Monday, August 31, 2015

UPDATED QUARTERLY RATING - #3 - THE SCPR "BOTTOM 10" (I.E. WORST) STARK COUNTY POLITICAL SUBDIVISION ELECTED OFFICIALS



Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. is NOT Stark County's most skilled politician.

That quality belongs to Canton mayor William J. Healy, II.  Healy as yours truly has written many times in surviving one crisis after another crisis after another crisis is the envy of the proverbial cat with 9 lives.

But in terms of pushing people around, the SCPR thinks that Maier, Jr. is unparalleled in Stark County.

That dubious quality it seems is still being plied by Maier, Jr. (from his perch as Massillon's elected clerk of courts position) and its negative effect on the overall quality of Stark County government has earned him a place in the top tier of the SCPR Bottom 10 List (at #3 [with #1 being the absolutely worst]) of Stark County Political Subdivision Elected Officials.

Maier, Jr. is among one of the last of a vanishing breed of backroom politicos who The Report thinks is a veritable master of political thugism.

If one looks at the Maier, Jr. Loyalty Club, it is not exactly staffed by the best and brightest that Stark County has to offer.


But with political boss types, leadership quality is way, way, way down the list of qualities that arm twisters can abide.

The political power phenomenon is in the state of change.  A must-read-book for those readers who are fascinated with the acquisition of and exercise of political power is entitled The End of Power by Mois├ęs Naim  (Link).

Maier, Jr learned his "tough-man-politics" at the feet of one of Ohio's foremost political strongmen:  Vern Riffe, Jr.

Hmm?

Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. - Vern Riffe, Jr?

Must be the Jr. thing, no?

In honoring Maier, Jr. with the annual 2012 SCPR Christmastime "Lump of Coal" award, The Report wrote thusly on his history with Riffe:

America no longer has political bosses a la Boss Tweed of New York's Tammany Hall political machine circa 1858.  However, his appeal lingers on among some who want to make the body politic over in their own image.   As the SCPR sees it, Maier has aspired over the years that yours truly has known him, to collect unquestioning adherents to whatever his political whim of the day might be.

Tweed (of the 1800s)  undoubtedly has not been Maier's direct example as The Report does not see Maier has having enough of a grasp of American political history to even know who Tweed was.

But rather Democrat Vern Riffe, Jr. who served as Speaker of the Ohio House (1975 - 1995), and whom, during his time in state government, was the undisputed boss of the Ohio Democratic Party would be his model.

Maier served a rather undistinguished career (in terms of substantive legislative achievements) in the 56th (now the 50th) Ohio House District from January 3, 1991 through December 31, 1999.

The five year overlap between Riffe and Maier left its direct political mark on Maier.   Johnnie went onto to become chairman of the Stark County Democratic Party in the 2000s and used his position (the first county party chairman to endorse) to ingratiate himself to the Democratic governor Ted Strickland adminstration (2007 - 2010).  Additionally,  as chairman, he had a playground within which to workout the political chess match lessons learned at the feet of Riffe.

And of course today's blog would not be complete without including the material published in May, 2015 in placing in at #3 in the initial SCPR "Bottom 10 List, to wit:

Today's selection is "bigger than life itself" (at least in his own mind) Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.

His day job is as the elected clerk of courts for the Massillon Municipal Courts, having been first elected in November as sort of a refugee camp since he was term-limited out of the Ohio House of Representatives (a limit of 10 consecutive years) first in the 49th, then the 56th and lastly in the 50th Ohio House District (all of which were in his terms pretty much the same geographic area except in the beginning he has Democratic candidate friendly city of Massillon in his district.


Had it not been for Ash running into legal troubles, there is a decent chance that Maier, Jr. would have been lost in "the sea of political oblivion."

And as a consequence of his being a political non-entity, the SCPR thinks, Stark County's political and governance structure historically and currently would have been/be of  a much higher quality

From a November 5, 2008, SCPR blog:


Among his most significant early supporters was the-then Democratic Perry Township trustee Gayle Jackson who became a Stark County commissioner in the election of November, 1992.

That is the timeframe that he would have picked up with his current chief deputy R. Shane Jackson and together they have sought to create a Massillon political juggernaut which now has tenacles spreading throughout Stark County.

Shane Jackson is and has been for quite a few years political director of the Stark County Democratic Party.

Maier, Jr. is a former Stark Dems chairman (2004 through 2009) who currently serves as a executive vice president.

It appears that these two specialize in being cowardly "behind the scenes" political operators.

A number of years ago a blog entitled The Massillon Review (begun in March, 2010) appeared on the Stark County political horizon.

Since then:
  • it has been off, 
  • then on again, 
  • then off again, and
  • now, since right before the May, 2015 primary election, on again
There seems to be a correspondence between the publication of the blog and the political needs of the Maier/Jackson/Eddie Elum sponsored (directed?) mayor of Massillon Kathy Catazaro-Perry.

The SCPR believes that this "anonymously published blog" is the work of principal Shane Jackson with support and encouragement of Maier, Jr.

If The Report's take on authorship is correct, one has to wonder what the time of day and what the locale is when the blogs are put together?

Maybe The Massillon Review will address those questions in forthcoming blogs?

The most distressing thing about the Maier/Jackson political operations to Stark Countians is the tenacles thing.

Johnnie himself will tell you what a great clerk of courts he has been.  On the court's website, he calls himself the Honorable Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.


In a technical/mechanical sense, there may be some credence to his claim.

But The Report has had reports that quite of number of employees feel quite intimidated by him and that he has groused a number of them.

Moreover, The Report thinks that being clerk is more like being a sidelight for him and that his primary interest and function is creating a political empire across the county witness his all-out, consummate effort to get his brother George T. Maier elected sheriff.

