Wednesday, May 4, 2016

PART 2 - SERIES ON 49TH HOUSE DISTRICT RACE: CANDIDATE WEST WILL ANSWER QUESTIONS BUT HE WON'T ANSWER QUESTIONS.



The SCPR initiated this series on April 16th with a blog detailing the background of Democratic candidate Thomas West and Republican Dan McMasters.

A long ways off from the general election date of November 8th.

So why so early?

Real simple.

For Stark Countians including those who make up the 49th Ohio House District, there are many, many issues at Ohio's state level of government that impact citizen life and voters are entitled to know where each candidate stands on those many issues.

Republican Dan McMasters is willing to share his views on those issues with 49th District voters in a "no holds barred SCPR interview."  Democrat Thomas West is not.

Initially, West agreed but then backed off his original commitment.

Bottom line is that West is a Democrat in a highly Democrat indexed district and is relying on such to carry him to victory in November rather than provide voters with detailed and comprehensive information on his issue positions and thereby equip voters to make fully informed decision.

Apparently, Candidate West is content with the cursory League of Women Voters (LWV)/The Repository Forum (mostly, the work of the LWV) of March 10, 2016.

In the light of West's refusal to provide in-depth answers which 49th District voters can access both now and right before they vote, the SCPR links and will continue to link these one/two minute videotaped responses to some pretty complicated issues posed at the LWV forum.


Undoubtedly, West will promise to provide more than "sound-bite" type answers to some very weighty and important state government issues but don't count on him delivering.

When the partisan divide is in your favor, don't muck it up with a thoughtful discussion of Ohio's critical issues and thereby possibly jeopardize what appears to be certain success has to be West's posture, no?

The SCPR:  "Don't count on West doing anything but playing it safe."

One might think that McMasters has nothing to loose in being totally forthcoming with his responses to SCPR posed questions.

And indeed he doesn't.

But he may in the course of being an authentic politician (saying what he means, meaning what he says) earn the respect of 49th District voters and thereby get a foothold from which to spring the surprise of the 2016 general election.

In this second segment (date:  April 27th)  of the McMasters interviews, he addressed the issue of local government funding cuts that began in earnest after Republican governor John Kasich's (in concert with the supermajority Republican Ohio General Assembly) took office on January 1, 2011.

Here is what has happened to Stark's villages, cities and townships starting with the baseline year of 2010 (the year before Kasich took office) and ending the last full year of budgeting in 2015.



On "Local Government Funding (LGF)" alone, Stark County has lost $26,667,508.

Canton lost $8,513,499 BUT when Canton's share of Casino revenues to Ohio's eight largest cities is factored in Canton in reality lost $1,469.585.

Ditto for Stark County government as an entity.

The Stark County treasury lost $9,040,309 for the period 2011 through 2015 BUT when the county government's share of Casino revenues is figured in the loss of State of Ohio funding i $1,996,395.

The factoring in of Casino revenues pared the total Stark County political subdivision loss of Ohio revenue support from $26,667,508 to $12,579,680.

Outside of Canton City and Stark County government, there was NO Casino OFFSET to the townships, villages and cities of Stark County.  

Collectively, the "outside of Canton City and Stark County government" units of government bore the brunt of Ohio's drastic cuts in local government funding."

 In the 49th House District, Massillon lost nearly $1.3M uncompensated local government funding.

Candidate McMasters says he was astonished when the draconian cuts were made (2011 and 2012, state budget biennium) but on reflection sees a silver lining for the cut to the bone entities in that go forward revenues generated by Stark's local government entities will not be filtered through Columbus with the administrative rake off or other diversions of funds that takes place at the state level.

There is legislation in place (HB 508 introduced by Democratic members of the Ohio House) to siphon off some $25 million from the $2B plus "rainy day" fund that Ohio now has in place.



One of the co-sponsors is current 49th House District representative Stephen Slesnick who is term limited out of the Ohio House as of December of this year.

 If passed, which is highly unlikely given that it is a Democratic plan offered in the Republican supermajority controlled Ohio General Assembly, Massillon stands to get $2.9 million whereas Canton is not included in the listing of Ohio local governments to benefit.

 McMasters viewed HB 508 as being a Democratic gimmick in an election.

However, if elected he says that he willing to consider looking at measures designed to help financially distressed local governments not only in the 49th but also for all of Stark County.

