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Dem chair demands a coronation

Published: Sun, November 10, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

It didn’t take long for Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman David Betras to nudge John A. McNally IV out of the political spotlight Tuesday night. As McNally was reveling in his victory — an unimpressive one, at that — in the contentious race for mayor of Youngstown, it was Betras who was in contact with this writer — via texts — to make sure his role in the win wasn’t overlooked.

“U and binning [Dr. William Binning, long-time politico and former chairman of the Mahoning County Republican Party] can go [expletive] urselfs the party is stronger than ever. Ha.”

“U better eat some crow on Sunday”

“Don’t tell me that I’ve not brought this party back to its glory. I may just give it to them [his political enemies who, he says, are planning his ouster] so they can [expletive] it up.”

“U and binning said party didn’t matter. Watch my lips. U were WRONG AGAIN.”

“Outside of jay (Jay Williams, former mayor of Youngstown who ran in 2005 as an independent and won) we have won every race.”

“Of course it pains u to give any credit.”

Political king

So, Betras wants to be crowned political king of the Mahoning Valley. But before we shower him with confetti and call him “Your Highness,” let’s examine what occurred in the mayor’s race in Youngstown.

In the May primary, with McNally, former county commissioner and city law director, bearing the endorsement of the Democratic Party, the race should have been a blowout. Instead, challenger Jamael Tito Brown, president of council, came within 142 votes of scoring a major political upset.

In addition, the turnout at the polls was so low, voters could have gathered in a telephone booth (readers of a certain age will remember what that is).

McNally was left alone to mumble his way out of his poor showing; Betras certainly wasn’t taking any credit for the outcome of the primary.

One of the main responsibilities of a political party is to turn out the vote.

McNally, the Democratic nominee. conceded that he dropped the ball as far as getting party faithful to the polls. He made it clear that the general election campaign would be different. Nothing would be left to chance.

Betras now says the Democratic Party provided McNally with an array of political tools to not only identify likely voters, but to ensure that they showed up Nov. 5.

In addition, McNally’s fund-raising effort went into high gear, and before the election, it was reported that he had more than $100,000 to spend. By contrast, the five other candidates in the general election race had chump change.

Even the top challenger, DeMaine Kitchen, who was running as an independent and had taken a leave of absence from his job as chief of staff to Mayor Charles Sammarone, was not able to break the $100,000 mark.

McNally, with strong political winds to his back, was speeding toward the finish line when the chairman of the Democratic Party sucked the air out of the race by removing two black central committee members because they were supporting Kitchen, who is black, and not McNally, who is white.

Racial tension

The racial tension that emanated from the justifiable action by Betras was thick enough to cut with a knife.

Then came an allegation of sexual harassment made by a white female employee of the city against Kitchen, and the racial divide in the race for mayor grew so large that both candidates gave up any pretense of trying to win support in all of the seven wards.

Against that backdrop, voters went to the polls — and once again the turnout was so low it overshadowed McNally’s victory as the focus of the story.

When only 10,651 of the 42,864 registered voters in the city show up for the most important election in Youngstown, there’s only one conclusion that can be drawn: The Mahoning County Democratic Party once again failed in its primary responsibility.

But that wasn’t the worst of it: While McNally received 5,803 votes and Kitchen, 4,583 , Sammarone, in his bid for council president, received 7,062.

To add insult to this political injury, Sammarone didn’t even campaign. He did run some ads in The Vindicator. He also received the paper’s endorsement.

The Vindicator did not endorse in the mayor’s race.

So, if Betras insists on having a political coronation, he can dine on the crow that he thinks this writer should eat.


1kurtw(1821 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Betras says "the party", by which he really means "his party" is "stronger" than ever- but that's a meaningless description considering the fact he has no opposition- there's no viable alternative in the Mahoning Valley to the Democrat Machine and until that changes, nothing will change around here: the same cronyism and corruption year in and year out will continue.

You can't really have a healthy political system without competition between opposing viewpoints- two parties- and that we lack. What we have around here is the Democrat Machine running things, on the one hand, and increasing apathy on the part of a growing number of voters disgusted by what they see but with nowhere to turn- as a viable alternative- accounting for the low turnouts.

P.S. Dave Betras is a joke- even laughed at by many of his supporters. I always had the feeling about him that he wasn't a very good ambulance chaser and that's when he discovered his "real" mission to be a politician. At least, old Don Hanni, crooked as he was was a really smart lawyer. I don't think many people laughed at him during the time he ran the party. I think he was generally (furtively or openly) admired as a clever old crook and he had a good sense of humor- he made excellent jokes- he was anything but a pompous ass.

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2kurtw(1821 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Unless we replace single party machine politics with a healthy two party system bringing in a new chairman won't matter at all- it'll still be "business as usual" in the Mahoning Valley.

