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Thursday, February 23, 2012

U Mad, Bro?; Text Messages Show Youngstown Politicos Fighting Like High Schoolers

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2012 at 1:18 PM

In this corner . . . Betras.
  • In this corner . . . Betras.

“Bring it b—— boy. Dead last in endorsement, dead last in race. U know y? Bc u r a LOSER.”

Nope, we didn't pull that off a 13-year-old student council candidate's Facebook wall, usually that kind of political joust occasions wittier take-downs. And no, this didn't come from the Scene comment section. It's actually a text message Mahoning County Democratic Party boss David Betras sent to a county commissioner candidate.

Political hopeful Richard Oz Ouzounian has been sparring with Betras via text since November. With all this political ammo on his SIM card, the candidate went public with the messages, according to the Vindicator, exposing a face-off that's about as mature as two idiots on the bus slapping “kick me” signs to each others' backs. Before we outline the ridiculousness, we'd like to sidetrack here for a Public Service Announcement: Keep in mind, these are grown-ass adults, with suit-and-tie jobs and responsibilities, probably a lawn to mow, probably a 401(K) to massage. Not to mention, positions in the public sector.

Now, what do you think “b——” is? Banana boy? Blotto? You guys are going to have to help us figure that part out . .

And in this corner . . . Ouzounian.
  • And in this corner . . . Ouzounian.

Ouzounian is one of six candidates up for the county commissioner seat. In addition to being the party chairman and sitting on the county board of elections, Betras is also the former's former boss: Ouzounian once worked at Betras' law firm as director of communications, a tenure that came to an end when Betras fired Ouzounian, according to Betras. Ouzounian says he was laid off for financial reasons.

As Ouzounian campaigned, he exchanged text-fire with his former boss. This included Betras calling the other the “worst employee I ever had” and “fatty.” Ouzounian countered with “Boss Hogg AKA Mr. Incompetent.”

Here's how the Vindicator outlines the party chairman's reasons for firing off the messages:

Betras said he sent the text because of his “utter frustration” with Ouzounian, a former employee, for his “continued and unsubstantiated and egregious attacks on my actions and character, including the totally unfounded allegation that I threatened to retaliate against a business person who does business with the county who contributed to his campaign.”

After the texts crept to light, Betras offered an apology and said he was going to recuse himself from any board decisions that would impact Ouzounian. The candidate didn't accept the apology. He's now on the offensive, sending off letters to Secretary of State John Husted about Betras' position on the board. But although he's trying to cast himself as the victim in all this, Ouzounian is guilty of at least one thing: bad comebacks.

That dig opening the post? Ouzounian's response was a real wet noodle: “I’m going to enjoy teaching you what hardball politics is all about, so bring it on. I have nothing to lose, you have everything to lose, go for it!”

U mad, bros?

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