Still from salon

Free Press readers gathered Saturday evening, April 8, for a Cyber-Salon.

Link to salon video.

Mark Stansbery, Free Press Board member, started out the salon by introducing the two speakers, progressive candidates for the general election this fall in Central Ohio. Both speakers are also recipients of the Free Press Libby Award for community activism.

The first speaker was Joe Motil, who is running for Columbus mayor, the only opponent in the race is current mayor, Andy Ginther. Joe is a lifelong Columbus resident, 40 years active in city public policy, and a retired union worker.

Joe is running because he’s tired of the pay to play city politics that benefit developers. His campaign will focus on affordable housing, police reform, public transit, homelessness, neighborhood infrastructure, and government corruption.

Joe has lots of public policy proposals, including bond packages, raising the hotel tax, and having tax abated companies like Intel kick in to help create affordable housing.  He proposes that the City should purchase land and build affordable housing.

Joe’s campaign website.

Joe’s Facebook page.

Joe needs volunteers for a couple of upcoming events:

Thursday, April 13, 11am-2pm needs volunteers at his house, 167 W Cooke
Joe is asking 2 or 3 people to join him at his house to help with placing stamps, mailing addresses and stuffing envelopes for fundraising. We're asking that you arrive at 11am and are available to stay for 2 to 3 hours.

On April 25th we need 4-5 people to join Joe at the B.R.E.A.D Nehemiah Action meeting to hand out campaign literature and attend the meeting. It will be held at the Celeste Center at the Ohio State Fairgrounds. The meeting begins at 6:40 pm but we are asking volunteers to arrive by 5:50 pm to hand out literature and stay until it ends at 8:30 pm. Tickets to the event are free and will be provided by the campaign. Campaign tee shirts will also be provided to volunteers prior to the event. When signing up let us know what size tee shirt you need.

I've attached a link to the B.R.E.A.D. website if you'd like to learn more about the organization. B.R.E.A.D. Columbus – B.R.E.A.D. builds the power of people of faith.

If you have any additional questions or would like to sign up to volunteer feel free to reach me directly at

The next speaker was Adrienne Hood, candidate for Columbus City Council, district 4. The city of Columbus now has 9 City Council districts, increased from 7 at-large seats. Though each candidate had to get signatures on petitions in their district, the vote in the general election will remain city-wide. Adrienne is a longtime Linden resident and is retired from the Air Force Reserves. Since her son Henry Green was murdered by Columbus police in 2016, she has been active with police accountability issues, including with the Ohio United to Fight Police Brutality. She is running for local office because she believes we need to be in the room. She means that the everyday, common folks who go to work, do what they're supposed to do, trying to raise their families, trying to make sure that their children have the best education that they can. She wants to make sure the least in our community are being watched after as well. She is committed to being the voice for those of us that come in here and do the work.

Adrienne’s campaign will focus on public safety issues, police reform, education, mental health, and affordable housing. She will be speaking to UN group on police accountability.

Adrienne’s campaign is looking for volunteers and donations.

Adrienne’s campaign website

Find her on Instagram and Facebook at HoodforCols.

There will not a primary this year in Columbus to vote for mayor or City Council because there were not enough candidates to have one. Both Joe and Adrienne told us that they haven’t been interviewed by mainstream media yet about their campaigns, as they are not major political party regulars. They are both running in nonpartisan elections.

The Free Press is sad to announce that longtime local activist, musician, cook, gardener, co-founder of the Free Press Salons and friend to us all, Connie Harris, passed away on Friday, April 7 of metastatic breast cancer. (see photo below) We will keep people updated on further events related to this. Connie was much loved and will be greatly missed. Two of her cats are now looking for a home, they are currently housed at Cat Welfare – Pebbles and Smudge.

The group discussed the changes with the community radio stations WGRN and WCRS. WGRN is .off broadcast air right now and only available streaming at until their new tower and antenna are ready. When WGRN comes back on your broadcast radio, it will be on the channel 91.9FM (formerly 94.1FM). Please take note and we will keep everyone informed when it is back on the air.

WCRS’s broadcast 98.3FM is currently off the air as well, but they can still be heard on 92.7FM. Both community radio stations are run by nonprofit organizations and could use donations to help with their antenna moves.

Also, you can see them at their booth at the Earth Day celebration downtown on Saturday, April 22 from 12-9pm. You can pick up a tree at the booth for a donation at the booth!

Mark Stansbery brought up the crazy Ohio Senate Bill 83 that, among other things, prevents faculty in unions from organizing.

Pat Marida brought up how fracking in the parks bill passed and the fact that the PUCO can stop them. Cathy Cowan Becker working on stopping it, the testimony will happen April 10:

WHAT: Oil and Gas Land Management Commission public hearing and business meeting

WHEN: Monday, April 10, at 10 a.m.

WHERE: Ohio Department of Natural Resources, 2045 Morse Road, Building E, 1st Floor Assembly Center, Columbus, OH 43229

MJ Borden mentioned S.B. 9, a legislative bill to improve Ohio’s medical marijuana program, was introduced in January and has had four hearings so far. Last year, the “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol” (RMLA) citizen-initiated statute was circulated, and enough valid first round signatures were collected to place it before the Ohio General Assembly. As a result of a lawsuit, Secretary of State LaRose presented the RMLA to the legislature on January 3rd. The GA has four months to pass it as is – which it won’t. Otherwise, as of May 4th, the measure becomes eligible for collection of a second round of signatures, and if sufficient and verified by early July, it can appear on the fall statewide ballot.

Connie Harris (left) with Emily Noble (right) at Victorian's Midnight Cafe