He says he is far better placed to actually get something done for Canton, Massillon and other entities in the 49th than his Democratic opponent Thomas West is merely because he will be part of a Republican supermajority controlling the Ohio House.

 Here is the complete video interview of 49th Ohio House District candidate Dan McMasters on the issue of State of Ohio local government funding.

Monday, May 2, 2016

ELUM: ABOUT TO BE JUDGED FOR A SECOND TIME. WILL HE REMAIN A JUDGE?



May 6, 2016 could prove be a career ending date for Massillon Municipal Court judge Edward Joseph Elum.

For the second time within five years, Elum faces disciplinary charges at the hand of Ohio's Disciplinary Counsel in a hearing to be held at 10:00 in a hearing room located within the Ohio Supreme Court complex in Columbus.

Here is a LINK to a SCPR blog which details the charge that Elum has been brought up on.

And here is actual copy of the complaint itself.  (Republished to ensure that I have my facts straight)



To be fair with Judge Elum (something I do not think he demonstrates with some with whom he deals as a judge), here is a LINK to a SCPR blog which contains his formal answer to the complaint.

One possible sanction, should he be found in violation of Ohio's Code of Judicial Conduct, is the loss or suspension of underlying license to practice law and therefore necessarily, in a derivative sense, his right to continue to be an Ohio judge.

One might think that I get some pleasure out of the legal travails of Judge Elum.

For on March 16, 2010 he launched a savage attack on my character for having had the audacity as the author of The Stark County Political Report to write about his having involved himself in a political dispute with former Massillon police chief Robert Williams.  (LINK to March 10, 2010 blog detailing the dispute that Elum embroiled himself in)


The attack.

First, this:



And then this:


At the time, we did not know that Elum himself would have his professionalism and character placed under scrutiny by Ohio's Disciplinary Counsel.

And found to be wanting.  (LINK to case of October 18, 2012 in which Elum was found deficient in judicial ethics and sanctioned)

Now we have a second complaint.

Maybe a second "personal note," this time from Marty to Eddie, is in order?



Therein lies the rub with Edward Joseph Elum.

Though he has a sterling record of having done a lot of good in Massillon and indeed across Stark County, he simply lacks the temperament to be a judge.

To return to the question posed above:  Do I take delight in Elum's current troubles?

"Not in the least!."

It is never good for society as a whole and in this instance Stark County/Massillon to have one who sits in judgement of others to lack self-control.

I suspect that the foregoing Elum ethical matters are "the tip of the 'proverbial' iceberg."

Those close to Elum appear to have failed him.

 If they "really" were looking out for the best interest of Eddie Elum, they should have been telling the King that "he has no clothes."

One has to believe that there has been ample opportunity for his government/political friends to challenge this judge to clean up his act.

But it seems that they have been too cowardly to do so.

But in the end, it has been Edward Joseph Elum who has failed himself!

If the May 6th hearing goes against him, he will only have himself to blame.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

BIG NEWS FOR STARK COUNTY? SCHURING BECOMES GOP CONTROLLED OHIO HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER!



Yours truly has known Republican state Representative J. Kirk Schuring for some 15 years.

The hope has been that Schuring would prove to be more for the public good than for his personal political good.

But any chance that the public interest and specifically the Stark County public interest would trump his personal political ambitions were finally laid to rest on Tuesday, April 26th.

Get this!


Yep!  Schuring as the Republican Ohio House Caucus Majority Leader.

For those readers who are not all that familiar with functions of a majority leader, here is a LINK (though descriptive of the U.S. House of Representatives) that provides a pretty good look at some of the responsibilities Schuring will be taking on.

Here is the essence of the announcement (highlight added) with a SCPR question superimposed:


Schuring is probably the most affable of all the folks we Stark Countians send to Columbus.

Consequently, one hears very little in terms of criticism of Schuring as state representative and/or state senator.

Oh! the SCPR does recall Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. in the days he was Stark County Democratic Party chairman and his sidekick and Stark County Democratic Party political director R. Shane Jackson trading in ugly asides about Schuring which yours truly thinks to be incredible.

Undoubtedly, face-to-face these two have been "peaches and cream" with Schuring.

Such (i.e. hypocrisy)  is how many politicians are especially across political party lines.

