Bob Bytes Back Archive: June, 1996 School Board Coup

The Wolfe Family Newsletter writes: “Party politics didn’t come into play when the Columbus Board of Education unanimously tapped the Reverend Leon Troy Sr., a Republican, this week to fill a Board vacancy.” Oh? The Daily Monopoly had been touting Troy as above the fray. That’s the usual B.S.. What was left out of the reporting was the fact that the late Sharlene Morgan was a progressive Democrat and Troy fought against her and sided with the Chamber of Commerce on most key issues.

Recall Superintendent Larry Mixon’s on-and-off again “resignation.” As Bill Moss stated at the time, “Troy was the Chamber and Dispatch’s front man” to silence the progressive anti-tax abatement block on the Board and to get Mixon to stay.

Sources in the Franklin County Democratic Party claim that school board members Loretta Heard and Mary Jo Kilroy were against Troy’s appointment in executive session and Karen Schwarzwalder was “up front” about her support. But it was school board President Mark Hatch”described by a Democratic Party staffer as a “weasel”,”who never came clean and cut a deal behind closed doors.”

Hatch has a history of double-dealing and stabbing the local Democratic Party in the back. Remember his vote for the Republican Bob Teater that denied Mary Jo Kilroy the school board presidency a few years back?

As for Kilroy, who rallied her progressive supporters this past campaign by denouncing the Republican agenda, she’s got some explaining to do. But, she wasn’t in the mood. When asked to explain her public support and vote for Troy, she commented, “I’m not interested in the story.” Of course. Can charges of “sellout” be far behind?

Bob Fitrakis ran for Columbus School Board in 1995.

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Free Press 4th Thursday Free Film Night!

You’re invited to the Free Press 4th Thursday Free Film Night!
Thursday, January 24 at 7pm
Movie: “Kilowatt Ours”
Drexel Gateway Theater screening room

Harvey Wasserman will lead the discussion following the movie


253-2571, truth@freepress.org

Kilowatt Ours Reveals the Consequences of Our Coal Powered Economy.

The film opens with Vice President Dick Cheney’s energy policy speech
in which Cheney makes the claim that America needs nearly 1900 new
power plants in the next 20 years to meet projected electricity
demands.

From here, filmmaker Jeff Barrie takes viewers on a journey from the
coal mines of West Virginia to the solar panel fields of Florida, as he
discovers solutions to America’s energy.

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Bob Bytes Back Archive: 5/28/1996 “Whiny Dems And Jews” (Anti-Semitism)

5/28/1996
by Bob Fitrakis

From Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium to Columbus’ Riffe Center, anti-Semitism is in vogue. But in the state capital, instead of chastising the bigot, we literally fire the messenger. Ask Devon Rice.

On May 8 at approximately 8:30 a.m., Rice, a messenger with the Legislative Service Commission, was delivering forms to House Speaker Jo Ann Davidson’s office on the 14th floor when he heard Ohio House Sergeant-at-Arms Robert Foster loudly proclaim: “The Jews are just like the Democrats, all they do is whine.”

After Foster “repeated himself several times,” Rice confronted the Statehouse official and said, “Could you do me a favor, next time you make anti-Semitic remarks, could you lower your voice so I don’t have to hear you?”

Rice says Foster initially denied that his remarks were anti-Semitic and reluctantly offered a half-hearted apology. Rice then dashed off a letter to Speaker Davidson (R-Reynoldsburg), informing her of the incident and stating: “As a citizen of Ohio, as a human being and as a ‘Jew,’ I felt compelled to inform the gentleman that I heard him, that I was offended, and that his behavior was intolerable.” Foster was sitting at his desk in the reception area at the time the remarks were made.

Rice wrote “I personally do not care what the Sergeant-at-Arms says at home, at a bar, or on the golf course. However, this type of behavior clearly has no place within his official capacity as an employee of the Ohio House of Representatives. His behavior was, aside from being ignorant and offensive, unprofessional.”

