Monday, July 25, 2016

NONE OF THE ABOVE! NO MATTER WHAT LOCAL POLITICOS SAY

UPDATED:  11:20 am


A STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT ANALYSIS
ON
LOCAL POLITICOS
CREIGHTON, HAROLD AND SCHURING
AND
KATHY CATAZARO-PERRY
ON 
TIES TO RESPECTIVE POLITICAL PARTY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES

(Creative Commons "None of the Above" logo overlaid on SCPR Clinton/Trump Graphic)


UPDATE MATERIAL (11:20 AM)


ORIGINAL BLOG

In one respect, the country of India is ahead of the greatest democratic-republic in the history of the world.

And in American, Nevada stands out alongside India in offering the opportunity to vote "None of the Above" (NOTA) instead of "the lesser of two evils."



Unfortunately, these votes in both India and in Nevada do not effect the results of a given election. The NOTA votes are merely recorded as a "for the record" dissatisfaction with the candidates presented to the voters.

It could be different.

A Wikipedia article NOTA sets out possible consequences that would make NOTA votes consequential, to wit: (LINK)


When None of the Above is listed on a ballot, there is the possibility of NOTA receiving a majority or plurality of the vote, and so "winning" the election. In such a case, a variety of formal procedures may be invoked, including having the office remain vacant, having the office filled by appointment, re-opening nominations or holding another election (in a body operating under parliamentary procedure), or it may have no effect whatsoever, as in India and the US state of Nevada, where the next highest total wins regardless.

Locally, NOTA could have, if Ohio had an authorizing law, "the winner" in the Perez/Healy race for mayor in the Democratic primary election of May 5, 2015.

The SCPR did a blog on that election which pined for Cantonians to have had that opportunity.



Fortunately, for Cantonians, Thomas M. Bernabei "stepped-up-to-the-plate" changing from a registered Democrat to being a political independent and successively negotiated a mine field of potential legal obstacles and ran against Healy in November, 2015 defeating him in is bid for a third consecutive term.

On the national level, many Americans hoped for a viable opponent to Republican Donald J. Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton would surface so that we (myself included in the word "many") would have clear "on the merits" candidates.

An opponent to Trump hoped for because he is an egotist of extreme proportions who thinks he can cure what ails America single handedly.

An opponent to Clinton hoped for because she has had opportunities nearly two decades to effect real change in this country but, if anything, has been a significant part of the worsening of the USA.

Readers should follow links to Washington Post editorials on both Trump and Clinton.
The foregoing editorials focus on the chapter and verse of the manifold foibles of both.

Both, indeed, are highly flawed candidates.

THE KASICH FACTOR

All of Trump's challengers were second rate with the possible exception of our Ohio governor John Kasich, to wit:


"We want politicians to stand on principle and then whenever they do, if it's not the principle we like, we're not so much into them standing on principle. When you stand on principle, sometimes you're all alone."

And this from a Los Angeles Times article (LINK):


Delegates hadn't even finished unpacking their elephant pins and other pachyderm paraphernalia when Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign chairman, unloaded on Kasich, another former rival of Trump's, hitting him for refusing to endorse the GOP nominee or even set foot inside the convention hall. Kasich was ubiquitous everywhere else in and around Cleveland.

The week-long carping between the Trump and Kasich camps, which included Kasich criticizing Trump's statements about possibly not defending NATO allies — continued into the weekend when Kasich, in an interview with Phillynews.com, poor-mouthed Trump's chances of carrying Ohio in November.


A "divider" like Trump will have a hard time winning Ohio, Kasich said. "Ohio's a snapshot of the country. People in Ohio want a positive way forward."

On Sunday's Meet The Press (NBC News) Trump said he probably will form a political action committee to funnel money to a Kasich opponent in order to take him down politically.

At the Thursday concluded Republican National Convention, Kasich took a stand on political principle in not showing up in support of Trump and in refusing to endorse him.

He and the "Never Trump" movement and their ilk appear to be Republicans capable of espousing and acting upon political principle.

Those who fall-in with Trump seem not to have that capability.

For many of them, it is political party interests over having political principles that benefit America as a whole.

It was not that long ago that The Report witnessed one elected Stark County Republican pooh-pooing the notion that Trump could become the Republican nominee. 

At the time, he was certain that Jeb Bush would end up being the nominee.

His real message was that whoever won the Republican nomination is the person he would be supporting.

The SCPR has learned that several Stark County Political Subdivision Republican elected officials are saying within the past week that because of Kasich's stand in not supporting Trump, they will not support Kasich in the future political ventures.

To The Report, such is so much political "hot air" born of the "heat of an 'emotional' moment."

And silly, too.

There is no comparison whatsoever on character factors when assessing John Kasich with Donald J. Trump.

What are these people thinking?

And, of course, that is with the SCPR being quite aware that John Kasich has a rich history of engaging political expediency as a touchstone of his political career.

However, his fuss with Trump shows that he does have a capacity to rise above self-interest and political party interest when a person a flagrant in conduct as Donald J. Trump is.

That capability, if he has ever possessed it, has long been missing from the make up of Trump.