In addition to his affability, seemingly,  at least up until Tuesday, to repeat, his ostensible "not all that partisan stance,"  if one believes the image that Schuring has been trying to project in all of his days as a member of the Ohio General Assembly, has worked for him.

In fact, a number of years ago he was punished by his Republican Party caucus when he differed with the leadership on an issue for which he disciplined by the Republican caucus in place at the time.

Looking back, he has to be thinking that his diversion from "the party line" was a big mistake.

For if he had not offended party leaders, 
  • being Ohio General Assembly fixture compared to many fellow legislators:
    • in working out a deal with fellow legislator Scott Oelslager for the two of them to avoid the consequences of the Republican Party sponsored (1992) term limits initiative (limiting terms to 8 consecutive years)
      • which Ohioans passed
    • in playing "musical chairs" with Stark's senate district and the overlapping Plain/Jackson house district in switching between the two seats as they were to be put on the outside looking in because of the looming 8 year limit,
it likely would not have taken him 21 years to rise to the top of the Republican leadership in the Ohio General Assembly. 

By way of comparison, the current Speaker of the Ohio House has only been in the House for about 5 years, to wit:


The SCPR has always suspected that "not being a 'cookie cutter'" Republican (which Schuring claims as being his imprimatur) was more a mirage propagated by Schuring himself than his real record indicates.

"The cat is now out of the bag" as to his being "all-in" in his personal commitment to the Ohio Republican Party.

Apparently, he and other Republican and for that matter Democratic "organized" political party types have not gotten the message from the Trump and Sanders presidential campaigns.

Normally, the naming of a "person of the year," would come at the end of the year as Time Magazine does annually.

But Schuring's political accomplishment is so monumental that the SCPR could not bear to hold off until December.

For it could mean really big things for Stark County in terms of Schuring "bringing home the bacon" to Stark.

It has always been a premise of the SCPR that though Schuring (and Olelsager) obviously have gotten some good things done for Stark County, given their combined over 50 years in the Ohio General Assembly; in these times of term limits 50+ years should put them in the order of former Democratic Party Speaker of the House and iron-fisted leader Vern Riffe, Jr. (an icon to Maier, Jr.) in effectiveness.  (LINK)

But the SCPR is highly skeptical that Schuring's new political perch will mean much if anything of added value for Stark County.

On the Einstein scale of relativity, at least in the SCPR's view, he is the best of the bunch even with the revelation of his reaching the political stratosphere of the Ohio Republican Party.

The Report ranks Stark's delegation—in terms of overall quality— to the Ohio General Assembly as follows:
  1. Schuring (Republican, Jackson Township, Ohio House, the 48th),
  2. Oelslager (Republican, Plain Township, Ohio Senate, the 29th),
  3. Christina Hagan (Republican, Marlboro Township, Ohio House, the 50th), and
  4. Stephen Slesnick, Democrat, Canton, the 49th)
As a sidenote, having referred to her in the above-listing,  one has the figure that Christina Hagan may have gotten herself into a whole lot of legal trouble with former Stark County treasurer Gary D. Zeigler with a factually incorrect statement about Zeigler published in the April 29,2016 edition of The Hartville News (HN).

The primary point of the column was for Hagan to self-servingly tell Hartville/Lake residents what a terrific representative she has been over her five years in the Ohio House.

However, her braggradocios must be accurate or it might well lead one to believe that there may be other inaccuracies in her self-aggrandizement.

Undoubtedly, if doesn't already know, with this blog Zeigler or one of his friends will happen upon the incorrect Hagan statement about him.

Being a Lake Township resident, yours truly has subscribed to the HN for most if not all of the 41 years that the Olsons have lived in Uniontown.

Of late, it seems as if Christina who his seeking re-election to the 50th Ohio House seat has been a featured attraction in the weekly periodical.

The SCPR's impression is that nearly every Stark County Republican elected official frequents the pages of the HN whereas one only sees a Democrat occasionally.

Hagan's Democratic opponent is Plain Township resident John Juergensen.

Haven't see a word about Juergensen in the HN.

But he might want to use The Hartville News as an "opposition research" tool to check out what Hagan is saying about herself.

Moreover, could it be that GOP Majority Leader Kirk Schuring now has a problem on his hands to deal with?

Did Representative Hagan write the article herself?

Or, was it written by a  taxpayer supported Ohio House employee?

Somebody not adequately schooled on matter on all the material included in the article?

