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Youngstown mayoral debate turns personal

Published: Fri, September 20, 2013 @ 12:01 a.m.


Youngstown mayoral candidates Demaine Kitchen and John McNally trade verbal jabs during Thursday night's debate at the Davis Center in Fellows Riverside Gardens.


Mayoral hopeful John Crea participated in the debate after being released from the county jail only hours earlier.

RELATED: • Kitchen says his financial issues are resolved

• Youngstown mayoral candidate was in jail since Aug. 30




The Youngstown mayoral debate between three of the candidates was largely civil until the discussion turned to Democrat John McNally IV’s indictment, dismissed two years ago, on political corruption charges.

In response to a question about the candidates’ criminal or civil issues, DeMaine Kitchen, an independent candidate, said McNally had lied under oath, perjured himself and was accused of bribery.

When pressed further, Kitchen backed away ,saying he was only quoting from an article in The Vindicator about McNally.

The charges — related to McNally’s opposition to Mahoning County’s purchase of Oakhill Renaissance Center when he was a county commissioner — were dropped in July 2011.

That came at the request of special prosecutors who said their inability to obtain tape recordings held by the FBI supposedly related to the case made it impossible to proceed.

McNally has long maintained his innocence and continued to do so at Thursday’s debate at the D.D. and Velma Davis Education & Visitor Center at Mill Creek MetroParks’ Fellows Riverside Gardens, sponsored by the 7th Ward Citizens’ Coalition.

Kitchen’s delinquent tax issues and other financial problems were also discussed during the debate.

“A past-due bill versus an indictment” is “night and day” in its difference, Kitchen said.

He also said “those issues were before I was in office.”

But his issues go deeper than a past-due bill, and many of them occurred while he was a 2nd Ward councilman and the mayor’s chief of staff/secretary.

Among them are his failure until Thursday to pay $2,394.08 in delinquent property taxes on his home, and having to have his wages garnished in 2010 for $478.05 in unpaid income tax owed to the city.

“DeMaine has gotten past these issues, but they are still a concern,” McNally said.

John M. Crea, an independent candidate, also participated in the debate. Only hours earlier, he was released after three weeks from the county jail. He was found guilty Thursday of aggravated menacing and disorderly conduct.

“I came from county lock-up to here,” he said.

Kitchen and McNally touted their experience as being greater than their opponents.

Kitchen is a former councilman who’s served as chief of staff/secretary since August 2011. McNally spent seven years in the city law department, most as its director, and eight years as a county commissioner.

The three discussed issues such as demolition, the involvement of the mayor in education issues and the future of the Covelli Centre.

Also, county Democratic Party Chairman David Betras was visibly angered by the support of Kitchen by three party executive committee members — Councilwoman Annie Gillam, D-1st; her husband, Artis, a former councilman; and Councilman T.J. Rodgers.

Betras said he is removing the three from the committee today because of their support of Kitchen, and if any of them run for office, he would actively seek candidates to challenge them.

The county Democratic chairman appoints all executive committee members.

Betras also demanded the resignation of Jaladah Aslam as the party’s vice chairwoman of labor relations if she doesn’t endorse McNally. Aslam and Betras had a dispute last year when she supported a Republican judge over the Democratic-endorsed challenger.

While he doesn’t have the authority to remove her from the post, Betras said he would do so anyway, absent a public McNally endorsement, and “she can sue me. Enough’s enough.”

Reached by telephone by The Vindicator, Aslam, who lives in Austintown, said she has no plans to endorse McNally and at this point has no intention of supporting either McNally or Kitchen.

“If he’s going to be confrontational and demand everyone who supports DeMaine be kicked out of the party then he’s going to lose a lot of support in the African-American community,” Aslam said of Betras.


1endthismess(399 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Really.....why don't we postpone the election until everybody can locate a corner to go to while their heads are being removed from their own asses. STOP allllllll this BS. NOW....ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Behave all your assy selves and act like adults. Let the AA's support who they want..won't matter anyway..... and so what....no bullying here. GET IT.

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2michael1757(354 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

One got out of jail,forget him,the other two,one is supported by the 3 black's who previously held position's in city council,& he himself is black,& McNally's white,so it come's down to someone who doesn't pay their bill's,& more than likely only did so because he wanted to run for mayor,& McNally,who hasn't been proven to have done anything wrong,or,in my opiniion,had a lack of brain's power,but never proven to have done any wrongdoing.He win's! McNally's our new mayor.

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3Roger_Thornhill(905 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

This article should be headlined "Betras throws temper tantrum"

What a blowhard.

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4author50(1121 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Kitchen for better education... that's great since he doesn't pay his property taxes. Maybe he doesn't realize that property taxes fund the schools? Probably thinks the schools are funded like the debacle known as The Lemon Grove which he signed off on.

Crea just got out jail. That used to be a top notch endorsement in itself for holding elected office in Youngstown/Mahoning County. Wonder if he will get more votes than da Flick did?

McNally you left a life time position as County Commissioner to become king of this dung heap? Question your sanity.

