“GasHole” movie at the Drexel Grandview, Ohio

Thursday, July 17, 2008 – 7:30pm
“GasHole” movie at the Drexel Grandview
1247 Grandview Avenue
PROPORTION TO GAS COSTS.” — Rob Nelson, Variety
Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  “GasHole” narrated by Peter Gallagher coming to The Drexel Grandview
in Columbus on July17th for One Show Only!
This timely, hot-button film takes an intense look at oil prices and
the future of alternative fuels. The film has a special screening event
at The Drexel Grandview on Thursday, July 17th, at 7:30pm with a Q & A
session with the filmmakers to follow the screening. Tickets are $10.00
for general & $8.00 for Seniors/Students/Military.
To see the trailer, PR Photos, TV Appearances, Radio Interviews, etc.
visit www.gasholemovie.com
Location: Drexel Grandview, 1247 Grandview Ave.
Phone: 614) 486-6114
Website: GasHole Movie



Second Saturday Salon, Saturday, July 12 at 6:30pm

Saturday, July 12 at 6:30pm

Socialize and network with progressive friends!

1000 E. Main Street, firehouse #11
Parking in rear or at Salvation Army next door

Sponsored by the Free Press and the Central Ohio Green Education Fund

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Bob and Harvey Show With Cliff Arnebeck, May 26, 2007

Hemp, Stolen elections, nuclear power, Batchelder, Ohio SOS Brunner’s proposals, death penalty, Iraq war…

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On Point, Dr. Fitrakis Live Feb 16th, 2008 Vic’s Cafe

Live audience chat with music from Andrew Davis and Rob Jones.



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Bob Bytes Back Archives: 6/26/1996 Welcome To The Neighborhood

by Bob Fitrakis and Sally MacPhail

Last week, the University Area Commission, Campus Partners for Community Urban Redevelopment, the Columbus Development Commission and the Columbus Historic Resources Commission all adopted resolutions endorsing the University Neighborhoods Revitalization Plan, a 250-page document drafted by Campus Partners that addresses just about every aspect of off-campus life from trash collection to land use, from drinking and drug abuse to community schools. Intended to encourage reinvestment-financial and philosophical-by present and prospective businesses, residents, students, and the university itself, the plan has been a source of public debate for the last few months. Critics charge that the proposed clean-up will eradicate a unique multi-ethnic urban community.

Around the Ivory Tower It is the sweeping-some might say, overwhelming-way in which Campus Partners is approaching OSU’s role off-campus that has had some observers worried. One of the most vocal critics of the former Final Draft was Columbus Alive columnist, Bob Fitrakis, who called it former Campus Partners President Barry Humphries’ “mission to make the campus area safe for Max and Erma’s….In fact, in the original draft of the master plan revealed in November, yuppification north of campus and ghettoization south of campus were the twin pillars holding up the new campus fortress.”

Asked to react to Fitrakis’ comments that the plan might result in gentrification that would eradicate the campus counter-culture, Campus Partners’ Marc Conte said: “I think he’s pretty right. Those are pretty much my sentiments. When [other board members] ask for my opinion on retail, I say we can look at the record stores and see that the independent record stores survive, not the chain stores. People like the independent businesses, they like the uniqueness of the area; that’s one of the reason we’re shopping here, ’cause there’s no other reason. And the other thing is that there’s an incredible amount of retail diversity; now just because Target isn’t up as the main sign for the area doesn’t mean you can’t find everything that you find at Target.”

Among the major long-term projects for revitalization of the commercial strip along High Street are three theme areas-one at Lane, one at 15th, and one at 10th-that will be the “rooms” through which one progresses. At the north end, a widened and realigned Lane Avenue will mark an “expanded international village,” drawing upon the mixed uses and multi-ethnic restaurants in the area. There will be an Arts Gateway at 15th across from the Wexner Center. The last and most controversial component is an entertainment/retail/office/commercial development at High Street where E. 11th and W. 10th would be realigned to meet. Among the chain ventures suggested as possible occupants of the site are Max and Erma’s, The Limited, The Gap, and Urban Outfitters.

