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Government — and its disconnect

Published: Sun, November 7, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Todd Franko (Contact)

When The Vindicator launched Neighbors last year, it created a couple of new jobs here.

We also launched a $10 million press expansion last March.

And Elton John sold out the Covelli Centre in, like, 47 seconds.

That last thing has nothing to do with the first two — except that none of them benefited from federal stimulus funds.

Those might be the only things.

Seemingly everything else in the Valley that was big or impactful got cloaked in the banner of President Barack Obama’s stimulus package or state funds sweetened by stimulus.

Lordstown and V&M certainly got gala treatment, as did all the elected Democrats in attendance — Tim Ryan, Ted Strickland, Sherrod Brown, Charlie Wilson, etc.

Stimulus. Say it enough, and eventually people will start believing it.

Even two weeks ago, the stimulus funds were touted for 700 more call-center jobs in downtown Youngstown. Tying the stimulus to just about everything essentially made it nothing in the eyes of too many voters.

The same October that local leaders were selling 700 call-center jobs as stimulus success, the U.S. lost 7,000 manufacturing jobs. The U.S. did add 151,000 jobs in October, which I imagine includes our 700 call-center jobs.

But a Los Angeles Times report assessed those jobs as largely temporary and lower-paying service jobs.

The jobs are nice, mind you, but it’s unseemly to sell them for more than what they are. And also transparent.

It’s a unique marriage of desperation and disconnect.

Further disconnected were the thousands of government jobs tied to the stimulus.

Obama and other Democrats staunchly defended millions of stimulus dollars that kept government workers working. Heck, in Georgia, pay raises to 77 Head Start workers were counted as 77 jobs saved by the stimulus.

And that message was sold to out-of-work bankers, construction workers and, um, journalists.

A top Democratic friend from Columbus said as much about a year ago: squandered and out-of-touch is how he characterized the Obama impact on Ohio just one year after dominating the state.

Locally, as well, you can argue there’s a gap between how government thinks and what people want or can do.

Boardman wanted new cops to the tune of $3.7 million. Rejected.

Canfield schools wanted a $3.8 million permanent levy, and that lost.

In my beloved Poland (where the kids are all 5.0 and we dads are required to always eat oatmeal for breakfast), our schools wanted $1.4 million and our township wanted $600,000 annually. Those lost.

On the flip side, $7.2 million was OK’d for the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, and $1.7 million was approved for Mahoning County Children Services Board.

If pay raises result at the library as they appear to be set at children services, consider those victories “one and done.”

You can trace the disconnect from the alleged stimulus jobs through the defeats and into the children services pay raises.

You also can trace it in my beloved Poland Township. Our current levy generates $193,296. The township has lost approximately $250,000 in other revenues.

So, down about $450,000, the defeated levy asked for ... nearly $600,000.

That’s a fiscal disconnect here that wouldn’t work in budgeting my oatmeal.

It shouldn’t work in government budgeting offices, either.


1ysu4ever(8 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

NOW you post a somewhat critical editorial of the sweatshops known as "call centers!"....Try doing your job BEFORE the election, and hold these politicians' feet to the fire. Ask them why they didn't even bother to look at the employees on their tour of the site. Ask them if they know about the no-vacation no-sick day policies, and oppressive rules that are designed to impact a worker's pay. THEN you should write something like this.

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2Traveler(606 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Nether party knows how to live with in a budget. The democrats want to help everybody and ignore the cost. While the republicans want to cut taxs so much the wont put away any money in good times for when the economy has a down turn

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3candystriper(575 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

As the political panhandlers drive around in a BMW wondering why China calls them clueless, consider something profane: introspection. The social program called GM never created cars you wanted. Your 750I resale now reflects the confidence everyone has in the value of your home. Coerced self-affirming belief systems won't survive in a world economy. Reality wins.

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4NoBS(2114 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

I agree with most of what you write, until the last couple of paragraphs, where you're objecting to a $600K levy to replace a $450K deficit. What would the extra money be used for? Do we know? If we don't, shame on Poland for not making it clear.

If they wanted to replace a dump truck with a new, larger, more powerful model to meet the increased demands of a Poland that's grown since 1980, when the last dump truck was purchased (I'm speaking figuratively, before all the 'literalists' around here get their knickers in a knot), or to purchase something that will benefit the taxpayers, then the increase would be worthwhile. A 2 mil levy (again, figuratively) generates 2 mils worth of money, yet the cost of goods and services continue to rise. Does your oatmeal cost what it did even 5 years ago?

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5author50(1121 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

How much does the SPINDIcator get in all government ad revenue?

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6Traveler(606 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

if you want to understand why democrats got voted out

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