Friday, September 22, 2017


Undoubtedly, there are a number of Stark County attorneys who would love to be Canton law director.

And it appears that sooner than later they will have their chance.

The Stark County Political Report (SCPR) has learned that it is highly likely that they will get their chance in early 2018.

For the SCPR has it on solid sourcing information that Canton Law Director Joseph Martuccio will very, very, very likely be retiring at the end of this year.

Martuccio, who is 64, has been law director since 2000 when he was appointed by the Canton Municipal Court District precinct committeepersons of the Stark County Democratic Party to succeed Thomas M. Bernabei (the current mayor of Canton) to replace Bernabei when he retired.

Before becoming director, he was Canton assistant prosecutor, a Stark County public defender and assistant public defender.  Martuccio had various other public service positions outside of Stark County prior to beginning his work in Stark County (he public defender's office) in 1981.  Counting all his public service, he has racked up some 40 years in public life.

Martuccio has never had an election opponent during his 17 years as law director.

It all began with the 2003 election.

The Report hears that he has a non-life threatening health issue which he is dealing with and that resolving the matter has prompted his consideration of retiring.

From what the SCPR has learned, it appears that the inside track for succeeding Martuccio is his deputy chief counsel Kristen Bates Aylward.

It would not be surprising if there is some "testing of the waters" by others even if it is widely known that Bates-Aylward is Martuccio's preference to be his successor which the SCPR has reason to believe that she is.

When she ran for Stark County Domestic Relations judge in 2012, she received the highest recommendation by her peer members of the Stark County Bar Association.

Thursday, September 21, 2017


The Stark County Political Report (SCPR) does not generally go to political campaign fundraisers.

But when a campaign brings in a well known, highly significant political figure into Stark County, well! that's an exception.

On Monday, the SCPR interviewed Democratic candidate for governor Joseph Schiavoni (of the Youngstown area) in a thoroughgoing fashion.  Democrats who want to be informed Democratic voters come May 8, 2018 will make sure they see this video (LINK).

And, The Report is working on getting the remaining Democratic campaigns to sit down with me to answer questions which are foremost in the minds of Stark Democrats as they make a selection between announced candidates Schiavoni, Pillich, Sutton and Whaley.

North Canton mayor David Held may be in for the run of his political life as he is being challenged by Scott Kelly.

Soon the SCPR will be sitting down with Kelly and Held for one-on-one interviews like the one already published on Plain Township trustee Scott Haws (LINK) and within the next few days one of Trustee John Sabo (interviewed on September 20th).

Moreover, for a thorough understanding of State of Ohio Issue #2, Stark Countians have a resource to be completely informed on the issue by going to this LINK and soaking in the material in the blog based on coverage of the Canton League of Women Voters (LWV) and The Repository sponsored forum on the issue.

Last night the SCPR had access to Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine who is currently the attorney general of Ohio.

While The Report would have liked to had a little more time with DeWine, it was getting late and he had a two plus hour trip ahead of him getting back to Columbus.

Readers of the SCPR likely have picked up on The Report's focus in interviews is how they view matters and will act upon if elected to the enhancement or detriment of all things Stark County.

Two of the three questions that DeWine agreed to answer were on two very important issues to Stark Countians.

First and foremost how he will deal with the financing local government funding.

Canton council president Allen Schulman should find DeWine's answer interesting because in framing the question I refer to Schulman's famous diatribe of a couple years ago on the Republicans (the Kasich and supermajority Republican Ohio General Assembly) draconian reduction in local government funding so that the state could balance its budget.

Secondly, a question on the continued viability of "land bank" funding beyond 2019 (the beginning of the term for whomever gets elected governor in November, 2018).

In Stark County, the chairman of the Stark County "Land Bank" is Stark County treasurer Alex Zumbar.  One of the essential conditions of revitalization of Stark County urban communities is the demolition or rehab of blighted properties.

 And, of course, the scope of ridding Stark County's villages, cities and townships of blighted properties is receiving federal and state dollars teamed up with local match dollars.

