Unless I'm wrong, Lynd has been a poster boy for integrity -- having honorably been driven out of academia.
Tom Lehman wrote:
> Ohio state senator Hagan failed my "smarter than the average bear" political iq
> test when he voted for the passage of Ohio H.B.78 the corporate law reform
> bill. H.B. 78 was a giant log that could have been rolled for the benefit of
> the poor and working people of Ohio. Especially since the corporate lawyer
> class was in heat for H.B.78. The first time corporate law had been tampered
> with since the early 1950's.
> I'm not sure if state senator Hagan of Youngstown is related to the Hagan
> political family in Cuyahoga County(Cleveland) or not? I've heard some good
> things about some of the Hagans.
> As far as Staughton Lynd and Jim Traficant go. I first met Staughton Lynd over
> 20 years ago when he first hit the trail on behalf of Youngstown. And I
> attended a little union skull secession with him in 1982 and listened to his
> viewpoint on esops and financial matters related to the steel industry. Lynd
> is a nice guy and his hearts in the right place.
> In my humble opinion any cross words between Staughton Lynd and Jim Traficant
> should be considered on the level of the pot calling the kettle black. Don't
> forget they are both Youngstown boys.
> As far as the brothers Voinovich, it's the old FDR story, the poor man who
> steals a crate off of a railroad car goes to jail, the rich man who steals a
> railroad goes to the US Senate.
> Btw, there were railroad issues involved in the Taficant-Hagan contest. I'd
> like to see Lynd, Traficant and Hagan get together on the railroad issues.
> They should remember the words of the famous old time bank robber who said, he
> robbed banks because that's where the money is.
> Tom Lehman
> kelley wrote:
> > In Rust Belt, Cellblocks Bloom Amid Charges of Political Corruption
> > Jason Vest, SpeakOut.com
> > YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -- Private prisons have sprouted up among the shuttered
> > steel mills that dot this post-urban landscape, but residents say the
> > development has produced more bounty for the politicians that cut the deals
> > than the communities that got the jails.
> > In an age of prosperous exits along the Information Superhighway,
> > Youngstown is the place that got bypassed. Its townships are a broken
> > patchwork of shuttered stores and empty mills interspersed with strip
> > malls, postwar cookie-cutter houses and aging Victorian neighborhoods.
> > Yet the myriad problems that reflect the hopelessness of the place --
> > crime, corruption, poverty and lacking educational resources -- all congeal
> > around a larger issue: the stagnant regional economy
> > It's no wonder, says Staughton Lynd, the veteran civil rights activist,
> > author and labor lawyer who has made his home in nearby Niles for 24 years,
> > that none of the presidential candidates managed to fit Youngstown into
> > their schedules. It's much easier, he says, to talk vaguely about
> > much-discussed issues like gun control, tax cuts, abortion, religion, and
> > campaign finance reform than actually confront the reality of a place like
> > Youngstown.
> > "For them, Youngstown doesn't exist. To hear them talk, the only problem
> > the U.S. doesn't have is the economy, which clearly isn't the case here,"
> > Lynd says. "While crime and corruption hang on, the real issue here is how,
> > since about 1980, we've been promised one entrepreneurial savior after
> > another, and each has been a flop."
> > Lynd recounts the parade of political promises, made by officials belonging
> > to both major parties: "First, it was going to be a community aircraft
> > corporation out by the airport. There were all these fantasies about
> > Youngstown becoming a cargo hub. Then there was Avanti, an auto company,
> > whose scheme was to buy the chasis from nearby GM, but put luxury bodies
> > on, making a $50,000 vehicle from a non-union shop. Then it was a baseball
> > team. Then there was going to be a casino on the river, but local ministers
> > rose up and stopped that."
> > But then, in the heyday of the administration of then-Governor (now
> > Senator) George Voinovich's (R) -- an administration which instituted
> > draconian parole restrictions, a retooling of the parole board and passage
> > of a tough "second offense equals an additional ten year sentence" law that
> > increased the Buckeye State's prison population by 49,000 and has
> > engendered a growing gulag of new prisons and jails --the Corrections
> > Corporation of America came knocking with a proposal to build a private
> > prison in Youngstown.
> > The city and state all but threw their arms around CCA -- a Nashville,
> > Tennessee-based company with a record of cozying up to state and local
> > officials through campaign contributions and close personal alliances.
