeper interest in, more than a passing familiarity with, and are best equipped to deal with issues – a position which strikes most as both anti-democratic and elitist.      

FAQ:  The citizens already voted in 2007 to rezone WWP to commercial, why do we need to vote again? 

The goal of the current Park Initiative is to ensure that elected officials remain accountable to the electorate.  Clearly the electorate did not vote for “119 residential units” back in 2007.  Besides, many things have changed in the past 7 years that may influence how voters feel today. 

(reprinted in part from Participedia)

You’re voting for the right to vote!


Paid for by Citizens Organized for Responsible Development
-Jerry Jonke-, Chairman
211 W. 3rd Street,  Port Clinton, OH