Monday, November 24, 2014

IS GOVERNOR JOHN KASICH HAVING "DARK THOUGHTS" OF APPOINTING NORTH CANTON LAW DIRECTOR TIM FOX TO REPLACE STEPHEN BELDEN ON THE CANTON MUNICIPAL COURT BENCH?



UPDATE:  11:40 AM

AN "OFF THE RECORD" (FOR ATTRIBUTION) COMMENT:

Just read your blog and it would be interesting to see Scott appointed to the Canton Municipal Judge position.  He would be able to up his salary for the next five years, assuming he gets reelected and since the PERS system now looks at the past five years for retirement purposes.  Next, Kirk Schuring could then take Scott's senate seat, and then Curt Werren could be appointed as state representative in a safe district.

ORGINAL BLOG

In appointing president of the Stark County chapter of the American Red Cross (Curtis Werren) to the Stark County Court of Common Pleas bench in June, 2013, Republican governor John Kasich showed how utterly political he is.

Werren had not practiced law for several years.

But that didn't bother Kasich one iota.

He chose the politically connected but "unqualified" (in the opinion of the SCPR) fellow Republican Werren over the eminently qualified but Democrat Stark County chief deputy prosecutor Chryssa Hartnett for the retiring judge V. Lee Sinclair's replacement.

It appears that Stark County's voters have corrected the Werren appointment over Hartnett with the official and certified vote count from November 4th's election showing Hartnett with a 131 vote lead.

The contest is subject to a recount.  But it is highly unlikely that it will precipitate a change.

The primacy of politics over merit is nothing new for Kasich in filling judgeships is nothing new to the governor.

This from a May, 2013 Columbus Dispatch article:

As the Franklin County legal community gathers today for a seminar on attracting qualified candidates for judgeships, a local Democratic leader is questioning the qualifications of the Republican governor’s two latest judicial appointments.

Colleen O’Donnell, appointed to the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, and Amy O’Grady, appointed to the county Court of Appeals, appear to have been chosen because of their names, not their experience, said Greg Haas, county Democratic chairman.

“Other than their names, it’s not immediately obvious why they were selected,” he told The Dispatch.

O’Donnell, 32, is the daughter of Ohio Supreme Court Justice Terence O’Donnell. O’Grady, 38, is the wife of Franklin County Municipal Judge Jim O’Grady and the daughter-in-law of retired Franklin County Judge James J. O’Grady. She is not related to county Commissioner John O’Grady, a Democrat.

Gov. John Kasich appointed Colleen O’Donnell and Amy O’Grady last week from among names submitted by the county Republican Party as recommendations for judicial vacancies. Both must run in 2014 for the right to complete the terms, which run through 2016.
It could be that Kasich will give Werren "a second bite at the apple."

If he does; hopefully, on November 3, 2015, Canton Municipal Court voters will once again reverse the governor.


It could be that he will not give Werren a second chance to be a judge.

The SCPR is hearing that North Canton law director Tim Fox has applied to the governor to be the recently resigned Stephen Belden's replacement.

Belden, reported to be under investigation by Ohio Disciplinary Counsel, has announced his resignation.

The Report is also hearing that State Senator Scott Oeslager (Republican - the 29th Ohio Senate District which includes most of Stark County) has applied.

Oelslager, a graduate of the Capital University Law School in 2002, hasn't practiced very much if any law.  In the fuzzy memory of the SCPR, he reportedly had joined up with the highly Democrat Steve Okey's law firm a number of years ago.  As far as The Report knows the combo did not work out and there is no longer an association.

But not having had much of a practice of law but politically astute or connected seems to be a virtue with Governor Kasich insofar as "leaping to the front of the class" for a Kasich judicial appointment.

One political wag the SCPR has spoken to thinks that should Kasich be dissatisfied with Oelslager as chairman of the powerful Senate finance committee, making him a judge might be a win-win way for Oelslager to land the appointment.

And, as the winner of many of a Stark County election as state representative and state senator since the 1980s playing musical chairs with Kirk Schuring on the Stark County senate seat and the Jackson Township centered Ohio House district (as a way to deal with term limits), it is hard to imagine that any Democrat could defeat him next November.

