Monday, September 7, 2009

Youngstown says no to Traficant

Good story in the Washington Post today about Jim Traficant getting out of prison. (Click here to read it -- the site may ask you to offer a zip code.)

It's a funny story, as Traficant stories usually are. How can it not be when it starts with an account of Traficant's release party, complete with an Elvis impersonator, a toupee contest, and the return of Jimbo's skinny tie?

But aside from a talk show host and the crowd at Mr. Anthony's Banquet Center, writer Mary Jordan talks to a lot of Youngstownians who say the city has moved on from Traficant's reign of bombast. Jordan writes:

Many others are appalled at the welcome he is getting. They remember the envelopes of money he demanded of his own staff, the taxes he didn't pay, the political clout he traded for gravel and contractor muscle on his horse farm.

"He no longer represents who we are," Mayor Jay Williams tells Jordan. "His antics, his vision of what is appropriate and inappropriate . . . we are beyond that now."

He "brought shame and ridicule to his office and to this community," states regional chamber of commerce head Tom Humphries.

Oh, and the Youngstown Scrappers cancelled their "Traficant Release Night" at the ballpark.

Traficant still thinks he's ready for a comeback of some kind. "I plan to get right back in it!" he told the release party crowd.

Who knows what "it" means. Felons can't run for state office in Ohio. But they can run for Congress.

I bet Jordan just loved being able to end the story with this line:

Paul Gains, the county prosecutor who was once shot by Mafia hitmen, said: "Nobody believes he will sit back and retire."

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