Tag Archives: Jay Williams

Youngstown Struggles with Sordid Past

People in Youngstown are planning parties and hosting special events to honor the return of disgraced congressman Jim Traficant, who will be released from prison next month.

"Jimbo"

"Jimbo"

This comes at a embarrassment and disappointment to supporters of the movement to revitalize the once-prosperous steel town.

The Vindicator is carrying an opinion piece by Rust Wire contributor Tyler Clark deploring Traficant supporters. Traficiant has been in a federal prison since 2002, when he was convicted on 10 counts including racketeering, bribery and tax evasion.

It’s a clash of new gaurd verses old guard. Supporters of Mayor Jay Williams (the city’s first black and youngest-elected mayor) would rather not have the area’s familiar image as a hotbed of corruption brought back to light.

On the other hand, many in the city remain loyal to the charismatic “son of a truck driver” who had a talent for bringing federal dollars to the region.

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Dissecting Flint’s Mayoral Race

Slate is running an awesome, awesome, story about the mayoral race in Flint, Michigan, where a 35-year-old Rhodes Scholar is battling a 64-year-old grandmother/former state representative for the city’s highest office.

Flint’s former mayor, Don Williamson, was a convicted felon-turned-multimillionaire who resigned in February to avoid a recall election that was likely to remove him from office.

Why would anyone want to be mayor of a city with so many problems, Slate wonders.

“It’s my hometown, and no matter where I’ve lived I have a special place in my heart for this city,” says mayoral candidate Dayne Walling, a fifth-generation Flint family-man and former Rhodes Scholar. “It’s terrible to see this kind of suffering inflicted on a community. It’s wrong. It shouldn’t happen anywhere in this country. So I’m committed to being part of the solution.”

Dayne Walling, left, campaigning at a Church's Chicken.

Dayne Walling, left, campaigning at a Church's Chicken.

“It is the worst of times, but a leader leads in good times and in bad,” says  Brenda Clack, his opponent, a former state rep and current county commissioner. “I feel that people who have stayed in Flint, who have hung on, who have persevered deserve a leader of integrity.”

When I was working as a reporter, I once told Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams I would never want his job. Several years later, one thing is clear: political figures in hard-luck rust belt cities, at the very least, make for interesting political profiles.

But I wonder, could it be possible that these places somehow attract top leaders? Youngstrown’s Jay Williams and Braddock’s John Fetterman and even Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker, who had a very complimentary write-up in Next American City recently, certainly make a strong case for the theory.

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Decay in Youngstown

Let me start off by saying, Youngstown is one of my favorite cities. It is a weird place, with a set of rules all its own. Some of my best friends in the world live there. Also, they make some killer Italian food in this city. Killer. It’s cheap too. Very cheap.

Anyway, photographer Mark Stahl, an acquaintance of mine from my days at The Vindicator newspaper, has generously donated the use of some of his photos. This series is about decay taking place in the city.

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Filed under The Big Urban Photography Project, Uncategorized