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Obama fails to deliver on pledge

Published: Sun, January 17, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

By Bertram de Souza

“We know that our success as a nation depends on the success of communities just like this one. We know that the battle for America’s future will be fought and won not just in the big cities, not just on the coasts, but in towns like Elkhart and Pittsburgh; Warren and Youngstown.”

So intoned President Barack Obama on Sept. 15 when he visited the Mahoning Valley to tout the Chevrolet Cruze that will be rolling off the assembly line later this year in General Motors Co.’s Lordstown assembly plant.

The president had a lot to say about regions like the Valley that have not shared in the nation’s wealth during good economic times, and have been hit harder than most during the downturns, like the current recession.

His speech to the Lordstown auto workers, the region’s elected officials and community leaders could be summed up thus: You have a friend in the White House.

Some friend.

Four months after the president’s visit, the administration has demonstrated that words and deeds aren’t linked when it comes to this region.

The Neighborhood Stabilization Program administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is one of the president’s main tools for helping economically distressed communities recover, redevelop and create jobs.

A pittance

So, it was not unreasonable for Youngstown, Warren and the seven other communities that formed a collaborative to believe their application for $32.4 million would be approved without much trouble. After all, HUD had $2 billion to dole out in the latest round of funding and what the communities in the Valley were seeking was a pittance.

In 2008, with a Republican, George W. Bush, in the White House, Youngstown received $2.7 million from HUD. There was supplemental funding through state government that resulted in Warren receiving $1.5 million, while Mahoning and Trumbull counties got $2.9 million and $2.1 million, respectively. Columbiana and Carroll counties received $1.5 million each.

From a purely partisan political standpoint, this predominantly Democratic region had every expectation that with a Democrat, Obama, in the White House and a Democrat, Ted Strickland, in the governor’s office, federal and state grants would flow into the tri-county area.

But as the decision by HUD not to funnel any Neighborhood Stabilization Program money to the Valley shows, the Democratic administration in Washington has a blind spot when it comes to rewarding political loyalty.

To be clear, the Youngstown-led collaborative was not asking for a favor, nor was it seeking to bypass the formal application procedure. The nine communities put together a proposal that was so compelling that the Brookings Institution gave it high marks.

And yet, the Obama administration told Youngstown, Warren, Niles, Girard, Campbell, Struthers, Lowellville, McDonald and Newton Falls that their economic plight did not rise to the level of need that the stabilization program is designed to meet.

Officials of those communities, local legislators and Congressman Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, are rightfully angry at the administration and deserve straight answers.

On-site visit

But rather than going to Washington to find out why the application was rejected, it would be instructive to bring HUD officials to the Valley and have them visit the neighborhoods that are so desperately in need of being revitalized.

The federal bureaucrats who decided that the Valley can do without the government’s assistance should have to meet with residents. Congressman Ryan, as a member of the committee that controls the purse strings of departments such as Housing and Urban Development, must not take no for an answer to his invitation.

Given that the state of Ohio will receive $25.4 million, while cities, counties and nonprofit organizations will share $150 million, the Youngstown collaborative should also seek the involvement of Gov. Strickland, who is running for re-election this year.

The stars aren’t aligned for Democrats in 2010. They cannot afford to anger their loyalists — in the Mahoning Valley.


1mrblue(1175 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

Once again our area is being passed over. The candidates come here and make promises, they get our votes and they leave. And once again, they forget about our valley. It is time for new leadership. I think that our current leaders are just to comfortable in their positions. It is time for a shake up. The next time you vote, remember the broken promises.

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2borylie(950 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

mrblue, they'll just make new promises and voters will fall for it again and again and-------. The Vindicator and the main stream media have to remind voters over and over during the campaigns just what liars these politicians really are. I'm no fan of Mr. de Souza, but at least he shed some light on this guy ( Obama ) who definetly lied to get elected.

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3valleyred(1103 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

I wrote an editorial Friday echoing everything Bert said in his piece. I am hoping it is published early this week for everyone to read.

I may be 20 years old, but I am not naive to the fact this area has gone nowhere with the Democrats in charge!

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4Nonsocialist(710 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

For those swept away by the charms of candidate Obama, rather than factor in experience, honesty, or judgment when deciding how to vote for the world's most important job:

"He that lives upon hope will die fasting."
-Ben Franklin

"Hope is not a strategy."
-Rick Page

Elections have consequences.

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5chuckscherl(25 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

Why should Obama do ANYTHING??? Mahoning County will continue to vote DemoRat regardless.

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6mrblue(1175 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

Remember when our President was running for office and many were saying --No experience no experience?? Guess what? It shows. It is time for change. Our local leaders need to go. They have lost touch with the rest of us.

