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Bob and Harvey Discuss Gov. Kasich’s Environmental Record

rainbow bob

Fight Back – Episode: 08/28/15 Governor John Kasick’s (sic) environmental record

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Quiet Newsday? There Is Always Something going on in Alternative Media

WCRSscrcap

The Other Side Of The News / FightBack

http://www.talktainmentradio.com/shows/fightback.html

The Columbus Free Press . Com

https://freepress.org/

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Police abuse in Columbus, The Other Side of the News August 10, 2015

A must listen. Two friends try to help an Asthmatic get treatment at OSU ER. All of them get arrested. This is their excruciating story in person. Bob interviews three young people who were detained, harassed and arrested by Columbus police.

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We can be silent no more: Shocking conditions at Franklin County Community Based Correctional Facility

The Free Press has obtained a copy of a shocking Statement by concerned employees of the Franklin County Community Based Correctional Facility (FCCBCF). They describe an understaffed facility with overworked employees, rampant sex among the inmates, virus epidemics, ignored suicide attempts, illusionary and inaccurate data, and tyrannical management personally invested in a training manual and soon-to-be book intended for profit.

The facility houses felony offenders as part of the Ohio penal system’s diversion program. Diversion facilities tend to take prisoners at the end of their sentence, inmates with alcohol and addiction problems, and those with mental illnesses that are not being served by incarceration. The facility is centered around the core cognitive behavioral therapy program known as the Responsible Adult Culture Program (RACP).

The RACP’s central premise is if inmates change their negative self-centered thinking, their behavior will be adjusted so that they can function outside of the prison system. Former FCCBCF Director Bud Potter who retired in 2013 created and implemented the system. Potter continues to serve as a consultant to the facility.
Employees charge that Potter hand-picked current Director Molly Robbins because of her promotion of his RACP system.
The 17-point Statement, sent to numerous government officials and bodies including the Franklin County Board of Commissioners and the Ohio Inspector General, raises specific concerns as to the operations of the FCCBCF institution.

The Free Press met with an employee of the FCCBCF and went over internal documents that substantiate the allegations. In point 2 of the Statement, employees allege that “In November 2013 due to a lack of non-alcohol hand sanitizer and hand soap, a ‘Noro Virus’ outbreak occurred…” The Statement claims that “The facility was without soap for three days” and that “approximately 50 resident inmates, more than one-fifth of the facility’s population, was affected.”

The Statement alleges that “Resident inmates were not allowed to be transported to the hospital for their symptoms,” and that the case managers, “who have no medical training were pulled from their caseloads and mandated to work extra shifts providing for the dispensing of medication….”

The employees state in point 4 that because of a long waiting list, programs have been dramatically cut back under Robbins so that they no longer meet Ohio Department of Corrections minimum standards.
Point 7 is also related to programs offered by FCCBCF. Employees claim that there has been high turnover among the case managers and that the overworked and understaffed employees are incapable of administering the promised programs.

Point 8 specifically outlines that while the facility “…accepts felony offenders who have severe mental health challenges,” the under staffing has eliminated the number of escorts who are needed to take the prisoners for mental health therapy. Thus it takes an extended time for inmates to earn the right to go to mental health treatment on their own. Sixty to eighty-five days is a long time for a resident to wait to see a certified psychiatrist, the Statement says.

The employees go on to document that the promised GED classes are no longer being offered at the facility and rather are being outsourced to the Alvis House. Because of a lack of escorts, the inmates cannot meet the requirements to earn their GED.

Employees issued the Statement anonymously “…due to our fear of retaliation, retribution, and revenge by administration, specifically at the hands of Director Molly Robbins….” The employees are requesting that they be put under oath by state investigators.

“We are sworn to protect the community by assisting in the rehabilitation of felony offenders sentenced to our facility…we request your government agency address this situation by launching an immediate and thorough investigation of our allegations,” the Statement reads. The employee who met with the Free Press emphasizes that the facility should practice what it preaches. The Statement ends, “We can remain silent no more. We teach resident inmates to own their irresponsible lifestyles, their past mistakes, how they’ve hurt victims, family and friends. We hold them accountable for their actions and do not allow them to make excuses.”

Associated Files:
CBCF Statement.pdf

or as follows:

