Tuesday, January 16, 2018

ALLIANCE GOV'T: STARK COUNTY'S VERSION OF A CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS?


ALLIANCE COUNCIL VERSUS MAYOR ANDREANI
on
BUDGETING FOR 2018 OUTSIDE LEGAL COUNSEL ESXPENSE


There are political analysts who say that sooner rather than later America is heading for a constitutional crisis in the battle between Donald Trump, some in Congress (all of the Democrats, and, perhaps a few Republicans) and Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller over Mueller's investigation into criminal conduct (two guilty pleas already [Flynn and Papadopulous] on the part of Trump administration/transition team/campaign team officials, if not the president himself.

While nobody is alleging any criminal conduct in the Alliance council/administration standoff over the mayor's veto of council's December 28th resolution paring down the amount for outside legal counsel in 2018, it appears to The Stark County Political Report that a simmering dispute on the level of administration expenditures for outside-legal-counsel between Councilwoman-at-Large Julie Jakmides and Mayor Alan Adreani is escalating rapidly towards a "separation-of-powers" constitutional crisis that has the potential to create legal precedent for Ohio's political subdivision on the proper dividing line for the legislative and executive branches of government on 
government finance.

In a nutshell, Councilwoman Jakmides (chairperson of council's Finance Committee) has led a effort to challenge the Andreani administration in its 2018 budgeting for the funding and hiring of outside legal counsel from an asked for $10,000 by reducing the number to $0 in a temporary budget  (likely running until mid-March, 2018 before a permanent budget is passed) that council passed on December 28, 2017, to wit:

(Note:  see Temporary Budget in Appendix, Item 3)

On January 1 (a legal holiday, mind you), Andreani fired off a veto of Ordinance 80-17 to council.  (See letter  as Item 1 in the appendix at the end of this blog)


It seems likely that an attempt to override the mayor's veto will take place at a special meeting of council scheduled for tonight at 6:00 p.m.

Adding fuel to the fire in Alliance is the fact that Law Director Jennifer Arnold appears to be solidly in the Andreani camp evidenced by her legal opinion on the matter (see letter as Item 2 in the Appendix at the end of this blog) even though she as  the Alliance law director has the responsibility to provide legal advice to all of Alliance government.  

Here is what Jakmides says about the prospects for an override:

First and foremost, I am not entirely confident there are enough votes for the required supermajority we would need to override the Mayor’s veto. While I can say with substantial certainty that there will be at least four votes to override, I’m just not sure if the necessary fifth vote is there. There is an effort underway to earn that fifth vote.

Here is how the SCPR thinks the vote will turn out:


The key person as to whether or not there will be an override seems to be Ward 2 councilwoman Cindy King.

Newly elected councilperson Brian Simeone (a Democrat) says that he would not be surprised if King were to vote to override.   But, he emphasized, he does not know that she will.

Sheila Cherry is said to be a definite "no" vote as is Roger Rhome.

So WHAT IF council fails to override Andreani's veto?

Again, Councilwoman Jakmides:

If the votes are not there to override the veto, I can guarantee there will be litigation. (emphasis added)
 . . .
I would hate to see it come to that, but I am certainly willing to do so in order to establish the difference between right and wrong, and the proper separation of powers.

Jakmides "guarantee" may indicate that a constitutional crisis is looming in Alliance government that might end up be decided the Ohio Supreme Court perhaps even the U.S. Supreme Court.

Want to talk about legal expense to the city of Alliance in that taxpayers would be funding both sides' legal expenses:  Wow!

While Ward 3 councilman Larry Dordea's focus in on his effort to separate the safety/service responsibilities now under the directorship  of Michael Dreger, he does not disagree with Councilwoman Jakmides that Law Director Jennifer Arnold's (she was last elected to the position in 2015 and is up again for election next year having been opposed by Jakmides support Democrat Mark Whitaker) management of the law department is inadequate especially on the matter of hiring of outside counsel on matters that ought to be handled by Arnold and her staff.

In her campaign for re-election to council in November, 2017, Jakmides made, as a focus of her appearance in a University of Mount Union sponsored candidates forum of October 31, 2017, the reining-in of outside legal expenditures by Alliance's administration through 2017 (thought to be about $75,000).

Here is the core of the her differences with Andreani administration and as expressed by Jakmides on her Facebook page:


Clemans-Nelson?


Councilwoman Jakmides describes Clemans-Nelson thusly:

The “consulting” firm Clemans Nelson which specifically self-identifies as NOT being a law firm has undoubtedly received a lions share of the $75,000, but they do so through creative means. 

