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Where are Betras’ priorities?

Published: Fri, September 10, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.

Where are Betras’ priorities?

I am writing this letter in re- gards to recently published articles on a requested probe of the Mahoning County Board of Elections by Democratic Party Chairman David Betras.

It is peculiar to me that a man who is so concerned about the internally established policies at the board of elections is so disinterested in the indictments that have been brought against elected officials in his own party. Chairman Betras speaks of the lack of accountability at the board for failure to follow their own procedures, but he has nothing to say about the accountability of the indicted officials to the voters for breaking actual laws. This behavior is hypocritical to the core and laughable to anyone closely following Valley politics. It is also worth noting that Chairman Betras did not start this would-be investigation until it became clear that Traficant would be certified and placed on the ballot for November.

Instead of continuing his personal vendetta with Tom McCabe and the sitting election board members, perhaps David Betras should be asking a more important question: why are Democratic officials still being indicted in Mahoning County? The voters of the Valley deserve an honest answer to this question and so far the Democratic chairman has failed to provide one. Instead, he has taken it upon himself to make an issue out of nothing to deflect attention away from the corruption that has been pervasive in his party since the 1980s.

The turn of the 21st century has changed none of this, first with the black eye the Valley once again received by the corruption of Marc Dann (with whom Betras had ties) and now the indictments of multiple Democratic county officials.

These latest indictments represent a lack of control and leadership within the hierarchy of the Mahoning County Democratic Party. The responsibility for letting this corrupt activity continue lies at the feet of Chairman David Betras. Party chairmen set the tone and environment for conducting political activities and the ethics of elected officials, and with these new indictments, it is evident that the political environment has not changed much since the last round of convictions. The only thing that has changed in 10 years is the players.

David Betras can attack Tom McCabe and Republicans all day long, but it does not detract from the reality that consistent Democratic rule has yielded dozens of felony convictions and mixed results over a long period of time.

Jim Shaw. Canfield


1davidjohn(144 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

there are good democratic officeholders as well

the lack of republican officeholders is curious

this is a conservative ethnic catholic area

in 2008 more catholics voted republican then any other time in history

except in the mahoning valley

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2JME(801 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Probably ought to check your facts, this area for many years has been a democrat stronghold - the majority of voters automatically vote the person with (D) following their name, even if they have never heard of the person.
Has nothing to do with the republican running, it's how most think when voting.

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3Alexinytown(246 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Agree JME, it is a mentality. What is more curious is why do we keep electing this Party after everything we have seen? After all of these convictions, indictments, and yes, attempted murders on county prosecutors (on more than one occasion), not to mention the lack of development over a thirty year period due to infighting and corruption, one has to ask what exactly the voters of Mahoning County see in these people.

The Democrats have not offered a lot or done much here, unless it had been in their self interest. The least we can do is at least give the Republicans a chance. Who knows, they might not be that bad. We know they could not be any worse than what we have had.

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4HaydenThomas(208 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

The Cafaros used to be large contributors to the Republican party and still give to both parties. These people aren't really Democrats, they are opportunist who run with the D next to their name because of the MV bias towards voting for D's.

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5LAURIE(3 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Wow, for not liking the guy, you all give Atty Betras credit for and a whole lot of power and control over what goes on in this Valley!
As for the BOE issue, after the mistakes that occurred with the County sales tax and now the Traficant petitions, someone should be asking questions about the procedures and practices there, it should be a concern of both political party chairmen but more so it should be a concern for every voter in this County! That the elections board is conducting fair and equitible elections and that the people charged with oversight on that are doing their job properly. Atty Betras is being vocal on an issue and the public should be also.

As for the indictments, last I checked, a person is considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, and as an officer charged with upholding the law, I would not expect Atty Betras to comment any further on such issues. No one in this Valley wants to see another scandal but putting blame on Betras is unfair, these individuals were elected by the voters of this Community, not Atty Betras, and they were elected long before he ever took the reins of the Party and the incidents in question occurred before he became Party Chair. A political party Chairman is charged with finding and assisting in getting candidates from their Party elected, he has no control over what or how they conduct themselves once they are elected, that charge falls to the voters of a Community. It may seem that the "trouble" always falls on the shoulders of Democrats, but that is because they hold an overwhelming majority of elected office in this area, and why is that? It is not because of the "mentality", as some have suggested, but it is because of the lack of the Republican Party to field qualified and viable candidates! Occasionally, when they field a "good" candidates there has been a some very competitive races, with Republicans actually being elected, but there is a lack of leadership and consistancy on their part, with no one to blame but themselves. If you are tired of seeing Dems elected, don't blame the Dems, perhaps you should take your beef to the Chairman of the Republican Party.

