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Traficanti, Pishkur warrant support in commissioner races

Published: Sun, February 19, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

In the crowded Field for the Dem- ocratic nomination for the open Mahoning County commissioner seat, there are two candidates who stand out — with very different orientations when it comes to politics. David Ditzler has been a trustee in Austintown Township since 1994 and ran unsuccessfully for commissioner in 2004. Walter Pishkur has never held public office. But he’s as well known in the county as any veteran politician because his last high-profile position was as president and chief executive officer of Forum Health Inc.

While Ditzler also has private sector employment credentials as global manager of sales for American Nickeloid, it is his political involvement — he has served as chairman of the Mahoning County Democratic Party and is the party’s endorsed candidate in this race — that has burnished his reputation.

Thus, voters in the March 6 Democratic primary are faced with the not-so-unpleasant task of choosing between two qualified, knowledgeable individuals. The winner will meet Republican David V. Rossi of Boardman and Howard Markert of Youngstown, a Green Party candidate, in the general election.

There are four other candidates vying for the Democratic nomination: Joe Louis Teague of Youngstown; Domenic DelMonte of Austintown; Richard Oz Ouzounian of Boardman; and, Patrick Chrystal of Youngstown.

Only Ditzler, Pishkur and Teague met with The Vindicator editorial board, a requirement in order to be considered for an endorsement.

The question before the voters is this: Would Mahoning County government best be served by a political insider or a political outsider?

We believe that with Pishkur on the board of commissioners, alongside Anthony Traficanti and Carol Rimedio-Righetti, government would have the fresh, private sector perspective that many taxpayers have long wanted.

While Pishkur’s service at Forum Health during the hospital system’s most challenging period clearly demonstrated his leadership abilities and his success in bridging the gap between labor and management, his tenure as president and CEO of Aqua Ohio Inc. gave him the opportunity to work with various local governments.

His two terms as chairman of United Way’s board of directors exposed him to the civic and social life of Mahoning County.

Jail staffing

On the important issues confronting county government, such as the budget, the need to fund the sheriff’s department so the jail is fully staffed and job-creation initiatives, Ditzler and Pishkur aren’t far apart. They both believe, for example, that having more than 200 beds in the jail empty because there aren’t enough deputies to staff the lock up is bad public policy. They believe that the county can earn money by housing federal prisoners.

They also agree that it’s time to move forward on the consolidation of the courts below the common pleas level. Ditzler, however, has been in a position to lead the charge, seeing as how one of the county courts is in Austintown.

The seat that Ditzler and Pishkur are seeking is being vacated by Commissioner John A. McNally IV.

Traficanti is also the ballot this year, and has the unconditional support of The Vindicator in his re-election bid. His only opponent is James S. Horvath, in the Democratic primary.

We believe that Traficanti and Pishkur will work well together, and along with Rimedio-Righetti, will move Mahoning County forward.


1Vote_Oz(15 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

I am a candidate for Mahoning County Commissioner in the open seat race. I’m a lifelong Democrat and I had the great honor of doing work for President Clinton in the White House for the 8 years he was President.

Most politicians seek every endorsement they can get during a campaign. While I respect many of the groups that take the time to meet with candidates and endorse, I’m not going to seek any endorsements from any group including the Democratic Party and Vindicator.

The political and personal costs of some of these endorsements are too high. I will not be beholden to an endorsement, be anyone’s puppet, nor will I represent the insiders or fat cats that for too long have taken Mahoning County in the wrong direction. It’s time to tell the “Get Along, Go Along” gang to Move Along!

While campaigning around the county, people tell me they are looking for fresh ideas and want Mahoning County to take a new direction.

There are opportunities to move Mahoning County forward all around us and when I’m in the commissioner’s office I’m going to make decisions that are good for everyone, not just a select few.

I hope to receive the people’s endorsement on Election Day.

Vote Oz for Mahoning County Commissioner!

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2excel(1114 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Just the mere thought of voting for Walter Pishkur brings back fond memories of cash for clunkers. The mix that they put in the crankcase brought the motors to a grinding halt and made them fit only for scrap. Adding Walter Pishkur to the mix as a County Commissioner would do nothing favorable for Mahoning County. The former and present workers at Northside Medical still remember Walter as captain of the ship steering a course for the rocks. He indeed has proven capabilities in destruction.

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3nipsy(161 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Mr. Oz, I fail to see how meeting with the Vindy as they are trying to figure out who to endorse and to help educate the public on the candidates would put you in any sort of position where you were beholden to someone. I am not one who takes endorsements too awfully serious, however, if a candidate fails to sit down with the Vindicator I have a hard time taking them very seriously at the polls. Did you not learn anything from your time with the Clinton White House?

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4Vote_Oz(15 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Yes I learned quite a bit during my time at the Clinton White House.

One of the things I learned was how to read polling data, and the data I read told me that the majority of the voting public don't care about endorsements at all, they vote for the man (or woman) running, not the endorsement.

That's why I'm running free and clear of any endorsements including the Vindy's. If the people don't care about endorsements, why should I?

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5walter_sobchak(2590 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

You obviously don't understand what the problems were at Forum. Buzz wasn't steeering the ship toward the rocks. The ship had already hit the rocks and it was taking on water. He tried the best he could to prevent the hospital system from going to bankruptcy court. However, years of mismanagement had taken its toll. Like when the hospital permitted the nurses to strike for 91 days. On day 91, the nurses received basically what they had bargained for on day 1 except the hospital spent about $12M on temporary nurses to be bussed in. Forum's creditors forced his hand so that the system had no choice. He was trying to keep the system as a community hospital with local control. He knew that going the court direction would mean selling off the assets, either wholly or piecemeal, to for-profit companies. And, the rest, is history because that is what happened!

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6excel(1114 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Walter Pishkur was inept in leadership. He has nothing to offer the people of Mahoning County that would differ from what he brought down on Northside Medical. Your excuses for Buzz are commendable.

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7republicanRick(1672 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Pishkur SAVED North Side Hospital. They had horrendous leadership for 20 years before him and he righted the ship.

Only a few disgruntled union workers who remain stuck in the 1950's would disagree.

Ditzler is just another Gerberry who flits from one government job to another. While average, he does not have the track record of Traficanti or Pishkur.

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8republicanRick(1672 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Four years ago, North Side nurses were the highest compensated nurses in the entire state.

Youngstown doctors paid 10 TIMES the rate that Cincinnatti doctors paid in liability insurance.

The fact that North Side is open is a miracle.

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9Cicero(39 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Buzz did not put in motion the demise of Forum Health - the protracted nurses strike and selling off of Beeghly Medical Park by the prior administration did that. Buzz, unfortunately, did not understand the dynamic of the corporate bond debt and the inevitability of selling the hospital. Likewise, i am not sure he completely understands the dynamics of the forces at play in county government, let alone party politics. The fix is in, Chairman Betras has assured that the party faithful vote will not be splintered ( by "inviting" the others to drop out of the race). If Buzz were fortunate enough to survive the primary, he would be in for a rude awakening as Commissioner.

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10valleyred(1103 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Mr. Oz, did you not work in the Bush White House as well? If so, why are you trying to hide that portion of your career in Washington to the voters?

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11CountryGirl51(232 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Nipsy ~ Really what does it matter if he sat down with the Vindy or not. The media will endorse who they want regardless of the out come ! Politics is EVERWHERE ! As far as people voteing, i dont think they much care who has endorsed who. Like myself, i will vote who i think is best for the job, who will bring the most to the table for our city !!

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