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Scenes from a Donald Trump event in Cleveland (video)
Supporters and protesters turned out Thursday for Donald Trump's speech at the Cleveland Arts & Social Sciences Academy charter school. Watch video CLEVELAND, Ohio - Supporters and protesters turned out Thursday for Donald Trump's speech at the Cleveland Arts & Social Sciences Academy charter school. Fans of the Republican nominee for president outnumbered the foes. Their encounter was mostly peaceful, but hardly polite. Most of those outside demonstrating against Trump were abortion-rights advocates who are upset with the New York businessman's shifty, but ultimately anti-abortion stance. One woman waiting to enter the school panned her cell phone camera around the crowd of protesters, calling out "murderer supporter" each time she landed on a new face. Another protester clashed with an attendee over Trump's ties to Russia. You can watch the video above. Trump was making his second visit to Northeast Ohio in four days. He and running mate Mike Pence met with several union leaders on Labor Day in Brook Park. They also stopped that afternoon at the Canfield Fair - Ohio's largest county fair - in suburban Youngstown. The speech at the school placed Trump a mile away from where his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, spoke on Labor Day - at the 11th Congressional District festival in Luke Easter Park.
1 points by The Plain Dealer | Democratic Party Youngstown Ohio George W. Bush Bill Clinton Hillary Rodham Clinton Ohio Donald Trump New York City
President Donald Trump to visit Trumbull County next week to sign bill
President Donald Trump is expected to sign a bill that reversed an Obama Administration rule intended to keep coal mines from dumping waste into streams. WASHINGTON, D.C. -- President Donald Trump will make one of his first presidential trips to Ohio on Thursday, where he plans to sign legislation and deliver a speech. The Vindicator of Youngstown reported that Trump will visit Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport in Trumbull County's Vienna to sign a bill that reversed an Obama Administration "Stream Protection Rule" intended to keep coal mines from dumping waste into streams. Congress overturns rule that blocked coal mines from discharging waste into streams  That legislation was sponsored by Marietta GOP Rep. Bill Johnson, who described the rule as "the centerpiece of the Obama Administration's War on Coal" and said it "would jeopardize thousands of coal jobs, and put a majority of our country's coal reserves off limits." Trump visited Ohio more than a dozen times during his presidential campaign. The state's voters backed him by a 51.7 percent margin, compared with a 43.6 percent tally for Democrat Hillary Clinton. Trump's first stop on a December "Thank You tour" to thank his campaign supporters was in Ohio. Trump's 'Thank you' tour gets off to raucous start in Cincinnati On the campaign trail, Trump said Clinton and Obama were engaged in a "War on Coal" and that he would "save the coal industry and other industries threatened by Hillary Clinton's extremist agenda."
638 points by The Plain Dealer | Youngstown Ohio Barack Obama Democratic Party Bill Clinton Hillary Rodham Clinton President of the United States United States presidential election 2008 George W. Bush
Court to weigh sentence of lone woman on Ohio's Death Row
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Ohio Supreme Court is again considering a challenge by the state's only condemned female killer of her death sentence. The high court has twice sent the case of Donna Roberts back to Trumbull County court in northeastern Ohio for resentencing. The 72-year-old Roberts was sentenced ...
-2 points by The Washington Times | United States Supreme Court of the United States Youngstown Ohio Court Jury Washington D.C. Judge National supreme courts
Ohio woman asked undercover cop for nachos, $60 in exchange for oral sex
A plus-size Ohio woman who advertised a rate of $160 per hour for oral sex offered to perform the act on an undercover officer for $50 and a plate of nachos. Before any business transpired, however, Crystal Hotlosz, 36, was arrested and charged with solicitation of prostitution and possession of criminal tools.
1 points by The Houston Chronicle | Monte Carlo Youngstown Ohio Mahoning County Ohio Criminal law Oral sex Police Crime Undercover
Ohio cops: Woman offered to sell sex for $60 and some nachos
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) - Police in Ohio are accusing a woman of selling sex for $60 and some nachos. Officers near Youngstown say they arrested 36-year-old Crystal Hotlosz during an undercover operation Monday. Beaver Township police say an officer texted the woman after seeing an online advertisement for sex services. ...