To: Facility Governing Board – Franklin County Community Based Correctional
Facility: Karen Days, Chairperson, Kort Gatterdam, Clarence Glover, Mary Catherine
Kurila & Joseph Scott
Franklin County Board of Commissioners
Franklin County Court of Common Pleas – All Judges
Franklin County Prosecutor – Ron O’Brien
Franklin County Sheriff – Zach Scott
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction – Director Gary Mohor
Ohio Inspector General
U.S. Department of Justice – PREA
U.S. Department of Labor & Statistics
American Correctional Association
February 2, 2015
Statement of Grievances and Request for Redress
We the employees of the Franklin County Community Based Correctional Facility
(FCCBCF) provide the following as a true and accurate description of the environment,
culture and happenings at the FCCBCF. Should a government regulatory body ensue
investigation, we assure you these statements will be corroborated via direct sworn
testimony provided by staff members, resident inmates and through documentation
including county electronic mail records, employee files and resident inmate files.
Considering the nature of these allegations, which are true and correct, we ask that a
proper Court order be issued immediately to stay the destruction or withdrawal of records
– files that may lend credibility to these allegations and/or provide clarity which may lead
to the discovery of additional issues of impropriety and misconduct by FCCBCF
administration. We the employees of FCCBCF submit this statement anonymously not
with a “throw a rock, hide your hand” mentality but due to our fear of retaliation,
retribution, and revenge by administration, specifically at the hands Director Molly
Robbins and her immediate subordinate Senior Operations Manager Daniel Shaun Scott.
Outside FCCBCF Director Robbins wields much power and is deeply connected. She
has directly impacted current and past employees’ ability to obtain new employment,
especially in the realm of corrections – testimony is available to corroborate this
allegation. *Names of resident inmates have been withheld due to legal requirements.
Should we be subpoenaed to testify in a investigation or future proceedings we will be
willing to tie names to the situations described below.
Administration as an Institution
FCCBCF is a correctional facility that accepts felony offenders as a means to diversion
from the Ohio penal system. The facility receives funding from the State of Ohio
Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. The Responsible Adult Culture Program
(RAC) is a cognitive behavioral therapy program created and installed by former
FCCBCF director Bud Potter (retired 2013); currently a paid consultant to the facility and
program. The RAC program’s premise is if one changes their negative self centered
thinking, their behavior will follow suit.
The current director of FCCBCF is Molly Robbins (promoted 2013). She is a long term
employee who rose through two ranks of management and was repeatedly promoted, up
to her current position, by former director Bud Potter and the FCCBCF Facility
Governing Board (FGB) which by state statute serves as a board of trustees; essentially a
board entrusted to hold the director and their subordinates accountable for the
performance and care of the facility and the residents entrusted to the facility by the State
of Ohio. Director Robbins per the FCCBCF policy and procedure is the final authority
on all matters concerning personnel; staff discipline including termination, staff and
resident inmate grievances, including those related to EEO complaints and all employee
and programmatic (RAC) adjustments.
Top – Down Management
The declines of the success of the RAC program as well as many other concerns
described herein are the direct result of director Molly Robbins’ dereliction of duty. We
provide the following account:
1) For most of year 2013 and all of 2014 Director Robbins has busied herself by
co-authoring an updated version of “The Equip Program: Evidence Based
Program for the prevention and Reduction of Antisocial Behavior”, the
umbrella program under which FCCBCF’s RAC program is derived. It is by
the usage of quantitative data of resident inmate “success” that the “evidence
base” is provided for the previous and current versions the Equip Program.
We submit that should qualitative data be compared to the purported
quantitative data, which is controlled solely by Director Robbins, a truer and
accurate depiction of the happenings (high rates of recidivism, return to usage
of narcotics) of FCCBCF would be brought to light.
2) In November 2013 due to a lack of non-alcohol hand sanitizer and hand soap,
a “Noro Virus” outbreak occurred at the FCCBCF. The facility was without
soap for three (3) days. Approximately fifty (50) resident inmates, more than
one-fifth of the facility population was affected. The staff nurse at the time
believed the outbreak began in the facility kitchen and spread throughout the
facility, both men and women were affected. Infected residents were
quarantined in the program (GED/AOD) section of the facility. The entire
facility was scrubbed down with bleach. GED and AOD (alcohol and/or
drug) classes were cancelled for two weeks due to the outbreak. All Case
Facilitators (case managers), who have no medical training were pulled from
their caseloads and mandated to work extra shifts providing for the dispensing
of medication, security, distribution of bottles of Pepto-Bismol to those
afflicted. Resident inmates were not allowed to be transported to the hospital
for their symptoms. Resident inmates were given snacks (Oreo cookies and
thirst quencher type drinks) and watched movies during the quarantine.
Telephone calls from the infected to their loved ones were limited and
monitored. Staff was not directly told to not discuss the matter outside the
facility, but in various emails sent by Director Robbins, the message was clear
and understood. At no time should a correctional facility be without sanitary
products. Staff with no medical training should not be mandated to provide
medical care for those afflicted; this is against medical care practices and
surely is outside the scope of employment for case facilitators. Several
resident inmates’ programs were affected due to this outbreak; they were
penalized for not completing classes in a timely manner and ultimately their
programs delayed. Sworn testimony and documents can be provided to
corroborate this allegation.
3) August 2013, a male and female inmate were found having sexual intercourse
in a classroom within the facility. Both residents were placed in separate
isolation cells pending a termination hearing. The male resident, an African
American male (female resident was Caucasian) had a history of past suicide
attempts (3 in total), those attempts were noted in his case file. Per FCCBCF
policy and procedure when residents are placed in isolation and placed on
suicide watch, they must be searched thoroughly up to including a “stripsearch”.
The male resident was not searched per policy and was placed in
isolation. Within an hour of his placement, the male resident had sliced his
wrist open with a cutting object – from his hand upwards to his forearm,
ensuring he would bleed out until he died. When security personnel checked
on him, they found him barely conscious; the isolation cell floor was covered
with a thick coat of blood. Resident was still alive, transported to the hospital
and was immediately terminated the following day by Director Robbins.
Security staff instructed a Resident Advisor (security personnel) to clean up
the blood with a facility mop. It was nearly impossible as several pints had
been lost. A Franklin County “Haz-Mat” team was eventually called to clean
up the bio-hazardous liquid. Director Molly Robbins instructed then Deputy
Director Patrick Monroe to conceal the incident, via omission of facts in a
required report to the ODRC. Deputy Director Monroe refused forcing
Director Robbins to threaten his employment. Director Monroe contacted
legal counsel who thereby pressured Director Robbins to allow him to resign.
She relented, Monroe resigned; investigation closed. Sworn testimony and
documents can be provided to corroborate this allegation.
4) During the Spring and Summer of 2014 a new initiative was given to Case
Facilitators of FCCBCF, in order to meet guidelines of ODRC the minimum
time limit (134 days) a resident inmate needed to successfully complete the
RAC program was lowered to 120 days (in county), out of county resident
inmates minimum time limit was lowered from 115 days to 100 days. Staff
was informed this was happening because the waiting list was very long
(residents purported to be waiting in the Franklin County Corr. Center I and II
for periods of 2 to 3 months). We allege that a more accurate reason for the
change in policy was to prove to ODRC that FCCBCF could handle and had
handled more residents allowing FCCBCF to request an increased budget
allotment. In the RAC Staff Manual and in RAC Staff Training both Bud
Potter and Molly Robbins have stated it takes a minimum of four to six
months for the cognitive behavioral changes to even begin taking effect. Our
primary responsibility is to keep the community of Franklin County safe by
administering the RAC program. By lowering the number of days FCCBCF
essentially put dollars above safety. As front line employees, we know that it
takes 50 to 70 days at minimum for the slightest behavioral change to occur;
most resident inmates have been involved in harsh – violent criminal activities
(including heavy usage of narcotics) for most of their lives. This transition to
the new requirement only lasted 2 ½ months and once our goal was reached,
we returned to the previous standard of 134 (in Franklin County) and 115 (out