Accordingly, it is Maier's political effect, if any, from his elected-official- base that catches the SCPR's attention.

The Report is highly skeptical that Maier, Jr. can do all that he is doing in Massillon and Stark County, Stark County political subdivsion circles without same somehow overlapping with the timeframe one within which he performs in adminstrative duties as the Massillon clerk of courts.

As stated in yesterday's blog on Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry, it is common knowledge among Massillon's officialdom that there appears to be a well worn pathway between the mayor's office and the clerk of courts.

Now does Maier, Jr. mean to tell us that those back-and-forth trips are exclusively about court business with the mayor's office (Judge Eddie Elum's wife Margaret is Catazaro-Perry's top administrative official) and there is nary a word or consideration of the political aspects of being mayor of Massillon?

Clearly, that is the implication.

And it may be true.

But who is going to believe it?

Maier, Jr. remains highly involved in Stark Countywide political operations and in the opinion of The Stark County Political Report has had a significant hand in those elected officials who are included in the following graphic attaining office.


Many of the pictured elected officials could easily make future SCPR quarterly updates as being among Stark County's top 10 worst elected officials.

What a legacy, no?

So for what appears to be (i.e. the perception of) to a number of Massillonian and Stark County political observers his blurring of the lines between his being clerk of courts and his countywide political activity, The Report thinks he is deserving of being  #3 on the SCPR 10 Worst Stark County Political Subdivision Elected Official list.

Friday, August 28, 2015

LET'S SEE IF KEVIN FISHER CAN LIVE BY A STANDARD HE WOULD IMPOSE ON OTHERS?





Yours truly has known Kevin Fisher for approximately 14 years.

Before Monday night's debate about an amendment (#2) to a ordinance to require approximately 1,200 signatures by September 1st for a Cantonian to get a place on the November 3rd ballot seeking to be elected to one of 15 Charter Commission members on the condition that voters in that same election authorize the formation of such a commission, the SCPR has had a positive take on Fisher.

That is all changed now.

To The Report,  in his joining Democratic Ward 9 councilman Frank Morris, III (majority leader, believe it or not) and seconded by Democratic Ward 4 councilwoman Chris Smith (assistant majority leader, believe it or not) in making the amendment, Kevin Fisher showed that he is no enduring friend of our American democratic-republican system of government.

Fisher repetitively cites his promise to Ward 5 voters that he would never support a Charter government initiative for Canton; elevating the promise to  a point of personal and official honor on Monday.

Moreover, he allowed his foolhardy promise as a basis upon which prompt him to violate a ruling by Judge Frank Forchione of the Stark County Court of Common Pleas that Fisher's fellow councilman Edmond Mack (Democrat - Ward 9) had complied with the Constitution of Ohio and Ohio statutory law as interpreted by case law in, in offering up to Cantoninans, a fourth opportunity since 1913 to go charter government.

Foolhardy promise?

Indeed!

Who as a responsible, rule of law and oathed "I will support the Constitution" (of the United States and Ohio) elected official would make a promise that might place him in the position Fisher found himself on Monday night past?

The defect in Fisher's argument and his comment in Monday's debate to wit:

And I’m about to make liar out of myself in a few minutes on final passage. So, I’m going to
offer what, an Amendment that will change that number from, I believe the previous was 25 signatures, up to 10% of the electorate voting in the previous Governor’s election. If Members wish to vote that way, that is fine, I’m going to vote yes on that Amendment ... ."

is what he had to know from get-go that he had not made a "rule of law" consistent and therefore unsustainable promise.

And this ridiculous and disturbingly anti-democratic-republican-system of government statement from Majority Leader Frank Morris, III:

I compliment Member Fisher for coming up with a great idea. We’re not going to vote no, we’re going to put it on ... we’re going to give you the right to vote on it.  And to comment on Member Smuckler’s remark that we’re going to make it hard, no, we’re going to make it downright damn impossible.

To carry The Report's argument forward, Fisher's unvetted promise suggests that he lacks the judgment to be seriously consider as a candidate for Stark County commissioner.

In order to make it impossible for him to even make it to the ballot he should as a matter of applying his own defined standard (ramped up equivalency wise because he supposes to run countywide; not merely with Canton) as indicated by his support of and vote for the aforementioned Charter Government ordinance Amendment #2 suggests should be proportionally applied to him - unless, of course - he does mind being thought of as an out-and-out hypocrite.

Accordingly, if Fisher is truly the man of political honor that he attributes to himself, he will self-impose the SCPR suggested 5,000 signatures all with seven days from yesterday the day he sent out a press release announcing his candidacy for Stark County commissioner.

Of course, such is not going to happen.

Now - all of a sudden! no - there will be extenuating circumstances, don't you think?

Though Fisher's focus on countywide economic development is an attractive feature of his candidacy announcement, his anti-democratic role on Monday night's Canton City Council vote causes yours truly's ears to be afflicted with deafness.



One of the things that Fisher likes to chortle about is his role as campaign manager for the 2006 Democrat Todd Bosley campaign for Stark County commissioner in which Bosley surprised every Stark County-based political pundit in his defeating incumbent Republican commissioner Richard Regula (son of retired longtime Congressman Ralph Regula [16th District which then included all of Stark County]).

Actually, that credential is not very flattering.

Bosley showed himself to have an anti-democratic streak in joining with then (December, 2008) commissioners Tom Harmon (a Democrat) and Jane Vignos (a Republican) in "imposing" a 1/2 cent sales tax on the Stark County public.

Consequently, Bosley became a political pariah in Stark County and probably cannot be elected to anything anywhere in Stark County.

We will know one way or another soon about Bosley.

He is one of four candidates for Nimishillen Township trustee (from wench he cameth in his 2006 upset of Regula) in November.

