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Betras’ leadership is the key to Democratic Party’s revival

Published: Tue, June 1, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.

For the first time in many years, the Mahoning County Democratic Party has attracted the attention of state and national Democratic leaders — in a positive way. The era of the dysfunctional, unproductive party is over, as evidenced by what has occurred over the past 12 months.

The period coincides with the election of Atty. David Betras as chairman. Betras has been filling the unexpired term of Chairwoman Lisa Antonini, the county treasurer, and he is now seeking a full term.

When the party’s precinct committeemen and women gather Wednesday night to elect the chairman and other officers, the question they must ask themselves is this: Are we better off today than we were prior to April 27, 2009? That was the date the party’s central committee assembled to name Antonini’s successor.

The answer, if they put aside the pettiness that undermined the county Democratic Party in the past, is an unequivocal yes.

Financial stability is essential for a political organization to be effective and to be taken seriously. In past years, the Democratic Party has struggled to make ends meet. But since Betras has been at the helm, more than $180,000 has been raised, there is no debt, and the goal for this year has been pegged at $210,000.

Winning formula

The formula he has adopted is obviously working: Invite statewide Democratic officeholders, including Gov. Ted Strickland, to a party fund-raising event and that will bring out the big donors. Money is the mother’s milk of politics and Betras has proved to be adept at squeezing every last drop from area contributors.

If he is elected to a full term as chairman — given the outcome of the precinct committee races in the May primary his loss would be a huge upset — Betras plans to have another major fund raiser featuring a nationally renowned Democratic officeholder.

But his record goes beyond his ability to raise money. For the first time in almost 20 years, the party endorsed candidates in the May primary, and the entire slate won.

While we disagreed with the endorsement of Youngstown Councilwoman Carol Rimedio-Righetti over county Commissioner David Ludt in the battle for the nomination in the commissioner’s race, we do acknowledge the party’s role in the success of the endorsed candidates.

The vibrancy and credibility of the county organization goes beyond partisan politics. Given the predominance of Democrats in the county, it has an important role to play in the revitalization of this region.

Seeking partners

If state and national officeholders have faith in the party — the tainted history of local Democratic politicians is still a millstone around the Valley’s neck — they will be more inclined to work with local officials.

The area’s two congressmen, Tim Ryan, D-17th, and Charlie Wilson, D-6th, and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, have opened many doors in Washington, while Gov. Strickland and other Democratic officeholders in Columbus have proved to be loyal to this predominantly Democratic area. Some of the credit for that goes to Betras.

At Wednesday’s party reorganization meeting, the chairman will being challenged by Georgiann DeCenzo of Boardman, who was elected state central committeewoman in the May primary; other officers also have opponents. The incumbents have earned re-election.

That said, we would remind Betras of today’s political reality: The old philosophy of rewarding supporters with jobs in the public sector is no longer tenable or acceptable.

It is important that he go after the best and the brightest to fill elective and non-elective government positions. Indeed, Betras must reach out to college educated young people for public service because one of the challenges facing this region is the exodus of college graduates because of the lack of jobs.


1burford(95 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

Very odd ending to this editorial. The Vindicator righfully has preached for years that the size of government should be reduced. Now it wants the government to be an employment agency for area college graduates. How about the politicians reducing the tax burden to encourage businesses to locate here which can then hire area college graduates?

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2author50(1121 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

The real work for Chairman Betras begins AFTER Thursday, when it appears he will have to use a strong and steady hand to pick a new auditor, treasurer and county commissioner.

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3BillyBob(92 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

"The era of the dysfunctional, unproductive party is over"

How can the man that was directly involved in creating the dysfunction be praised for ending it?? Betras was directly involved in the Marc Dann fiasco! They released recent Dann's transcripts just last week where he states he is still great friends with Betras but explains in detail how Betras was directly involved in the fraud! If you read these you will be appalled that we have Betras as our Chariman!

I urge all committeemen to meet Georgiann Decenzo before tomorrow's meeting (don't take my word or the Vindy's word, decide for yourself), you will be highly impressed with her energy and detailed plan for the Party! I’m sure the official transcripts will be floating around the meeting tomorrow – please take a look before you vote!

