Hard to imagine a more insensitive gesture than Mayor Andy Ginther’s choice of the Police Academy for his second State of the City address. Shockingly, Ginther chose the occasion to announce that the notorious, overly white police unit known as the “jump-out boys” would be unleashed year-round to torment black, minority and poor youth. Everybody knows that if Henry Green was a young white man in Upper Arlington, legally open-carrying, and was shot by two plainclothes black officers, those officers would be in jail right now.
Also, the State Highway Patrol confirmed that Trump supporters hired private security who guarded the perimeters at their latest Ohio Statehouse rally dressed in military fatigues and carrying AR-15 assault rifles. The police allowed them open-carry on state property. Andy, where were the jump-out boys then?
Unfortunately this Earth Day we won’t be celebrating an opportunity to have a Columbus Community Bill of Rights (CCBOR) that would have protected our air, water, and soil from polluters. The initiative fell short of the 8,890 valid voter signatures to get it on November’s ballot. There are 13 fracking injection wells in the central Ohio drinking water system, putting all of us at risk of exposure to toxic chemicals and radium contamination. CCBOR is appealing to the city to pass the ordinance or place it on the ballot themselves, but it is not likely that Columbus’ corporate-controlled mayor and council will take action on their own against this hazard. Will they support the fracking industry or the people’s health?
One council member appears independent enough to take on corporate power. In a rare and, in recent times unprecedented move, Councilperson Elizabeth Brown spoke at the Coalition of Immokalee Workers kickoff rally for the boycott Wendy’s movement at Goodale Park on Sunday, March 26. Very seldom do elected officials in either major party take on the corporate behemoths headquartered in the Columbus area. The Free Press salutes Councilperson Brown for asking Wendy’s to join the Ohio Fair Food campaign and pay 1 cent more per pound for tomatoes. Where were her fellow councilmembers, particularly Shannon Hardin and Mike Stinziano, Jr.?