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Council in Youngstown rejects cash deal

Published: Fri, April 8, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

By David Skolnick (Contact)

On the side

The real story: A picture of then-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt campaigning in a car during the 1940 campaign in Youngstown is almost iconic to Mahoning County Democrats. The picture is even on the county party’s website. Here’s a link: http://tinyurl.com/3ep2pzb.

The caption on the party’s website says that Fred Shutrump, then the county Democratic chairman, had the city’s “Republican mayor,” seated next to FDR, airbrushed out of the picture.

John Jovich of York, Pa., a presidential historian who was born and raised in Youngstown, tells a different story about the visit.

Jovich said Walter Mitchell was party chairman during FDR’s Oct. 11, 1940, visit. Vindicator records show Mitchell replaced Shutrump as chairman more than four months earlier.

Also, Jovich points out that the mayor at the time was a Democrat, William B. Spagnola, who is in the car with the president and then-U.S. Rep. Mike Kirwan.

Jovich contends no one was airbrushed out of that picture. Strangely, a different Vindicator picture of FDR on that day in the same car shows that someone sitting between FDR and Kirwan was airbrushed from the picture. A note on the back of the print reads: “Take out man next to FDR.”

Obviously the missing man wasn’t a Republican mayor. But who was that person?

Like many other communities, Youngstown is facing serious financial challenges.

If all goes according to plan, and it rarely does, the city will end the year with a $16,500 surplus in its general fund.

So when the city administration works out a deal to receive 45 acres of land at a rundown industrial park on the East Side for free with a company ready to move there, as well as $280,000 in cash, you would think all city leaders would jump at the opportunity.

After all, the proposal would provide a little cushion for the city’s finances.

V&M Star request

Also, the request to relocate Metalico, a scrap-metal supplier to V&M Star, to the Ross Industrial Park came from V&M officials. Yes, that same company investing $650 million into the largest industrial project in Youngstown since the glory days of the steel mills.

Because of that expansion, V&M needs the land off of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard currently used by Metalico.

The plan was to relocate Metalico to Ross on Albert Street.

For Metalico to move to Ross, the zoning would have to be changed from light industrial to heavy industrial.

The Cafaro Co. sold the property to TPOH1 LLC, a Lisbon company that only wants to salvage the scrap from the location.

As part of the sale, Cafaro had an option to buy back the land after TPOH1 finishes its work.

The plan was for V&M to pay $540,000 to Youngstown to purchase about 45 acres for Metalico. Also, the Cafaro Co. was going to give $280,000 to the city.

But that deal isn’t going to happen.

Whether it’s a right or a wrong decision, it was essentially made by one person: Councilwoman Annie Gillam, D-1st.

Gillam, who has the industrial park in her ward, said she spoke to her constituents and couldn’t find one who favored having Metalico and its scrapyard at the Albert Street location.

At a meeting called and attended by Joel Mastervich, V&M’s president and chief operating officer, Gillam complained about Metalico not enclosing the scrapyard. After that, Metalico decided not to move.

This isn’t exactly a pristine location.

The place is such a mess that it was purchased by a company that wants to tear it down and sell the scrap metal. TPHO1 has no other interest in the land.

Also, there’s a noisy concrete plant a short distance from this location.

And that $280,000 is gone, never to return.

‘Not good money’

“All money coming in is not good money,” Gillam said. “The city needs the money right now, but the citizens of the East Side would be stuck with something for a long time. The money wasn’t worth it. A short-term fix isn’t worth a long-term problem.”

With the escalation in recent months of tension and public disagreements between members of the administration and city council over budget decisions, this isn’t helping the matter.

Mayor Jay Williams was compelled Wednesday to say, “Council takes this dictatorial approach that this is what we want. You guys [in the administration] figure it out. If you don’t figure it out then there will be hell to pay for it.”


1Photoman(1223 comments)posted 5 years ago

Annie, I think you got that one right. Lots strings there and you were able to see how long those strings were.

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21970mach1(1005 comments)posted 5 years ago

Has Annie Gillam done any economic development or created a single job?