Could it be that the Nimishillen race is one step towards reuniting with Fisher in the Stark County commissioners office in 2018?

Let's hope not.

For if that happens, the new day of open county government which dawned with the election of Janet Creighton (a Republican) and Thomas Bernabei (formerly a Democrat; now an "independent") in 2010 will be in jeopardy.

Fisher has in conversations with yours truly shared that he has bounced back and forth between running for commissioner or getting out of government altogether.

In the past, yours truly has thought Fisher to be "an up and comer" younger politician (e.g. one of the "four young turks [Fisher, Mack, Mariol and Morris]) that bode positively for Canton, Stark County and perhaps even the state of Ohio level.

But that is all gone now.

The SCPR has now seen enough of Kevin Fisher to know that he lacks the overall qualities that Stark Countians should want in one of their commissioners.

In time, he may redeem himself.

But on Monday he showed bad.  Really, really, really bad on issues of first order importance to those of us committed to a vibrant easily accessible democratic-republican system of government.

To say it again.  Fisher's unsustainable promise (if one is committed to the rule of law) was foolhardy and demonstrates a flaw in his judgement.

Everybody makes mistakes and politicians make blunder after blunder after blunder as daily news headlines attest day after day after day.

But when one makes a mistake on fundamental American democratic-republican values (e.g. Bosley on the "imposing" issue; Fisher on the Charter government issue), such is not the equivalent of a "bad hair day."

Voters cannot afford to hope that these folks are changed persons going forward.

The burden is on them to convince.

And Kevin Fisher has some convincin' to do!!!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

UPDATED QUARTERLY RATING - #4 - THE SCPR "BOTTOM 10" (I.E. WORST) STARK COUNTY POLITICAL SUBDIVISION ELECTED OFFICIALS



Today at 11:07 AM

To:  Martin Olson


On Thursday, August 27, 2015 11:02 AM, Miriam Baughman <m.baughman@att.net> wrote:

Hi Martin,     This is the Judge's decision of Chuck Osborne's lawsuit against the City of North Canton.

Read the Conclusion near the end of the decision.     I feel the words the Judge used against the Council re the case "unconstitutional, illegal, arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable"  are very embarrassing not only for Council but for the residents.

Miriam Baughman


ORIGINAL BLOG

Since he is North Canton City Council president (the top leadership position on council) and due to his recent outrageous Facebook page attack on some of the city's civic minded and civically engaged citizens (LINK), Daniel "Jeff" Peters zooms (moving from #7 in May to #4 today) towards the top spot of the SCPR's "Bottom 10 List" (List) of Stark County Political Subdivision Elected Officials.


A summation of the Peters FB attack:

From Peters statement:
  • I am absolutely stunned by the timing and tenor of this letter.
  •  When Chuck Osborne's illegal initiative petition ,,. 
  • Chuck Osborne, Miriam Baughman, or Jamie McCleaster made a public records request for council members pay stubs and when they found out there were still council members transitioning their coverage, they did everything in their power to publicly attack and shame us
  •  Jamie McCleaster went so far as to call me a "Thief" on social media.
  • I am being called "Morally bankrupt" by Miriam Baughman.
  •  Miriam Baughman has joined the circus,
Peters like many of, if not all, those appearing on the List can be quite disarming if engaged at a superficial level with him being under no pressure.

Yesterday, (LINK) we learned that Judge Kristin Farmer (Stark County Court of Common Pleas) ruled that North Canton government (the planning commission and city council) violated Ohio law on the matter of zoning of the expansion south side Hoover District parking.

That decision was a victory for several North Canton civic activists over Fox and the offending part of North Canton government.

But you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be no apology to the activists and the taxpaying North Canton public from the North Canton officials who are responsible for the violation of Ohio law.

Nor will these officials be heralding the loss on the North Canton website.

Not long ago, Law Director Tim Fox caused to be published on the taxpayer paid for city website a heralding of his/the city's triumphs in the litigation since Fox's (a very short term Ward 3 councilman [some 10 months]) appointment by his former peers on council as director in September, 2012.


And, in the same publication, there was a clearly implied attack on those who had during Fox's tenure made public records requests of North Canton government.

When queried by local media:
  • on what appears to the SCPR to have been "a political attack" (for the benefit of incumbent North Canton councilperson in the November election) against certain civically engaged North Cantonians
    • as to whether he did it on his own or was directed by other(s) to initiate the publication, 
  • Fox said the directive came from someone within North Canton officialdom but in stonewalling fashion refused to name the person(s) he claims gave him the go ahead.
The Stark County Political Report thinks that the "anonymous" person may well have be council president Daniel "Jeff" Peters.

Who else in North Canton government would think he/she was in a position of authority based on selection by the rest of council to do such a directive?

Moreover, The Report thinks Peters as chairman of council's personnel committee is the councilperson who had the "stroke of genius?" to suggest the anti-democratic appearing (i.e. the hard way he gives public records requesters) Tim Fox as law director.

The foregoing yours truly posits serve as a justification as to why Peters has risen to challenge the top tier of Stark County's worst elected public officials for the top spot.

As deficient as The Report thinks Peters is as a leader, things will unfortunately get much worse for the people of North Canton before Peters can achieve top billing on the SCPR "Bottom 10 List."

But he and his fellows on council may try.  They seem bent on engaging North Canton's civic minded and engaged in an adversarial way.  And it appears that Tim Fox is their designated agent to face down inquiring North Cantonians.

Collectively, they (remember Councilwoman Marcia Kiesling is #8 on the current list, #2 on the initial list) compose - by far - the worst city council among all of Stark County's major city (Alliance, Canton, Massillon and North Canton) councils.

