Fight Back – Episode: 04/24/15 Mayoral Candidate James Ragland

Posted by Webmaster/Moderator on April 28th, 2015
Fight Back - Episode: 04/24/15 Mayoral Candidate James Ragland Play - http://www.talktainmentradio.com/podcasts/Fight%20Back%20042415.mp3 http://www.ragland4mayor.com/ See more at: http://tinyurl.com/pjlg9vl

Fight Back – Episode: 03/27/15 Columbus City Council Candidate Will Petrik

Posted by Webmaster/Moderator on April 1st, 2015
Fight Back - Episode: 03/27/15 Columbus City Council Will Petrik Guest https://www.facebook.com/will.petrik See more at: http://www.talktainmentradio.com/shows/fightback.html
Fight Back - Episode: 03/20/15 Siddique Hasan announcing the hunger strike at the Ohio State Penn Play - See more at: http://www.talktainmentradio.com/shows/fightback.html
Submitted by fightback on Sun, 03/22/2015 - 5:23pm Bernardine Kent Columbus School Board No Child Left Behind Bob talks with Bernardine Kent about her campaign for Columbus School Board and her whistleblowing on the No Child Left Behind tutoring scandal Artist: Bob Fitrakis and Kennedy Kent Title: The Other Side of the News March 23, 2015 - Bernardine Kent, Columbus School Board member

Conference on the PUCO carbon-nuke bailout in Ohio

Posted by Webmaster/Moderator on March 28th, 2015
Join us at the conference on the PUCO carbon-nuke bailout in Ohio Sunday April 12, 2015 1-5:30PM STOP THE CARBON-NUKE BAILOUTS!!! CrbnFreeNucFree Win a Carbon/Nuke Free Ohio Move to Renewables and Efficiency Mini Conference - SUNDAY APRIL 12, 2015, 1-5:30pm Free and open to the public Columbus State Community College Center for Teaching and Learning Innovation 339 Cleveland Avenue at the southwest corner of Grove Street Parking is in the lot by the building. AGENDA 1:10 pm: Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Watchdog with Beyond Nuclear in Takoma Park, MD. Topic: Davis-Besse nuclear reactor, a threat to Ohio and the Great Lakes. 1:50 pm: Carolyn Harding, Organizer with Radioactive Waste Alert and the Columbus Community Bill of Rights. Topic: Challenging fracking in Columbus and Ohio – from injection wells to community rights. 2: 30 pm: Break 2:45 pm: Ned Ford, Veteran Ohio energy activist and consultant. Topic: EPA’s Clean Power Plan; Ohio’s Senate Bill 310; the big picture on Clean Energy in Ohio and what the PUCO, EPA and the Governor are wrong about. 3: 25 pm Neil Waggoner, Organizing Representative with the Sierra Club Coal Campaign. Topic: Stopping coal and Davis-Besse bailouts at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and the PUCO decision on AEP. BREAKOUT 4: 05 pm Breakout with small group brainstorming on ideas for carrying our energy work forward and uniting the work of the various organizations. 4:50 pm Report back from small groups 5:15 pm Closing remarks -------------------- MONDAY APRIL 13, 2015 – Day of Action to Stop FirstEnergy Bailouts 11:00 am: Morning rally at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio offices, 180 East Broad Street Lunchtime presentation [Time/Place TBD]. Bailout overview and planning future actions Phoning the PUCO and Governor Kasich’s office, handwriting letters to the governor. Participating organizations: Sierra Club, Ohio Environmental Council, Ohio Citizen Action, Ohio Organizing Collaborative, Public Citizen, Columbus Free Press, Columbus State Social Science Department RSVP: solartopia@gmail.com
The Free Press has obtained a copy of a shocking Statement by concerned employees of the Franklin County Community Based Correctional Facility (FCCBCF). They describe an understaffed facility with overworked employees, rampant sex among the inmates, virus epidemics, ignored suicide attempts, illusionary and inaccurate data, and tyrannical management personally invested in a training manual and soon-to-be book intended for profit. The facility houses felony offenders as part of the Ohio penal system’s diversion program. Diversion facilities tend to take prisoners at the end of their sentence, inmates with alcohol and addiction problems, and those with mental illnesses that are not being served by incarceration. The facility is centered around the core cognitive behavioral therapy program known as the Responsible Adult Culture Program (RACP). The RACP’s central premise is if inmates change their negative self-centered thinking, their behavior will be adjusted so that they can function outside of the prison system. Former FCCBCF Director Bud Potter who retired in 2013 created and implemented the system. Potter continues to serve as a consultant to the facility. Employees charge that Potter hand-picked current Director Molly Robbins because of her promotion of his RACP system. The 17-point Statement, sent to numerous government officials and bodies including the Franklin County Board of Commissioners and the Ohio Inspector General, raises specific concerns as to the operations of the FCCBCF institution. The Free Press met with an employee of the FCCBCF and went over internal documents that substantiate the allegations. In point 2 of the Statement, employees allege that “In November 2013 due to a lack of non-alcohol hand sanitizer and hand soap, a ‘Noro Virus’ outbreak occurred…” The Statement claims that “The facility was without soap for three days” and that “approximately 50 resident inmates, more than one-fifth of the facility’s population, was affected.” The Statement alleges that “Resident inmates were not allowed to be transported to the hospital for their symptoms,” and that the case managers, “who have no medical training were pulled from their caseloads and mandated to work extra shifts providing for the dispensing of medication….” The employees state in point 4 that because of a long waiting list, programs have been dramatically cut back under Robbins so that they no longer meet Ohio Department of Corrections minimum standards. Point 7 is also related to programs offered by