The ordinance seeks to undo over a hundred years' worth of law in the United States which gives corporations greater rights than the communities in which they do business. Those rights come in two primary forms -- first are corporate constitutional rights and powers (including court-bestowed constitutional rights of persons, or 'personhood' rights), and second, are corporate rights that have been codified by statewide laws, which liberate the corporation from local control in individual issue areas.I admit I'm not entirely convinced by this approach. I've been talking it over in email with Thomas Linzey, counsel for the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund in Spokane, Washington. He suggests that the legal principle here expand the rights of natural people, and that this is fundamentally different from a "states' rights" approach that gives rise to, say, segregation. In the case of Net Neutrality, this seems mostly symbolic (since the FCC's jurisdiction is pretty clear), a way of reframing the debate and shifting opinion to make change at levels beyond the local.
When a community makes a decision which runs afoul of either of those corporate rights frameworks, corporate decisionmakers use the courts to throw out the community's decision. If a municipality bans a State-permitted activity, it gets sued for 'taking' the corporation's property as a constitutional violation. If it attempts to legislate in an area in which the State has created a regulatory program which permits the activity, the community then gets sued by the corporation for violating preemptive state law.