Yours truly will not rule out Peters both individually as a councilperson and representatively as council president ultimately in subsequent quarters occupying #1 on the List.

Just to fill out things on Peters, here is a repeat of what the SCPR had to say about in his having achieve the #7 ranking in the initial May, 2015 ranking of Stark County officials.

Today's honoree is the president of the North Canton City Council; namely, Daniel "Jeff" Peters, both individually as a member of North Canton's council and in the representational sense for the entire council in his capacity as the council leader.


More than any other North Canton Council member, Peters (representing North Canton Ward 2), the SCPR thinks, as the-then personnel committee chair, was the lead councilperson in bringing former Ward 3 councilman (for the briefest period of time) Tim Fox on board as North Canton's "UNelected" law director.

The Report  thinks that Peters and his council fellows hired Fox with the understanding that he would "figuratively" crack the heads of those North Canton citizen activist who highlighted the short comings of council members.

And, The Report, believes that Fox has not disappointed and that accordingly Fox will remain North Canton's law director until such time as the make up of council changes.

Among Stark County city councils (i.e. the major cities, Alliance, Canton, Massillon and North Canton), North Canton's is clearly the belligerent, hostile and anti-democratic/republican in tone vis-a-vis the its constituent public.

Today's selectee as an individual in face-to-face encounters seems not to fit the tone described above.

But as the expression "appearances can be deceiving" suggests, the SCPR thinks Peters rivals the obviously most antagonistic member of North Canton Council in applying a "adversariness" litmus test to each of North Canton's councilpersons.

The unnamed (in this blog) "most antagonistic" councilperson gets a much higher spot (#2) on the SCPR Bottom 10 "Worst" Stark County Political Subdivision list because that person has a trait or two or so more obnoxious to wholesome public service than does Peters.

Below is an example shared with the SCPR by former North Canton councilman Chuck Osborne.

By the way, Osborne has filed as a candidate for the council seat now held by Republican Stephanie Werren, wife of Curtis Werren who, in January, received a second appointment by Republican governor John Kasich as a Stark County political subdivison judge, Werren having lost to Democrat Chryssa Hartnett in November, 2014 on a Common Pleas Court judgeship.

But first let it be said that Peters is likely to object that North Canton's foremost community activist is the personification of the expression:  "these are times that try mens' souls."

And the SCPR has written a blog or two about Osborne's testiness.


To sum it up, it is the SCPR's take that Osborne is more a help than a hindrance in the effort to make North Canton City Council as a whole more hospitable, more responsive and more democratic-republican values friendly than it has demonstrated since former council president and mayor of North Canton Daryl Revoldt left.


Revoldt had the wisdom and the maturity to deal with Osborne.

Peters' et al to their discredit in Osborne's case try to focus on - to some - his irritating manner so as a scapegoat to divert attention from council's manifest inadequacies.

Peters does not possess Revoldt's leadership qualities as witness the following extract from an e-mail copied to the SCPR yesterday:
Chuck Osborne  May 18 at 10:30 PM
... .
 
Attached you will find changes to the City’s Zoning Code, Chapter 1177 – titled Conditional and Similar Uses Permits that was passed by City Council as Ordinance 34-13 on June 10, 2013. Mayor David Held signed the legislation (He will sign whatever you put in front to him).

I have highlighted the affected areas between the draft version containing the changes and the existing zoning Code at that time.

Clearly, Law Director Tim Fox had zeroed in on this area of the City’s Zoning code.

If you look at the area highlighted, the changes were simply cosmetic. What was then Section 1177.09, was simply carved up to create Section 1179.10 with no changes. Consequently, former Section 1177.10 – Appeal To Council had to be renumbered Section 1177.11.

Was anyone concerned at that time that the section 1177.10 titled, “Appeal To Council” violated the City Charter. Obviously NOT, as it was left in and simply renumbered Section 1177.11.

Why now has City Council suddenly taken the position that Section 1177.11 - Appeal To Council violated the City Charter. On April 27, 2015, Council voted to remove, in its entirety, Section 1177.11 saying it violated the City Charter. Ordinance 17-2015  was signed into law by Mayor David Held.

After the 3rd reading of Ordinance No. 17-2015, in which council deleted the “Appeal to Council” section, Council President Jeff Peters rushed to catch me as I was quickly leaving the Council Chamber out of utter disdain for North Canton City government . Grinning ear-to-ear and practically thumping his chest, Mr. Peters exclaimed that when I voted on the entire revision of the Zoning code in 2003 as a member of Council, that I had violated the City Charter in doing so. He repeated that statement over and over while just grinning like he had just discovered the Holy Grail.

Since that night, I have gone back and looked over the City’s current Zoning Code. A close examination shows the notation that just two years ago Council amended Chapter 1177 of the Zoning code with the passage of Ordinance No. 34-13 on June 10, 2013.  I realized that if Mr. Peter’s remarks to me were accurate and that section of the Zoning code violates the City Charter (which I do not believe it does), then Mr. Peters and all of Council violated the City Charter when they amended Chapter 1177 just two years ago.

And as for Marcia Kiesling and Doug Foltz, they voted with me in 2003 when the Zoning code was rewritten in its entirety. So does that mean they violated the City Charter on two occasions?

Mr. Jeff Peters thought he was just the smartest man in the world when he ran down the aisle to tell me that I had violated the City Charter.

The law in North Canton is what North Canton elected officials want it to be as interpreted by Law Director Tim Fox. They change the law when is does not suit their needs, or ignore the law and force citizens to go to the courts at great expense to force government to honor the laws they themselves have enacted.

North Canton City Council are not representatives of the citizens of North Canton by any stretch of the word. They are adversaries of the citizens. (emphasis added)

Thanks,
Chuck Osborne
A lot less annoying North Canton citizen activist (a candidate for North Canton Council for an "at-large" position) is Jamie McCleaster.

