Wecome to Stirfry, Bertram de Souza's blog that aims to sizzle with political news and other information that hopefully will prompt reaction and interesting tidbits from readers to nourish the mind.
The name Stirfry for the blog was inspired by Chris Gray, executive chef from Calphalon Cookware, who cooked up a storm on Oct. 11 in Kaufmann's department store as part of the Fallstyle entertainment and shopping benefit. While Chef Gray stirfried vegetables to demonstrate the versatility of the flat-bottomed wok manufactured by Calphalon in its Toledo plant, people who stopped to sample his creations also indulged in some political chatter with this writer. And one of the main topics of conversation was the race for mayor of Youngstown.
Based on a purely unscientific survey of the many people who discussed the race, it is clear that Independent Jay Williams, the former city of Youngstown Community Development director, would win hands down if suburbanites were permitted to vote in the election. Williams appears to have struck a chord with his mastery of Youngstown 2010, the city's long-term planning blueprint.
People also expressed dismay over the decision by Bob Hagan, the Democratic nominee, not to participate in one-on-one debates with Williams and for insisting that the four other lesser candidates have equal time. They correctly sensed that Hagan is afraid of not only undermining his perceived front-runner status, but does not want the public to be able to weigh his knowledge of the city against Williams' strong command of the issues.
Hagan's refusal to appear in a debate on WYTV-Channel 33 with Williams and the Republican nominee, Robert Korchnak, raises the question of whether he has the intestinal fortitude to lead a city that has been defined by political backstabbing. The strong mayor form of government requires an individual who can stand up to the special interest groups in the community and to members of city council, who have an inflated sense of their importance.
Thus the question: If elected mayor, will Hagan flex the muscle that comes with the job, or will he wimp out?
Mayor George M. McKelvey, who is being term-limited out of office, certainly has an opinion on the debate issue. Perhaps McKelvey will make it public before the election.