Sunday, June 24, 2012

Southeast Ohio has become an important battleground in presidential politics

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio -- Ask about presidential politics in this industrial corner of Appalachia, and the reactions range somewhere between anger and ambivalence.

Universally there is frustration.

You'll hear it on the bar stools, at the barbershop and especially inside the union halls. And while both Democrats and Republicans are vigorously courting their votes, folks like Terry Hosfelt wonder if anyone is truly listening.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason's political machine grinds to a halt: Analysis

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Jimmy Dimora dominated Cuyahoga County politics for more than a decade, but not without an occasional scrape with Bill Mason and his splinter group of Democrats.

Mason built his own machine on ambition and shoe leather, then enjoyed the spoils as it spit out mayors, city council members, judges and an army of other loyal soldiers who embedded themselves in the trenches of local government.

These were halcyon days. Dimora and Mason coexisted peacefully, perhaps because each began his climb as an outsider eager to shake up the region's political establishment. There was no question Dimora was king in these parts, but as county prosecutor, Mason was the Machiavellian prince and seemed to have a bright future beyond Greater Cleveland.

We know how Dimora's half of the story ended. He succumbed to graft and hubris and today calls a Youngstown prison cell home after being convicted of racketeering and 32 other federal charges. He awaits sentencing next month.

Mason's machine creaked to a much quieter halt last weekend. But let there be no doubt about what happened.

The Mason magic is gone.

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