Few minorities pursue Erie County offices

Her political signs aren't much different from the many others popping up on lawns all across Erie County in recent weeks.
Andy Ouriel
Oct 27, 2012

It's a classy blue font on a white background: "Elect Beverly Hancock Juvenile Court Judge, Endorsed Democrat."  

On a recent expedition down Marlboro Street in Sandusky, where she lives, Beverly Newell Hancock was quick to tout her values and explain what she'd bring to the table if elected juvenile court judge.

She wants to curb gang violence, for instance, and she'd like to limit the amount of time juveniles spend in jail prior to their conviction.

She faces incumbent juvenile court Judge Robert DeLamatre, a Republican, at the polls Nov. 6.

There's not much difference in Hancock's political signs and DeLamatre's signs.

In one noticeable respect, however, Hancock is quite different not just from DeLamatre, but all the other candidates running for a contested political office in Erie County this fall.

Hancock is the only black candidate in the bunch.

Nine other white hopefuls — incumbents and newcomers alike — are running for various offices, including two county commissioner seats, the treasurer's spot and the judge's spot.

The shortage of black candidates is disproportionate to Erie County's black population, U.S. Census data shows.

About 9 percent of Erie County residents are black. That's roughly 6,700 of the county's 77,000 people, according to U.S. Census data.

If using the Census data as a measuring stick, about 1 in 10 of Erie County's elected officials should be black. The reality is only one of the county's 15 elected officials is black: clerk of courts Luvada Wilson.  

Voters never elected Wilson to her post. A judge appointed her to serve a 15-month term after her predecessor, Barb Johnson, died. Johnson was also black.  

Wilson is running unopposed Nov. 6, which guarantees at least one black person will serve in an Erie County office after Election Day.

The shortage of black political candidates is no surprise to Joel Lieske, a Cleveland State University political science professor.

"People tend to favor those who are most like themselves," Lieske said. "If a district contained a majority of non-white voters, white candidates would be disadvantaged."

Hancock said she realizes few blacks run for office in Erie County, but the notion hardly bothers her.

"I don't get up in the morning and say, 'I wish some black people were running so I could vote for them,'" she said. "But I would love to see more diversity in publicly elected offices."

She assumed, like many others, the election of U.S. President Barack Obama four years ago would inspire more blacks to run for public office.

While that hasn't happened in any major way, the country's minority population continues to make achievements elsewhere.

"We were always told as kids, 'You can be president of the United States,'" Hancock said. "A lot of black children may not have believed that — until Barack Obama came along. And now they believe."

Regardless of the outcome on Nov. 6, Hancock hopes to set an example for black residents in Erie County.

"Maybe I can inspire young girls and young boys to pursue their dreams, whether it's an attorney, for office or whatever dream they have," she said.

Total population                  Black population (percent)
Erie County  77,000              8.7
Ohio             11.5 million       12.4
U.S.              311 million        13.1
Source: U.S. Census




Oh so very hard to keep my mouth shut on this one. I'm humming....

Swamp Fox

It should not be the race of the candidate it should their qualifications, something Hancock lacks.

Swamp Fox

Question, what is the black employee percentage of the Sandusky Register?
Why is this important, why is the race of a candidate important?


I couldn't agree more with Swamp Fox. Why does race matter? Shouldn't we hope that QUALIFIED candidates run? And shouldn't we vote for whomever we believe to be MOST qualified? To vote for or against ANYbody because of their skin color is about as racist and discriminatory as you can get. And yet the people most inclined to promote "quotas" and the like are those who would be the first to jump up and down and cry "racism" should the thrust go the other direction.

I have never voted based on skin color. I have never voted based on gender or religion. Heck, I don't even vote based on political PARTY much of the time! I would like to believe that most people are just like me in that regard. I'm wrong, of course. If I were right, we'd ALWAYS elect the best qualified man or woman to office. And it's painfully clear that we often don't.

All of you who suggest that anyone run for office or cast votes based on anything but a desire and an ability to perform the job are the problem, not the solution.


If U don't want to be rasist U will vote for Hancock got it.…

Taxed Enough Already

This race is about qualifications. Watch the debate that this newspaper put on, it was a joke. DeLematre buried her with his expertise and knowledge. I almost felt sorry for Hancock.

Professor Playdoh

Hey Andy...Do they pay you for your insightful reporting, or is this a hobby?


Good job register way to get a race story going just before the prez election. I swear they do this so i tell people about the registers story . SO BAD REPORTING. WE HAVE A BLACK PREZ..DID YOU NOTICE


Obama did it, LOL one year!

(He worked for a year as a financial analyst)



I have an idea...Let's curb juvenile gang violence by shortening juvenile time in jail before conviction!!!

Phil Packer

Are smart, qualified, and diligent people considered a "minority"?


Yes. And they are RELENTLESSLY discriminated against, too!


Nobody is keeping black candidates from running so what is the point of this story?


It just always comes down to this, doesn't it? Unfortunately this card just has to be played! Why?


Press 1 for English, Press 2 for ??????

indolent indiff...

she is just not qualified for this position


It's race baiting by the Sandusky Register. Of course, Rufus Sanders does the same thing. Why should I expect anything different.

Phil Packer

Choose not to feed on the chum.


Re:"Heck, I don't even vote based on political PARTY much of the time".

You post republican 100% of the time.....



Nope, 'fraid not. Of course, you may not read every story on which I've ever commented, either. And since I AM fiscally conservative, you may assume "Republican" all you like. I'd note, though, that a whole lot of Republicans these days are just as addicted to pork as their more liberal colleagues.

