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Bedford Heights: Dimora's political home responds to his arrest

9:00 AM, Sep 16, 2010   |    comments
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Dimora was and still is beloved in the working class community of Bedford Heights where he began his career.

It was his "regular guy" charm that made him one of the most successful officeholders in Northeast Ohio.

Without him, what is the party's future and who can repair the damage done? We met with one group that remains faithful to the party and the process.

The Democratic Club of Bedford Heights meets and greets Wednesday night like any other. Those in the political home of Jimmy Dimora remain faithful.

"You always felt he was your friend. You always felt you could go to him if you needed anything," Club member Kay Gary said.

"I love him to this day and I will always love him. I think everybody in Bedford Heights would feel the same way," Club President Clyde Carter said.

Dimora was first a councilman in Bedford Heights, then the mayor for 11 years. Children play in and around the community center bearing his name.

Once inspiring to young Dems, now this corruption case is turning some away.

"A lot of people are turned off by both Democrats and Republicans. Democrats, particularly in Cuyahoga County," Gary said.

"This is one more reason or excuse for people to say this is why I don't vote," Bedford Heights Mayor Fletcher Berger said.

The Democratic Party put its faith in County Executive nominee Ed FitzGerald. He is named in the federal indictment as Public Official 14. Some suspicions surround his relationship with Dimora.

"He is the Democratic Party nominee for this position. Whether I support him or not, I haven't decided," Gary said.

"I feel strongly he (Dimora) will be exonerated and will fulfill the duties we want him to do," Carter said.

With voter apathy already a problem, many say because of this corruption case, the Democratic Club of Bedford Heights is equal to the challenge ahead.

"I still have a great deal of faith in people wanting to see the best come out of the whole county and whole situation," Mayor Berger said.

"We realize we're going to have doors slammed in our face but still we're gonna keep the faith. That's all we can do," Carter said.

Many of the 155 members of the Democratic Club know and worked with Dimora during his political career in Bedford Heights.

Some say he was their inspiration for getting involved with public service and volunteering.

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