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6saddad(643 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Today, Republicans dont do anything besides put horseshyt in a jar,label it peanutbutter, and think we will eat it.

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7Adams(14 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

As I see it from 0001 Cemetery Lane it is more than just about local chairmen. We all know that some D’s and R’s will vote a straight party ticket no matter what. That most likely won’t change. However, many people do vote for an individual and do so crossing party lines. What troubles this family is why do we continue to put in place the same individuals over and over again with no accountability or results? With such an information highway available to us we can research many things. There is more to an election than a name. We have to take notice of accomplishments in office or in their work. When it comes to current elected individuals, be it a D or and R, the main question is what have they accomplished especially if they have been in office for a few cycles? We have many faces here that hold long time elected office positions but for some reason that tenure has failed to wield much influence for improving the valley. After all don’t we put people in office to be our voice and help the area? This area has had little if any respect from the state and federal levels in decades (excluding election time when they all come to town)! It is up to us to change the elected individuals not any chairman. If our voice is not being heard it’s time to get some new voices.

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8Alexinytown(246 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Gomez, well said. Send my regards to Morticia.

Laurie, perhaps the theory that one party rule is a breeding ground for corruption holds true. Maybe there should be some balance.

And for the record, the Mahoning County Republican Party has viable candidates, and they will continue to have them so long as this new generation of volunteers and operatives is rising up in the ranks. There are people out there actively seeking to restore the political balance in Mahoning County, and when enough time has passed and enough work has been put in, we will get there.

The time for being afraid of the Democratic machine is over, as I can tell you the people coming up in the ranks are not intimidated in the slightest like a lot of people used to be.

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9JME(801 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

People like Saddad proves it, he automatically votes (D) even if it's a chimpanzee running for office. People like him are part of the Mahoning Valley's problem.
Saddad, what's all of the democrats done for the Valley for the last 30 to 40 years? This area is the armpit of America and it's been all democrats - that right there says allot about their ineffectiveness.
And you think repulicans are a problem? Keep voting D dumb@#$, nothing will change in this area.

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10author50(1121 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Locally, the GOP is a branch of the Democratic Party. Betras is right in going after the MCBOFE. Read the comments under Bertram's stirfry blog about the many problems NEVER investigated about the MCBOFE.

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11MahoningOldOne(1 comment)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Dave Betras is hardly the problem. Everyone who is close to the Oakhill situation knows that this is simply a political feud Mahoning County style. You don't just get your opponent out of office, you get them thrown in jail.
George Tablack and Paul Gains are entirely behind this ploy and they always have the cooperation of the vindicator.
As much as the vindicator wants everyone to think that this is not about the decision made to move to Oakhill, it is precisely about some officeholders disagreeing over the decision to move from Garland to Oakhill.
Every citizen (including commercial organizations) are allowed and encouraged by the Bill of Rights to petition their government, i.e. its officials. Plain and simple that is what was done here. Nowhere is there any evidence that cash changed hands over the Oakhill decision. The prosecutors would have us believe that an officeholder hearing the petition of a citizen is accepting a bribe when he asks questions regarding the various positions of the issue and the citizen has his own attorney provide answers. The prosecutors would have you believe that such advice constitutes a bribe when in fact it is a normal part of the process.
Dave Betras has reinvigorated the local party, perhaps the reason we are a one party community is that we can see that what the Republicans are selling is what they have always sold in this valley, fear and lies. Don't forget that during the last big scandal 100% of all republican county officeholders were corrupt, and yes there were some.
It is significant to me that the republicans would once again try and change the subject to anything but the incompetence of their own officials at the Board of Elections. Betras has this one nailed and they don't like it.

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12300(573 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Of course the MV votes Democrat, this place was built around heavy industry. The GOP was, and still is, against labor.

People might be narrow-minded, social conservatives; but they know that if it hadn't been for organized labor they would have been making $5 a day.

Republicans might get some converts who are willing to go against their own economic well-being simply because they hate blacks/students/gays/etc, but that group will never be in the majority.

What makes this area an armpit is the lack of education, not the political party for which they vote.

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13captainlinger(627 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago


Thank you for this. Your insight crystalized my thoughts (and I'm sure the thoughts of many others). It was actually refreshing to read! Perhaps you should write a regular column.

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14Nunya(1356 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago


Mr. Shaw you're tapping into a wealth of exactly what I'm hearing. Also HaydenThomas, saddad and 300 you're expressing precise explanations as to what is really " is ".

Granted there's two differing isles in regards to thought process. But Youngstown doesn't have a genuine political divide. Youngstown has had it's electoral platform seized.

