Wednesday, April 25, 2018

THE "FOX & HOUND" EPIC BATTLE OF CIVIC ENGAGEMENT IN NORTH CANTON GOV'T?

BREAKING NEWS!

NORTH CANTON CITIZEN ACTIVIST
CHUCK OSBORNE 
SUES NORTH CANTON OVER FORMATION OF WATER BOARD


PARTIAL EXTRACT FROM SCENE OF DISNEY'S "THE FOX & HOUND"
FOR EMPHASIZING GRAPHICALLY  
ANTAGONISTIC ATTITUDE FOR CIVIC ENGAGEMENT EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES


Back on July 30, 2015, The Stark County Political Report (SCPR, The Report) published a blog (LINK) in which played off an interpretation of Disney's "The Fox and the Hound" (1981) which understands the animation to be about a fox seeking hound who began as "best friends" as pups but later as adults became bitter enemies as exemplified in the graphic presented above.

In the 2015 blog, Fox was portrayed as being the "Hound" dogging North Canton civic activists.

In this blog, Citizen Chuck Osborne takes on the mantle of "hounding" Law Director Fox and many of North Canton's council members to respect democratic-republican values of government accountability, accessibility, communicativeness, transparency and like.

Here is a sampling of litigation between Osborne and North Canton:



The discord between Fox and Osborne is once again at "fever pitch" with the filing of a lawsuit yesterday by Osborne against North Canton government over the formation by North Canton Council of a water board.



Before filing the lawsuit, Osborne sent out an e-mail (mid-April) to a group of folks describing Fox's handling of a North Canton Planning Commission meeting which piqued the interest of the SCPR and prompted The Report to seek a response from Law Director Fox.

Osborne's e-mail:



And here is a copy of a SCPR e-mail to Director Fox on April 16th asking questions about the Osborne e-mail.



It should surprise nobody that Fox has not responded to the SCPR's questions.

Apparently, he believes and most North Canton council members seem to support him in that belief that he is not accountable to the North Canton public.

While The Report would never characterize the relationship of North Canton law director Tim Fox and civic activist Osborne (active in North Canton politics at least from the late 1990s and continuing to this day) as ever being "best friends" even in a political context, it does seem fair to characterize the relationship (at least in the beginning) from Osborne's standpoint as being an attempt to be a civil  "check and balance" factor on North Canton government

Fox initially (since his hire in September, 2012) likely was presumed by Osborne as being citizen friendly in the sense of being committed to democratic-republican fundamental values.

It did not take Osborne long to detect that presuming Fox to be citizen enhancing and friendly to be a misjudgment.

It seems that the antagonistic adversarial relationship between Fox and Osborne (as well as with other North Canton civic activists) accelerated quickly off the September, 2012 Fox North Canton Council appointment on Osborne putting together a referendum initiative providing North Canton's registered voters with an opportunity to weigh-in on a council move to make council members eligible for having North Canton government pay health care insurance premiums for a certain class of council members.

And, wow! did the citizens express their sentiments, to wit:



Notwithstanding the citizens speaking loudly and clearly it appears that there was a collusion between the law director and some of council members for him to issue an opinion providing legal justification for qualifying for insurance premium payment benefits under council legislation, and, moreover, for Law Director Fox to file declaratory judgement litigation to have the Stark County Court of Common Pleas (Judge John Haas) to invalidate the November, 2012 vote.


Haas did Fox/council's bidding and overturned the overwhelming vote of the electors of North Canton and he was affirmed by Ohio's Fifth District Court of Appeals which sits in Canton.  

Here is a LINK for readers to get up to speed on the healthcare issue.

Nonetheless, even council members understood the message sent in the November, 2012 vote to them by voters.

One by one, those who took advantage of their own collective legislation dropped the coverage and returned to the North Canton treasury the value of payments made for them by North Canton government.

So Fox and Osborne were somewhat playful/more or less friendly pups for only a very, very, very short timespan.

As we all know from life's experience,  for animals and, indeed, human beings to grow from the naivety of childhood/youth that "we can get along, if not 'best of friends,"' to "you know what, I now realize that we were born to be carnivore-esque enemies and so I will now, as an adult, conform to what  I was destined to be from my birth."