If Kasich is to make yet another politics based appointment better Oelslager over North Canton law director Tim Fox.

As readers of the SCPR know, The Report has written many blogs detailing the arbitrary and capricious ways in which Fox as operated as law director.

Making him a judge would be like making bully a policeman.

He'd be right up there with, if not worse than, Democrat Stark County Court of Common Pleas judge Frank Forchione and Republican Stark County Probate Court judge Dixie Park as outright imperial autocrats who seem to think they rank right up there with God Almighty in terms of absolute authority.

The SCPR hopes it is true that Fox has applied and according to one source is a cinch to get the judgeship.

First, between now and the November, 2015 election a Fox appointment would provide the SCPR with ample material to write blogs on.

Though he does have six years as a practicing attorney with Black, McCuskey which, by the way:
  • is the law firm of Randy Snow
    • whom is the father of North Canton councilwoman Stephanie Snow Werren
      • whom was appointed to replace Tim Fox as Ward 3 council person who had served a mere matter of months as councilman
        • whom also is the wife of Curtis Werren 
          • whom may get a second chance at a Kasich judicial appointment
            • which, ironically, may put an end to the judicial ambitions f Law Director Tim Fox for now anyway
  •  SCPR POINT OF INTEREST:  Isn't interesting how "incestuous" the Republican line up for political appointments is? 
    • Of course, the Stark County "organized" Democratic Party leadership matches in not exceeds the Republicans on this score.
      • That both parties do it should not be any solace to everyday Stark Countians.  "Inside the political family stuff" is "increasingly" turning ordinary Stark Countians against both political parties and thereby puts our cherished democratic-republic's longevity in jeopardy, so the SCPR thinks
    Fox is said to have been the firm's collections attorney which might make him the ideal candidate to replace Belden who is said by his critics to have created a virtual "debtors prison" (outlawed "as a matter of law in Ohio for about 200 years) with his alleged misuse of a judge's contempt of court powers.

    But work in collections is hardly the background that one would hope for in selecting in judge, no?

    Second, a Fox appointment enhances the prospects for a Democrat (Canton senior trial counsel/domestic violence prosecutor prosecutor and Plain Township Board of Education member Kristen Guardado is the name being advanced) to "put egg on the face" of Kasich once again in a selection "by the people" on merit rather than on political considerations.

    The Stark County Political Report does not know much about Guardado.  The Report is told by Republican and Democrat lawyers alike that Guardado is first rate and would make an excellent judge.

    The Report's preference is number 2 in command at the Canton Law Department Deputy Chief Counsel Kristen Bates-Alyward.  However, the SCPR is told that she is "absolutely" not interested.

    A Fox appointment would solve the problem of a group of North Canton citizen activist who have battled with Fox over his interpretation of the law on:
    • public records, 
    • on heath care and other ordinances,
    • the legality of council procedures in force on his advice,
    • on North Canton employee comp. time
    to name just a few.

    On reflection, in Kasich is not about to appoint a merit candidate (let's say Kristen Guardado), then maybe Fox would be the best choice.

    To repeat, a Fox appointment
    • rids the Concerned Citizens of North Canton of "the bane of their existence" and
    • the chances of Fox and his sketchy legal experience and the baggage of imperiality he has accumulated in North Canton government of being defeated next November loom large.
    Go! John Kasich.

    Appoint Tim Fox to be Belden's replacement on the Canton Municipal Court!!!

    A Fox appointment will likely ultimately result in a merited person becoming Canton Municipal Court judge and North Canton government settling down, no?