Who fact checked the Hagan column prior to publication?

Congratulations Majority Leader J. Kirk Schuring on being named the SCPR "Person of the Year!"

Thursday, April 28, 2016

"A SHOT IN THE ARM!" FOR IMPROVEMENT OF CANTON'S NEIGHBORHOODS?

UPDATED:  2:17 PM


VIDEOS

KING'S LANDING
PRESENTATION
TO
STARK CO. COMMISSIONERS

===================================

CIVIC ACTIVIST BRUCE NORDMAN
&
KL PARTNERS (LESAK)
ON
FUTURE PLANS FOR KING'S LANDING

Very quietly a real estate transaction closed whereby what was formerly known as Ridgewood-Castle Apartments whereby the 170 unit apartment complex was purchased by an from-outside-Canton real estate partnership, to wit:


According, the some Cantonians who live in the vicinity of the complex—now known as King's Landing—the purchase offers the promise of eliminating the complex as being a policing and fire servicing nightmare into a first rate supplement (i.e. compacted living space) to one of Canton's historically stable neighborhoods known as Vassar Park.

The transaction appears to have been "under-the-radar" insofar as city officials being aware of it and its potential to transform the Vassar Park neighborhood to some semblance of the neighborhood being perhaps Canton's finest middle class/upper middle class neighborhood.

KL Partners' manager (Josh Lesak) was brought to the Stark County commissioners' weekly meeting yesterday by Vassar Park neighborhood civic activist Bruce Nordman.

Here is a video of Nordman and Lesak making presentations to the commissioners.



And, as The Stark County Political Report often does, here is a one-on-one video with yours truly doing an "in depth" follow up with Nordman and Lesak.



Much has to be done to restore Canton to her former greatness as one of Ohio's premier urban centers that has produced a president of the United States.

Recently, Canton City Council adopted a comprehensive plan to set about step-by-step to rehab Canton so that one day within the foreseeable future the Hall of Fame City will be featured in major U.S. media as a "Come Back City Extraordinaire."


The National Football Hall of Fame Village has the promise of being a key cog in the wheel of progress in bring Canton back to urban premier status.



As does Councilman John Mariol's (Ward 7) Market Square Project (LINK).


Another important cog in Canton "wheel of progress" in rehabbing the city is the merger of the Canton Parks Commissioner and the Canton Joint Recreation District which on March 15th gained voter approval of 5 mill financing beginning on January 1, 2017 and is in process in determining who will manage Canton's Parks and Recreation as director going forward.

Had the financing issue failed, Cantonians would have been looking at a scenario suggested by this SCPR graphic used in describing the critical nature of the March 15th vote.


Though the leadership of current director Derek Gordon, Canton City Schools vice president J.R. Rinaldi and Canton Park Commission member Sam Sliman, Canton's parks and recreation facilities promise to be an asset as more and more visitors are drawn to the city.

There  is a what the the SCPR thinks a healthy competition going on as to who will lead the new entity as director going forward.

The Report's take is that many think current director Derek Gordon has done a fine job.

However, government at all levels ought to be seeking the best possible leadership and leadership evaluation always need to be in a "work in progress" mode.

Thomas M. Bernabei has been mayor of Canton for four months now.

With the assets that this blog focuses upon and others not dealt with in this blog, he appears to have building blocks in place to do—over the span of time—what a short time ago seemed impossible.

But everything cannot be government initiative.

The private sector needs to step forward responsibly and productively to help bring Canton back to being an attractive community to live in.

One of the primary and repetitive points that Manager Lesak made yesterday was that KL Partners are about cleaning things up at King's Landing.

The SCPR did a search of Stark County's Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) for a listing of legal initiatives as confirming evidence of Lesak's point, to wit:


It appears that KL Partners is embarked on pathway that may well prove to be a model for other private sector enterprises to help Canton make a come back to being one Ohio's top desirable urban destinations.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

THE NUMBERS INDICATE THAT "ORGANIZED" REPUBLICANS? DEMOCRATS? CONTROL STARK CO. COUNTYWIDE ELECTIONS

UPDATED TODAY (04/28/2016) 06:30 AM - NEW MATERIAL ADDED


Answer?

It depends on your perspective.

LOOKING STRICTLY AT THE REGISTRATION NUMBERS



As between registered Republicans and Democrats, the Republicans have it by nearly a two to one margin.