-2 points by The Washington Times | Police Undercover Law enforcement terminology Criminal law Youngstown Ohio Eugène François Vidocq Spies by role Crime
High school rock orchestra meets Trans-Siberian Orchestra
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) - Students in a high school orchestra in northeast Ohio had an opportunity to meet members of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, the rock group that inspired the school band's formation. The Vindicator reports (http://bit.ly/2gnd1Fw ) the Boardman High School Rock Orchestra met with members of the professional band ...
-2 points by The Washington Times | Youngstown Ohio Trans-Siberian Orchestra Rock music High school The Vindicator Al Pitrelli Savatage Patti Russo
5 thoughts as Tim Ryan takes on Nancy Pelosi
With Democrats down in the dumps in Ohio and beyond, there's a lot to unpack in U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan's bid to unseat House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. CLEVELAND, Ohio - With Democrats down in the dumps in Ohio and beyond, there's a lot to unpack in U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan's bid to unseat House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. 1. Let's start with the element of surprise. For those who have watched Ryan closely for years, there was heavy skepticism (all of it warranted) that the Youngstown-area Democrat would actually pull the trigger on this. Ryan, 43, has long enjoyed the attention and speculation that comes with being a relatively young and charismatic congressman. Ryan perpetually is a definite-maybe candidate for something, usually governor or senator. But in the end he always decides to play it safe - his seat is one of only four in Ohio drawn to favor Democrats - and stay right where he is. This year, though, Ryan's ambition seemed to grow. He made an early version of Hillary Clinton's shortlist for vice president. And he talked openly to one of his hometown newspapers about accepting a spot in Clinton's Cabinet, presuming she won last week's election. 2. But Donald Trump won. Key to the Republican businessman's victory were rural and working-class regions in Ohio and other industrial Midwest and Rust Belt states. In the Buckeye State, Trump won Trumbull County, which hadn't backed a Republican candidate for president since 1972, and lost a close race with Clinton in neighboring Mahoning County, another Democratic stronghold. Mahoning and Trumbull counties are at the heart of Ryan's congressional district. And at the heart of his pitch to replace Pelosi is the success he has had with blue-collar voters. "This is a big decision as to what the Democratic Party stands for and what the message is and who is the messenger to go into these areas," Ryan told RealClearPolitics on Wednesday, as he was still deciding whether to challenge Pelosi, who is seeking to keep her top post. Related story: Tim Ryan announces challenge to Nancy Pelosi 3. Ryan has worked closely with Pelosi. In interviews leading up to Thursday's announcement, Ryan walked a fine line by calling the former House speaker a "mentor" while questioning whether she was the right messenger for Democrats in the Trump era. Despite the polite tone, it was a little hard to believe this was the same Ryan who has earned some plum committee assignments by aligning with Pelosi. In 2007, for example, just as he began his third term, Ryan credited Pelosi for appointing him to the House Democratic Steering Committee, which helped him score a seat on the powerful Appropriations Committee. It was clear then that Ryan was a rising star. 4. At some point, Ryan had to seek higher office. He was dangerously close to boy-who-cried-wolf territory in the way he kept people guessing about his political future. (To some observers, he might already have been past that point.) Say that Ryan, after openly ruminating about the minority leader job, decided to pass. The speculation then would have shifted - because with Ryan it always does - to the race for governor in 2018. But each time he considers a new office and then stays put, it makes it that much harder to believe that the next time will be any different. (And this time would have been worse, because there had been whispers that it was all a tactic to raise his profile.) Is it better to try and fail than to never try at all? For Ryan, given his reputation, the answer might be yes. Even if Ryan loses to Pelosi, don't count him out for 2018. If Ryan remains out of the 2018 picture, many Ohio Democrats are hoping that Richard Cordray, head of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the state's former attorney general, will run. Other possibilities include former State Rep. Connie Pillich of the Cincinnati area and Ohio Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni, who hails from Ryan's Mahoning Valley turf. 5. Let's also end with the element of surprise. Ryan was a young state senator in 2002 when he launched his improbable run for Congress. Jim Traficant, the longtime Youngstown-area congressman for whom Ryan once interned, was on his way to federal prison on bribery and racketeering charges. Tom Sawyer, a longtime congressman from Akron, was the early favorite to win the Democratic primary. People talked about Ryan's youth, his energy, and his army of sign-waving volunteers who planted themselves near busy intersections. But Ryan also had the support of union workers who were upset with Sawyer's vote in favor of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. And for Sawyer, this was a newly configured congressional district that included a bunch of new working-class voters who judged him largely on that vote. Ryan prevailed - and by a comfortable margin.
