I heard that Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer is leaving his post for a regional M&A directorship with Republic Services. (Lorain will be part of his territory, apparently.)

In the late summer of 2016, before one of the great all-time goons slithered into the White House and our civic-religious dogma forever, I wrote a long story about what was going on in Lorain. A city of immigrants, built and sustained by steel. An American patchwork of undulating prosperity and crushing downtime.

featurepage1I don’t think anyone in Lorain or elsewhere seriously placed any working-class faith in either presidential candidate back then. The rationale behind the national vote in 2016 was angrier, more visceral and bleached with hate. You can still hear the echoes today, growing louder, in fact, studded with personal invective on your made-to-order social media platform of choice.

No, the answers to problems like the idled steel mill at the end of your street or the crowded (or non-existent) homeless shelters in your city are found in questions asked of local political representatives, of local community organizations, of ourselves. That, to me, seems like the political action — even rhetoric! — that matters. Lordstown is a great example in the news this week, a way to grasp how different levels of government shape reality and a local economy for families on the ground.

Now Ritenauer’s gone. A lot of work left undone, but that’s how it always is. And more power to him, finding more time to spend with his family. Time to ask his own questions. But the party’s central committee has a shot at appointing a successor, which is never a great starting point.

What questions are owed to the people?


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