“All this talk about Max and Erma’s by Campus Partners, they really don’t understand the market or how to deal with the residents. What’s their college-trained manager going to do the first time a member of the rugby team comes in to their upscale restaurant and pisses in a corner? How are they going to handle that? What they don’t want to admit is that the bar owners know this area, we know this market and we’re professionals,” commented Brad Miller, owner of Maxwell’s.

Conte, too, is unwilling to give in yet to the notion of High Street as a mall with major retailers anchoring it. “The problem I know we’re going to run into when they want to build new structures or new businesses, to build those structures they’re going to have to have a national caliber retailer in order to convince the banks that they should get more money for it. …Wherever that happens, I’ve really been encouraging that that be our last resort.”

“High Street has enormous potential,” Campus Partners’ community liaison Steve Sterrett said. He maintained, though, that “It’s not working well now. Students are spending their discretionary funds elsewhere.”

A self-created war zone

Miller, for one, thinks the fault for that lies with the police. “This is the hardest place in the nation to own a bar… It’s a war zone. They’ve dehumanized the students. The police have to realize that the students are not the armies of darkness,” he said. Miller argued that the original Campus Partners rhetoric about “a dangerous neighborhood in decline,” has added to the south campus woes.

He pointed out that because of the conflict with the police, students are now “paying to get out of this area” and drink at places like Mekka. “It shouldn’t have to be that way,” Miller said.

The Columbus police take a drubbing in the Campus Partners plan, both for their lack of sensitivity toward students and their failure to follow through with the Park, Walk and Talk program designed to get officers out of their cruisers and onto the sidewalks. Mark Hatch, director of Community Crime Patrol and a member of the Campus Partners board, has already begun meeting with law enforcement and student representatives, according to Sterrett.

Campus Partners is seen by both south campus bar owners and residents as sort of a new temperance movement. At a December meeting of the Undergraduate Student Government Assembly, Humphries lectured students on partying “responsibly.” President E. Gordon Gee is quoted in the April issue of the Ohio State Alumni Magazine as saying: “I have no intention to make [student life] boring. . . [but] there will be no plebiscite on the fundamental issue of change.” Most of Gee’s envisioned “change” has focused from the beginning on downsizing the south campus bar strip.

Gee recently told students lobbying for domestic partnership benefits that change takes time and he used Campus Partners as his analogy. “When I first came here six years ago I knew something had to be done, so every year, six years ago, five years ago, four years ago, I asked for money to do something. I finally got the money….” Gee conceded that critics may correctly view his attack on the south campus bar strip as a return to the principle of in loco parentis, the notion that the university should act as a surrogate parent to students under the age of 21.

Citizenship 101

Certainly, even under the modified Final Final Draft, the university is expected to take a much greater responsibility for its students. It calls for students to be trained for community service, for the university to assess that service, for incentives to be provided to encourage service, and for students to follow the code of conduct anytime they are engaged in a university-related activity, a modified in loco parentis.

Campus Partners’ Conte agrees that the university “should definitely be taking a more active role; then how that’s done is the question.”

One way that the university could begin addressing the problem would start right on campus, with increased expenditures for student activities and health and counseling services. Mindbogglingly, the university spends about 10% of what similar institutions spend on alternative activities for students, according to the Campus Partners plan. As the instructional fee for students has risen, tuition costs have been controlled by keeping the general activity fee-that which pays for non-instructional programming-low. As a result, there is not much that the university provides students to divert them from haunting the High Street bars.

In the meantime, there is not one full-time person working on alcohol abuse on campus, according to Conte. “There’s nobody on campus that’s trying to coordinate activities to reduce alcohol usage and prevent alcohol abuse, and I think that’s why we have all the problems on 12th Avenue because there hasn’t been any planning…. This alcohol position was recommended to be funded as part of OSU’s budget process, but the last I heard from OSU vice president on Student Affairs [David Williams] was it wasn’t going to be funded.”

Williams was in Africa last week and could not be reached for comment.