68 points by The Plain Dealer | Democratic Party Ohio Youngstown Ohio Speaker of the United States House of Representatives United States House of Representatives George W. Bush Party leaders of the United States Senate United States Congress
Indictment of ex-Niles mayor threatens city's recovery
Former Niles Mayor Ralph Infante was charged in a wide-ranging corruption probe on Tuesday. Watch video NILES, Ohio -- After 24 years in the mayor's office, police would've led Ralph Infante out of City Hall in handcuffs if voters hadn't beaten them to it. Infante was charged Tuesday in a 56-count indictment accusing him of peddling his influence to hire friends in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and free work on his home or homes of his friends. The charges came 18 months after residents voted Infante out of office. It was steep fall from power for a man who came into office in 1992, declaring he would never run the city like a dictator. Now, he stands to become the latest Mahoning Valley politician facing a long exile in prison. The area has almost become synonymous with political corruption.  "It's another black eye on the Mahoning Valley," said Trumbull County Republican Party Chairman Randy Law. "It's another reminder that we need new faces and names to clean this up." Infante is also accused of running an illegal sports-betting operation out of the  Italian-American club in Girard, which he owns. He was at the club Wednesday but declined to comment on the charges. He  referred questions to his attorney, John Juhasz, who did not return a message seeking comment. Infante, his wife Judy, and former city water department employee Scott Shaffer are scheduled to make their first court appearances Dec. 5. Judy Infante is charged in several counts accusing the couple of failing to report income on their tax returns and failing to withhold taxes for the ITAM's employees. Shaffer is accused of selling items that belonged to the city and keeping the money, which prosecutors say Infante allowed to happen. Five former city employees, another public official, a zoning board member and two other businesses were all alleged to have taken part in the scheme but were not charged. They are accused of helping the former mayor enrich himself and consolidate his power. 'Business as usual' Infante became the latest public official charged in the Valley's long history of public corruption. In March, current Youngstown Mayor John McNally and former Mahoning County Auditor Michael Sciortino were convicted in a corruption case that was prosecuted in Cuyahoga County. McNally, who was a Mahoning County Commissioner at the time, was elected mayor during the corruption case. Sciortino was re-elected to the auditor's office while the case was pending. The Valley has long been synonymous with political corruption. Jim Trafficant, who beat a corruption charge as Mahoning County Sheriff, was later sentenced to eight years in prison for taking bribes as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. In the 1990s, several judges, a county prosecutor and the county engineer were all convicted of taking bribes from the Mafia. Political corruption continued into this millennium, first with Trafficant and later with former Trumbull County Commissioner Jim Tsagaris, Mahoning County Common Pleas Judge Maureen Cronin and Mahoning County Treasurer Lisa Antonini. The case involving McNally and Sciortino began in 2010, was dismissed by a visiting judge in Mahoning County and later re-filed in Cuyahoga County. "I'm not surprised at all," said Niles resident Mike Crummel, who owns Crystal Dragon Games and Hobbies in downtown Niles, said of Infante's indictment. "It's pretty much business as usual in the Valley. I just hope we can clean things up and get out of fiscal emergency."  Struggles of a small town in a dying region Niles, the birthplace of President William McKinley, sits between Warren and Youngstown and like so much of the rest of the Valley, relied on the steel industry for jobs. The industry collapsed in the 1970s and a tornado destroyed most of the town in 1985, killing 11 people. The population began declining in the 1980s and has continued its slide. The city reached its peak population with 23,000 people in the 1980 census. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the 2015 population at 18,651. But the city has long had one thing going for it. Its main employer, the Cafaro Co., is one of the largest privately-held real estate development companies in the country. The company's flagship mall, the Eastwood Mall, was built in the 1960s in Niles. Infante spearheaded a push to bring the Cafaro Co.'s headquarters from Youngstown to Niles a few years ago. The company officially moved in to its new headquarters in June, bringing a $20 million payroll that will bring an estimated $250,000 to city coffers.  "They pretty much own this town," Crummel said.  Infante elected mayor after incumbent threatened to kill councilman Infante, a former rolling mill operator at Syro Steel in Girard and a city councilman, ran for mayor in 1991. He came from a family that was involved in the city and county government -- his brother was the grievance chairman for the city worker's union, his sister worked in the court system and another brother worked as a lineman. His daughter, Karen Infante Allen, is the current Trumbull County Clerk of Courts. Infante was elected to office in 1992, defeating incumbent Joseph Parise, who was accused of threatening to kill a city councilman who refused to cooperate with him. Parise was never convicted of any crimes, but the publicity surrounding the allegation set the backdrop for Infante, then a city councilman, to run for the office. "You can't be a dictator-type mayor," Infante told the Warren Tribune Chronicle at the time. "You have to communicate with department heads and council. That is one of my best qualities. I can sit down and work things out and treat people like humans." Prosecutors now say he began accepting bribes in exchange for hiring people less than a year after his election. He was seen as a champion of the city in the early years of his administration. Infante helped solve a flooding issue and improved the city's electric infrastructure, which was in dire need of repair, said Trumbull County Commissioner Frank Fuda, who was a Niles councilman in the early 1990s. "He did a lot of good things for the city too," Fuda said. Infante continued winning re-election, with only one challenge between 1999 and 2015. Niles put into fiscal emergency But the city's finances began to suffer with the economic recession in the mid-2000s and later took a $1.2 million loss after Gov. John Kasich stopped sending payments to local governments, Fuda said. Infante fought back, Fuda said. He led an effort in 2009 to build a $4 million recreation center that bears his name. But even that has become a burden, not a boon, to the city's finances. The city recently said it is losing about $200,000 per year operating the wellness center. In 2013, a clerk in the city treasurer's office was caught stealing $142,000 in city money. Infante asked for the Ohio Auditor to review the city's finances, and the auditor's office declared the city in a state of fiscal emergency. Niles is still under state supervision. Infante's next project centered on bringing the Cafaro Co. to Niles. The deal got done in 2014, and Infante boasted about it in his re-election campaign. Then came the raids by federal and state agents, who came to Niles City Hall and the Cafaro Co. looking for records relating to the move and other documents. Officials have not linked the Cafaro Co. in any way to Infante's indictment. The indictment only accuses Infante of improperly waiving $40,000 in zoning fees related to an unnamed company's move to a location on U.S. Route 422, where the Eastwood Mall and the new Cafaro Co.'s headquarters are located.   The investigations and the city's financial troubles scared off voters. City Councilman Thomas Scarnecchia, who based his campaign on telling voters he'd restore credibility and accountability in the mayor's office, defeated Infante in the Democratic primary election in March 2015 with 59 percent of the vote.  A fragile recovery and a sense of disbelief Scarnecchia on Wednesday called the indictment of his former political opponent "heartbreaking." He said the charges could scare off further development in the area, and he was unsure exactly how the case could affect the city's recovery. "It's been very difficult," Scarnecchia said. "We hope to get our reputation back. It's very hard obviously. If he did all that, if you play, you must pay." Fuda said the negative publicity could hurt the area. "I'm shocked we have the problems we have now," Fuda said. The indictment says Infante conducted a wide range of illicit activities as the city's mayor. He accepted free work at his home in exchange for hiring a contractor's relative.  