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7Stan(9923 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

"The president had a lot to say about regions like the Valley that have not shared in the nation’s wealth during good economic times"

We shared our wealth in exorbitant taxes . We continue to share what's left of our wealth in exorbitant taxes . BARACK KNOWS THAT WE KNOW THAT IT'S ALL GOOD ! The Valley will be asked once again to contribute heavily to the Obama Presidential 2012 campaign . Try to save at least a dollar a day for Obama's campaign .

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8redvert(2240 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

Forty four hours since this opinion was first published and not one single response defending this action. I guess the worst part to swallow for the usual liberal posters is the fact that the valley received millions under a REPUBLICAN president. Now of course you could say, "it was a election year" but the valley needs the money now and if Obama had directed some money to the valley it sure would help the democrats running for reelection. But, as was stated earlier, the valley votes are a given, no need to waste any money there!!!

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9RFederer(116 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

I like how people like valleyred blame the Democrats in this area for always voting Dem and then getting the shaft. Does he really think the people in this area who run for office are real Dems? How about anyone who accepts money from the Cafaros? (McNally and many others) The Cafaros who give money to Republicans and at one time were in the top donating category for the GOP. Many of the valley's so called Democrats are not Democrats at all but Republicans running as Democrats because they know that it's rare for a Republican to get elected.

Let's also look at the Republicans who were elected by this areas voters. Did Lyle Williams help the valley prosper or did he just watch the steel mills close and collect his check? How about the couple of Republicans mayors in Youngstown? Did the city prosper under their control? Remember Traficant voted with the Republicans in his last few terms. He got a few bones thrown this way. Mostly elephant bones that is, white elephant bones called the Chevy Center.

Why does the valley keep looking for those handouts? Why not find some honest politicians and businessmen who are willing to work to get real industries here! Isn't it time we quit spending our kids money and driving up the national debt to levels that will cause the entire country to fail?

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10borylie(950 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

RF, that's a good one, democrats are really republicans. You're in a class by yourself.

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11Nonsocialist(710 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago


It's one thing to write crazy stuff, but do you really believe that stuff? Do you think that the Dems that have been elected (Jay Williams, Ryan, et al) are actually closet Republicans....and it's ok that they've neglected Y-town for decades because they're really Republicans incognito? Really?

How many conspiracy theories and urban legends do you have to convince yourself of in order to somehow still believe that Y-town's slavish devotion to a Democratic Party was a good thing? Wow!

Lyle Williams took office in 1979. Black Monday occured under a Democrat (Carney) in 1977. Do you think that Carney was a GOP in disguise?

I agree that it's "time we quit spending our kids money and driving up the national debt to levels that will cause the entire country to fail." What do you think that the Democratic-Socialist Party (DSP)is doing with their fiat in the Executive and Legislative branches? How do you support the DSPs but oppose irresponsible spending at the same time?

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12cambridge(4134 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

Let me get this straight. All you "non socialist" types are crying with your hands out for the federal government to invest taxpayer dollars in HUD for the depressed areas of the Moaning Valley. Wouldn't such an investment be socialism?

That's hilarious. You know Obama has been president for one year. In that year he created a stimulus program that invested millions in the valley. That stimulus package saved millions of jobs in the American auto industry including thousands in the valley. That stimulus package also paid to extend unemployment compensation to thousands in the valley. That stimulus package also invested 25 million in valley schools, 9.3 million in valley transportation projects, 20 million to relocate the Norfok Southern railroad to make way for a 1 billion dollar V & M Star Steel expansion and .25 million for a food program for senior citizens.

Those are a few of the investments that Obama has made in the valley in his first year and you all b**ched about every dime of it and now your telling me you all are upset because you want that HUD money because you want to invest in the most run down part of the area. Could you be more phony?

I gave a short list of what Obama invested in the Valley in one year. How about the rest of you post a list of what all the prior presidents invested in the valley combined. I'll bet your list will be smaller than mine.

You people are pathetic.

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13RFederer(116 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

Here's the link that shows Cafaro giving to the GOP. He was called a member of the Team 100 for giving at least 100,000.


You people are fools for thinking that everyone who runs in the valley as a Democrat is really a Democrat. All it shows is your stupidity and your simple political motives.

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14borylie(950 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

Everybody should read Ron Kessler's Inside Congress. We all are useful idiots it's just that some of you actually believe that government and proponents of bigger government ( democrats ) is good for us. It's all about power and acquiring power, regardless which party has control. Their goal is to have the party leaders control the people, thus the country. Think about this: How many ways can government get power? Government workers ( the only growth in the last year ), state workers, people on welfare, people on unemployment, colleges ( dependent on tax money ), seniors on Medicare, Medicaid, social security, illegal immigrants and the list goes on of people needing government. This is helped by big business supporting incumbents ( they're already in bed with these people no need to break in a new one ) and congress creating laws to keep themselves in power. When they have enough people to need government then we no longer have the numbers to remove these people through the voting process. Folks, this is what's happening, it's just being exacerbated during this period of total democrat control.

