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DE SOUZA: What are voters thinking?

Published: Wed, November 3, 2010 @ 12:10 a.m.

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)


Mahoning County Auditor Michael Sciortino


Mahoning County Auditor

Michael Sciortino
45095 votes
Tracey S Winbush
23479 votes
Joseph B Markovitch
13244 votes


Ex-U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr.


Congress 17th District

Jim Graham
56441 votes
Timothy Ryan
100295 votes
James Traficant
29969 votes

We can now add the re-election of a criminally indicted officeholder and the thousands of votes cast for a former congressman with a federal prison record to the annals of political corruption in the Mahoning Valley.

Mahoning County Auditor Michael Sciortino, who has held the office since 2005, won Tuesday’s general election — even though he is one of seven individuals named in a 41-page indictment related to the so-called Oakhill scandal.

However, his victory could well be a reflection of voter discontent with the challengers rather than a lack of concern about Sciortino’s impending trial.

And there will be a trial next year unless he pleads guilty, which he has said he will not do.

The other six defendants are county Commissioner John A. McNally IV; former county Treasurer John Reardon; former Job and Family Services

Director John Zachariah; Atty. Martin Yavorcik; and Anthony M. Cafaro and Flora Cafaro, part-owners of the Cafaro Co. Three Cafaro companies also are named.

They are charged with conspiring to undermine the county’s purchase of Oakhill Renaissance Place, the former South Side Medical Center. The purchase facilitated the relocation of the county’s JFS offices from the Cafaro-owned Garland Plaza to Oakhill.

Sciortino’s victory will serve as a reminder of the failure of this region’s political class to walk the straight and narrow.

By contrast, ex-con (as in ex-congressman from the 17th District and ex-federal prisoner) Traficant’s ability to attract about 21,000 votes in his idiotic bid for the 17th District congressional seat churns the stomach.

What could those who voted for him have been thinking? Did they not consider his seven years and one month in the federal penitentiary a disqualifying factor for any politician?

Did they not realize that the former congressman who used his public position for personal gain — he was convicted of 10 criminal charges including racketeering, bribery and tax evasion — was not serious about his candidacy? That the election was a ruse to keep his name in the public spotlight to further his ambitions of selling his life story to some moviemaker or establish a national syndicated radio talk show?

The problem with any vote Traficant received is that each confirms the opinion of outsiders that the people of the Mahoning Valley have no moral values when it comes to supporting individuals for public office.

Sciortino’s victory clearly defines the Mahoning County Republican Party as an inconsequential opposition entity. GOP leaders had the chance to run a qualified candidate for auditor, but they gave the incumbent Democrat a pass. Why?

As for Traficant, though he can revel in the fact that several thousand people support him, he can now add to his résumé the Big L — Loser.

Traficant’s time is up.


1grazor50(104 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Just another form of setback for Mahoning valley. All of the Vindy headlines about Humphries Chamber of commerce vs. the Dem party idealists, Headlines should be :MAHONING VALLEY : BIGGEST LOSER!

All of the Vindy's pro democratic endorsements, Strickland's visit counts to Mahoning county, all for nothing. See what your DEMOCRATIC state reps can do for the valley now with the whole state ( except locally) being republican, see what weight our elected officials carry in the OHIO republican congress. yea right! just another typical follow the work unions of this area and the vindy's endorsements right to the depression cycle again. maybe,,just maybe,, Trafficant's casino idea may help us out if he can pull it off. More chance than our elected officials have of helping Mahoning Valley! Good luck Jim!

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2Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

As for Traficant, though he can revel in the fact that several thousand people support him, he can now add to his résumé the Big L — Loser.

Very unprofessional.

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3Jack104(3 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Losersneverwin…Why would Bert’s behavior surprise you? And why are you also surprised WFMJ would have him on? The Brown’s also own WFMJ…he has no choice to go on 21. Under Franko, the Vindy has become a very arrogant and even a mean organization. The staff has taken horrible tone with the public and I think this has been encouraged by Todd Franko. I’ve had to deal with some rude people in my life but none as abrasive as Todd. I recently cancelled my subscription because of the direction that the paper has gone in the last 4 four years. Mark Brown would serve his business well by giving his newsroom an attitude adjustment

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4chuck_carney(499 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

WHAT WAS THE VINDICATOR THINKING BY ENDORSING AN INDICTED OFFICEHOLDER? It could have given no endorsement rather than tipping the scale.

