Posted by: Webmaster | July 23, 2015

Community Bill of Rights

Borough of West Chester Community Rights Alliance. Please, Sign Our Petition.

The West Chester Community Rights Alliance (WCCRA), a growing group of West Chester Borough citizens, wants to add a “Community Bill of Rights” to the Borough’s Home Rule Charter. Our Community Bill of Rights reclaims our “natural” rights to clean air, clean water, community self-government, a sustainable energy future, and peaceful enjoyment of our homes. We ask registered Borough voters to sign our petition to place this question on the November ballot.

What is a Community Bill of Rights? A Community Bill of Rights acknowledges that we have an inalienable right to local self-governance.

Why Do We Need It? More than 100 PA communities have passed Community Bills of Rights to secure their rights to self-government, protect citizens from harmful corporate activities, and move toward sustainability. In many cases, communities are protecting themselves from exploitation by natural gas companies. In fact, gas companies are aggressively pushing pipeline construction all around us, disregarding our interests while claiming exemption from local zoning ordinances and environmental protections. We don’t need to look far to see the threats. It’s happening in West Goshen, and it happened in State College, where a Community Bill of Rights passed with a 72% majority and helped stop a pipeline from going right through town.

What Does the Petition Do? By signing, you are not passing the Community Bill of Rights. You are saying you want this question on the ballot in November, so We The People (not We The Corporations) can decide our own future. We need 500 signatures before August 4, 2015.

What Happens When We Get the 500 Signatures? WCCRA will initiate a campaign to inform Borough residents, so you’ll understand fully before you vote. Representatives from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF.org) will visit the Borough to support us and answer questions. Everyone will have a chance to weigh in.

Our system of local self-governance will work if we think it will. It won’t work if we don’t.

Will YOU help?

Photo Credit: Jim Salvas

Photo Credit: Jim Salvas

Natural rights are innately part of being human. The self-evident rights of the Declaration of Independence—life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness—are inalienable natural rights. Legal rights are those acknowledged and protected by a government.

The Founders understood that powerful interests often prevent individuals from exercising their natural rights, and this is why they deemed them to be inalienable, or unable to be taken away.

Today, we are prevented from protecting our right to clean air, clean water, and a sustainable energy future because powerful

and single-minded corporate interests manipulate legal rights with money and lobbying, by directly writing laws, and by claiming exemption from local protections.

Reclaim our natural rights. Now is the time.

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To carry a WC Community Rights Alliance petition, email WestChesterCRA@gmail.com — we will bring a petition to you!

You’ll see, the petition text is somewhat microscopic. If you want to read every word comfortably, download it in larger print here: WCCRA petition text.

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