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The Mahoning Democratic Party knowingly violated a state and national parties’ mandate

Published: Tue, June 10, 2014 @ 12:05 a.m.

By David Skolnick



The Mahoning County Democratic Party knowingly violated state and national parties' mandates that its chairman and vice chairman must be of opposite genders, said an Ohio Democratic official.

“It’s been a rule for a while, and we gave every county party a four-year window” to comply, said Bill DeMora, Ohio Democratic Party secretary. “This reorganizational meeting [Saturday] was the deadline to do so. Mahoning County Democrats are in noncompliance.”

The party re-elected David Betras as its chairman for four more years Saturday. The party also elected Ron Massullo as its executive vice chairman. There were three candidates, all men, in each race.

“They’ll have to elect a female as vice chairman,” DeMora said.

In a May 5 letter to county chairmen, DeMora wrote: “Beginning with reorganization, all chairs/vice chairs MUST be of opposite gender. The ODP will not recognize and will remove any vice chair who is of the same gender as the chair. There will be no exceptions to this rule, which is mandated by the Democratic National Committee and the ODP constitution.”

DeMora said he’s busy helping with the state party’s dinner headlined by Bill Clinton on Friday. After that, his next priority is to meet with Betras and review the Mahoning County Democratic constitution to comply with state and national Democratic rules.

Also, DeMora said Mahoning Democrats are violating state and national rules with secret balloting, and that will come to an end.

Betras said Mahoning Democrats won’t move away from secret ballots — something it’s done for decades.

Betras brought the issue up about two years ago, acknowledging the rules violation, and it was rejected soundly by Democratic central and executive committees members.

“Secret ballots is going to be a huge problem,” he said. “Why pick fights on these issues?”

Betras added there is no way he’ll allow Massullo to be stripped of the position he won Saturday.

“We’re trying to get Democrats elected, and instead of spending money on candidates, [the ODP] wants me to spend it on precinct committee meetings,” Betras said.

Each committee meeting costs about $1,000, he said.

Betras said his plan is to create the position of executive vice chairwoman of women issues on an interim basis, and likely selecting Joyce Kale-Pesta, elected Saturday as party secretary and who also is director of the board of elections, for that spot.

If the chairman is a man, the successor would be the vice chairman of women issues, and if the party leader is a woman, the successor would be the executive vice president, he said.

“I think it will satisfy [the ODP] until I can remedy this,” Betras said.

When asked what will happen if the Mahoning Democrats refuse to make changes, DeMora said, “There are all kinds of penalties for noncompliance, but I don’t want to get into that now.”

The state party could not permit the county Democrats to use the ODP discount on mailing campaign information and not provide access to its computer-software system that gives detailed information on voters.

The loss of those two benefits, Betras said, is a great concern to him.

Meanwhile, Betras announced Monday the appointment of Kathryn Ann Miller of Austintown as the party’s executive director. She is a member of the party’s central and executive committees.

In the position, Miller is responsible for the day-to-day oversight and execution of party activities including staging events, working with local candidates, elected officials and the members of the central and executive committees, operating the party’s Hillman Way office in Boardman and serving as a liaison with the ODP, statewide and national campaigns and the Democratic National Committee.


1Joe6pack(52 comments)posted 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Another example of King Betras following his own rules and or the law.

Betras admits he was well aware of this situation and did nothing to comply with the rules of the state party of which he has sent tens of thousands of our dollars in order to "win" awards for himself.

All of the candidates should have been tossed and a female candidate(s) found before the election, not an appointment of Joyce Kale-Pesta (who is also being investigated like Betras).

The question for the investigators is when are you going to act? How much longer must we tolerate these people breaking the law, fixing elections and making backroom deals?

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2questionreality(229 comments)posted 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Mr. DeMora: Would a trans woman be acceptable?

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3JMHO(143 comments)posted 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Wait........the chairman and vice chairman must be opposite gender? Is this the same party that says marriage can be of the same gender?