Election results tend to undermine the on-the-face-of-it reading of those numbers and not being truly independent minded voters.

And, as far as the "non-partisan" vote is concerned,  the SCPR looks at those numbers no as if these folks by and large are truly independent minded voters.

Depending on where they reside, their actual voting practice in terms of partisan alliance pretty much mirrors the registration propensity of their overall community.

For example, a "non-partisan" Cantonian is highly likely to vote Democratic.

MEASURING POLITICAL DOMINANCE BY RESULTS

In all of the Stark County-based Ohio political subdivisions there are 364 (more or less) elective offices.

Looking at the following spreadsheet, it appears that the Stark County Republican Party should be deemed to be in control.

PARTY I.D. OF THOSE HOLDING STARK COUNTY OFFICE



Republicans hold 197 offices fanning through boards of education, villages, cities and countywide (beyond in the case of the Court of Appeals) in Stark County.

The Democrats:  138

Non-partisans (in terms of not voting in partisan primaries over the past three years) hold 23 of Stark political subdivision offices.

So chalk one up for Stark GOP chairman (also director of the Stark County Board of Elections) Jeff Matthews.

OUTCOME OF LAST TWO PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS

From a presidential election standpoint, the Dems and Chairman Phil Giavasis win.

Democrat Barack Obama carried Stark in 2008 and 2012.



STARK:  COUNTYWIDE ONLY

A virtual tie.


In fact, if you believe the Board of Elections it is a tie because the BOE shows Commissioner David Bridenstine to be a Republican.

Undoubtedly, the Republican tint is assigned Bridenstine because he voted in a Republican primary election within the past three years.

And yet his historical employment record has been in the office of former Stark County Democratic Party chairman John Ferrero, Jr.

John D. Ferrero, Jr does not strike yours truly as somebody willing to abide a markedly Republican staff person.

In an interview with the SCPR when he was appointed to replace former Democrat turned "independent" Thomas M. Bernabei (currently the mayor of Canton) as commissioner, Bridenstine indicated that he considered himself to be a Democrat.

If it hadn't been for what local attorney and civic activist Craig T. Conley terms as having been "Zeiglergate"  (April, 2009 through October, 2011), the SCPR believes that the Democrats would hold a clear majority of "countywide only-offices" with the county auditor and county treasury being held by Democrats Kim Perez and, of course, Gary Ziegler.

Moreover, Stark County might also have Democrats Steve Meeks (Jackson Township) and Peter Ferguson as commissioners.

The Report thinks there would be at least one Republican commissioner because there is no way—had he chosen to run for re-election—that former Democratic commissioner Todd Bosley (now a Nimishillen Township trustee) would have been election.

That Republican likely would have been Jackson Township trustee James N. (Jamie) Walters.

Even with a third candidate in the race, there SCPR thinks there is no way Bosley could have won re-election as commissioner.


He cooked his political goose in future Stark County wide elections for joining fellow Democratic commissioner Tom Harmon (now a Canton city councilman-at-large) and Republican commissioner Jane Vignos in "imposing!" a 1/2 cent sales tax on Stark Countians.

Craig T. Conley surfaces again in the Stark County political mix as being the person who spearheaded the repeal of the Bosley/Harmon/Vignos imposed sales tax in November, 2009.

BUT FOR Zeiglergate and the "imposed" sales tax, The Report computes that Democrats would likely today hold 14 of 20 countywide offices.

Court of Appeals judicial offices are not included because the 5th District Court of Appeals covers 15 counties and includes judges who are not Stark Countians.

So the "virtual tie" is a product of fortuitous circumstances (another way of saying "the Democrats self-destructed). 

No. Jeff Matthews did not get up off is rump (look at Canton city government which is a 12 - 0 Democratic unitary government) and energetic devise a plan to reinvigorate a once healthy (under former chairman Charles Brown) Stark County Republican Party.

SO OLSON, WHICH IS IT:  A REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRATIC COUNTY?

The SCPR comes down on the side of Stark County being by a small margin a Democratic county EXCEPT if the Democrat who is running is believe out-in-the-county to be a Canton Democrat.


One of Stark County's most able Democrats (unlike his cousin Stephen Slesnick currently a state representative in the Democratic "safe" 49th Ohio House District and who is seeking a county commissioner seat) Bill Smuckler (currently a Canton councilman-at-large), despite years as a Canton elected official with all the ink in The Repository he benefited from could not defeat Richard Regula for county commissioner in 2014.