FCCBCF. Employees claim that there has been high turnover among the case managers and that the overworked and understaffed employees are incapable of administering the promised programs. Point 8 specifically outlines that while the facility “…accepts felony offenders who have severe mental health challenges,” the under staffing has eliminated the number of escorts who are needed to take the prisoners for mental health therapy. Thus it takes an extended time for inmates to earn the right to go to mental health treatment on their own. Sixty to eighty-five days is a long time for a resident to wait to see a certified psychiatrist, the Statement says. The employees go on to document that the promised GED classes are no longer being offered at the facility and rather are being outsourced to the Alvis House. Because of a lack of escorts, the inmates cannot meet the requirements to earn their GED. Employees issued the Statement anonymously “…due to our fear of retaliation, retribution, and revenge by administration, specifically at the hands of Director Molly Robbins….” The employees are requesting that they be put under oath by state investigators. “We are sworn to protect the community by assisting in the rehabilitation of felony offenders sentenced to our facility…we request your government agency address this situation by launching an immediate and thorough investigation of our allegations,” the Statement reads. The employee who met with the Free Press emphasizes that the facility should practice what it preaches. The Statement ends, “We can remain silent no more. We teach resident inmates to own their irresponsible lifestyles, their past mistakes, how they've hurt victims, family and friends. We hold them accountable for their actions and do not allow them to make excuses.” Associated Files: CBCF Statement.pdf or as follows: To: Facility Governing Board – Franklin County Community Based Correctional Facility: Karen Days, Chairperson, Kort Gatterdam, Clarence Glover, Mary Catherine Kurila & Joseph Scott Franklin County Board of Commissioners Franklin County Court of Common Pleas – All Judges Franklin County Prosecutor – Ron O’Brien Franklin County Sheriff – Zach Scott Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction – Director Gary Mohor Ohio Inspector General U.S. Department of Justice - PREA U.S. Department of Labor & Statistics American Correctional Association February 2, 2015 Statement of Grievances and Request for Redress We the employees of the Franklin County Community Based Correctional Facility (FCCBCF) provide the following as a true and accurate description of the environment, culture and happenings at the FCCBCF. Should a government regulatory body ensue investigation, we assure you these statements will be corroborated via direct sworn testimony provided by staff members, resident inmates and through documentation including county electronic mail records, employee files and resident inmate files. Considering the nature of these allegations, which are true and correct, we ask that a proper Court order be issued immediately to stay the destruction or withdrawal of records - files that may lend credibility to these allegations and/or provide clarity which may lead to the discovery of additional issues of impropriety and misconduct by FCCBCF administration. We the employees of FCCBCF submit this statement anonymously not with a “throw a rock, hide your hand” mentality but due to our fear of retaliation, retribution, and revenge by administration, specifically at the hands Director Molly Robbins and her immediate subordinate Senior Operations Manager Daniel Shaun Scott. Outside FCCBCF Director Robbins wields much power and is deeply connected. She has directly impacted current and past employees’ ability to obtain new employment, especially in the realm of corrections – testimony is available to corroborate this allegation. *Names of resident inmates have been withheld due to legal requirements. Should we be subpoenaed to testify in a investigation or future proceedings we will be willing to tie names to the situations described below. Administration as an Institution FCCBCF is a correctional facility that accepts felony offenders as a means to diversion from the Ohio penal system. The facility receives funding from the State of Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. The Responsible Adult Culture Program (RAC) is a cognitive behavioral therapy program created and installed by former FCCBCF director Bud Potter (retired 2013); currently a paid consultant to the facility and program. The RAC program’s premise is if one changes their negative self centered thinking, their behavior will follow suit. The current director of FCCBCF is Molly Robbins (promoted 2013). She is a long term employee who rose through two ranks of management and was repeatedly promoted, up to her current position, by former director Bud Potter and the FCCBCF Facility Governing Board (FGB) which by state statute serves as a board of trustees; essentially a board entrusted to hold the director and their subordinates accountable for the performance and care of the facility and the residents entrusted to the facility by the State of Ohio. Director Robbins per the FCCBCF policy and procedure is the final authority on all matters concerning personnel; staff discipline including termination, staff and resident inmate grievances, including those related to EEO complaints and all employee and programmatic (RAC) adjustments. Top – Down Management The declines of the success of the RAC program as well as many other concerns described herein are the direct result of director Molly Robbins’ dereliction of duty. We provide the following account: 1) For most of year 2013 and all of 2014 Director Robbins has busied herself by co-authoring an updated version of “The Equip Program: Evidence Based Program for the prevention and Reduction of Antisocial Behavior”, the umbrella program under which FCCBCF’s RAC program is derived. It is by the usage of quantitative data of resident inmate “success” that the “evidence base” is provided for the previous and current versions the Equip Program. We submit that should qualitative data be compared to the purported quantitative data, which is controlled solely by Director Robbins, a truer and accurate depiction of the happenings (high rates of recidivism, return to usage of narcotics) of FCCBCF would be brought to light. 