Despite having been retained through a one-year contract that expired in 2013 or 2014 for a narrow purpose, they have remained a constant suck on the city’s coffers by providing a vast array of Human Resources-esque work, including a number of tasks I personally find unnecessary, redundant, and/or the job of the Law Director and her office. 

Furthermore, Clemans Nelson has associates who conveniently offer their legal services when the work Clemans Nelson has generated ends up in more formal proceedings. One individual who has billed the City substantially is Attorney Matt Baker, an employee of Clemans Nelson who happens to have a law practice based at the same address.  (emphasis added)


Democrat Brian Simeone (elected councilman at large) is all in with Jakmides on the need for Alliance to shed itself of a relationship with Clemans-Nelson

As is Councilman Larry Dordea.

It will be interesting to see if tonight's council meeting results in success for Dordea in his quest to have council split up the safety/service functions of Dreger's current job.  

Tonight's meeting is a critical one as providing a clue which path that the two co-equal branches of Alliance government is going down.

  • One of working out differences and going forward as a mutual check and balance on one another. or
  • One of discord and disharmony which might possibly lead to the legislative branch taking the executive branch to court to establish its co-equalness.

APPENDIX 

Item 1 - Andreani letter



Item 2 - Arnold legal opinion



Item 3 - Temporary Budget

Monday, January 15, 2018

(YouTube Video/Audio of Dr King in Canton: March 20, 1964) "I HAVE A DREAM ... "

ENCORE PRESENTATION:  ORIGINALLY BLOGGED ON MLK-DAY 2015 (UPDATED)


ANNUAL SCPR PRESENTATION

HONORING MARTIN LUTHER KING

See (LINK) USA Today article on Dr. King's 10 most tweeted quotes.

On the "heads-up" of former Canton councilman Kevin Fisher, the SCPR has embedded the YouTube code in today's blog which is a recording of Dr. King's speech in Canton, Ohio in 1964.


Saturday, January 13, 2018

50TH OHIO HOUSE SEAT/16TH CONGRESSIONAL SEAT: TO BE "HAGAN-LESS!"

UPDATED 01/15/2018

SEE BIO OF DEM CANDIDATE 50TH:  CASSIE GABELT

ALSO, STOLTFUS (GOP/50TH) IMPRESSES WITH FUNDRAISER AT BROOKSIDE 01/24/2018

(LISTING FROM STARK CO BOE/PHOTOS/GRAPHICS ADDED)

The Stark County Political Report has been suggesting that Republican state Representative Christina Hagan will drop out of the 16th Congressional District (she lives in the 7th) race and run for two more years in the Ohio House before being term limited out.

But it now seems as if that Hagan prefers going down as the captain of a sinking ship.

Why should she think about dropping out of the 16th and dropping into the 50th?

Because, so far, she is getting out-fund-raised HUGELY by "the establishment candidate" (according to Christina herself) Anthony Gonzalez. To boot, Gonzalez (though he has never held an elective office) is far more appealing as a candidate when one compares their biographies.
And, thirdly, he actually has something his his family line that ought to separate him from Trump.

One has to wonder whether or not Trump considers Cuba a "sh*t" country (the country Gonzalez's grandparents came from)?

For besides being one of the relatively few staunch communist states in the world,Cuba is not a nation-state like Norway.  It is a diverse nation that has a substantial non-white population. As the grandson of a Swede who immigrated to America in the 1890s to pursue the American dream (he became a logging industry entrepreneur) he would be horrified to see an American president wanting to shut the doors to those who see America as a beacon drawing them to these shores.

Presumably, being the "all-out-for-Trump-person she is, Christina prefers a homogeneous to a diverse one.

To her, seemingly, there is a right way to think and be and a wrong way; pure and simple.

 Hagan is so pro-Trump she ought to apply for a White House job when she loses her primary fight with Gonzalez for she might—because of her unquestioning Trump loyalty—be in a position one day to replace presidential-shill-in-chief Sarah Huckabee Sanders someday, no?

Christina's dad, John, who represented the 50th from 2000 through 2008 (when he was term limited out and then lost a bid to become a Stark County commissioner in the 2008 elections) got Christina her state representative job by lobbying hard with the Ohio House Republican Caucus in 2011 when Todd Snitchler resigned as 50th District representative to become chairman of Ohio's Public Utilities Commission.

In a smart political move, Paris Township Reggie Stoltzfus moved quickly after Hagan announced she was not running for a fourth term in the Ohio House.

And he ain't messin around when it comes to fundraising.

Look at this:


Wow!
  • Brookside Country Club, January 24, 2018
    • Contribution Levels:
      • CHAIR$2,500
        • HOST$1,000
          • SPONSOR$500
            • PER COUPLE$150
              • PER COUPLE$100
And there's more.


