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« Reason

Open arms for Traficant?!

By Tyler S. Clark (Contact)

Published March 10, 2009

I could talk about Rush Limbaugh and the GOP this week, but I won't. I could talk about the op-ed pieces I've been reading proclaiming the end of capitalism, but I won't. There are interesting and important events happening on the national scene, but I'm not going to waste my breath on them. Why?

Sunday's Vindicator reported that local Democratic Party chairpersons will welcome Traficant back "with open arms."

Trumbull County Democratic Party Chair Christ Michelakis: "I think he got railroaded. He was a good congressman, and he helped us a lot."

Columbiana County Democratic Chairman Dennis Johnson: "So many people have a lot of good memories of him. I think he’ll be well-received. He and I were friends for a long time."

We can disagree about the appropriateness of Traficant's sentencing. We can have opposing views on just how much Traficant accomplished for the community. But, if you think he was unfairly targeted on trumped up charges, you haven't begun to do your research.

Traficant was found guilty of no fewer than ten charges. He forced his own employees to give him kickbacks, for Pete's sake. He traded legislative favors for work on his boat and farm. That's not even to go into the entanglement with organized crime that should have gotten him locked up in 1982. He put on his underdog pose, threw some flashbombs to distract the jury and walked away.

Not chastened, he proceeded to piss all over the House of Representatives, where he served nine terms, progressively alienating everyone in power who might have been instrumental in really helping the Valley. He was too caught up in his own image and flamboyance to care how his constituents looked or fared as a result of his renegade representation.

This is not a victim. Let me say it again: Jim Traficant is not a victim. Traficant is a perpetrator, a thief, a felon. Until this Valley stands with one voice and says "no more" to corruption, we'll be unable to effectively rebut the mobtown stereotypes crafted by the hands of Traficant and every other politician who looked the other way to organized crime or actively traded pennies for power while their people cried out for help.


1bobhogue(102 comments)posted 7 years, 1 month ago

The comments from Tyler and Erplane are right on target.

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2commoncents(53 comments)posted 7 years, 1 month ago

Good work Tyler (and Erplane)! We all need to keep our local politicians and their fondness for Traficant in the news and in conversation. If we do, let's see how many survive the next election. The entire Valley is finally moving forward more progressively... one step at a time. In an time when most voters are waking up to the real corruptive cost of pay-to-play political favors, wasteful earmark programs, and influence peddling, the current political representatives of the Valley (both here and in Washington) seem to still follow the old paths. After we all suffer some more from a horrible recession, let's see if any of them learn to actually do something of true value and help build our region. If they don't, let's finally vote them out along with all their friends. We need to keep Traficant as our poster child of what was (and what our politicians are)... and should never be again.

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3cityguy(109 comments)posted 7 years, 1 month ago

The scary part is that these sentiments are coming from party leaders! Talk about clueless...

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4valleyred(1103 comments)posted 7 years, 1 month ago

I am not arguing that Traficant should have gone to jail, but to go to jail for SEVEN YEARS for this pathetic crime.

Gimme a break. They SCREWED him over Royally.

Rapists don't even get that long of a sentence.

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5tylersclark(182 comments)posted 7 years, 1 month ago

If that's so, maybe rapists should be jailed longer?

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6Tugboat(759 comments)posted 7 years, 1 month ago

A good public servant should never say these things, right?

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7ytownoptimist(86 comments)posted 7 years, 1 month ago

Yay, finally someone has succinctly verbalized what a growing majority feels about Traficant! Can the Valley really afford to sacrifice it's entire future for this man? Seriously! He has hurt our reputation & future enough by his deeds and misdeeds. Everyone knew he was guilty in 1982 but I guess he was this area's OJ. I thought everyone he paid for or who protected him was dead by now (by natural means or otherwise - wink, wink). I guess there are still a couple people in Trumbull and Columbiana counties. Let him pack up and move out there to be with these cronies and leave the Youngstown area alone. We don't want you, Traficant, anymore!

