Published July 16, 2006
"When you walk inside Overture and look out the window, you feel like you're in New York City at Rockefeller Center."
So said Claire Maluso, Youngstown's Federal Plaza director, about the new restaurant at Powers Auditorium on the West End.
What would have prompted such a ridiculous comparison? Perhaps Maluso had left her glasses at home the night of the Willie Nelson concert when she offered that gem to Vindicator writer Sarah Poulton. Or, her vision may have been blurred by the fumes from all the booze that flowed during the street parties.
But Maluso was serious and that's cause for concern. According to Poulton, the Federal Plaza director wasn't laughing or smirking when she made the statement. That's why the writer included it in her front page story. The comment struck Poulton as too ludicrous to ignore.
There's another possible explanation for Maluso's overstatement: She learned from the best former congressman and now federal prisoner James A. Traficant Jr. She was close to Traficant and was on his congressional payroll as an economic development specialist.
Whatever the reason, a silly comment from an individual whose job as a city employee is to be the cheerleader for downtown Youngstown makes the community look silly.
Youngstown does not need to become the butt of a joke on the Tonight Show.
New York City? Rockefeller Center? Get real, Claire.