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5author50(1121 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

KK -- are you talking about LOOIE B. FREE who is FREE to urge others to pay their fair share of property taxes to support BIG Government and even BIGGER non-profits, while he refuses to pay any taxes whatsoever?

Of Course Bertie goes on his show -- LOOIE kisses Bertie's ass and Bertie buys LOOIE a bag of grapes from Rulli Brothers and they both fantasize about Jim Traficant being elected to office, so they might become relevant again.

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6PhilMcCrackin(58 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

DeSousa is the perfect "reporter" for the Vindicator. Just like his employer, he doesn't report the news in an unbiased manner. They both are tools of the political machine.

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7NYR1(19 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Thanks Vindy!!!!! Your wonderful endorsement of just about every Democrat has now alienated us from the rest of the state and country. You are so clueless as to the public's sentiment and needs in these tough times. Now we will pay for our incredibly stupid votes with years of little or no support from Washington and Columbus. And special mention for DeSouza and Skolnick for their help in getting us here. It is going to be interesting to see how their golden boy Timmy does now. He did nothing while Pelousy was in power. Now the payback to her (and ultimately Timmy) will be painful.

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8burford(95 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

The newspaper is always so negative which does not help the image of our community.

Rather then focus on the fact that Trafcant finished third behind an unknown republican DeSouza goes on and on about the number of votes Traficant got. His obsession with a now insignificant political figure does not help our image. The public has moverd on. So should DeSouza.

As far as Sciortino is concerned he has not been found guilty of anything. This still is America, even if it is Youngstown.

Maybe the public sees Oak Hill as a political fight instead of a criminal matter. Maybe they stand with Sciortino on the wasteful spending at Oak Hill. Maybe there were no serious alternative candidates.
Maybe the public believes in the constitution that you are innocent until proven guilty.

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9mahoningvalley12(36 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

DeSouza's views are obviously biased but did any of you think that maybe they are that way because he is angry at the way Traficant represented his home of Youngstown,OH?? Traficant is a running joke around the country and just affirmed people's beliefs that officials and the people of the Mahoning Valley are corrupt. I tend to like that people voted for him however because it shows the best and worst of democracy all at once. What is amazing to me isn't that people voted for "Jimmy T" but that Ohio Voters put Kasich in office as Governor...I don't care how bad you may think Strickland was it is utterly irresponsible to elect Kasich

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10HaydenThomas(208 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Some people obviously don't realize DeSouza is an opinion writer NOT a reporter.

That being said, Bert is absolutely correct. The valley will never recover and attract business if it continues to elect corrupt and indicted people to office.

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11sue(179 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Bertram - If the candidate has a (D) next to his name he will get elected even if he is a convicted rapist. This is the Mahoning Valley! "Yo Adriane."

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12san01(1 comment)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

DeSouza seems to be the only one in the Valley who is concerned w/ the moral fiber of our candidates. I applaud him!!! Until we get some candidates who just want to serve the public, and not their own pockets, we will all be losers.

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13skrap(1 comment)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

i dont understand how people can re elect an auditor with a crimminal record rather then a person who is a local business owner and supporter of this valley for 20 years

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14frinightlights(10 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

DeSouza is part of the problem not part of the solution. Frankly I think the guy is a creep that stirs the pot at every opportunity. When was the last time he did something positive for the valley? We will all be much better off when he goes away. So the guy is an opinion writer. You know what they say about opinions...........

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15ValleyNative(174 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Um, did his opponents even know what in the world a county Auditor does? My Lord, their credentials were weak.

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16walter_sobchak(2722 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

As much as I know and believe Bert is a hack journalist, I have to agree with him on Traficant. After serving seven years in prison for bribery and shaking down his employees, one would hope Jimbo would just put his tail between his legs and go away. It is obvious his dishonesty should morally disqualify him from any position of trust. So, when outsiders look at the valley and see that this bufoon can still garner so much support, you have to wonder about the wisdom and judgement of the citizens.

And, spare me the argument that this guy was railroaded. He was guilty of every crime and, probably, more. While he was found not guilty in his first trial, everyone knows he took the money from Carrabia, kept it, and used it. His local chief of staff was a well-known bagman for the mob.

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17ojanet22(134 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

We had an idiot for president for 8 years, so why not?

