May Day, 2012, the Redlands City Council, voted to silence the business community by adopting a resolution to urge Congress’ to amend the State and Federal constitutions to end “Corporate Personhood”.
Mayor Pete Aguilar, Council Member Bob Gardner and Council Member Jon Harrison voted to support the Occupy Redlands group to not only dismiss the value of the opinion of corporations, but further added special interest groups and associations to the list. The argument was the body (of the corporation or association) was not a person but most certainly it is made up of people; people with an opinion, a voice and a right to be heard.
Speakers at the council meeting, the Chamber included that opposed the resolution, pleaded with Council Members to realize the significance of the action they were considering, noting first that while the original movement was targeting behemoth corporations funneling mega money into political campaigns, the outcome of the resolution they were now considering would have far reaching implications for small businesses and now special interest groups and associations.
Even more significant was the question of relevance. City Council, State and Federal Constitutional law are light years apart, well above pay grade and have no businesses on the local dais. A precedent has been established and every “special interest group” will come before Council looking for support for whatever project they have adopted and need protection from or for. Now that Council has deemed “special interest” a non entity will they be heard?
Mayor Pro Tem Paul Foster and Council Member Jerry Bean soundly opposed the resolution noting its errant message, and dismissive regard for the business community and the people in it. They are to be commended for their bravery. It would have been easier to cave in the face of a crowd demanding than stand tall for what is fair and equitable for all.