REGION Voters decide to fire many
Most school issues won, but the biggest one on the ballot -- $32 million for Austintown -- lost by 38 votes.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- It wasn't a particularly good night to be an incumbent.
Although many were returned to office, voters gave pink slips to more than 25 incumbents in the region.
Many of those sent packing were from Mahoning County.
Boardman trustee: John Cox, who served 12 years as a Boardman trustee, finished a distant third for two seats on the board. Cox said he was hurt by reports days before Tuesday's election of a questionable loan received by his 1996 county commissioner's campaign committee. The questions were raised by Samuel M. Moffie, who finished fifth in the six-person race.
Tuesday marks a return to public life for David Engler, a former Mahoning County commissioner, who defeated James E. Roberts, an incumbent, for a two-year unexpired seat on the county's educational service center board.
A number of board of education members failed to win re-election, including: Marilyn Montes Gonzalez in Youngstown, Hugh A. Gunn in Poland, Eleanor Polis in Struthers, Mary Johnson in South Range, Walter Rusnak and Michael Tsikouris in Campbell, and Keith Martig in West Branch.
Voters turned away another notable political heavy hitter attempting to make a comeback like Engler.
Don L. Hanni Jr., a former 16-year Mahoning Democratic chairman, lost a write-in campaign for a two-year unexpired term on the Youngstown school board to Neil Buzzacco, a retired school district employee.
Trumbull County: In Liberty, Marc Dann, who ran last year for state Senate, was elected to the Liberty Board of Education, replacing incumbent Richard Malone, who finished in third place, three votes behind fellow incumbent John K. Lallo.
All vote tallies are unofficial until they are certified by their respective boards of elections.
School issues: Two of three school issues in Mahoning passed, but the biggest one -- a 3.9-mill 26-year bond issue to raise $32 million for Austintown to build a new school -- lost by 38 votes.
Also in Trumbull County, 10 of 11 school issues passed. The lone failure was a 1-mill additional levy for Brookfield school education technology.
James A. Pugh, the former head of the Trumbull County NAACP who ran as an independent, defeated Councilwoman Helen L. Rucker, D-6th, for her seat on Warren City Council.
Two incumbent Cortland councilmen -- Charles Brady and Gerald A. Bayus Jr. -- were ousted from office, finishing fifth and sixth respectively in a six-person race for four seats.
Clyde R. Luther lost his re-election as Braceville Township trustee, Hubbard Trustee Howard Glenn Bradley finished last in his race, and Warren Township Trustee Norman R. Ashley, Weathersfield Trustee George F. Buccella and Champion Trustee Thomas E. Tracey were voted out of office.
Trumbull voters said no to permitting an off-track betting parlor in the county for the next five years. Even if it was permitted by voters, there were no plans to build one. There was talk of putting a parlor in the Eastwood Mall in Niles, but that proposal was scrapped.
Columbiana County: Voters approved the three school issues in Columbiana County.
But voters said no to another term on Columbiana council for James M. Weikart and to another term for William Thorne of the Salem Board of Education.
Judge Mark A. Frost, a Republican, defeated Judge K. Brett Apple, a Democrat, for a seat on the Columbiana County Municipal Court bench. Both served as county area court judges, but one had to go when the county went with a municipal court and two judges instead of three. Republican Judge Robert C. Roberts ran unopposed for the other seat.
In Pa.: New people winning office in Mercer County include Dave Ryan as Sharon mayor and Tom Amundsen as county controller. Both replace incumbents who chose not to seek re-election.
In Lawrence County, voters overwhelmingly voted to form a commission to look at alternative ways to organize county government and elected nine people to the body.
In New Castle, Stephen Vitale, a Republican appointed to city council a year ago, was voted off Tuesday.