of county) days minimum for release. The negative impact was substantial as
tens upon tens of new residents poured into the facility, the culture tipped out
of balance, meaning older residents who could affect and check the negative
behavior of new residents didn’t exist as they had been pushed out of the door.
Many residents from that new group that poured in to FCCBCF eventually
were terminated because they couldn’t comply with the program (they had
been confined for in FCCC I and II for 6 months to a year – from trial to
sentencing). In actuality the program was being administered incorrectly,
essentially for profit; profit for the director by direct state funds and via her
co-authorship of the new Equip Program. Sworn testimony and documents
can be provided to corroborate this allegation.
5) Summer 2014, former Unit Manager Daniel Shaun Scott was promoted to
Senior Operations Manager of Programming, a new position that was created
by Director Robbins specifically for Daniel Scott. This was a substantial
promotion with substantial monetary benefits; he essentially became Director
Robbins’ right hand man. Both the director and senior operations manager
attended conferences together with out the attendance of other management
staff. It is common knowledge that there is an “inappropriate” relationship
between the two as staff employees overheard personal conversations between
the two, which made it totally clear the relationship was more than platonic or
work related. This situation places employees at a disadvantage and skews
the grievance process as Senior Operations Manager Scott is a buffer in the
process between staff and the director. Sworn testimony and documents can
be provided to corroborate this allegation.
6) To highlight the authoritarian nature of leadership of Director Robbins, during
the Winter/Spring of 2014 half of the administration (front office) and middle
management staff resigned from FCCBCF leaving a huge void. This is the
second time during the tenure of Director Robbins this has happened, the first
being during the transitional period between former director Bud Potter’s
departure and her becoming director of the facility. Sworn testimony and
documents can be provided to corroborate this allegation.
Case Facilitator Concerns
7) Turnover of case facilitators, a critical position in the RAC program has been
substantial. Whether the FGB members are aware of the reason is unsure as
employees are allowed to attend FGB quarterly meetings but do not because
of the substantial amount of work associated with their respected caseloads.
For the past two years FCCBCF has been short case facilitators. Ninety-Seven
percent (97%) of the current case facilitators have been employed two years or
less at FCCBCF. Most if not all case facilitators were not trained according to
FCCBCF policies and procedures, many received little to no training, were
self taught or had their official training delayed for 4 – 6 months because of
the severe shortage of managerial and support staff. Recently, in January
2015, case facilitators were notified that a “random” audit of payroll
timesheets had been conducted for a three week period in September 2014.
Administration said that most case facilitators had worked more time
(overtime) than what they placed on their timesheets and that administration
would have to pay out overtime to the employees to cover the deficits. In
addition to the timesheet discrepancies, additional reasons given for discipline
were due to progress notes; summaries and other resident related paperwork
not being up to date. Because of the inconsistency, case facilitators were
disciplined via corrective action (written warning) up to unpaid time off (3 to
5 days). We assure you, the reader of this statement that we are a professional
team of employees, all of whom are college educated and many have years of
correctional experience. The reason progress notes are not up to snuff, is
simply because ninety percent (90%) of current case facilitators have two
caseloads (twenty people). One may say that twenty people is not a huge
amount to manage, but please understand case facilitators not only file
paperwork – we conduct group therapy three times a week and teach classes
three times a week per caseload. Should an employee be on vacation, call in
sick or request other approved time their caseload must be covered. If a case
facilitator has two caseloads those are 12 classes, 1 hour and 15 minutes in
length that must be held each week. We must also counsel residents on
various topics relating to their lives, assist with housing placement, drug
counseling placement, and job searches as well as a host of other
responsibilities. There isn’t enough time in the day to do all that we’re asked
to, but we do our best. We enjoy our jobs so we go about our day with no
complaints. The remaining 10 % of employees who do not have two
caseloads are employees who are awaiting training to become group therapy
leaders and are unable to perform all aspects of their hired position, which
means that the additional work that is uncovered is shifted to the 90% that is
trained. We have been warned by Director Robbins that we are not allowed to
work unapproved overtime, so in an effort to complete our work most case
facilitators arrive early and stay late but do not log those hours. We knew
either way we would be punished; not being paid for time worked was the
lesser of two evils. The same 90% of case facilitators that are trained is the
same numbers of employees who were disciplined in January 2015. Since
January, two employees, who were disciplined with unpaid leave for the
above mentioned reasons, have been assigned additional duties such as
teaching AOD (alcohol and drug) classes in addition to their current work
load. Per the RAC Staff Manual and FCCBCF policies and procedures and
the employment contract signed by administration and employees, the ratio of
residents to case facilitator is 10:1; that is to say ten residents assigned to one
case manager. It is that model that is successful. It is impossible to
effectively manage two caseloads effectively. We have informed
administration of this for months. We were told by Director Robbins and
Senior Operations Manager Scott that our concerns are related to time
management issues on our part and have nothing to do with the RAC program
overseen by administration. Sworn testimony and documents can be
provided to corroborate this allegation.
8) FCCBCF accepts felony offenders who have severe mental health challenges.
This alone violates FCCBCF policies and procedures as any resident inmate
who has these challenges may pose a safety risk to fellow inmates and/or staff.
Many of these residents have self medicated for years via usage of narcotics.
Due to a shortage of resident advisors (security staff) who operate the
transportation for the facility, case facilitators are unable to schedule
appointments for these resident inmates to attend psychiatrist appointments
with community partners such as Southeast Inc. Per Director Robbins,
residents must wait to attend these types of appointments until they have been
approved for open itinerary (when they can enter and exit the facility,
unescorted with staff approval). Per FCCBCF policies and procedures,
residents can not receive open itinerary until they have reached sixty days
minimum; that approval can actually take up to 85 days in some cases. Sixty
to eighty-five days is a long time for a resident to wait to see a certified
psychiatrist. Many residents suffer from ADHD, Schizophrenia, depression,
delusions, grief/loss and other mental ailments. It is unacceptable and
unreasonable to expect a person with these challenges to work through his/her
RAC program in a positive manner when their mental health is challenged.
So when a resident inmate acts out, violates rules of behavior, etc, is it their
fault or is it the fault of staff for not meeting their needs as we promised them
we would when we accepted them into our program? Sworn testimony and
documents can be provided to corroborate this allegation.
9) On the point of mental health challenges, those resident inmates who have
these challenges are assigned to various caseloads throughout the facility. The
concern of staff is that 95% of case facilitators have received little to no
training in how to handle a resident inmate who possesses mental health
challenges. Imagine working two caseloads with 4 to 5 residents who are
severely mentally handicapped. Sworn testimony and documents can be
provided to corroborate this allegation.
Resident Inmate Concerns
10) Inconsistent discipline of resident inmates has been an ongoing challenge.
Director Robbins and administration will argue that discipline is handled on a
case by case system, we the front line staff members know otherwise. For
example, there were two transsexual (transformation from men to women with
hormone replacement therapy) residents accepted to FCCBCF Winter of 2014.
One of the two residents was known to be a carrier of the communicable and
infectious disease HIV. It was documented via progress notes, informational
write-ups and via direct verbal reports to middle and upper-management that
these two individuals were on occasion coerced into performing and on other
occasions voluntarily performed sexual acts including fellatio on male
residents with whom they were housed. One of the two inmates was
eventually terminated due to repeated minor violations, the other although
guilty of the same infractions was allowed to successfully complete FCCBCF.
The unfairness in discipline comes to surface when one realizes that nontranssexual
male residents have been terminated from FCCBCF for violations
as minor as smoking a rolled cigarette in the bathroom of the housing dorms.