WHY "NOTA" ON TRUMP

During the Republican presidential primary campaign Trump had savaged him along with most of the other multitude of candidates.  Trump and his people repeated a political assault on Kasich last Monday

It was gratifying to see Jeb Bush lose early and badly in the Republican primary but not because he is a bad person as charged by Trump. 

He, like Clinton, is yesterday's political news of failed politicians of old.  Moreover, he is part of a family that more or less have been a political dynasty which has been part of the run up to the deep, deep dissatisfaction that nests in the being of many, many Americans.

Trump is attractive way to millions of voters merely because he says things that resonate with the frustrations of government ineffectiveness experienced day-in, day-out by nearly all of us from the school house (i.e. local boards of education) all the way to the White House.

What many of us have not realized is that were he to be elected, it is highly likely that Donald J. Trump would prove to have been a "deadly attraction" on the basis of his fear mongering who would accelerate a decline in democratic-republican basic values that we all cherish.

Would it not be terrific to have a NOTA with teeth in it so as to allow for a "do-over" in the event the NOTA vote proved to be the plurality vote?

But no dice.  We are stuck with an absolutely horrific choice in the Clinton/Trump match up.

Trump would likely prove to be a national disaster with his "I am your voice.  I alone can fix itI will restore law and order" Thursday night acceptance speech.

Donald thinks he doesn't need anybody's help except, perhaps, for a $1 million kickstarter at the hand of his father as he started on third base on becoming a wealthy man.

Otherwise, according to him, he's America's Horatio Alger of the 20th and 21st century.

WHY "NOTA" FOR CLINTON

While we might muddle through with Hillary, that's the best we can hope for.

But with the revelations of the e-mail scandal, she showed amazing poor judgment for someone who should known better.

Because of her poor judgment, her obsession with secrecy and her non-stop political calculating modality, it is not hard to see that she will commit a blunder in the political/governance mix that becomes costly to everyday Americans in an "up close and personal sense."

While Bernie Sanders in terms of being qualitative is a step up the Republican candidates taking on Trump, he is too extreme in embracing a clearly socialist agenda for a Sanders presidency.

Sanders deserves the respect of all of us for "more or less" standing on principle.  But his knees did buckle in endorsing Hillary.  Shame on him for that especially in light of the WikiLeaks publication of Democratic National Committee e-mails showing that he was a victim of an "inside job" at the hand of DNC officials.

Had he been elected as a delegate to the DNC Convention in Philadelphia, Democratic state Representative candidate John Juergensen (the 50th, Republican opponent Christina Hagan) was committed to support Sanders.

CONSEQUENCES OF NOT HAVING A NOTA WITH CLOUT

American are left with a "lesser of two evils" standard.

Already in discussions with locals of varying (Republican/Democrat) basic political persuasion the phenomenon of "rationalizing" as set in as they seek to justifying voting for the respective political party standard bearer, the SCPR notes that they seek to create "a feel good about themselves" justification for their partisan motivated votes.

The USA (as both political camps like to chant as if they personify "what's good for America) consequently will elect electoral majority "lesser of two evils" come November.

THE LOCAL FACTOR

CREIGHTON & HAROLD SCHURING

CREIGHTON


Most troubling for Stark Countians should that Stark's foremost Republican; namely, Commissioner Janet Creighton is reported in the local press as having said that she would do what she could to assist the Trump campaign.

Troubling?

Yes.

Does this mean she buys into the ugliness, distortion of if not fabrication of facts and arrogance of the Republican nominee?

Does she really think with her experience in Stark County government that one person can fix thing?

If so, such is a clear departure for the Janet Creighton that has served Stark County well over her storied political career.

One of her motivations (the SCPR's takeaway from one-on-ones with her) is her political animus towards Hillary Clinton.

Creighton is likely Stark County foremost woman leader in blazing a pathway for women in Stark County government.  And she forged her "woman as capable leader" in the face of much local official Republican Party opposition early in her political career.

So it is strange to hear her land on Clinton in a seeming "over-the-top" manner given the obvious barriers that she and many American women have had to overcome in assuming their rightful place in American government and politics.

To boot, her man Trump is viewed by many to be sexist.

Wow!

There is a personal political stake for "Commissioner" Janet Creighton.

If Trump does not do well in Stark County which the SCPR thinks is likely, one of the casualties could be her good friend and likely colleague Bill Smith (now a Canton Township trustee) who is running to fill the seat of Canton mayor and former Stark County commissioner Thomas M. Bernabei.

Trump doing well in Stark given the lack of an effective field organization as witness political infighting that has occurred within the volunteer Trump organization post-primary does not seem to be a viable objective.

If such was doable, Bill Smith would win in a walk.

The Report thinks Creighton should focus on the Smith/Slesnick and Jakmides/Ferrero (for Stark County prosecutor) and supporting incumbent Republican county treasurer Alex Zumbar.

These are credible candidates.  Donald J. Trump is not.

HAROLD



If one out of a sort of "party loyalty) needs to impliedly play "I'am lukewarm about Trump" game, the Auditor Alan Harold (the SCPR's #2 Stark County elected official) model might be one to follow.

