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The salon was available on Facebook Live as well.

The theme for the June 2022 Free Press Second Saturday Cyber-Salon was Peace and Democracy: Do We Have Either? And the inspiration for some of the discussion was the 40th anniversary of the 1982 peace march in New York City, the largest march of its kind in US history.  

Free Press Board member Mark Stansbery facilitated the salon from the Columbus Arts Festival.  

The first speaker was Bill Lyons, known for working on the Columbus Community Bill of Rights (CCBOR), and now a champion of the citizens of the Columbus as the city holds its review of the City Charter. Bill told us the City of Columbus reviews its charter every eight years. This time there have not been many opportunities for the public to give input. The Charter Review Commission wants to put rules in place that limit the rights of citizens to put initiatives on the ballot and mandate a restriction of only a year for signature gathering. The next public meeting of the Commission is around July 29-30. You can give public testimony, virtual testimony, or written testimony.

Columbus City Charter.
Write to the Charter Review Commission here.
Charter Review Commission timeline here.
Contact Bill Lyons here.

Jonathan Beard spoke next about the hypocrisy of the Charter Review Commission. They are a handpicked group of self-serving people. Some are city workers, some have ambition to be on City Council. They do not have the common good or the principles of democracy in mind. Jon Beard headed up a group that got the first citizens’ initiative on the ballot in August 2015. Jon spoke about the nine person board and though they presumably represent a city district, they are voted on at-large, which is not democratic.

The changes Jon would like to see in the City Charter would be to make REAL district-based Council seats, revision of the single-subject provision on ballot initiatives, and make it that those who are appointed to City Council seats are ineligible to run in the next election.

Michael Gruber spoke next about the anniversary of the 1982 Big Spring Peace March that he participated in, and got arrested at, in New York City. Ten buses brought people from Columbus for the march. Mike showed us some buttons and peace posters from that time. He was subsequently involved in the Columbus Campaign for Arms Control and efforts to make the public aware of the work of Battelle and Ashland Chemicals in the nuke industry.

Comfest info: Peace, Love, Music – June 24-26, Goodale Park
There will be no Free Press/DSCO wine booth this year, as Comfest has discontinued wine. WGRN and WCRS radio will have a joint booth, as will many of the other community groups including the Jon Beard Rent Control group, Move to Amend, etc. The Comfest program schedule can be found here.  
The online Comfest 2022 program is here.

Comfest is still looking for Security and Clean-up volunteers, and people to speak between bands on the stages. If you are interested, contact Mike Gruber at this email.    

Travis Irvine reminded people that the Anti-DeWine PAC “Homebound Entrepreneurs Against DeWines” (HEAD) is raising funds for parade/festival season swag, so feel free to share our donation links far and wide! If anyone donates within the next week, we'll even send them a "SPILL DEWINE!" bumper sticker! Donate here.

Verbz sent us this link.

We thank Steve Caruso for being our tech guru for these salons.

The next Free Press Salon is planned to be IN-PERSON in the backyard again, 1021 East Broad Street, on July 9.

Hope to see you there!

Pete Johnson
President, Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism
Contact: 614-253-2571