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18crafty(16 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Just goes to show you -- the voters in Mahoning County are stupid. They vote for the familiar name rather than the individual's record. They voted for Ryan, Wilson, Strickland, Sciortino, et al. I'm embarrassed to say I live in Mahoning County with all of the brainless.

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19BLOGFROG(14 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

I admire the 21,000 folks who voted for Jimbo for their passion. They have a passion for loyalty, a passion for their views and probably a passion for keeping the area as downtrodden and backwards as humanly possible.
Lets throw out the aspect that Jimbo is an ex-con, an hyprocrite (claiming to fight the mob yet being part of it) a bombastic crumugeon, (insulting the folks that he represents by commiting crimes) and quite frankly, an overbearing dottard. If you throw all these aspects out the window all you have left is a political dinosaur who would of been completely impotent within the house. With that said what would his function be in the government..he would be completely shunned, censured, others members of the house wouldn't of touched him with a ten-foot cattle prod. Then the 21,000 Jimbo voters would get their wish..keeping the area as downtrodden and backwards as humanly possible.Great Job you 21,000 voters, you threw your vote right in the trash.

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20ojanet22(134 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Let he who is without skin cast the first bone...

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21csky(10 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

To be a good opinion columnist one has to be a good reporter. Opinions have to be based on an analysis of facts, either numeric or otherwise. The great columnists srite columns have at their foundation excellent reporting. They are out there(Tom Suddes for example); just not in Youngstown.

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22ojanet22(134 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Tom Suddes???!!! I went to school with him! He was awesome then, too! Cool guy.

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23teabagparty(14 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

How is this still employed? What a clown! Great reporting and writing, you're a joke! Your bias and agenda is insane!

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24rmiman(12 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Desouza has zero class. What an embarrassment.

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25Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

MIchael Sciortino's votes reflect the power of the Caforo Enterprise over The Valley . I was not surprised by any of voting results in The Valley . Tim Ryan has become a household word since Jimbo was in office and his votes reflected that . Jimbo's being out of politics for so long allowed Ryan to gain power .

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26bluehouse(9 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

"My Lord, their credentials were weak" So were Obama's but you people still voted for him. Get a clue.

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27Sad_News_Abounds(2 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

DeSusie is a little man who stands on a box in order to reach his computer on his childs desk at the Vindy. He reminds me of the hall monitor in grade school who has to be in charge of something inorder to boost his failing ego. He belittles others in print but couldn't hold a candle to these same folks with all things being equal...he's a sad, bitter little person. We should feel sorry for him...NOT!

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28Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Why is everyone dogging Traficant, at least he had the guts to run, unlike the posters on here that just complain about him. I don't see anyone on here running for office or trying to do something for the valley.

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29MFC997(261 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Mahoning County had the highest percentage of Democratic votes in the state. Mahoning County is the most economically depressed area in the state. Do the math ...

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30mrblue(1175 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

HEY BERT! Who are you going to write about now? Jim lost, so leave the man alone.

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31mrblue(1175 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

The Mahoning Valley Democrats have voted-------a Republican has won------what do you think is going to happen??

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32escapee(43 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

I wonder if the Cafaro's suggested who the R's should run against Sciortino.

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33escapee(43 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

As an outsider who once lived in HELL with you - I'll tell you what I thought when I saw the corruption and the bankrupted values of the residents and even the Church that I had loved all my life.

"Don't drink the water"

And sometimes, when I encountered another person that wasn't a resident who questioned the way people in the Valley thought - they'd whisper to me, "Don't drink the water".

And I never drank Mahoning Valley water, for fear I'd become like the individuals that I so loathed in Youngstown.

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34Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago


"And I never drank Mahoning Valley water, for fear I'd become like the individuals that I so loathed in Youngstown."

And you live in paradise, huh?

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35escapee(43 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago


Everything is relative - but after living in HELL - it does feel alot like PARADISE

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36seminole(476 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

The re-election of the "Indicted One" just proves the stupidity of most of the voters/population of this valley. This a-- is INDICTED, which basically means he IS guilty, that there is evidence that he IS guilty. And you morons that voted for him actually think he's the best choice? Typical...jam another feather in your mafia cap, Mahoning County, while you wear your gold neck chain outside your shirts...

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37Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago


It's not "always greener on the other side" no matter how much you convince yourself it is. I've been around the world and it's all the same no matter where you reside. Get real.