Here is a SCPR calculated (correlating named persons with contribution levels as published by the Stoltzfus campaign) spreadsheet showing that Stoltzfus has "upfront" money of $25,000 without even opening the doors at Brookside on January 24th.



Only thing better is where the SCPR will be on the 24th.

Hawaii, that's where!  For two, maybe three months.  My daughter Kasi (a Lake High School, NEOMED BS/MD graduate, a USAF lieutenant colonel who is slated soon to become chief of the medical group at Hickam AFB on Oahu) and her husband Will (a mainland Chinese man who came to this country as a 9 year old not knowing word of English) are medical doctors serving in Hawaii.

They've been in Hawaii three years this July and a slated for three more.  Wife Mary and I visited them and our grandchildren Austin and Aspen last year for two months.  And we plan on going back for the duration of their time in the U.S. paradise in the Pacific.

Stoltzfus has filed, Larry Carver has not nor has as of Friday Jacob Urik of Louisville.

Talked with Carver a month or so ago and got the clear impression he is not going to file.

To the SCPR based on a conversation with him, it is irrelevant to Stoltzfus whether either of them files.

And, The Report gets the impression that should Hagan panic that she is going to be out of a public job if she stays in the 16th Congressional District race and at the last moment (being funny, let's say 4:29 on February 7, 2018) to keep her current public job, Stoltzfus is not all that concerned.

When he learned that Hagan was not doing so well in her fundraising for the 16th he began calling around to key Republican elected officials in and out of the 50th to firm up his support.

Stoltzfus has the SCPR believing that even if Hagan abandons the 16th for the 50th, it will be too late.

And the spreadsheet published above gives a lot of credibility to idea that the Hagans are finished as a viable political family in Marlboro Township and indeed in Stark County.

When one has to bring in the likes of Gorka and Scaramucci (about as extreme right as one can get except for Christina herself), isn't time for the gong to sound and politician Christina Hagan dragged off the stage?


He father, even though a seeming fixture in Marlboro Township politics, lost to incumbent Republican Ken Eddleman in November.

It was only by 5 votes.

The Report is told that John Hagan is being a "spoil sport" about the loss.  One manifestation being that he is said to be demanding that the minutes of each and every Marlboro Board of Trustees meeting be forwarded to him.

You have to wonder how he is going to react that two of his sons have lost low level official positions in Marlboro Township government.

Is the phrase "political conspiracy" going to roll off his lips?

Wouldn't surprise the SCPR from a man who used all his political clout to get Christina Hagan her start in political life.

You have to remember that the Hagan have much substantial "political" roots in Marlboro Township than Ken Eddleman.

To The Report knowledge, he only got started in Marlboro Township in 2009 when former trustees Tim Wise and Dave Wolf got themselves in a political mess by deciding to take on highly respected Marlboro police chief Ron Devies and his son in what the SCPR thinks was a miscommunication problem but which the Stark County's sheriff's office at the time (i.e. Chief Deputy Perez) and Stark County prosecutor John Ferrero seemingly worked "overzealously" together "make a mountain out of a molehill."

In the end, the Devies father and son were vindicated by Stark County Court of Common Pleas judge V. Lee Sinclair, Jr.

Ken Eddleman and Marlboro citizens (with his election) were true winners with his election (Wolf did not run and Wise came in dead last).

Eddleman was a winner again this past November of father John Hagan and he may have put the Christina Hagan braggadocio about being a Stark County political power that was going to raise $15 million for the 16th District Republican primary and another  $1.5 million for the general election "out-of-commission."

So the SCPR sees no problem at all for Reggies Stoltzfus becoming the Republican primary winner on May 8, 2018.

Despite his early start and impressive fundraising, he may struggle actually succeeding the Hagans in the Ohio General Assembly.

It could depend on how closely he aligns himself with President Trump.

The Report senses that this could be a very, very, very bad political year for Republicans who abandoned authentic Republican conservatism for "all-in-for-Trump."

Time will tell with Candidate Stoltzfus.

The SCPR has spoken with the Democratic candidate Cassie Gabelt.

Not endorsing the respective political viewpoints is impressed with her and Stoltzfus.

She tells The Report that she indeed will file her petitions by February 7th and put together a campaign that seriously  threatens the Republican hold on the 50th which, of course, has been gerrymander to keep a Republican in the slot for eternity.

