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Valley has mixed feelings toward Taft's conviction



Published: Fri, August 19, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Some thought the governor should have received stricter punishment.

By MONICA BOND

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

YOUNGSTOWN -- Gov. Bob Taft's case was over so quickly, people barely had time to discuss it.

Taft pleaded no contest Thursday to four counts of misdemeanor ethics violations. The plea means Taft is not saying he is guilty but will not fight the charges.

Less than 24 hours after the case was filed, the governor was found guilty by Franklin County Municipal Judge Mark Froehlich of failing to report 52 gifts each valued at more than $75.

Range of responses

Debra Rager of Austintown was among people enjoying a Thursday lunch break at an outdoor picnic table in downtown Youngstown.

"What's the big deal?" she said.

LaShyka Clark of Struthers and Sherry Gilbert of Warren were eating lunch at Bean Counter Cafe on Federal Street.

"He lied, and he's a hypocrite," Clark said. "I'm a little bit embarrassed."

Gilbert said she was disappointed the state's leader would be unethical.

"It's unfortunate he had to be dishonest about that because you have to wonder how well he is representing the people," she said.

The women agreed that corruption is the name of the game in politics. Although Taft is the first acting Ohio governor to be found guilty of a crime, the women said he's probably just the only one who's been caught.

"I don't trust any of them," Gilbert said. "They probably start out with good intentions, but they get pulled into some underhanded deal somehow."

Oppose resignation

Neither thought Taft should resign, but Clark said she thought the punishment should have been stiffer.

Frederick Boone of Youngstown said he was disappointed in Taft and thought he should be impeached.

"That ain't enough," he said about Taft's fine. "He should do time."

Boone said he had supported Taft because Taft had political experience and said he felt let down that someone with political experience would violate ethics standards.

"He's a human, and they make mistakes," he said. "But he knew the laws and the consequences."




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