How is it that a resident can perform gross sexual acts time and time again, it
be documented and reported but nothing done? It is because Director Robbins
needed to show ODRC and the U.S. Department of Justice (overseer of PREA
standards) that FCCBCF could successfully pass a transsexual inmate. When
the PREA auditor came to the facility near the end of summer 2014 nothing
was ever mentioned regarding the coerced sexual acts perpetrated upon the
transsexual inmates
11) Untimely discipline – Throughout the past year and especially this past
December many resident inmates who because of rule violations were placed
on possible termination status, waited 2 – 4 weeks for a termination hearing to
be held. The director and senior operations manager are the individuals
responsible for holding these resident discipline hearings; they were
unavailable due to being on vacation, returning on the same date. When a
resident inmate is on termination their entire program ceases, leaving many
residents in a precarious position because if certain milestones aren’t reached
in the program they will not complete successfully and will return to the state
penitentiary. Any resident terminated does not count against the facilities
overall successful completion rate; it’s as if they never entered the program.
Sworn testimony and documents can be provided to corroborate this
allegation.
12) When FCCBCF, by direction of Director Robbins restructured the RAC
programming hours in February 2014 from 8am – 5pm to 7:30am – 9:15pm in
an effort to meet ODRC standards she created another exodus of employees.
ODRC said that FCCBCF needed more programming hours because of the
type (highly likely to recidivate) of offenders we housed. What didn’t happen
was the offering of more classes as ODRC intended, Director Robbins
“stretched” the day out so it appeared we offered more than what we do. At
that time FCCBCF had two GED teachers on staff, one GED teacher
immediately resigned, the other held out but eventually resigned due to
receiving threats of physical violence from resident inmates. These threats
were reported, but were not investigated. The last GED teacher resigned
September 2014. Since then, FCCBCF has sent resident inmates to the Alvis
House for GED testing. Unfortunately, this leaves many residents at a
disadvantage because they are not allowed to leave the facility for again, 60 to
85 days. Since GED classes stopped, no resident inmate has graduated
FCCBCF with a GED, whereas before, most residents who took in-house
GED classes graduated the RAC program with a GED. We now have more
than ever totally illiterate residents who must rely on help from other inmates
to read, write and progress through the program. There is no help for them.
Our concerns have fallen on deaf ears. Sworn testimony and documents can
be provided to corroborate this allegation.
13) In the fall of 2014, the staff nurse who oversaw the medical care for upwards
of 250 residents, solely, resigned due to stress and lack of assistance. She
solicited on a weekly basis (requests were directed to Lauren Fish, FCCBCF
Clinical Manager) for a part time nurse to help with the burden monitoring the
health of so many resident inmates, many of them who have serious medical
conditions such as Hepatitis B & C, HIV/AIDS, Diabetes as well as other
ailments. When she left, the medical office was a disaster, with thousands of
documents scattered about; violation of HIPPA laws. We do not fault the
nurse for her inability to keep up. She was a great nurse who cared and
showed great concern for the resident inmates. The fault lies with the director
and clinical manager, Lauren Fish who directly oversaw the medical suite.
After the nurse resigned management scrambled to clear the office of the
scattered medical documentation as to not scare away the temporary nurse
who would eventually be brought in from an outside agency. For almost three
weeks resident inmates had to be transported to local emergency rooms for
treatment; all bills and fees associated with these emergency room visits are
billed directly to the inmate, whereas if the inmate were seen in-house nurse, a
$3.00 co-pay would be assessed. Currently those thousands of documents are
in the conference room in the administration suite where upper management
has been sifting and sorting trying to put things in order before ACA’s July
2015 accreditation audit. Sworn testimony and documents can be provided to
corroborate this allegation.
Resident Advisor (Security Personnel) Concerns
14) Untimely &Uninformed Work Decisions – Resident Advisors act as unarmed
security personnel at FCCBCF. We too have been the victims of severe staff
shortages and high rates of turnover, to the extent that resident advisors who
are newly hired are informed that they should expect to work two to three 16
hour days a week; this has been and still is the case. The reason for the high
turnover is partly because of the long hours of mandatory work. FCCBCF
spends huge amounts on overtime for resident advisors which is a slap in the
face of case facilitators who are responsible for the direct administering of the
RAC problem but, can receive no overtime to complete work although they
too are short staffed and have been assigned two caseloads. The two work
groups are not envious of one another, neither are they in conflict, but have
partnered to shine light to the inconsistencies in policy directly related to the
administration of FCCBCF Director Molly Robbins. Resident advisors work a
straight 8 hours with no paid lunch. The resident advisors must eat at the
security desk on the resident halls. They are not allowed to leave the building.
Meaning a work day of 16 hours straight with an inability to relieve one’s self
both to eat and at times to use the restroom; resident advisors can not leave
their posts, they must be relieved by another resident advisor. Sworn
testimony and documents can be provided to corroborate this allegation.
15) Inconsistent discipline – On occasion when a resident advisor is informed of
mandation, resident advisors have on occasion declined to be mandated and
left at the end of their regularly scheduled shift. This goes against FCCBCF
policies and procedures. When complaint has been made to direct
supervisors, middle management and the director; the complaint again falls on
deaf ears. Some employees are disciplined, issued corrective action issued or
disciplinary hearing held others receive no discipline. It is an effort to keep
the troops somewhat happy and to keep staff in place. There is a system of
favorite employees, those who complain are disciplined, those who play nice
are let off the hook. Sworn testimony and documents can be provided to
corroborate this allegation.
16) Untimely Corrective Action & Discipline – Please see above under Case
Facilitator; same concern
Wages & Time Keeping
17) Per the U.S. Bureau of Labor & Statistics, employers may not use a security
badge system as a measure of employee timeliness and wage pay out. That is
exactly how FCCBCF employees were disciplined for timesheet versus
security badge swipe in-outs. There are currently three time keeping systems
in use at FCCBCF, a new punch time clock installed December 2014,
timesheets – still in use and now the security bade swipes (which are illegal).
By using three different systems, FCCBCF has set its employees up to fail
because naturally all three systems will show a different time depending on
when and where a person is located, which location they arrive/leave etc.
This policy was instituted by Director Robbins. Sworn testimony and
documents can be provided to corroborate this allegation.
Summary
As employees of the Franklin County Community Based Correctional Facility, we are
sworn to protect the community by assisting in the rehabilitation of felony offenders
sentenced to our facility. The Responsible Adult Culture/Equip Program as currently
administered by Director Molly Robbins is effective only as much as her leadership is
effective. FCCBCF Human Resources Police #13 states “supervisory staff will be held to
a higher level of compliance than non supervisory staff”. Currently administration,
including the director, senior operations managers and middle managers all are in
violation of this policy. We request your government agency address this situation by
launching an immediate and thorough investigation of our complaint. We ask that you
speak with us individually should an investigation ensue. We also request we be
protected from prosecution as we hold no responsibility for the actions discussed herein.
We request that our disciplinary records be reviewed and corrected. Moreover we
request that the terminations of residents be reviewed for possible malfeasance by the
director and her direct subordinate Senior Operations Manager Shaun Scott. Please
understand we made a real attempt to address these concerns in house but because of the
possibility of being terminated with no redress, we remained silent. We can be silent no
more. We teach resident inmates to own their irresponsible lifestyles, their past mistakes;
how they’ve hurt victims, family and friends. We hold them accountable for their actions
and do not allow them to make excuses. Management must also be held accountable.
Lastly, the concerns listed highlight some of the more egregious acts that have occurred
at FCCBCF. Should an investigation proceed, and we be called to sworn testimony with
the assurance of protection from prosecution, we will provide the documents mentioned
and the any remaining information we have. Thank you for your time, attention and
assistance.
Submitted Respectfully,
Staff Employees of the Franklin County Community Based Correctional Facility
Franklin County, Ohio
February 2, 2015