Despite the university’s disinvestment, Conte thinks the students need to realize their responsibilities. He is encouraged by planning among off-campus student and year-round residents to meet and orient students new to the neighborhoods. The idea is to be pro-active with students moving off-campus “so you immediately make them partners in that neighborhood….. And the students need to realize that they might be here temporarily, but they’re stewards of the university and the university area.”

Extending its boundaries

Work by Campus Partners has not been limited to the East Campus neighborhoods. Language in the Final Final Draft is deliberately more inclusive than in earlier drafts in an attempt to extend the university’s responsibility to the north and south as well. 
“There’s still a lot of things missing,” UAC’s Skubovius cautioned, “particularly in the northern third of the district. A little money could go a long way.” But he called the extensively revised document “more acceptable.”

In the north campus area, Campus Partners initially worked closely with the Glen Echo South Civic Association. That collaboration spawned an oppositional organization, The Common Ground Forum. The Common Ground folks objected to the original Campus Partners proposal to close and redirect area streets. Joe Demshar, the owner of Top Priority Pizza, emerged as the most vocal critic of the Campus Partners plan.

“It’s been mostly quiet up here since Barry Humphries’ departure,” he stated, although, at a May 22 meeting of the Civic Association, Demshar claimed that Campus Partners’ spokesperson Julie Boyland “discredited herself.” Boyland presented the Campus Partners perspective on the need for “traffic calming” and the closing of Fourth Street. “It was quite a fiasco,” Demshar declared. “Julie attempted to shout down the Common Ground attorney Laura Sharp. She kept yelling: ‘Where do you live? What are you doing here?'” while Sharp was presenting the less-intrusive Common Ground proposals calling for stop signs and speed bumps.

Demshar believes that the election of Jim Hubbard, of the Common Ground group, as vice president of the Glen Echo South Civic Association at a June 3 meeting signals the ability of the neighborhood to solve their traffic problems without Campus Partners’ intervention. “They have nothing to do with anything up here anymore. We can solve our own problems without their involvement,” he said.

The university in drag

Unlike the University Area Commission, Demshar is unwilling to endorse Campus Partners’ Final Final Draft. “Who is Campus Partners? It’s the university in drag. Why do they deserve the other side of High Street? It’s a land grab by the university using a not-for-profit entity as a diversionary tactic to get involved in commercial enterprises,” in Demshar’s analysis. He asked, “How well managed are they? They bury nuclear waste and cadavers under the Fawcett Center and forgot about it.”

Echoing the sentiments of the UAC, Demshar dashed off a list of what he sees as the real needs of north campus: “If Campus Partners, and I mean the university, wants to do something for us, let them fix our streets, improve the lighting, help us get new sidewalks and curbs, bury the utility lines, build green space, clean our streets, improve the landscape-that’s what this area needs. Not the Limited!”

” As a student, I’m concerned about the displacement of people and the problems. If the rents go up, everything gets nice, and people can’t afford to live here, where are they going to go?” Conte asked, raising the same concerns. “And again, [there’s] this feeling that there’s this assumption that there is no community here. But it is there and we threaten to destroy what communities we do have.”

“I’m torn because I understand the economics of it,” he continued, adding, though, “I know I don’t agree with everything that’s in [the plan], but I know something needs to be done,” Conte concluded.

Join Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman’s radio show

You are invited to join Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman’s radio show We’re recording live at 2:00pm every Saturday at Victorian’s Midnight Café, 251 W. Fifth at Neil. Join the audience, grab a mike, let your voice be heard.

Bob and Harvey are joined by Andrew Davis and Rob Jones for some political talk, discussion, interviews, commentary, and music. Victorian’s Midnight Café offers a great breakfast, brunch, lunch and drinks for your pleasure. Hear our archives at https://freepress.org/podcasts.

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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King Corn: The Movie, Subsidies = Obesity, Junk Food

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

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Advocates 2004 Vote Want An AG probe

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:


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Bob Bytes Back Archive: Partners in crime (Campus Partners)

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.