Ah, the coverup continues. Michael R. Hackett, Jr., a Democratic
retired deputy director of the Franklin County Board of Elections is
being charged with illegal conflicts of interest regarding steering a
contract for voting machine carts to a company he and his wife
allegedly had an interest in.

Hackett was the supposed guard dog to protect Democratic interests in
the 2004 election in Franklin County when, under his watch, 125 voting
machines disappeared on November 2, 2004 from Democrat-rich Columbus
polling sites.

None were missing from Republican suburban locations.

The myth is that Ohio’s so-called “bipartisan” county
election systems are foolproof, and Democratic interests are protected.
The reality is that both parties have stacked the Board of Elections –
high-paying, public jobs with the worst sorts of political operatives
and hacks. As Patsy Gallina, the Diebold lobbyist who gave a check to
Franklin County Board of Elections Matt Damschroder once said,
“I found when you take care of the Democrats’ personal needs, they’re
not as partisan.”

Now through December2, 2007 at Studio 35
3055 Indianola Avenue (614) 261-1581
Each night at 6:30pm

The Free Press highly recommends the independent documentary “King Corn,” that makes the connection between government farm subsidy policy, massive obesity, and a junk food culture. Part Farming for Dummies, part animal rights advocacy, and mostly revelation about the overgrowth of corn and our overweight population. Two young college graduates from the east coast follow the trail of corn syrup from the American heartland as it clogs the arteries of major urban centers throughout the country. It’s witty but poignant, and more than ever proves the axiom, we are what we eat.

Bob Fitrakis

See http://www.kingcorn.net/

King Corn is a feature documentary about two friends, one acre of corn, and the subsidized crop that drives our fast-food nation. In King Corn, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, best friends from college on the east coast, move to the heartland to learn where their food comes from. With the help of friendly neighbors, genetically modified seeds, and powerful herbicides, they plant and grow a bumper crop of America’s most-productive, most-subsidized grain on one acre of Iowa soil. But when they try to follow their pile of corn into the food system, what they find raises troubling questions about how we eat-and how we farm.

kING  Corn
          Aaron Woolf (dir.)

          Ian Cheney

          Curt Ellis

Speaking Truth to Power. This is a synopsis laid out showing general and specific evidence refuting the the conspiracy theorist label on the 2004 stolen Elections.

by Bob Fitrakis

The death penalty is primarily political. It’s about power: who gets killed; and who gets elected prosecutor, judge, attorney general and governor. You may recall our own Dewey Stokes, Franklin County Commissioner, ran pro-death penalty commercials although it is totally unrelated to his office. No doubt Dewey wants to fry all the Hueys and Louies on death row, but what about Attorney General Betty MontgomeryÑ “The Great Expediter”? Betty wants to hide “the dirty little secrets” of Ohio’s death row by speeding up the executions. But those of us who are more concerned with justice than expediency, or Ms. Montgomery’s political future, need to expose her secrets.

Secret #1. Tony Apanovitch, a small time crook, stands convicted of rape and murder based on circumstantial evidence. Apanovitch is a top priority of the Central Ohio Amnesty International organization. The prosecution withheld crucial evidence that surely would have caused a jury to conclude that there was “reasonable doubt.” For example, Apanovitch voluntarily supplied hair, blood and saliva samples to the police. Police investigators recorded that the samples were “not consistent” with the killer. A hair found on the victim did not match hers or Apanovitch’s. But the hair was consistent with a serial rapist that had attacked and brutalized six women in the same neighborhood. Also, police investigators confirmed Apanovitch’s alibi of his whereabouts the night of the murder, but failed as required under law to inform Apanovitch’s lawyer. Moreover, the prosecutor, eager for a win, misinformed the jury about the odds of Apanovitch’s semenÑ”type A”Ñbeing found in the victim. It seems the prosecutor failed to mention that the victim was also a “type A” secretor, making the evidence meaningless. Apanovitch has been on death row for 12 years, and is seeking a new trial that would undoubtedly free him.