    Friday, November 21, 2014

    A "SPECIAL" EDITION OF THE SCPR BLOG: HOW THE PROVISIONALS & ABSENTEES PLAYED OUT IN HARTNETT'S VICTORY OVER WERREN



    'FINAL" 
    UPDATE "SUNDAY"  11/23/2014 - "HIGH NOON"

    SPREADSHEETS PUBLISHED

    'CLICK ON GRAPHICS TO ENLARGE'

    ALLIANCE
    =========================
    BETHLEHEM TOWNSHIP
    =========================
    CANAL FULTON
    =========================
    CANTON CITY
    =========================
    CANTON TOWNSHIP
    =========================
    JACKSON TOWNSHIP
    =========================
    LAKE TOWNSHIP
    INCLUDES
    HARTVILLE
    =========================
    LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP
    =========================
    LEXINGTON TOWNSHIP
    =========================
    LOUISVILLE
    ========================
    MARLBORO TOWNSHIP
    ========================
    MASSILLON
    ========================
    MYERS LAKE & NAVARRE
    ========================
    NIMISHILLEN TOWNSHIP
    ========================
    NORTH CANTON
    ========================
    OSNABURG TOWNSHIP
    INCLUDES
     (EAST CANTON)
    ========================
    PARIS TOWNSHIP - MINERVA
    ========================
    PERRY TOWNSHIP
    ========================
    PIKE TOWNSHIP
    INCLUDING
    EAST SPARTA
    ========================
    PLAIN TOWNSHIP
    ========================
    SANDY TOWNSHIP 
     MAGNOLIA
    WAYNESBURG
    ========================
    SUGARCREEK TOWNSHIP
    BREWSTER
    ========================
    TUSCARAWAS TOWNSHIP
    ========================
    WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP

    The results are in.

    After the provisional ballots and "late" arriving but postmarked on or before November 4, 2014 absentee ballots have been counted and certified as official numbers, as the SCPR predicted, Democrat Chryssa Hartnett pulled off a pretty amazing defeat of Republican Curtis Werren for Stark County Court of Common Pleas judge for the unexpired term of V. Lee Sinclair (a Republican himself).


    In year when the lead of the Republican ticket (Republican incumbent governor John Kasich) won by over 37,000 votes in Stark County, a Democrat wins over an incumbent though "appointed" Republican.

    Simply amazing.

    Just an aside, but the Stark County Republican Party leadership has some "soul searching to do" in having Werren and Republican sheriff candidate Larry Dordea lose in an overwhelming Republican year.

    Being the "number cruncher" the SCPR is, The Report has embarked on a "weekend project" of going through each and every precinct of Stark County's 284 precincts to show Stark County voters exactly where Hartnett overwhelmed Werren to gain 101 more votes of the provisionals and late arriving absentees to increase her "unofficial" election day tally from 29 votes to 131.

    That is the "official" and certified count.

    There will be a recount, but there is plenty of margin for Hartnett to offset any glitches that may surface.

    Again, simply amazing!

    The SCPR is pleased to have been a leading communicator of the greater degree of qualification that Hartnett possessed over Werren.

    Nothing against Werren, but he did play the political game in getting the appointment.

    It is refreshing to see merit win.

    ALLIANCE

    Starting off with Alliance.


    In Alliance 69 uncounted "potential" votes remained after election night.

    Of the 69 uncounteds 22 were disqualified for one reason or another "unanimously" by the two Democrats (Sherer, Jr and Ferruccio) and two Republicans (Braden and Cline), all of whom are political appointees by their respective political parties.

    In Alliance alone, Hartnett picked up 15 votes to make her margin increase from 29 to 44.

    Werren was in real trouble coming out of Alliance.  He wins 10 of 27 precincts but loses the count of the eligible to be counted votes.

    Does not bode well, no?

    BETHLEHEM TOWNSHIP 


    Of some solace to Werren, he wins the count of the eligible uncounted by 1 vote.

    He reduces Hartnett's lead to 43 votes.

    CANAL FULTON


    In Canal Fulton Hartnett "holds serve."  She won all four precincts in the "unofficial" count and she more than doubled Werren on the uncounted eligible to be counted voters.

    At the Canal Fulton point of the uncounted eligible to be counted votes, Hartnett leads by 48 votes.

    "Holding serve" was a feat that Werren was not able to accomplish in Alliance where he won 10 of 17 precincts.

    CANTON CITY


    No surprise here.

    Canton, a Democratic stronghold.

    Hartnett picks up 28 votes to increase her lead to 76 votes.