> > "Private prisons have always been able to prey on cities in desperate need
> > of help, and they've been able to do that because those cities stand out,"
> > says Bobby Hagan, a Democratic state senator and prison privatization
> > critic who last week unsuccessfully challenged incumbent US representative
> > James Traficant, a private prison booster, for the the 17th Congressional
> > District's Democratic nomination. "They say it's an opportunity for jobs
> > and a better tax base, which lights up the eyes of politicians. But in fact
> > it's the last humiliation for a community struggling to find a better place
> > and a better face."
> > Victim-Town Labor: Cheap and Disposable
> > CCA opened the Northeast Ohio Correction Center in Youngstown in 1997. At
> > the time, CCA said it would only house minimum security prisoners, and
> > would create 350 new jobs.
> > Not only did this seem like an underwhelming economic boon to Lynd (as an
> > article in Washington CityPaper noted in 1998, CCA has pleased both its
> > investors and Wall Street by continually finding new ways at "keeping the
> > industry's main expense-labor-to a minimum"), but he and his wife Alice --
> > both prisoners' rights activists and legal workers -- were concerned from
> > the beginning about how a private prison would treat inmates. The tour they
> > took of the facility before it opened did little to quell their concerns
> > that rehabilitation wasn't at the forefront of CCA's corporate mind.
> > "The first thing you see when you go inside is a plaque on the wall that
> > says, "The price of our stock on the New York Stock Exchange yesterday was
> > 'x'," he recalls. "The folks we were touring with were only concerned about
> > escapes; they couldn't have cared less about what was happening inside. The
> > question was asked, what happens if there's a disturbance. The response
> > was, 'Our orders are to stand back and not risk out own lives because we
> > can always get another.'"
> > Which is, more or less, what happened. The NEOCC was supposed to house only
> > "medium-security" prisoners. But what made prisons a viable private
> > enterprise was the overcrowding of existing state facilities, thanks to
> > tougher sentencing laws that swept the country during the 1990's.
> > Long a dubious priority anyway, rehabilitation went out the window, with
> > space becoming a priority. In April 1997, the Washington, DC, corrections
> > department contracted with CCA's Youngstown facility to take 1700 prisoners
> > from the District's Lorton facility off its hands.
> > Included in those 1700 were a couple hundred of DC's most violent,
> > predatory convicts. When they all arrived at the prison, court records
> > show, they were allowed -- in violation of basic correctional standards --
> > to mix with the institution's more vulnerable inmates, like 25-year-old
> > Derrick Davis, serving the twelfth month of eighteen on a drug probation
> > violation. As Washington CityPaper reported in 1998, Davis was looking
> > forward to marrying his fiance of six years and had lined up funding to
> > start a construction debris-hauling business.
> > First Youngstown, Then Two More Towns
> > But in December of 1997, three of NEOCCs more violent residents stabbed
> > Davis to death. Three months later, Byron Chisely (time served by that
> > point: one year, up for parole in 1999), a 23-year old father serving his
> > debt to society for drug and weapons possession charges, was stabbed and
> > subsequently died.
> > Later, six inmates also escaped. Court records from a class action lawsuit
> > found scores of other violent incidents, as well as lax staff training and
> > basic procedure oversights.
> > Fifty percent of the inmates, for example, arrived at the facility bereft
> > of medical records.
> > If all this is part of "economic development," says Lynd, this is not the
> > kind of economic development Youngstown needs. But the prospect, however
> > false, of revitalization via a private prison is a powerful one; while
> > there was community hue and cry after the escapes, once the inmates were
> > returned, it was as if "the entire community subjected itself to a
> > lobotomy." The reason? "In comes Traficant with his never-to-be forgotten
> > Memorandum of Understanding, and the Youngstown Vindicator editorializes
> > that it's good our congressman is looking for economic alternatives."
> > Traficant did sponsor federal legislation for an investigation of CCA after
> > the prison break. But not long afterwards, he signed a formal Memorandum of
> > Understanding with CCA to help the company site two new facilities in the
> > his district, and went so far as to promise in writing to help CCA "obtain
> > the approval of the appropriate local officials, board and Commissions" to
> > expand the NEOCC by 500 beds.
> > Reaction in Ohio was hardly favorable; noting that the NEOCC "has a safety
> > record that ranks among the worst in Ohio history," Ronald Alexander,
> > president of the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association, made the
> > persuasive point that private prisons and public safety did not go hand in
> > hand.