2) In November 2013 due to a lack of non-alcohol hand sanitizer and hand soap, a “Noro Virus” outbreak occurred at the FCCBCF. The facility was without soap for three (3) days. Approximately fifty (50) resident inmates, more than one-fifth of the facility population was affected. The staff nurse at the time believed the outbreak began in the facility kitchen and spread throughout the facility, both men and women were affected. Infected residents were quarantined in the program (GED/AOD) section of the facility. The entire facility was scrubbed down with bleach. GED and AOD (alcohol and/or drug) classes were cancelled for two weeks due to the outbreak. All Case Facilitators (case managers), who have no medical training were pulled from their caseloads and mandated to work extra shifts providing for the dispensing of medication, security, distribution of bottles of Pepto-Bismol to those afflicted. Resident inmates were not allowed to be transported to the hospital for their symptoms. Resident inmates were given snacks (Oreo cookies and thirst quencher type drinks) and watched movies during the quarantine. Telephone calls from the infected to their loved ones were limited and monitored. Staff was not directly told to not discuss the matter outside the facility, but in various emails sent by Director Robbins, the message was clear and understood. At no time should a correctional facility be without sanitary products. Staff with no medical training should not be mandated to provide medical care for those afflicted; this is against medical care practices and surely is outside the scope of employment for case facilitators. Several resident inmates’ programs were affected due to this outbreak; they were penalized for not completing classes in a timely manner and ultimately their programs delayed. Sworn testimony and documents can be provided to corroborate this allegation. 3) August 2013, a male and female inmate were found having sexual intercourse in a classroom within the facility. Both residents were placed in separate isolation cells pending a termination hearing. The male resident, an African American male (female resident was Caucasian) had a history of past suicide attempts (3 in total), those attempts were noted in his case file. Per FCCBCF policy and procedure when residents are placed in isolation and placed on suicide watch, they must be searched thoroughly up to including a “stripsearch”. The male resident was not searched per policy and was placed in isolation. Within an hour of his placement, the male resident had sliced his wrist open with a cutting object – from his hand upwards to his forearm, ensuring he would bleed out until he died. When security personnel checked on him, they found him barely conscious; the isolation cell floor was covered with a thick coat of blood. Resident was still alive, transported to the hospital and was immediately terminated the following day by Director Robbins. Security staff instructed a Resident Advisor (security personnel) to clean up the blood with a facility mop. It was nearly impossible as several pints had been lost. A Franklin County “Haz-Mat” team was eventually called to clean up the bio-hazardous liquid. Director Molly Robbins instructed then Deputy Director Patrick Monroe to conceal the incident, via omission of facts in a required report to the ODRC. Deputy Director Monroe refused forcing Director Robbins to threaten his employment. Director Monroe contacted legal counsel who thereby pressured Director Robbins to allow him to resign. She relented, Monroe resigned; investigation closed. Sworn testimony and documents can be provided to corroborate this allegation. 4) During the Spring and Summer of 2014 a new initiative was given to Case Facilitators of FCCBCF, in order to meet guidelines of ODRC the minimum time limit (134 days) a resident inmate needed to successfully complete the RAC program was lowered to 120 days (in county), out of county resident inmates minimum time limit was lowered from 115 days to 100 days. Staff was informed this was happening because the waiting list was very long (residents purported to be waiting in the Franklin County Corr. Center I and II for periods of 2 to 3 months). We allege that a more accurate reason for the change in policy was to prove to ODRC that FCCBCF could handle and had handled more residents allowing FCCBCF to request an increased budget allotment. In the RAC Staff Manual and in RAC Staff Training both Bud Potter and Molly Robbins have stated it takes a minimum of four to six months for the cognitive behavioral changes to even begin taking effect. Our primary responsibility is to keep the community of Franklin County safe by administering the RAC program. By lowering the number of days FCCBCF essentially put dollars above safety. As front line employees, we know that it takes 50 to 70 days at minimum for the slightest behavioral change to occur; most resident inmates have been involved in harsh – violent criminal activities (including heavy usage of narcotics) for most of their lives. This transition to the new requirement only lasted 2 ½ months and once our goal was reached, we returned to the previous standard of 134 (in Franklin County) and 115 (out of county) days minimum for release. The negative impact was substantial as tens upon tens of new residents poured into the facility, the culture tipped out of balance, meaning older residents who could affect and check the negative behavior of new residents didn’t exist as they had been pushed out of the door. Many residents from that new group that poured in to FCCBCF eventually were terminated because they couldn’t comply with the program (they had been confined for in FCCC I and II for 6 months to a year – from trial to sentencing). In actuality the program was being administered incorrectly, essentially for profit; profit for the director by direct state funds and via her co-authorship of the new Equip Program. Sworn testimony and documents can be provided to corroborate this allegation. 