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8cityguy(109 comments)posted 7 years, 1 month ago

Tug, I read the posts and they were interesting, but what's the point? Even of he was right on all of the issues, (although it's pretty easy to be right when all you do is state the problem but offer no solution as those quotes suggest) he still broke the law repeatedly and while he has done his time and I wish him well, the fact that Democratic leaders welcome him back with "open arms" is pathetic.

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9valleyred(1103 comments)posted 7 years, 1 month ago

I have a feeling many are you are Democrats that supported Traficant before all this happened. After he ripped the Democrats and praised the Republicans in his final speech before Congress, you suddenly can't stand him.

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10henryviii1509(274 comments)posted 7 years, 1 month ago

I agree with clarkkent

Stupidity displayed by a public official should be considered a capital offense.

And none b-4 or since Jimbo have exemplified it to his degree

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11cityguy(109 comments)posted 7 years, 1 month ago

Actually, I didn't vote for nor support him valleyred--it was before my time, but I've read the accounts.

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12RalphWilliams(3 comments)posted 7 years, 1 month ago

even though people are entitled to their own opinions,


The good citizens of this Valley have turned a chapter.

We CANNOT look back.

mvred, don't drag us all down...

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13ytownoptimist(86 comments)posted 7 years, 1 month ago

Re: voting, the first time I ever voted for a Republican was for Lyle Williams against Traficant. I had just registered to vote. After that, I moved from the area & didn't vote for him. There is definitely a certain educational demographic that Traficant appeals to. However, if he would be so arrogant enough to try to run for office again, I think he would have quite the fight against him from an organized, vocal progressive group of Democrats. It's a new era of politics & anti-Traficant individuals can be just as bombastic, clever with the media & aggressive as he tends to be. Just what the Mahoning Valley needs when he's released, another negative media blitz "From the #3 most dying city in the U.S., comes home James Traficant a symbol of decay like the rusted steel mills you can see here . . . " I could easily foresee the copy the news media will utilize. How could they resist?

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14ochi56(30 comments)posted 7 years, 1 month ago

Tyler, buddy, glad to see you got your own story/article in the 'Fishwrap'. As I told you before; keep your 'pie-hole' shut about about JT's character. Although, the last two paragraphs are interesting, I'll keep a copy of it and we'll be able to discuss/debate their content at greater lenghts. Maybe, Jimbo would be the moderator.
Comments to all the Republican comments: w/apologies to valleyred; maybe your Independent like me.
'cityguy' --- Told you before stop drinking that 'Kool-Aid' !
'TheLostPatrol' --- Still have not found you Lost-Mind haveyou?
'tylersclark' --- It's crass to comment on your own article !
To all others; I want to give you some words of wisdom from James Madison: "A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power wich knowledge gives." (This pertains to the Vindicator, more than its readers.)
And from John Adams: "Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right ... and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean of the characters and conduct of their rulers. (If you get to know JT, many people are going to be surprised.)

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15cityguy(109 comments)posted 7 years, 1 month ago

I like Kool-Ade it's good. And for the record, it is totally appropriate for Tyler to comment--its called a blog and that's how it works--its supposed to foster dialogue between readers and between the blogger and readers.

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16tylersclark(182 comments)posted 7 years, 1 month ago

ochi56, I'd love to talk to you sometime about the trials. I've read transcripts, but I'd appreciate your insight on what it was like in the courtroom. Can you contact me please? blog@tylersclark.com Thank you.

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17gmann415(268 comments)posted 7 years, 1 month ago

Trafficant is a GRRRRRRR88888888 guy. he has done so much to help the youngstown area. take the youngstown airport, he kept that open. or how bout the chevy centre. he fought long and hard for this. it wasnt until he went to prison that it was built. only because someone else wanted to take credit for his fight. it should be called the trafficant centre. and to those of you who enjoy watching the plays and fights and other sporting events you can all thank him. thank you jim. beam me up

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18valleyred(1103 comments)posted 6 years, 7 months ago

Columbiana County Leaders:
GOP: Dave Johnson
DEM: Dennis Johnson

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19buzz2013(4 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

Traficant is a bum. enough said

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