District mapping brings concerns

Dem chairman expects Ohio to lose one US rep

By Peter H. Milliken



Mahoning County’s Democratic Party chairman wants local leaders to lobby to avoid having the county carved up in the legislative redistricting that will occur next year based on the 2010 Census results.

“This isn’t a partisan issue; it’s a parochial issue,” said Atty. David Betras, party chairman. “We need to be sure they don’t carve us up anymore. This is a Mahoning County issue, not a Republican or Democratic issue.”

The current elongated 6th Congressional District, which runs some 350 miles from Boardman to Lucasville, is “a crazy district” and “the longest Congressional district in the United States of America,” he said.

When the county commissioners are seeking federal funds, it will not be to their advantage if they have to approach three U.S. representatives, Betras told the commissioners at their Wednesday meeting.

Congressional redistricting will be done by the Ohio Legislature. Betras said he is sure Ohio will lose at least one U.S. representative in the reapportionment and that it might lose two.

Other states, whose populations have grown faster than Ohio’s, will gain Congressional seats as the total nationwide number of U.S. representatives stays at 435.

The Ohio House and Senate district lines will be redrawn by the Apportionment Board, which consists of the governor, the Ohio secretary of state, the state auditor, and one Republican and one Democratic Ohio legislator.

The apportionment board, both houses of the Legislature and the governor’s position will be Republican-controlled based on this month’s election results.

All redistricting will take effect when new terms begin for those elected in 2012.

On another matter, Maggi Lorenzi of Midlothian Boulevard told the commissioners they should fulfill their announced commitment to relocate the county board of health’s adult day-care center from the county’s South Side Annex to Oakhill Renaissance Place.

Commissioners Anthony T. Traficanti and John A. McNally IV said the health board is free to move the center to Oakhill.

But George J. Tablack, county administrator, said the commissioners can’t dictate to the health board whether to move the center to Oakhill or to some other location.

Health Commissioner Matthew Stefanak could not be reached to comment on where he and the health board would prefer to move the center, which now enjoys rent-free space at the annex.

The commissioners authorized two grants from hotel bed-tax revenues: a $9,500 grant to the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber to print an international economic development booklet; and a second $3,000 grant to the Columbiana Area Chamber of Commerce for operations, marketing and promotion of the Joy of Christmas Light Show.

The one-way, drive-through holiday-themed light show will be open from 5 to 10 p.m. Nov. 18-21 and 25-28, Dec. 2-5 and 9-12 and daily from Dec. 16-Jan. 2 in Firestone Park in Columbiana, with cars entering by Park Avenue. Admission is a donation of $5 per carload. Tour buses will pay $1 per passenger.

Proceeds will benefit restoration of Firestone Park’s Funland and the local Toys for Tots.

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