We all know that the name Regula is powerful in Stark County.

But Richard has managed to muck that advantage up twice.

Gary Zeigler of all people defeated him in 2000 in the very first election Zeigler ran for county treasurer.


And, believe it or not, Todd Bosley (not now nor then exactly a Stark County well known political name) defeated Regula in his bid for re-election as an incumbent county commissioner in 2006.

One other bit of the Canton exception evidence.

Alluded to above in this blog in the discussion about Jackson trustee James N. Walters possibly being a Stark County commissioner.

Had there not been a third party candidate (who The Report thinks shared Walters' Republican-esque, conservative, if not right wing politics) drawing votes from Walters, Walters would have been elected over Canton Democrat (in terms of history of holding elective office) Thomas M. Bernabei.


 THE RAMIFICATIONS OF STARK BEING DEMOCRATIC-LEANING

Look for Hillary Clinton to win Stark County in her match up with any Republican (except perhaps John Kasich) in the presidential race.

If either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz is the Republican nominee, look for Rob Portman to lose Stark to former Democratic governor Ted Strickland (quite down those cheers Maier, Jr, [a case of The Report being funny]) and locally God Forbid! Stephen Slesnick might slip by Canton Township trustee Bill Smith for county commissioner.

Could Regula lose to Canton Democrat John Mariol (currently Democratic Ward 7 councilman)?

Not likely.

But Regula has shown he can lose to a relatively unknown candidate.

COULD REPUBLICAN GAIN AN UPPER HAND IN STARK CO BASED ELECTIONS - COUNTYWIDE?

Of course!

But not with Jeff Matthews as chairman.

Is there a "political" reincarnation of Charles Brown out there somewhere?

Monday, April 25, 2016

HOLDING STARK COUNTY DEPARTMENTS OF GOV'T ACCOUNTABLE



On March 2, 2016, the Stark County Commissioners passed the 2016 Fiscal Year county budget.

While the commissioners themselves were key in exercising "due diligence" in the putting of the county budget "sausage" together, undoubtedly, each one of them would acknowledge that the June 26, 2013 hire Chris Nichols is "really" the key to making it all come together into something everybody in the county—including the tax paying Stark County public—can live with, if not enjoy.


Nichols coming out of as "a Jack in the Box?"

Yes.  A case of the SCPR being funny!

When Nichols was hired back in June, 2013 The Report wrote a blog (LINK) in which Nichols "pops out" of as the "Jack" as in 'Jack in the Box' as having been chosen as Stark County budget director from among a pool of candidates for Stark County chief administrator which of course produce Brant Luther.

The SCPR has maintained all along that it was a huge advantage for Luther and Nichols in getting hired by the county that they both are prominent Stark County Republicans.

The Report thinks that the driving force behind—especially the Luther hiring (LINK)—was Commissioner Janet Creighton.

Luther had been her chief administrator when she was Stark County auditor.

It could be that had Luther not had that kind of connection to Creighton, the chief administrator today would be Chris Nichols.

While The Report thinks Luther is up to the job and has done an effective job as chief administrator, Nichols has be superlative as the county's budget director.

Accordingly, in this blog Nichols gets re-billed from being a "Jack-in-the-Box" to a "Jack of All Trades 'Financial'" as far as his performance as county budget director is concerned.

And, by the way, Chris a a long standing Canton Township trustee (LINK).

Going over budget numbers is not exactly "prime-time" material for a blogger.

However, unless a citizen can get to commissioners' meetings, the only way for the taxpaying public to know how their money is being spent is for the likes of The Stark County Political Report to step back and do a non-salacious blog.

The Report does plenty of expose type of blogs.  However, this blog also does some of the most in depth analysis of the unsexy, unglitzy "in the bowels of Stark County political subdivision government" as is published by all the media that covers Stark County government and politics.

Hence today, the SCPR presents Chris Nichols 60 slide (presented to county workers on March 1, 2016) on the Stark County budget.

The presentation last seven minutes if not paused.

Yours truly encourages to hit the pause button for those slides that catch a viewer's eye.


Here is the slide presentation.



