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Focus on race in election for mayor disheartening

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Focus on race in election for mayor disheartening

For all 47 years of my life, I have been involved in elections. Not as a poll worker wearing a sticker, but as a son and eventually a candidate myself. The recent Youngstown mayoral race has had me digesting Vindicator articles and editorials, local radio shows and television coverage. It is disheartening to say the least.

At a time when our country just experienced the worst racial and social-economic election of my time, to make this May election’s results such a lightning rod issue is not needed.

The elections in Youngstown have 90 percent of the time been decided by race and even ethnic divide. Italians voted for an Italian, Irish voted for Irish and minorities for a minority candidate. I was blessed to experience elections in the 1980s and 1990s when my father was able to break down those racial barriers (30,000 to 50,000 votes being cast). It was not because we went to the minority churches every four years during election time; rather it was because we were enmeshed in it. We lived and breathed it, coached in it and felt it.

Now fast forward to 2013. Both Mr. McNally and Mr. Brown worked extremely hard and the votes were cast down racial lines. McNally won by 100+ votes. 2017, same work ethic from two qualified candidates, and Mr. Brown wins. In both elections, I knew many white citizens who worked for Mr. Brown and a number of minorities who worked for Mr. McNally.

In an age where only 19 percent vote (8,000 votes were cast in the city) and the last election was won by only 100+ votes, anything can happen. Both candidates worked extremely hard in both races, and the results were flipped.

I often associate life and elections to football games. In this case you had two well prepared teams. In week 1 the results were 21-20 and in week 10 the outcome was 17-20. Both games were hard fought and down to the wire.

Good luck to both men and their families going forward.

Eric C. Ungaro, Poland

Eric Ungaro is the son of former Youngstown mayor and councilman Patrick J. Ungaro. He is a Poland Township trustee. Patrick Ungaro is Liberty Township administrator.

Father of opioid victim supports use of Narcan

It seems most folks have an opinion as to whether Narcan serves a useful purpose. Narcan and its generic equivalent, Naloxone, are the life-saving medications administered to opioid abusers to bring them back from overdoses from substances such as heroin, fentanyl and morphine.

One school of thought seems to think that the addicted have a choice of their habit and how they “live” with it. If they are in trouble, it is their own fault. Don’t administer, readminister Narcan to them.

Save the government time and money, and send the paramedics on calls that really count: people having strokes or those involved in accidents.

Then there is the other group of people that believes addiction is a mental illness and the problem cannot be addressed if we just let the addicts die from overdose. We must first save them to have any chance of saving them.

I used to think, too bad; let them die. They chose the actions; they deal with the consequences. My attitude changed radically when I had some “skin” in the game. My son, Robert, died at 33 last June from the long-term effects of addiction to opioids, among others fentanyl and oxycodone, and that old stand-by starter kit for teens, grass and alcohol. Combine that with a general neglect of his health and nutrition and it is no surprise he died from a huge coronary, a widow-maker. All of those substances were on board according to toxicology reports but none at a lethal level.

Naloxone would have probably done little to resurrect his lifeless body.

The reality of the shock quickly enrolled me in the school that says addiction is a mental illness, a disease, a defect. What is my point, you ask. My son was living on the streets or where ever he could flop. I was not sure if he were on heroin or not: I guess it really makes no difference.

I did know he was an addict and alcoholic from around the ages of about 16 to 33 while he lived with me and my late wife. When you live with a hard core addict, you become an addict by association; it’s that earth-shaking to the family. It is pernicious; because we never “did” his drugs: but we were forced to do the consequences of his drugs, every day, sometime hour by hour or minute by minute.

About three months prior to his death (long drawn-out suicide), I took training in administering Narcan to those suspected of overdosing from opioids. I am so thankful for the church that sponsored it and the Warren Health Department that instructed and underwrote the cost.

I never had to administer the Narcan to my son. I do have the kit in my car and the knowledge to use it. Rest assured, God forbid, if I come across your son or daughter or loved one in the death throes of an opioid overdose, if I can, I am going to try to revive them with Narcan. If you are there at the time, will you tell me not to waste that stuff on an addict? Will you tell the paramedics to move on to a more serious call and save the life of someone else who really matters? I think not.

I pray God spares you from this hell.

Dennis Beck, Liberty

Exploitation remains alive and well in Youngstown

If one had thought the departure of the steel industry signaled the end of taxpayer exploitation, it remained to see how eagerly the vultures ravened on the garbage pile left behind. Now it seems time out of mind since we weren’t a Cafaro subsidiary, “Cafaroville’, as it were. I know, as the poet says, “Man never is, but always to be blessed,” yet hope springs eternal that with the departure of the latest flunky, there yet exists the possibility of becoming a community of, by, and for its people.

But to this end we need to see the back of not only Youngstown Mayor John McNally, but Finance Director David Bozanich and Community Development Agency Director Bill D’Avignon, along with their pet practice of raiding the Youngstown Waste Water Treatment capital fund.

The city must join the class-action against it and begin to repay the monies. The umbilical between the city and the New York Property Group et al. has to be cut, and the whole downtown Potemkin Village “city planning’”concept, ash-canned in favor of a dignified realism – until such time arrives when we have a city planner with an actual idea.

And finally, please! Do not compound the tacky Traficant sportzplast with a tacky amphitheater. Pandering to adolescent sensibilities, even if commercially beneficial, does not promote civic virtue. If we have a future, it must be “green”. Make Youngstown green again, and return the Mahoning from a sewer to a river.

Bob Scheetz, Youngstown

Online education is best choice for some students

This letter is in response to the rush to judgment by Judge Gary Tyack in Columbus concerning the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow and school choice. As a traditional classroom teacher for 20 years and then at ECOT, I feel the need and responsibility to weigh in on the subject.

Unless one has worked in the classroom, traditional or online, one has little to no knowledge of what takes places with teaching and learning. As a brick and mortar classroom teacher, I know the struggles, both academic and emotional, that many of my students faced. The traditional classroom is the right choice for most students, but ECOT has been the solution to the tens of thousands of Ohio students who were not finding academic success in the traditional setting due to bullying, pregnancy, health issues, anxiety, depression and countless other learning barriers.

Research tells us that all children do not learn the same. Research also tells us that seat time does not equate to mastery learning. Judge Tyack, please ask yourself what is best for the children? It is amazing to me that those who oppose online education never address what is right for children and how to meet the needs of all learners.

Ann Hanka, East Liverpool