The Report thinks McCleaster (spokesperson for the Councerned Citizens of North Canton [CCNC]) is a model of decorum which demonstrates that it is a bum wrap on Osborne for North Canton Council to react to him seemingly because he is chronic in his pursuit of council and does not possess the pleasing manner that McCleaster does.


With North Canton Council, one's personality is not the real factor in whether or not a citizen gets its collective ear.

It appears to the SCPR that most, not all, of North Canton's councilpersons cannot handle critical evaluation of its legislative agenda and they get retributive in all too many instances.

McCleaster's e-mail of yesterday to the SCPR summarizes pretty well all that has gone wrong with council over the past few years, to wit:
Jamie McCleaster  May 18 at 7:09 AM
To Martin Olson 
Martin, 
I had initially resisted the temptation to weigh in, but I've seen in all the posts for the "Bottom 10" that you've been asking for input, or who readers think should be the bottom 1... I guess I'll bite. 
I think that North Canton City Council as a whole should get the bottom spot, given the previously reported; fight to get public records (although that has been a little better lately), the disregard of the will of the voters around healthcare (specifically Council President Peters, Kiesling, Werren, and former President/councilman Snyder), the willingness to keep Law Director Fox at his post, and the general "us vs them" antagonistic approach they take towards people who question their authority and view points. 
If I had to narrow it down further, I'd choose Kiesling, Werren, former President/councilman Snyder, and as the now "leader" of the bunch, Council President Peters, simply over the health insurance debacle. Maybe I'm old idealistic, but I think elected officials should represent those they're elected to serve, and not look for technicalities to usurp the people's vote (politics 101). Just my two cents. I'll be on the edge of my seat as you continue your count down! 
Talk to you soon. 
Sincerely,
Jamie McCleaster
. . .

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

BREAKING NEWS! OSBORNE & CITIZEN ACTIVISTS WIN APPEAL WITH JUDGE FARMER OVER NORTH CANTON LAW DIRECTOR TIM FOX


JUDGE FARMER'S DECISION POSTED


 AT END OF BLOG

Court Rules against North Canton


...
Hello Martin,

My attorney, Robert Cyperski, called first thing this morning to relay good news that Judge Farmer has ruled in our favor in our quest to get City Council to hear our appeal of the Planning Commission's decision on the Hoover District South Parking lot expansion. Will send court decision when I receive it.

While North Canton Law Director Tim Fox is not listed as counsel of record (but it will be interesting to see North Canton's pleadings which are not available on the clerk of court's website) on the online docket of the Stark County Court of Common Pleas, you can be sure that Fox was in the thick of things on advising North Canton City Council (North Canton Planning Commission/Mayor David Held) on matters related to the Osborne-led citizen appeal on the Hoover District South Parking lot expansion.


The SCPR is making a big deal out of this turn of events because North Canton government officials and Fox trumpet it when Fox and North Canton win in other litigation that Osborne has been involved in since Fox became law director in September, 2012.

From yours truly's perspective, if one chortles on wining (LINK 1) (LINK 2); then you need to own it when you lose.

This is a case that North Canton government obviously on the advice and counsel of Director Fox did not comply with the law.

Is there any chance that Fox or his unnamed adviser will highlight this development on North Canton's website?

THE WRITTEN OPINION/DECISION 
OF 
JUDGE KRISTIN FARMER

UPDATED QUARTERLY RATING - #5 - THE SCPR "BOTTOM 10" (I.E. WORST) STARK COUNTY POLITICAL SUBDIVISION ELECTED OFFICIALS



If the Ohio Supreme Court confirms former Healy administration service director/chief of staff (January, 2008 - January, 2009; fired by the mayor) Thomas M. Bernabei (now Stark County commissioner [elected as a Democrat] as an "independent" candidate for mayor of Canton against Democratic incumbent William J. Healy, II; "all 'political' Hell will break loose" in Stark County.


Bernabei getting the go ahead from The Supremes is a matter of political life or death to Healy.

With the unleashing of an unprecedented nasty, ugly campaign on Healy's part as a matter of political survival, it is likely that a Bernabei/Healy matchup will be competitive.

However, with Republicans and Republican leaning registered "non-partisans," (there are not that many of them in Canton, but they do vote in high numbers), it is hard to see how Healy wins.

But The Report cautions, this guy is a survivor and it appears that he will do nearly anything to keep that political heartbeat pumping.

Healy has gone pretty much incognito in terms of controversy since this outburst with The Stark County Political Report on May 12, 2015.



The occasion was a post May 11, 2015 council meeting Q&A on Bernabei having filed to run as an "independent" against him with the Stark County Board of Elections on May 4th.

As the video shows, Healy was not happy with yours truly.

And as the mayor says.  He's totally frustrated in his attempts to "manage" The Report.

He has run "hot and cold" with the SCPR.

Intially as mayor, he was delighted to go on camera with yours truly.

With this blogger being the very first Stark County political observer to severely critique him way back in 2008; he quickly turned "a cold shoulder" to The Report's questions.

After a while, being the master manipulative politician he is (yours truly thinks: Stark County's very best); Healy all of a sudden turned the charm on and became consummately accessible to this blogger.

On May 11, 2015, it was back to "the cold shoulder" at the very least and, perhaps, as the above video shows aggressively attacking The Report.

It is always a delight to yours truly when someone like Healy (and there are a number of Stark County public officials and public figures who play the same game) realizes that the SCPR is about as independent and unmanageable as media types get.

The Report's take on Healy is that if he spent half the time he expends on cultivating his political manipulation skills on being an authentic government leader, Canton after eight years of his being mayor would not be in the depressed state it is currently in.

