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Sustaining Vindicator’s legacy of leadership

Published: Sun, May 23, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Todd Franko (Contact)

Tuesday’s visit by President Barack Obama was a celebratory event for the Valley, and especially for V&M Star.

So it took special knack, depth and gumption to recognize certain weaknesses in the event.

Or at least, find weaknesses at a level that rise above political foes throwing the typical punches at each other.

The Vindicator’s editorial the next day celebrated a bit, as many did. But it also took to task some aspects of the event:

(Obama) used the Valley’s most recent success as an example of how the administration’s economic stimulus plan is working and praised the area congressional delegation for voting for the stimulus bill. Noting that stimulus money helped fund about $20 million in road and railroad improvements adjacent to the plant, he said: “So as a result of this investment, V&M Star’s parent company decided to invest $650 million of its own money — its own money — to build a new one-million-square-foot mill right here in Youngstown ...”

And that was the one and only time the president mentioned V&M, though he said “GM” five times during his 20-minute speech.

He recognized congressmen, mayors, the governor and the Ohio secretary of state by name. But he never said the name of V&M Star’s parent company, Vallourec, nor did he acknowledge during the speech Joel Mastervich, V&M’s president and CEO, or Philippe Crouzet, chairman of the management board of Vallourec, who was visiting from Paris.

Two explanations come to mind.

One is that a White House speech writer is guilty of a damning oversight.

The other is that the president and his administration don’t fully appreciate where most jobs come from — companies and their investors. Sometimes those jobs are created with government help, and sometimes they’re created in spite of government interference. In any case, the risk-takers deserve more than a passing mention.

One participant picked up on it as well and thanked us for saying what V&M, as gracious hosts, could not:

V&M and its parent company, Vallourec, certainly do not wish to seem ungrateful recipients of government incentives. Nor did they want to be inhospitable hosts to the president. However, you and your staff keenly saw the slight the company executives were subjected to, and you editorialized about it in a way that was positive, fair and honest.

By various measures, we’re not the force we once were. No media are anymore in our fragmented, oversaturated, click-happy world.

Audience fragmentation aside, advertising usage has changed dramatically, too. It has affected every media outlet as well, in that more revenues mean more resources; and less, of course, means less.

It can make for some trying days at the office.

But we’re buoyed by the reality that there’s a legacy of leadership that exists in our role that is tough to find elsewhere.

We are not immune to imperfections, for sure.

But we are also invested in striving to say what’s right for the Valley — even if it means nudging a president on a day he chooses to get out of Washington, D.C.


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

You are correct.

It is nauseating to see politicians show up and fight for air time to promote themselves. One of your bloggers, 1970mach1, previously said:

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, has been insistent that without the stimulus money, the V&M project would have never happened. Joel Mastervich, V&M’s president and chief operating officer, said the stimulus money “helped propel the project forward.” But he added that “the project would have proceeded” without the money.

Also, Philippe Crouzet, chairman of the management board of Vallourec, V&M’s Paris-based parent company, said: “You don’t make such a big decision based on just a [government] subsidy.”

It is the private sector that creates jobs (the government can create taxpayer funded jobs but we will end up like Greece). The farce of Robert Hagan, Ronald Gerberry, Jay Williams and Joseph Schiavone protesting in front of Chase Bank over the Forum bankruptcy with all their tiresome anti-Wall Street rhetoric was sickening. Without the capital of investment institutions, large compaies such as Forum could not employ valley residents. Chase, as a creditor, certainly has a right to be an interested party in the bankruptcy proceeding. It is their capital at risk, not Hagan, Gerberry, Williams or Schiavone's money.

I am sick of politicians trumpeting that they are for working families. You know how you can help working families: create an environment conducive for businesses to locate in the valley. How often will companies invest here with this anti-business attitude. Tell me one job Hagan or Gerberry has brought to the valley.

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2UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

It's time for Tim Ryan to Go bye bye in November. He has done nothing for the valley except lose jobs. Just think about all the GE Lighting and Denman Tire jobs that have been lost recently where he did nothing to help in the Denman Tire job loss and actually excouraged the GE Lighting losses by supporting the green legislation that forced consumers to buy China made light bulbs.

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3EliotNess_DC(86 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

I concur with the blog author and the previous comments.

Seems to me that much of the problem in Washington stems from elected representatives who have never been businessmen or sheriffs or mayors ...

... so they have neither a sense of personal accomplishment nor a 'service psychology' underpinning their sudden celebrity.