5) Summer 2014, former Unit Manager Daniel Shaun Scott was promoted to Senior Operations Manager of Programming, a new position that was created by Director Robbins specifically for Daniel Scott. This was a substantial promotion with substantial monetary benefits; he essentially became Director Robbins’ right hand man. Both the director and senior operations manager attended conferences together with out the attendance of other management staff. It is common knowledge that there is an “inappropriate” relationship between the two as staff employees overheard personal conversations between the two, which made it totally clear the relationship was more than platonic or work related. This situation places employees at a disadvantage and skews the grievance process as Senior Operations Manager Scott is a buffer in the process between staff and the director. Sworn testimony and documents can be provided to corroborate this allegation. 6) To highlight the authoritarian nature of leadership of Director Robbins, during the Winter/Spring of 2014 half of the administration (front office) and middle management staff resigned from FCCBCF leaving a huge void. This is the second time during the tenure of Director Robbins this has happened, the first being during the transitional period between former director Bud Potter’s departure and her becoming director of the facility. Sworn testimony and documents can be provided to corroborate this allegation. Case Facilitator Concerns 7) Turnover of case facilitators, a critical position in the RAC program has been substantial. Whether the FGB members are aware of the reason is unsure as employees are allowed to attend FGB quarterly meetings but do not because of the substantial amount of work associated with their respected caseloads. For the past two years FCCBCF has been short case facilitators. Ninety-Seven percent (97%) of the current case facilitators have been employed two years or less at FCCBCF. Most if not all case facilitators were not trained according to FCCBCF policies and procedures, many received little to no training, were self taught or had their official training delayed for 4 – 6 months because of the severe shortage of managerial and support staff. Recently, in January 2015, case facilitators were notified that a “random” audit of payroll timesheets had been conducted for a three week period in September 2014. Administration said that most case facilitators had worked more time (overtime) than what they placed on their timesheets and that administration would have to pay out overtime to the employees to cover the deficits. In addition to the timesheet discrepancies, additional reasons given for discipline were due to progress notes; summaries and other resident related paperwork not being up to date. Because of the inconsistency, case facilitators were disciplined via corrective action (written warning) up to unpaid time off (3 to 5 days). We assure you, the reader of this statement that we are a professional team of employees, all of whom are college educated and many have years of correctional experience. The reason progress notes are not up to snuff, is simply because ninety percent (90%) of current case facilitators have two caseloads (twenty people). One may say that twenty people is not a huge amount to manage, but please understand case facilitators not only file paperwork – we conduct group therapy three times a week and teach classes three times a week per caseload. Should an employee be on vacation, call in sick or request other approved time their caseload must be covered. If a case facilitator has two caseloads those are 12 classes, 1 hour and 15 minutes in length that must be held each week. We must also counsel residents on various topics relating to their lives, assist with housing placement, drug counseling placement, and job searches as well as a host of other responsibilities. There isn’t enough time in the day to do all that we’re asked to, but we do our best. We enjoy our jobs so we go about our day with no complaints. The remaining 10 % of employees who do not have two caseloads are employees who are awaiting training to become group therapy leaders and are unable to perform all aspects of their hired position, which means that the additional work that is uncovered is shifted to the 90% that is trained. We have been warned by Director Robbins that we are not allowed to work unapproved overtime, so in an effort to complete our work most case facilitators arrive early and stay late but do not log those hours. We knew either way we would be punished; not being paid for time worked was the lesser of two evils. The same 90% of case facilitators that are trained is the same numbers of employees who were disciplined in January 2015. Since January, two employees, who were disciplined with unpaid leave for the above mentioned reasons, have been assigned additional duties such as teaching AOD (alcohol and drug) classes in addition to their current work load. Per the RAC Staff Manual and FCCBCF policies and procedures and the employment contract signed by administration and employees, the ratio of residents to case facilitator is 10:1; that is to say ten residents assigned to one case manager. It is that model that is successful. It is impossible to effectively manage two caseloads effectively. We have informed administration of this for months. We were told by Director Robbins and Senior Operations Manager Scott that our concerns are related to time management issues on our part and have nothing to do with the RAC program overseen by administration. Sworn testimony and documents can be provided to corroborate this allegation. 