Speaker Davidson seemed to concur. She ordered an immediate inquiry into the matter. Foster admitted that he had called two specific groups–the ACLU and the Jewish Defense League–“whiners just like the Democrats.” Foster denied he ever referred to “Jews” specifically. Nevertheless, Davidson concluded in a letter dated May 15 that Foster’s conduct was “entirely inappropriate and should not be condoned in the House of Representatives.” Davidson directed Carol S. Norris, the executive secretary of the Ohio House, “to verbally reprimand Mr. Foster for his ‘inappropriate’ comments.” A copy of her letter to Rice was forwarded to the director of the Legislative Service Commission, Robert Shapiro. Within a week, Rice was given his six-month evaluation and told that his services would no longer be needed after the session ended.

Instead of talking to Rice face-to-face, the evaluation from his immediate supervisor Eric Rodriguez and Office Manager Cathy Kamer was simply left on his desk. Rice claims every time he was five minutes late was suddenly highlighted, although no one had ever spoke to him about tardiness before. And, curiously, a vague reference to having “gone above a supervisor on one occasion . . .” appeared.

Rice resigned after the evaluation, rather than finish the session, and he requested an exit interview with Kamer and Shapiro. When he showed up at the appointed time, he found State Trooper Sergeant Moore waiting to escort him out of the building. “It’s insane. The trooper threatened me with arrest,” Rice offers.

Shapiro acknowledges that he saw Davidson’s letter, but refused to give Kamer’s or Rodriguez’s names when asked who evaluated Rice or whether they had seen Davidson’s letter. “I’m not going to help you, you’ll have to find out yourself,” Shapiro told me. Shapiro has recently been under fire for withholding corporate donation information from the press and the Legislative Service Commission is still recovering from the recent Puerto Rican junket scandal.

Shapiro claims he was unaware of the state trooper incident and suggests “not so convincingly” that Rice’s evaluation had nothing to do with the letter. A true professional.

School Board Coup

The Wolfe Family Newsletter writes: “Party politics didn’t come into play when the Columbus Board of Education unanimously tapped the Reverend Leon Troy Sr., a Republican, this week to fill a Board vacancy.” Oh? The Daily Monopoly had been touting Troy as above the fray. That’s the usual B.S.. What was left out of the reporting was the fact that the late Sharlene Morgan was a progressive Democrat and Troy fought against her and sided with the Chamber of Commerce on most key issues.

Recall Superintendent Larry Mixon’s on-and-off again “resignation.” As Bill Moss stated at the time, “Troy was the Chamber and Dispatch’s front man” to silence the progressive anti-tax abatement block on the Board and to get Mixon to stay.

Sources in the Franklin County Democratic Party claim that school board members Loretta Heard and Mary Jo Kilroy were against Troy’s appointment in executive session and Karen Schwarzwalder was “up front” about her support. But it was school board President Mark Hatch”described by a Democratic Party staffer as a “weasel”,”who never came clean and cut a deal behind closed doors.”

Hatch has a history of double-dealing and stabbing the local Democratic Party in the back. Remember his vote for the Republican Bob Teater that denied Mary Jo Kilroy the school board presidency a few years back?

As for Kilroy, who rallied her progressive supporters this past campaign by denouncing the Republican agenda, she’s got some explaining to do. But, she wasn’t in the mood. When asked to explain her public support and vote for Troy, she commented, “I’m not interested in the story.” Of course. Can charges of “sellout” be far behind?

Bob Fitrakis ran for Columbus School Board in 1995.
 

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Bob Bytes Back Archives: Ohio Taking To The Streets (School Of Americas)

5/22/1996
by Bob Fitrakis

The action was in the streets, and parks, last weekend. In Westerville, 50 or so activists from the Westerville Social Action group and Amnesty International exercised their First Amendment rights by demonstrating in front of Rep. John Kasich’s house and then marching down Main Street. They want Mr. Budget-Cutter to wield his ax and topple the notorious School of the Americas (SOA)–School of the Assassins. In Franklin Park, the African-American community and guests celebrated the heritage of Malcolm X, and up on campus at 16th and Waldeck–the original site of Community Festival–Anti-Racist Action (ARA) staged a very successful second annual Anti-Fest.
A common theme ran through these three events: the streets and the parks belong to the people, all the people.