"I will campaign for all Republicans this fall," he is reported in local media as having said at the RNC.  Avoiding a specific commitment to tout Trump.

And make no mistake about it.  Alan Harold is a devout Republican. 

But the SCPR thinks that the "all" in —"I will campaign for ALL Republicans"— will in reality be a focus on the Smith, Jakmides and Zumbar campaigns and very little for Trump.

The SCPR still carries a Harold picture in mind of him demonstrating with other local Republicans anti-John Boccieri at the Sunoco service station near downtown as Boccieri went up against then-state Senator Kirk Schuring in 2008 for the right to succeed Ralph Regula as congressman for the 16th congressional district which at the time included all of Stark County.

Apparently, contrary to Creighton, Harold is able to discern how utterly flawed Donald J. Trump is as a candidate in terms of personal qualities (without even talking about his yo-yo effect on policy and program federal issues) for the highest office in the land.

Accordingly, as between the two, Stark County Republicans would be better served in terms of electing local candidates to follow the Harold model.

SCHURING

State Representative Kirk Schuring seems to present the very best model (comparing him to Creighton and Harold) for Stark County Republicans to follow in adhering to political principle is one's standard a la Kasich.

The Report has heretofore thought that Commissioner Creighton would be foremost in following  the Kasich lead in his "on principle" stance and action.

But it appears that Kirk Schuring has "trumped" her on standing with Kasich.

Last week he lauded Kasich for his stand on principle and his focus re-electing Rob Portman (as has Kasich. i.e.  "all-out for Portman") to the United States Senate.

Portman himself has embraced Trump which is kind of weird given the "I have your back" of the "all-out for Portman" stance of Kasich.

If Portman loses for being too closely connected to Trump, he will only have himself and, perhaps, the likes of Creighton and Harold to blame; not Kasich and derivatively not Schuring. 

And you might be able to throw Bill Smith and Jeff Jakmides in for extra measure. Jakmides has embraced Trump's commitment to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico as a way keep heroin out of Stark County.

It will be interesting to see how local Republican candidates handle Trump association questions going forward to November.

If Stark County Democratic chairman Phil Giavasis is any measure of what approach Smith, Jakmides and Zumbar and other local Republican candidates might have to endure at the hand of their Democratic opponents trying to connect them to "an unseemly" Trump as head of the Republican ticket, the local Republicans appear to have nothing to worry about.

For Giavasis says that the Stark Dems' leadership is not recommending that local Democratic candidates endeavor to tie local Republican candidates to the outrageous side of Trump.

That's what he says. 

The SCPR doubts that will be the reality.

KATHY CATAZARO-PERRY



There is sort of an irony in this mayor of Massillon being a Stark County premier woman elected public official being  "all-in" in supporting a woman for president of the United States.

SCPR thinks Democrat Hillary Clinton is, like her or not, destined to be the first woman to become a president of the United States.

In contrast to Creighton, who fought "tooth and nail" with local Republican "male" leadership to establish herself as a first-rate Stark County elected offiicial, Kathy Catazaro-Perry has been the political puppet of former Stark County Democratic chairman and Massillon clerk of courts Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.

Accordingly, The Report thinks that she comports with Donald Trump's vision of what an ideal female elected official should be like rather than the "feisty," in the context of her relationship with male politicians, Janet Creighton.

Catazaro-Perry has worn a pathway from her office to that of Maier's as she gets her daily marching orders from Maier on the process and substance of governing as a chief executive officer of Massillon.

Massillon's mayor will undoubtedly be in her "seventh Heaven" this coming week as she votes at the Philadelphia sited Democratic National Convention to nominate Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate for president of the United States.

Maier, Jr. will be euphoric also.

When Hillary's husband Bill was president, Maier, Jr. went to his 1992 (yours truly's recollection) inauguration.

This local hardened politician came back to Stark County with "stars in his eyes" notwithstanding Bill Clinton's well known character flaws.

Interesting, no?

Should Clinton be elected, Mayor Kathy will be in "the catbird's seat" as the "be all, the know all" on women in politics as far as much of Stark County media is concerned.

Doesn't seem quite fair in the light of how hard Creighton has had to fight to make a place of women in Stark County government and politics, no?

If Clinton carries Stark County and Ohio, a likely casualty of the Democratic triumph will be former Democratic governor Ted Strickland.

And that would be just fine with Catazaro-Perry and her political "Kitchen-Cabinet" of Maier, Jr., Jackson and Elum.

Maier, Jr., forever became beholden to Maier, Jr when the latter became the very first county Democratic Party chairman to endorse Strickland in his successful run for governor in 2006.

As a consequence, the SCPR believes Maier was able to place a number of his political friends (Jackson) and family (George T. Maier) into state government positions.

Many Americans think it is high time for a woman to be elected as an American president, just not Hillary Clinton.

Nevertheless, Catazaro-Perry will benefit from a likely Clinton victory in November even though it will be on the basis with all too many voters of Clinton being "the lesser of two evils."

SUMMARY

Neither Trump or Clinton are candidates "to write home about" in terms of their presidential qualities.

