Bob Fitrakis talks with Ajamu Baraka on the state of the world and the effect of neoliberalism on our society including the drug war, prison industrial complex, the economy and black liberation.
Bob Fitrakis talks with Ajamu Baraka on the state of the world and the effect of neoliberalism on our society including the drug war, prison industrial complex, the economy and black liberation.
Bob Fitrakis Prosecutor campaign candidate forums
All addresses are links to Google maps.
Saturday, October 29
Listen and call in when Bob is on the radio tomorrow!
Straight Talk with Khari Enaharo on 95.5FM radio –
I will talk about my campaign on radio tomorrow morning – Saturday, October 29 from 6-8am. Call-in 614-291-0955. http://mycolumbusmagic.hellobeautiful.com/
I will be on WVKO 1580AM radio tomorrow at 12noon when there will be a radio candidate’s forum at 614-824-2550. http://1580thepraise.com/
I will be at the Early Voting site, Franklin County Board of Elections, 1700 Morse Road in from about 8:30-11:30am and 2-4pm to hand out flyers.
Tuesday, November 1
Ohio Dominican University Candidates Forum
Griffin Student Center Rooms 258-260
Sunday, November 6
COYAP Meet The Candidates
More than a few have wondered why the Green Party headed for Houston in August to nominate Jill Stein for President. I heard a few press observers note that maybe it was because Houston is one of the hottest and most polluted cities in the nation – perhaps more in need of Stein’s proposed Green New Deal than any other major U.S. city.
The reality is that the national Greens chose Houston because the state Party there practices thoroughgoing grassroots democracy. Simply put, Houston’s state Green Party had the best proposal. The Ohio Greens had proposed Toledo and were a finalist, with a vision of the Cleveland fascistic Republican convention contrasted with adecentralized democratic meeting in the city that is, for all practical purposes, a suburb of Detroit.
Prior to the Saturday, August 6 nominating convention, there were no major questions outstanding. Stein was the presumptive nominee, had chosen her Vice President, and her platform was clear. This is despite the fact in the past few months, Stein had offered Bernie Sanders to be the Green Party presidential nominee (with Stein as VP), and offered former Ohio State Senator, Sanders supporter, and renegade Democrat Nina Turner a spot as her running mate.
There was also talk of Cornel West as a VP candidate. But in the end, Stein turned to a stalwart human rights activist with ties to the Black Lives Matter movement to balance the ticket and reach out to the Party’s growing minority base, Ajamu Baraka.
The two most fiery calls to action during Stein’s nomination process were from the always eloquent Cornel West and YahNe Ndgo. Ndgo, as if conjuring up the spirit of “criticism/self-criticism” from the 1970s, appealed far more to the primarily white 200 or so Green Party delegates than the numerous Bernie-or-Bust observers, who broke into frequent chants of “Jill! Not Hill!”
There was some tension in Stein’s nominating process when presidential hopeful Sedinam Kinamo Christin Moyowasifza-Curry immediately objected to the Alabama delegation casting their votes, because she claimed she had not been invited to that state. Moyowasifza-Curry has argued vigorously for the Green Party becoming a minority-led vehicle to advance issues of concern to people of color.
Although there were frequent procedural objections from the floor by Moyowasifza-Curry, Stein easily won the nomination. The platform that, among other things, calls for reparations for African Americans, passed with little debate and only one dissenting vote.
The Ecological Economics amendment placed the Green Party firmly on the record as a Left eco-socialist party, reading in part: “…The Green Party seeks to build an alternative economic system based on ecology and decentralization of power, an alternative that rejects both the capitalist system that maintains private ownership over almost all production as well as the state-socialist system that assumes control over industries without democratic, local decision making…” and “…“addresses the economic inequalities, social inequalities, and productivism of both capitalism and state socialism and emphasizes grassroots democracy in the workplace.”
The platform also included the Green Party’s commitment to election integrity, calling for the end to all privately-owned proprietary computer codes in the U.S. electronic voting process.
A highlight of the convention was a livestream by Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian Embassy in Britain. He spoke to the crowd about movements like the Green Party and how they keep American politics “honest.” He repeated his assertion that asking people to vote between Trump and Clinton is like asking people to choose between “cholera and gonorrhea.” Both Assange and West argued that the legendary “triangulation” of the Clintons, while they govern from the corporate center, is fanning the flames of right-wing takeovers to hold the Left at bay.
Stein asserted that all the fears of a Trump presidency – naked oligarchies, endless wars – actually occurred during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state. Stein also pointed out, along with West, that the current U.S. mass incarceration state that has disproportionately arrested blacks and Latinos was fueled on the federal level by the policies of Bill Clinton.