Love him or hate him, one of Ronald Reagan's great strengths was surely that he did not CRAVE to be a political celebrity since he was already a Hollywood celebrity.

(And surely some of the Cafaro family's problems stem from Capri's low self-esteem, expressed as her (and J.J.'s) obsession with public office ... when, alas, her only real qualification for the job is a lifetime of experience spending money that she did not earn -- and bankrupting a business [USAG]).

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4Education_Voter(1157 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

Capri Cafaro's qualifications include a stellar academic record from some of the best universities in the country and one of the best resumes in the Ohio Statehouse. Lobbyists will tell you about her informed grasp of the issues and her ability to articulate both sides in discussion.
I have no connection to Sen. Cafaro, (neither does the editorial you are supposedly commenting about) but I though I might insert some facts here.
As for sheriffs, who should we begin with?
Ray T. Davis?
Ed Nemeth or Philip Chance?
James Traficant?
(too many idictments to post here)

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5Stan(9923 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

"The other is that the president and his administration don’t fully appreciate where most jobs come from — companies and their investors."

How true that Obama doesn't see how much private enterprise has done not just here in The Valley but nationwide . Many companies here in The Valley didn't weather the bad times . They took a risk and lost . Many because of their leadership have stayed the course and still employ thousands here in The Valley in spite of being taxed to the hilt . Neither a poor man nor government has ever provided me with employment .

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61970mach1(1005 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

Vindy did excellent job reporting that V&M officials basically said Tim Ryan was wrong (lying?) but Vindy has dropped the ball on follow up. This is a huge story -if covered.

I understand Vindy does not like Jim Traficant, but this story should be pursued. Where are the follow-up questions to Tim Ryan? The visit was basically a campaign trip for Ryan -just like Traficant said would happen. And it turns out the entire foundation of what was being campaigned upon -the expansion at V&M would not have happened if it were not for the so called Stimulus- is absolutely false.

I do not think Traficant will defeat Ryan, and part of the reason is the the free pass Ryan gets for things like this. There are of course other reasons, but it all adds up.

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7walter_sobchak(2672 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

You are on point. Here are two follow-up questions that I posed to Mark Sweetwood in my posting on May20:

"Congressman Ryan,
You insist on telling your constituents that without the stimulus funds, the V&M project would never have happened. Given the comments by Mr. Mastervich and Mr Crouzet that this project would have proceeded without the stimulus money, do you still want to make that assertion?"

There you have it. A good follow-up question that needs to be asked. I'm sure that Timmy would try to provide some BS answer. Quit letting politicians make remarks thta go unchallenged! Here would have been a great question also.

"Congressman Ryan,
Since President Obama still has much of his stimulus dollars uncommitted, did you ask the president for some assistance for Denman Tire, so that a couple of hundred people could continue to work and try to make a go of it?"

I'm sure if the workers were members of the UAW or SEIU, the president may have provided some funds.

These are legitimate questions that need answers. If Timmy is so "connected" in DC, have the president use some of the money from his slush, er...I mean, stimulus fund to help Denman Tire or Forum Health.

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8EliotNess_DC(86 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

Education_Voter wrote: "Capri Cafaro's qualifications include a stellar academic record from some of the best universities in the country and one of the best resumes in the Ohio Statehouse."

1) Capri Cafaro's academic record is nowhere on display -- furthermore there is legitimate reason to ask if she was sufficiently 'clean and sober' during her college time to have learned much.

2) Capri is a motor-mouth but she writes nothing for public consumption.

3) She was the President of the bankrupt Cafaro Company shell -- U.S. Aerospace Group -- that that was supposed to manufacture Richard Detore's patented laser landing technology in Youngstown.

4) Her real-world track record is a bankrupt business, coupled with lavish personal spending.

5) Do not confuse Academia with reality ... my family is loaded with degrees and PhD's from Berkeley and Cambridge and Harvard and Stanford and Wellesley, including three generations of attendance at Harvard and Stanford Law School ... and it has NOTHING to do with being able to manage public policy -- which sheriffs and mayors must do every day.

6) Much of the problem here in DC stems precisely from young princes and princesses from nouveau riche immigrant families -- like the Kennedys and the Cafaros -- who feel that, having inherited money, they are qualified to rule over the masses.

7) Their only life-experience is inherited wealth and unearned celebrity -- these are not qualifications for public service!

8) There are exceptions. My father was a 'poor-but-smart' undergraduate contemporary of JFK, and JFK was was indisputably competent (if hugely flawed).

9) But then there was Teddy ...

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