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4ysuforever(56 comments)posted 2 months, 2 weeks ago

This article shows the importance of why King Betras needs to be the next ODP chair.He is a true maverick,the man who is the republicans greatest fear.Kasich loses sleep worrying about the possibility that Betras will become the strong leader that Ohio Dems dream about..His many awards have Dems throughout the state hoping that he can bring back the glory days of our party having the total control of state government that the Repubs now hold.The King is a old-time political boss who rules with an iron fist and we need that approach and the ODP threats are pure folly because Redfern knows that the King delivers big bucks.ODP doesn't want secret ballots because Redfern would be history if they did.Those of us in the Valley who know the King,know that we must soon give him up to all of Ohios Dems to make everyones future brighter in our State.

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5Silence_Dogood(1333 comments)posted 2 months, 2 weeks ago

What if one is a catcher and the other a pitcher, can they be on the same team then.

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6listener(107 comments)posted 2 months, 2 weeks ago

ysuforever, I mean David Betras, can you please stop posting about yourself. Nobody in the real world of politics is scared of you or in awe of you. As soon as you are indicted we will be rid of you and it can't happen fast enough. The King is dead, long live the King!

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7Silence_Dogood(1333 comments)posted 2 months, 2 weeks ago

So with Democrat laws like that it must prove they are not a bunch of sexists, right?
But shouldn't they go one step further, if one is white the other should be black. Oh wait, we forgot the asian's, I know we can have two vice chairs. But question reality brought up a good point, what about the transgenders, we can't forget about then. So we have a position for a man, a position for a woman, a position for a white person , a position for a black person, a position for a Asian person, and a position for a transgender person, let's see did we forget any body......
Oh yes we forgot the Native American, and how could we possibly have forgotten the Hispanics. It looks like we are going to need a few more positions.

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8Chessiedad(186 comments)posted 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Although I vehemently disagreed with his politics, one of the many things I admired about the former Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman Don Hanni was that he did have control of his party, with no infighting and he did things for the advancement of his party's goals, not for his own personal agenda, unlike the current party chair. I was told long ago, by a very wise man, that in the State of Ohio, in 87 counties, rules and laws are pretty much followed in a similar manner, and they are followed with exception in one County, and I'll let you fill in the blanks on which County that is! It's no wonder why this County will never shed it's reputation of corruption and shame.

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9walter_sobchak(1892 comments)posted 2 months, 2 weeks ago

I thought the same thing! Why stop at gender? Shouldn't there also be a black, an Hispanic, a Native American, AND a homosexual? (I'm not quite sure about a transexual that had an addadiktomy, though.)
Quotas! Gotta love 'em!

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10bgreene(139 comments)posted 2 months, 2 weeks ago

When James Watt (Sec. of the Interior under President Reagan) made his comment about the diverse makeup of a commission under his department's oversight: "We have every kind of mix you can have.......a black, a woman, two Jews, and a cripple." , the libs went crazy and Watt had to resign.

Under Betras the Mahoning Dems executive committee makeup might be something like:

1 media hog
1 Femi-Nazi
1 illegal alien
1 dis-barred lie...,I mean law-yer
1 un-named businessman with deep pockets
1 union boss with connections
1 jack-leg preacher with a big mouth

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11Minority_Voter(18 comments)posted 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Brothers and Sisters, the Devil Dog Betras is at it again. He makes up his own rules and leaves us out again. Lets have a woman of color in a leadership position! Devil Dog Betras got rid of our friend Mr. Carano for that racist pig Muzz, now let the dog take out his trash.

Until we get what we want BOYCOTT Betras, Kopp & Harshman, we need to squeeze the devil dog and the best way is to take cash out of his pocket. Stand united brothers and sisters!

God Bless and the fight continues!!!

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12mrblue(974 comments)posted 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Betras the Almighty, or so he thinks.

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