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SKOLNICK || Kitchen supporters don’t fool anyone



Published: Fri, November 1, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

By David Skolnick (Contact)


On the side

Early voting: If you want to vote early in-person at boards of elections in the Mahoning Valley, you’re running out of time.

The Mahoning County Board of Elections is extending its hours today until 7 p.m. and will have early in-person voting from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday. The board is located at Oakhill Renaissance Center, 345 Oak Hill Ave. in Youngstown.

The Trumbull County Board of Elections will be open until 6 p.m. today for early voting. The board will be open for early in-person voters from 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, and will have early voting Monday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The board is at 2947 Youngstown Road SE in Warren.

There are no extended early-voting hours in Columbiana County.

The event was touted as “a group of concerned citizens, including clergy and community leaders” to “address the issues surrounding” the Youngstown mayor’s race.

It was a poorly-disguised rally to support DeMaine Kitchen, an independent candidate for mayor.

There were a number of people wearing Kitchen shirts, and of the five speakers, all Youngstown pastors, at Tuesday’s event at the Nathaniel R. Jones Federal Building & Courthouse, two came right out and urged people to vote for Kitchen.

The other three, including Rev. Kenneth L. Simon, who organized the event, were a tiny bit more subtle in their support.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with endorsing a candidate; just say so.

Some of the speakers made unsubstantiated allegations, falsehoods, half-truths and contradictions.

I’m focusing mostly on Simon because he likes to be the focus of attention.

At a Sept. 25 event that Simon helped organize, local black leaders harshly criticized Mahoning County Democratic Chairman David Betras for removing three African-Americans, two members of Youngstown council and a former councilman, from the party’s executive committee for, get this, not supporting the Democratic-endorsed candidate for mayor.

On Tuesday, Simon said, “There appears to be special interests who do not live in the city nor do they have the interest and well-being of the residents at heart. They’re trying to take our city backwards to the days of the corrupt politics and government.”

When I asked about the special interests, Simon couldn’t/wouldn’t give a single name.

“I don’t want to falsely accuse someone in particular and name someone,” he said. “It’s a machine. It’s an operation.”

He said to “follow the money,” and those who contributed to John A. McNally IV, the Democratic mayoral candidate, who don’t live and/or work in the city were these apparently nefarious special interests.

By the way, the pastor couldn’t be bothered to look at McNally’s latest campaign finance report though he “thinks” he saw a previous one.

A week earlier, Kitchen spoke of a supposed group of unnamed conspirators working to bring forth Youngstown’s “demise.”

McNally received out-of-town contributions but so did Kitchen.

Those who gave to Kitchen — including $500 each from a powerful Cleveland law firm and Dave Johnson of Salem, the Columbiana County Republican Party chairman — must be different to Simon and the others. Also, if the pastor had spoken to others at a Sept. 23 fundraiser for Kitchen, he would have learned some are from North Royalton, Columbus, Brooklyn, N.Y., and plenty of others from communities that are near Youngstown, but not in the city.

Money plays a major factor in political campaigns, but not every donor is corrupt and not every candidate who accepts money is in their pockets.

Lyndsey Hughes, a city council employee and a McNally supporter, accused Kitchen of sexually harassing her on and off since January 2011. Kitchen has strongly denied the claims and contends they are politically motivated. The Vindicator reported about Hughes’ allegations five weeks before Tuesday’s election.

“That was a strategic plan of the campaign,” Simon said.

Simon dismissed the complaint as “unfounded allegations” despite an ongoing investigation.

I asked if waiting four weeks after Hughes’ allegations were reported to have a press conference, which was also one week before this election, wasn’t a strategic plan on his part.

“Getting people together takes some time,” he said.

It took less than a week to organize the anti-Betras press conference, and that event had close to twice as many people present.

Some of those at Tuesday’s gathering accused the media — and me in particular — of supporting McNally. No, but if you’re going to make unsubstantiated allegations, don’t be surprised if someone challenges you to back them up.


Comments

1formerdemliberal(182 comments)posted 10 months ago

Good reporting, David. Just ask the same types of logical, factual questions to all of the candidates and area political leaders in general, particularly the Democratic Party machine, to also expose some of their hypocrisy of their people and their actions.

The list of former, current, and prospective felons or potential accused criminals currently masquerading as politicians and promoted by the Democratic party is embarrassing, even for this area's sorry public servant history. Call these people out and maybe some people will realize that the Democratic Party has sold this area out for special favors and and sweetheart deals for over 50 years.

It will be interesting to see how Davey B handles the Mike Sciortino situation if he decides to run for reelection. Maybe Mike will take the sword for "the good of the party" and not run, but don't bet on it.

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2Knightcap(693 comments)posted 10 months ago

Simple Simon and the rest of the racists should get their own political party.

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3valleypolitics(88 comments)posted 10 months ago

This race is already over. McNally is the winner due to low turnout in the black wards and the overwhelming absentee ballots for McNally.

That's what they are going to say at the Board of Fixed Elections when McNally is declared the winner. (Absentee ballots were made up long ago and will guarantee McNally the win).

If Kitchen has any chance of winning he must make the BOE accountable. He should ask the feds to come in and count votes. Since Betras has Husted in his pocket, going to the state is useless.

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4TERRAPINST(302 comments)posted 10 months ago

Good article- race over. Kitchens supporters have really ruined what could have been very interesting.

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5Kernaloftruth(86 comments)posted 10 months ago

Simon tells half the story by either ignorance or design. Another propaganda peddler, just what the city of Youngstown needs.

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6kurtw(846 comments)posted 10 months ago

Politics in Mahoning County remind me of walking into a neighborhood thrift store and expecting to find some real bargains- except every item you pick up is defective or damaged in some way- some are mildewed, others look as if they'd been gnawed upon by rodents, some look like they'd been stored in a damp basement and fungoid, others smell of rot and some look so damn shoddy that they could never have been any good in the first place.

So, you walk out in disgust and head over to Walmart. Maybe, maybe that's what we voters should do- start shopping around for some better candidates

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7endthismess(307 comments)posted 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Kitchen...deys all a switchen...so leave da kitchen.

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8nonchalant(12 comments)posted 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Quitch ya beechen and vote fer DEMAIN KEECHEN!

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9JS(626 comments)posted 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Don't worry about the ladies snitchen. Vote for DeMaine Kitchen!

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10L0L(648 comments)posted 9 months, 3 weeks ago

its always a black thing.....when will that stop being used?

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11Askmeificare(700 comments)posted 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I am of the opinion that Kitchen would have won the election, but his good intentioned black friends ruined his chances -starting with the complaining of David Betras.

Some folks may want to think about what card(s) were played to play the race card.

And make no mistake -the race card is what WON the election, but not for Kitchen, but for McNally.

I say well played Democrats. I am proud to be on your team.

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