Shaker Heights Allows Taxpayers Union to Use Logo

Group previously filed a lawsuit against the city for unconstitutionally trying to quiet its campaign against the Aug. 7 income tax

A day after learning that the Shaker Heights Taxpayers Union , Law Director Bill Gruber announced that the city would allow the opposition group to parody its logo on materials.

In May, the city to the group because it used the city's trademarked four-leaf logo, replacing two with dollar signs. At the time, Gruber said he didn't want residents to believe that the SHTU was affiliated with the city. The city also said continued use of the logo would result in a lawsuit.

The city later granted the group permission to use the logo solely online. Because of that agreement, Gruber said he was surprised to learn that the SHTU was suing the city for what it deemed an unconstitutional mission to quiet the group's campaign against the upcoming income tax increase vote.

"That was certainly not my intent or the city’s, and our interaction with the group can hardly be characterized as threatening or intimidating, as they allege in their suit," Gruber said in a statement issued Friday afternoon.

"The city certainly supports the rights of all citizens, including members of the Taxpayers’ Union, to free expression of ideas and opinions," Gruber said. "Recognizing this, and rather than creating any perception that I or the city are attempting to prevent the group from expressing its views, the city’s administration and I have decided to permit the group to use the logo, as altered, for the purposes of their political campaign.

"I hope that this will put an end to this litigation that benefits no one in the community."

Be sure to read Gruber's entire statement by clicking 'PDF' to the right.

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Paul Levin July 14, 2012 at 06:47 PM
To Mark: Thanks for your comment. But with due respect, the "settlement" is of no interest or import to me. What I want everyone to know is that you don't need Gruber's permission to exercise your First Amendment rights and he can't withdraw that which he had no power to grant or deny in the first place. He has sullied the city's good name and he should be gone.
Mark Zetzer July 14, 2012 at 06:53 PM
That would be ideal, but I'm not holding my breath.
Mark Zetzer July 17, 2012 at 01:28 AM
I agree with you Paul, thanks.
Glinda Smith July 18, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Not to change the subject, but if you don't like high taxes, why are you living in Shaker Heights?
Mark Zetzer July 18, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Replying to Glinda Smith's reply, I've lived in Shaker Heights for 19 years because it's a great place to live. I never liked the high taxes but quietly tolerated them because I was better able to afford them. Since 2008, however, my family has suffered losses in wealth and income and have had to cut back significantly just to make ends meet. I'm only asking that the City do the same instead of raising taxes. I've examined the City's budget and found that they can cut spending to fit lower projected revenues without cutting essential services like police, fire and EMS and public works. So I find it disingenuous when the City threatens to cut to essential services if the tax levy doesn't pass. Such actions violate the public trust.


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