Democrat Gabelt has provided this self produced biography for voters of the 50th Ohio House District to get to know her, her mettle as a human being and her aspirations should she be elected as state representative for the 50th, to wit:

My name is Cassie Gabelt.  I was born in Alliance, Ohio, and I’ve lived here all my life, with the exception of the time I spent enlisted in the Navy, stationed in California.  My father was a teacher with the Marlington Local School District for 30 years.  My mother was an office manager for a local attorney.  I have three sisters, Carrie, Anna, and Emma.  I had a relatively normal childhood, until I didn’t.  

In March of 2004, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I was a 15-year-old Sophomore at Marlington High School.  My older sister was 22, just engaged. My younger sisters, Anna and Emma, were 13 and 11.  

We knew of many women who had survived the disease, and we were sure the doctors would save her as they had so many others. We soon learned, however that what my mother had wasn’t just any breast cancer; it was a rare form of Inflammatory cancer, the most aggressive to combat; hers was at Stage 4.  The next seven months were filled with surgeries, chemotherapy, and watching my mother, my father, and my sisters come to the realization that she wasn’t going to be a survivor.  We lost her, at age 43, on October 19, 2004.  And while that pain will stay with me for a lifetime, the experience also gave me strength.  It taught me to cherish those who are dearest to me, to always attend to unfinished business, and, because we aren’t guaranteed tomorrow, to find out what it is in this life we want to accomplish; And work hard to see it through. 

My father continued supporting my sisters, and me on his teacher’s salary, and we were fortunate to live with my maternal grandmother.  I got my driver’s license and helped shuttle my sisters to, and from sports and choir practices, as my father and I were trying to keep their lives as normal as possible.  After I graduated from high school, I enrolled at the University of Mount Union, then Mount Union College, thinking I would follow the same path as most of my friends.  
Once I got to college, I realized that even as a kid, I’d felt the desire to join the military, and I could no longer ignore the call.  The opportunity to serve my country, to gain valuable training and experience, was too tempting to resist.  So I enlisted in the Navy, and left for bootcamp at the end of my second semester.   

I spent my first two years stationed in Monterey, at the Defense Language Institute where I learned a bit of Arabic, and the second two of my enlistment at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego.  In San Diego, one of my many duties was acting as a liaison between the United States Navy and Government Contractors where we completed over $12 million in repairs in record time.  I spearheaded a Quality Assurance program, and I developed a Departmental Limited Duty Status program.  I also spent time drafting correspondence between my unit and another unit senior to mine, in Washington D.C.  These, and other aspects of my position, introduced me to the inner workings and nuances of the US government.     

When I separated from the military in 2012, due to injury, I returned to Ohio, where I re-enrolled in the University of Mount Union, and finished early with a bachelor’s in French.  Due to my early graduation, I was able to apply the remainder of my GI Bill towards additional studies.  I finished a Master’s Degree in Political Management through The George Washington University this December. 

My military experience combined with my post-graduate studies, IBM Analyst Certification, and work in the field of mediation, have led me to my true passion-public service.  Elected officials impact every aspect of our lives, whether they're voting on the type of gas you put in your car, or the healthcare we receive-or, in some cases, don't receive.  Their decisions will determine what kind of life my son, and all of our children, will come to know. 

I've experienced things in my life no one can control, and for whom no one is to blame.  But I've also experienced, firsthand, the exorbitant cost of college in the 21st century.  I've experienced the value of having healthcare when you need it.  I've experienced jobs that pay less than a living wage.  Those things we can control.  It is my greatest hope, that our children will benefit from positive changes I can make.

I believe that the government should work for you and your family- and represent your best interests. Economic rights are often overlooked as civil rights, but like all civil rights battles and movements of the past, if we work together, we can make sure all of us reap the benefits in the future. Our decisions determine not only our today, but also our tomorrow

To the SCPR, John Hagan and his daughter Christina are in politics mostly motivated out of political opportunism and not public service.  It is all good and well for Representative Hagan to have her religious faith, but it is not okay that she use government to impose her religious values on the rest of us.

What appears to be the end of the Hagan family as a factor in Stark County politics should be viewed by voters of all stripes as a blessing.

A gift from Heaven, if you will!!!

Friday, January 12, 2018

SCPR SERIES (VOL 3) "STRENGTHENING STARK: NORTH/SOUTH MARKET AVENUE "GANG OF TWO" SEEK TO HAVE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS "IMPOSE" A 1/2 CENT SALES TAX?


(MAP:  EXTRACT FROM GOOGLE MAPS)

VIDEOS

Stark County Commissioner Janet Weir Creighton

on

SHOULD THERE BE AN "UNIMPOSED SALES TAX INCREASE"

IF SO, HOW SHOULD IT BE ADMINISTERED?