He hired people to work for the city in exchange for thousands of dollars in free work at his home and the homes of his friends, including a city council member who is not named in the indictment, according to prosecutors.  Infante also accepted a $100 gift card as a bribe, and in a different instance, was bribed by an unnamed area businessman with tickets to a 2007 NCAA national championship game, the indictment says. Infante had city workers use city equipment to provide work on his friends' homes and businesses, prosecutors said.  Not everyone in Niles, however, believes the case tarnishes Infante's legacy. Dave Rittenhouse, who lived near Infante for several years, said he was surprised by the criminal charges but said he believed Infante did a lot of good for the city.  "I think they need to prove their case in court before I believe he did all of that," Rittenhouse said. "He doesn't seem like the kind of guy that would steal like that. He gave his life trying to do good things for the community." // DV.load("https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3221923-Indictment-of-former-Niles-mayor-Ralph-Infante.js", { width: 600, height: 800, sidebar: false, text: false, container: "#DV-viewer-3221923-Indictment-of-former-Niles-mayor-Ralph-Infante" }); // ]]>
44 points by The Plain Dealer | Local government in the United States Youngstown Ohio City council Trumbull County Ohio Municipality Political corruption Mayor Town council
Ted Strickland down by double digits in new poll: Ohio Politics Roundup
A new poll shows Rob Portman leading Ted Strickland by 11 percentage points. Cleveland's $15 minimum wage initiative appears to not be on the November ballot. Donald Trump will campaign Wednesday in Canton. Read more in today's Ohio Politics Roundup, brought to you by Robin Goist. A new poll shows Rob Portman leading Ted Strickland by 11 percentage points. Cleveland's $15 minimum wage initiative appears to not be on the November ballot. Donald Trump will campaign Wednesday in Canton. Read more in today's Ohio Politics Roundup, brought to you by Robin Goist. Portman's lead: A new poll shows Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman with a double-digit lead over Democratic rival Ted Strickland, reports cleveland.com's Jeremy Pelzer. The Quinnipiac University survey released Friday found Portman with 51 percent support among likely Ohio voters, compared to 40 percent for Strickland. The survey comes after announcements that national Democrats are pulling millions worth of planned TV ads on Strickland's behalf, a signal that they are giving up on the former Ohio governor. Is the election secure? Ohio's top elections official thinks so. Secretary of State Jon Husted on Friday objected to a proposal to expand the federal government's oversight of the state's elections system to protect it against cyberattacks, reports cleveland.com's Pelzer. Husted told U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials and others in Washington, D.C. that such a move would infringe on state authority. "The idea that the Obama administration would come in and take control of the [voting] machines 80 days before an election is a really bad idea," Husted said. Husted said that Ohio's voting machines are completely safe from hackers because they aren't connected to the internet, and his office has been working with cybersecurity experts and the U.S. military to test for vulnerabilities in Ohio's voter registration database. What to expect on the ballot: Cuyahoga County voters will see 121 issues scattered on ballots in the November election throughout the communities and school districts, writes cleveland.com's Robert Higgs. A tentative list from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections shows the issues that were filed prior to Friday's deadline. Key issues include Issue 32, Cleveland's proposal to increase its income tax to 2.5 percent, and Issue 108, the renewal of a tax that provides operating revenue for Cleveland city schools. Six communities have eight issues on local ballots to raise local taxes, and Higgs' slideshow explains what they would cost and how the money would be spent. Notably missing: Not on the list is a proposal to phase in a $15 minimum wage in Cleveland, as well as a proposal to establish a workers' rights commission for part time workers in the city, reports cleveland.com's Leila Atassi. City Council President Kevin Kelley said in an interview Friday that organizers asked that it be withdrawn. The naked Donald Trump statue saga comes to a close: Cleveland Heights will release the naked statue of the GOP nominee placed in Coventry Village last month to its creator, Joshua "Ginger" Monroe, reports cleveland.com's Emily Bamforth. The city considered filing charges since the statue violated a city ordinance that prohibits leaving articles or equipment on public property, but decided against it, said Monroe's lawyer. Instead, Monroe will pay an impound fee of approximately $110 to retrieve his statue. Trump to visit Canton: Trump will hold a campaign rally in Canton on Wednesday, reports cleveland.com's Andrew J. Tobias. The notice of the event, which will be Trump's third appearance in Northeast Ohio since Labor Day, appeared on his campaign website Saturday afternoon. While Kaine cancels his visit to the region: Clinton's running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine, is postponing a planned trip to Northeast Ohio, writes cleveland.com's Mary Kilpatrick. Kaine was expected to campaign in the region on Tuesday, but his appearance was delayed due to a scheduling conflict. It's unclear when the event will be rescheduled. Kaine is expected to campaign in Dayton today. Clinton's "problem" winning over Ohio Democrats: Trump's state director told the Ohio GOP central committee Friday that they are "taking this campaign straight to the Democrats' home," reports cleveland.com's Pelzer. Eight of Trump's nine campaign stops in Ohio since the Republican National Convention have been in heavily Democratic areas like Cleveland, Youngstown, Columbus and Toledo, Bob Paduchik said. Clinton, he said, by contrast, has campaigned in Ohio four times since the Democratic convention, but she has stuck to visiting Democratic strongholds. "I think the Clinton campaign recognizes that they might have a little bit of a problem," Paduchik said. "Because if you're a Republican in September, you're campaigning in East Cleveland and Youngstown in one week, and your opponent is campaigning in East Cleveland, that shows you a good idea you might be winning." While Trump has received some support from Democrats in blue-collar areas like Youngstown, a new Quinnipiac University poll shows that only 9 percent of Democratic likely voters plan to vote for him. He has a 4-point lead over Clinton in Ohio overall. Traficant documentary: A recently released documentary tells the story of Jim Traficant, a legendary figure in the Mahoning Valley, writes cleveland.com's Patrick Cooley. "Youngstown loved Traficant, so much so that he ran for Congress from his jail cell following a spectacular corruption trial in 2002 and still managed to win 15 percent of the vote," Cooley writes. Perhaps Traficant's legacy is part of the reason why many in the Mahoning Valley support Trump, whom Youngstown State University Political Science Chairman Paul Sracic has called "Jim Traficant with better clothes." "Traficant: The Congressman of Crimetown" was released earlier this month and covers his life story, from his time as a quarterback for Cardinal Mooney High School, to his tirades on the floor of the House of Representatives, and ending with his death in 2014. Trump's appeal to Christian conservatives: The Republican presidential nominee told the "Values Voter" summit for religious conservatives Friday that he will repeal the ban on political endorsements by tax-exempt religious groups, reports cleveland.com's Sabrina Eaton. "The first thing we have to do is give our churches their voice back - it's been taken away," Trump said at the Family Research Council event, joking, "I figure it's the only way I'm getting to heaven." Clinton and Trump face off: After last week's commander in chief forum, many voters are anticipating the first presidential debate on Sept. 26, which cleveland.com's Kilpatrick details. Feds reject Ohio plan: A plan to make Ohio Medicaid beneficiaries pay monthly fees into a health savings account and block coverage for missed payments was rejected Friday by federal officials, reports cleveland.com's Jackie Borchardt. The "Health Ohio Program" proposal would have required about 1.6 million Ohioans in the state- and federally-run Medicaid health insurance program to pay into a health savings account. Gov. John Kasich's administration estimated more than 125,000 people a year would lose coverage as a result of the plan, which was shot down by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Get Battleground Briefing, our FREE politics newsletter, delivered to your inbox: Sign up here. Tips or links? Send here.