Earlier this week, The Report had an extended discussion with a member of Canton City Council whom yours truly thinks is "the leading edge" of a Healy inspired political attack on Bernabei as an indication of what is to come if the Ohio Supreme Court affirms Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted's tie-breaking vote certifying at the BOE level Bernabei being qualified to run as an "independent" against Healy.

The decision could come any day now.

All the filings are in.

Attack?

That's how yours truly took it.

The charge at Bernabei seemed to primarily be two-pronged:
  • How could the SCPR designate Councilman Jimmy Babcock as #6 (ranked #10 through #1, with #1 being the worst) on its quarterly series on the "Bottom 10 List" of worst Stark County Political Subdivision Elected Officials as compared to Bernabei being The Report's "Top 10 List," when in the opinion of the councilperson neither one has demonstrated offering/establishing substantive programs/policies or other forms of leadership, and
  • Given that seven of Canton council's twelve councilpersons (West, Smith, Fisher, Dougherty, Mariol, Mack and Morris, all Democrats all of whom will be part of the 2016-2017 council makeup) are part of the lawsuit challenging Bernabei's right to run as an "independent," how could a Mayor Bernabei possibly govern effectively.
    • SCPR Note:  In a future blog, yours truly will deal with the absurd Bernabei/Babcock comparison. 
      • It is quite the insult to Bernabei, but an indication of what is to come if a Healy/Bernabei contest materializes
It is amazing to have seen Healy cobble together "the coalition of seven."

Note:  Stark Dems withdrew as party

But remember, he has no political equal in Stark County politics.

He is after all the envy of the proverbial cat with nine lives in his having survived scrape, after political/governmental scrape, after scrape, after scrape over his nearly eight years as mayor.

And make no mistake about it, the challenge is the work of Mayor Healy based upon his ability to tap into what The Report thinks is "'organized' political party interests"  (e.g. "I might need to party's support to run let's say county commissioner) inuring to the benefit of political ambitions of his seven council supporters.

Healy has had and perhaps still has his differences with Fisher, Dougherty, Mariol, Mack and Morris.

But the "organized" Democrat Party thing (i.e. "we either hang together or we hang separately") seems to be the magic formula for Healy to have rallied "the seven" to his support.

This is all well and good for the personal political fortunes of Mayor Healy and perhaps for Ward 5 Councilman Kevin Fisher who is seriously considering running for Bernabei's commissioner seat when it expires on December 31st if not before should Bernabei be elected mayor (as the appointee of the Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee).

Mayor William J. Healy, II richly deserves being thought of as one of Stark County's worst leaders because he is primarily a political manipulator who is into "smoke and mirrors" governance.

For more specific background why Healy ranks so high on the SCPR "Bottom 10 List" here is an encore on the initial May, 2015 quarterly listing on the mayor:

Today's honoree is Stark County's top escape artist who over his 7-1/2 years as mayor of Canton has survived one self-inflicted scrape after another, and another seemingly on into infinity; namely, William J. Healy, II.

In order to accomplish his Houdini-esque feats, he has had to be Stark County's slickest politician ever, no?

When one looks at his campaign finance reports, it is interesting to see some of the names that appear on his latest list of contributors, to wit:


And Healy's to them:


The SCPR has a high regard for Councilpersons Mack and Mariol, especially Mack and his power of discernment, and therefore find it interesting that Healy has apparently convinced them that he - the mayor - is the real deal and is on way to solving Canton's many problems.

The Mack and Mariol justifications for having helped Healy defeat Kim Perez in the recently concluded Democratic primary are of the "hope and a prayer" variety to the SCPR.

As the SCPR understands Mack's and Mariol's rationale in connecting with the Healy mayoralty campaign is that they feared that Perez as mayor would undo all the work that Canton City Council has invested in the rebuilding of Canton.

While councilpersons ought to work with the executive branch for the betterment of Canton, making financial contributions to Healy's campaign is tantamount - the SCPR thinks - to an endorsement with the way Healy has been or, if not that but rather going forward, will administer the city.

Sorry guys, I don't see Healy as anything other than being a "smoke and mirrors" mayor as long as he is in office using political manipulation as his preferred tool

Of course, when they threw their lot in with Healy they did not know that Tom Bernabei's "independent" candidacy was coming.

If Bernabei makes it to the ballot, are they going to be sticking with Healy?

Stay tuned on that one.

Another thing to note about Healy's campaign finance reports is the erosion of Stark County Democratic officials and public figures contributions from his 2014 Annual Campaign Finance Report.

Go back and review the 2015 pre-primary list published above.

Now look at the 2014 report:



Quite an erosion, no?

In the 2015 report about 60% of the contributors were from outside Canton and approximately 25% were from outside Ohio.


Interesting, no?

The SCPR holds the distinction of having totally frustrated Hizzhonor in being unaffected by his "carrot and stick" approach to politics.

Healy has ignored, yelled at and sweet talked yours truly; all to no avail in his quest to influence what appears in these pages about his comings and goings as mayor of the Stark County county seat.

The latest episode in the rocky relationship going back to the beginnings of his administration occurred at Canton City Council meeting of May 11th.

Here's the video. [see above]

The way the SCPR assesses his turning ugly on the 11th has to do with his realization that "the [being mayor] gig is up" if his former service director and chief of staff (his very first one) Tom Bernabei makes it to November's ballot as an "independent."

Who knows, the guy might be back to sweet talking next week?

Rather than bore readers with a recitation of all his self-inflicted political injuries, ... [readers can scan the numerous] blogs the SCPR has done since January, 2007 about the mayor [by Googling "William J. Healy, II, Stark County Political Report].