A Republican, Zumbar is the Stark County head of the Mike DeWine for governor campaign.  (see LINK  blog of June 29th wherein the SCPR writes about  Zumbar/Creighton joining the DeWine campaign)

If DeWine gets elected, one would expect Zumbar to parlay his influence with the governor to convince him to keep the Lank Bank movement financially alive and thriving post-2019.

The SCPR sees Zumbar's administration of the Land Bank as being highly effective but there is a long ways to go before Stark County can say that the blighted property problem is behind us.

For the job to get done, Ohio's next governor is going to have to be committed in terms of budgeting dollars and cents to the cause in Ohio's biennium budgets.

Here is the videotaped interview between the SCPR and Mike DeWine:

Wednesday, September 20, 2017





Repository Executive Editor Rich Desrosiers

LWV President Amy Striver-Dreussi

Ohio Alliance of Retired Americans
Dan Fonte

Moderator Ron Ponder

Stark County Citizens
Did the Forum Help Them in Deciding?

By The Stark County Political Report's (SCPR) count, some 75 Stark Countians, more or less, crammed into the McKinley Room of the Stark County District Library—Main Branch, 715 Market Ave., North in Canton last night to hear the "experts" weigh-in on whether or not Ohio's voters should vote yes or no on Statewide Issue #2.

Here is a copy of Issue #2 as it will appear on the November 7, 2018 Ohio ballot:

The event was sponsored by the Canton League of Women Voters and The Repository.

Which way to vote on Issue 2 is about as clear as mud as articulated by Repository executive editor Rich Desrosiers in his opening remarks.

Desrosiers followed Canton League of Women Voters (LWV) president Amy Shriver Dreussi who crisply and clearly explained the primary LWV purpose of being a vehicle for voters to become "informed" voters.

To the SCPR, the most informed person in the room was former Local 94 Plumbers and Pipefitters union official Dan Fonte.

Fonte was present last night as a representative of the American Alliance of Retired Persons who like Desrosiers and The Repository editorial board has been wrestling with which side to come down on in recommending how voters vote on Issue 2.

Fonte says that organization that he is affiliated with has been discussing which way to go in advising its clientele on how to vote on Issue #2.

He says that he individually is leaning in the direction of voting "no" because of the uncertainty of how Issue #2 would be implemented should the issue pass.

As can be seen in his own words in the following video clip, Fonte says he has concerns that Big Pharma will do everything in its power to cause implementation to fail which appears likely to include manipulating the available formulas and thereby forcing price increases for those affected by passage of the issue.

The Stark County Political Report is convinced that Fonte's take is on the mark and accordingly is now leaning towards believing that a "no" vote is likely the best vote for the welfare of any Ohioan who will be affected by Issue #2.

The Stark County Political feels uncomfortable in siding up with Big Pharma on which way to vote.

One of the reasons that Issue #2 might pass is that there are likely many Ohioans who suspect that Big Pharma is all about enhancing the industry's profit level which already is astronomical.

Ballotpedia is in the judgment of the SCPR the best source for citizens to get a handle on what facts are available in the fight over whether or not Issue #2 should pass.

Here is a Ballotpedia graphic on the campaign financing on the issue as of September 15th:

Another interesting Ballotpedia graphic is polling in August showing that at that time Ohio voters were likely to pass the measure:

Given the extremely large 54% undecided vote, the most that the "yes" folks can take from the poll is that at one time they had a leg up on the "no" vote opposition.

The two campaign groups:
  • Ohio Taxpayers for Lower Drug Prices
    • Chris Galloway
  • Ohioans Against the Deceptive Rx Ballot Issue
    • Victoria Zyp
    • Tracy Jones
both had representatives at last night forum.

Here are the opening and closing arguments by each side.

First, Galloway, then (the open), then Zyp and Jones followed by Galloway (the close).

Ron Ponder was the facilitator of the the discussion last evening, and as always effectively moderated the event.

