Valley's state senators to speak at meeting of Democratic group



POLAND -- The Mahoning Valley's three state senators will speak at the Thursday meeting of the Democrats of the 17th and 6th Districts.
The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the Poland Baseball Association hall on Sheridan Road in Poland. The public is invited to attend.
The three senators, who started their jobs Jan. 2, are John Boccieri of New Middletown, D-33rd; Capri Cafaro of Liberty, D-32nd; and Jason Wilson of Columbiana, D-30th. Boccieri ran unopposed for the seat while Cafaro and Wilson were appointed by the Senate Democratic Caucus to fill vacancies.
Also at the meeting, the political organization will discuss the possibility of shutting down its message board -- www.dems17.org/board.htm -- and vote on whether to continue it. The board started in 2001.
The board's popularity has grown over the years, but so have the number of "vile and mean-spirited" posts, including personal attacks against local politicians and candidates, said Mark Belinky, the organization's secretary-treasurer and one of its co-founders.
"It provides a good political forum, and its best purpose is to allow public employees who are hesitant to talk about problems to post anonymously as whistle-blowers," Belinky said. "But I recognize its shortcomings."
Belinky and three others monitor the board for posts that violate the site's terms of service.
"It's a lot of work," he said.
The problems have decreased in recent months, Belinky said, who added that it's debatable whether the board does more harm than good for the group.

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