    CANTON TOWNSHIP



    if Curt Werren was privvy (which he wasn't, of course) to the counting of the eligible to be counted uncounted vote, he undoubtedly taken heart (presuming an "in alphabetical order" process) when the count reached Canton Township.

    He outpolls Hartnett by four votes thereby reducing her lead to 72 votes.

    And Republican strongholds Jackson and Lake township are next up on the alphabetical list.

    "Hope, springs eternal," no?

    JACKSON TOWNSHIP




    Though Republican Werren did win a majority of Jackson's precincts (Jackson is a predominantly Republican part of Stark County), he did not gain votes on Democrat Hartnett.

    By the SCPR's count he actually lost one vote.

    Hartnett up 73 on Werren after the Jackson count.

    What a disappointment for Werren, no?

    LAKE TOWNSHIP



    If the Jackson results on counting of eligible uncounted votes is disappointing to Werren, it is likely that the Lake count is even moreso.

    A leading Stark County Republican told the SCPR before Friday's release of the count that the hope for a turn Werren's way was in Lake Township.

    In Lake he won all but five precincts and there were 111 uncounted votes that predominantly go to Werren.

    But the actual count only produced a four vote pick up.

    After Lake, Hartnett's margin stands at 69.

    Lake is about the alphabetical midpoint of the count and things are not looking good for Werren.

    He has dropped 40 votes from the unofficial count showing Hartnett up 29 votes.

    Many of us who do political/voting pattern analysis believe that Democrats have more trouble voting no matter the voting district.

    The SCPR's take on voting so far is that more provisional ballots even in strong Republican area of Stark County seem to fit the stereotype that those ballots were predominantly cast by Democrats.

    While Republcan Werren did have a margin in Lake, it was a small one.  Jackson was a virtual tie.

    LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP



    Hartnett took four of the five Lawrence Township precincts.  And, much more truer to form in terms of a correlation between Harnett dominating in a particular city, village or township than with Werren, a Harnett dominance in a given geographical unit usually spells a significant increase in her vote total.

    By the SCPR's vote tally, she picked up six votes in Lawrence which increases her lead to 75.

    LEXINGTON TOWNSHIP




    Hartnett and Werren split Lexington Township.

    Yet Hartnett walked away with a net gain of seven to 82 votes to bring her over Werren.

    LOUISVILLE




    Another downer for Werren.  He wins six of seven Louisville precincts but Hartnett increases her lead by one vote.

    MARLBORO TOWNSHIP



    Matters are "really" looking dire when a Republican loses a net calculated provisional vote in Marlboro Township.

    To the SCPR it is really weird that two of the most Republican areas in Stark County are Marlboro and Tuscarawas townships.

    Both are "working class" communities that seem to have little in common with the likes of Jackson and Lake which are two of Stark's financial better off areas of Stark County.

    Despite being a sweep for Werren, Hartnett still picked up another one vote increase in Marlboro which put her at 83.

    MASSILLON



    Whew!  Was Massillon good for Chryssa Hartnett or was Massillon good?

    A net gain of 18 votes to bring her total increase to 101.

    All over but the shouting, no?

    Massillon, if properly worked, is an out-and-out Democratic Party city pretty much the equal of Canton.

    Democratic voters may stumble and bumble to the polls and may have trouble getting things straight on voting procedures but enough of them negotiated the terrain so as to give Hartnett a commanding lead.

    MYERS LAKE & NAVARRE


    in Myers Lake a reprieve for Curt Werren.

    He gets Hartnett under 100 with his net two vote pick up of provisionals.

    But the reprieve is short lived.

    When one considers the different proportions (i.e. number of Massilion voters to Navarre voters), as impressive as Massillon was for Hartnett, Navarre is the champ during this election.

    Little Navarre, Stark County, Ohio delivers eight (net) additional votes for Hartnett and thereby helps mightily as Stark's newest judge-elect increased her margin to 107 votes over Curt Werren.

    NIMISHILLEN TOWNSHIP




    Deja-vu-all-over-again for Curt Werren in Nimishillen Township which surrounds Louisville.

    Werren wins six of seven precincts but loses ground to Hartnett:  a net of two votes.

    Consequently, Hartnett increased her lead to 109 votes.

