Inside today's pages, there was a very well-written and reasoned piece by the CEO of the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber concerning this week's upcoming release of Jim Traficant. It contained several thoughtful points, including the following passage:
"He has paid for his crimes and deserves to be with his family and friends. He deserves to be free and enjoy the things in life that are important to him. I do wish him well.While you can read the rest here, kudos needs to be given to the Chamber and their leadership, on taking a stance on this issue.
However, it’s one thing to wish someone well, someone who has completed his debt to society, but quite another thing to celebrate his release and homecoming.
Celebrating James Traficant’s return, as some in the Mahoning Valley are doing, is inappropriate.
He is a convicted felon, someone who brought shame and ridicule to his office and to his community."
Let's hope the national and local media who report on this story in the week to come will present a balanced approach on the opinions that exist in this community regarding the release.
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Another story in today's paper includes some reactions to the Chamber piece.
according to one voice:
"I’d just like to see the chamber help my clients get more information, grants, find new markets [and] not expound about non-business issues like Traficant."- - -
So is this topic a non-business issue?
I remember in 2000 one of my first site visits - to Atlanta, Georgia - and meeting a gentleman who upon hearing I was from the Mahoning Valley, made comments about the corruption that existed in some of the elected officials. As a business person, the existence of corruption created a flashing sign in his mind, to stay away, and just not do business in the Mahoning Valley.
Indeed, the existence and celebration of corruption today contributes to the hindrance of long-term economic growth.
A proper interest of the Chamber is the long-term economic strength of the region.
Thus, it is proper for the Chamber to speak out on this issue.