-1 points by The Plain Dealer | Ohio Youngstown Ohio Ted Strickland Cuyahoga County Ohio Cleveland Youngstown State University Republican Party Democracy
Donald Trump scheduled to hold Canton rally on Wednesday
Republican nominee Donald Trump will make yet another post-Labor Day trip to Northeast Ohio next week, according to his campaign website. CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Republican nominee Donald Trump will hold a campaign rally in Canton on Wednesday, according to his campaign website, in what would be his third appearance in Northeast Ohio since Labor Day. Trump will hold a rally at 7 p.m. on Sept. 14 at the Canton Memorial Civic Center, 1101 Market Ave. The notice appeared on Trump's campaign website on Saturday afternoon. Trump has been a regular visitor to Ohio lately. He and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, appeared in Brook Park and Canfield on Sept. 5, and then Trump gave a policy speech in Cleveland on Sept. 8. Trump also appeared in Youngstown on Aug. 15, Akron on on Aug. 22 and Wilmington on Sept. 1. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and her running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, also appeared in Cleveland on Sept. 3, and Kaine is scheduled to appear in Dayton on Monday. Ohio is a quadrennial swing state that holds key strategic importance in the presidential election, particularly to Republicans. While polls consistently had shown Clinton holding a narrow lead in Ohio, Trump has improved his position recently as the campaign season moves into a period when the race traditionally becomes more competitive. An Aug. 29 poll by Emerson University found Clinton and Trump tied at 43 percent. A Sept. 8 poll by Quinnipiac University found Trump leading Clinton 46 percent to 45 percent, although Trump's lead grew to 41 percent to Clinton's 37 percent when voters were asked about third-party candidates.
157 points by The Plain Dealer | Ohio Democratic Party President of the United States United States presidential election 2008 Akron Ohio George W. Bush Youngstown Ohio Hillary Rodham Clinton
Documentarians explore the life and career of Youngstown Congressman Jim Traficant
The makers of a recently released documentary looked at why Congressman Jim Traficant was such a sensational figure in Youngstown. Watch video CLEVELAND, Ohio -- If you're not from Youngstown, you may not of heard the name Jim Traficant. But Traficant is a legendary figure in the Mahoning Valley, and even younger residents have likely heard of the man who served as the region's congressman for nearly two decades. Youngstown loved Traficant, so much so that he ran for Congress from his jail cell following a spectacular corruption trial in 2002 and still managed to win 15 percent of the vote. What made Traficant such a revered figure in the Mahoning Valley? A group of filmmakers from his district tackled that question in a recently released documentary that tells the politician's story and examines how he fits in the history of Youngstown. Traficant was known for his tirades on the floor of the House of Representatives, his permanently disheveled hair, and for refusing to serve evictions as the sheriff of Mahoning County. The Democratic Congressman had a history of clashing with his own party, working with the Republicans to curtail the power of the IRS and even voting for Republican Dennis Hastert for Speaker of the House. Following his election to the House of Representatives in 1984, a local democratic leader tried to have him thrown out of Congress on the grounds that he was mentally incompetent, but a judge declared Traficant sane. "In fact when he went on trial in 2002, he pleaded not guilty by reason of 'sanity,'" said Vince Guerrieri, an author and journalist who grew up in Youngstown. Guerrieri was interviewed for the documentary after he wrote a piece about Traficant for Politico Magazine. Shortly after his release from prison and his brief reemergence on the political scene during the Tea Party uprising of 2009, filmmaker Eric Murphy put together a team to make a documentary on Traficant. "Growing up, Traficant was always a topic of conversation around my grandparents' dinner table," Murphy, the documentary's writer, director and producer, said. Murphy was raised in Warren, a short drive from Youngstown. "When I was a paperboy, I would bust open a bundle of papers every day and scan the front page above the fold, and look for Traficant. He's amusing when you're little, but when I got older I put things into context a little bit." Murphy said he volunteered for the campaign of Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan, who replaced Traficant. Ryan worked for Traficant, Murphy said, and in that job the future director started to get a sense of why the politician was such an important figure in the Mahoning Valley. "Traficant: The Congressman of Crimetown" was released last week and is available on Vimeo. Screenings are scheduled for Oct. 1 and Oct. 2 at the Youngstown Playhouse. Few politicians have ever connected with their constituents as effectively as Jim Traficant, and the men behind the hour