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10 Ways Kasich Hurts Ohioans

by Bob Fitrakis
OCTOBER 22, 2014

It’s hard to believe that our twitchy governor, John Kasich, is projected to easily win re-election. Remember, this is the man who went to Cleveland and told Browns football fans that he rooted for their arch-rival, the Steelers. But his real loyalty has always been to the rich and powerful. In the era of the Kent State shooting, he was one of Nixon’s Stepford-clone youth.

His new allegiance is to his media mentor, Rupert Murdoch. In 2012, the creator of right-wing agi-prop and faux news gave $1 million to the Republican Governor’s Association to get his bloviator elected in his first election. Kasich has returned the loyalty by pledging eternal fealty to “unnatural persons” called corporations.

After working for Murdoch and prior to being elected, Kasich spent his time hawking junk assets for the now-defunct Lehman Brothers investment bankers. He helped sell these worthless assets to the tune of $500 million into Ohio’s public retirement system, particularly the State Teacher’s pension funds. He made untold millions, which he refused to disclose, while looting the pensions of school teachers and public employees.

As soon as Kasich entered office he attacked the public employees he had just ripped off through Lehman brothers. On March 31, 2011, Kasich signed the draconian Senate Bill 5 into law. The new law required that no salary increases could be based on seniority and it drastically limited collective bargaining for the 360,000 public union workers in Ohio. Kasich told them to get on the bus, or get run over.

Now, the quirky governor’s campaign commercials claim he “listened.” Indeed, the bus was hijacked by working people in the form of 1.3 million signatures to repeal the bill. On election night 2011, Issue 2 supporting Kasich’s anti-union law failed 61 percent -39 percent.

Who Kasich really listens to is the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). More than three decades ago, this corporate front masquerading as an advocate for “limited government” and “free markets” began plotting to make the 1 percent richer and steal the wealth of our nation’s working class.

ALEC lists among its key founders Paul Weyrich, who openly advocates suppressing poor and minority voters, as well as the white supremacist, the late Senator Jesse Helms. Also on the ALEC website there’s a note stating “Among those who are involved with ALEC in the formative years were … John Kasich of Ohio.”

ALEC, now primarily funded by the notorious Koch Brothers, provided Senate Bill 5 as its model legislation and its legislation is a manual for destroying worker’s rights under the guise of “saving taxpayers money.”

WORKERS

Under Kasich, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, Ohio stood as one of the two worst economies in the nation at the end of 2013. When he took office in January 2011, Ohio ranked 26th in private sector job growth. While Kasich is running hard as a “job creator,” the U.S. Department of Labor notes that the state is 46th nationally.

From January-August 2014, the Buckeye state gained a mere 5,289 jobs. Also, while the rest of the nation has regained all of the jobs lost during the 2008 economic meltdown, Kasich still needs to create 213,000 new jobs just to return to pre-recession numbers in Ohio. The Kasich campaign keeps reiterating that “Kasich works.” The question is, for whom? If re-elected, the rumor is Kasich will turn Ohio into a “right to work” state.

CHILDREN

Kasich’s ALEC handbook includes the destruction of public education. Since taking office, Kasich has cut more than half a billion dollars from public education in Ohio. He also has failed to change the unconstitutional funding formula for the state’s K-12 school system. He increased charter school funding by $57 million, in particular, rewarding White Hat Management that runs many of Ohio’s charter schools and whose owner is a big Republican donor.

ENVIRONMENTALISTS

When Ohio Governor John Kasich first took office, he killed a train line –meant to restore passenger service between Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati. Kasich’s reasons may have made sense in a Tea Party world. But some $400 million had already been secured. When it died, all that money left the state, along with untold jobs and income. Hugely expensive highway projects have followed with intense environmental damage and instant obsolescence. Columbus may be the western world’s largest capital city without passenger rail service.

This June, Kasich signed the controversial Senate Bill 310 that froze Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards at their present levels for two years. A report from the Ohio Advanced Energy Economy documented that between 2009 and 2013, the law Kasich overturned – the Renewable Energy Standards (RES) law – cost $456 million to implement, but saved Ohio residents $1.03 billion.

Since RES was implemented, more than $1 billion had been invested in Ohio by private renewable energy companies, some who now say they will move out of the state. Six weeks prior to Kasich signing S.B. 310, oil magnate David Koch donated $12,155 to Kasich’s re-election campaign – the maximum allowed under law.

On people’s right to clean water, Kasich has been a complete failure. Not only has he allowed the people of Toledo to be afflicted by toxic water, he has also permitted radioactive fracking water to be dumped in our state from Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

In one of the most cynical moves imaginable, when it was discovered that the fracking water being shipped into Ohio from Pennsylvania and West Virginia had high rates of radioactivity, Kasich assigned the rangers of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to solve the problem, relieving the more competent Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and Ohio Health Department of duty. These were the agencies that uncovered the radioactivity. And like his original mentor Nixon, Kasich developed a fracktivist “enemies list” targeting environmentalists for harassment.

WOMEN

While Kasich’s current commercials make him sound like the next best thing to feminist Betty Friedan, this June’s Cosmopolitan magazine ran an article entitled: “How Ohio Became One of the Worst States for Reproductive Rights in the Country.”

It is like a time machine taking us back to the 50s: a gag order on rape crisis counselors on talking about abortion, defunding Planned Parenthood, and the “heartbeat bill” banning abortions on pregnancies over 20 weeks. Because of Kasich’s and the state legislature’s new laws, abortion clinics all over the state are closing.

Regarding women’s income and employment rates, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research ranked the Buckeye State a mediocre 33rd out of 50 states in 2014 in economic opportunities for women.

LBGTQ COMMUNITY

On marriage equality, Kasich is a hater. He is fighting alongside Ohio Attorney General Michael DeWine to overturn federal rulings supportive of same-sex marriage in Ohio. One would think the ambitious Kasich would at least adopt the
decade-old 2004 George W. Bush strategy of being for “civil unions.”

He briefly embraced the position last year, before his spokesperson stepped in to clarify things – that Kasich didn’t really understand what civil unions meant, and the governor not support any recognition of any same sex relationships.

