November 27, 2014


Challenger announces bid to unseat Lorain mayor



LORAIN — A candidate backed by local labor unions said Sunday he plans to challenge Mayor Chase Ritenauer in 2015.

Tim Carrion, Coaliton on Hispanic Issues and Progress president and an insurance agent, announced his candidacy at the 20th annual Lorain County Organized Labor Day Family Celebration. Carrion said he hasn’t decided if he’ll run as a Democrat or independent. He promised, if elected, to be more inclusive to businesses, laborers and constituents than the Democratic Ritenauer.

“Government works best when we work with people, rather than lord over them,” Carrion said. “Everyone matters and everyone deserves a voice.”

Ritenauer angered some local union leaders last year when he supported a City Council ordinance stipulating 25 percent of workers on city projects of $2 million or more be Lorain or Lorain County residents and 9 percent be minorities. The ordinance diluted a 2011 Project Labor Agreement that required 75 percent of workers be locals with 9 percent minorities and stipulated workers unionize during projects, a stipulation removed from the 2013 ordinance.

In July, Ritenauer backed Council increasing local hiring from 25 percent to 50 percent, from 9 percent to 20 percent for minorities and 7 percent to 15 percent for women. The project cost threshold dropped from $2 million to $250,000.

Nonetheless, some labor leaders remain angry with Ritenauer and Lorain’s Democratic Party, a traditional ally. The Lorain County AFL-CIO successfully backed independent councilmen Greg Argenti, I-4th Ward, and Josh Thornsberry, I-8th Ward, in November over Democratic candidates.

While introducing Carrion, Harry Williamson, president of the Lorain County AFL-CIO and Communication Workers of America Local 4370, denounced elected leaders who are part of the “good old boys club” who have “betrayed” labor and the working class. Williamson said Carrion has the commitment, drive and qualifications to lead.

“Our interests are his interests,” Williamson said.

Carrion, whose wife and children attended the announcement, denounced unnamed local power brokers.

“They’ve turned a blind eye to the needs of working-class people for their own personal gain,” Carrion said. “It’s not acceptable, and help is on the way.”

Ritenauer said by phone after the event that unions have prospered under his administration and he has the support of some local union leaders and rank-and-file members. He said many unionized workers have been hired for road projects since he took office in 2012.

With Lorain being removed from fiscal watch by the state last year, Ritenauer said the city’s budget has been stabilized increasing jobs in the 450-member unionized city workforce. Ritenauer said he was the only county mayor in to get a local hiring ordinance approved and said Williamson was holding him to an unfair standard.

“If there are going to be certain standards, let’s make sure every elected official is held to them,” Ritenauer said. “Not just the mayor of Lorain.”

Anthony Giardini, Lorain County Democratic Party president, said Carrion should run as a Democrat. Giardini said he personally backs Ritenauer but would support Carrion if Carrion defeated Ritenauer in the May Democratic primary. Giardini said primaries can be divisive but are part of the system.

“I certainly would hope and personally expect that if members of organized labor are going to support a candidate that it would be in the primary,” he said. “Not as an independent or a Republican.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or Follow him on Twitter at @egoodenowct.

  • SniperFire

    You really have a choice now….


    • Sis Delish

      South Park or South Lorain?

  • BrownEyedGirl

    This article tells you everything you need to know about why Lorain will never move forward.

  • Otter

    A union leader, “denouncing” elected officials who are part of the “good old boys club” now that’s funny.

  • SniperFire

    ‘Tim Carrion, Coaliton on Hispanic Issues ‘

    Running as the racist he is, then, with Eric Goodenow’s glowing support.

  • oldruss

    I thought it telling that the Democratic Party Chairman wants this challenger to run in the Democratic Primary, rather than on the November 2015 General Election ballot. If Mr. Carrion is squeezed into the Democratic Primary, Mr. Giardini will have control over the election. Not so much if Republicans and Independents can vote and choose between the Mayor and Mr. Carrion, as would be the case at the November General Election.

    • herekitttykaate

      I do not know that I would want Dom Giardini endorsing me. Remember how miserably ne had failed against Chris Redfern!

  • Sis Delish

    Unseat. What a term. Sounds like Musical Chairs in Reverse.

  • Joe Flabetz

    Union leader talking about “good old boys”. Reality is current mayor won’t do as labor tells him what to do. Labor has done more harm in Lorain than any other single group. Sorry Harry, you are a wanna be “good old boy”, and you’ll cry until you get included.

  • golfingirl

    And this is the best Lorain has?

    The future is looking mighty bleak.

  • Sis Delish

    I’m Supporting the candidate from T.C. (Tent City)

  • GreatRedeemer

    I doubt Mayor 4.0 has much to worry about. At least as far as Dem mayors go he has made some inroads into the horrible system. He realizes that things cannot go on as before.

  • Joe Flabetz

    Carrion can’t be that naive that he thinks the unions are endorsing him because he’s such a great guy. The unions want to pull the strings and be the power broker. Williamson and Carrion – what a pair – two wannabes

  • Conservator440

    I do not support democrat party policies or candidates. However, that being said, Chase Ritenauer has done a much better job as mayor than his predecessors. I chalk that up to the fact that Ritenauer has kept generally clear of the democratic party “bosses” as he was counseled to do. In Lorain, this is a cardinal sin to be detached from the party power brokers. It appears that Carrion will be more subservient to the party glitterati, and that is what they need to retain their strangle hold on politicians.