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Valley leaders call D.C. meetings productive

Published: Thu, January 21, 2010 @ 12:10 a.m.


Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams


U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-17)

HUD officials, however, will not reconsider the region’s $32.4 million funding proposal.

By David Skolnick

YOUNGSTOWN — A contingent from the Mahoning Valley didn’t leave meetings with federal officials with a check to make up for the rejection of a $32.4 million proposal to spur development and create jobs in the area.

But they did leave the Wednesday meetings with a “strong belief” that the White House will come to the Valley soon with money or incentives to help this struggling area, said Mayor Jay Williams, part of the local group.

“It was a very, very productive meeting, one of the most productive meetings in Washington, D.C., that I’ve been involved with,” he said. “We talked about millions of dollars, not hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

The Valley delegation will give White House officials some time, probably a couple of months, to “do their homework and come to us with resources to advance our economic and neighborhood incentives,” Williams said.

The delegation first met at the White House with Derek Douglas, special assistant to the president for urban affairs, and Adolfo Carrion Jr., the head of the White House Office of Urban Affairs.

“To have those two top officials there signaled to us that they understand the gravity of our problem,” said U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, who was part of the Valley delegation.

They later met with Yolanda Chavez, a top official with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and about seven others from HUD at that agency’s D.C. headquarters.

Among those representing the Valley were Williams, Ryan, Youngstown Councilman DeMaine Kitchen, D-2nd, and officials with the Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative and the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp.

The urban-affairs meeting was scheduled a few weeks ago to discuss how the Youngstown 2010 redevelopment plan could benefit other urban communities devastated by massive job losses.

Though that was a topic of discussion, most of the talk was about HUD’s decision last week to not include any funding for a $32.4 million nine-community proposal from the Valley from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, Williams and Ryan said.

The Valley communities that were part of the proposal were Youngstown, Warren, Niles, Girard, Campbell, Struthers, Lowellville, McDonald and Newton Falls.

“There was an absolute message to the people in the meeting [at the White House] that there needs to be a concerted effort and commitment to invest in the Mahoning Valley,” Williams said. “I think we’re going to see that.”

Ryan said he expects to hear something about real help from the federal government for the Valley in a few weeks.

“We don’t want someone coming to the Mahoning Valley and saying they’re going to partner with us,” he said. “Another administrative official coming to the Mahoning Valley to make a gesture isn’t going to work. No one believes them anymore.”

HUD officials told the Valley delegation that the $32.4 million proposal was rejected because the application failed to convey the area’s “strength and expertise” in demolishing houses, Williams said. Since 2006, Youngstown alone has demolished about 2,000 houses.

“Everyone’s mouth just dropped when they said that,” Williams said.

There is no chance the Valley’s NSP application will be reconsidered, Ryan and Williams said.


1UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

The valley leaders just don't get it. The white middle class citizens like myself want jobs not DC welfare, and not more deficit creating PORK from Washington. You can't spend money you don't have to fix this economy.

The white middle class voters of liberal blue MA showed their anger over the economy and the goofy healthcare bills that help no one except the lobbyists and insurance companies on Tuesday when the elected a RepubliCAN to MA Senate seat.

DEMOcrook Tim Ryan is BAD for the valley and NE Ohio. His support of Cap & Trade will only result in more job losses for the valley like the sucking sound of NAFTA did 15 years ago to manufacturing jobs here.

It's time for change in the valley and I mean real change with RepubliCANs taking over the leadership positions.

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2Photoman(1246 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

It would appear to me that our representatives should be promoting the skills and the work ethic of our citizens, not selling their elected little souls in hopes of snatching a bit of the welfare pie. We keep looking to Washington to do what we should be doing ourselves.

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3city_resident(528 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

We've had over 30 years to do it ourselves. But, people say: "That looks like too much work. I'll just move to the suburbs."

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4Attis(1129 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

So, Washington has abandoned the Mahoning Valley. They demand that we send them billions in taxdollars, but have no intention of sending even a few million back after so-called leaders beg for it. That is a form of internal colonialism. And the populist revolt against it has just begun in Massachusetts, where once before another shot was heard from around the world. Traficant is just the kind of man who can lead this new populist revolt.

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5dd933(311 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

Your middle class values should be aplauded, but you are in a minority in this valley - most of us are poor. Why don't you move to a red area and be with others who hate poor people where you can be like everybody else? They don't worry about stuff like this in Columbus or Cincinnati.
One more question; How does such a supporter of the rich and middle class get off with a screen name that indicates loyalty to a labor union? Your stance would not be advocated by any union I've ever been associated with.
Here's a reminder - $40 million of the NSP-2 funds went to the Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Fund. (most of it will end up lining some property owning fat-cat's pockets)

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6candystriper(575 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

The state's unemployment fund is currently bankrupt and the state is borrowing from the federal government.
Trust Fund Balance $38.2 million
Current Borrowing In The Red $1,817.5 million
6 Month Projection $ .00

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