You're not getting democrat's nor republicans here you're getting pull toy puppets than doesn't bear an affiliation with anything but corruption.

Where it's gotten so horrific that via events people haven't just listened to Betras play partisan with criminals.

But they've been able to link him to the most nefarious corrupter of congressman, Judges, commissioners and owner of the former and most disgraceful former Atty general in the states history.

It's not opinion it's all right there for everybody to distinguish for themselves. Valley residents aren't voting for candidates. They're merely playing shell game poll pons to picking between different faces that's going to fleece them.

The area is prime to have every office swept and it doesn't matter what party the candidates proclaim. But by the history and economics of the area being blue collar.

Those candidates will be better received for takeover if they bear democratic values. Voting one or two out would do no good.

To make impact progress to clean Youngstown and the surrounding areas up. It's got to be a clean multi seat sweep and an immediate call for federal law enforcement protection. Because the crabs won't take losing the areas easily.

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15Nunya(1356 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

@ Alexinytown

You can forget it,..

This region doesn't have neither the populous demographics nor enough economic assets for the republican brand of theft to seat in Youngstown.

The voters has tried it time and time again and got fleeced to high heaven. The candidates they've presented this go round is worst than before.

So being politically shrewd the mob overtook the the D designation of the local democratic name and has perched as fossils of fraudulent representation.

Every last one of those self serving frauds fronting as democrats. Has more republican traits than Jim Traficant and George McKelvey.

Surely the current cavalcade of moles false facing as democrats are going to have to be ousted. But you can best believe it won't be by fellow predators outright expressing they're republicans.

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16Nunya(1356 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

@ MahoningOldOne

You're nuts,..

You need to listen to what these people are revealing to you that they've already caught onto. They listen to the news, read more papers than Vindy and know what the hell they;re talking about.

Where for you to try to con them with that old Jim Traficant hail the false hero slant. Where in this episode you replace Jimbo with Betras playing the role has played the hell out.

Try refuting what these people are presenting and stop trying to talk around them. See if you can do that and even draw even is that discussion. You'll have accomplished a feat more miraculous than the damn Jedi mind trick.

Where in regards to political strategy if this were a bet. I'd take those opposition voices you're running from and even give you a generous points spread.

Being as impartial as it gets just like Jim Traficant and Marc Dann. Now it's Dave Betras's very own comments, positions and affiliations. Which serves as exactly what created the persona non grata problem he's created for himself.

There's no cleaning all that up and like what the Cafaro's did to their name and recognition to valley residents. Dave Betras, is linked at their hip and has went too far now to try to revise it as a mis-perception.

Where by being in Trumbull county Capri may hold that Dann seat they got her. But if she was in Mahoning county you can best believe. By the way the voters feel about anything Cafaro in Youngstown.

She'd be voted back out faster than getting a buzz cut at the barber no matter who her opponent was.

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17Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Barney Frank had no complaints with the way he was treated during his visit to The Valley .

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181970mach1(1005 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Those wacky Cafaros are at it again.

From the PD:

Lee Fisher's campaign contributions:

Top donor employers/groups: Cafaro Co. ($12,600),

Noteworthy: Principals of the Cafaro Co. have mixed business and politics in the Mahoning Valley for a long time. But retired president Anthony Cafaro Sr., who donated $4,800 to Fisher in 2009, was indicted in late July in an alleged corruption scheme. So was his sister, Flora Cafaro, who gave $1,500 to Fisher's campaign on June 23 this year. Anthony Cafaro has called the charges "meritless."

Fisher's position: Fisher, the former development director in Ohio, is pro-development. He has returned the Cafaro money, his campaign says.

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19Nunya(1356 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

@ 1970mach1

Now you're on it,..

In regards to governor and Voinovich's federal seat this is the poorest field of candidates one can recall in decades.

How can any candidate's in Ohio be that connected to Cafaro and accept corruption money and allege to be straight.

See irony is in my speaking to an array of voters and outlets that check candidates beyond allege party designation.

I'm finding that it's that Cafaro connection that's what's going to sink both Fisher and Strickland's candidacies at the ballot.

See with Traficant running as an Ex Con jarred the memory of a number of people that when Strickland was in the State seat before his governorship. He was the only house rep in Ohio or anywhere else that contended he was being prosecuted unjustly.

That's aside from the criminally indicted John Reardon connection to Strickland before Reardon was discarded right before the formal multi count Oakhill charges hit with his indictment.

As well as noting Fisher and Strickland's long standing connection and Cafaro being Fishers largest campaign donor. Are things that even makes a John Kasich and Rob Portman position well.

Damn shame how people can't appreciate the opportunity to serve in capacities they asked for. Without giving such a wealth of signals that they're non worthy criminals.

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