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3author50(1121 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

"When the legend exceeds the truth - print the legend!"

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4lovethiscity(169 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Say what you want about Betras... he keeps me entertained.

I can't stop laughing the moment he opens his mouth.

Please..keep those cameras rolling!

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5Integris(2 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Mr. Betras must have forgotten the Party's loss to Gains in the 2012 Prosecutor's race.

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6questionreality(734 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Could we now print what Mr. de Souza sent to Atty. Betras during this banter?

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7Minority_Voter(18 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Devil Dog Betras shows us no respect, never has, never will.

My brothers and sisters we must unite against the man and remove him from our party. We CAN take this man down and build a party that unites ALL of the people.

In Devil Dogs own words, “Don’t tell me that I’ve not brought this party back to its glory. I may just give it to them [his political enemies who, he says, are planning his ouster] so they can [expletive] it up.”

No sir, we won't f it up, we also won't fix elections, we won't "act" like we care about all of the people, and finally we won't ever let a fake, liar, and publicity hound like you ever be our chairman again. Count on that Mr. Betras.

My brothers and sisters, please boycott the Betras law firm and his wife's dental office, Dr. Pam Barkett. This man must be taught a lesson and the best way to do that is through a boycott of his business.

God Bless, the fight continues!

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8papa1(711 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

pam, does dave kiss you with that potty mouth? read him a bedtime story like, "how to win friends and influence people.

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9TERRAPINST(321 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Bertram de Souza would publish his mother's dying words from her deathbed if he felt it would alleviate his having to "work" on a pertinent story. Betras should have known that the only "off the record" to Bertie is silence. While Betras had to be nuts to text this guy, it just shows the caliber of journalist this guy is-truly dogsh--.

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10belmont_envelopes(6 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Remember folks, it's not the reports filed at the board of elections, but the envelopes from belmont avenue that count.

Cafaro Co. would pay any price.

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11TERRAPINST(321 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

valley!!!!! What a super sleuth you are-not even close but keep guessing. laughed sooooooo hard at that guess. Again, think again Im actually a raging registered Republican ya know the unindicted party of Mahoning County! Hated Strickland, Hate Redfern love Kasich- the guy Fitzgerald is gonna get slaughtered by. Christie for President!!!!

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12TERRAPINST(321 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

By the way Oz, I mean Valleypolitics, you we all kow why you hate Dave Betras. He fired you right?

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13Vote_Oz(15 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

I would like to clear the air for those paying attention to this nonsense.

I don’t know who valleypolitics or TERRAPINST is and I don’t care, nor do I care to be involved in whatever is going on here with these ridiculous comments.

In May, 2012, Attorney Betras sent a statement to all of the media in town making it clear that he and I "buried the hatchet" and I resent others trying to create animosity between us. I was not fired and I have the texts and emails to prove it.

I can assure everyone that if I post any comments here I put my name to those comments.

Finally, I would like Mr. Brown or anyone at the Vindicator to explain what purpose or benefit these comments provide the community.

Richard Oz Ouzounian

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14TERRAPINST(321 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Classy move Oz-withdraw the comments-rumor mills breed poor behavior. Apologize for the poor deduction.

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15uptowngirl(139 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Betras and Biden the dream ticket!

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16jmagaratz(189 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Bertram....the goal is WIN!

Pretty does not count! WIN DOES!

Winning is not everything....it is the ONLY thing---V Lombardi!

The categories are WIN or LOSE! Betras is the WINNER!

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17Minority_Voter(18 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Devil Dog Betras showed us he is racist.

His candidate for county prosecutor Jay Macejko admitted racist.

Carol Rimedio-Righetti the Queen of Mean has been overheard using the N word at bars in public.

Brothers and Sisters this is not our Democratic party anymore, we must rise up against the Devil Dog Betras.

Protest and boycott his business, no more Betras!

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18papa1(711 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

hey terrapinst, Hillary Clinton beats Christie by 10 points or more in every poll, including the one in new jersey! keep dreaming. Christie is a phony and if he doesn't lose weight people will balk at voting for him for fear his health will fail. he's a bully who tells people at town halls to shut up and calls them stupid. he fired 6,000 school teachers and broke their union. he gave tax breaks to the rich and raised them on the rest. he's also pro choice so he better start throwing out the lies just like the rest of the repubs do now. the teabagger whackos will never accept him. it will take decades for repubs to take the white house. and what's even worse terrapinst, the dems will take back the house in '14. look out then terrapinst because all kinds of people are going to get help, black, brown, white, everyone. and we know how much you repubs HATE making peoples lives easier. and Hilary won't take the b.s. that Obama did. sorry to ruin your day.

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19CS43(23 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

LOL at this whole story
Who writes Texts like that knowing they are going to end up in the paper

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202muchtax(897 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Berta's is a major DB!

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