Secret #2. John G. Spirko Jr. was convicted on circumstantial evidence of murdering Elgin, Ohio’s postmaster Betty Jean Mottinger. Unlike the O.J. Simpson case, there was no physical evidence linking Spirko to the death scene. Former Ohio Public Defender Randall Dana stated that public defenders were “…convinced that, for whatever reason, the Postal Department had set about proving this guy did it ÑSpirko did itÑwhen in fact, someone else was guilty.” Former investigator Chester “Briss” Craig produced a notarized affidavit dated March 17, 1988 from William Green, a prisoner in the Marion Correctional Institution, swearing that his cellmate, John Willier, confessed in the great detail to the killing of Betty Mottinger. Green’s affidavit reads: “When John Willier related this aforesaid account of the kidnapping and killing of the post mistress to me, he was crying and appeared to be in an emotionally overwrought state.” Spirko was scheduled to die on January 5, 1995, but received a stay of execution and his case has since been picked up “pro bono” by a prominent Washington, D.C. firm.

Secret #3. There may be at least 14 other Apanovitchs and Spirkos on Ohio’s death row. In January 1992, Chester Craig filed a formal complaint with the Ohio Inspector General that reads “Some of our investigators previously assigned to Ohio Public Defender’s clients before they were convicted had not met with or conducted any kind of investigation on behalf of these clients….” Craig has personally identified to this writer the names of the following death row inmates who may not have received due process as required by the U.S. Constitution: David Steffen, Ernest Martin, John William Byrd, Michael Bueke, Billie Joe Sowell, Robert Buell, Gregory Esparza, Donald Williams, William A. Zuern, Rhett de Pew, William Wickline Jr., Alfred J. Morales, Martin Rojas, and Jeff Lundgren.

Craig claimed, “…Many of these clients, mostly black, indicated they had never heard the name of the investigator mentioned and that they had never met with such person.” Craig concluded that investigators for the Public Defender’s Office where he was a supervisor, “were turning in false time reports and were not providing the support services to the attorneys as required.” A 1994 report by the Office of Investigative Services substantially supports Craig’s allegations. Additionally, Linda Leisure, who worked for one of the investigators, told the Columbus Free Press in January 1995 that she was asked “to falsify time reports and interviews on these murder cases.”

Unlike O.J., who with six lawyers and millions of dollars won acquittal, or the Menendez brothers, whose vast fortunes allowed them to skirt the death penalty despite their confessions, Apanovitch and the others who have little money cannot afford simple justice under our system. They can’t buy the Dream Team lawyers, expert witnesses and top notch investigators. If O.J. were poor, all an Ohio prosecutor would’ve had to say to a jury is: “This is undeniably the hair of a black man in this glove.” Guilty as charged. And he would’ve gotten the death penalty for killing an upper-class white woman. If his victim had been another poor black man, maybe he would have gotten four years in prison.

That’s why we need to go slow, despite Betty’s political ambitions. If she had her way, both Apanovitch and Spirko would be dead by now.

Bob Fitrakis presented an anti-death penalty plank at the 1992 Democratic Platform hearings on behalf of Governor Jerry Brown and, after the plank was disallowed, sued the National Democratic Party and presidential candidate Bill Clinton.

Advocates who say there were serious problems in the 2004 vote want an AG probe

By Bill Cohen – November 20, 2007 Bill Cohen, critics are continuing to claim the election was stolen

Three years after the controversial presidential election in Ohio that put President Bush back into the white house for a second term, critics are continuing to claim the election was stolen. And now, they’re asking Ohio’s top cop to join their crusade. Statehouse correspondent Bill Cohen files this report.

Original Article:


by Bob Fitrakis

“Seek and ye shall find,” the Good Book tells us. As we approach Earth Day, we should applaud those students who staged a two-day sit-in in front of OSU President Gordon Gee’s office to elevate the issue of developing the wetlands at the Firestone estate in the Akron area.

The fabulously wealthy Firestone family, of tire fame, kept the land in pristine condition as a riding retreat. The family’s fortune allowed it to preserve some of Ohio’s most spectacular remaining wilderness. But, it’s not simply the wilderness–that includes century-old white oak and tamarack trees–that makes it unique. It’s the five bogs on the property, some of the last in the state, that propelled the students to action.

Those familiar with Ohio history know that the European settlers, in less than two centuries, have filled in 90 percent of the state’s original wetlands. Take a look sometime at 19th century maps of Ohio. You may find that your favorite mall or fast-food franchise is sitting on a former swamp site or built over an old creekbed. Early settlers, to say the least, were not as eco-friendly as the Native Americans they were brutally driving out. Neither did the settlers understand the intricate and delicate role of wetlands in our ecosystem. Earth scientists often describe the wetlands as a giant sponge that absorbs excess water from heavy rains. Most agree that the recent devastating Midwestern floods were caused in part by the loss of such a high percentage of original wetlands.