Denny Saunier

CEO/President of Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce

Responds

Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce (CRCC) president and CEO Denny Saunier unsettled county officials when in the Q&A session at the Stark Civic Group's "Strengthening Stark" session at the Pro Football Hall of Fame (Gold Jacket Room) on Tuesday he made this statement:



Saunier's response was in reaction to this Stark County Commissioner (Board president) Janet Weir Creighton's challenge (re:  additional sales tax to finance Stark County economic development) to the Strengthening Stark assembled group of elected officials from the Canton Municipal Court Stark County political subdivisions who make up the court district:  (the Creighton challenge:  "speak now [on possible sales tax increase]or forever hold your peace" on whether or not a not-imposed sales tax increase should be considered and under what parameters:



The Stark County Political Report (since Tuesday's event) has learned that from the perspective of county officials Saunier's organization (CRCC) has a tag-team (a expression from professional wrestling) relationship with The Canton Repository (SCPR monikered "NS-MA-Gang of Two")  to cudgel commissioners into "imposing" a sales tax increase to fund Stark County economic development.

Of course, anybody who knows anything about sales tax issues and Stark County voters know that absolutely a surefire way to get rejected!

Here is an extracted (from commissioner administration compilation) graphic which absolutely shows that "imposed" is NOT a way to go.

(Note:  In order to get an enlarged view of the following graphics, click on any of the five panels included)


It is likely that Saunier/Porter for their respective organizations deny they a pushing for an "imposed" sales tax.

However, in SCPR discussions with a variety of county officials, The Report's takeaway is that they are clearly viewing Saunier's spiel when coupled with other emanations from 500 Market Avenue, South and 222 Market Avenue, North as being pressure to "impose" an additional county sales tax.

The SCPR back in 2011 advocated for a 3/4 cent added county sales tax rather than the 1/2 cent settled on.  Moreover, the SCPR opposed "imposing" sales tax increases no matter the scale of same.

There is no doubt that Stark County needs to have financial resources to spur economic development across Stark County.

However, any such voter approved addition SHOULD NOT and the SCPR believes would not be used by the current board of county commissioners to bailout Canton and/or the HOF-VP.

There ought to be a concern about what a future board of commissioners will do and measures ought to be included in any sales tax initiative that would prohibit bailouts for inefficiently/irresponsibly run political subdivision government units or in private enterprise projects not having private financing in place at the timing of announcing such projects to totally pay for ir.   Of course, the latter factor is a reference to, as an example of, the HOF-VP.

To so structure a prospective Stark County sales tax increase, it might be necessary for
the Stark County delegation to the Ohio General Assembly to get to work to empower county governments across Ohio to specify restrictions on the the use of county sales tax revenues that are binding on future boards of county commissioners.

Try as they may but the North/South Market Avenue Gang of Two will find that there is no way in Hell that the current Board of Stark County Commissioners would impose an additional sales tax on top of the current 1/2 cent being collected.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

MARIOL & MORRIS SLUG IT OUT: BOTH LOSE, BUT MORRIS CLAIMS VICTORY IN LOSING!



SCPR VIDEOS

Frank Morris 
Withdraws from Consideration for
Re-election as Canton Council VP/Majority Leader

Chris Smith 
FIRST WOMAN EVER
as New Council VP/Majority Leader 
Thanks
Fellow Council Members

Corey Minor Smith
New Council Member Thanks Fellow Councilmembers for
Facilitating Her Entry onto Council

The Vote
for
Council VP/Majority Leader & Ass't ML

Councilman Bill Smuckler
on
Apairations for 2018/2019 Council

Mayor Thomas Bernabei
Congratulates Chris Smith

VP/Majority Leader Smith
on
Meaning of Her "Bringing Peace to Council" Speech

First of all, congratulations to Ward 4 councilwoman Chris Smith in becoming in The Stark County Political Report's view (SCPR), Vice President and Majority Chris Smith as the "compromise" candidate in an an apparent "down & dirty" fight between Ward 7 councilman John Mariol and incumbent vice president and majority leader Frank Morris this past Monday, January 8th.

In the following SCPR video, Vice President and Majority Leader Smith thanks her fellow council members and her family for her support (photo of Smith & family included)



But the night started out with "all love and kisses" with the swearing in (by Law Director Joe Martuccio) of councilpersons and the council president elected in November, 2016 to two-year terms.


New to council in an "at-large" slot (replacing "did-not-run-for-reelection Tom Harmon) is Corey Minor Smith.

