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Don’t let Righetti and her cohorts move Valley back to Middle Ages

Published: Sun, May 22, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

Bertram de Souza’s column last Sunday, “Righetti flexes her muscle,” was right on the money. The headline, however, may have been more fitting if it had read “Righetti panders to Cafaro,” or perhaps “Righetti ignores the public’s interest.”

Everything about Righetti’s actions as described in Bertram’s column, from her campaigns to defeat David Ludt and oust George Tablack as county administrator to her purported targeting of Prosecutor Paul Gains and fellow County Commissioner Anthony Traficanti, reeks of a vendetta against those who dared cross Cafaro. After all, it was these four courageous public servants who did something virtually unheard of in Mahoning County government — they made a decision based on the public’s interest rather than for the benefit of the small but powerful cabal of special interests that has dominated county politics for more than five decades.

Righetti defended her attack on Tablack by claiming, “We want to move in a different direction for Mahoning County.” The best that can be said is that she didn’t lie and claim she and her cohort, indicted county Commissioner John McNally, wanted to move the county in a “new” direction, for new it surely isn’t. Rather, Righetti and McNally seem intent on ending the Mahoning County “spring” we have enjoyed over the past four or five years after the federal sweep that convicted a host of corrupt public officials, They are restoring the closed, backward political culture that has dominated this community for too long, a culture more akin to feudalism than representative democracy, where public officials behave like vassals paying homage and pledging fealty to the overlord on Belmont Avenue in hopes of winning his favor and benefits.

The Citizen’s League of Greater Youngstown exposed this cabal back in 2000 when it shined the spotlight on the so-called “Cafaro Roundtable,” a regular meeting sponsored by the Cafaros where friends, elected public officials and other political notables supposedly gathered to “socialize.” As the League observed at the time, “The practice of secretive, brokered politics, in which a few wealthy, powerful individuals control stables of politicians and public officials, is part of a culture and value system where the line between lawfulness and illegality has been dangerously blurred, if not obliterated altogether.”

The subsequent conviction of J.J. Cafaro, one of the hosts of the Roundtable, for bribing a U.S. congressman and the current indictment of the other host of the Roundtable, Anthony Cafaro, on a bevy of alleged crimes implicating elected public officials have validated the League’s original concerns about the negative and destructive consequences of this culture on the community. It has strangled us for too long. It must end.

As was impressed on many of us who were guests in Palermo, Sicily, in 2000 at the U.N. International Symposium on The Role of Civil Society in Countering Organized Crime, law enforcement alone cannot solve the problem of organized crime and public corruption. It can only offer a window of opportunity to make changes. It’s up to the citizens of Mahoning County to take advantage when these opportunities arise.

A new window is now open. The time to act is now. Get involved. Call or write Righetti and any other minions of Cafaro holding public office, and let them know clearly and unequivocally that you will not stand for this county being returned to the control of a few self-serving power brokers. If they ignore you, remember them at election time. They work for you. You hire them, and you can fire them.

James B. Callen, Youngstown


1escapee(43 comments)posted 4 years ago

Mr. Callen,
What do you tell those members of your community that are afraid to reveal themselves to CAFARO's puppet?

You know what happens to those persons that might publicly show opposition to POLITICS AS USUAL in Youngstown.

Sending a letter to a vindictive, vengeful politician like Righetti and McNally could ultimately result in losing child support or something else that is controlled by the COUNTY's PUBLIC SERVANTS via the new Zachariah.

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2Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years ago

The disease of organized crime has been a tradition in The Valley for years . It is far worse than a binge drinking hangover which you can shake in a few days . It is a fungus that has penetrated to the core of every facet of government in The Valley . Now that it has been exposed once again the cure is to give them all the boot at election time . After all we aren't owned are we ?


FUNGUS : parasitic spore

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3jcallen(1 comment)posted 4 years ago

Dear Escapee,

There is a risk in speaking up. But there is a greater risk in remaining silent.