    NORTH CANTON


    It was "high-five" time for the Werren camp with the North Canton counting of provisionals.

    Werren picked up 15 votes on Hartnett in the community which he calls home.

    Unfortunately for him, the Republican strongholds are already known by the time we get to North Canton.

    And, it did so poorly in these area (compared to expectations) that the North Canton boost will turnout to be a "feel encouraged for the moment" phenomenon.

    But after North Canton Hartnett's net lead is down to 94.

    Not great.  But heading in the right direction.

    OSNABURG (EAST CANTON)


    Another standoff voting district.

    Werren and Hartnet split the precincts and each got six votes and, accordingly, there is no movement in the overall number.

    PARIS TOWNSHIP INCLUDING MINERVA



    A voting district that was on November 4th was solidly Republican.  Werren wins all five precincts yet only picks up one net vote on Hartnett.

    Again, the SCPR thinks that Werren's misfortune (i.e. one would think that winning all precincts would show up in vote gains of provisionals) is wrapped up in the political reality that Democrat or Democrat leaning voters have voting problems more than Republicans that resulted in their casting "to be counted later, if at all" ballots.

    Paris/Minerva was Werren's last chance to eat into the Hartnett's lead and, perhaps, provide a spark of hope that a recount of the entire vote might spot an electronic glitch to turn things his way.

    But only picking up a net gain of one vote doesn't help that cause at all, no?

    PERRY TOWNSHIP


    Perry Township was definitely on November 4th Chryssa Hartnett territory.  She won 15 (one tied) of the 19 precincts.

    Somewhat odd is that she picked up "only" five votes on Werren.

    Hmm?

    PIKE TOWNSHIP INCLUDING EAST SPARTA


    A much smaller voting district than Perry Township and yet Pike Township produced a net gain of two votes for Hartnett.  And Werren wins this district two precincts to one and over all by a comfortable margins.

    When are Democrats and Democratic leaning voters going to learn how to vote correctly (i.e. not having to vote provisionally)?

    Just kidding (sort of).

    But "hmm," anyway!

    PLAIN TOWNSHIP
    (STARK'S MOST POPULATED)


    Another revealing count that showed that Democrats have the most difficulty voting "trouble" free.

    Werren wins Plain 21 precincts to Hartnett's nine (1), but loses 12 votes (net) in the overall count of the provisionals including absentee ballots.

    Two of Plain's 30 precincts were very close, but still it begs the point to see that Werren wins comfortably in 19 of the 30 precincts but slides precipitously in the provisional/absentee count.

    With the Plain result, it appears to the SCPR that "all hope is lost" for Werren in the overall recount that is to come.

    SANDY TOWNSHIP (MAGNOLIA & WAYNESBURG)


    This is "icing on the cake" time for the Hartnett campaign.

    Three (net gain) votes for Hartnett in Sandy Township.

    SUGARCREEK TOWNSHIP (BREWSTER)


    And more "icing on the cake" in Sugarcreek Township.  Three (3) more net to the plus votes for Hartnett.

    TUSCARAWAS TOWNSHIP


    Back to stalemate.

    Neither Hartnett nor Werren gain in Tuscarawas Township.

    WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP


    And Washington wraps of The Stark County Political Report's analysis with still more stalemate.

    CONCLUSION

    All-in-all "impressive" for the Hartnett campaign, "pathetic" for the Werren campaign.

    Though Werren got much better Stark County Republican Party support than Larry Dordea did for his sheriff campaign, Werren still lost.

    It is obvious that the message got out to the voting public that Chryssa Hartnett on the basis of her sterling career as a Stark County prosecutor was eminently more qualified that Werren is to be a judge.

    Most observers that the SCPR conversed with felt that Werren would prove to be at least "a workmanlike judge."

    And that may be the case.

    However, when it comes to the administration of justice why would Stark Countians want to chance "workmanlike" when the prospect of "excellence" is at hand with Judge-elect Chryssa Hartnett.