Betras starts a race war. Guess he didn't learn a damn thing from the prosecutor's race. Also jealous that Crea got more press than he did.

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5DartmouthGuy(1 comment)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Is it any wonder why Youngstown is the way that it is? You have three mayoral candidates, one of which just got out of jail, one doesn't pay his property taxes, and the other was indicted on bribery charges. You cannot make this up.

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6DwightK(1370 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

So we looked around the city and this what we found? A guy who doesn't pay his tax bill until the eve of the election and a former county commissioner who won't be open and frank about why the federal government was investigating him. McNally needs to open up about the investigation because the charges could be re-filed during his term as mayor which could embarrass the city.

I guess the pickings are slim at the bottom of the barrel.

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7tadigiacomo(15 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

DwightK said: "...which could embarrass the city."

I don't know how the city can't already be embarrassed by this showcase of mayoral candidates. Youngstown is doomed...

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8kensgirl(765 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

And people wonder why Youngstown is on the top ten of The Bleakest Cities to Live in. What a shock. I haven't been this surprised since Traficant got in-twice!

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9NoBS(2215 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

How can this be a bleak place to live with comedy like this going on all around us??

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10jailbirds93(16 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

What a wonderful position we find ourselves in! It could also be viewed as a reflection of our city, and the fact that no one cares what happens to Youngstown.

But why, where are our community leaders? Why is there bad, worse and out of jail to choose from for the future leader of our city? It is a sad state of affairs in Youngstown and we deserve to be on that buzzfeed list.

Yesterday the local unions endorsed McNally. Do they really believe he is the man to bring new jobs and development to Youngstown? Now McNally is beholden to them and for what, 10% of the vote? Yes folks, unions represent only 10% of workers in Mahoning County (even less in the city). But the unions like to use perception instead of reality and force candidates to go before them for meaning less endorsements that give them pull with a candidate after they are elected. Did the unions ask McNally if he's still under investigation by the feds? They probably didn't want to go there, anyone wonder why?

Then we have the African American faction that is for Kitchen. The “leaders” of this community have been trying to force Betras to run a black candidate countywide since he became chairman. Here's some simple math, 85% of Mahoning County is white, the other 15% is a mix of minorities. Does this need further explanation? Jay Williams had the opportunity to move Youngstown in a new direction, instead he used the opportunity we gave him to help himself instead. Does anyone believe Kitchen will go after others to pays their tax bills when he doesn't himself? When the city runs out of money what happens then?

Youngstown needs dramatic change. A true leader that is willing to fight the status quo, clean up the neighborhoods, reform the schools, and be pro business needs to be found and elected. If we continue on the course we're on the city and region is doomed.

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11Westsider(243 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Please...the last intelligent forward seeing mayor in Youngstown was Pat Ungaro - and even he has fled the city for the suburbs. Who exactly should take on the Democratic Party stronghold on this city? Certainly it would never be a Republican - because to those who religiously vote every "D," they are pariahs who need to stay away from city government, regardless of their ideas, plans and strategies for the future. Which person within the Democratic Party who has not paid due deference to party chair Betras would be willing to spend their own money on a mayoral campaign, when if he doesn't like you would let you hang out to dry? At this point in its history, Youngstown has the candidates it deserves - none of whom will receive my vote.

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12southsidedave(5072 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

All in another day in YTown...stay tuned!

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13ricnsherri(41 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

I say we start a write in campaign for Phil Kidd.

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14peggygurney(406 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

God, how I wish Phil Kidd had run for Mayor.

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15author50(1121 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Just saw David Betras at Bed, Bath and Beyond. He was buying up the white sheets.

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16islandgrump(59 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

They all seem more the qualified to run Youngstown!! And thats why I live in Florida!!

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17Valleyviewer(1 comment)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

I BELIEVE in This Valley.....NOT!!

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18zentao70(4 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Why is it always the same? The majority of people complain about how terrible Youngstown is. The suburbs feel that they are exempt and want to deny affiliation/association with the City. News flash to Boardman, Austintown, Canfield etc - your communities are not without their imperfections and subjectivity to problems. Wake up people. Yes, politics, discrimination, racism, deception and on and on and on still prevail. Please note that the mention of discrimination and or racism is not a one way slant - it goes both ways. There are plenty of political "leaders" that proclaim unity and desire for the common good, but they are, in fact, a farce. Unfortunately, I do not believe that the prospective mayoral candidates will provide any change. It will be either the good ole boys or someone trying to prove a point (this will be revealed by the selection of heads of departments). This area has great potential; growth has occurred in unexpected ways. It is the attitude that holds us back. We. Are. Our. Own. Worst. Enemy.

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19handymandave(564 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

It just amazes me that the only candidates that want to run for the Mayor's position which pays over a hundred thousand a year are the two losers that are currently running. Obviously, because we live in dummocrat county the voters would never consider a republican at the helm of the city and would probably bring respect and dignity to the position of Mayor that hasn't been seen since Sammarone played with lincoln logs.

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