Dick Wiesenhahn, who played golf for justice, died June 18 after suffering a heart attack. Wiesenhahn was a longtime supporter of efforts to unionize migrant farmworkers and was also active in opposition to the war in Iraq.
Wiesenhahn, retired from a career in the sale of golf products, founded the annual FLOC Golf Scramble in 1980, raising money for the Farm Laborers Organizing Committee. He was a regular presence at local rallies and demonstrations for progressive causes. In an essay for FLOC, Wiesenhahn described his political transformation.
"I was probably the last person in Cincinnati who thought he would ever join the farmworker movement or any cause for that matter," he wrote. "After serving four years in the Coast Guard as a radioman first class and selling golf equipment for the MacGregor Golf Co. for 12 years to country-club golf professionals, I was about as conservative as you could get. Everything changed for me in December of 1974 when I was handed a leaflet outside the Kroger store in Hyde Park by two college-age women. The leaflet stated that they were both fasting from all food for 10 days as an act of solidarity with migrant farmworkers in California."
Dan La Botz of Cincinnati Progressive Action said the local movement will miss Wiesenhahn.
"We will all miss Dick for his dedication to farm workers, immigrants and social justice more generally and for his great sense of humor and love of life," La Botz said.
Wiesenhahn would have enjoyed the spirited rally by immigrant children June 19 at Cincinnati City Hall. Mobilized by the International Center of Greater Cincinnati, a group of mostly Latino kids marched on the sidewalk, chanting, "We want new laws for families to stay together" and holding signs with messages such as "I'm an American just like you" and "New American kids for family unity." The children — and immigrant rights' groups — are worried about a proposed change in U.S. immigration law that would, among other things, make economic value rather than family reunification a priority in immigration decisions.
Progressive Gatherings and a Secret GOP Deal
St. Monica-St. George Parish Newman Center in Clifton hosts two human rights activists from Haiti next week. Junior St-Vil and Daniel Tillias speak at 7:30 p.m. June 28. The pair will discuss the current crises in Haiti, opportunities for solidarity between the peoples of the United States and Haiti and advocate for nonviolent political solutions to the violence in Haiti.
St-Vil, whose wife was kidnapped and held for ransom by an armed gang in April, will also discuss the impact that this type of violence has on individuals and groups working for social change in Haiti. For more information, contact Michael Schreiner at 513-381-6400 or [email protected].
Aurore Press is set to release a book of commentary by Greater Cincinnati writers on the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. Country At War: Reflections on the War in Iraq includes the work of local artists and articles by Jacob Adams, Joel Blazer, Chuck Byrd, Mary Anne Cowgill, Gregory Flannery, Matt Hart, Knife the Symphony, Amy Kreitzer, Justin Moore, Chrissy Hensley, Lisa Romie, Christian Schmit, Nathan Singer, Veronica Strickler, Brian Williams, Kathy Y. Wilson and Betsy Young. Aurore Press hosts a release party for the book at 6 p.m. July 7 at Sidewinder Coffee & Tea in Northside. Copies of the book, available at Sidewinder, Shake It Records and InkTank, are $8. All proceeds from sale of the book will go to the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust.
Hoping to avoid a nasty primary fight next March for the 8th District Ohio Senate seat, local Republican Party leaders will soon announce a deal to have State Sen. Patricia Clancy (R-Colerain Township) leave that office to accept a job as director of the Hamilton County Adult Probation Department, according to party sources. The deal involves having Clancy, a former probation officer, step down as state senator so that State Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Green Township) can fill the remainder of her term, presumably giving him an advantage as he prepares for the November 2008 general election.
Seitz announced in March that he would seek the 8th District seat whether or not Clancy sought re-election. At the time, Clancy said she would run again. GOP leaders have tried to broker a deal to persuade her otherwise, wanting to avoid a divisive primary campaign that could hurt the party's chances in the general election.
Although Clancy has dismissed the job switch as a rumor, party sources insist it's now a done deal and will be announced during the summer.
For the first word on Republican Party machinations and other political developments, visit CityBeat's Porkopolis blog at blogs.citybeat.com/Porkopolis.
Porkopolis TIP LINES: 513-665-4700 (ext. 138) or pork(at)citybeat.com