The Shaker Heights Taxpayers Union (SHTU) is relieved that we can now use our logo without fear of a lawsuit or other harassment from the City of Shaker Heights. However, we are not happy that we had to file a complaint to proceed with its use. It's was disheartening to learn back in May, soon after we announced our logo design on our Facebook pages, that our own city government would waste taxpayers dollars on a frivolous threat of a trademark lawsuit against us. The City should have been minding its own business in a self-declared fiscal emergency. The complaint we filed last week in our defense from the City's threat was an unfortunate but necessary distraction from our campaign to defeat the City's proposed income tax hike in the upcoming August 7th special election.
Also to our dismay is the City's press release on Friday after the complaint was settled. It incorrectly states that our logo is the City's property and that the City has the power to grant us permission to use it. In fact, our right to parody the City's logo for the purpose of political speech is granted to us by our humanity, and not by the permission of any government. We are grateful to the non-profit 1851 Center for Constitutional Law in Columbus, Ohio, for defending our right to free speech, and encourage that charitable donations be given at http://www.ohioconstitution.org/. We are also grateful for the support of principled City Economic Development Task Force member Paul Levin. He supports the City's tax hike proposal, but has publicly defended the SHTU's right to engage in free speech against the tax hike using our logo parody.
In the meantime, the SHTU has successfully launched our "Vote No on Issue 1" campaign, with yard signs popping up and fliers being hand-delivered all over the city. We are also in the process of designing a new yard sign that includes our logo, as well as bumper stickers, oval stickers and business cards. Anyone who wants a yard sign or flier for themselves, or a block captain assignment for flier distribution can go to our website at www.shaker-taxpayers.org or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for campaign materials to be sent or delivered. We are also accepting donations for the cost of these materials, and for the establishment of the SHTU as a permanent voice for affordable local taxation, responsible public spending and limited and effective city government. Donations to the SHTU can be made at our website.