The notion that there can be a win-win relationship is left to the "Good Book" and not to "here and now" animal/human relationships, to wit:


Accordingly, Fox (who the SCPR thinks council hired for the express purpose of being antagonistic to the likes of Osborne) has, in the opinion of The Report, been and continues to be "the" leader in North Canton government's seemingly, by and large, "us" against "them" interaction model.

The most recent example of a whole string of examples that have surfaced since September, 2012 of marked combative North Canton attitude towards its "questioning" citizens is caught up in the following email that the SCPR received of Osborne (with The Report's inquiry of Fox), to wit:

In the SCPR's experience, Law Director Tim Fox is a  highly disrespectful of any who would question his legal work product for North Canton government.

To The Report, North Canton's council (except for Councilman Daryl Revoldt and maybe, to a lesser degree, Councilpersons Foltz and Peters) buys into the Fox demonstrated hostility.

The "unelected" Fox is far more imperial than elected Stark County political subdivision law directors Joe Martuccio of Canton (recently retired), Andrea Scassa of Massillon (appointed but soon to have to stand for election) and Jenn Arnold of Alliance.

Perhaps North Canton ought to change its charter to require Fox to stand for election?

But in the meantime Council needs to take Councilman Mark Cerreta's philosophy of having some backbone and rein Fox in and require him to acquire a "born again" demeanor and attitude towards those who challenge the processes of North Canton government.

It seems that anyone who differs with Fox and the group of councilpersons who appear to have adopted if not established (on Fox's hiring) the "pitched battle" mentality in relation to North Canton citizens who differ with them.

Of course, it is not just Fox and supportive council members of his seeming "beat them down" manner of governance that causes political turmoil.

Osborne sometimes, unnecessarily and counterproductively, The Report thinks, significantly contributes to the hostile environment.

But all-in-all Osborne does high quality work in keep North Canton government on its toes.

A Osborne ratcheting down of "invective,"  The Report thinks, could signal that he is ready to engage in  "effective" dialogue rather than engaging his penchant for "one upping" Fox and those council persons he views as his political/program/policy adversaries.

The SCPR is not optimistic that Osborne has a "tuning the invective down" capacity.  He has been so worked over by most of the current council members that he likely wouldn't believe what he is seeing if they were to demonstrate signs of change.

Nor does The Report think that there is a majority of council members who have the political maturity to adopt a more hospitable attitude vis-a-vis those who critique council.

Nor does The Report think Director Fox has the political maturity to take Osborne as he should be taken as a citizen doing what our democratic-republican form of government provides for as a check and balance for arbitrary government action which Fox seems to be quite accomplished at.

If Fox and his supporting council members continue their Osborne et al belligerence, then the "Fox & Friends" Battle of Civic Engagement in North Canton" will continue and the overall quality of North Canton government will take a huge hit.

In political contexts, most of us long for mature "adults in the room" to take charge.

In North Canton government processes, it seems all too many of problems between governors and the governed (especially those who question the quality of governance) are attributable to politically immature being adults in the room." 

Adults who may as children had the ability to create "best friend" relationships only to turn out as adults being people of "my way or the highway attitude," which, of course, can turn ugly in a hurry.

It will take adults committed to the biblical injunction to "come, let us reason together" to change the environment between North Canton government and its questioning citizens.

The SCPR thinks Law Director Fox is a "my way or the highway type guy" who infects most of North Canton government with that kind of thinking and demeanor and accordingly has created a vicious cycle of "tit for tat" which makes North Canton government processes unresponsive to its citizens.

Fox/North Canton council as a whole and Osborne need to embrace a "come to Jesus" moment in donning the cloak of Matthew 5:9 "Blessed be the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God."

And, maybe just maybe, get back to the origin of Disney's "The Fox and the Hound" and becoming "best friends" in the sense of civilly and respectfully (in a context of starting out disagreement) seeking out "win-win" positions on policies and programs of North Canton government between the governors and the governed.

Wouldn't that be somewhat like "Heaven on Earth" here and now?