The key unanswered question from the convention is how many of the Berners will bolt from the preference of their leader and dedicate their energy and enthusiasm to the Stein campaign. Reports are already coming in of record small donations to the Stein campaign. In a press conference following her nomination, Stein said she had raised more money in the last three weeks than in the first year and half of her campaign.
Will the long sought-after, post-60s dream of an eco-socialist alliance, with state and local elected officials finally breakthrough in 2016?
Bob Fitrakis, Co-Chair of the Ohio Green Party, was an alternative delegate to the 2016 national Green Party convention and is the Federal Election Commissioner of the Green Shadow Cabinet.
He promises to prosecute polluters, rogue cops, and corporate criminals.
What I hope to accomplish as Franklin County Prosecutor?
* Prosecute any police using excessive force
* Prosecute polluters poisoning the people, soil, water, or air
* Prosecute individuals involved in scandals, such as Redflex and data-rigging within Columbus City Schools
* Set up a whistleblower’s hotline
* Prosecute anyone involved in vote tampering or voter suppression, including elected officials
* Make Franklin County a Bill of Rights Enforcement Zone
* Arrest any individuals or government officials illegally spying on the people of Franklin County
* Guarantee due process and equal protection for all people, especially immigrants, minorities, and the poor who are targeted unfairly by the police
* Advocate for decriminalization and legalization of marijuana and hemp
* Provide treatment and diversion programs rather than jail sentences for drug addicts and abusers
* Go after the real drug dealers with ties to the CIA who bring drugs in by the planeload – wealthy, well-connected cartels
Bob Fitrakis Biography
Bob Fitrakis is currently the co-chair of the Ohio Green Party and the Franklin County Green Party. He ran as the Green Party Lt. Governor with Anita Rios in 2014 when the Green Party received over 100,000 votes in Ohio. He was also a candidate in the 3rd congressional district in 2012 and as the Green Party endorsed candidate for governor of Ohio in 2006. He has been a member of the Green Shadow Cabinet as the Federal Elections Commissioner since 2013 after he worked with Jill Stein, the 2012 presidential candidate.
Fitrakis is a Political Science Professor in the Social Sciences department at Columbus State Community College, where he won the Distinguished Professor Award in 2012. He has a Ph.D. in Political Science from Wayne State University and a J.D. from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. He was a Ford Foundation Fellow to the Michigan State legislature and currently serves as a Near East Area Commissioner. He co-authored “What Happened in Ohio: A documentary record of theft and fraud in the 2004 election” (New Press, 2006), and has authored or co-authored 12 other books including six on election integrity. Fitrakis is the editor of the Free Press, freepress.org and columbusfreepress.com.
Fitrakis was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 2003. In his first major case, he sued Ohio State University for violating students’ civil rights who were organizing the annual Hemp Festival, and won. He represented anti-fracking activist madeline ffitch, arrested for civil disobedience at a fracking well in southeastern Ohio. He also had charges dismissed against Kevin Egler in Kent, Ohio for posting an “Impeach Bush” sign on public property. He was served as the attorney for the Columbus NAACP, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, the Ohio Green Party, the Ohio Rights Group, Columbus Film Festival, The Neighborhood Network, Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism, among others.
Fitrakis has been an election protection activist since March 1994, when he served as an international observer for the national elections in El Salvador. He co-wrote and edited the El Salvador election report for the United Nations. Fitrakis was an election protection attorney on November 2, 2004 in Franklin County. After witnessing election suppression, he called the first public hearings on voter suppression and election irregularities and was one of four attorneys to file a challenge to Ohio’s presidential elections results: Moss v. Bush and Moss v. Moyer. In 2006, Fitrakis was co-counsel in the King-Lincoln-Bronzeville lawsuit against the Ohio Secretary of State’s office seeking to end racially discriminatory electoral practices in Ohio and to ensure free and fair elections. He authored a 50-point consent decree to ensure election integrity in Ohio submitted to the current Secretary of State. Many of these proposals have been adopted by the state of Ohio.
In December 2004, Fitrakis testified before the Judiciary Committee of Congress at the request of Rep. John Conyers in both Washington D.C. and Columbus. The information gathered from the Fitrakis’ investigations and hearings resulted in the Conyers Report, “What Went Wrong in Ohio?” released January 5, 2005. Fitrakis spoke to the National Press Club in Washington D.C. on Ohio’s election issues. Fitrakis briefed John Kerry, worked on election reform with Rep. Maxine Waters (D-LA), and briefed the Democratic Party Senate leadership. He later briefed the Congressional Progressive Caucus as well as the Congressional Black Caucus and the Senate Democratic leadership. Dr. Fitrakis testified at the Election Assessment hearings in Houston, Texas in 2005, which became part of the Carter-Baker Commission Report on federal election reform.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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:
Contact: Bob Fitrakis, 614-374-2380
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