Council subverted will of the people

To the editor:

The 2010 Supreme Court decision Citizens United has allowed corporations, unions, nonprofits and super PACs to spend unlimited amounts on campaign contributions. Groups including Wisconsin United to Amend (, a nonpartisan network, are working to repair the damage caused by this ruling and restore our representative democracy.

Nineteen state legislatures have already passed resolutions calling for a constitutional amendment to make clear that money is not speech and the Constitution only protects the rights of individual human beings.

In Wisconsin and across the nation, voters have passed Citizens United resolutions by majorities of 70 percent or more. Thirty-one million people (55 percent of Wisconsinites) live in jurisdictions where voters were allowed to express their opinions.

This fall, 573 citizens from the city of Shawano signed a petition asking for a referendum to be put on the spring 2019 ballot.

On Dec. 12, the Shawano Common Council decided to subvert the will of the people. It approved the petition but refused to allow it to be a referendum on the ballot, citing what the mayor argued was prohibitive cost.

So now our legislators will receive a petition, which will only express the opinion of the Shawano Common Council, not the will of the people — Republicans, Democrats and Independents — who wanted to send a message to Madison and Washington about the need for reform.

This is not what democracy should look like.

Jan Koch,