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3walter_sobchak(2587 comments)posted 5 years ago

As I recall from the original article earlier, the councilwoman was concerned about effects the scrap yard would have on the "aesthetics" of the area! Seriously! Has she not driven down Albert St? This area is already a dump and ANY business activity would be an improvement on what is there now. Maybe, instead, they could open another "motorcycle" club, an Arab "convenience" store, a "game" parlor, and a few check-cashing outlets. And you wonder why Y-town is a cesspool.

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4glbtactivist(313 comments)posted 5 years ago

Good job Annie. Someone finally stuck up for her constituents and didn't sell out to greedy businessmen. Steel and scrap have been extremely bad for Youngstown. The foreign owners of V&M steel intend to screw Youngstown eventually anyway.

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5Askmeificare(1042 comments)posted 5 years ago

@ carlsaatz:

"Maybe the idea that city council needs reduced in size needs a closer look!"

Oh yes city council needs to reduce wards and get people in there with intelligence and logic and common sense.

Lots of strings? Maybe alot of ins and outs, but this project could have been a winner, but Annie "son to be a former city council woman" Gilliam RUINED this project!

This is infuriating. A councilwoman who denies jobs to Youngstown and has NO IDEA how to do her job. She is more interested in her self interests with council pay AND her council pension plan than she is for her ward and city.

Skolnick only shaved the top of this investigative iceberg. There is SO MUCH MORE HERE!

No wonder city administrators are unhappy with city council.


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6Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years ago

The attitude of the city toward V&M Star after all of the money that they have spent and the jobs that they have created speaks volumes . Why would any other company want to come here when they read the news ?

BTW Annie, the citizens on the EastSide will be stuck with something for a long time and that is poverty .

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7Askmeificare(1042 comments)posted 5 years ago


@ johnyoung:

You asked for it and now you get it-

johnyoung stated:

"You constantly throw out wild accusations and statements with no foundation."

Response from Askmeificare:

Here is a sampling of YOU throwing out wild accusations AND statements with no foundation, Mr. johnyoung:

"As usual, the city administration gives only a portion of the details, and Skolnick and the rest of the local news media regurgitate only what they have been told without connecting the dots."
__ Fri, April 8, 2011

"This is just one more in a series of deals which make no sense and yield no benefit for the city."
__Fri, April 8, 2011

"This is absolutely the craziest idea I've ever heard. If City Council goes for this, then they are even more irresponsible than they appear to be."
__Tue, April 5, 2011

"Typical. City makes poor decisions-Taxpayers foot the bill."
__Mon, April 4, 2011

"Another case of the Vindicator's selective reporting."
__March 30, 2011

"In regard to the school zones, the city does not have a clue. They still have school zone signs at locations all over the city where schools no longer exist. Are they going to give tickets at these locations?

The traffic cameras will end up being a boondoggle like everything else the city lays its hands on."
__March 15, 2011

"This guy did much good work for the city for many years and in return received a hatchet job from a group of jealous employees. I'm in in the legal profession and worked with him on many occasions. Take a look at the public works department when he was in charge compared to now. It's a mess. Just read the paper. It takes them 3 or more tries to bid out any project and many change orders. I applaud him for wanting to set the record straight."
__Sun, March 6, 2011

"The problem is that the Mayor is a disengaged leader, who at this point is more worried about whether or not he's going to Washington, than about what his department heads are doing."
__Tue, February 15, 2011

"If this is indicative of how Macejko is going to run his campaign for County Prosecutor, the community is in BIG trouble.

First of all, he should be fired for campaigning on city time. I can just hear his response now: "I wasn't campaigning, I was just issuing a statement in the public interest as a citizen". Yeah, right."
__Sat, February 5, 2011

"Or maybe you're one of the $65.00/Hr. Policeman, or maybe you're one of the finance director's kool aid drinkers, or maybe you're one of the City officials who can't wait to get a cut of the parking concession when Frangos takes it over. Which one??
__Sat, January 15, 2011

johnyoung, the only thing you have ever written, that I absolutely agree with, that rings with resonance, is this:

"Since day one, the City has done everything possible to interfere with Mr. Jaminet's operation of that parking lot."
__Sat, January 15, 2011

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8Askmeificare(1042 comments)posted 5 years ago


johnyoung asks:

"Please explain how receiving $280,000 in order to accept land that requires $500,000 in demolition, remediation and clean-up is a good deal for the city."