What's worse for Stark Countians living within the boundary of Canton is that despite his many, many, many "spins" about the good things happening in the Hall of Fame City during his tenure as mayor, it appears to the SCPR that at best is stagnant if not continuing to slide.

There are pockets of Canton which have a poverty rate in the range of 40% which has persisted if not increased during William J. Healy, II's reign as the city's chief executive officer.

The streets and roadways are an absolute mess.

Demolition of abandoned residents lag.

Healy plays with Canton's crime rate numbers as if he were playing volleyball with them.

The mayor loves to take folks aside and say something like this:  "I can't tell you the specifics because negotiations are at a sensitive stage, but we are on the cusp of a REALLY BIG economic development job producing deal."

And nothing or very little materializes.

Healy has had nearly eight years to right the Ship of State Canton, but has failed to do so.


Accordingly, he is richly deserving of being ranked #5 on the SCPR 10 Stark County Worst Elected Officials list.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

UPDATED QUARTERLY RATING - #6 - THE SCPR "BOTTOM 10" (I.E. WORST) STARK COUNTY POLITICAL SUBDIVISION ELECTED OFFICIALS


AND
CANTON CITY COUNCIL'S
WORST COUNCILMAN

Had he not been born as the son of former Canton mayor Charles Babcock and former Councilwoman Mary Babcock, Jimmy Babcock liklely would never have seen the light of day as a Canton councilman.

And hopefully, Cantonians will remove him from council on November 3rd.

Last night:
  • in voting to deny Cantonians the right to vote on choose a charter form of government, and
  • alternatively to make it more difficult for Cantonians to run for a spot on a 15 member charter commission,
Babcock showed in spades why he should not continue as a Canton councilman.

In those votes, he violated fundamental valued that are at the heart of our democratic-republican system of government:  the right to vote and not to be burdened down with "let's make it more difficult to qualify for office" restrictions.

There is little else to say about Babcock other than was written about him by yours truly when he was initially selected as the SCPR's #6 on the Stark County "Bottom 10 List" (List) of Elected Officials 

He has been and remains in the judgement of the SCPR a wallflower councilperson who deals in political intrigue and brings no legislative substance whatsoever forward to fix the many, many problems which plague Canton government.

Here is what the SCPR had to say about Babcock back in May, 2015 when he initially "achieved" being on the SCPR "Bottom 10 List."

This blog is the fifth in a series of 10 blogs until the tenth one in which The Stark County Political Report will name the absolutely worst Stark County political subdivision "elected" official.

. . .

Today's honoree is always "dressed to the nines" Canton City councilman; namely, Jimmy Babcock.

All the other SCPR honorees on this list are folks who proactively - in the opinion of The Report - damage Stark County political subdivision government (villages, cities, townships, boards of education or the county itself) either in the entity's procedures or substance of government.

But probably not Councilman Jimmy Babcock.

He is just there.  An empty suit.  Taking up space.  So thinks the SCPR.

Even the staid Repository editors seem to see Babcock that way.

In its April 24, 2015 endorsement editorial, this - in part - is what The Rep editors had to say:
Babcock, an incumbent who’s asking for a third term, believes the city should knock down entire blocks of blighted homes at a time and empower neighborhood associations to play a key role in revitalization, among other good ideas. 
Babcock, however, has failed to articulate this vision on the floor of City Council. He can become more effective by taking a more active role in deliberations and offering his ideas through legislation. (color change and underlining for emphasis)
If his last name was not Babcock, Jimmy probably would not have graced the rolls of Canton council.

His mother Mary served for 24 years.  And his father Charles was a one-time mayor of Canton.

It did take awhile for Jimmy to become an elected official as he failed in a bid to become mayor and state representative.

In 2011 he "caught lightning in a bottle"


What Babcock is really good at is not being an effective city councilman (though he looks the part) but rather getting mad, "really, really, really" mad at the SCPR.

For The Report's part, Babcock is kind of like a gnat that one keeps swatting at to shoo away.

But those darned gnats, one seemingly can never, ever get rid of them.

Back in 2012 (LINK to blog on the matter) he lashed out at The Report for not supporting his "political father" Kim Perez 's candidacy for Canton treasurer.

Babcock worked for Perez from the time he took office on being elected Stark County auditor in 2004 until his defeat by Republican Alan Harold in 2010.

He had to be crushed when Mayor William J.  "Turn-the-Camera-off-Martin" Healy, II recently defeated Perez in the May 5, 2015 Democratic election.

Yours truly is waiting for Babcock to come rushing up to The Report's backside with a diatribe on how the SCPR caused Perez's defeat.

As readers know, The Report got on Prosecutor John Ferrero's case big time over his handling of what yours truly thought was nothing but a political fuss and/or mis-communication involving Marlboro police chief Ron Devies and son Kyle and a couple of the-then Marlboro trustees one of whom is the brother of a former "on the staff of John Ferrero" prosecutor.

That is the first item that yours truly recalls Babcock getting supremely agitated with the SCPR.  To parapharse:  "Why are you all over John Ferrero's case," he protested.

Next up was the Perez for treasurer thing.

And, recently, he took his most aggressive stance in blindsiding yours truly over a SCPR blog assessment that Ward 3 council candidate Ryan Brahler (Babcock's cousin), though ostensibly a Healy supporter in the recently concluded Healy/Perez mayoralty contest, was in reality a Perez supporter.



It is the SCPR's experience that when a public official reacts as vehemently as Babcock did on the Brahler blog, it generally means The Report has hit a sore point of one sort or another.

Babcock as if to ice his point had his "friend for life" Perez e-mail The Report with "word from God Almighty himself" (apparently) that Brahler was not a secret supporter.

And that may have been the case.

But the SCPR doubts that given Jimmy's undying devotion to Perez?

If he gets on yours truly about Perez running for treasury matter, he going to abide cousin Ryan supporting Healy?