It sure would be step in the right direction of enhanced democratic-republican principles if one of the Stark County delegation to the Ohio General Assembly were to formulate and advance a NOTA.

But don't ever expect that to happen.

American political parties are so saturated with mediocre if not substandard candidates for office that to equip voters with a NOTA choice is simply unthinkable.

The "lesser of two evils" is likely to continue as the conventional standard in selecting local, state and national elected officials.


Friday, July 22, 2016

BERNABEI MAKES HIS FIRST "KEY PERSON" HIRE. AN "INSIDER" HIRE?



As service director and chief of staff in the then newly elected Healy administration, Thomas Bernabei wanted to hire J.R. Rinaldi to run Canton's sanitation department.

It probably did not dawn on Bernabei at the time, but Mayor William J. Healy, II set about making Bernabei's druthers in the matter a non-starter.  He offered Rinaldi $40,000 as a salary.

It should have dawned on Bernabei (a maybe it did) that Healy's handling of the desired hiring was an omen that Healy was not about to let Bernabei actually put people in place who could be effective in solving Canton's problems.

It was not long after the Bernabei to Rinaldi overture that Bernabei got fired (January, 2009).

The SCPR has written frequently that Healy's ego is such that there was no way was he going to allow a situation develop that it became apparent to one and all that Bernabei, if given free reign on such matters, would begin a "real" turnaround for Canton.

Had Healy allowed Bernabei to do his thing, William J. Healy would be serving his third term as mayor and would not instead be a Vice President of the Elderly Housing Development & Operations Corporation (EHDOC) located in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

EHDOC has properties in Canton, namely, Mayfield Manors I, II & III.

Of course, we all are familiar with the series of events in which former Democrat Thomas M. Bernabei on May 4, 2015 declared as a political independent and survived a Board of Elections challenge and Ohio Supreme Court challenge to get on the November, 2015 general election ballot and defeat Healy.

It has been apparent to the SCPR for some time that Bernabei thinks well of Rinaldi.

Some will get a smile on their faces and say:  "Well, that's because J.R. is and has been dating (going back some six years) Bernabei's daughter Kim will plans to marry sometime on a unspecified future date."

Here is an excerpt from an e-mail that the SCPR recently received:

Hi Martin, (July 20)

There is a recent new hire at the building and code department for the city of Canton. JR Rinaldi was hired by Bernabei to be the number 2 in charge there.

It seems kind of interesting that he is seeing the mayors daughter and has no experience in building and code.


I don't know much more than that but he started yesterday.

And here is Bernabei's confirmation of the hire:


But the Sanitation job thing was eight years ago seems to undermine such thinking.

The SCPR appreciates tips like the foregoing and set about checking it out whether or not the "daughter" thing was "the reason" that Mayor Bernabei hired J.R. Rinaldi.

Readers of the SCPR know that The Report does not much like it when hires like this one are made without the job being posted and therefore not available to the tax paying public at large.

And in this instance, it seems to the SCPR that Rinaldi is going to have a much more significant role in the Bernabei administration than being #2 in the Canton Building Department.

One of the criticisms of Healy heard by The Report repeatedly over his years in office was that he would stash what were really administration employees in this or that department taking their orders from Mayor Healy.

There is a difference with Bernabei.

He forthrightly says in the above letter to council that he plans on using Rinaldi as a Executive Specialist.

A reason offered up by elected officials for making a selection of someone that the official knows and is well taken with is that the official wants key people in their employ to be a person they know they can rely on.

Such reasoning is perfectly acceptable in the private sector where a company's or an business person's investment is at stake.  Not in the public sector.  If taxpayer monies are involved, then the public official has an obligation to the public to seek the best possible person for the job and if the hiring process is short circuited then it cannot be said that the insider hired was the best possible person.

The SCPR has a very high regard for Mayor Bernabei.

He is Stark's top political subdivision elected official on the SCPR "Top 10" List.

The Report agrees with Bernabei that Rinaldi is a highly capable person.

Recently, he went through a competition with Canton Parks & Recreation director Derek Gordon when at the onset of the Bernabei administration it was announced that with the formation of a new entity (Canton Park Commission merging with the Canton Joint Recreation District pand emerging as the Canton Parks & Recreation Commission), the directorship question was being opened up as to who would lead the new entity.

Rinaldi was one of the finalist for the directorship which went to Gordon.

The Report was impressed that by all accounts Mayor Bernabei did not attempt to intervene with his appointees to the new commission (Mike Hanke and Sam Sliman) on behalf of Rinaldi.

Yours truly knew about the relationship between Rinaldi and Bernabei's daughter and his hands off on the selection process is further evidence that the relationship probably is not a factor in the current hire.

Rinaldi is already at work on a couple of projects in his added role as the mayor's Executive Specialist.  One has to wonder though whether or not Rinaldi's special relationship with the mayor will ruffle the feathers of some top in the top tier of the administration

Having to deal with a $5.2 million deficit this year and perhaps more deficit next year, there is no doubt that Bernabei can use the likes of a John Rinaldi to troubleshoot/fix the many problems that Canton faces.

And there could be more to this story.

Over four years, Bernabei's being mayor will get Canton headed in the right direction.