and a half film hope to show their audience why he was so popular. "It's a comprehensive and entertaining look at a character who had a unique place in Youngstown and American history," Murphy said. To the Mahoning Valley, Jim Traficant was someone who would fight for them, producer and director of cinematography Jeff Alberini said. Youngstown and the surrounding communities were in shambles in the late 1970s after the steel mills closed, with unemployment soaring as high as 25 percent. "It was almost as if Jim Traficant rose out of the ashes," Alberini said. "He was very loud and he stood up for people who felt like they'd been beaten down by their country. They were trying to get these steel mills re-opened and no one else wanted to listen to them." The documentary covers his life story, beginning with his time as a quarterback for Cardinal Mooney High School, and ending with his death in 2014. The filmmakers pieced the former congressman's story together through more than 200 interviews with people who knew, worked with and covered Traficant, and from pouring through newspaper clips and archived news footage. The congressman's life story Youngstown is the city that never forgets its football players, Murphy said. "A football star has instant credibility," he said. Jim Traficant was no exception. His standout play in high school caught the attention of the University of Pittsburgh, which recruited him. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers after his college career but failed to make the team. After an unsuccessful attempt to make the Oakland Raiders, he tried his luck in the semi-professional leagues but eventually returned to Youngstown, where he coached football and worked as a drug counselor. Traficant developed a taste for politics when he worked on a political campaign, and successfully ran for sheriff of Mahoning County in 1981. He earned the love of Mahoning Valley residents when he refused to serve evictions following the collapse of the steel industry. A judge ordered him to serve time in jail for failing to fulfill his duties as sheriff, but he wouldn't budge. Traficant ultimately lost the fight, relenting when a second judge threatened to send him to jail again for his continued refusal to serve evection notices. But Youngstown residents now saw him as a man who would fight for them even at great personal cost. He also experienced his first brush with the law during his tenure as sheriff. He was accused of taking bribes from organized crime families in both Pittsburgh and Cleveland. But during a sensational trial in which he acted as his own attorney, he managed to convince a jury that he took the bribes as part of an elaborate sting operation. He was ultimately acquitted. Years later after he was elected to Congress, the IRS declared that he had failed to report the bribes as income and demanded that he pay back taxes. "Try to wrap your head around that," Guerrieri said. The federal tax agency was a frequent the target of Traficant after it investigated him, and Guerreri said the agency's ruling might have had something to do with his anger toward it. He proved adept at shoveling money back to his district during his time in Congress, securing funds for two federal courthouses and the Covelli Center, a music and sports venue that revitalized downtown Youngstown. Corruption charges eventually led to Traficant's political downfall after he was accused of using campaign funds for personal use in 2002. He was sentenced to several years in prison, and an attempted political comeback following his release fell short. Traficannt maintained his innocence in typical outlandish Traficant style, claiming that witnesses were intimidated into testifying against him as part of a government vendetta. On Sept. 23, 2014, he drove a tractor into a pole barn and it flipped over, trapping him underneath it. He died four days later at the age of 73. Parallels with modern politicians The film is timely, Murphy said, offering some insight into the rise of anti-establishment groups like the Tea Party. The former Youngstown Congressman has drawn a host of comparisons with grandiose Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Murphy said. "The bombast, the hair, the inflammatory speech," he said. "But there's a clear distinction. Traficant is literally the son of a truck driver. Donald Trump is a rich guy masquerading as a populist." But Traficant, who opposed trade deals like NAFTA, fearing they would cost American jobs, also had similarities with liberal populists such as Bernie Sanders, Murphy said. The director said he hopes the audience will enjoy the documentary beyond simply being informed. Traficant was a showman as much as a politician, often employing the "Star Trek" inspired catchphrase "Beam me up" during his brief but passionate speeches to Congress. Murphy said he wants viewers to understand why constituents and journalists found Traficant so entertaining.
38 points by The Plain Dealer | Youngstown Ohio United States House of Representatives Mahoning County Ohio Youngstown State University Tim Ryan James Traficant Trumbull County Ohio Canfield Ohio