Of course, it is likely that neither Perez or Healy wanted to be tied to Brahler given an incident in which Brahler (then, the president of the Canton City Schools Board of Education [CCS-BOE]) verbally went after a basketball official at a McKinley girls basketball game which resulted in Brahler resigning his CCS-BOE position.

Fortunately, Brahler was not elected on May 5th to be the uncontested Democratic Party nominee in November.

Despite retiring Ward 3 councilman Jim "I just love being a councilman" Griffin supporting Brahler, the voters of Ward 3 chose wisely in voting Jason Scaglione in.

As The Report sees it, he would have been a cousin Jimmy clone in terms of how the councilman-at-large conducts himself in the legislative part of his Canton council work.

Jimmy Babcock is the complete opposite of the person who the SCPR thinks may put Babcock on the outside of council looking in.


Yes, "independent" Councilman Richard Hart.

Hart, though political hobbled by virtue of being an "independent" in a sea of Democrats, has and continues to make his mark in council.

This past week he has made a proposal to locate a wildlife zoo in land owned by Canton in Pike Township (East Sparta).

The Report thinks Hart is a bit-over-the-top in his claim that such a project could surpass the Hall of Fame Village project, the point is this:  Hart is a proactive councilman whereas Babcock is not.

Some people in defense of Babcock might take the position of "no harm, no foul."

The SCPR's position is that each and every Canton councilperson needs to "step-up-to-the-plate" and offer ideas,  concrete legislative proposals and energy to the quest to rescue Canton from its seeming slide into oblivion.

Babcock has not done so and the SCPR sees him as being a hanger-oner  going forward and therefore deserving of being #6 on the SCPR list of the county subdivision's worst elected officials.

Monday, August 24, 2015

CAN/WILL CANTON COUNCIL KILL MACK'S CHARTER GOV'T EFFORT?

UPDATE:  12:15 PM


Press Release of July 14, 2014 on Council not interfering with Constitutional process of citizens right to petition.





ORIGINAL BLOG (Amended)

As Ward 5 Councilman Kevin Fisher (a Democrat and an avowed opponent) sees it, the best that fellow councilman Edmond Mack can hope for at tonight's city council meeting is to get a six to six tie on an ordinance proposal to send to the Stark County Board of Elections (BOE) city council certification via the ordinance that all the legalities are in order for Mack's charter government initiative referendum to qualify for the November ballot.


And on Fisher's interpretation of the talk among Canton's councilpersons is that Ward 7 Councilman David Dougherty (a Democrat and the dean of council in terms of continuous service [some 30 years]) who in the past and both voted "yes" and "no" in different time frames to pass a similar matter to the voters "is the key vote" to get to six to six at which juncture council president would presumably break a tie in favor of sending the certification to the BOE.



But as Edmond Mack (a Ward 8 Democrat) himself and Councilman Bill Smuckler (Democrat at-large) see it, council does not have the option to not adopt the ordinance on the merits of ordinance.

The merits?

Well, that is for Cantonians to decide on November 3rd in the form of whether or not a charter commission shall be formed, and if so, who will be those charter commission members (15 in number).

And if a commission is formed, the voters come back again in about a year to vote on accepting or rejecting the commission's work product.


For Mack has passed the legal (procedural) challenges including a Judge Frank Forchione Stark County Court of Common Pleas ruling validating 26 signatures which had been invalidated by the BOE on July 30th.

Consequently, this August 17th letter from the BOE to Canton auditor Richard Mallonn:



The real deal is what Canton Law Director Joe Martuccio has to say at this evenings council meeting.

Smuckler tells The Report that Martuccio will tell council that it has no choice but to pass Ordinance 5 and send it on to the Board of Elections.

The fight for and against charter government in Canton (one of only of 63 of Ohio's 251 cities without a charter government) has been going on since 1913.

For those of those readers interested in the 1913, the 2021 and 1962 efforts, here are pdf files (provided by Councilman Mack) of those initiatives; all of which failed.

The 1913 effort:



The 1921 effort:



The 1962 effort:



With the current council (more or less), the fight has been going on since 2010 with the man antagonists being Councilman Mack and Councilman Thomas West (Democrat, Ward 2).


Links to several prior SCPR blogs:

The SCPR thinks that Bill Smuckler is correct in thinking that the Fisher take on the significance of tonight's vote is "much ado about nothing."

A sentiment that Councilman Mack has repeatedly shared with the SCPR provided he could get the 761 necessary signatures to compel council to place the formation of a charter government commission (15 members) on the ballot.

As noted above, it took litigation for Mack to get his 776 signatures validated.

Points made in past discussions/debates by some of the opposing members of council has been:
  • get your signatures,
  • show that there are Cantonians who want to vote on the issue once again,
  • we won't stand in the way 
An excerpt from the press release published in full above:

Well, Mack has provided sterling leadership in getting the petition drive job done.

Fisher tells The Report that he has nothing but the highest regard for the dedication and persistence of Councilman Mack on getting to tonight's vote.

Fisher also tells yours truly that he will oppose Mack's initiative "to the bitter end." (The Report's interpretation of his comments)

The SCPR has high regard for Fisher on most matters, agree or disagree, this one is not one of them.

Mack has crossed his "t"s and dotted his "i"s and the legal requirements have been met.

A "no" vote tonight 
  • notwithstanding the expectation that Law Director Martuccio will tell council that given the required legal processes have been complied with
shows one only only one thing:  "outright obstinance!"

Swell, just swell Councilman Fisher et al.

It is interesting the most "leftist" members of Canton City Council (Fisher and West) are leading the way against a democratic process, no?

Go ahead opposition for the sake of opposition members of council:  "embarrass yourselves!"