8) FCCBCF accepts felony offenders who have severe mental health challenges. This alone violates FCCBCF policies and procedures as any resident inmate who has these challenges may pose a safety risk to fellow inmates and/or staff. Many of these residents have self medicated for years via usage of narcotics. Due to a shortage of resident advisors (security staff) who operate the transportation for the facility, case facilitators are unable to schedule appointments for these resident inmates to attend psychiatrist appointments with community partners such as Southeast Inc. Per Director Robbins, residents must wait to attend these types of appointments until they have been approved for open itinerary (when they can enter and exit the facility, unescorted with staff approval). Per FCCBCF policies and procedures, residents can not receive open itinerary until they have reached sixty days minimum; that approval can actually take up to 85 days in some cases. Sixty to eighty-five days is a long time for a resident to wait to see a certified psychiatrist. Many residents suffer from ADHD, Schizophrenia, depression, delusions, grief/loss and other mental ailments. It is unacceptable and unreasonable to expect a person with these challenges to work through his/her RAC program in a positive manner when their mental health is challenged. So when a resident inmate acts out, violates rules of behavior, etc, is it their fault or is it the fault of staff for not meeting their needs as we promised them we would when we accepted them into our program? Sworn testimony and documents can be provided to corroborate this allegation. 9) On the point of mental health challenges, those resident inmates who have these challenges are assigned to various caseloads throughout the facility. The concern of staff is that 95% of case facilitators have received little to no training in how to handle a resident inmate who possesses mental health challenges. Imagine working two caseloads with 4 to 5 residents who are severely mentally handicapped. Sworn testimony and documents can be provided to corroborate this allegation. Resident Inmate Concerns 10) Inconsistent discipline of resident inmates has been an ongoing challenge. Director Robbins and administration will argue that discipline is handled on a case by case system, we the front line staff members know otherwise. For example, there were two transsexual (transformation from men to women with hormone replacement therapy) residents accepted to FCCBCF Winter of 2014. One of the two residents was known to be a carrier of the communicable and infectious disease HIV. It was documented via progress notes, informational write-ups and via direct verbal reports to middle and upper-management that these two individuals were on occasion coerced into performing and on other occasions voluntarily performed sexual acts including fellatio on male residents with whom they were housed. One of the two inmates was eventually terminated due to repeated minor violations, the other although guilty of the same infractions was allowed to successfully complete FCCBCF. The unfairness in discipline comes to surface when one realizes that nontranssexual male residents have been terminated from FCCBCF for violations as minor as smoking a rolled cigarette in the bathroom of the housing dorms. How is it that a resident can perform gross sexual acts time and time again, it be documented and reported but nothing done? It is because Director Robbins needed to show ODRC and the U.S. Department of Justice (overseer of PREA standards) that FCCBCF could successfully pass a transsexual inmate. When the PREA auditor came to the facility near the end of summer 2014 nothing was ever mentioned regarding the coerced sexual acts perpetrated upon the transsexual inmates 11) Untimely discipline - Throughout the past year and especially this past December many resident inmates who because of rule violations were placed on possible termination status, waited 2 – 4 weeks for a termination hearing to be held. The director and senior operations manager are the individuals responsible for holding these resident discipline hearings; they were unavailable due to being on vacation, returning on the same date. When a resident inmate is on termination their entire program ceases, leaving many residents in a precarious position because if certain milestones aren’t reached in the program they will not complete successfully and will return to the state penitentiary. Any resident terminated does not count against the facilities overall successful completion rate; it’s as if they never entered the program. Sworn testimony and documents can be provided to corroborate this allegation. 12) When FCCBCF, by direction of Director Robbins restructured the RAC programming hours in February 2014 from 8am – 5pm to 7:30am – 9:15pm in an effort to meet ODRC standards she created another exodus of employees. ODRC said that FCCBCF needed more programming hours because of the type (highly likely to recidivate) of offenders we housed. What didn’t happen was the offering of more classes as ODRC intended, Director Robbins “stretched” the day out so it appeared we offered more than what we do. At that time FCCBCF had two GED teachers on staff, one GED teacher immediately resigned, the other held out but eventually resigned due to receiving threats of physical violence from resident inmates. These threats were reported, but were not investigated. The last GED teacher resigned September 2014. Since then, FCCBCF has sent resident inmates to the Alvis House for GED testing. Unfortunately, this leaves many residents at a disadvantage because they are not allowed to leave the facility for again, 60 to 85 days. Since GED classes stopped, no resident inmate has graduated FCCBCF with a GED, whereas before, most residents who took in-house GED classes graduated the RAC program with a GED. We now have more than ever totally illiterate residents who must rely on help from other inmates to read, write and progress through the program. There is no help for them. Our concerns have fallen on deaf ears. Sworn testimony and documents can be provided to corroborate this allegation. 