It’s off to the races in Youngstown

On the side

Is Ryan playing politics? There’s an argument to be made that U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-13th, publicly changed his view on abortion from pro-life to pro-choice for political purposes.

He is considering a run next year for the U.S. Senate, and those upset with Congressman Ryan’s decision say it’s politically motivated.

But if you look at Ryan’s voting record over the years, it becomes obvious he’s been pro-choice for years. His recent statement just reflects his votes.

Also, a Democrat doesn’t have to be pro-choice to fire up the party’s base — and this assumes Ryan of Howland actually runs for the Senate.

Democrat Ted Strickland was elected governor in 2006 with a voting record that leaned toward pro-life. Strickland received only a 30 percent voting record in Congress from NARAL Pro-Choice America, the nation’s leading pro-choice political lobbying organization.

Expect a flood of Youngs-town City Council candidates — primarily in the 5th, 6th and 7th Wards — to file early next week.

Wednesday is the filing deadline for the May 5 primary.

Those three city council seats are vacant after this year because of Youngstown’s term-limits law.

I don’t anticipate any Republicans filing for Youngstown council seats. But if they do, it’s highly unlikely that there would be a Republican primary.

In the 5th Ward, Lauren McNally is a definite candidate with former Councilman Michael Rapovy, Kevin E.J. Salata and Michael Santisi expected to file for the Democratic primary.

Rapovy and Salata lost the primary for the 5th Ward council seat to incumbent Paul Drennen in 2011. Santisi was a candidate in 2007, but withdrew before the primary.

In the 6th Ward, Christine Silvestri has already filed. Others planning to run in the Democratic primary include retired Youngstown police officer Anita Davis; Victoria Allen, head of her neighborhood’s block watch and a former park and recreation commission member; Jackie Spann-Menton, a Democratic precinct committee member; and Dario Hunter.

Hunter used to practice international environmental law in Israel, and became a rabbi a few years ago through an online program.

In the 7th Ward, Holly Lynn Hanni filed Thursday for the Democratic primary.

Chris Travers, who lost the council president’s race two years ago, said he’s filing Monday.

Also planning to run in the 7th Ward Democratic primary are Michael E. O’Hara, a Democratic precinct committee member who has lost multiple elections; John Vivo, a precinct committee member and former county Democratic Party secretary; and Basia Adamczak, a precinct committee woman.

Because of the crowded field, Joe Rafidi, a former lawyer, won’t run in the 7th Ward Democratic primary as he originally planned. Instead, he’ll run as an independent in the November general election.

Also, Lauren Johnson is likely to run in the 7th as an independent.

It doesn’t appear that Councilmen T.J. Rodgers, D-2nd, and Mike Ray, D-4th, will face primary challenges.

The open 1st Ward Democratic primary has two potential candidates at this time: Mike Write, a former Youngstown school board president, and Julius Oliver, owner of Kingly Hand Wash & Wax.

Councilman Nate Pinkard, D-3rd, filed for re-election Thursday. He is likely to be the only incumbent with a primary opponent. Rick Alli, a former city police officer, is expected to file.

In Struthers, the Democratic mayoral primary will pit Ronald A. Carcelli, a school board member and former city street department foreman, who’s already filed, against Danny Thomas Jr., a former council president and 1st Ward councilman.

John P. Sveda, a former councilman and safety-service director, filed Thursday to run as an independent for mayor.

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