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Sammarone won’t run for Youngstown mayor



Published: Tue, January 8, 2013 @ 6:00 a.m.

By David Skolnick

By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Charles Sammarone won’t run for Youngstown mayor, a position he’s held since Aug. 1, 2011, and will file as early as next week for his former position as city council president.

“To correctly manage government takes a lot of time, and at my age, I want to spend time with my family, especially my grandkids,” said Sammarone, who will be 70 on Feb. 5, in an exclusive interview Monday with The Vindicator. “As council president, you can manage your time better than as mayor. I want to stay in city government to continue my policies of accountability, pushing for improvements in the neighborhoods, including more demolitions, more consolidation with [Mahoning] County, and financial stability.”

Even before he became mayor Aug. 1, 2011, and until last month, Sammarone, a Democrat, repeatedly said he was “99-percent” sure he wouldn’t run for the job in this year’s election. But Sammarone said Dec. 17 that he was “reconsidering” his decision after several people asked him to run for mayor.

“People like how I’ve served as mayor with a focus on accountability and an open-door policy,” Sammarone said Monday.

If the mayoral term was two years instead of four, “I might have been influenced to go the other way,” he said.

Instead, Sammarone said he will run in the May primary for the Democratic nomination for council president, a position he had for more than 17 years.

Feb. 6 is the deadline to file for the Democratic primary, which is May 7.

Sammarone’s decision as well as a Monday announcement from state Rep. Robert F. Hagan that he also wouldn’t seek the mayoral position brings clarity to the races for mayor and council president.

John McNally IV, a former Mahoning County commissioner and Youngstown law director, and Matthew Smith, who unsuccessfully ran for elected office in the city more than 25 years ago, are the only candidates to file for the Democratic primary for mayor with the county board of elections.

Council President Jamael Tito Brown expects to file his nominating petitions shortly.

No other candidates have announced interest in running in the Democratic primary for mayor.

But DeMaine Kitchen, Sammarone’s secretary/chief of staff, said a mayoral bid as an independent is something he’s seriously considering. He hasn’t made a final decision.

Also, community activist Phil Kidd said if he runs for mayor, it would be as an independent candidate.

May 6 is the filing deadline to submit nominating petitions to run as an independent in the November general election.

In 2005, the last time the mayoral seat was an open race, Jay Williams successfully won as an independent.

Hagan, the Democratic nominee who lost to Williams eight years ago, said he wants to finish his final term in the Ohio House, and is looking at running in 2014 for a number of positions including Ohio secretary of state, county commissioner and a seat in the state Senate.

“Everything is open,” he said. “I don’t think my time as a public servant should be cut by term limits.”

No one has filed to run for council president. Some were waiting for Sammarone’s decision on what he would do before making their decisions.

If Sammarone ran for mayor, he said he is confident he’d win.

The mayor hired the Liberty-based Rubenstein Associates, a marketing consulting firm, to conduct a telephone poll of 357 Youngstown voters.

“It shows all the hard work I’ve done is appreciated,” Sammarone said.

He shared some of the poll’s information with The Vindicator on Monday.

Of those polled, 23 percent said Sammarone was doing an “excellent” job, 43 percent said it was “good,” 19 percent said it was “fair,” 7 percent said it was “not good,” and the rest either had no opinion or didn’t respond.

Also, 75 percent had a positive opinion of Sammarone compared with 5 percent who had a negative opinion about the mayor with 20 percent not having an opinion.

Of those polled, 64 percent wanted Sammarone to return to city council, 9 percent didn’t, 10 percent said maybe, and the rest were undecided.

Sammarone said he was concerned that of those polled about the ability of city council’s to lead the city only 10 percent said they were very confident and 50 percent said they were somewhat confident.

“That’s not good,” he said.

By returning to city council as president, Sammarone said he’s hopeful he can increase people’s confidence in council.

“People have been telling me if I don’t run for mayor, I should go back to council because of my knowledge and experience,” he said.

Sammarone became mayor Aug. 1, 2011, after Williams resigned to join the President Barack Obama administration. Under the city charter, council president automatically succeeds the mayor and fills out the remainder of the term if the mayor leaves early.


Comments

1peggygurney(391 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

All the more reason for Phil Kidd to run as an independent,.

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2wow_show(9 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Oh Peggy,

Can you give me any reasons why Phil Kidd would make a good mayor other than he sounds like a good speaker and is well versed on a few talking points?

I bet you can't...

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3VINDYAK(1799 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Sammarone is a smart man. Who wants that job? Let's bring The Hulkster back.

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4drpautot(68 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

I have 2 perfectly good reasons that Phil Kidd should run, 1.) his work with the YDNC shows that he cares about the community, and 2.) he hasn't been bought by the special interest groups that have plagued the community political machine, ie, the Cafaro faction

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5Bman(151 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Phil Kidd should sincerely run for City Council.

