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« Stirfry

Contemplating the general election

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)


Published November 17, 2005

In Youngstown:

Mayor-elect Jay Williams, whose historic win last Tuesday has attracted the attention of the statewide media and will probably become part of a national story, is proving to have surprisingly good political instincts, even though he's a novice. Word has it that Williams will appoint a screening committee to review applications for the top jobs in his administration.

Such a committee would ease the anxieties of those who wonder whether Williams, who ran as an independent, had to sell his soul to defeat state Sen. Robert F. Hagan, the Democratic nominee and a veteran politico. It would also serve as proof of his desire to open government up to public scrutiny.

The panel, which would consist of labor and business representatives and community leaders, would ensure that Williams finds the best and the brightest individuals for important cabinet positions.

In Girard ...

The defeat of the .25 percent income tax increase that would have generated abut $400,000 for the police department prompts this question: Is Mayor James Melfi's traffic camera surveillance to blame for voter backlash?

Melfi insists that the camera, which has nabbed more than 600 speeders in Girard, is popular with business owners and residents who have long complained about the speed limit on Route 422 being ignored. However, those who have received citations and have had to pay the $85 fine contend that Melfi has merely found a way to bolster the city's treasury.

Girard is under state-mandated fiscal emergency and its finances are being controlled by a state fiscal commission. The mayor is right when he says that drivers who obey the speed limit have nothing to worry about, but not everyone buys his argument. Indeed, a class action lawsuit against the company that operates the camera and city government is being contemplated by Atty. David Betras of Boardman. Betras, who has redefined the concept of "ambulance chaser," intends to turn this case into a national battle. Should be interesting to watch.

In Boardman ...

Atty. Robyn Gallittto's election as a trustee gives hope to all who have wondered if Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gains' narrow view of township government is based on the correct reading of the law. As one of the first acts, Gallitto should review Gains' ridiculous assertion that a trustee is not permitted to attend labor negotiations.

She should also look at an opinion rendered by the prosecutor's office that seemed to suggest that the trustees can only act as a a unit and, therefore, each of the three has virtually no power.

And finally, Gallitto and Trustee Kathy Miller, who won re-election to a second four-year term Gallitto defeated Trustee Thomas Castello should invite the state attorney general's office to conduct a seminar in the township administration building on Ohio's open meetings and public records laws.

With Costello's defeat, Trustee Elaine Mancini, who has been a thorn in Miller's side, has been neutralized.


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