However, the rehab of Canton is at least eight years in the making,

Mayor Bernabei is not a young man.

Could he be preparing Rinaldi to succeed him as mayor of Canton?

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

HOW FAR ARE STARK GOP LEADERS WILLING TO GO IN SUPPORT GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE DONALD J. TRUMP?

UPDATED:  2:30 PM

"John F. Kennedy." AZQuotes.com. Wind and Fly LTD, 2016. 19 July 2016. http://www.azquotes.com/quote/560871

Stark County GOP chieftains Janet Creighton (a Stark County commissioner), Alan Harold (Stark County auditor) and Kirk Schuring (state Rep. 48th Ohio House District) likely may or may not be into heeding the admonition of one of America's leading Democrats of all time.

Creighton and Schuring (Governor John Kasich delegates) and Harold (an alternate) are faced with a dilemma come the November election.

As Republican presidential selection delegates assembled in Cleveland this week go through the process of  validating the clear choice of Republicans nationwide that Donald J. Trump be  the Republican standard bearer in the U.S. presidential election this fall, Creighton, Schuring and Harold are being scrutinized on every word they utter and every action they take or fail to take for assessment by political pundits as a tip off of how enthusiastic they are to be for Trump from now through November.

Schuring for one is quoted by area media as having said:  "Our governor is a person of integrity and his convictions prevent him from endorsing Trump."

This in the light of Trump having trashed Kasich on the opening of the convention yesterday, to wit:


Moreover, national media reports are making much of the fact that the Ohio delegation (which of course includes locals Creighton and Schuring) has been situated by the Trump people at the back of the convention floor.

Even before the convention, in conversations with both Creighton and Harold, the SCPR's takeaway is that both are treading very cautiously in embracing the Trump candidacy.

For, if Trump, like some think he will, goes down in political flames in November because he lacks self-control; he may take with him local Republicans as well as incumbent U.S. Senator Rob Portman.

From a March 24, 2015 SCPR blog (LINK):


Inadvertently omitted from the blog were Stark County Republican commissioner candidate Bill Smith (a Canton Township trustee) and Dan McMasters, Republican candidate for the Ohio House, the 49th District.

They too may suffer from Trump dragging down the ticket in Stark County.

To their credit, if one believes in political party loyalty, Creighton, Stark County Republican officeholders and and non-office-holding staunch Republicans are indulging some tortured rationalizations these days in order to gin up reasons on which to stand by and vote for the Republican standard bearer.

Arnold, Shriver and Briggs are likely to lose just because they are running against established incumbents.  (Note:  Louis Giavasis [clerk of courts candidate] in an Democrat appointee and therefore is not an "elector" incumbent,but is well established in Stark County politics having been a Plain Township trustee for years)

Of course, Schuring will survive in the 48th even if Trump does poorly in Stark.

Given the wide disparity in quality of the candidates for Stark County commissioner in the Smith/Slesnick race both in communicative skills and knowledge, understanding and solutions in relation to county issues, Smith in other election years would be a shoo-in to win.

The one chance that Democrat Stephen Slesnick has is that local leadership Republicans will drag their collective feet in the context of Trump being the GOP presidential candidate and thereby create a political crease for Slesnick to slip into office.

There is some comfort for local Republican running this year in a response to the SCPR from Stark Democratic chair Phil Giavasis that the Stark County Democratic Party is not recommending that local Democratic candidates  endeavor to tie their Republican opponents to Trump.

Make no mistake about it.  Foot dragging or lack of enthusiasm on the part of local Republican leaders like Janet Creighton can make a difference.

Tip O'Neill (the late former Democratic Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives) once said:  "all politics are local:" meaning that tying political to local citizen interests 

The SCPR figures that Republican Larry Dordea lost to Democrat George T. Maier in 2014 because Creighton, who has strong connections to Governor Kasich, failed to take advantage of Kasich's expected and materialized huge win over his Democratic opponent and convince Kasich to focus on creating a coattails effect for Dordea.

Creighton says that the SCPR overstates her effect on local elections.

Nonetheless, The Report stands by the assessment that Creighton could have made Larry Dordea Stark County sheriff.

So the Dordea/Creighton relationship is proof-positive that she in effect took JFK's statement to heart and apparently thought that Maier was significantly more qualified to be sheriff than Democrat Maier.

Who is sheriff of Stark County is vitally important to those of us who live in Stark County (some 380,000 of us, more or less)

Who gets elected president of the USA is just a tad or two more critically important to some 324 million Americans.

So the question is whether or not Creighton, Harold and Schuring can follow Kasich's lead and at least consider putting the welfare of the nation over the immediate fortunes of the National Republican Party?

Monday, July 18, 2016

WITH THE LAURA BROWN HIRE AS FINANCE DIRECTOR, DID NORTH CANTON GET BACK TO HIRING EXCELLENCE?



SEE THE RÉSUMÉS OF ALL 19 CANDIDATES
(at end of blog)

VIDEO

LAURA BROWN
IN ACTION AS
FINANCIAL RESOURCE

North Canton has one of the weirdest hiring structures in all of Ohio government.

City council hires the law director and the finance director.