The correct protocol was for audience members to submit written questions so as to avoid duplicate or unseemly questions.

There were a number of times that audience members injected from the floor and Ponder handled the intrusion deftly.

One such interruption was between an "from the audience" person directed at Chris Galloway which could have turned ugly but which Ponder using his experience as a moderator turned into a positive for those attending, to wit:

After the forum concluded and the audience filed out of the SCDL McKinley room,  the SCPR asked three members of the audience whether or not the forum helped them gather information for a decision on how they would vote, to wit:

The SCPR thinks that the "yes" group needs to find a way to convince voters that passage of Issue 2 will not boomerang on voters to their prescription drug pricing detriment a la 
Fonte's fear which The Report shares.

If the "yes" folks cannot assure voters that they have a legal strategy to keep Big Pharma from using passage to reach "unintended by the 'yes' folks adverse to prescription drug users consequences, then as a matter of self-interest, it is hard to see why a voter would take a risk that their "yes" vote could backfire on affected prescription drug users.

The "vote yes" folks clearly have the higher moral ground.

But can they protect their voters and, indeed, all affected Ohioans from the unintended consequences of Issue #2 getting passed?

That is the big question on the Big Pharma seemingly leverage.

Can the "vote yes" advocates convince enough of the 54% undecideds in light of the attendant risks of voting "yes."

It certainly appears that it is unfair that Big Phama has the clout that it does.

But such is strong strain in American politics.

Unfortunately, "might" does often make "right" in the world of power politics.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017




On September 12th, the "announced" Democratic candidates for Ohio governor (2018) squared off (well, sorta) against one another in Martins Ferry, Ohio in an Ohio Democratic Party sponsored debate.  See the entire debate at this LINK.

Governor John Kasich (a Republican) is term limited out after eight consecutive years in office.

Going back to 1991, Democrats have only held the governorship of Ohio for one term.  Democrat Ted Strickland served as governor from January 8, 2007 through January 10, 2011 before losing narrowly to Kasich in the 2014 election.

So Democrats are hungering and thirsting to put their person in charge as Ohio's chief executive in Columbus.

Many political pundits assessed the Martins Ferry event as being a love-in among the Democrats who were united in their attacks on Kasich.

Yesterday, The Stark County Political Report (SCPR) sat down with candidate Joe Schiavoni of the Youngstown area for an interview that lasted nearly 40 minutes.

Here is an excerpt from Schiavoni's Wikipedia biography (LINK).

The entire SCPR video Schiavoni interview can be viewed at the end of this blog published to ensure readers that the segments have not been cherry picked.

As the SCPR often does, in this blog the video in broken down into five minute segments for those readers who do not have a window of 40 minutes to view the interview in one setting.

Readers will note that a focus of the interview was a tie-in to the interests specific Stark County in terms of what Stark Countians can expect of a given candidate in attending to the priority needs of our county.

FIRST, Schiavoni introduces himself.

Schiavoni focuses on being "the working persons" candidate in that he talks about the working class jobs he has held early in life, his being a Golden Gloves prizefighter and his primary legal work as a workers' compensation attorney.

The video (4:12):

He does have a representional tie to Stark County in that until redistricting occurred in 2011, he represented the extreme eastern end of Stark (Alliance being the major area) when he was appointed by the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus to take over for John Boccieri who had been elected 16th Congressional District congressman.

SECOND,  Schiavoni on the importance of Ohio investment in city infrastructure: (2:40)

THIRD,  on a Canton/Stark County specific interest—the Pro Football Hall of Fame Village Project: (1:18)

While he is supportive of the project, Schiavoni cautions about "putting too many eggs in one basket."

