We The People of Cheltenham (WTPOC), Pennsylvania, launch second home rule amendment campaign

Below are comments made to the Cheltenham (PA) Board of Commissioners in June by 'We the People of Cheltenham' (WTPOC), announcing this season's campaign seeking a Community Bill of Rights as an amendment to the Home Rule Charter to give citizens a voice on land development by public benefit corporations, and other local issues. The group understands that this is a necessary prerequisite in order to be able to create real opportunities for democratic participation through initiative and referendum. Reports regarding Commissioner members' reaction to the announcement of the new campaign range from heads held in hand, barked outrage, and other inspiring indicators of the status of American "democracy”. You can watch the Commissioners in action, as these citizens DARE to exercise their Constitutional rights, on YouTube.

For more info about this campaign, visit We the People of Cheltenham's website, or their page on Facebook, or this related site.


What's in the Amendment to the Home Rule Charter that the group attempted last November to pass via popular vote?

• Creates a local Bill of Rights for township residents

~ The 9th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says: “the enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

• Guarantees a Right to local self government

~ On January 31, 2008 the PA Attorney General’s Office told the Commonwealth Court: “There is no inalienable Right to Local Self Government.” Let's tell him we disagree.

• Requires public service corporations, like SEPTA, to ask for OUR OK before they change our community

~ We the people of Cheltenham have a Right to decide what projects might lessen the Quality of Life for our families and children.

• Makes big corporations subordinate to township residents

~ Corporate lawyers regularly argue that their client corporations can dictate what their boards of directors can do in communities like Cheltenham

• Says corporations do not have the same Rights as human beings

~ Lawyers and judges have invented the misguided idea that corporations are “Persons” with more Rights than real people, and that they can violate OUR Rights as residents of Cheltenham Township.


Press Release:

'We the People of Cheltenham' (WTPOC) announces the 2010 Petition Campaign to simplify the initiative and referendum process for residents of Cheltenham. 

(Wyncote, Pa) — Cheltenham citizens have developed a proposal to amend the township’s Home Rule Charter by reducing the number of petition signatures required to place an ordinance on the ballot through initiative, and to review and change existing ordinances through the referendum process.  Following on the heels of a strong showing in the November 2009 election, We the People of Cheltenham (WTPOC) began to examine strategies to make participation in community decision-making accessible to ordinary citizens

The result is a proposed initiative that asserts the rights of the community to propose initiatives with fewer signatures on the petitions. At present, the number of signatures required to have an ordinance question placed on the ballot is equal to 30% of the number of voters who participated in the last gubernatorial election(about 9,000 signatures).

We the People of Cheltenham believes that this number is too high and makes it extremely difficult for citizens to have a voice in the ordinance adoption and review process. This amendment would reduce the number of signatures required to propose an initiative measure or review an existing ordinance through referendum to 7% of the number of voter participants in the preceding gubernatorial election (about 2100). Ordinances would still be placed on the ballot either by action of the governing body or by petition of the voters.

The proposed Charter amendment applies to Article XIV, Section C 1409 and is as follows:

1.  “Initiative and referendum procedures shall be initiated upon petition signed by seven percent (7%) of the number of registered electors of the township who voted in the preceding gubernatorial election.”

Residents are encouraged to learn about the proposed amendment by going to the We the People of Cheltenham website at http://WeThePeopleOfCheltenham.com.

“This amendment would make it easier for citizens of Cheltenham, through the petitioning process, to propose new ordinances and for registered voters to either accept or reject them, and it would make it easier for citizens of Cheltenham, through the petitioning process, to require the Board of Commissioners to review and change an existing ordinance, or if they refuse to change it, to allow the voters to decide if it should be changed. By making the process less demanding, it would give residents more access to democratic participation in deciding the issues that impact their quality of life,” said Ted Cerebi, WTPOC member. The ‘We the People of Cheltenham’ signature campaign began on Tuesday, June 15 and continues through Tuesday, August 3.


(and here's a "word art piece" from the group...)

We the People of Cheltenham

An inclusive, politically nonaligned community organization,

formed to protect our common quality of life.

We will strive

to realize our potential

as an environmentally sound township.

We will work

to safeguard fundamental rights,

to meet our basic responsibilities as citizens,

to nurture and share our evolving vision of tomorrow.

We will endeavor

to educate ourselves and our community

by learning, listening

and, above all,

acting upon issues that  determine our community’s future.

We will continue

monitoring issues,

sponsoring forums,

offering trainings,

sharing information,

and, when necessary,

challenging institutions and authorities,

to meet the essential standards in a sustainable, just and democratic community.




Residents have the right

To be informed

To be heard

To participate in the Home Rule Charter




This Petition seeks to have a question

placed on the ballot in November.




Passing an Ordinance today in Cheltenham Township

4 Commissioners (majority of 7)

Time: debate and vote = one evening


9000 signatures over a 49 day period,

certified by Election Commission

placed on the ballot for a General Election

Time: 140 days

This petition seeks to ask voters in November

to dramatically lower the requirement


30% (9000 signatures)


7% (2100 signatures)

It is a tool to ask all residents

if they want to realistically participate in local government


For more info, please send an email to <voice@WeThePeopleOfCheltenham.com>.

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