"drpautot" is correct about his reasons for Kidd seeking public office. However, the office of the mayor has 1,000 apsects to it; out of that 1,000, Phil Kidd has zero exposure to 990 of them. But as a councilman, Kidd would begin to groom his ability as a public servant and through that experience, he could be a better long-term servant to the City.

If Kidd would jump into a mayor's race, he would be "biting off way more than he is ready to chew." If he was serious about getting involved, a council seat is the way to go. And trust me, I like Phil Kidd and I understand that the City needs more people like him!

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6Bman(151 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Tito Brown would be an ultimate disaster for the City. Tito Brown is the poster-child for what is wrong with long term political careers. Maybe...

...if the only choices were Brown or Kidd, I'd believe Kidd would have to run, or watch the City slip ever closer toward the abyss. However, there are other competent people to defeat Brown.

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7Knightcap(682 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Can't do worse than the car czar.

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8wow_show(9 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Just read any of the many many posts that Phil Kidd floats out on facebook and you can smell the stench of political ambition that is not unlike the other "corrupt" politicians you rattle off.

Seriously, every post of his is posted as if he is prepping himself for a long career in city politics. It is all for show.

I think a lot of people care about the city, that does not make them fit for Mayor.

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9ytownforlife(1 comment)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Phil Kidd was born July 2nd, 1979 in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania. Phil came to Youngstown in the late 1990’s to attend Youngstown State University where he majored in Political Science and joined the Army ROTC program.

Upon graduation, Phil served as an officer in the United States Army. He returned to Youngstown in 2004, intrigued by the city's now nationally and internationally recognized planning effort, Youngstown 2010. Inspired by the vision of the plan and armed only with a sign which he held downtown, Phil launched a movement known as 'Defend Youngstown' which seeks to get residents 'informed & involved' in city matters through its popular blog and social media sites. Phil’s efforts with Defend & Youngstown Nation has been recognized both nationally and internationally through various media outlets such as The New York Times, CNN, ESPN, PBS, BBC, Inc Magazine, Salon Magazine, Next American City Magazine and other international media from Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Ireland, Germany and Australia. In addition to Defend, Phil works with neighborhood groups on neighborhood engagement, issue organizing, project planning and grant writing. He is also the owner of ‘Youngstown Nation’, a gift shop and information center in downtown Youngstown.

Phil is also the founder of the city’s first ever Youngstown Neighborhood Leadership Council; founder and former president of the of the Wick Park Neighborhood Association on the city’s North Side; and is founding member of the Youngstown Grey to Green Festival.

Phil previously has worked for the Mahoning County Court of Common Pleas and also served as the City of Youngstown's Director of Downtown Events and Marketing. He is a member of the Regional Chamber's Government Affairs Council; City of Youngstown 2012 Charter Review Committee; and former board member of the City of Youngstown’s Design Review Committee, Mayor's Community Foundation and the Raymond John Wean Foundation's Neighborhood Success Grant Program.

Phil is a Leadership Mahoning Valley and Mahoning Valley Government Leadership Academy graduate, receiving the latter’s first ever Distinguished Alumni Award in 2012. He is also a two- time "Top 40 under 40" recipient, receiving recognition as "Most Valuable Professional" in 2008; is the recipient of the 2010 Individual Professional Service Award by the Mahoning Valley Task Force on Crime & Violence Prevention; was named a "Champion of Change" by WYTV Channel 33 as well as an "American Vanguard" by Next American City Magazine which recognizes the nation's top 35 professionals under the age of 35 regarding urban affairs.

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10stan_smagala(56 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

I think Attorney Chris Newman would be a good mayor of Youngstown.

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11peggygurney(391 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

wow_show: Bet I can, but a few people beat me to it.

As for your other comment, you obviously do not know Phil Kidd. At all.

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12bgreene(130 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Yes, draft Chris Newman for mayor.

He will do a great job making the city even better than anyone can even imagine.

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13bgreene(130 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Newman in 2013 !!!!!

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14bgreene(130 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Newman is our man with a solid plan for Youngstown.....

You're buiding a better Youngstown when you vote for Newman !!

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15ILoveYTown(3 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Thank you ytownforlife for the post...if you are an active member of your neighborhood, you should know first hand what Phil Kidd has done for this city. He volunteers helping all residents improve the quality of life in Youngstown.

His experience will make him an excellent mayor. He attends more City Council, Committee, County Land Bank & neighborhood meetings than any current politician in office. If he is unsure of how to tackle a problem, he knows how to research the issue and bring it to the residents for discussion.

He is young, single and has lots of energy. What else could someone ask for in a mayor....they all learn on the job....he knows how to do that better than anyone else in this race.

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161loaf(100 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

I am a "Anyone but Hagan" person. He has done more to keep the Mahoning Valley the place they insert the tube when the state needs an enema than all of the other hacks the single party system this area endorses have alowed to dip their snouts in the golden taxpayer filled trough.Please just pray that he takes the well funded retirement his double job career has given him and hangs out at the downtown watering holes telling folks how he saved the valley with a little help from Timmy Ryan.

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