By Todd Franko (Contact)
Published November 13, 2008
Thursday’s edition of The Vindicator
OK, I guess it would be proper for me to say that every day is "fascinating." That would make Thursday "especially fascinating."
Three dynamic events are in the newspaper that are evolving before us and stand, in some ways, to define careers, and in many, many ways, to define the Valley. And each has its own unique makeup that makes for unique reality TV on our very news pages.
The first item is Capri Cafaro’s ascension to the top minority seat in the Ohio Senate.
She first took her seat under a cloud of mumbling related to her skill and her father’s pocketbook. Add her youth to her six-a-day habit of Mountain Dews, and she seemed more ready for the halls of Nickelodeon than the halls of the statehouse. Mix all of that with her always-on demeanor that would make her a perfect sister to home makeover guru Ty Pennington, and you had no idea what to expect.
But here she is, two years later, an election win under her belt, and keeper of the No. 1 Democratic seat in the Senate.
I actually enjoyed the few times I’ve been able to hear her positions. Afterward, I thought that the early criticism missed the point. She’s done well so far, and has earned a pretty good promotion.
The second item of interest is Bruce Zoldan finally getting his chance this weekend to call the Chevy Centre home for his hockey business.
The marriage has been a long time in the works and has overcome several rough patches in recent years. He was on the original steering committee for the facility. That committee was dumped by the city. Zoldan had a second dance at the Chevy when he partnered last winter with a management group to try and run the Chevy. That group lost out to a competitor, leaving Zoldan out, again.
A third pass came this summer when McDonald’s operator and hockey team owner Herb Washington was ousted from his professional hockey league. He quickly went from a hockey team owner without a league to one without a team.
To plug the gap left by Washington, Zoldan and his Phantoms hockey club were offered a one-year deal to fill the Chevy Center's ice slots (next year — and beyond — is a work in progress, with Washington, Zoldan and others in the mix).
But with hockey now his at the Chevy, Zoldan will have to work hard to avoid a bout of “Be careful what you wish for because it may surely happen.”
In Thursday’s Vindy
, he’s honest in noting that Valley residents have until January to show if they want hockey down at the Chevy.
There’s truth to that. But he, too, has until January to show what piece of the hockey pie he wants.
It’s a pie he’s been wanting to bite out of for four years or so. To say “no hockey at the Chevy” is not necessarily to say “no Chevy exists at all.” But hockey is a vital tenant and can make life a lot easier at the Chevy — or whatever it will be called in the next month.
Zoldan’s Phantoms get their start this weekend.
The third item, and without question the most crucial, is the future of GM, which also means the future of Lordstown, and in many ways, our Valley.
It’s been a head-spinning week or so since GM announced the money it was bleeding. GM will simply run out of cash to operate before the end of Zoldan’s hockey season — assuming there’s no change in the economy or Congress does not step in with a life preserver.
The reality is: The rest of America is not as easily sold on preserving the Big Three as we are in the Midwest. Saving an industry that many will argue sank itself is not an easy sell in Congress.
The tales we’ve heard for years about fat checks for easy work are tales all of America has heard. We know those tales are not entirely true. But we also know they are not entirely false.
One could never have imagined America without Ford or GM. But in the last few days, the number of leaders pushing aside pride for pragmatism has grown.
“If you’re to bail out auto, where do you stop?” has been asked by many.
That debate that will engulf America will certainly make us shiver harder than a combined winter blast off the Great Lakes and the Great Plains.