    For this prospect, the SCPR thanks:

    • Chyssa Hartnett for "staying the course" and persisting even though twice rejected by a governor who in selecting Werren was playing politics with the administration of justice, and
    • "last, but certainly not least," the Stark County voting public for "rightly" dividing the "political" for the "merited."
    Undoubtedly, the Republicans will answer that the Democrat do it too.

    That is not an acceptable answer.

    To answer that way is to advance a reason that goes to "the heart and soul" of why Stark Countians, Ohioans and American increasing reject the governance that both Democrats and Republicans offer up.

    Shame on both of these political parties for "feathering their own nests" at the expense of the interest of the American citizenry.

    If we one day lose our treasured democratic-republic, the specific names in Stark County, Ohio and across the land that bleed Democratic Party and Republican Party self-interest politics are the people to specifically "to point the finger of blame at."

    Now is the time to name names of the offenders.

    For once we lose our cherished institutions of government and politics, IT WILL BE TOO LATE!!!

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

    And, thank you Stark Countians for coming to the SCPR to get your most complete and thorough analysis of Stark County politics/governance that is to be had in Stark County!

    STARK COUNTY'S WORST CITY COUNCIL AT ODDS WITH CITIZENS AGAIN



    The Stark County Political Report used to think North Canton Ward 2 councilman (now council president) Dan "Jeff" Peters was one a few (perhaps Cerreta, Foltz and maybe even Fonte) of North Canton's seven councilpersons who the SCPR thinks have democratic-republican qualities in them.


    But with the e-mail he sent out on or about October 24th, you can strike him from the list, to wit:

    Well, someone is taking to heart the venomous talk directed toward our law director...

    Law Director Tim Fox had the misfortune to have a problem with the rear window of his car about that time.

    It is not unheard of for an overzealous citizen to get out-of-hand when things do not go their way in their dealings with government officials.

    And it is easy to see that Fox and his imperial ways would be the target of such ire.

    But to presume that such is what happened to Fox is totally irresponsible, especially from the leader of North Canton City Council.

    The SCPR suspects that there is more to this story.

    And the "more" might be that Fox himself prompted the Peters unwarranted snap judgement.

    In sending out the raw emotion-based cellphone e-mail, Peters demonstrated to The Report that he is unprepared to be council president in that he lacks the political maturity and studied thinking needed by a leader in handling the give and take of critical citizen input.

    With Peters at the helm, North Cantonians can expect a continuation of the rancor that has plagued North Canton City Council in an uncontrolled fashion since Daryl Revoldt left to take a Kasich administration job several years ago.

    Revoldt had his run-ins with the likes of Citizen Chuck Osborne during his latest stint as council president but he managed to be in control and to provide some semblance of directed leadership that was democratic-republican government processes friendly.

    Peters seems to have a "come let us reason together" quality about him, but the SCPR is thinking more and more that this apparent demeanor is not who Jeff Peters really is as a local government leader.

    Remember the intemperate, "jump to conclusions" Peters' comment above and then take a look at this North Canton Police Department report about the incident:

    FOX TIMOTHY L - Criminal Damaging/Endangering 10/23/2014 13 : 30

    Tim Fox report s that on Thursday , October 23rd, 2014 he was at City Hall , and he parked his vehicle in the southwest portion of the parking lot at approximately 1330 hours. 

    Tim Fox further stated that when he left the building at 1839 hours he noticed that the window looked foggy while driving to his
    residence but he did not think anything of it. 

    Tim Fox said that he parked his vehicle in his garage overnight, and when he went to leave for work this morning, the window was in the same condition.

    Tim Fox said upon checking the rear window, the window was shattered but still intact. 

    Tim Fox believes the damage may have occurred while parked in the parking lot at City Hall. This writer checked the rear window, and it could not be determined how the damage occurred. 

    This writer took six digital photos of the window.

    I then spoke with the dispatchers in the police department, and reviewed the security video specifically on on Thursday , October 23rd, 2014 from the hours of 1330 to 1845. 

    The video depicts Mr. Tim Fox's vehicle parked in the last parking space on the southwest portion in the parking lot.

    During those specific hours, the video showed no one near or around his vehicle , except for a parked vehicle to the left of Tim Fox's vehicle. It appears that the window was clear at the time it was parked in the lot. 