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

STARK SCHOOLS LINEUP SET ON 1.49 MILLS SECURITY/MENTAL HEALTH LEVY: SHOULD IT BE "CONTINUING" OR "LIMITED TO A TERM, OF LET'S SAY 8 YEARS?

UPDATE:  TODAY (04/24/2018) 08:15 AM

COMMENT BY A READER

Holly Pierpont  Today at 7:32 AM

To: tramols@att.net

Martin,

In your research regarding how much districts will pay in vs receive back for the pending 1.49mill the SCESC wants to impose have you any data that shows the ROI for NCCS?

(SCPR Note:  In the original blog the "city school districts" listings got truncated cutting off the North Canton listing.   The chart has been corrected. North Canton is a "donor" district to the tune of about $75,000)

Given they are facing a 6.99mill property tax on the May ballot, that extra 1.49mill as a permanent tax to vote on just three months later doesn’t seem so minimal....

Thanks!

Holly


UPDATE:  FRIDAY 5:30 PM

COMMENT BY READER (Below Graphic)

UPDATE:  THURSDAY 3:30 PM

SCESC AUGUST BALLOT INITIATIVE TO ESTIMATED  OF COST $340,800

SEE "OFFICIAL" STARK BOE DOCUMENT BELOW GRAPHIC

ALSO SEE VIDEO OF STARK CO COMMISSIONERS ACKNOWLEDGING COST OF AUGUST ELECTION FROM STARK BOE

DISCLAIMER:  BLOGGERS' WIFE IS MEMBER OF STARK CO ESC



What follows is a SCPR video of the Stark County commissioners this past Wednesday acknowledging a Stark County Board of Elections report of the "estimated" cost of a "special" election in August as being about $340,800.



COMMENT TO SCPR

Daniel Fonte   Today at 11:56 AM
To:  Martin Olson

Good morning Martin,

I would like to give you my take on the proposed school levy to fund safety improvements and mental health issues on the ballot. 

I believe the Stark E.S.C. jumped the gun on this without doing enough research and gathering public input on this levy. 

Is this a problem exclusively to Stark County? I think not. This is a State or, better yet, a National issue. The State Legislature was quick to pass legislation to let local boards put levies on the ballot to tax local homeowners to address this when they should have given the money back to the local school districts that they had taken away in the first place. 

The State Legislature has deprived for years all local areas of government whether it is cities, counties, villages or school districts of funding that they need to operate on. In fact, all the local entities should organize and call them out for what they have done to local communities.

I for one will not vote for a levy that is never ending. They need to take into consideration the effect this will have on senior citizens. The biggest asset they own is their home and we are being taxed right out of them. 

Remember, Stark County is growing older and poorer.

Thanks,
Dan Fonte

ORIGINAL BLOG

Who wants another tax?

You know, I know and everybody knows the answer to that rhetorical question.

Nobody!  Absolutely nobody!!

But sometimes communities get put between "a rock and a hard place" and have to initiate what nobody wants.

With the occurrence of the Parkland, Florida Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting of February 14, 2018 and the killing of 17 student/faculty school community members, states including Ohio started scrambling to get their collective acts together in put resources into pre-K through 12 public schools so as to be prepared for future attacks.

In Ohio, the scrambling took place in HB 24.

The bill had been introduced in the Ohio House on February 1, 2017 as a measure to deal with "veterans organization property exemption" where it languished until guess when?

You've got it!

February 28, 2018.

Apparently, almost immediately after the tragic Parkland shooting hit the media airwaves, Ohio General Assembly leaders decided that the quickest way for the Ohio Legislature to get in gear on school security was to amend HB 24 and rush it through to passage which occured on March 21 (less than 30 days, mind you) and immediately signed by Governor Kasich.


In the legislation, the OGA designated Ohio's educational service centers to be the authorized entity of Ohio political subdivision government to be a collecting point and vehicle for public school districts to quickly marshal themselves into a collaborative mode so as to present to voters a plan to beef up security/mental health resources in Ohio schools.

So from early March on, educational service centers were on notice that they were going to be the means by which Ohio government preferred to coordinate the financing of and implementation of upgraded school security and mental health resources.