In September 1994, The Ohio State University purchased 1,500 acres of the former Firestone estate for $5 million–a rock-bottom price provided for in Raymond Firestone’s will. OSU trustees and President Gee, in the cynical tradition of quick-buck, megaversity land speculation, saw the chance to sell it for $15 million. Amidst allegations that the $5 million to purchase the land was improperly diverted from a university endowment, OSU strangely contracted with the Galbreath Company to sell the land. Those of you into scandals of the rich and famous may recall that the Firestones and the Galbreaths were merged by marriage. Not too long ago, the Firestone heirs were suing their in-laws in one of those nasty “you’re fleecing poor senile granny” suits.

The Galbreaths had just the right stuff to sell this hot new piece of property, according to the OSU board of trustees. Don’t look for any environmentalists on that board. Any analysis of the social class of the trustees gives new meaning to the tired old Marxist cliche “executive committee of the bourgeoisie.” So, when Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC) members met with OSU’s Firestone working group, chaired by Trustee David Brennan on November 30, 1995, they were given a lesson in Classical Capitalist Economics 101. The students were told the university had one priority and one priority only–maximum economic gain. Some of the students believing that the university served other functions as well, say, educational, inquired as to what they could do to help preserve the wetlands. But there was only one correct answer on the pop quiz, and one university official supplied it, “Find someone with $15 million.”

Even more disturbing, the local Bath Township trustees want to designate the land as a natural preserve to be utilized for educational and research purposes. Thus, The Ohio State University, the flagship and pride of Buckeye higher education, finds itself pitted against 10 other Ohio educational institutions that want to use the land as an outdoor lab. This list includes the University of Akron, Kent State University, Oberlin College, John Carroll University, Baldwin-Wallace College, and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, among others.

OSU has gone into maximum spin control mode in order to obfuscate this issue. University officials claim that they have “sought and considered seriously the concerns of residents of the area surrounding the Firestone estate.” Moreover, they claim that they are “very sensitive to community and environmental concerns.” Yet, rhetoric aside, OSU has steadfastly refused to put any restriction on the land’s development. So they kill all the beavers, we get the bucks, buckaroo.

Recently in Ithaca, New York, home of the prestigious Cornell University, Wal-Mart tried to develop a similar wetland site. Only the well-organized outrage of the local citizenry prevented an environmental catastrophe.

OSU Executive Director of Communication Malcolm Baroway authoritatively intoned that it would be wrong for OSU to put restrictions on the land since it was protected by “federal EPA law.” Those of you who follow such things know that ever since George Bush allowed Vice President Dan Quayle to run amok with his Council on Competitiveness, federal wetland laws have more loopholes for wealthy developers than does the U.S. tax code. A developer is allowed to swap one wetland for another. Indeed, they’re allowed to dig a big hole in the ground, let it fill up with water in some suburban industrial park, call it a wetland, and exchange it for the likes of the bogs on the Firestone estate. Quayle in his genius, pretty much defined any standing water for more than a few days as a wetland. By Quayle’s definition, I could swap my basement for the Firestone wetlands and probably get away with it.

SEAC’s successful sit-in resulted in an open forum being scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday, at 3 p.m. at the second floor conference theater at the Ohio Union, which President Gee has promised to attend. SEAC has found the courage of its convictions to take on the holy of holies, OSU. And as the Good Book also points out, a basic definition of righteousness is speaking truth to power. May truth prevail this Earth Day.

by Bob Fitrakis

Building community begins with the assumption that everyone belongs, nobody is to be excluded. Campus Partners’ final plan submitted last week is the opposite: it’s about economic and class apartheid; of favoring chain restaurants and corporate anchor stores over independent small businesses.

The plan seeks to build a fortressed community with “gateways,” “calming zones,” and “defensible street closures.” This is arrogance and snobbery. It’s an attempt to protect the “right” people and keep the “wrong” people out. This is why the Frumpies on the Campus Partners staff (Formerly Radical Upwardly Mobile Professionals) and their apologists are personalizing their attacks against me. I’m sure they’ve got dozens of affidavits proving that I soaped myself excessively in the shower in ninth grade, but these attacks don’t change the substance of their “master plan” for the campus master race. For those of you who haven’t read it, it’s available at a few campus area libraries and I’ve included page references.

