Group in Newton Falls fighting for right to vote on certain local issues

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"It just takes a couple people to stand up against government to be able to make changes," said former councilman Jim Luonuansuu

Group Be the Change in Newton Falls wants the right to vote on certain local issues

WKBN

NEWTON FALLS, Ohio (WKBN) – Some Newton Falls residents are fighting village leadership, wanting the right to vote on certain local issues.

The group has formed a political action committee — “Be the Change in Newton Falls.” About 20 people gathered Monday in Liberty Park to detail their plans.

“We want the city to see, and we want the other counties, and cities and citizens throughout to know that this started as a small, grassroots effort and it’s going to continue to grow,” said former councilman Jim Luonuansuu. “It just takes a couple people to stand up against government to be able to make changes.”

Luonuansuu said their goal is to circulate referendum petitions so they have the right to vote on smart meters and whether the law director should be part-time or full-time.

“I believe this group wants to give the people the right to vote and that’s paramount,” said John Baryak, Second Ward councilman. “Paramount, very simply. No matter which way you vote, you should have the right to vote.”

The group said it’s looking for more members and support.

Councilman Lyle Waddell said he disagrees with the group’s formation.

“They’re not giving the facts to the public and if they are talking to them, certainly not giving them the correct facts because people that I’ve talked to don’t have any idea what these petitions are about.”

Waddell said the smart meters are necessary for the city and the law director position was made full-time because the workload was too much for part-time.

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