In his last year in Congress in 2001, the Human Rights Campaign gave Kasich a 10 percent out of 100 percent rating for supporting equality for LGBT people. Kasich still clings to Issue 1 from 2004, telling the Columbus Dispatch that “marriage is between and man and a woman.” Even if he occasionally invites a four-way with the Koch brothers.

TAXPAYERS

Kasich decided to balance the state budget on the back of local governments. He not only stripped half a billion from schools, but has decreased funding intended for cities, townships and counties. One of his techniques was ending the Ohio inheritance tax. The bulk of the proceeds from the inheritance tax went to counties and municipalities. The tax was progressive in nature, falling heaviest on the 1 percent (wealthiest people in the state).

Also, Kasich’s much-touted state income tax cut benefited his rich friends as well. The 21 percent decrease, to be fair, started under Governor Bob Taft, but the net effect embraced by Kasich was that very few of the tax savings were passed on to working and middle class Ohioans. If you made $40,000 a year, you paid $72.88 less in state tax under Kasich. If you made $206,250 a year, you’d pay $977.63 less. If you were one of Kasich’s millionaire donors you would have saved thousands of dollars a year.

Kasich has announced that his goal is to totally eliminate Ohio’s income tax by 2016. He plans to use the money in Ohio’s nearly $2 billion “rainy day fund” for a sound bite about how he’ll eliminate the income tax in Ohio as he runs for president that year. Ohioans will be further plagued by unconstitutional schools, vicious prisons, declining public services, deteriorating roads, bridges and sewage treatment facilities – public services formerly funded by the state income tax and inheritance taxes.

ELDERLY

Kasich eliminated a homestead property tax exemption cutting funds to thousands of seniors and disabled Ohioans. Budget analysts predict that Kasich’s defunding of public education and his inheritance and income tax cuts will raise property taxes by 12.5 percent to continue to fund schools. Seniors on fixed incomes will be hit the hardest.

WELFARE RECIPIENTS

In a cynical and shocking move, Kasich rejected a federal waiver in 2013 and instead reinstated Dickensian work requirements for the poor. With a bad economy, the federal government was allowing Ohio not to require hundreds of thousands of welfare recipients to report for make-work jobs. Social welfare agencies pointed out that it would cost more to pay staff to supervise the workers than the value of their work was worth. The Columbus Dispatch quoted Marilyn J. Tomasi, Vice President of the Mid-Ohio Food Bank, as stating, “What happened is the state rejected the waiver. 134,000 Ohioans showed up at food pantries.”

VOTERS

In a state where the Democrats, Republicans and Independents are fairly evenly divided, Kasich and his Republican cohorts have gerrymandered the Congressional districts to give 12 out of the 16 Congressional seats to Republicans and make sure that the seats are non-competitive.

The only reason Kasich has a chance of re-election in Ohio is because of our decade-long tradition of voter suppression. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) has decided that under the guise of “fairness” there will only be one early voting site in each of Ohio’s 88 counties, regardless of the county population. A county with over a million voters and a county with 10,000 voters have exactly the same number of locations to vote early – one.

Under Husted’s predecessor, Franklin County, with 1.3 million people, had five early voting sites.

Also, Kasich tried to eliminate the competition. Federal court records document that Kasich’s office directed the removal of the Libertarian Party from the ballot in Ohio earlier this year.

On the day the Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Charlie Earl announced his campaign and was showing 6 percent in the polls, Kasich and his Republicans partisans in the legislature set out to destroy the third party. First they outlawed the party, but a federal court blocked their attempt.

Using Republican political operative Terry Casey, the governor then orchestrated a challenge to signatures on the Libertarian Party candidates’ petitions. The Libertarians sued, then Kasich had his lackey, Jon Husted, appoint well-known Republican partisan Brad Smith as the supposed neutral arbitrator in the case. Smith was the intellectual force behind the infamous “Citizens United” decision that proclaimed corporations are people and donations to candidates are the same as free speech.

Kasich was successful in keeping a Libertarian opponent off the ballot and made the state even more repressive to minor parties, other points of view, and democracy.

PRISONERS

One of Kasich’s original budgetary plans was to further privatize Ohio’s prisons. He didn’t succeed with that plan, but did save the state money by hiring Aramark for prison food service, a company that is famous for serving prisoners maggots. A recent demonstration by prison workers and unions was prompted by budget cuts to prison security staff.

The Ohio Civil Service Employees Association [OCSEA] called our prisons “violently dangerous” for prison workers. Under Kasich, the prison population has risen, causing overcrowding and dangerous conditions for both prisoners and prison staff.

Of course, you can’t ask Kasich about any of these issues, since he refuses to debate his opponents and prefers to run 30-second propaganda commercials funded by the kleptocrats who made him governor –and want to run him for president in 2016.
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Bob Fitrakis is running as the Green Party’s Lt. Governor candidate in this year’s election. In 1992, Bob Fitrakis ran against John Kasich for the 12th Congressional district and Kasich refused to debate him then.

Original article published:
http://columbusfreepress.com/article/10-ways-kasich-hurts-ohioans

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George Will Confirms Nixon’s Vietnam Treason

Lieutenant Governor Ohio Green Party candidate, Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman connect the dots with Nixon and treason:

08.10.14
by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman

Nixon
Richard Nixon was a traitor.

The new release of extended versions of Nixon’s papers now confirms this long-standing belief, usually dismissed as a “conspiracy theory” by Republican conservatives. Now it has been substantiated by none other than right-wing columnist George Will.

Nixon’s newly revealed records show for certain that in 1968, as a presidential candidate, he ordered Anna Chennault, his liaison to the South Vietnam government, to persuade them refuse a cease-fire being brokered by President Lyndon Johnson.

Nixon’s interference with these negotiations violated President John Adams’s 1797 Logan Act, banning private citizens from intruding into official government negotiations with a foreign nation.

Published as the 40th Anniversary of Nixon’s resignation approaches, Will’s column confirms that Nixon feared public disclosure of his role in sabotaging the 1968 Vietnam peace talks. Will says Nixon established a “plumbers unit” to stop potential leaks of information that might damage him, including documentation he believed was held by the Brookings Institute, a liberal think tank. The Plumbers’ later break-in at the Democratic National Committee led to the Watergate scandal that brought Nixon down.

Nixon’s sabotage of the Vietnam peace talks was confirmed by transcripts of FBI wiretaps. On November 2, 1968, LBJ received an FBI report saying Chernnault told the South Vietnamese ambassador that “she had received a message from her boss: saying the Vietnamese should “hold on, we are gonna win.”

As Will confirms, Vietnamese did “hold on,” the war proceeded and Nixon did win, changing forever the face of American politics—-with the shadow of treason permanently embedded in its DNA.
The treason came in 1968 as the Vietnam War reached a critical turning point. President Lyndon Johnson was desperate for a truce between North and South Vietnam.