Political Affiliation:  Democrat

Current Employer:  Stark Metropolitan Housing Authority,
General Counsel

Education: 
Bowling Green State University, Bachelors of Arts in English
Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, Ethnic Studies-Mexican Culture

Bowling Green State University, Masters of a Education in Guidance and Counseling
University of Toledo College of Law, Juris Doctorate.  (excerpt from Council website)

Here is a SCPR video on Minor Smith thanking council for facilitating her transition onto council.




Earlier in the day of the 8th, the SCPR talked with a city official about whether or not Frank Morris or John Mariol was going to be elected council VP/majority leader.

The source said that it appeared that a choice had been (presumably in compliance with Ohio Sunshine law) but "that anything was possible" to unfold that would change the what appeared to be in place plan.

Readers will recall that on December 12th, the Democrats (there are ONLY Democrats on council) met in was clearly meant to be "out of the public view" session to hash out between them who between Morris and Mariol would be majority leader in the 2018/2019 term of council.  (LINK to the video of that session and LINK to blog on that session)

The most telling thing to come out of that session was Morris' admonition to keep "shi**y"politics" out of the maneuvering in the brokering between and among members during the interim of the meeting of the 12th through the selection date of January 8th.

That neither Morris or Mariol was selected on the 8th speaks volumes about the acrimony that must have been rampant in the Mariol/Morris lobbying over the two weeks plus period until the selection date.

The SCPR took newly elected VP/Majority Leader's reference to bringing "peace and unity" to council as sort of an off-hand confirmation that she was selected as a "compromise" candidate between the two as elaborated upon below.

While she says she is not at liberty to comment on the SCPR takeaway on her being a compromise candidate because of the Morris/Mariol rift, she does say her intent in her council "thank you" speech was not to imply that her motivation for accepting the post was as a peace maker between the warring Morris/Mariol factions on council.

Here is a SCPR video of her reaction taken at a January 9, 2018 meeting of Strengthening Stark held at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Smith was invited as an elected Canton city official to participate in the forum in which input was sought from elected officials on what direction Stark County should take on countywide economic development.

The video:



In a sort of way the Mariol/Morris match up was/continues to be an left-wingish idealist (Mariol) versus a highly pragmatic (right of center) type (Morris).

The SCPR has learned that it became apparent that were either Morris or Mariol to be selected, it was likely that political "bad blood" would, it was thought, likely percolate to the surface over ensuing council sessions on various "hot button" issues and thereby make it difficult if not impossible to achieve a united Canton City Council on key issues.

It the course of finding a pathway to a "peaceful" resolution of the political warfare that was going on between Mariol and Morris various movers and shakers within council were looking to alternatives to either Morris or Mariol in order to avoid "down-the-road" eruptions of political warfare in the guise of differences of apparently bona fide stances on various policy making  and policy implementation issues to come forward to the floor of council.

One scenario, the SCPR is told, was for Ward 1 councilman Greg Hawk to be majority leader and Ward 2 councilman Nate Chester, III to be council 1st vice president and assistant majority leader.

Apparently, Hawk was a no-go for Morris.  The SCPR has been told that Morris supported one of  Hawk's opponents in the 2017 Democratic primary.


The obvious choice then became  Ward 4 councilwoman Chris Smith, the-then current 1st vice president/assistant majority leader of council, who, one would think if Morris was not going to be re-elected is in line to replace him.

Morris, the curmudgeon and political maverick he is, has gotten along reasonably well with Smith over the past two years.

So the stage was set for Morris to step-aside on the 8th as shown in this SCPR video of Morris nominating Smith.



Right before this session of council, Morris told the SCPR as a clue to his withdrawal, that in losing he would in fact be winning.

It will be interesting to sees how that statement plays out going forward.

And now SCPR video on  the election of Smith and Babcock:



A interesting presentation on the 8th was that of the dean of Canton City Council Bill Smuckler as he opines on his aspiration for council in 2018.

To The Report, Smuckler's positive expectation for the 2018/2019 of Canton City Council was likely a response to the battles within the confines of council's make up 2016/2017 culminating in the fight as to whom was going to be majority leader in the 2018/2019 term.

The SCPR video of Councilman at Large Bill Smuckler:



Here is a SCPR video on Mayor Thomas Bernabei (a political independent) congratulating Democratic Ward 4 councilperson Chris Smith on her election as council vice president/majority leader.



It will be interesting to see whether or not all is "hunky-dory" within the inner workings of Canton City Council.

The SCPR thinks not.

But time will tell as to whether or not the Mariol/Morris competition erupts into open warfare on the floor of Canton City Council during the 2018/2019 term of council.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

SCPR SERIES (VOL 2) "STRENGTHENING STARK," PUSHING FOR A COUNTYWIDE SALES TAX INCREASE?