FOURTH, Schiavoni on his willingness to dip into the "Rainy Day Fund."   He addresses Canton council president Allen Schulman's long standing demand that Ohio restore the 500 million plus cut in local government funding over the past 7/8 years. (3:34)

FIFTH, his commitment to the continued funding viability to rid Ohio (including, of course, Stark County's) of blighted properties through entities such as the Stark County "Land Bank." (3:01)

SIXTH, where does the money come from for Schiavoni's aggressive program to deal with Opioid addiction, restoring local government funding, land banks and the like? (1:33)

SEVENTH, the politics of Schiavoni becoming the Democratic nominee for governor. (3:57)

EIGHTH, the organized labor connection and their/Schiavoni's agreement with PresidentTrump on NAFTA and TPP and, in general, Schiavoni's ability to work with the prospect of "continuing to dominate" Republican Ohio General Assembly.  (5:07)

NINTH, Shiavoni on education/charter schools and the threat that Canton schools may be subject to a state takeover. (6:27)

TENTH, Workers' Compensation (WC), a emphasis in Shiavoni's legal practice, does it need fixing?  (2:26)

ELEVENTH, the effort of the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (DRC) to shift costs of incarceration/rehab down to local government (2:08), and

TWELVTH, candidate Shiavoni's wrap up. (1:50)

LASTLY, the entire Schiavoni interview (unedited).

Thursday, September 14, 2017


Yesterday, news broke that state Representative Christina Hagan (Republican, Marlboro Township, Ohio House District #50) is pushing legislation that could endanger the health of tens of thousands of Ohioans as we approach a new 2018 influenza season.

Hagan via the power of state government (i.e. the legislative process) wants to blunt medical providers' ability to require their respective employees to have themselves vaccinated with a flu shot.

Hagan dresses her effort in a gown of protecting the rights individual medical field workers to refuse taking a flu shot.

By virtue of their line of work, these "few" necessarily come into "up close and personal" contact with with "us" many.

In the 2016/2017 flu season in Ohio there were upwards of 10,000 hospitalizations due to influenza infections.

The peak flu season in Ohio is January through March of any given year.

Of course, there are thousands and thousands more Ohioans who do not require hospitalization but nevertheless meet up with medical workers in doctors' offices, pharmacies (who administer flu shots) and public clinics.

Apparently, in Hagan's mind, the rest of us have no right to lessen the likelihood we will be infected with flu and perhaps even die.

Perhaps as many as 50,000 Americans will die from flu/flu related illness in the upcoming flu season.

One never knows when any given flu season is going to getting going into gigantic proportions a la the 1918 worldwide influenza epidemic.

Today, the Columbus Dispatch reported that "cooler" heads are prevailing in the Ohio House with the Speaker of the House putting the brakes on Hagan and her intense group of loyalists who are  trying to jam the Hagan introduced bill through to passage.

In an ironic twist in terms of timing, Hagan's pet legislative project of wanting to through the power of state government (her House Bill 258, known as "the heartbeat bill")  to severely limit the ability of women to end a pregnancy moved, once again, in the direction of needing a gubernatorial veto in order to maintain the right of a woman living in Ohio in line with the U.S. Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade to have a "legal" abortion according to the law of the law articulated in the Roe v. Wade decision.

There is something more to Hagan's seeming fascination with lining up with the anti-vaccine crowd.

Her sympathies and support certainly appear to be with those relatively few in America/Ohio who in effect want the right to jeopardize the health of the  rest of us with their "gut" feeling that vaccines (not just the flu vaccines, but apparently vaccines in general) are not safe.

The "gut" feeling has a "religious" overtone to it and it would be interesting to check the religious connections of those who constitute the anti-vaccine movement.

The Stark County Political Report deems Christina Hagan to be a religious right politico who in her heart of hearts wants to enshrine her and her followers' religious values on the whole of society.

Not only does her actual legislative agenda constitute a "clear and present danger" to health well-being of most of us, but her religious fever to impose her values on the rest of us makes her manifoldly a "clear and present danger" to the vast majority of Ohioans.

The good news is that she will be gone from the Ohio legislation as December 31, 2018 as she has decided not to run for re-election as an Ohio state representative.

The bad news is that she wants to move on to Congress (the 16th congressional district).

Let's us trust that Republican voters will stop her quest in the May 8, 2018 Republican primary election.