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15steelerman09(111 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

Let's all be realistic. Adolph Hitler could come back to life, put a "D" after his name and run in Mahoning County as a Dem and get elected. NOBODY EVEN CARES who the Republican candidate is..If they have an "R" behind their names, then they are WRONG....But as Obama said, “We know that our success as a nation depends on the success of communities just like this one. We know that the battle for America’s future will be fought and won not just in the big cities, not just on the coasts, but in towns like Elkhart and Pittsburgh; Warren and Youngstown.”

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16SickofJimbo(140 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

Tim "once a cheat/always a cheat" Ryan should look at what Scott Brown did in Mass. He won as a candidate for the people not for the special interests aka Pelosi. You are a follower/wannabe/never had real job/government leach/cheat that just doesn't get it.

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17cambridge(4134 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

It's been thirty six hours since I called B**L S**T (post 17) on the "non socialist/neo cons" who were begging the federal government for a handout from HUD of all places.

I guess the worst part to swallow is the partial list of investments by Obama for the Moaning Valley in only one short year and the hat in hand begging neo cons unable to post a comparable list of investments by all previous presidents combined.

It' pretty interesting how the the direction of this thread changed after some actual facts were used in post 17.

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18steelerman09(111 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago


OBAMA LIES!!! and he lies ALOT!!!

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19borylie(950 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

Cambecile, do you really think people read your posts? Do you really think anybody takes your rants seriously? Come on, your not that stupid? Well maybe you are.

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20cambridge(4134 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

bor-Y-lie....Yeah I do think people read my posts. You did.

rudy....your exactly who I'm talking too. In the same post you call investment in the valley unneeded pork AND if it's passed around we want our share. Which is it?


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21Nonsocialist(710 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

The video link in Steelerman's post (#25) is worth viewing. It is stunning to see how dishonest Obama is.

In addition to the list of Obama's list of broken promises provided by Steelerman and the Vindy, I offer the following links:



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22aljimi(47 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

Now that the facts have come out about the HUD applications being filled out wrong,why aren't these previous posters who bashed Obama and Ryan on this board coming out and saying they were wrong.Instead just talk trash without knowing all the facts.That shows alot of class.This is from someone who votes for the best candidate,not just a Dem. or a Rep.

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23Silence_Dogood(1675 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago


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24Nonsocialist(710 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago


You are correct, the local Democratic "leadership" apparently did a poor job completing the HUD application. That resulted in a lower score, and ostensibly, is the reason for loss of any grant money.

However, the Federal government, run currently by Democratic-Socialist Party (DSP) fiat, could still have granted the funds to Youngstown..especially in light of statements made during the 2008 campaign (see article).

Silence Dogood,

Did you see the clip where BHO blamed Brown's Senate win on GWB? Hilarious!

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25webad(156 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

This is Obama's first year and it's not good so far. A president's first year is known as his learning year. We'll see what happens from now on. One's record must be looked at in its entirety. For example, taken wholly, Clinton was a bad president.

Most of these posts, give the appearance that one reason the Valley is in its long term mess is that the voters have tunnel vision and short memories. Sounds like they don't look at historical data, do not think ahead, do not connect the dots ... in other words they don't consider the future in light of the past. Go ahead. Vote against your own interests in the next election. Elect a Republican millionaire. He'll let the middle class rot worse than ever before. You'll get what you deserve for not thinking things through ... going down with your dogma. Why don't you put up a good candidate to challenge Ryan in the primaries?

My friends keep telling me that Traficant got this or Traficant got that for the Valley. They point to buildings and say, "Traficant got it for us." But why didn't he do something to pull the place out of its condition for the long term? Go ahead and elect him again. Watching CSPAN will be lots of fun after that.

The condition of our country is due to systemic failure. Systemic failure leads to death of any organism or establishment. U.S. Democracy is dying. It's dying because capitalism is incompatible with democracy. As money'ed interests take control of elections through huge donations and the buying of TV political ad time, Congress and the President come to be owned by huge corporations ... the textbook definition of Fascism. The only cure is will be non-violent revolution by The People. Unfortunately that will be later rather than sooner ... after we are so enslaved that we have no other option.

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26AXLE69(181 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

usa1 pro-conservaterican,maybe you should have waited for the entire story to come out before you went off your usual deep end.But you and facts don`t go together now do you? Of course there won`t be any post from you admitting your others were wrong,but I don`t blame you. Let`s see you have around 600 under this username and likely over a thousand under your old username Pro-American so I don`t believe even you have the time to correct all of them.lol

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