    At 1839 hours the video did show Mr. Fox walking to his vehicle, then driving away. 

    It is unknown at this time when and where the damage occurred at.


    The Report of the 23rd clearly indicates to the SCPR that the unfortunate damage to Fox's window may well have been a freak thing not done by any human act.

    Yet Peters' (council president) who had to have access to the report and likely to the investigating officer himself fires off the inflammatory and implied derogatory comments towards activist North Canton citizens.

    The SCPR cannot recall any such publicly transmitted communication by a Stark County local government leader during the nearly seven years of publication of this blog.

    That Peters would do such a thing is disappointing to say the least.

    But it is not surprising given the obvious hostility that exists between council in general and a group of activists North Cantonians who want North Canton local government to engaging its citizenry in a civil and constructive way.

    It appears that Peters' was primed to jump on the slightest thing a draw unwarranted conclusions because of what appears to the SCPR to be an underlying hostility to the activist citizens.

    In hindsight, the SCPR now is starting to think that Peters may be a primary inciting factor in the seeming "deteriorating by the day" relationship between North Canton City Council as a whole and any citizen who takes exception to council's governance.

    Peters, as the SCPR recalls, was a leading proponent of hiring Fox as North Canton's law director.

    The Report believes that Peters sold council on the notion that Fox was a tough guy who could rein in citizens questioning of controversial actions by council.

    There has been (to mention a few):
    • the whole health care insurance fiasco and council and Fox's apparent contempt for the nearly 80% of North Cantonians who voted to end council members participation (in most cases) in city paid health care insurance,
    • the question of whether or not North Canton should have a full time mayor,
    • the campaign ethics flap between a number of citizen activists and council member Kiesling and former councilman and council president Jon Snyder on a pay raise issue,
    • the departure of long time council clerk Gail Kalpac because - the SCPR thinks - she could not abide the arbitrary ways of Law Director Fox,
    • the inability or unwillingness of council to protect the aesthetics/trees of the neighborhoods near to the "being re-developed" Hoover plant complex,
    • the developing of a "comp. time" procedure without "official" council action on the advice of Law Director Fox contrary to the thinking of the Ohio State of Auditor's office,
    • the ongoing battle that citizens "with a point to make" about this or that action of council or the law director and their seeking documentary evidence (i.e. "public records request") supporting their point which all too often has been late in coming or "deep sixed" altogether, presumably on the arbitrary decision of the law director who apparently has a "blank check" issued him by council as a whole
    As long as council is into an underlying belligerence vis-a-vis North Canton's activist citizenry and refuses to rein-in Fox, troubled times are in the offing for North Canton city government for the foreseeable future.

    As this blog is written, Fox/council is refusing to provide documented evidence that council authorized the hiring of a local law firm to negotiate collective bargaining agreements.

           
    A citizen requested that the Ohio attorney general office mediate with North Canton government and the requester.

    North Canton's law director's response?

    From the attorney general's office:

    From: Jeff Clark [mailto:Jeffery.Clark@ohioattorneygeneral.gov]
    Sent: Wednesday, November 19, 2014 10:00 AM
    To: Chuck Osborne
    Subject: RE: Mediation Request #14-056

    Dear Mr. Osborne,

    Mr. Fox has advised that the council is declining the invitation to mediate.  Since mediation is purely voluntary and requires the agreement of both parties to go forward, we must close this file at this time.

    Thank you for considering the Attorney General’s Public Records Mediation Program, and please keep it in mind in the future.

    Sincerely,

    Jeff Clark

    Assistant Attorney General

    As far as the SCPR knows, there is no council action wherein council directed Fox to decline the mediation offer.

    Even if there were, for council to authorize a refusal to talk about how we can bridge our differences is very telling on the hostility of council towards any citizen who criticizes what council does.

    Leader Daniel "Jeff" Peters is showing the SCPR that he is a leader in title only.

    And at that, he appears to be part of if not the lead in foisting acrimony between council and those citizens who want their voices heard in local government.

    At the very least Peters should be apologizing for sending out the cellphone e-mail jumping to unwarranted "implied" conclusions obviously directed at certain citizens.

