School funding:
School funding should be equalized with each child getting the same amount of money regardless of whether their parents own a mansion or rent a shack. Vouchers for private schools should end, but publicly chartered voucher schools under school districts should be encouraged. The prison budget should be cut back dramatically by medicalizing drug addiction and ending the senseless war on drugs, and shifting the savings into the school budget.

Key factors for Ohio jobs:
Providing universal health care for all Ohio workers, developing new high-tech and green industries, and going back to the future by building trains, trams and trollies to improve our mass transit system and freight rail and to create jobs.

Why best candidate?
I am more interested in changing the culture of corruption in Ohio than being a player in one of the major political parties. The two major parties are incapable of ending the pay-to-play system in Ohio. Only an outside independent force can restore integrity in Ohio politics. My background as a political scientist, investigative reporter and attorney, I have the skills to bring back honest government to the people of Ohio. I want to see Ohio become a place known for green alternative energies, convenient mass transit, clean air and water, great college and universities, and a place where the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution in enforced.

Appropriate role:
Government should rein in the large trans-national corporations when they engage in anti-social practices such as polluting our environment. Government should encourage the relocalization of small entrepreneurial businesses throughout Ohio. It is illegal for government to spy on U.S. citizens without a warrant. Federal officials who engage in such practices should be arrested. Government should move out of people’s bedrooms and quit enforcing an insane racist and class-based war on drugs. There should be a separation of church and state.

J. Katrina Blackwell hates the anniversary of the worst natural disaster in U.S. history. When you want to run the Bush Bantustan of Ohio and you’re counting on peeling black voters from the Republican Party, there’s nothing more disturbing than to recall black faces floating down the streets of New Orleans and desperate African Americans trapped on roofs. Once Ohio’s African American voters are reminded that Blackwell is a front for the Bush crime family, and he’s never really called their policies into question in New Orleans, his black vote evaporates. 

So, when you think of the anniversary of the greatest domestic policy failure in our nation’s history, remember that a vote for Ken Blackwell is a vote for Bush and his racist Katrina policy. 

It was great to be back live on “Front Street”, the public affairs radio talk show that used to be on WVKO 1580AM here in Columbus – back with my old pal Charles Traylor.

For ten years I was the only white talk show host on a black-owned and operated radio station, thanks to the late and legendary Bill Moss. First, I was on WSMZ starting in 1996 until 2002 when I moved to WVKO, a black gospel station.

The station, like the Free Press was committed to Old Testament righteousness. Speaking truth directly to the powerful. Sadly, it went off the air on May 5, 2006. Convenient for Ken Blackwell, since it was the station that broadcast live the hearings we held in Columbus to hear testimony from voters about the 2004 election debacle.

There’s a tremendous void in Columbus’ black community with the loss of WVKO, and there’s a greater need than ever for alternative voices. That’s why I’ll continue to blog, stream and podcast my thoughts throughout this election. We must break the corporate for-profit oligarchy that controls the infotainment business.

All power to the people!

I heard an interesting statistic recently. Our state loses more young people aged 18-24 to jobs and opportunities outside Ohio than any other state in our nation. Not something to be proud of. As an educator at Columbus State Community College, I’ve seen thousands of students pass through Columbus State to go on to bigger, better jobs in other states. We can turn this around in Ohio, if we make our state a better place to live and work. 

To rebuild Ohio economically, we must do three things:

1)      Raise the minimum wage
2)      Provide universal health insurance to all Ohio citizens
3)      Make all state government contractors pay a living wage

I fully support the campaign to raise the state’s minimum wage to $6.85 an hour. The more we create a stable middle class society, the more we’ll reduce crime and the need for our massive prison industrial complex. The more we pay people, the more likely they are to afford to send their children to college or get increased education and training for themselves. Instead of exporting the greatest amount of 18-24-year-old educated and trained young adults to other states, we may keep the talent here in Ohio.

These proposals, along with increased funding for education, will make Ohio a progressive and productive state.