LBJ had an ulterior motive: his Vice President, Hubert Humphrey, was in a tight presidential race against Richard Nixon. With demonstrators in the streets, Humphrey desperately needed a cease-fire to get him into the White House.
Johnson had it all but wrapped it. With a combination of gentle and iron-fisted persuasion, he forced the leaders of South Vietnam into an all-but-final agreement with the North. A cease-fire was imminent, and Humphrey’s election seemed assured.

But at the last minute, the South Vietnamese pulled out. LBJ suspected Nixon had intervened to stop them from signing a peace treaty.
In the Price of Power (1983), Seymour Hersh revealed Henry Kissinger—then Johnson’s advisor on Vietnam peace talks—secretly alerted Nixon’s staff that a truce was imminent.

According to Hersh, Nixon “was able to get a series of messages to the Thieu government [of South Vietnam] making it clear that a Nixon presidency would have different views on peace negotiations.”
Johnson was livid. He even called the Republican Senate Minority Leader, Everett Dirksen, to complain that “they oughtn’t be doing this. This is treason.”
“I know,” was Dirksen’s feeble reply.
Johnson blasted Nixon about this on November 3, just prior to the election. As Robert Parry of consortiumnews.com has written: “when Johnson confronted Nixon with evidence of the peace-talk sabotage, Nixon insisted on his innocence but acknowledged that he knew what was at stake.”
Said Nixon: “My, I would never do anything to encourage….Saigon not to come to the table….Good God, we’ve got to get them to Paris or you can’t have peace.”
But South Vietnamese President General Theiu—a notorious drug and gun runner—did boycott Johnson’s Paris peace talks. With the war still raging, Nixon claimed a narrow victory over Humphrey. He then made Kissinger his own national security advisor.
In the four years between the sabotage and what Kissinger termed “peace at hand” just prior to the 1972 election, more than 20,000 US troops died in Vietnam. More than 100,000 were wounded. More than a million Vietnamese were killed.
But in 1973, Kissinger was given the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the same settlement he helped sabotage in 1968.
According to Parry, LBJ wanted to go public with Nixon’s treason. But Clark Clifford, an architect of the CIA and a pillar of the Washington establishment, talked Johnson out of it. LBJ’s close confidant warned that the revelation would shake the foundations of the nation.
In particular, Clifford told Johnson (in a taped conversation) that “some elements of the story are so shocking in their nature that I’m wondering whether it would be good for the country to disclose the story and then possibly have [Nixon] elected. It could cast his whole administration under such doubt that I think it would be inimical to our country’s best interests.”
In other words, Clifford told LBJ that the country couldn’t handle the reality that its president was a certifiable traitor, eligible for legal execution.
Fittingly, Clark Clifford’s upper-crust career ended in the disgrace of his entanglement with the crooked Bank of Credit and Commerce (BCCI), which financed the terrorist group Al Qaeda and whose scandalous downfall tainted the Agency he helped found.
Johnson lived four years after he left office, tormented by the disastrous war that destroyed his presidency and his retirement. Nixon won re-election in 1972, again with a host of dirty dealings, then became the first America president to resign in disgrace.
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Bob Fitrakis is Editor-in-Chief of the Free Press and Harvey Wasserman is Senior Editor. Read more Harvey Wasserman at solartopia.org.

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Green Party endorses Columbus Community Bill of Rights

Contact: Bob Fitrakis, 614-374-2380
fcgreenparty@gmail.com

Green Party endorses Columbus Community Bill of Rights

At their July 8, 2014 County Central Committee meeting, the Franklin County Green Party endorsed the Columbus Community Bill of Rights. Co-Chair Bob Fitrakis called for “a return to localism where local people control their air and water and are not at the mercy of corporate polluters.”

The Columbus Community Bill of Rights proposes an Amendment to the Charter of the City of Columbus. A group is collecting signatures to put a citizens’ initiative on the ballot that will give Columbus residents local control over the extraction of hydrocarbons and protect the unalienable rights for pure water, clean air, and safe soil. The Community Bill of Rights would free Columbus citizens from “toxins, carcinogens, radioactive substances, and other substances known to cause harm to health.”

The Franklin County Green Party holds that human rights take precedence over corporate profit. “We do not believe corporations have the same rights of flesh and blood people, and living human beings have the right to decide what goes into their air, soil, and water,” Fitrakis stated.

“The authoritarian one-party political system in Columbus, under the control of the Democrats, has refused to let the people vote on citizens’ initiatives in the past. We pledge our resources to make sure the Community Bill of Rights gets on the ballot so the people of Columbus can protect their environment – not politicians who are in the pocket of developers and big business,” Fitrakis said.

“The Green Party stands firmly with those who are fighting to keep radioactive fracking water and waste out of the Columbus area. The Bill of Rights is the best approach,” Fitrakis asserted

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Free Press Second Saturday Salon June ~14th

The latest issue of the Free Press is out and on news racks everywhere.

In this issue Bob discusses the implications of the defeat of the Zoo Levy. Columbus voters defied the downtown elite and voted the level down by an overwhelming 70%!

We will be talking about this and other important issues at our monthly Second Saturday Salon on June 14th. Join progressive friends for food, drink and music at 1021 east Broad from 6:30pm – 11:00pm.

We will also be talking about the Ohio Green Party’s extraordinary victory. Despite the obfuscation, last minute law changes, and interference from John Husted Ohio voters wrote in enough votes during the recent primary to keep the Green Party on the ballot.

The Free Press is still out investigating and still breaking the news. Read about Mike DeWine’s apparent cover-up of a controversial police shooting.

Our Arts and Entertainment section is still one step ahead of the Alive with a review of the recent X-Men release and a response to their flailing stab at a top 10 X-men story.

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Greens appear to have achieved historic victory Statewide write-in effort leaves the Greens as the only alternative in Ohio’s governor race