Response from Askmeificare:

That is $280,000.00 less that the city will have to pay to EVENTUALLY clean up this war zone.

johnyoung, you don't actually fantasize about a corporation coming into Youngstown and expect to clean up their new "home" all themselves, on their own dime, do you? When you sell or lease a house, don't you sell it with a clean interior, a fresh coat of paint and fresh cut grass?

Well my fine sarcastic apparently sociopathic pathetic friend, Youngstown NEEDS to present itself with a fresh coat of paint to attract AND keep business here.

johnyoung asks:

"How was this deal bringing jobs to Youngstown?"

Response from Askmeificare:

If you really are as smart, or experienced as you are delusional (but I can tell you are young and without life experience, so I thank you for allowing me to share my experience with you), you would understand what this type of activity sets up down the road as well as temporary work potential to permanent work potential.

johnyoung states:

"You constantly and indiscriminately accuse everyone of everything. Get a grip, take some medication, and then try to answer my questions. People like you with obviously impaired reasoning skills are the true problem in our community."

Response from Askmeificare:

Your statement is false, but I will take it as indeed I am getting the best of you and of what you have to offer the world via the vindy comment section.

Kindly refer to the first section of my response to your- back of the 2nd grade classroom mentality when the teacher isn't looking- challenge, when you state, "People like you with obviously impaired reasoning skills are the true problem in our community."

My intellectual nemesis, in life you will certainly find a mirror that fits your budget, so try not to break it.

If you truly believe, as you have stated, people with impaired reasoning skills are the true problem in our community, then kindly exit our community.

We don't need PEOPLE LIKE YOU abusing and harassing the challenged and handicapped citizens of our community.

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9Askmeificare(1042 comments)posted 5 years ago

@ johnyoung:

Where You At?

Come on and get me with your response, hurry, before I take my wife out to eat at Mconalds and I can't reply quick enough...

It's been 47 minutes- You must be out abusing and harassing the citizens of our community whom have impaired reasoning skills...

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10muckraker(6 comments)posted 5 years ago

I hate to pile on, considering all the other commenters are already aware of your IGNORANCE, but you really need to stop making statements with no foundation in fact. You may not be aware of the fact that an environmental assessment has already been conducted on the property. Apparently no problems were discovered. As for cleanup responsibilities, that now falls entirely on the owner, TPOH. This was clearly a good deal for everyone, and one foolish elected official with a "sub rosa"agenda managed to kill it. Stupidity at it's finest. Pity the people who voted for this fool.

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11Askmeificare(1042 comments)posted 5 years ago

@ johnyoung

johnyoung wrote:

"So sorry for the delayed response time, I was busy doing more important things than reading your ridiculous drivel."

Askmeificare responds:

Then why, in your comment # 8 above, did you write, "I can't wait to read your response."

Why would you want to play this anonymous game of "I told him off" when you know my intellect is far superior to yours?

johnyoung wrote:

"As for your accusation that I am "harassing" the mentally challenged, my comment was not directed toward those of which I have nothing but sympathy and compassion for, but to those of the likes of you, to whom God has given full mental faculties, but refuse to utilize them as intended."

Askmeificare responds:

johnyoung, you did indeed write, "People like you with obviously impaired reasoning skills are the true problem in our community."

And I responded, "If you truly believe, as you have stated, people with impaired reasoning skills are the true problem in our community, then kindly exit our community."

"We don't need PEOPLE LIKE YOU abusing and harassing the challenged and handicapped citizens of our community."

Now you are stating that you don't actually mean what you have to say here within this forum.

Well, what is it johnyoung? Anyone may now question your credibility as to when and in what manner you state the truth when addressing, at times, very serious issues herein this vindy comment section that deserves, at times, very serious discussion.

Stop perverting your written intent to suit YOUR needs and negative slamming of others and start focusing on our community which needs the help of ALL citizens.

johnyoung, the precepts of your comments in # 15 don't need any retort as, really, we both know, you don't know what you are talking about.

johnyoung wrote:

"First off, I must applaud you for your copying and pasting proficiency, although my seven year old mastered that skill about a year ago."

Askmeificare wrote:

Well, monkey see, monkey do.

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