    If he "really" has the political maturity the SCPR once thought he had, he would step up to the plate and endeavor to repair the fractured relationship between council and citizens seeking redress.

    The SCPR thinks that in being all-out-in-support of whatever Law Director Fox does, council and Peters have painted themselves in a corner and that nothing short of change in the make up of council will solve the problem.

    Should North Cantonians choose to return the sitting council members Peters, Keisling, Werren and Griffith back to council next November; then turmoil will continue to plague the councils of North Canton government.

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

    SCPR CONTINUING ELECTION COVERAGE: IS HARTNETT IN DRIVER'S SEAT ON UNCOUNTED BALLOTS?



    UPDATED AT 7:00 AM

    As only The Stark County Political Report does, The Report obtained a listing from the Stark County Board of Elections (BOE) of these Stark County precincts in which there are "uncounted" provisional ballots (regular) and provisional absentee ballots.

    There are 1217 of such votes.  But only 1175 are going to be counted.  A unanimous (all four BOE members) board vote determined that a number of said ballots (along with some absentee ballots) are defective as a matter of law and therefore not eligible to be counted.

    Those 1175 votes will likely (there could be a tie, no?) the contest between Curtis Werren (the Republican who was the beneficiary of a Republican John Kasich gubernatorial appointment in June, 2013 to succeed the retired V. Lee Sinclair), and Stark County chief prosecutor Chryssa Hartnett.

    Hartnett finished with an "unofficial" 29 vote lead late in the night on November 4th.


    It used be that it was "finger nail biting time" on recounts mandated or paid for by a challenging candidate in this country in razor thin election results.

    But not so much anymore with the advent of electronic vote counting machines.

    However, with federal legislation a number years ago, we Americans have invented a new drama into our voting and vote counting process:  "the provisional 'paper' ballot."

    Absentee ballots are nothing new.  But the "stragglers" that come in after election day but postmarked on election day or before are relatively few in number.

    The provisionals can be and in this election are quite a different matter.  In this election they outnumber the countable absentees 1,044 to 131.

    Beginning with North Canton precinct 2D (Ward 2 is represented by North Canton Council president Daniel "Jeff" Peters [a colleague of Werren's wife Stephanie who represents Ward 3]) which (2D) was a Curtis Warren precinct in this election by a margin (unofficial count) of 57 votes; it might appear - at first glance - that in the contest of whom is going to be the elected judge that Curtis Werren has the advantage in that 2D, at 17 provisional ballots, is the top provisional voting precinct in all of Stark County.

    However, the SCPR's take is that overall, it may be that challenger Hartnett has the advantage.

    Of the top tier (five or more provisionals) of provisional ballot precincts, Hartnett won the precinct original "unofficial" count in 50 precincts whereas Werren won in 38 precincts.

    For all precincts (provisionals and absentees), Hartnett won the original "unofficial" count in 150 precincts whereas Werren won 133.  One precinct ended in a tie (Jackson #19, 153 to 153).

    Of course, nobody knows for sure as trying to figure out what type of voter (Republican, Democrat, conservative, liberal, rich, poor, middle income or any other tip off) voted and how a particular voter may have voted is a guess at best.

    The SCPR is being told that the Werren camp is pinning its hopes on Lake Township.


    Werren won 18 of Lake's 23 precincts.

    In Lake there were 95 provisional "paper" ballots and 13 "late" but countable absentee ballots cast.

    Precinct 15 stands out as a possible "treasure trove" for Werren supporters.  Werren won the precinct by a commanding 133 vote margin.

    Could those 11 and the one absentee be decidedly for Werren?

    If so, Lake, indeed, could be "a game changer" for those Stark Countians who want to see Werren elected.

    So it stands to reason that Lake could be a key in turning the overall "official" and "certified" vote Werren's way.

    The SCPR has sorted a spreadsheet file provided to The Report on request by Travis Secrest of the BOE and here is result of the sort.
    • SCPR Notes:
      • The colors (blue for Hartnett, red for Werren) were added by the SCPR)
      • Vote differentials and who won/lost precinct votes were tabulated by the SCPR; not the Stark BOE