As important as the budget itself is, the vastly more important factor for Stark County taxpayers (who approved a Justice System Sales Tax of 1/2 cent in November, 2011 which is to run through 2019), is the accounting for "actual" receipts/expenditures made from taxpayer provided funding.

There is always some sort of internal monitoring (auditing) for and department of government, but the commissioners are not content to know within the inner sanctum of the their county office abode on the second floor of the Stark County office building that "all is well" in the fiscal world of county finances.

They, working with Nichols, who the SCPR thinks came up with the idea have published this first quarterly accounting.



Every quarter hereafter, The Report will be publishing a blog on the Nichols produced quarterly accounting.

A SCPR "Hats Off!" to the commissioners and Nichols for keeping the Stark County public informed.

With the advent of Thomas M. Bernabei (now mayor of Canton) and Janet Creighton as commissioners in the election of November, 2010; Stark County government has become much more accessible, accountable, open, transparent and communicative—all prime democratic-republican values—than any other Stark County political subdivision government.

North Canton government officials ought to use the commissioners' office as a model of how political subdivision government should be.

What would really be impressive as a product of the commissioners' budget work would be for yours truly to learn from the commissioners and/or Nichols that some "committed to the public good citizen" have:
  • actually examined the appropriations budget in detail, 
  • compared those numbers with the quarterly reports, and
  • questioned the commissioners and Nichols on the numbers in an analytic vein
provided feedback as to how the budgeting process might be improved.

Such an exchange would be an expression of our democratic-republican form of government "at its finest!!!"

Friday, April 22, 2016

ARE TRANSGENDER ACCOMODATING RESTROOMS COMING TO STARK COUNTY SCHOOLS?




The Stark County Political Report has learned that there is at least one transgender student enrolled in each of Stark County's public school districts.

For anybody who is alive and aware, it is apparent that transgender legal rights have taken a front and center place in the American political landscape.

Yesterday, the New York Times reported (LINK) in this way:


And this from a CBS News report (LINK) on Trump presidential opponent Ted Cruz:
Asked if he would let Caitlyn Jenner, the former "Keeping With the Kardashians" star, use whichever bathroom she chooses at Trump Tower, Trump said yes. "That is correct," he said.
At a rally in Frederick, Md., Cruz blasted Trump for his comments on the issue, asking if the country had gone "stark raving nuts."
On March 23, 2016 the North Carolina Legislature passed a bill (the governor signed it almost immediately) curtailing the effect of a city of Charlotte ordinance which among other things allowed citizens to either male/female designated restrooms based on how a citizen identifies him/herself currently not necessarily the gender describing the person on  the person's birth certificate.

There has been a huge uproar in the country from that sector of American society who support non-discrimination as a keystone of their political/social philosophy.

Professional artists have refused to perform, commercially enriching to North Carolinians events have been cancelled and job expansion plans have been withdrawn.

In short, North Carolina's governments stand on the issue has been very costly.

But as suggested in the opening sentence of this blog, the issue may soon be a headliner in Stark County.

The United States Department of Education has policy guidelines in place which require that students may access school bathroom on the basis of how they gender identify themselves rather than upon their biological makeup.

The guidelines exist on the basis of Title IX of the United States of America Code which prohibits schools across the USA which receive any federal funds from discriminating on the basis of gender.

Whether or not Stark County experiences the North Caroline turmoil depends upon how local administrators (i.e. Stark's 17 local school superintendents) handle a transgender student's use or demand to use either restroom facilities not in sync with their biological gender status.

Beyond the superintendents, there is the matter of Stark's Ohio General Assembly delegation which includes Republican Christina Hagan (the 50th), Republican Kirk Schuring (the 48th), Democrat Stephen Slesnick (the 49th) and Republican Scott Oelslager (the 29th Ohio Senate District).

Hagan and Schuring are up for re-election this year.

Will one of them (the SCPR thinks that 50th Ohio House Representative Hagan to be the most likely to want to act) react with North Carolina like proposed legislation should a local superintendent/board of education allow in the words of Donald Trump "use [of] the bathroom they want."

Or will one of the superintendents or a district's board of education  prohibit such use and thereby invite federal litigation .which was won by a Virginia student just days ago in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (LINK, one step below the United States Supreme Court).

Either way, this issue could disrupt the Stark County political scene in certain elections.

Most likely Stark's Ohio House elections this year and perhaps board of education elections next year.

Stay tuned on this one!