13) In the fall of 2014, the staff nurse who oversaw the medical care for upwards of 250 residents, solely, resigned due to stress and lack of assistance. She solicited on a weekly basis (requests were directed to Lauren Fish, FCCBCF Clinical Manager) for a part time nurse to help with the burden monitoring the health of so many resident inmates, many of them who have serious medical conditions such as Hepatitis B & C, HIV/AIDS, Diabetes as well as other ailments. When she left, the medical office was a disaster, with thousands of documents scattered about; violation of HIPPA laws. We do not fault the nurse for her inability to keep up. She was a great nurse who cared and showed great concern for the resident inmates. The fault lies with the director and clinical manager, Lauren Fish who directly oversaw the medical suite. After the nurse resigned management scrambled to clear the office of the scattered medical documentation as to not scare away the temporary nurse who would eventually be brought in from an outside agency. For almost three weeks resident inmates had to be transported to local emergency rooms for treatment; all bills and fees associated with these emergency room visits are billed directly to the inmate, whereas if the inmate were seen in-house nurse, a $3.00 co-pay would be assessed. Currently those thousands of documents are in the conference room in the administration suite where upper management has been sifting and sorting trying to put things in order before ACA’s July 2015 accreditation audit. Sworn testimony and documents can be provided to corroborate this allegation. Resident Advisor (Security Personnel) Concerns 14) Untimely &Uninformed Work Decisions - Resident Advisors act as unarmed security personnel at FCCBCF. We too have been the victims of severe staff shortages and high rates of turnover, to the extent that resident advisors who are newly hired are informed that they should expect to work two to three 16 hour days a week; this has been and still is the case. The reason for the high turnover is partly because of the long hours of mandatory work. FCCBCF spends huge amounts on overtime for resident advisors which is a slap in the face of case facilitators who are responsible for the direct administering of the RAC problem but, can receive no overtime to complete work although they too are short staffed and have been assigned two caseloads. The two work groups are not envious of one another, neither are they in conflict, but have partnered to shine light to the inconsistencies in policy directly related to the administration of FCCBCF Director Molly Robbins. Resident advisors work a straight 8 hours with no paid lunch. The resident advisors must eat at the security desk on the resident halls. They are not allowed to leave the building. Meaning a work day of 16 hours straight with an inability to relieve one’s self both to eat and at times to use the restroom; resident advisors can not leave their posts, they must be relieved by another resident advisor. Sworn testimony and documents can be provided to corroborate this allegation. 15) Inconsistent discipline - On occasion when a resident advisor is informed of mandation, resident advisors have on occasion declined to be mandated and left at the end of their regularly scheduled shift. This goes against FCCBCF policies and procedures. When complaint has been made to direct supervisors, middle management and the director; the complaint again falls on deaf ears. Some employees are disciplined, issued corrective action issued or disciplinary hearing held others receive no discipline. It is an effort to keep the troops somewhat happy and to keep staff in place. There is a system of favorite employees, those who complain are disciplined, those who play nice are let off the hook. Sworn testimony and documents can be provided to corroborate this allegation. 16) Untimely Corrective Action & Discipline – Please see above under Case Facilitator; same concern Wages & Time Keeping 17) Per the U.S. Bureau of Labor & Statistics, employers may not use a security badge system as a measure of employee timeliness and wage pay out. That is exactly how FCCBCF employees were disciplined for timesheet versus security badge swipe in-outs. There are currently three time keeping systems in use at FCCBCF, a new punch time clock installed December 2014, timesheets – still in use and now the security bade swipes (which are illegal). By using three different systems, FCCBCF has set its employees up to fail because naturally all three systems will show a different time depending on when and where a person is located, which location they arrive/leave etc. This policy was instituted by Director Robbins. Sworn testimony and documents can be provided to corroborate this allegation. Summary As employees of the Franklin County Community Based Correctional Facility, we are sworn to protect the community by assisting in the rehabilitation of felony offenders sentenced to our facility. The Responsible Adult Culture/Equip Program as currently administered by Director Molly Robbins is effective only as much as her leadership is effective. FCCBCF Human Resources Police #13 states “supervisory staff will be held to a higher level of compliance