Endemic organized crime and political corruption have cost the Mahoning Valley millions of dollars and a diminished quality of life. Failure to act now will ensure that the current status quo is our future. It will be our legacy to our children and grandchildren, should they chose to remain in this area, which regrettably many don't..

To me that's a tremendous and unacceptable risk.

Each individual has to make the very personal decision as to what he or she is prepared to do now, if anything, to change that prospect for the future.

There are a range of constructive and helpful options for those who want change - make a call, write a letter, talk to friends and family members to help them understand the problem and why we need change, organize a discussion group among your friends, in the neighborhood, at a church, in a social organization. Action through a group can often carry more weight and offer cover for individuals nervous about acting alone. Offer support and encouragement to those who are willing to speak up. I'm sure there are many other options. Be creative.

Changing the backward society that prevails in this Valley will only come about one person at a time. Somehow we need to figure out how to get more people to take that first step. One person can make a difference. Thousands can make change.

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4author50(1121 comments)posted 4 years ago

If anyone thinks that once the name Cafaro is out of play locally that things will get better, I have a vacant house to GIVE you on the East side of Youngstown that you have to move into!

Do you think Clarence Smith hasn't used his clout in Boardman to develop roads around his properties on Market Street that saw numerous buildings - not to mention a hospital go up on it?

Does anyone remember how then Mahoning County Democratic Party Chair Mike Morley and his partner Mr. Handel were able to do an end around on catch basins and draining issues when they developed The Shops at Boardman Park - the place is still a lake after heavy rains.

Does anyone else know that David Engler is the chief hearing officer for the city of Youngstown when a citizen has a complaint with the city's water department?

Does anyone remember the tax abatement that then Commissioner Ed Reese got for his nursing home on Schenley Ave?

Does anyone remember the huge federal money that Artis and Annie Gillam received for developing a school that was supposed to educate African-Americans on "identifying different types of hammers?"

Does anyone remember many county officials using taxpayer credit cards for personal useage?

Does anyone know how much money Marty Solomon and Ben Post contribute to county officeholders to make sure that inefficient county court system stays alive and continues to pay them a huge rent in Austintown?

It's endless until ALL of it changes.

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5Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years ago

author50 :

"If anyone thinks that once the name Cafaro is out of play locally that things will get better,"

Yep ! Things will get better . This is the tallest weed and then we can ROUNDUP the others . . ..

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6Nunya(1356 comments)posted 4 years ago

@ author50


You're quiet accurate, thorough, astute and non bias in your spreading the wealth of identifying the money grubbers. Where not to be a stickler about not naming them all. But you failed to mention the financial fronts of fraud. Which are presented in name as the regional Chamber and Y.S.Shrew. Which are Co- where a great degree of the stipend siphoning and money laundering takes place.

Where I genuinely respect and commend you for the outstanding observation. However, not to take nor make light of the commission of the crafty offenses of that array of individuals you're presented with startling clarity.

Although when " Big money " is used to not just corrupt office but control all aspects of governance. The sad reality is all of those relatively minor thefts combined. In neither dollar cost nor commission of criminality doesn't amount to the impact of a omnipresent controller.

See as despicable as those individuals actions reflect. None of those proverbial petty thieves access or empowerment combined amounts to their controlling anything. Not in comparison of someone that's on record for not just owning congressman, commissioners, judges and treasurer. But arguably even owning the entire kit and kabootle of having seized the identity and workings of an entire political party in disguise..

Which in this instance and putting all opinions aside. Via reflection of factual record and impact. There's a difference in magnitude and machinations between them. Hence this is one of the exceptionally rare instances where Stan, is right,.. no doubt about it.

Where it's not in anyway sighting you as wrong in anyway. To include although Stan and I are polar opposites 99.9 % of the time. To include this is no who's right or wrong in regards to any of them. However, this is that fractional .009 % time. Where I don't mind yielding to sanctioning Stan as getting this one right.