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4BillyBob(92 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

"the tainted history of local Democratic politicians is still a millstone around the Valley’s neck"

Just to drive the point home, again, this is because of the Betras/Dann scandal!

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5Nunya(1356 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

Beyond laughable,..

This preposterous piece of pander boy for the pollution is just beyond words to comment on. Dave Betras?,.. oh brother.

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6Nunya(1356 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago


Funniest thing I've heard all day,..

See now you've got to be just after laughs with that triple edged joke,.. LMAO !!!

You could sell more ice cubes in the antarctic than you could trick people into re-voting for the common crook.

See people in the area or anyplace else in the world has had more than enough of Traficant.

His comedy skit is up, the fake Buford Pusser jig is over and nobody wants to rent the rerun nor sequel.

The populous would rather sign up for unnecessary root canals for before they voted for a jim Traficant,..

But of course it's to be understood that you and your fellow Teabaggers will try and or go for anything subversive,.. thanks for the Laugh.

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7Millie(192 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

Question for Todd or Bertram: Why was this even an editorial? Bertram deSouza and Todd Franko - in the past twenty years how many times did the Vindy endorse the election of a party chair for the democrats or republicans in Mahoning County? Who did they pick - a list and year would be helpful.

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8Progress(58 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

Vindy in bed with Betras, not surprising at all.

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9Nunya(1356 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago


Not surprising?

No that's a fact and not only that but they jockey topics that don't favor their opinions as well.

Just like the recent unified backlash being directed at Israel for their latest display of indefensible conduct.

Not only were those comments erased but Vindy ditched the entire story.

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10boardmanneedschange(364 comments)posted 6 years ago

David Betras and every other local career politician are an embarrasment to the city of Youngstown, the Mahoning Valley, the State of Ohio, and the United States of America. Politicians are the only ones patting each ther on the back, John Q thinks they are disgusting pigs who are raping the pocketbooks of hardworking Americans who give a damn. Put any average hardworking American who wants to actually change how local government is run against their political strongarm machine and they will do everything in their power to ruin that person and their ideas, simply because the ideas include getting filthy pig lawyers and career politicians out of the way so some real change can come forth and get our country up and running again. America should be ready for a legal, political uprising, and do away with those who make themselves out to be heroes but are really just cowards with money. Mr. Betras, if you weren't such a coward, you would stop the political mumbo jumbo and get to work instead of throwing parties to pat yourselves on the back and wasting our money.

Allow me to offer some suggestions:

New and innovative ideas can be taken from fresh faced graduates who can think outside the realm of what is politically coreect and look into what is good for the better of society. The game of politics has too long clouded common sense and rational thinking.

Too much money is wasted on government travel and junkets to do nothing that couldn't be done with the use of new technology that can put people in the same room from miles away!

The criminal justice system is broken and no one is willing to try new thinking to fix it. Put criminals to work. Without pay. Their learning of a trade that can keep them off the streets and in the job market will be payment enough.

Drug testing for public assistance should be MANDATORY. The American people are sick of raising the children of drug dealers and users. It is well known that an easy living can be made off of making babies in America and being poor. Generations have been raised to understand exactly how to use the system and be just as much of a burden to the country and community as they can. Public assistance is there for those who are in times of need, not for those who rely on it as a consistent source of income so they can be fat lazy Americans.

Here's three examples of ideas that can start to be pushed on a local level as a test community for the new and improved America.

Once we get some structure and discipline in the lives of all Americans, we as Americans might not feel so bad about the paychecks you get. But in order for that to happen, you need to start remembering that YOU WORK FOR US, WE DON'T WORK FOR YOU.

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11Armyguy28(26 comments)posted 6 years ago

Local politics is stupid. What 40 people in Mahoning vote to put someone into office who doesnt have the power to do anything. Im not even reading the article all i know is i keep seeing Betras' name and some political office and I just laugh. Local politics in Youngstown is a joke. Whether your gunning for the chairman of blah blah or the mayor of Youngstown. They are all sheep and over the hill. What the city needs is young blood running this town. Young men and women with street and common sense.If your 50+ step to the side you have had your chance and you blew it.

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