Consequently, it is sort of "a no man's land" insofar as supervision of the law director and and finance director in North Canton.

It is the perfect environment, the SCPR thinks, for North Canton's autocratic Tim Fox to run amok in.

It seems like in not being directly accountable to any single North Canton elected official, he has taken it on himself in and of himself to be North Canton government.

Want a public record?

Well, you may or may not get it.

It all depends on the "unelected" Tim Fox as to whether or not you get it.

Only once has Fox been held accountable by any elected official in North Canton government.

Feeling political heat of a controversy, post-November, 2012 election when North Canton voters at a 78% rate agreed with an ordinance referendum to deny part-time councilpersons health care coverage at city expense if they had alternative means of obtaining coverage, Mayor David Held took it upon himself (nearly a year after the fact of the opinion being issued and refused to the public under the guise of attorney/client privilege) to release a Fox's pro-council analysis of the legality of the ordinance.


Otherwise, Fox appears to have had free reign in "ordering the day" of government in North Canton.

All of which, shows how all-important the hiring process in the no-man's land of accountability is in the ridiculous structure of North Canton government administration.

It appears to the SCPR that the hiring of Fox has been devastating to the public confidence in North Canton government.

But, perhaps, with the recent hiring a replacement financial director, the process is improving.

The Report emphasizes "perhaps" because "the jury is still out" in assessing whether or not Finance chair Dan Griffith has taken the process from a seeming dark and obscure "cloak and dagger-esque" model of Councilman Daniel "Jeff" Peters (re: Fox) into light of day.

One needs to remember however that Griffth was on the council committee which selected Fox.

THE NIGHT:  THE TIM FOX HIRING


The SCPR thinks and has written frequently that the September, 2012 hiring of Tim Fox as law director has been an absolute disaster in terms of council and the mayor's relationship with any North Canton citizen who dares question the actions of North Canton government.

Fox, from the outset of his hiring,  knowing how forthright, direct and uncompromising the SCPR is in The Report's expectation that public officials treat citizens with regard and respect and welcome their input on the operation of government, adopted a "Cold War" mentality in dealing with this blog.

And the mayor and council has let him get away with being unaccountable to the North Canton public in his obvious hostility to anyone who has not "come to praise Caesar."

Part of the answer is the structure of North Canton government in having the ridiculous "no man's land" as to who controls the likes of Fox.

The present structure worked fine when the last first rate law director of North Canton was serving the citizens of North Canton.

Roy Batista, a top notch "appointed" North Canton official, who passed away last weekend, last served the city on a temporary basis in the summer of 2012 while council selected a successor to Hans Nilges who resigned in July, 2012.

Prior to the temporary service, Batista had been North Canton's law director (then part-time [80 hours per month) from the 1970s through 1980 and again 2000 through 2003.

In the gaps of Batista's service, North Canton had so-so legal counsel.

But that was better than the nose dive that The Report again—in signaling a North Canton Council vis-a-vis inquiring citizens Fox-led  hostility—believes has been the reality with Fox's September, 2012 hire.

Not to exonerate Fox, but The Report's take is that the-then personnel committee chairman Dan "Jeff" Peters (now president of council) led the way for then Ward 3 Councilman Fox to be hired as an "inside job" hiring operation and let it be known to Fox that at least a majority of council wanted him to crack down on any citizen dissent to come before council at its regular meetings.

And Fox has not disappointed at least a majority of North Canton's seven council persons.

He has proved to be a "rules attorney" who is so utterly bound up in a rigidity of interpreting law in an obvious quest to use the law to hamstring and punish any who dare challenge the likes Councilpersons Peters, Kiesling and Werren.

More democratic-republican values friendly Councilpersons Cerreta, Foltz, Fonte and Griffith have stood by and allowed the Fox generated hostility grow.

It seems like he has brought his senior non commissioned officer bearing with him from is days in the United States Air Force.

Fox was not on the original list of applicants to fill the Nilges resignation vacancy.  Sort of duplicated earlier this year when Jeff Wendorf surfaced from out-of-the-blue to become North Canton City Schools superintendent earlier this year.

Must be a uniquely North Canton thing, no?

Here is the list of applicants with no


To say it one more time: out-of-nowhere, Fox, elected as a councilman in Ward 3 in November, 2011, at the behest of Peters, jettisoned to the top the list that he was not originally part of.

In the time before the selection of Fox, the SCPR thought that North Canton Council was among the better councils among Alliance, Canton, Massillon and North Canton being Stark County's major cities.

But the Fox hire presaged a marked change of attitude and approach that now has North Canton being in the assessment of the SCPR the worst Stark County major municipality city council in terms of its relationship with everyday citizens who have the audacity to question North Canton governance.

In North Canton, only those who "come to praise Caesar" are welcome with open arms.

THE DAY:  THE BROWN HIRE




To repeat, because Dan Griffith was part of the committee of council who orchestrated the Fox hire, one had to be just tad nervous that as Finance Committee chair he headed up the hiring of a replacement for retiring finance director Karen Alger.

At first blush, the Laura Brown hiring was done in an environment in which there was "real" competition for the position.

