Lots of people on Zoom

The Free Press June Second Saturday Cyber-Salon started with Free Press Board member Mark Stansbery reflecting on the history of organizing in Columbus, including the beginning of the Community Organizing Center in 1993. He pointed out a cover of In These Times and the issues they are covering.

Salon video

Mark introduced the first speaker, former Congressional candidate Morgan Harper, currently with her new group Columbus Stand Up!

Morgan spoke about her grassroots group and how they provided rides for people to voting sites and more recently for people to get their Covid vaccinations. She also noted that on June 30 the moratorium on evictions in Ohio will end there may be a lot of people in need this summer. The Central Ohio Housing Network is organizing to help people. The Columbus Democratic Socialists of America are also working for people facing evictions.

Morgan attended a candidate’s forum in Akron to support Nina Turner for Congress and highly praised Nina’s presentation. She can always use more support from people who appreciate her progressive values.

The next speaker also attended the Akron forum where Nina Turner spoke. Cathy Cowan Becker, director of Simply Living, and told us she’s polling at 50%. Other candidates are trying negative attacks against Nina, saying she’s not entirely with Joe Biden, but that’s exactly why we like her.

Speaking of how to build community, Cathy told us that during Simply Living’s history, they helped start up more community groups such as Local Matters, Keep Wayne Wild, Yoga on High and others. Cathy announced that Simply Living just received a Comfest grant for a People’s Solar Project to create Solpoles. They need to coordinate with the city but hope the project becomes a model for other cities. She also brought us up-to-date on the events Simply Living has coming up. Cathy talked about energy issues in the city and answered questions from the audience.

Pat Marida of the Sierra Club spoke next. She explained many of the current legislation in the Ohio House and Senate:

Ohio Senate Bill No. 52 – “Revise law governing wind farms and solar facilities.” Allows local jurisdictions to hold referenda on industrial wind and solar proposals. Would effectively stop them from locating in Ohio. Passed the Senate. Call your House member.

H. B. No. 201 – “Prevent local governments from limiting use of natural gas” PASSED THE HOUSE. To be heard Tuesday by the Ohio Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee.

S. B. No. 117— “Repeal legacy generation resource provisions of HB6” Repeals HB 6 bailout of the two OVEC coal plants. Sierra Club Beyond Coal is working to support this. 

H. B. No. 282 – “Regards sale of brine from oil/gas operations as a commodity” Selling toxic brine to melt ice on your sidewalk and driveway.

S. B. No. 16 – “Regards civil action by, and crimes again, first responders” PASSED THE SENATE 

H. B. No. 109 – “Increase penalties-certain criminal offenses; peace officer suits”

S. B. No. 22 – “Establish legislative oversight over Governor and health orders” PASSED INTO LAW. The legislature thinks it knows more about how to deal with epidemics than the Ohio Dept. of Health.

Our tech host Steve Caruso shared a link to the Union Ride Solar facility in Licking County.

Tim Chavez shared that the Keystone Pipeline is now shut down for good!

Sandy Bolzenius announced that the next Move to Amend presentation will be: RANK THE VOTE, June 17, 7-8 PM: Zoom meeting, (Sponsor, Move to Amend, Central Ohio)

Mary Jane Borden gave apresentation on marijuana legislation in Ohio. She also recently wrote about it in the Free Press. Here is info on HB 210.

Tim Chavez announced the upcoming Columbus Black Theater Festival, put on by WGRN radio host Julie Whitney Scott.

Lynn Stan gave us a reminder: Community Festival is virtual this year again: June 25-27.

Jon Beard told us about the history of the Trolley Barn on the near east side and how his group the Columbus Compact set the stage for what will be developed on the site. He is also heading up the Police Accountability Project, taking testimonies from people who have had run-ins with the Columbus Police.

The Free Press thanks Steve Caruso for being our technical guru for these cyber-salons!

Hope to see you at the next one!
Pete Johnson
President, Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism
Contact: 614-253-2571