VIDEOS

Stark Co Commissioner Janet Creighton
on
"Open and Frank Discussion on Strengthening Stark Issues"

*********************

North Canton Mayor David Held & HOF Officials
Q&A
Regarding Financing of HOF-VP


Here is a LINK to yesterday's blog which SCPR readers ought to read first prior to proceeding on this blog.

One of Stark County Commissioner Janet Creighton's prized qualities is her propensity to "cut to the chase" once the "cat-was-out-of-the-bag" as was the case on the initiative of North Canton mayor David Held in his Q&A time at a community event organized by a group called Stark Civic Group (formed in 2015) dba as "Strengthening Stark."

And that is what she did yesterday in the "Gold Jacket Room" of the Pro Football Hall of Fame located on Halas Drive in northwest Canton yesterday in the first of three community forums of Stark County "elected" officials organized by Strengthening Stark.

In yesterday's blog, the SCPR placed a video excerpt of North Canton mayor David Held pointedly pressing Strengthening Stark officials and HOF officials for answers on the Strengthening Stark and HOF-VP nexus or lack thereof and initiated a discuss having been encouraged by Commissioner Creighton in her opening remarks:
  • an admonition that "We [Stark County political subdivision elected officials the Strengthening Stark discussion] have a open and frank discussion,"
  • "I am just going to say it because many of you have whispered in my ears and are afraid to say it, this is not about saving a certain institution or making sure that money goes to a certain city, village or township.  This is about us.
  • "You should feel very comfortable about offering your frank opinions, offering your concerns and offering your ideas to move Stark County ahead.
  • "Please take my comments to heart.  And do not be afraid to speak out."
  • "It is time to raise the blinds."
  • "If we are not frank in this room, then we are not going to move this county ahead."
Here is Creighton as one of two Stark County political subdivision officials (Canton mayor Thomas Bernabei being the other) to outline the parameters of the discussion to take place yesterday.  (3:03)



Held took Creighton's admonition "to heart" and opened up a virtual pandora's box in pressing for answers to his questions.

A repeat (also in yesterday's blog) of the SCPR video of Held's questions:  (3:51)



And now, the answers or non-answers (as the SCPR thinks was the case from two HOF vice presidents (Fierly and Graffice) who were present:'

The video: (7:21)



This is the second of a series of Stark County Political Report blogs in which The Report will dig deep into all aspects of the evolvement of the Strengthening Stark initiative which seems to be designed to cultivate a political environment in which Stark commissioners will agree to place a 1/2 cent additional sales tax on a near-future countywide ballot for Stark County voters to weigh-in on.

The format of this series is to present in the context of questions and answers asked/given with particularized attention paid to each Q&A exchange.

Moreover, The Report in ensuing blogs will present one-one-one interviews:
  • with newly elected Canton vice president (majority leader) Chris Smith, 
  • a follow up interview with Mayor Held, and
  • a follow up interview with HOF official Pete Firely
The Stark County Political Report, Stark County's only "independent" media outlet on Stark County government and politics.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

SCPR SERIES (VOL 1) HAS "STRENGTHENING STARK" BITTEN OFF MORE THAN IT CAN CHEW?



A MUST SEE VIDEO

NORTH CANTON MAYOR DAVID HELD

WHERE DID $30 MILLION
IN HOOVER DISTRICT MONEY 
GO TO?

A Stark County Political Report (SCPR) "Hats Off" to the Stark County Foundation and it support of the birth, development and maturation of a Stark County effort of a group tabbed as being the Stark Civic Group:



But of course the "proof is going to be in the pudding" of what the Stark Civic Group can provide in "effective" leadership to get Stark County out of what the Stark Civic Group through its initiative STRENGTHENING STARK:  A CALL FOR  ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION.

Those accountable for evaluating the viability and projected effectiveness of Strengthening Stark showed up about 50 strong, to wit:


The most compelling aspect of yesterday's meeting (two more to be held, one for western Stark elected officials and one for eastern Stark elected officials) was the post-basic-presentation Q&A.

However, the answers were far a few between.

Strengthening Stark is going to have do much, much, much better with ans

A first it was like pulling teeth to get the attendees to stand up and ask questions, any kind of questions.

The icebreaker?

The second questioner who was North Canton mayor David Held in which exchange of views he focused on "the good, the bad and the ugly" of North Canton losing The Hoover Company in 2008.