May 24, 2014
By Bob Fitrakis
The Green Party is fighting for its political life in Ohio. The gerrymandered, Republican-controlled state legislature outlawed all minor parties in Ohio in 2013 while both the Libertarian and Green Parties were in the middle of the petition drives for their gubernatorial candidates. Neither the Libertarians nor the Greens achieved ballot status by submitting signatures. While the Libertarian Party sued to maintain ballot status and lost in federal court, the Green Party invoked a seldom used state law that allows a statewide candidate to gain ballot status by getting 500 write-in votes.
The initial canvas of precincts showed the Green Party with 766 write-in votes for their gubernatorial candidate. The number, according to the Ohio Secretary of State’s website, has now dwindled to 628 votes. By state law, all county boards of elections must certify their vote total and forward it to the Secretary of State’s office by May 27. The Secretary of State must post the actual results 30 days after the May 6 election.
Anita Rios, the gubernatorial candidate, is currently showing 4% in SurveyUSA’s statewide poll. In order for the Green Party to survive under the current Republican law, still being challenged in federal court, their gubernatorial candidate must get 2% in the November election.
The Green Party of Ohio has played a key role in Ohio election protection activities. In 2004, they sued to recount the controversial Bush victory in the Buckeye state. In 2008, the Green Party ran an extensive election protection effort and their 2006 gubernatorial candidate Bob Fitrakis (this writer) was involved in deposing the Bush family’s election IT specialist, Michael Connell. In 2012, this writer, then a Green Party congressional candidate, sued the Ohio Secretary of State in both state and federal court to halt secret, untested, experimental software patches from being placed on 20 county central tabulators.
Whether Rios and the Green Party appear on the ballot with the legal standing to sue and the right to certify election observers throughout the state on the upcoming election day depends on the 128 vote surplus that may be certified on May 27.
Green Party voters found it difficult in many counties, particularly Franklin County, to cast a write-in vote on the electronic voting machines. When voters pulled a Green Party ballot the voting machine would give them the option for a write-in without it mentioning what race it was for and Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted issued a directive preventing pollworkers from handing voters a list of official statewide write-in candidates unless the voter specifically requested it.
In Franklin County, 454 people voted Green and only 130 write-in votes were counted the day after the election. That number has since fallen to 122 write-in votes. In Cuyahoga County, that initially reported 141 write-in votes, the number declined to 79. With 100% of the counties reporting and the unofficial county canvas being reported by the Ohio Secretary of State’s office, it is hard to imagine that the Ohio Green Party would lose another 128 votes.
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Bob Fitrakis ran as the Green Party-endorsed Governor candidate in 2006, as a Green Party candidate for U.S. Congress in 2012 and is currently the Lt. Governor candidate.

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How the City of Columbus could save us from radioactive fracking waste — but will they?

by Bob Fitrakis
November 23, 2013

The website says it all: RadioactiveWasteAlert.org.
The billboard with a young woman guzzling liquid with a radioactive warning on it under the phrase: “Don’t Frack My Water, Protect Columbus” set the stage for one of the most important public forums in the city’s history.
If we had to summarize the major themes that emerged from the Tuesday, November 12 Radioactive Frack Waste Forum, the first is this: the public has a right to know that much of the process allowing radioactive waste into the central Ohio watershed near Alum Creek is the result of hidden, behind-the-scenes maneuvering by Ohio legislators and Governor John Kasich.
Second: the frack waste is undisputedly radioactive and carcinogenic. Radium 226 found at 3000% over the allowable limit by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a long-established link to many forms of cancer, including breast and bone cancer.
Third: All landfills leak. If you put radioactivity into them, it will come out.
Fourth: Ohio has become a radioactive dumping ground for the fracking industry and is not importing the waste prohibited by the regulators in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Of the eight billion gallons of toxic radioactive waste injected into underground wells in Ohio over the last 30 years, half of it came from out-of –state.
Finally: Ohio is now poised to receive 19 million cubic feet of solid radioactive shell rock waste in the near future. Our 39 licensed landfills are de-regulated and open for the toxic imports.
The day before the Forum, “fracktivists” organizers went to Columbus City Council to present their well-documented findings. A few Council members noted that they had read about the radioactivity in the local news where it has been published in both the Free Press and the Columbus Dispatch, as well as reported by the local NBC affiliate, TV 4.
When Council President Andrew Ginther asked the City’s Public Health Director Theresa Long, she immediately declared, as public health directors have done in the past, that there was no threat to the health of Ohio citizens from a large radioactive waste site sitting right next to Alum Creek. She offered no data or facts with her analysis.
City Attorney Richard Pfeiffer asks the fracktivists the key question after the meeting: “What can the City of Columbus do, considering the current Ohio laws?”
That answer would be provided at the Forum. After an introduction by organizer Carolyn Harding, a series of radioactive waste experts and activists addressed this mounting health crisis. Dr. Julie Weatherington-Rice, an environmental consultant with a doctorate in soil science from Ohio State University, explained in detail what Long missed.
“They’ve de-regulated the drill cuttings. That’s 90% of what comes out of a bore hole. The mud is regulated yet every piece of cutting is covered in mud and it dries on the rocks. So if the mud is radioactive and it dries on the rocks, it means that the cuttings are of course radioactive,” she pointed out.
Weatherington-Rice said that most of the radioactivity comes from Radium 228 and 226. These are alpha and beta emitters. What the landfills use to detect radioactivity are Geiger counters. These are designed to detect gamma emissions.
Weatherington-Rice noted that the U.S. Department of Energy protocol requires that radium is not to be field tested by a Geiger counter, but isolated in a lab for 21 days to get a proper radioactivity reading. As she pointed out, amended House Bill 59, Ohio’s 2013 budget bill, has de-regulated “90% of the waste stream with no record-keeping requirement because they are calling the material ‘beneficial use.’”
For more than 30 years, Weatherington-Rice has been one of Ohio’s leading experts on groundwater protection. Long did not consult her before answering Columbus City Council members.
Terry Lodge, an environmental attorney from Toledo, detailed the backroom dealings that allowed radioactive material to be dumped so close to Columbus’ drinking water. He spoke of new Ohio laws that permit the “downblending” of highly toxic radioactive waste into less toxic material, freeing it from regulation. He also explained how defining drill cuttings as “beneficial use” as liners in landfills it can avoid testing or monitoring.
Lodge ended by saying, “I’m an activist. I’m ready for a fight.” Lodge is famous for using “guerilla” legal and populist strategies to fight frackers and other corporate polluters.
Perhaps the most chilling presentation was given by Dr. Yuri Gorby, a microbial physiologist and ecologist, who holds the Howard N. Blitman Chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is an expert on the physical health effects of radioactivity and fracking waste. In his talk, Gorby stated that in his studies of fracking and radioactivity he noticed a variety of physical symptoms from bloody noses, burning eyes, rashes and neurological disorders including loss of memory, loss of sense of smell, anxiety, and tremors. Gorby said that he has been able to “fingerprint” through DNA many of the rashes directly to fracking. He warned that Ohio’s desire to allow the de-regulation of drill cutting with “no monitoring” will be disastrous for the health of our citizens.
His slide show, which is available at the website mentioned earlier, showed devastating illnesses among people exposed to toxic and radioactive fracking waste.
Nathan Johnson, an environmental attorney at the Forum, quickly answered the question on what the City of Columbus can do.
“They are allowed by law to establish and charge the companies for a program that would monitor for radioactivity in a proper lab test,” he said, “As long as they weren’t selective and charged everyone bringing in drill cuttings.”
On December 3 at 7pm, the group will meet again at the Columbus Public Library on Grant Street.
originally published at the freepress.org