On April 2, 2018, the Stark County Educational Service Center (SCESC) superintendent Joe Craddock presented to the board a resolution approving a 1.49 mill levy in "participating" local school districts for their consideration as the first step in a three step process as a prelude to place a school security/mental health resource levy on the ballot, to wit:



The second step of the SCESC is to accept this coming Thursday (April 19) the districts within its jurisdiction which have passed resolutions at the local board level to participate in the proposed 1.49 mill levy effort. (Note:  data in the following charts provided by the Stark County auditor's office. Some titling has been changed by the SCPR to make the charts more readable)




The SCESC board is expected to actually vote to put the levy on the ballot at an April 25th meeting.

There was some discord at the SCESC meeting of April 2nd centered about whether the proposed levy would be continuing or for a term of years somewhat like the Stark County Justice System Sales Tax (JSST) 1/2 cent levy which was originally pass about eight years ago and renewed last year.

SCESC board members James Holmes (a former Perry Township trustee), Barbara Morgan (wife of former and now deceased SCESC superintendent Larry Morgan), Fran Miller (newly elected to replace retired member Jack Sickafoose in November, 2017) and Mary Olson voted 3 to 1 (Miller dissenting) to make the levy a continuing levy meaning that there is no expiration date.

Miller was adamantly opposed to the "continuing" nature of the levy.  Holmes, the SCPR is told, waffled on the matter but Morgan and Olson were persuaded that a continuing levy was the way to go.

 In the end, Holmes ultimately joined Morgan and Olson to form the 3 to 1 vote.  

Member Gene Feucht (a former Perry Local superintendent), president of the SCESC was absent in that he was out-of-town.  He is slated to be back for Thursday's meeting.

Why a continuing levy?

Because, as the SCPR understands the matter, Craddock conveyed persuasively a majority of the SCESC  board members present and voting that "continuing" was the consensus of local district school officials.

A big negative for many local school district officials seems to be an "unending" cycle of working levy/bond issues with the district's taxpayers which is certainly understandable.

However, from the perspective of others, periodic accountability (every 5/8/10 years) on how efficiently and effectively levy money is spent is a higher priority than the inconvenience on school administrators having to work all too often on levy renewal efforts.

The SCPR has discussed with some interested parties reasons why there are those among Stark County's local districts who object to the 1.49 mill levy.

First and foremost seems to be the "continuing" nature of the proposed levy.

Another reason given was the fact as in the case of Canton Local (aka Canton South) is that a district is a "donor" district in the context of the districts taxpayers paying more collectively than the district takes in distribution of levy proceeds.

Yet another opposition to the levy factor by a local school board member was dissatisfaction in the relationship between that member's board and legal counsel for for the SCESC.  

As recited above, the SCESC had less than 30 days to work with local school districts on implementing the provisions of HB 24.  One local school district official complained about the "rush" by the SCESC to put a levy on.

Well, let's see.  Is the public really going to want to hear it that "we had to take time to get "everybody on-board" should a tragic school shooting happen in the SCESC area of responsibility with no school security/mental health plan in process or in place?

Time is of the essence when it comes the safety of our children!

Media reports put the Perry School District in the camp of those districts whose officials worry about "wearing out the public patience/tolerance" with seeming school levy after school levy after school levy being presented across the state of Ohio, including, of course Stark County.

Perry has May 8th 11.7 mill levy 5 year renewal issue on the ballot.

Perry school officials are concerned that the SCESC contemplated 1.49 mill levy for August being in the offing should Perry have agreed to join the SCESC facilitated effort could cause problems with its May 8th renewal try.

Unfortunately, voter-burn-out on tax issues is a reality that all public officials worry about.  

If the levy passes across the 17 "participating locals" district-wide financing district, then, even if a given district (let's say the Lake Local School District), were to have a majority vote "no" within the local district, residents would still have to pay the 1.49 mill levy.

As levies go 1.49 mills is very, very, very inexpensive.  About $50 a year, more or less, on a $100,000 home; about $100, more or less, annually on a $200,000 residence.

A small price to pay for better school security and mental health resources, no?

