I have been giving out a buffoon award but this week I want to introduce a new award. This new award will be called the “Bufonidae” award. Bufoniade is the family name that 300 species of frogs and toads belong to. In this case we will only be referring to one member of the Bufoniade family. That will be the corporate toadies and the first weeks winner of this award goes to one of the biggest corporate toadies in our valley, Warren Tribune Chronicle Editor Frank Robinson. Warning Frank Robinson, warning Frank Robinson (as Robbie the robot from Lost in Space might say) you long ago outed yourself as a corporate toadie. Frank’s most recent “toadyism” was his Saturday weekly column giving out Orchid or Onion awards to local people and organizations. Editor Robinson gave an Onion to Warren City Councilman Alford Novak. The Onion was given to Novak for picketing with other union members against a new nonunion Warren grocery store, Bottom Dollar. I think Bottom Dollar refers to what the 50 new mostly part-time minimum wage workers will be paid. Novak and other union members were picketing trying to unionize the new workers so they could better their standard of living.
Editor Frank dislikes politicians taking a stand with unions and he of course feels politicians should be corporate toadies like him. Which leads me to another new award I will call the Sealy Mattress Corporate Bedmate Award (SMCBA). This award is for working-class workers, union members and unions who act and vote against their interest and get in bed with greedy corporations that put profits before people. The first SMCBA goes to Warren City water department worker (who lives in Cortland) Rick Radich, a member of ASCME Local 74. Radich said it is irresponsible for a council member to be seen doing things that could chase a business out of the city. He added, “The Bottom Dollar has about 50 employees, it is purchasing water and paying for use of the city’s sewer system and it may be using our sanitation department.” Like a lot of shortsighted union members Rick is thinking about his income and not caring if his fellow working-class workers make a livable wage or not. This is why Rick earns the first ever SMCBA.
I had an injury that sent me to the doctors so I missed attending the anti-fracking rally that happened in Warren, Ohio on courthouse square. I want to point out another of my local hero politicians like Al Novak who attended the rally and spoke. That would be Liberty, Ohio Township Trustee Jodi Stoyak. Jodi has been working hard protecting the citizens of Liberty. This includes doing a lot of research on fracking and injection wells. How do I know Jodi cares about people more than profits? The number one way to know is that last week Warren Tribune Chronicle Editor Robinson gave her and any other elected officials that attended the anti-fracking rally an Onion. While the rally was going on a counter pro-fracking rally went on nearby. Editor Frank gave Orchids to Trumbull County Commissioner Frank Fuda, Warren Mayor Doug Franklin and Trumbull County Recorder Diana Marchese who joined the corporate toadies from the Regional Chamber to stage the pro-fracking rally. Members of the pro-fracking rally who were natural gas employees walked around the anti-fracking rally loudly blowing air horns (not mentioned in the Warren Tribune Chronicle) to distract anti-fracking speakers. I had a guy tell me he doesn’t have an opinion on the fracking issue but he’d suspect the side trying to deny the other side their First Amendment rights is probably on the wrong side.
There is a lot we need to learn about fracking and injections wells and I’d welcome forums on either side to present their facts and findings. Blowing horns and yelling, “Jobs, jobs jobs” doesn’t tell me what safety concerns I should know about for my family and community. Let’s imagine it is 1858 when the asbestos industry began and they wanted to expand in our area. Local politicians, asbestos workers and the Regional Business Chamber would be in the streets shouting “Jobs, jobs jobs.” An 1858 version of Editor Robinson would be giving the asbestos corporation plenty of Orchids and good press. How dare any activist at that time question the safety of asbestos. If they did someone from the asbestos corporation would say, “Asbestos dates back 4,500 years, when the inhabitants of Finland strengthened earthenware pots and cooking utensils with the asbestos mineral anthophyllite.” Asbestos was an experiment on humans and as far as I’m concerned so is fracking. I don’t need any B.S. about how they’ve been fracking 60 years so it’s safe. They are now injecting into the Earth chemical cocktails so it’s not the same process.
Runner-up for my Sealy Mattress Corporate Bedmate Award is a big tie. The winners are Tim Callion of Plumbing and Pipefitters Union 396, Don Crane, president of the Western Reserve Building Trades Council, Butch Tayler of the 396 Plumbers and Pipefitters Union and Jody Stringer of Warren Labor Local 935. String was quoted saying, “BP has gone beyond national standards in teaching us safety measures that will be required for our work.” I guess Jodi trusts BP who in 2010 had an 87 day oil spill that impacted 68,000 square miles of ocean, 339 miles of Gulf coastline and killed 11 people. BP plead guilty to 11 counts of manslaughter, two misdemeanors, and a felony count of lying to Congress. BP also agreed to four years of government monitoring of its safety practices and ethics, which Jodi Stringer is why BP is living up to government standards. I am the most union supporting person you will meet but I have no use for these unionists that put their job ahead of the safety of my children or yours.
Another working-class hero I want to mention is Randy Moyer. Randy Moyer was a truck driver for the natural gas industry for just four months when he ended up with rashes on two-thirds of his body and intense pain from radiation exposure from fracking fluids. Randy wanted to warn the public about health hazards caused by fracking so he spoke at a presentation Saturday in an old school auditorium in North Lima. I missed the presentation but if I was there he’d of just been preaching to the choir. Who needed to hear Randy were people who are on the fence about the issue and the ones who support fracking. The pro-fracking forces really don’t want to hear about any problems with the industry. I saw a TV news blip about the meeting and there appeared to be only about a dozen and a half people in that big auditorium which is really sad considering what Randy has gone through. Sadly, nearby in Leetonia, Ohio’s library on the same day people were turned away at an event because there wasn’t room for the over 200 people who showed up. What speaking event could be more important than hearing from an injured man about the dangers facing our families and communities? Why it was a presentation on Bigfoot sightings in Ohio. Talk about screwed up priorities.
That’s all I have to say and it is just one more day of me trying to save the Earth from its inhabitants. I hope you are trying to do the same.
Michael Jackson: “Earth Song”
“What’s the use of a fine house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?” ~ Henry David Thoreau