Barry Humphries and his Frumpies have decided that they don’t like the campus area as it is, so they want to knock it down and bring Disneyland planning to the area. And I don’t exaggerate here, they state: “…The remaining 50 percent of the structures in the [High Street] corridor lack significant detail for reuse potential when the cost of renovation or their ability to provide appropriately sized retail floor plates is considered.” (15-9) They don’t like the businesses in these buildings, and they don’t adapt well to suburban strip mall taste and requirements, so they’ll be knocked down if they’re not accidentally burnt down.

They have three themes. First, in south campus where Papa Joe’s conveniently went up in flames, they want shopping and dining. They envision “better quality” restaurants (pg. 15-6), “higher caliber” bars (pg. 15-10), and nifty stores like “The Gap” or “The Limited” (pg. 15-6). Excuse me, if the Gap or the Limited want to come into the area, let them do it with their own resources and not with public welfare checks provided through Campus Partners. Oh yeah, they also think the area needs “larger record stores” (pg. 15-7). This is absurd. The campus area is home to the few remaining independent music stores in Columbus. Any attempt to drive out the likes of Used Kids would be a cultural crime against humanity.

Second, the Partners want “to create an art theme at 15th and High.” This will include a new performing arts center on the east side of High, presumably to compliment the already existing Wexner Center and Mershon Auditorium across the street. It’s also a good excuse to tear down a bunch of buildings that are being used improperly by the riff-raff in the neighborhood, according to Campus Partners’ criteria.

Third, and even more absurd, the Partners are planning an “international” theme for the Lane-High area. Their plan will destroy perhaps the most ethnically diverse neighborhood strip in all of Ohio: name another strip in Ohio that has affordable real Chinese, Indian, Korean, Ethiopian, and Mexican restaurants in such close proximity. Most likely they will remove this actually existing cultural diversity and replace it with the food court at Lane Avenue Shopping Center, or Chi-Chi’s.

As Randy Morrison of the Godman Guild pointed out in his comments on the Campus Partners plan, the plan requires massive “displacement” and another plan is needed to “mitigate” this. Campus Partners is undertaking an ethnic and economic cleansing of the university district. This sounds like the preferences of middle-aged, middle-class former students, not the actual students who have different tastes and limited incomes.

The plan is so vile and pernicious that Barry Humphries, the infamous demolition man from the Battelle neighborhood, needed to hire Frumpies to cover the destruction of some of the last remaining culturally diverse “free spaces” from the student movement of the 1960s. Those who built bridges 25 years ago to other ethnic and racial communities are now using their progressive credentials to blow them up. While muttering to themselves that they are still “stardust and golden” they are destroying the campus area in order to save it.

A basic definition of theft is taking something that doesn’t belong to you. Campus Partners is planning legally sanctioned criminal activity. Their Disneyesque centralized planning will destroy businesses and private property they deem unworthy. It will eradicate the organically grown culture, flavor, character and mystique of the campus area and replace it with plastic suburban sterility. They now look to the Ohio State Board of Trustees for their blessing–a board whose membership constitutes Ohio’s “power elite,” essentially the same class of people who deforested Franklin Park, sterilized the North Market and homogenized the Ohio State Fair. But this will be their greatest criminal caper.

It’s not too late to stop the insanity. People opposed to this plan need to rise up and use any means necessary to make your voices heard.

Dr. Robert Fitrakis finally gets the confirmation from the Columbus Dispatch about what he has been saying all along. Vote switching has its day.


Below is the link to the Vblog: 

Shadow Of Afghanistan

November 14, 2007 Community Leaders Forum
Discussion of “Shadow of Afghanistan”

Bob Fitrakis will discuss the situation in Afghanistan and the currently running Drexel Gateway movie “Shadow of Afghanistan.” Free. 7pm.

Location: First Unitarian Universalist Church, 93 W. Weisheimer Rd., Columbus 43214
Phone: 296-6304
Email: earlword@yahoo.com
Website: http://www.shadowofafghanistan.com/

The November 15 Third Thursday Theater night film has changed:

Instead of “The War Tapes” (which we could not get permission to show)
we will play: “Shadow of Afghanistan”

The War Tapes


Don’t miss the next FREE Third Thursday Theater Night
Sponsored by the Free Press and the Drexel Gateway

November 15 at 7pm (with discussion to follow)
Featuring: “The War Tapes”

Drexel Gateway – 1550 N. High St., screening room, contact the Free Press 253-2571, truth@freepress.org