Words Bob Bites Back and a white man head and shoulders with black hair and black shirt shouting into a mic

Now that the gubernatorial primary is over, the policies pursued by the two major party candidates for Ohio’s chief executive office indicate we’ll have boring, middle-of-the-road corporate status quo. It looks like Ohioans’ choices will be between a third party woman and two male candidates racing to the wishy-washy center.

Richard Cordray’s already running as a centrist shunning the progressive democratic left and staking out territory to the right of John Kasich – particularly on the health care issue. The Dispatch spelled it out in a recent headline: “Cordray bashes House GOP, praises Kasich.” Mike DeWine’s campaign commercials emphasize that he has a large family. He’s also opposed to opioids. Like, who isn’t? This creates space on the Left for progressives to push for universal single-payer health care in Ohio.

Also, Cordray is afraid of legalizing marijuana which gives a tremendous boost to the Green Party, the only other party on the ballot for governor.

The Green Party’s Constance Gadell-Newton distinguished herself during the primary campaign season by suing the state to protect democracy and preserve ballot images for Ohio’s voters. By being the only candidate for governor opposed to fracking and advocating renewable energy, Gadell-Newton is positioned as the only progressive candidate in the field.

Wild cards in this election are the 156,000 Kucinich voters. If Cordray becomes Ohio’s Hillary and fails to ignite the Kucinich/Sanders wing of the party, many may defect and vote Green.

 Right now the best bet is that 2018 looks to be a repeat of 2010. Readers should recall that in 2010, Cordray lost to DeWine by some 50,000 votes, out of the 3.8 million cast in the attorney general race. Exit polls showed that Cordray won the election, but he was unwilling to push for a recount or come out for full transparency in our voting process.

To her credit, Gadell-Newton has been a voting rights activist for more than a decade. I know, I’m her law partner and we’ve worked on many election integrity cases together. There is no excuse for the state of Ohio not to adopt digitally scanned paper ballots with open source code.

If Cordray continues to duck the computerized voting machine issue and ignores the private for-profit corporations that secretly count our ballots without accountability, Gadell-Newton could make this one of her three key issues and emerge as the real consumer advocate and champion for the people.


Ed Note: Bob Fitrakis is the former Co-Chair of the Ohio Green Party.


Don’t Buy the Poison – Aqua Salina

The idea seemed quite simple. WOSU radio wrote: Use “the byproduct of fracking…to remove ice from the roads.”

Ohio House Bill 393, a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by Republican State Representative Anthony Devitis and Democratic State Representative Michael O’Brien, promoted the company Aqua Salina to “process brine from hydraulic fracking wells to make it usable” to remove ice from sidewalks, streets and highways, according to WOSU. The bill was voted out of committee and onto the floor on May 15, 2018.

Environmental attorney Terry Lodge sent out a warning letter and evidence that this so-called brine is highly radioactive. Lodge calls HB 393 “a new corporate-driven scheme to poison” Ohio families.

“It is called ‘brine’ marketed as ‘ancient sea water’ and it is bottled radioactive waste,” Lodge warns.

Lodge released a memo dated July 26, 2017 from Ohio’s Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management by Radiation Safety Section Manager Chuck McCracken. He wrote: “Advise Nature’s Own Source AquaSalina that the average radioactivity in Aqua Salina exceeds…Drinking Water limits for combined Ra-226 and Ra-228 by a factor of 300.” The report also noted that the radioactive radium release “exceeds State of Ohio discharge to the environment.”

So while it is being called brine and marketed as sea water, the Radiation Safety Section says Aqua Salina violates Ohio Administrative Code 3701:1-38-12. The memo called for an environmental impact assessment for the people of Ohio.

Lodge points out that Aqua Salina is a product you can purchase by the gallon at Lowe’s or a hardware store right now. It is also sold to the Ohio Department of Transportation in large quantities as a de-icer and as treatment to keep dust down on roads. Radon gas, radium in gas form, is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S., notes Lodge.

“House Bill 393 would prohibit any regulation whatsoever of the sales of ‘ancient sea water’ aka cancer-causing brine if the seller makes a one-time paperwork filing showing this radioactive waste has been approved for use elsewhere,” Lodge states.

Don’t buy Aqua Salina and contact your state representatives immediately and demand that they defeat House Bill 393.