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Local black leaders blast Dem Chairman Betras

Published: Wed, September 25, 2013 @ 12:09 a.m.

By David Skolnick



Local black leaders are strongly criticizing Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman David Betras for what they call “attacks and threats” against certain African-Americans.

“The Community Mobilization Coalition” is organizing a news conference for 5 p.m. today in front of the county board of elections “to express the African- American community’s outrage to the public embarrassment of our leaders and bully tactics used by [Betras] to force support and endorsement of the party candidate” for Youngstown mayor, according to a news release from the organization.

Among those speaking at the event are the heads of the Greater Warren-Youngstown Urban League, the NAACP’s Youngstown branch, the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance and the mobilization coalition along with the vice president of the Youngstown-Warren Black Caucus, Youngstown Clerk of Courts Sarah Brown-Clark and former city Councilman Artis Gillam Sr.

Because Gillam, his wife, Youngstown Councilwoman Annie Gillam, D-1st, and Councilman T.J. Rodgers, D-2nd, are supporting DeMaine Kitchen, an independent candidate for mayor, instead of John McNally IV, the winner of the Democratic primary, Betras removed them from the party’s executive committee.

Betras removed Artis Gillam Sr. as the city’s 1st Ward district leader.

Betras also demanded the resignation of Jaladah Aslam, the party’s vice chairwoman of labor relations, for not endorsing McNally. Betras doesn’t have the authority to remove Aslam from her post, but said he would do so anyway and said she could sue him to be reinstated.

Aslam told The Vindicator last week that Betras’ decisions would result in his “losing a lot of support in the African-American community.”

Betras said the decisions had nothing to do with race — all are black — and entirely because they are Democratic executive committee members who are openly supporting a challenger to the party’s candidate.

“I’m not bullying anybody,” Betras said. “This is not a black-and-white issue with me. It’s a Democratic and non-Democratic issue. This is not about race. I’ve done this in other elections,” removing white members of the party’s executive committee for supporting a candidate running against the Democratic nominee.

“I think David [Betras] is full of it,” Annie Gillam said. “He can have his [position] on the executive committee. It doesn’t bother me.”


1Roger_Thornhill(1063 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

What a jerk.

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2author50(1121 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

David Betras' replacement for Jaladah Aslam is Lester Maddox. David Betras' replacement for Annie Gillam is David Duke. David Betras' replacement for TJ Rodgers is Jimmie 'The Greek' Snyder. David Betras' replacement for Artis Gillam is George Wallace.

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3walter_sobchak(2672 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

I'm no fan of Betras but he is 100% correct in this situation. If these people want to be on Executive Committees of the Mahoning Co. Democratic Party, they took an oath to abide by their rules and bylaws. McNally, the creep he is, was the winner of the Democratic Party primary and, as such, is now to be supported by the forces of the party. All of these people should have resigned their seats if they want to support the tax-evader Kitchen. You can't have it both ways. But, I'm sure they are only supporting him because he has the correct "qualifications", in their eyes.

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4greene(167 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Blacks don't pay taxes, what is the matter with you?!

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5redvert(2238 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

"move the party and the community forward"!
Sounds good considering how well the community has done in the last fifty-sixty years under straight democratic rule!!!

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6TERRAPINST(320 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Plain and simple, the individuals who are the racists are Gillams, Rodgers, and Aslam. Qualifications have absolutely NOTHING to do with their choice of support BUT EVERYTHING to do with the color of the candidates. Again in a Sharptonesque move their using the race card. They want the benfits of the party but they want an independent to win? Doesn't work that way. Why is it racism wasn't the case when white party members were asked to resign my God some of them were Italian and everything.!!!!!!!

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7sikofthisbull(1 comment)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

So you all are mad that some of the black leaders of this city are not sucking up the hot mafia buttered mess your lay of for them...oh well. Maybe it's long overdue that we have our own party.

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8brntbarbour(18 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Valley politics......and one racist comment after another. All those not supporting the party candidate should have quit in support of the candidate they support. Of course, to support an independent may just split the vote and cause both the dems and independents to lose. Betras knows he cannot remove anyone. He's just blowing smoke. I think this is a wake up call for the community to organize better, get out the vote, and start affecting elections with real power. That is how you can be heard.

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9Silence_Dogood(1670 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

The race hustlers are alive and well in Youngstown. If you are a member of a party's power structure you are suppose to support your party's primary winners. But in Youngstown if that person is not the right COLOR you can support the independent because he is the same COLOR as you. So you see it has nothing to do with Party affiliation, but everything to do with COLOR. The only question is who are the REAL racists. My bet is the Greater Warren-Youngstown Urban League, the NAACP’s Youngstown branch, the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance and the mobilization coalition along with the vice president of the Youngstown-Warren Black Caucus, Youngstown Clerk of Courts Sarah Brown-Clark and former city Councilman Artis Gillam Sr.
It is fun to watch the Democrat party, the party that feeds off of race hustling, commit fratricide.

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10Silence_Dogood(1670 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

"Maybe it's long overdue that we have our own party."

That is a great idea. You can go to court and insist that 25% of all elected officials be Black. All you would have to do is declare that America is a full blown Racist society due to historical injustices and demand affirmative action representation be applied to all elections. So if Pat McRedface gets 55% of the vote and The Reverend Leon Black only gets 45% of the vote the courts will automatically give the good Reverend 15 bonus points and the good Reverend will win the election. Sounds fair to me. Go for it, after all " no justice, no peace".

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11Education_Voter(1153 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Exactly gdog! They don't seem to know what the game is, but they want to be on the EXECUTIVE Committee. Give me a break.

You don't lose the Democrat Primary, and then go run as a Republican or Independent. I hope Cecil Munroe wins his request to the Ohio Board of Elections to throw Kitchen off the ballot. http://www.vindy.com/news/2013/sep/21...

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12Minority_Voter(18 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

I have always be a loyal democrat, but I will not be disrespected by Mr. Betras. We must unite and together we can get the respect we deserve.

If Mr. Betras wont reinstate our brothers and sisters we must protest and send a clear message. All my brothers and sisters, unite and boycott Betras Kopp and Harshman.

Everyone join us and from now until eternity boycott Betras Kopp and Harshman, we must show the man he cant disrespect us, no he cant.

We must also boycott his wife Dr. Pam Barkett the dentist. If that dont send the message to show respect then we need to go to a higher power.

Mr. Betras reinstate or resign.

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13Silence_Dogood(1670 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

You BE a loyal Democrat?
Really, then why are you not towing the party line?
Is the MAN trying to keep you down by supporting the person chosen by the party?
Pray tell what higher power would you go to other then His Royal Lord and Highness David Betras, he is the highest Demagogue in all of Northeast Ohio.
Maybe you should bring in the Reverend Jackson and the Reverend Sharpton, now that would be bringing in some serious race baiters and hustlers.

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14lumper(301 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

where are all these black leaders during the nurses' strike ? should've served free food on the picket line and given away nail polish and hair gel.

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15Jerry(845 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

ROTFL at the enlightened and progressive party of FDR.

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16DSquared(1778 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

All of these moronic Liberals deserve each other. .Kind of like one big inbred family.

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17southsidedave(5189 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

I see that racism is still alive & well here in the post, and in in general...some things never change - unfortunately

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