Held remarks included: (pre-SCPR recorded-video-segment presented below)
  • Complemented Strengthening Stark officials for the quality of the one hour plus a little presentation on history of the Stark Civic Group and its offspring Strengthening Stark,
  • Went in to some detail about the blow that North Canton sustained when The Hoover Company was no more in North Canton,
    • Talked about the "good, bad & ugly:"
      • pre-Hoover-departure of North Canton getting some $7 million in income tax annually,
      • post-Hoover-departure, the city going from $7 million in revenue (2000) to $5.4 million annually by 2008 which was a 23% drop,
      • North Canton government having to cut employees from 116 to 91, 
      • North Canton obtaining a $5 million state of Ohio Jobs Ready grant (JRG) to plow back into the Hoover complex to bring replacement jobs back to the city and which is now producing an 8% return by virtue of North Canton receiving about $400,000 a year in income taxes attributable to the JRG investment which means that North Canton will have matched Ohio's taxpayers having paid for the $5 million JRG to assist North Canton's recovery in about 12 years,
Here is David Held with his incisive questioning which had to shake up the Strengthening Stark/HOF-VP folks and hopefully all of the Stark County elected officials in attendance.  (3:52)



In the above video, Held was diplomatic in not fingering by name a culprit in his expressed consternation of plywood boarding up windows on the North Main Street side of the former Hoover Comlex that some $30 million in EB-5 money that has not made it into the rehab of the North Main Street side of Maple Street Commerce LLC (a principal owner of which is Brownfields developer Stu Lichter of Industrial Realty Group.


Interesting also, is an allegation that North Canton developer Bob DeHoff (listed as a member of the Stark Civic Group) in federal court litigation filed against Maple Street Commerce and Lichter, et al, to be a 10% owner of Maple Street Commerce.

For those SCPR readers who are interested, material underlying Held's remarks show up in allegations made in the following document:



Lichter's IRG is the lead developer of the HOF-VP.

A mere three days after C. David Baker was brought to Canton as president and CEO of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Lichter was in Canton "huddled up"  (interestingly enough, a favorite theme of the HOF-VP folks in selling the nearly $1 billion expansion of the project) with Baker.

The timing of Lichter coming to Canton seemingly was pre-planned with Baker's hiring and does not appear that came bolting out of Baker's mind with his January 2, 2014 hiring.

Also interesting on looking at the hiring of Baker timeframe is the advertised Stark Civic Group coming into being in 2015 which, of course, was the beginning year of the "full-court-press" for those advocating for the Canton/Stark County community to embrace a then $500 million expansion HOF-VP.

Today's blog is focused on what a tough, tough, tough job the Stark Civic Group AKA the Stark Foundation AKA Strengthening Stark has on its hand in trying to convince Stark Countians and their elected leaders that Strengthening Stark is about the well-being of all of Stark County and not merely a front for a bailout of the financially troubled HOF-VP.

Just as when county commissioners had to deal with the shattering of confidence of Stark Countians in county government after the April 1, 2009 revelation that former Stark County treasurer chief deputy had stolen from the county treasury (subsequently thought to be upwards of $3 million), the current set of Janet Creighton, Richard Regula and Bill Smith (all Republicans) have to tread very carefully on the proposal of the Stark Civic Group (of which both Creighton and former commissioner and Canton mayor Thomas Bernabei are members of) in its various manifestations for the SCPR thinks that danger to public confidence in county government may lurk in the Strengthening Stark movement unless it is vetted under the leadership of the aforementioned officials so as to be nearly guaranteed of success across a wide range of Stark County economic development efforts.

How and Commissioner Creighton and Mayor Bernabei continue to be members of a group that is just another manifestation of Strengthening Stark County?

Are they not part of the "elected official" collection determining whether or not Strengthening Stark County is worthy of public support?

Jim Porter, the publisher of The Repository which bills itself of the official newspaper of the Pro Football Hall of Fame should step aside, no?

For if ultimately Stark Countians conclude that if the Strengthening Stark is/has been merely a front for the HOF-VP to get its hands on Stark County taxpayer money to stave off financial disaster and the project does not get anywhere near its original projections of "real" benefit to everyday Stark Countians even with millions of dollars of county taxpayer money brought to the rescue, then the setback to Stark County economic development will be much more severe than that currently being projected in the Stark is "losing population, getting older and getting poorer."

Super "due diligence" is the order of the day for not only the commissioners but all levels of local government elected officials.

The SCPR has a lot of interesting video collected of today's proceeding and will be sharing it with all of Stark County as a tool with which to determine whether or not Strengthening Stark is the real deal to benefit ALL of Stark County and not just one institution.

Future SCPR blogs will focus on the Q&As of participants; not the presentation itself.

However, for those readers who want to take the core of the presentation side of today's meeting here is a pdf file on the 2017 Stark County Foundation commissioned report on Strengthening Stark.