than non supervisory staff”. Currently administration, including the director, senior operations managers and middle managers all are in violation of this policy. We request your government agency address this situation by launching an immediate and thorough investigation of our complaint. We ask that you speak with us individually should an investigation ensue. We also request we be protected from prosecution as we hold no responsibility for the actions discussed herein. We request that our disciplinary records be reviewed and corrected. Moreover we request that the terminations of residents be reviewed for possible malfeasance by the director and her direct subordinate Senior Operations Manager Shaun Scott. Please understand we made a real attempt to address these concerns in house but because of the possibility of being terminated with no redress, we remained silent. We can be silent no more. We teach resident inmates to own their irresponsible lifestyles, their past mistakes; how they’ve hurt victims, family and friends. We hold them accountable for their actions and do not allow them to make excuses. Management must also be held accountable. Lastly, the concerns listed highlight some of the more egregious acts that have occurred at FCCBCF. Should an investigation proceed, and we be called to sworn testimony with the assurance of protection from prosecution, we will provide the documents mentioned and the any remaining information we have. Thank you for your time, attention and assistance. Submitted Respectfully, Staff Employees of the Franklin County Community Based Correctional Facility Franklin County, Ohio February 2, 2015

Free Press Free Fourth Tuesday Film Night “Black Lives Matter”

Posted by Webmaster/Moderator on March 17th, 2015
Free Press free film night: "Black Lives Matter" Tuesday, March 24, 2015 7:30pm Free Press free fourth Tuesday film night: Black Lives Matter Newsreel: Why Columbus Needs a Citizens Review Board Tues, March 24, 7:30pm, Drexel Theater, 2254 E. Main St. Police shootings of citizens in Columbus are almost always ruled as justified, the Columbus Dispatch reported. “Of seven cities surveyed by The Dispatch — all similar in size to Columbus — Columbus had the second-highest rate of police shootings, both fatal and nonfatal, in 2013. Last year, the city ranked fourth, at 1.1 shootings per 100,000.” To highlight the need for a civilian review board to investigate officer-involved shootings, videographer Will Delphia has compiled a newsreel of footage from the local and regional #BlackLivesMatter movement. Discussion will follow. colsfreepress@gmail.com or 614-253-2517

Free Press Second Saturday Salon, Saturday March 14, 2015

Posted by Webmaster/Moderator on March 7th, 2015
Join us at the March Free Press Second Saturday Salon Saturday March 14, 2015 6:30 - 11 PM March Free Press Second Saturday Salon Saturday, March 14, 6:30-11pm @ 1021 E. Broad St. Free. No RSVP necessary. Socialize and network with progressive friends for hors-d'oeuvres, drink, art and music. Showing "Maestra" [Teacher] about Cuban literacy program and music by Solartopia. colsfreepress@gmail.com, (614) 253-2571.

The radioactive hunk of junk Davis Besse nuke plant needs to shut down

Posted by Webmaster/Moderator on March 5th, 2015
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To Cuba With Love

Posted by Bob Fitrakis on February 22nd, 2015
by Bob Fitrakis FEBRUARY 21, 2015 Americans In Cuba With Love “…Cuba's voice is a voice that must be heard in the United States of America. Yet it has not been heard. It must now be heard because the United States is too powerful, its responsibilities to the world and to itself are too great, for its people not to be able to listen to every voice of the hungry world.” ~ C. Wright Mills, Listen, Yankee: The Revolution in Cuba, 1960. Mills’ words are unfortunately still true today. Cuban people remain hungry and we have not heard their voices because the U.S. has silenced them for more than 50 years by imposing a brutal “blockade” that we call an “embargo.” If any ship in the world goes to a Cuban port, they may not enter a U.S. port for six months. Any company that trades with Cuba is banned from the U.S. market. If any product uses any materials, pieces or parts from Cuba, it is not allowed to be sold in the United States. Cuba’s crime? Being the only nation in the western hemisphere with the cojones to resist the world’s only “megapower.” It appears that President Barack Obama however, in the aftermath of a thrashing by the Republican Party in the midterm Congressional elections, suddenly heard the whispers of his own conscience and the Cuban people. On December 17, he announced the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with the largest island in the Caribbean. The action is largely symbolic, but did make it a bit easier for U.S. citizens to go to Cuba. You can now take an 80 minute-flight directly from the United States, receive an official visa and have a Cuban stamp on your passport. No more sneaking through Mexico or Canada, though you still cannot visit as a tourist. We visited as educators and journalists with the folks from Code Pink. Senator John McCain recently called Code Pink “low-life scum” for recently attempting a citizens’ arrest of Henry Kissinger for war crimes. The Code Pink organizers spurned in the U.S., sought affection elsewhere when they sent a delegation of 150 people “To Cuba with Love” from February 8-15, 2015. I was part of that “largest group to visit Cuba from the United States.” Code Pink director Medea Benjamin saw the trip as the “move toward world peace” and a “powerful solidarity message” to the Cuban people. Because Cuba exists in part in a strange 1950s time warp thanks to the embargo that began in 1961 and continues to this day. The city of Havana seems frozen in time, like a 1950s postcard faded and frayed at the edges. The city of