Published January 26, 2006
Congressman-turned-federal inmate James A. Traficant Jr. was featured in a "Nightline" segment on the ABC Television network this week and it didn't do the Mahoning Valley proud.
The topic was Traficant's artistic endeavor while in federal prison and the fact that the paintings (the word used loosely) were put up for sale on eBay. And there was a snide reference (what other kind of reference can be made about this crooked politician?) to his hairpiece.
All that brings us to this question: Does the continued national attention paid to Traficant hurt the Mahoning Valley, or is he someone who deserves our support?
The question will be answered in a debate that Vindy.com is sponsoring on Feb. 25, a Saturday, at 10 a.m. The location is still to be determined and will be announced.
The success of last Saturday's debate on the constitutionality of the Girard traffic camera led this writer and Vindy.com staff to conclude that the people of the Valley are hungry for such public gabfests.
One of the reasons for the success was the fact that there were more than 100 comments posted on this blog in response to three entries regarding Atty. David Betras' lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the cameras. The more people expressed their views, the more the issue prompted serious thought.
Thus, with "Traficant: Saint or Sinner?" posting are welcomed and encouraged. They will not only provide some guidance as to the issues that would be important to address in the debate, but will help determine whether there is someone out there who could make a persuasive case for (pro) Traficant.
An individual whose identity will be revealed in the not too distant future has agreed to carry the anti-Traficant position.
The posters can remainn anonymous, if they choose, but if there is one who stands out, the head of Vindy.com will contact him or her to discuss participation in the debate.
Your comments, observations and even criticisms (of this writer and other Traficant critics) are encouraged.