The truth is that, while I'm all for fiscal conservatism, I tend to be pretty liberal socially. In other words, I'm more libertarian than anything else (and I use the small letter "L" for "libertarian" because, since I do favor a strong national defense, I don't adhere to the official Libertarian platform much, either).

I once knew a guy who referred to Democrats as "safety nazis" and Republicans as "salvation nazis." There are times I think he was pretty close to the mark! Me? My bottom line is that you should do whatever you want as long as you don't infringe on the rights of others. It's the rampant infringement, most particularly on the part of the government in recent years, that gets me every time!

I'm sure you don't feel a WHOLE lot better, but at least now you know more about WHY you don't, LOL!


Case of woman accused of bilking elderly aunt gets heated

Published: Friday, May 21, 2004


Yesterday, attorneys spent more than four hours questioning potential jurors before selecting six women and six men to hear the criminal trial of Krista Harris, 30, who faces multiple counts of theft and receiving stolen property for allegedly taking more than $86,000 from her relative.

Proceedings grew contentious when potential jurors were out of the room as Harris confronted visiting Judge James D. Sweeney and special Prosecutors Matt Razavi and James R. Bennett II, who are assistant prosecutors for Medina County.

Before jury selection, Sweeney denied a motion to dismiss the charges. Attorney Beverly Newell said the motion was based on double jeopardy, because Harris was previously tried on the charges and her convictions were overturned by the 6th District Court of Appeals.

Bennett argued against the motion, but Harris accused Bennett of lying about the charges listed in an amended indictment.

''Please, please, please, let's make some groundwork,'' Sweeney said as Harris began speaking.

''I want to object,'' Harris said.

''If you persist in this, I'm going to revoke your bond,'' Sweeney said to Harris. ''Think about that.''

''Do what you want to do,'' Harris replied.

Sweeney also denied Harris' motion to disqualify Newell and to recuse himself from the case. Newell should be dismissed because she was not registered with the Ohio Supreme Court at the time of her appointment, Harris argued.

''That's why you deliberately appointed her to this case, to try and railroad me again,'' Harris said to Sweeney.

After the jury selection, Harris argued that her attorney was Leonard Yelsky, who represented her during her appeal.

''Leonard Yelsky is my attorney. I have not fired him,'' Harris said, adding that the court refused to summon Yelsky to the trial.

However, Sweeney said he allowed Yelsky to withdraw as Harris' counsel in the case. Yelsky said he ''simply had enough'' of Harris and her treatment of his son and daughter, who also work as lawyers, according to court records filed in the case.

The judge told Harris that Newell ''will remain with you, and there's no uncertainty about that.''

''One of the eternal verities is that Leonard Yelsky will not represent you in this case,'' Sweeney said to Harris.

The trial is scheduled to resume Monday morning in Erie County Common Pleas Court. In questioning jurors, the attorneys and judge said they expect the trial to last at least a few days next week.

In April 2002, Harris was convicted of one count of receiving stolen property, one count of attempted theft from an elderly person and eight counts of theft from an elderly person, according to court records.

The charges stemmed from a series of money transfers from bank accounts of Harris' aunt to Harris' accounts in Sandusky from August to October 2000, according to court records.

In September 2003, the 6th District Court of Appeals overturned Harris' conviction and remanded the case back to the Common Pleas Court, according to the appeals ruling.

The appeals court overturned the original verdict, saying Harris did not get a fair trial because the trial Judge Lawrence Grey did not fully explain to her the ramifications of firing her attorney on the first day of trial.


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Lengthy excerpts from other websites.

Julie R.

Is Beverly Newell also known as Beverly Newell Hancock?


Is this case the one that Baxter got into?

Julie R.

wiredmama222: Yes, that's the one about the black lady who was making allegations about Baxter. The allegations pertained to when Krista Harris was only 19 years old.

According to what I read about it, after Harris made those allegations she was accused of stealing from her elderly aunt, yet the aunt's doctor, Susan Gallagher, testified that the aunt (who by then was suffering from dementia) was NOT suffering from dementia years back when she had the Power of Attorney prepared. In other words, the Power of Attorney Harris used at Citizens Bank was LEGAL. The articles also say that the probate court judge Beverly McGookey ordered Harris to return the $86,000.00 to her elderly aunt's bank account and she did with the exception of $40,000.00 ---- and that's what the jokes in Erie County and their joke retired rent-a-judge sent her to a harsh five-year prison sentence for (with no early release) --- $40 grand. Yet now compare that to the thief in Jo Dee Fantozz's office who stole almost $150,000.00 of taxpayer monies. All Tygh Tone gave her was 3 years and she only had to serve a year of it.

How nobody can see what's going on in corrupt Erie County is beyond me.


I thought so. I remembered the name. YEEEPPP. I remembered the two sherriffs who filed charges against Baxter. They claimed he did something wrong in this case but Baxter was cleared of the charges by the court....visting judge Binette? right?


Why would Attorney Beverly Newell Hancock fail to register with the Ohio Supreme Court?


Why wasn't Beverly Newell Hancock prosecuted for the felonies that she committed while she was representing Krista Harris?


When they print the Black population stats , are they including bi-racial people or not?


I don't think they include those, then again, there's never a straight answer without someone pulling the racist card.

Personally, I think they need to , if a person is mixed how can they be considered all black or all white and it's stupid to put one or the other.