> > And in a formal complaint to the House ethics committee on July 7 of last
> > year, Jennifer O'Connell of the 150,000-member Ohio Citizen Action activist
> > group asked for an investigation, as Traficant apparently "committed
> > himself to act as an agent of a private for-profit corporation on these
> > matters, which involve the public duties of his office."
> > Of Prisons, Politics and Payoffs
> > Traficant, for his part, has held that he's just doing his job, trying to
> > find jobs for his district. Yet the prison issue has given Traficant some
> > primary headaches of late. Under normal circumstances, his usual
> > shtick-angry, bombastic, working-class oratory might be enough to deflect
> > the issue. At the moment, however, Traficant's name is also being bandied
> > about in discussions of corruption -- a problem that also relates to
> > Youngstown and the private prison.
> > Thus far, an ongoing federal corruption probe here in the Mahoning Valley
> > has seen 58 people convicted, including two former Traficant aides admitted
> > to doing the bidding of convicted gangster Lenny Strollo.
> > To date, the federal grand jury has heard testimony from witnesses
> > regarding Traficant's gratis driving of local merchants' sports cars,
> > payments (or lack thereof) made on a barn he had built, use of staffers for
> > private work on public time, and his stunning-for-a-congressman lack of
> > reported gifts over $250 since 1985, among other things.
> > The federal grand jury that has heard testimony regarding Traficant's
> > practices is not investigating CCA.
> > However, in other state and federal probes, the name of CCA's design and
> > construction partner in building the NEOCC -- "The V Group," headed by
> > Senator George Voinovich's brother Paul -- continues to crop up.
> > During the Voinovich administation, The V Group got around $100 million of
> > the state's business, but didn't always act in a way municipalties found
> > satisfactory; the group was recently ordered to pay a local county nearly
> > $14 million for being over budget and less-than-competent in its work on a
> > jail construction project. Other investigations of the group are still
> > ongoing.
> > The End of an Era?
> > Last week, there were hopes amongst the more reform-minded of Youngstown
> > that Traficant might actually be defeated in Tuesday's primary; despite
> > facing a vote-splitting three challengers, a poll last week showed
> > Traficant in a dead heat with Hagan.
> > Throughout his campaign, Hagan held that Traficant's time as congressman --
> > an era hallmarked by infamous working-class rants from the House floor that
> > have alienated many other congressman, who vote on which districts get the
> > most federal money back -- had come and gone.
> > "When the mills pulled up stakes and left a legacy of pollution, people
> > rose up with the venom of revenge, and Jim played to that very well," says
> > Hagan. "It's over now. While that may have been theraputic, it didn't
> > improve the quality of life." He pauses. "Kind of like the CCA prison."
> > But in Tuesday's primary, Traficant prevailed. The reason, says Mark
> > Shutes, a cultural anthropologist at Youngstown State University, is both
> > simple and complex: "This community is yet to become fully aware that the
> > divisions we have in our heads are harming us, and that we have to begin to
> > see ourselves as a larger community in a larger world," he says. "There's a
> > belief here that anything having to do with politics and economics is
> > inherently corrupt, and the only way to deal with them is to send out
> > brokers you know to that corrupt world to protect you and yours, and
> > Traficant has played to that message better than any other politician."
> > One can, however, interpret the Democratic primary's outcome
> > optimistically: "That the man who won went from 78 percent last election to
> > just over 50 percent this time is reassuring that patience and continuous
> > work are having an effect," says Shutes.
> > Last year, a number of local churches and concerned citizens formed ACTION,
> > an activist group that has honed in on the issues of education, urban
> > development and corruption; that Traficant's historic margin was whittled
> > down is a sign to Shutes that ACTION's message is slowly taking root.
> > "It's the first time people in this area have begun to say, we're not the
> > victims," Shutes explains, "but we're the cause because of the way we look
> > at the world and we've been willing to turn our heads. That three
> > candidates were willing to stand on that and face Traficant is progress."
> > Jason Vest, a former Washington correspondent for The Village Voice and
> > U.S. News & World Report, is the national affairs correspondent for
> > SpeakOut.com.
> > ###
> > AlterNet is a project of Independent Media Institute
Michael Perelman Economics Department California State University michael at ecst.csuchico.edu Chico, CA 95929 530-898-5321 fax 530-898-5901