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38fd6636(288 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago



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39km3133(1 comment)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

I look forward to each and every column Bert has published. I would be more than happy to proof his writings prior to publication or those he was throwing in the trash.

Why? I read them and know that there is intelligent life in the valley!

Mr. De Souza-I salute you.

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40Alexinytown(246 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

The only reason the Mahoning County Republican Party was inconsequential in 2010 is because Betram de Souza and the Vindicator made it so.

I want to know why the Vindicator is protecting Ron Gerberry and Joe Schiavoni. They did not even give the courtesy of an endorsement in either of those races, because they might have to make the tough decision of endorsing a Republican, God forbid.

Shame on the Vindicator for ignoring the Republican's qualified candidates.

Ron Gerberry wanted to raise taxes and there was published proof. No story.

Ron Gerberry had 82% of his money coming from outside Mahoning County and from special interests. No story.

Ron Gerberry is retired and is DOUBLE DIPPING. No story.

You had the facts, you had the press releases, and you chose to say nothing about it.

You chose to ignore Matt Lewis and Mike Pestian, so there should be no cause for complaint from anyone at the Vindicator. Period.

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41SkyKing310B(315 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

As long as this valley is going to be a rubber stamp, it will never amount to anything. The last time we had a chance to really get a project which would provide many thousand good paying jobs, the voters here stuck their collective heads up their a**es and when Clinton was elected, Glenn took half the jobs and gave them to Columbus and Metzenbaum took the other half to Cleveland.

Politicians will only provide opportunities like these when they have to fight for votes. Since they don't even have to show up here, we'll continue to get the same things we have always received--Nothing.

Timmy and Teddy make a big deal about the 230 jobs they secured at V & M with the $20MM in stimulus money. They were told that it was a nice gesture, but the project was a go without the money. How about the 1000 jobs at Denman Tire and several other places that could have been secured with only $4MM. Doesn't make good economic sense to me, but that the way this valley operates.

Maybe in another 20 or 30 years when there are no jobs at all in this valley, the people will finally open their eyes and realize what imbeciles they have been.

@ojanet22- You call our last president an idiot- LOOK WHAT WE HAVE NOW! Talk about being out of touch! We in a deep recession here and he's out spending $ 200MM a day traveling with his 3,000 person entourage all over the far east. You'd better get your head out of your back pocket, girl!

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42Max(98 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

"I look forward to each and every column Bert has published. I would be more than happy to proof his writings prior to publication or those he was throwing in the trash.

Why? I read them and know that there is intelligent life in the valley!

Mr. De Souza-I salute you." -- km3133

Is is just a coincidence that this is your first posted comment? As if we're all too stupid to see through you! LOL

"I cancelled my subscription to the scum rag paper because of Bert.... " -- hmm


I cancelled mine a long time ago. I refuse to give that rag a penny of my money. Not even worth lining the litter box with.

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43HildaJo(1 comment)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

I wonder if maybe you "didn't get it". My guess is that a vote for Jim was a vote for "none of the above".

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44Millie(192 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Must be nice to have an attorney in the family for young Betras. Probably a teenage prank but the kid he was with has been picked up several times. How do you get a pass from the media on that one?

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45Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

It looks like Judge Houser found him not Guilty .


Case Disposition Summary


Action Code THEFT/LESS THAN $500.00 (PETTY) Disposition (AJ) NOT GUILTY

Status CLOSED Disposition Date 11/04/2010

Status Date 10/25/2010 Judge Report Administrative



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46DanaScullyMD(7 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Mr. D., I applaud your article. I find any support of Trafficant loathsome. It shows a lack of character and intelligence to me. I used to think that until the generation of my parents laid down and died the support of JT would continue, but he seems to attract more with younger people. Goes to show me that there is a sucker born every minute. I wish I was able to express myself eloquently but I become quite easily irritated with mindless tossers. Thank YOU, Mr.. D., for being here to do it for me. Cheers!

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47leftyompton4life(79 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

It could be worse,he could of pardoned a child killer....

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48theCaliforniaKid(56 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

You can add one more and make it 21,001. I wrote him in for my rep. Actually, a couple more on top of that, who don't think Lewis is out for our interests, wrote him in also. (I forgot to wear my Traficant for President button when I went and casted my ballot.) Gov'ts outta control..gotta love that Charley. Beam me up!

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