How do some of the candidates for Columbus City Council stand on some of the most contentious issues in our city? The Columbus Free Press...
Bob Fitrakis is a Political Science Professor in the Social and Behavioral Sciences department at Columbus State Community College, where he won the Distinguished Teaching Award in 1991. He was a Ford Foundation Fellow to the Michigan State legislature in 1975 and studied at the University of Sarejevo on scholarship in 1978. Fitrakis earned a J.D. from the Ohio State Univeristy Mortitz College of Law in 2002. His Ph.D is in Political Science from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. He has also taught political theory at the University of Michigan-Dearborn and political science at Wayne State University and Oakland Community College.
He is the author of five Fitrakis Files books: Spooks, Nukes & Nazis, Free Byrd & Other Cries for Justice, A Schoolhouse Divided, The Brothers Voinovich and the Ohiogate Scandal and Star Wars, Weather Mods and Full Spectrum Dominance. compilations of his writings at the Free Press and Columbus Alive. Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman co-wrote Did George W. Bush Steal America's 2004 Election? Essential Documentsand What Happened in Ohio? A documentary record of theft and fraud in the 2004 election (New Press 2006) (with Steve Rosenfeld) and How the GOP Stole America's 2004 Election & Is Rigging 2008, George W. Bush vs. The SuperPower of Peace in 2003 and Imprison Bush in 2004-2005. Fitrakis also wrote The Idea of Democratic Socialism in America and the Decline of the Socialist Party (Garland Publishers 1993). Dr. Fitrakis is a frequent speaker on political, labor and social policy issues at national academic and political conferences.
Fitrakis serves as the Ohio Chancellor and was voted the National Vice Chancellor in 2005 of the International Association of Educators for World Peace, an NGO in over 100 nations working to promote human rights and world peace.
Fitrakis was a member of the Human Rights Party in Michigan, a founding member of the Michigan Democratic Socialists Caucus (DSC), a founding member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and the Democratic Socialists of Central Ohio (DSCO). He served on the National Political Committe of DSA in 1994-5.
In 2006, Fitrakis ran as an independent candidate for Governor of Ohio endorsed by the Green Party. Fitrakis was a candidate for Congress in the 12th district in 1992, running against Congressman John Kasich and for the Columbus School Board in 1995. He was the elected Democratic Ward committeeperson in the 55th ward from 1996-2000. He currently serves as a Near East Area Commissioner and ran for Columbus City Council in the primary of 2003 Columbus School Board that same year and endorsed by the Central Ohio Green Party. He served on the Africentric School Advisory Board for the Columbus Public Schools and worked with the West High School College Preparation Program.
Bob Fitrakis is the Executive Director of the Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism (CICJ) and has published the Free Press since 1992 and acted as editor since 1993. He wrote monthly investigative news articles, including articles on Klan activities in Ohio. He both participated in, and wrote about a controversial plan by Columbus' NAACP to "out" Klan leaders in Ohio.
Dr. Fitrakis produced an interactive educational CDROM on hate groups in Ohio and published the journal article with Dr. Judy Gentry "High Tech Hate" for the Ohio Association of Two-Year Colleges.
In 1997, the CICJ received a grant from the Drug Policy Foundation for polling in Franklin County, Ohio on the issue of medical use of marijuana and industrial hemp.
Dr. Fitrakis was a columnist and investigative reporter for Columbus Alive from 1996-2002, a local alternative weekly newspaper, and was awarded First Place for Best Coverage of Government for the article "The V File" investigative report on Sen. George Voinovich and Second Place for "Spook Air" about Southern Air Transport's ties to the CIA and drug-running at Rickenbacker Air Base in central Ohio from the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists (OSPJ). "Spook Air" was also awarded a Second Place in Investigative Reporting from the Press Club of Cleveland. In 1999, the OSPJ awarded him Second Place in two categories: Best Coverage of Government for his coverage of corruption in the bail bond industry "Money for Nothing" and Best Investigative Reporting for "The Shapiro Murder File" linking several of Columbus' prominent citizens to organized crime. "The Shapiro Murder File" also won an Honorable Mention nationally from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. In 1998, he won an investigative reporting award from the Central Ohio Chapter of the SPJ for his article "Striking it rich in the bail bond industry." He has also written for other national and local publications.
In 2002, Fitrakis was awarded the Golden Ruler Award from the Columbus School Board for his journalism in behalf of the Columbus schoolchildren. In 2003, the Native American Indian Center of Central Ohio honored him with their Selma Walker Award for Lifetime Achievement in Human Rights Activism.
Dr. Fitrakis is a past President of the Columbus State Educational Association and has been President of the Columbus State Faculty Senate. He also chaired the Instructional Support Council of Shared Governance and was the faculty advisor to the Ohio Board of Regents. From 1991-93 he was a Friends of the Homeless board member.
From 1990-2000, Dr. Fitrakis co-hosted a regular public access news/public affairs program, "From the Democratic Left," offering analysis of political events and social issues, locally and nationally. This program chronicled the activism of the progressive community in Central Ohio, from Gulf War demonstrations to anti-Klan protests. Since June 1996, he has co-hosted, and now hosts a weekly public affairs call-in talk radio program, "Fight Back!" first on WSMZ103.1FM and now on WVKO 1580 AM 11:30am-12:30pm Saturdays. He also appears with Charles Traylor on "The Fitrakis Files" 8-9am Thursdays. The phone number is 614-224-7830.
In March 1994 he served as an international observer for the national elections in El Salvador and in 1993, he visited Reynosa and Matamoros, Mexico as part of a human rights delegation to investigate conditions in the maquilladoras. As a result of the trip, he co-produced a video entitled "The Other Side of Free Trade" shown around the country at colleges and public access stations.
Fitrakis was an Election Protection attorney on November 2, 2004 in Franklin County. He called the first public hearings on voter suppression and election irregularities and was one of four attorneys to file a challenge to Ohio's presidential elections results: Moss v. Bush and Moss v. Moyer.