There are two interesting case studies among Stark County-based school districts that take positions that are obviously contra-indicated in terms of how much the districts' taxpayers will contributed as contrasted to what the districts will receive as a distribution if the 1.4 mill levy passes across the 17 districts participating in the levy.


Get this.

Jackson (a participant in the levy effort, a well funded district which could undoubtedly afford to go on its own on security/mental health) only gets 63 cents (rounded off) on a dollar of taxes paid in whereas Canton City Schools (a non-participant and a financially strapped district) get $2.23 return on each tax dollar.

One CCS official tells the SCPR that the board of education is getting feedback that Canton being part of the proposed levy initiative is an example of "taxation without representation" in that city schools do not vote on filling SCESC board positions and residents of city school district cannot run for those slots.

The SCPR agrees with the Canton official that such a structure makes no sense and needs to be corrected by the Ohio General Assembly.

Canton does have its own security system in place (LINK) and The Report is told that Canton is already doing what is proposed to be done should the 1.49 mill levy pass.

But Golly-Gee getting a better than $1 million return on participating in the levy could free up dollars already being spent on security/mental health "purely for education" programs?  Canton schools are documented by the Ohio Department of Education as being among the lowest ranked academic achieving institutions in all of Stark County) programs, no?

Wow!  What is in the water in Canton?

On the other hand, how magnanimous on Jackson's part!

Kudos also goes to the non-Stark County school districts in the SCESC area none of which "profit" in participating in the 1.49 mill levy, to wit;


Impressive, no?

The SCPR is all for public school district choice.

But who would want to be a board member or superintendent in a district which "God Forbid" has a shooting incident in one of its schools and students die and/or are injured if they do not have an "effective" school security/mental health resource plan in place?

The only real choice that the SCESC has is between presenting the measure to the voting public as a continuing levy or a 5/8/10 year levy subject to renewal.

Putting the matter to the public to decide is a no-brainer.

For if the SCESC does not act in terms of at least trying a levy and the worst happens in one of its serviced school districts, who would want to be a SCESC board member?

If the voting public rejects the attempt, then they are left with what school districts can do given current finances in a particular district.

It will be interesting to see whether or not, by the end of the three step process, the SCESC sticks with its present posture of the levy making the ballot as a continuing levy.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

OSNABURG TEACHERS (EAST CANTON) GETTING "SHORT END OF PENCIL" ON TEACHER PAY?



One of the very best newspapers in northeast Ohio is the Cleveland Plain Dealer which publishes online as Cleveland.com.

In terms of doing research on government data, it is in the experience of The Stark County Political Report (SCPR, The Report) that the Plain Dealer far surpasses The Canton Repository and, accordingly, is "the best!" resource for Stark Countians who want to know how Stark County stacks up against the rest of Ohio and the nation in given area of research.

But when it comes to publishing what appears to be propagandistic (The Report's opinion) for The Rep's favorite economic development project (namely, the HOF-VP) of which no Stark County based media outlet comes remotely close to Repository publisher James Porter's output.

Of course, through Gatehouse Media, now owner of The Rep, The Independent, The Alliance Review and blankets Stark County with an in effect media monopoly.

Accountable to whom?

But it is gratifying to have the Cleveland Plain Dealer as a resource.

Otherwise, one has to depend on high quality national newspapers, which, of course, will not be paying a whole lot attention to Stark County.

As the seemingly self-appointed point man for the HOF-VP; undoubtedly, Porter apparently takes a lot of pride in his biased and unvetted (in terms of incisive questioning) presentation of the HOF-VP case for public support (including taxpayer dollars unaccounted for by the HOF "private sector" officials) of the project.

Who can question, but a hardened cynic, that entertainment (i.e. the HOF-VP being the Disneyland of Northeast Ohio) is a more important Stark County resource than paying for and getting the very best teachers to staff our county's 17 public school districts? (sarcasm folks, sarcasm!)

Of course, readers know that the SCPR is the best at data compilation among local media in taking Stark County Political subdivision data (e.g. auditor's office data)  and creating charts showing in a glimpse the comparative conditions of various aspects of local government units.

Today, the Plain Dealer published accessible data from which the SCPR was able to create the following chart showing the relative pay in terms of median pay of Stark County's 17 public school districts.


