At the December Free Press Second Saturday Cyber-Salon, we discussed a progressive agenda for 2021, both locally and nationally. Many local activists reported on their goals and events for the new year.

Connie Hammond described the work of the Central Ohio Worker Center (COWC) and their victory in having Columbus City Council pass a Wage Theft Ordinance. Their main issue is wage theft and they will hold a seminar on it in February 2021. Their new member orientation will be January 16:

Virtual COWC New Member Orientation
Saturday, January 16, 2021, 10:00 AM
What can you do to build power for low wage and immigrant workers in Columbus? Join us for an online new volunteer and membership orientation. In this training you will learn about the key issues facing workers and immigrants today, understand the Central Ohio Worker Center's mission and strategy for making Columbus a place for all people, and learn what you can do to have an impact. The orientation is a prerequisite for COWC membership but is open to all residents who wish to learn more about the COWC and about grassroots social justice organizing. Please RSVP on Facebook so we can make sure to get you the details of the call!

Michael Doody told us about how a developer is driving out the award-wining community Kossuth Street Garden and how we can help. Several community radio shows have covered the topic:

Write to City Councilwoman Priscilla Tyson’s aide to tell her that we condemn the destruction of the garden before the Council meeting January 14:, (614) 645-2932

Write Michael at for talking points such as zone us in, follow the City of Columbus 2017 study that says zone in these gardens, farmers markets when in dispute with developers’ plans.

Pat Marida had good news about Ohio House Bill 104, the “Enact Advanced Nuclear Technology Helping Energize Mankind Act” and how it will not be heard this year. The Sierra Club reports that:

“…ideas in this bill include a major shift of nuclear accountability, spreading nuclear research and development from the federal government to state entities and/or public-private partnerships; a dangerous comingling between military and civilian nuclear activities; reprocessing of high-level radioactive waste; the use of eminent domain; and taxpayers paying for all nuclear “cleanup.” It also poses a weapons proliferation risk.”

Pat had bad news regarding Ohio House Bill 6, the big payout for FirstEnergy and Ohio’s nuke plants brought about by Ohio Rep Larry Householder’s corruption. One comment was “DeWine said he’d only return campaign funds form First Energy only when the corporate leaders are indicted which ain’t happening.” A “fake” repeal bill has been introduced, HB 796.

NO ON HB 796: Here is information on what to do to stop the fake bill.

Tim Chavez announced the upcoming Solar Installation Certification workshop put on by the Blue Rock Station. Some of the funds from the tuition will be donated to the nonprofit WGRN 94.1 community radio. Laurel Hobson and Will Perkins, a couple of our Freep salon goers have gone through it. Will says it is a “comprehensive course that teaches photovoltaic from soup to nuts.” Laurel said, “The class was great. Jay [Warmke, of Blue Rock Station] has won awards for his solar teaching.” If you sign up – indicate you are doing it on behalf of WGRN, thanks!

Cathy Cowan Becker brought us up to date on what Simply Living has been doing and plans for next year. Currently there is a sustainable holiday auction going on, with people donating items for auction that they just don’t need anymore. Michael Doody got a nice flag about bees there. There is also a Simply Living sustainable online general store coming soon.

Simply Living is advocating public banking in Ohio with the support of the Public Banking Institute and will have an event on the topic January 12. They are recruiting co-sponsors with organizations whose members would benefit from public banking - state bank, but also city/county and postal banking.

Simply Living is also revisiting their relationship with locally owned business partners, recognizing the impact of Covid and offering new ways to partner - e.g., member as tthe $100 level or higher will receive membership in OSBC; interviews with biz owners and turning them into podcasts for posting on websites and social media. They are discussing expansion of our database of local businesses by partnering with OSBC to create a statewide database accessible to anyone via the web. Other potential partners are GEO, OEFFA, ECDI and the Columbus Greenspot program for businesses.

Simply Living also continues to do online meetups on sustainability themes - food, energy, transit, etc. as well as health/wellness themes like our meetup Dec 16 on Mindfulness with local group leaders. Here’s the full Simply Living Events Calendar.

Bob Krasen spoke on his group, Single Payer Action Network-Ohio (SPAN-Ohio) that is putting together information on how the Covid crisis has affected society, people and health care. Cathy Cowan Becker pointed us to an article: “Medicare For All would save $650 million per year.” Regarding the Biden’s administration and Medicare for All, Dusty Estepp remarked that: “make a big enough parade and any politician will lead it.” SPAN-OH will hold a webinar:

SPAN Ohio Region 5 (Columbus Area) Meeting
Wednesday, December 16, 2020, 7:00 PM
Agenda: 1) "Which Country has the World's Best Health Care?" Ezekial Emanuel.  Review and brief discussion. 2) Planning SPAN Ohio’s mission in the coming year. 3) Toast to Christmas / Hannukah / New Year.  Join the Single Payer Action Network Zoom Meeting: or by phone: +1-301-715-8592.  Meeting ID: 874 3554 8682. Passcode: span.

Laurel Hobson promoted her “Green New Deal Now” bandana that she’s offering 2 for one. Check out order one and put 241 in note to seller at payment.

Dusty Estepp hasRepeal HB6 yard signs. He will deliver them and they are free.

Al Gabel and Bob Fitrakis reminded us that the Biden administration won’t be able to pass any progressive legislation unless the two Democratic Senators win their races in Georgia at the run-off election on January 5. Republican Sen. David Perdue is running against Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff and Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler is running against. Democrat Rev. Raphael Warnock. Andrea Miller from the Center for Common Ground is organizing people to call, text and email Georgia voters to get out the vote. Ray McClendon of the Atlanta NAACP is working to help the candidates.

The keynote was peace activist and political writer David Swanson on an Anti-War Agenda for 2021 and “27 Things You Can Do to Let There Be Peace on Earth.”

David Swanson is executive director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He is a 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook. Help support his work: up for his emails.

David Swanson’s Talk Nation Radio show plays locally on WGRN 94.1FM on Wednesdays at 7:30am. Most of his articles appear on

For the Free Press salon, he reiterated most of his “27 Things” recommendations that included: ending student debt; getting a repeat vote of the ending of the war on Yemen, and into undoing and ending the practice of allowing presidents to start dozens of wars but forbidding them to end them; contacting your Congress Members to end the trading of weapons that cannot actually be used without abusing human rights; organizing a major coalition to support the reintroduction of all of Rep. Omar’s peace bills, including the Global Peacebuilding Act, the Global Migration Agreement Act, the Congressional Oversight of Sanctions Act, the Youthbuild International Act, the Resolution on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Resolution on the International Criminal Court. See Pathways to Peace; Sign and share the petition asking President-Elect Biden to end Trump’s sanctions against the International Criminal Court; stop Biden’s terrible picks for Secretary of “Defense”; shaming the shameless over the inauguration funding of yet another presidency brough to you by the war profiteers; ending the Cuba blockade and more.

Connie Hammond mentioned supporting the bill H.R.2407 - Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act.

David also talked about electing Ohio’s Nina Turner to Congress.

Suzanne with the Free Press recommends David’s book Curing Exceptionalism.

Mark Stansbery would like to put together a coalition of people and groups in central Ohio to work on progressive issues in 2021.

Video of David Swanson at the salon.

Hope to see you at the next one!
Pete Johnson
President, Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism

Contact: 614-253-2571