For one thing, Brown actually publicly applied for the position of finance director.

However, there is a reasonable basis to think that maybe the Brown hiring may not be all that different from the Fox hiring.

Reason #1 would be the failure of the Griffith led effort to include Stark County commissioner Budget and Management Director Chris Nichols (eminently qualified as far as the SCPR is concerned by virtue of his outstanding performance on-the-job) as among the three of 19 applicants to get an interview.

Reason #2 would be the fact that Laura Brown had done finance work for North Canton about a year ago and therefore had an insurmountable advantage for landing the job and that the apparent consideration of two others was just that:  "apparent," but not real.

Reason #3 would be Mayor David Held telephoning the SCPR (last week) with a seeming public relations pump on the Brown hiring.

A key difference in comparing the Fox/Brown hirings however was the willingness of Councilman Griffith to talk with the SCPR on Friday for about 20 minutes about the details of the Brown hiring process.

Griffith agreed:
  • that Nichols is a superlative Stark County budget and management director but said that his experience was not in the judgment of the committee screening the finance director hire (Councilpersons Griffith, Peters and Werren along with a Stark County auditor employee [Michael Minor, a CPA] and a former Bruner Cox partner: Ronald Manse now Director of Economic Alliances at Walsh University),
But said that he did not agree with the SCPR insination that Brown's past work gave her an inside track to land the directorship and that the other  two interviewed candidates were merely window dressing for a predetermined hire as The Report thinks was the case in the Fox hire.

A persuasive marker for Griffith's point to counter The Report's suspicions of predetermination is that the committee held a second round of interviews.  Three of the applicants made the first cut.  Brown and Barbara Markland (Tuslaw Schools treasurer) made the final round of the two round interview process.

No such openness has been forthcoming from Peters on the Fox hiring.

Hopefully, Griffith's apparent transparency is a positive omen for more a democratic-republican values consistent evolution on the part of  some North Canton City Council members.  P eters, Kiesling and Werren are not likely to be part of such a trend, if the Griffith interview is at all indicative of a change taking place.

Everybody the SCPR has talked with agrees:  Laura Brown was "top notch" as a candidate.

Moreover, SCPR is familiar with Brown's financial/accounting prowess from her work as a state of Ohio official on the Massillon Financial Planning and Supervision Commission.

Here is a video exceRpt of Brown from one of those meetings.



The SCPR's model is to be skeptical of anyone who is uncritically acclaimed as Brown appears to be.

However, there are a few Stark County political subdivision elected and unelected officials whose performance merits the praise the receive.

Former primer auditor for the city of Canton Gary Young comes to mind.

As do elected officials Thomas Bernabei (mayor of Canton), Alan Harold (Stark County auditor), Alex Zumbar (Stark County treasurer), Edmond Mack (Canton city councilman) and others on the SCPR "Top 10" Stark County Political Subdivision Elected Officials list.

Notwithstanding the aforementioned elected officials excellence, they have from time-to-time been subjects of SCPR critical blogs.

So time will tell with Brown.

THE BROWN/FOX RELATIONSHIP GOING FORWARD

A major indicator of her excellence will be how she handles her relationship with Fox.

Undoubtedly, in one fashion or another Fox will try to dominate Brown as "the" key factor in North Canton government.

What the SCPR cannot assess from Brown's work in the Massillon Financial Planning and Supervision Commission is her strength of personality in the face of Fox-like bullying.

Of course, the critical factor in her holding or ground with Fox will be the vibes she gets from council as a whole.

For the betterment of North Canton government/citizen relationship, citizen have to be hoping that she proves to be one person in North Canton administration who is not in thrall to Law Director Tim Fox!

THE RÉSUMÉS

/b>

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

CANTON (STARK COUNTY) S.W.A.T. "PERSONA NON-GRATA" AT CLEVELAND SITED REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION?

UPDATED THURSDAY:  5:12 PM


North Canton Asked,
But is Not Sending Any of its Police
to
Cleveland
===========================
Sheriff's "Office"
is not
But Individual Deputies Are


Originally Published on Wednesday
(new material in gold)

Rejected or the Rejector:  that is the question?

For some time now, the SCPR has been question Canton law enforcement officials as to whether or not the Canton (Stark County) Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) would be providing security services at the upcoming Republican National Convention at Cleveland for the period July 18th through 21st, which, of course, is Monday of next week.


The local posture has been that everything will have to Stark County's SWAT advantage for officials to agree to send members to Cleveland.

The answer is now in, Stark's SWAT operation will NOT have a presence in Cleveland.

And so local Republican officials such as  Republican Stark County Commissioner Janet Creighton will not have the comfort of knowing that her hometown police are nearby as she and upwards of a couple thousand convention delegates assemble in Ohio's lakeside city.

NORTH CANTON

The SCPR also has learned from North Canton mayor David Held that he has been approached by Cleveland police officials to provide "mutual aid" assistance but that North Canton has declined.  As things stand now, he queried, "what are the chances that Cleveland would ever be in a position to offer reciprocal mutual aid.

He did add however that should an emergency develop at the convention no doubt under the long standing tradition of safety forces "mutual aid" would kick in and North Canton along with safety forces across Ohio would jump into help out.