Take a look at this map.,


Hmm?

Overall the Stark County "median" pay is $53, 053 across the 17 Stark County districts which as seen in the PD article excerpts below places Stark County's teachers significantly below the state of Ohio median of $56,117 which likely translates into at about 25th place among America's 50 states.

Take a look at these excerpts from Cleveland. com:


Canton Township (the locale of Canton Local School District [Canton South]) abutting/adjacent to Osnaburg Township (the locale of Osnaburg Local School District [East Canton]) and yet there is a $30,000 differential in the median pay of teachers of Canton Local over and above Osnaburg Local.

Wow! no?

Either Canton Local teachers are overpaid or Osnaburg Local if the pay of its teaching staff got anywhere near what Canton Local teachers in "median" annual salary, given the following Niche rating system, would be one of the top districts in all of Ohio.  (Niche Rankings LINK)


It could be that Cleveland.com's data is not accurate and the SCPR needs to back off the adulation of Plain Dealer's school district database.

Historically, The Report has found other Cleveland.com databases to be very accurate.

Undoubtedly, if there is something wrong with the database, one would expect Canton Local/Osnaburg Local officials to speak up, no?

Time will tell.

But isn't it shocking that there could be such a great disparity between adjoining school districts and, indeed, with nearly every school district located withing Stark County?

Friday, April 20, 2018

23RD IN SCPR HOF-VP SERIES: WHERE IS THE $36 MILLION "PUNTED" FOOTBALL?"


ANSWER?
LOST IN DIVERSIONARY CENTENNIAL HOOPLA!
PERHAPS?


North Canton mayor David Held put the apologists for the bizarre financing of the Professional Football Hall of Fame (HOF-VP, HOF) "on-the-spot" when at a "Strengthening Stark" meeting on January 6, 2018 held at the HOF complex at 2121 Halas Drive (Canton) with this "explosive" video that in effect was a "where is the [pea]" in what appears to be "three empty shells turned-upside-down game" seemingly being played by HOF-VP master developer and partner (HOF Village, LLC) of Professional Football Hall of Fame; namely, Stuart Lichter of the Industrial Realty Group (IRG).

Held, by far, at the Strengthening Stark meeting put most forcefully and effectively the question "where is the EB-5 Visa money?"



As the SCPR understands Held's quest, he is not talking about "private sector" money.  Rather he is talking about "public sector" money:  EB-5 money which is the subject of a lawsuit filed in the U.S. Federal Court (Northern District of Ohio; i.e. CBM v. Lichter, et al).

Let the SCPR say this one more time:  It should be of "no concern" to the Ohio/Stark County "taxpaying" public what Lichter/C. David Baker (HOF president & CEO) and consorts do with "private sector" money put into the HOF-VP.  They may reap millions or, more likely, the SCPR thinks, lose millions in Baker's phantasmagoric vision of bringing a Disneyworld-esque entertainment complex centered on professional football themes to Stark County.

Godspeed! the SCPR says:  "do as you wish with 'private sector' money, and in addition to what appears to be a Cerreta-esque  "wished for" Divine blessing - GOOD LUCK!'

But not with public sector money "unaccounted" for!

Public officials (Canton Council, CCS-BOE, State of Ohio officials and the likes of state Representative Kirk Schuring) have a "fiduciary" obligation to taxpayers to see to it that public money is not going down a rat hole.

Public officials ought to be requiring of HOF-VP officials accountability, transparency of that money to ensure public officials affected Stark County political subdivision entities that the project is viable and tax dollars will not end up being non-productive in terms of return on investment.

There are plenty of signs that professional football, indeed football of all levels of American society, is waning and that the HOF-VP is an effort by Baker et al to stave off irrelevance of the HOF in future decades.

Now that the once heralded NFL drafted for 2019 or 2020 is pretty much a bust (at best Canton will get pretty much meaningless third day of a three day draft event, the prime first two days going to Cleveland), the HOF folks has ginned up a new scheme two years down the road to save the HOF-VP from disaster; namely, what has been billed by "the official newspaper of the Pro Football Hall of Fame" (i.e The Canton Repository, Fox News of Stark County? [at least on HOF matters]) as being "a centennial celebration of pro football."