See when there's organized corruption going on. It allots levity for those other quid pro operatives to occasionally get their piece of the pie. It's a parenthetic principle where those that know and or find something corrupt out. But don't tell, obstruct and or derail it. They adjoin with it after being distinguished and or regarded as co-Op's.

Which they're then allowed to get their scheme[s] off. In exchange for as long as they don't dare try to disrupt the heists of the hierarchy that's emplaced.

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7Zoned(51 comments)posted 4 years ago

Mr Callen: You are just bitter because every Democrat AND Republican voted against you when Krichbaum slammed you so hard you were silent for years. Nunya....I was really waiting for a Tigerblood or a Goddesses comment. When you were a student, did any of your English teachers suggest that you were...oh...well... maybe a little wordy? Author 50 your smart, and an Author, don't you think that Nunya's a little wordy? I think he's wordy.

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8Zoned(51 comments)posted 4 years ago

The Thinker: You are so far off base in the suggestion that the taxpayers were saved money related to the move from Garland its laughable. You must be one of those brainwashed, George-loving, Anthony -worshiping folks who doesn't use the same accounting methods as the rest of the planet. PLEASE, PLEASE there should be a no ridiculous statements list her.. To say Garland was bad is agreed, to say Oakhill is better is an insult to anyone who can add. I promise Ill asnwer based on public records. How much do you think Oakhill has cost versus saved? By the way Rigetti owes Tablack nothing. I know you might get confused about ol'George but HE WORKED FOR HER, not the other way around. You really believe that Georgie boy was interested in saving money or sticking it to his political enemies? Add up Oakhill costs and then answer.

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9Nunya(1356 comments)posted 4 years ago

@ Zoned

Boy are you ever desperate,.. you manic mole.

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10Nunya(1356 comments)posted 4 years ago

@ Mr. Callen

You speak volumes of truth and you're right. It's when the masses feel silence is their best defense. Is when they'll never have the guts to oppose and defeat it.

The " Zoned " poster is a mole and he / she is terrified about the potential of being convicted. So he / she and or it's trying to wage an infighting diversion.

Just as the vast majority of us are aligned in the same truth's. The clearer it's spoken places the manu-crafter's like the mole to display more manic efforts to allege it isn't so.

The outlaws have grossly overreach and there's no other way to put it.

They care about no one but themselves and has and continues to steal treasure, deny justice, defy opposition and deny the truth.

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11Zoned(51 comments)posted 4 years ago

Nunya, am I 1225 comments desperate? "The outlaws have grossly overreach"... You know you can preview your comments before you post them and not sound like a 2nd grader.
Firstly, I am really just gonna spend the majority of my time here pointing out how very troubled you sound, in my opinion. Secondly, who or what I am you do not know, and your one-sided, reactive comments are obvious responses of someone who doesn't do one bit of research before speaking... Now 1225 comments would require a great deal of time to adequately research and why bother doing that when you can just sound ignorant of facts as you do.

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12Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years ago

"The Cafaro's have used Mahoning County government to dispose of their junk properties. Now the City of Youngstown is considering buying the McGuffey Plaza from them and making a deal with a drug store. That needs to be scrutinized. "

Let the Cafaros level the plaza first and then sell it to the county for a dollar . Why should the taxpayers pay for its demolition ? The place is worthless .

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13Nunya(1356 comments)posted 4 years ago

@ Zoned

What a Clown { Z-owned },.. ROTFFLMAO !!!

You know you've made it laughably known. That you're as shamelessly stupid as you are desperate and despicable.

If you care to try to contribute for lords sake at least try to " Say something ". As it currently stands each and every last one of your stammers of crony clamor. Has served as nothing less than a the mealy mouth orchestrated mini series of silliness and self incrimination.

Where you're trying to phish for fellow fink variety fools or frauds. That will adjoin with you effort of attempting to sanction your whitewash skit via some co-collusion with delusion Schtick,..

As such a shill trying to mill. You're now transformed into a schmuck having no such luck,.. and it's just that ELEMENTARY.

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