STARK COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE




BACK TO SWAT

There is a report in today's online Plain Dealer that only Cleveland policemen will be authorized to make arrests for convention related infractions of law should the need arise.

The reason for the Stark County SWAT not going to Cleveland is not clear.

The actual answer lies somewhere in between of whom you believe as between Canton law enforcement officials and Cleveland police officials.

A recent WKYC report:  (LINK)  Investigator:  Hidden recordings suggest a police cover up, May 18, 2016 (Tom Meyer) marked the first of an ongoing series on matters  Stark County SWAT by the Cleveland based television station.


The alleged cover up pertains to operations of Stark's SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics unit [LINK] standoff with one Shane Ryan at Great Clips in Massillon on July 28, 2012 which resulted in Ryan's death at the hand of a SWAT officer.  (LINK)

Though written transcripts of the shooting do not identify the shooting officer, the WKYC report identifies the shooter as being Sgt. Charles Saler, a 26 year veteran of the SWAT team.

And it could be that Cleveland police officials letting local chief Bruce Lawver know that in view of Saler being a defendant in a civil lawsuit on the Great Clips shooting is the real reason that Stark County SWAT will not be in Cleveland.

Canton officials have told the SCPR that there was no way the city would agree to send its SWAT unit to Cleveland without Saler—or any other member who has been a defendant in litigation, present or past, with respect to killings that have taken place by Stark County SWAT—being a part of any such contingent.

What's more, local officials say that they think there is a high probability that there will be violence in Cleveland and that they do not want Stark County based law enforcement officials to be anywhere near having local policemen having a role in quelling expected violence.

In today's Cleveland Plain Dealer (online version), this headline:


See "subsequent to original article" disclaimer by chairman at this LINK.


There is no doubt.  Tensions are extremely high between the African American community and police departments across America.  Reports like the Plain Dealer report above is cause for pause as to whether or not it is a good idea to have a Stark County police presence in Cleveland beginning on Monday.

And, of course, there are going to be a lot of "Never Trump folks" at the RNC.

Will their deeply felt passions get the best of them?

If so, is that the material of which might prompt coercive police action and perhaps per chance involving a Stark County contingent should it have a presence at the convention?

That pretty much is the Canton police officialdom perspective of why Stark County SWAT will not be going to Cleveland next week.

The Report must say that getting to the heart of the matter with Stark County policing officials (including Safety Director Andrea Perry) was "like pulling teeth."  According to a WKYC anchor, Perry promised to get back to the station with reasons why Canton's regional SWAT is not going to the convention, but never delivered on her promise.

Sifting through bits and pieces of responses to SCPR questions, it appears—taking for granted Canton's version that not having a presence at the RNC was its call—that the decider-in-chief was Canton police chief Bruce Lawver.

What is  Canton police officialdom's problem in providing candid answers to the Stark County public on seemingly benign matters like the whys and wherefores of participating/not participating in RNC security?

Their reluctance only fuels the fires of speculation of them perhaps hiding something that they think does not reflect well on Stark County-based policing operations.

Mayor Thomas M. Bernabei needs to take the lead in insisting that short of protecting internal security matters that Perry be forthcoming on justifications of this or that policy, practice and/or operations of the Stark County SWAT and any other matters that fall under her supervision.

Cleveland officials and at least one local attorney and civic activist (Craig T. Conley) see Stark County SWAT's exclusion differently than local officials.

Last evening, WKYC continued its ongoing series on Stark County SWAT in providing "a differing with Stark County policing officials" as to whom rejected whom and the reason for the rejection.

Before proceeding with reading this blog, readers owe it to themselves to go to this LINK and take in the one minute and 53 second WKYC report of last evening.

It starts of with the on air anchor saying:
  • that according to WKYC investigator Tom Meyer that Stark County SWAT and its commander Charles Saler has been told not to come to Cleveland
  • in a six year span,  Canton SWAT commander shot and killed three suspects,
  • Saler volunteered to help with security at next week's RNC in attending himself and taking with him most of the 36 members of the Stark County-based SWAT,
  • the reason could be, Meyer says, because of Saler's history of excessive force complaints,
Appearing on the last night's broadcast was Craig Conley:  "If I were in charge in Cleveland, I would say that guy (Saler) is persona non-grata.  I don't want him here.  I don't want the liability.


Conley has written Ohio attorney general Mike DeWine and the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) asking that Stark County's SWAT be investigated (specifically Saler) on the issue of whether or not SWAT killings at his hand were legally justified or not.

DeWine gave the lame excuse that "unless invited in by local officials," his department of Ohio government has no authority to intervene.

The Report has to believe that if DeWine wants in, he will get that "invitation" or find some other avenue to enter an appearance (re:  Steubenville football player matter).

At last report, Conley says he has not heard from the DOJ.

So there you have it folks, the Stark County-based SWAT at the center of yet another controversy.

But for The Stark County Political Report, Stark Countians would have no clue as to all of the foregoing.

Interesting, no? that Stark County's only countywide newspaper—The Repository—has not looked into the WKYC allegations!