Little Italy: 'Parade of Politicians' goes on without Dimora, Russo

6:30 PM, Oct 11, 2010   |    comments
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Conspicuously absent from this year's celebration were two politicians who wore their Italian-American heritage on their sleeves -- Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and former Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo.

Dimora was a parade mainstay for years, riding in a customized Batmobile.

And while there is disappointment about the pair's role as primary targets of the massive corruption probe, it was not nearly enough to overshadow the joy of the day.

Len Calabrese, head of the Catholic Community Connection,  attends the parade every year. The parade route is a stone's throw from where his immigrant famly settled.

"It's about family. It's about faith. It's about our values as a people. And it's about those who went before us," he said.

Cleveland City Councilman Matt Zone sayd the deeds of Russo and Dimora do not overshadow the joy of the day or diminish the community's pride.

"I would hope people would not try to indict the whole Italian-American Community. We're sad and disappointed," Zone said.

Ken Lanci and Don Scipione are independent candidates trying to appeal to Italian-American voters.

Lanci has an office in Little Italy. Scipione worked Monday's crowd.

"The Italian-Americans have had enough disappointing stereotypes. We're not looking for that. We're looking to the future," Scipione said.

Parade watchers did not wish to overemphasize Dimora and Russo's ethnicity.

Half-Italian Pat Delaney said, "I don't think ethnicity matters. There is corruption across the board."

JoAnn Saporito said, "There are always a few bad apples in any barrel."

Dimora once alleged that his Italian ethnicity was one reason prosecutors were after him.

Many parade watchers said they are adhering to the standard of "innocent until proven guilty."

Some sounded like they might make Dimora-sympathetic jurors.

Tony Trunza said, "Everyone makes mistakes in life. No one is perfect."

Trunza's mother, Anna, said, "Only God is perfect."


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