Kasich’s house looks like it was built for a Hollywood movie about a wholesome and earnest young politician. That’s probably why the Congressman purchased it. So, imagine his surprise–no, he wasn’t there as usual–when he hears about an actual group of earnest and wholesome young neighbors of his calling his ethics and morality into question.

One notes Johnny has made a career out of trying to balance the U.S. budget, yet he conveniently continues to ignore the School of the Americas located in Ft. Bening, Georgia. The School recently underwent a $30 million renovation at taxpayers’ expense to better house the legions of murderers and assassins it trains. The official purpose of the School is to train Latin American soldiers in combat skills such as counter-insurgency operations, sniper fire, commando tactics and psychological warfare. But, wherever the graduates of the School go, atrocities and torture follow.

General Manuel Noriega is a graduate and so were over 60 Salvadoran officers cited by the 1993 United Nations Truth Commission Report for butchering civilians; two out of three officers cited in the assassination of Archbishop Romero were graduates; three out of five officers cited in the rape and murder of four U.S. churchwomen were alumni; 10 out of 12 officers cited in the El Mozote massacre of over 800 civilians held diplomas from SOA; and 19 of the 26 officers responsible for the slaughter of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter were educated there.

Alas, U.S. tax dollars at work, training between 700-2000 Latin American assassins a year. Most recently, Julio Roberto Alperez, who ordered the killing of U.S. citizen Michael Devine in Guatemala and Efrim Bamaca, husband of U.S. citizen Jennifer Harbury, calls SOA his alma mater. Harbury reported the last time she saw her husband, he was being blown up with various gases, his body four times its normal size, as he raved unintelligibly. In a recent Dispatch editorial, the paper rightly criticized Clinton for his failure to bring Alperez and other Guatemalan “allies” to justice. Now, if only they would hold their boy John equally responsible for funding the criminals, or at least cover the event like a normal paper. Westerville Social Action is asking citizens to write or call Rep. Kasich and tell him to support House Resolution 2652, a bill proposed by Rep. Joe Kennedy to close the School of the Americas and demand that we spend “Not a Dime for Death Squads.”

Many of the activists went from death squad protests to dancing in the streets and parks on Saturday. Talk about a “pro-life” celebration; that’s what you got at the Anti-Fest. It was a racist’s nightmare with interracial mingling, cavorting and boogeying in front of various people’s gods. The event started off with a certain amount of apprehension and fears that the Columbus police riot unit might show up uninvited. OSU President Gordon Gee’s office, in his attempt to re-establish in loco parentis (“I’m your daddy”) policy, demanded a meeting with ARA organizers. Jim McNamara, ARA leader and local attorney, declined the invitation. “I told him I’m 46 years old, I’ve got kids who’ve graduated from OSU. Why do I need to meet with the president’s office? This is my neighborhood in the city of Columbus. I’m not a college student,” said McNamara.

At the street fest, inevitably, talk turned to the topic of Campus Partners. Seems my penpals in the Glen Echo South Civic Association are sitting down in a neighborly fashion with the dissident Common Grounds Forum group and appear to be working out their traffic problems. Also, University Area Commissioners report that finally, after a year and a half, Campus Partners staffers are seeking real input from the neighborhood. Some small businesspeople originally opposed to the plan appear willing to compromise in exchange for Pearl Alley becoming a real street and some assistance in redeveloping their businesses there.

On the other hand, the Stache’s/Monkey’s Retreat complex is reportedly scheduled for demolition next year. Yet, if the streets still belong to all the people and the campus community organizes, who knows, pardner?

Bob Fitrakis ran for Congress against John Kasich in 1992.