The Ohio Republican Party’s plan to stimulate economic growth in Ohio through their lackeys at the Ohio EPA – Every Polluter’s Friend – is to import more garbage from New York state. While Ohio lags behind the developed world in passenger train and mass transit rolling stock, the EPA is more than willing to keep the trains running on time with New York trash.

Since, by some measurements, we are already the most polluted state in the country, the Republicans see it as a growth industry – particularly for their political action committees. The fact that certain elements of the waste management field has long ties to organized crime doesn’t seem to bother the Ohio EPA. But, as Tony Soprano said in the last episode of the Sopranos, hey, there’s enough garbage to go around.

Of course instead of importing garbage, we could become a green, self-sustaining state cleaning up our water and air and promoting tourism in our Appalachian hills. We might start by doing what Michigan did back in the 70s, passing a bottle bill and this should include cans and plastic bottles as well. It works right now Maine, California and Hawaii.

So, instead of letting the Republicans make Ohio the armpit of the nation, why not take pride and go Green?

When I first came to Ohio, the state’s higher education was ranked 37th among the 50 states, and that was under the Democratic administration of Dick Celeste. Under Voinovich, and now Taft, state aid to higher education has fallen – depending on who’s counting – between 44th and 46th. This makes Ohio the Mississippi of the Midwest. Even more dangerous in the new plan by J. Kenneth Blackwell to impose his “bumper sticker” solution to K-12 education in Ohio.

Instead of calling for the end of the war in Iraq or raising the taxes on the top 1% of the population in Ohio – don’t worry, this doesn’t include you – thus bringing more money into the Ohio school systems, Blackwell simply wants to reshuffle the deck with his so-called “65% solution.” This would end control by local school board who understand their districts, and instead require the boards to spend 65 cents on every dollar on classroom instruction.

This allows Blackwell to continue cutting taxes on Ohio’s wealthiest citizens while pretending to put more money into education. I have a book of writings on education in Ohio, particularly Columbus, entitled “A Schoolhouse Divided.” The problem with Ohio schools is that most of the central city schools are victims of race and class apartheid, where lily white suburban schools co-exist next to majority minority school districts like the Columbus Public Schools. In Columbus, with few exceptions, there’s been an agreement from both political parties to pretty much loot the system and steer contracts to political donors.

What’s needed more than ever is real school choice run by professional unionized teachers without crushing bureaucratic oversight. Every public school should be a school of choice. Every public school should have its own democratically and locally elected school board. A marketplace of economic techniques should flourish in the central cities. Large school buildings could easily be divided up by floor into two, three or four schools. Publish the results and let the parents choose.

Blackwell’s 65% solution is no solution. It’s a bumper sticker for children who can’t calculate 65%.

Ohio lags behind the states of the northeast in our commitment to clean energy. By November 15, 2004, nine Northeastern US states – Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania – committed to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) RGGI. These states established emission capping and trading programs to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions.

As governor, I will make sure that Ohio joins these states, as well as California and Oregon, in embracing the Kyoto Protocol in reducing greenhouse gases. Already, four cities in Ohio support the Kyoto Protocol: Brooklyn, Dayton, Garfield Heights, and Toledo. It’s a shame that none of Ohio’s three major cities, Columbus-Cincinnati-Cleveland, have adopted this position. 

Democrat Ted Strickland has made apolitical decision to support what he calls “clean coal technologies.” This makes political sense given that he currently represents coal-mining regions of Ohio as a U.S. representative. Environmentally, his plan is unsound. First, the gasification of coal, of course, involves coal mining which is and remains an environmental nightmare – rubblizing hills, destroying forests, and polluting watersheds, rivers and streams. Also, coal gasification is a largely untested and unproven technology and the cost will be astronomical. It’s actually more expensive than dirty coal and far more expensive than wind and solar energy. Coal gasification will be a major pork-barrel project by the government. Sure, contractors and contributors to Strickland will get rich off these contracts, but it will do nothing to improve the environment of Ohio in the long run. Capturing huge amounts of CO2 gas and pumping it back into the earth on a long-term basis is what makes “clean coal” clean. The capturing of CO2 gas, which is both technically feasible and plausible, still raises the question of the viability of underground storage systems.