Havana’s architecture varies from crumbling but still stunning Spanish Colonial mansions to brightly colored stucco haciendas to huge art deco and art nouveau apartment buildings with each unit sporting its own balcony. In the rural areas, Cuba appears more Amish and pre-industrial with farmers using oxen and horse-drawn plows. Cuban native Jesus Noguera Ravelo invited a small Code Pink group to his home in Havana, where he answered questions about life in Cuba and its future. He insisted that there has been more change in the last ten years than in the previous thirty. Revalo had originally aspired to be a diplomat and majored in international studies. He was working on his Masters when he realized that, rather than stamping visas all day, he should be using his fluency in English to share the Cuban experience with English speaking visitors as a tour guide. Tourism has been either the first or second leading industry in Cuba since the early 1990s. A key point is that Canada never broke diplomatic ties with Cuba and the rest of the English speaking world now has normal relations with the country. The entire Code Pink group was greeted at the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the People (ICAP) by its President Ricardo Alarcon, who served for 30 years as Cuba’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) and was President of the National Assembly of People's Power from 1993 to 2013. He expressed hope that the Code Pink visit would be an “exchange of knowledge.” While the head of ICAP was encouraged by the restoration of diplomatic ties after President Kennedy broke them off 55 years ago, he called the remaining embargo of Cuba continuing “economic warfare.” He called Obama’s decision “very positive.” Alarcon questioned the logic of Cuba remaining one of four countries on the U.S. list of governments that sponsor terrorism, along with Iran, Sudan and Syria. That’s right – North Korea isn’t on the list nor was Libya when the U.S. and NATO attacked it in 2011. He pointed out the irony of the United States torturing people at Guantanamo while labeling Cuba a terrorist state. He also mentioned the hypocrisy of any demand by the U.S. for Cuba to restore fundamental human rights. The point was well made, since the U.S. is the world’s largest surveillance state and tortured both the guilty and innocent on Cuban soil at Guantanamo. Most Cubans we talked with conceded that there were problems in Cuba, but wondered why a country they associated with torture and the open shooting of blacks on the streets of major U.S. cities would be so concerned about Cuban human rights instead of putting their own house in order. Alarcon also noted that the U.S. retains great relations with many countries that do not recognize fundamental human rights, especially rights of women. He proudly pointed out that Cuba’s Parliament is 48.8 percent female and the governments of the local provinces elected 46 percent women. Currently the U.S. Congress had 19.4 percent women. Alarcon also reminded the delegates that since 2003, Cuban mothers and fathers receive one year paid maternity/paternity leave. The U.S. government has no law requiring paid leave for new parents. Cuba, after being abandoned by the Soviet Union in 1991 is transitioning away from its old Soviet-style model of state planning of economy used in the 60s, 70s and 80s. In the new economy, the country – having survived the “Special Period” of the 1990s when the Soviet Union withdrew support – some 440,000 workers are now self-employed. Revalo is now one of the so-called self-employed Cubans. Virtually all Cubans worked for the state government until the Special Period. Alarcon noted “we should not be afraid of capitalists. This time it won’t be like when Columbus came.” He emphatically stated, “Cuba is not for sale. You must get the approval of the government, which will say yes or no” to capital investment in the country. Our tour guide Betty, who works for the same co-op travel agency as Jesus, told us we need to remember that “most Cubans owned nothing in 1959 when the nationalization of property occurred. Fidel recognizes we have made mistakes. Here we are now without any model, without anybody to look to, working out our problems.” Ravelo said that one of the country’s major changes was moving from sugar-only agriculture to diversified organic farming “because they had to.” Without financial credits from the Soviet Union and a guaranteed market for the sugar exports, Cuba could no longer employ the industrial strength model of heavy herbicides and pesticides. When asked why there was not better internet service in Cuba and whether it had to do with an authoritarian government, Alarcon answered that it was “because the U.S. does not permit us” to get internet service and it has to go through Canada which never broke relations with Cuba. Alarcon offered a question to the delegates: “Why did your government make it so hard to come to Cuba? We invite you to come and make up your own mind. Why does your government stop people from coming and making up their own mind? One state cannot dictate to another state.” He also suggested that one day the people of the U.S. may not be under the control of a “plutocracy” but it may “take some time” and that “we don’t want to impose a social revolution on the United States.” The Code Pink delegates listened to the Cuban people, shared knowledge and ideas, and agreed to take their words back to the people of the United States. Their key request is that the U.S. government end the blockade. The second request is to remove Cuba from the state-sponsored terrorist list. The third request is to stop torturing detainees at Guantanamo and return that land to the Cuban people. As C. Wright Mills stated, “If we do not listen to them, if we do not hear them well, we face all the perils of ignorance—and with these, the perils of dangerous mistakes.”