So, what Strickland is offering is an incredibly expensive, political solution that will cost more than solar and wind energy and one that will destroy our hills and valleys. Instead, every public building that is built in the state of Ohio should be a green building. We should be integrating green landscaping into every construction project as well as solar panels and fuel efficient power systems that can sell energy to surrounding communities. As a Green, I seek real environmental solutions, not politically expedient solutions that are designed to please special interests.

Jon Craig at the Cincinnati Enquirer is doing a great job writing about politics. They had the full Robert J. Kennedy Rolling Stone piece on their blog:

The Enquirer plans to ask very direct questions to all the gubernatorial candidates and they included me as an independent. I plan to give them very direct answers. Here are the first two questions they posed and my answers:

Question: On May 15, President Bush announced a National Guard mobilization in which more than 150,000 troops could be sent to border states to help stem the flow of illegal immigrants. Gov. Bob Taft has said he would support Bush by sending troops from Ohio.

As governor, would you support sending Ohio National Guard troops to border states?

Bob: No

Question: In one to three sentences, feel free to explain why or why not.

Bob: This is the job of the border patrol. Moreover, it’s a pathetic symbolic action which reeks of militarizing our border with a friendly ally. The problem is not to patrol our border with an armed National Guard, but to take a look at the minimum wage in Mexico and other conditions that are driving desperate workers into the United States.

Question: House Bill 228 would make it a felony to carry out abortions in Ohio or transport a woman across state lines to have one. Would you sign this abortion bill?

Bob Fitrakis: Never.

Question: Explain why or why not in one to three sentences.

Bob Fitrakis: I believe that Roe v. Wade is good law and that the decision is between a woman and her God, not the self-proclaimed God squad — I would no more sign this bill than I would sign one on witch burning. To criminalize transporting a woman across state lines for an abortion will make Ohio the laughingstock of the midwest. I would do everything possible to make sure no woman has to terminate a pregnancy because of economic circumstances and do everything I can to ensure day care and preschool for all children.

I spoke at the Hemp Festival tonight at Ohio State University, sponsored by the Students for a Sensible Drug Policy. I’ve never been able to understand why you would outlaw a miracle plant like hemp – that doesn’t even get you high — just because it’s the male cousin of marijuana. It’s a bit like outlawing corn because somebody can make cornmash from it during Prohibition. Or outlawing barley because it’s used to make beer. The famous but ignored Popular Mechanics article from the 1930s called hemp “the wonder product” and talked about 25,000 products that can be made from it. Hemp can be used for multiple purposes: fuel, food products, oils, clothing, paper products or a whole car, as Henry Ford demonstrated.

The war on drugs that Reagan pushed was really targeted against marijuana, after all, the CIA’s assets (like the Contras) were bringing in cocaine by the carload and the Reagan administration told the CIA that they didn’t have to report it to the DEA. Read more

So the organizers of an Ohio Statehouse rally attacking undocumented workers is being sponsored by a white supremacist hate group. The name of the organization, Americans for America, should have tipped us off that they were fascists. Much like in the 50s, when authoritarians terrorized believers in the First Amendment by creating the House Un-American Activities Committee in the US Congress.

The usual suspects are involved. The organizer is one of David Duke’s boys. You remember Duke’s grand dream of merging the Klan and Nazis into one big white supremacist network. Every election year the right-wing storm troops come out of their bunker to whip up race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic and cultural hatreds. It’s their job. By promoting wedge issues that divide the population along falsely created identity lines, they can get the vast majority of people who work for a wage or a salary to hate the targeted group that changes from year to year.

In 2004, it was gays and gay marriage. Read more