The SCPR sees the centennial effort,  at least in part, as being one to divert public attention away from the the severe financial difficulties that HOF Village LLC et al are having in raising $1 billion plus (which began as a $500 million, more or less, projected) to complete the project.

As with the HOF-VP project, the likes of Repository publisher and CEO James Porter (the chair of the event) through his editorial board and reporter staff is using spectacular language to whet the appetites of locals who hope against hope that Canton's professional football connection will turn out to be the financial/economic salvation of Canton and indeed all of Stark County.

On Thursday night the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce (CRCC, Chamber) is having a $100 a plate dinner featuring what the Chamber, the HOF Village LLC and The Repository hope is the coming of a savior of the HOF-VP, namely, one Mark Klein of the M. Klein Company.

The SCPR has been denied access to the event as media which, of course, leaves Stark Countians to having accounts of the meeting in the hands of "the official newspaper of the Pro Football Hall of Fame."  Maybe Jim Porter will have cousin Todd write up the "official" version of what transpires?

Of course, Porter/Sanuier/Baker don't want the SCPR anywhere near the Kleins.  How would they respond to SCPR incisive follow- up questioning after the M. Klein Company presentation is made?

The Stark County Political Report is NOT the official media of anything as is The Repository vis-a-vis the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

If permitted, the SCPR would grill down on the Kleins as to whether or not The Klein Company in its own name or the names of the principals of the company put their money where their mouth is.

How much money in fees does The Klein Company expect to reap in being a financial consultant for the HOF-VP?

And on and on would go the questions.

It is obvious from the shill newspaper's report of the event that The M. Klein Company was called in by NFL/HOF bigs in what obviously is desperation move to save the floundering project.

Stark Countians' message to Michael Klein ought to be "keep your hands off public officials and public money."  Get the money from your well heeled friends in the private sector.

If there were no taxpayer money in the HOF-VP project, then the "private" sector investments aspect of the project is none of the public's business.  However, if public money is put in jeopardy in terms of "return on investment" because the money is not going to be there to complete the HOF-VP at the $1 billion plus level, then it is the public's business.


C.  David Baker and his NFL friends who dominate the membership of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Board of Trustee apparently think they can have it both ways which is to say:  "get public money but not have to account for it" to the Stark County public.


And it seems to the SCPR you can throw in Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce president/CEO Denny Saunier and The Rep's James Porter into the "get public money but not have to account for it" grouping.

For Porter to be of that ilk is unreal for a daily/Sunday newspaper which is supposed to be devoted to accountability, accessibility, communicativeness and transparency.

But the Porter modality is not surprising given the "very special relationship" The Repository admits to having with the National Football Museum, Inc. (dba the Pro Football Hall of Fame).

Porter seems to be so into the HOF-VP that he, the SCPR has learned, is into threatening elected Stark County officials with Repository political opposition when they come up for election.

All Stark Countians should be skeptical of anything donning the pages of The Rep relevant to the HOF-VP that has had to pass muster with Porter and his fellow managers at 500 Market Avenue, South.

To the degree that those "elected" Stark County political leaders are "all-in" on the HOF-VP and the project turns out to be a bust in terms of taxpayers realizing a substantial benefit, then local political subdivision voters ought to be holding those officials accountable come future elections.

Readers of this blog owe to themselves to listen closely to the SCPR Held video published above to get an accurate sense of the oomph with which Held's question (which shell is the pea under?) resounded with a "boom!" as the likes of Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce Denny Saunier,  HOF communications director Pete Fierle and a bevy of Stark County political subdivision elected/appointed officials listened.

Recently, The Stark County Political Report received an e-mail the substance of which is spellbinding as an example of a public office having "backbone" in confronting Saunier et al with a telling question, to wit:

Part V 

Why did Lichter/HOF Village LLC give Capital Contributions and Capital Investments to the PFHOF in 2015 and 2016?

Look at the 990’s Schedule R - Part V

2016 990 on Page 66

$15,176,635 in Capital Investment

$12,000,000 in Capital Contribution

2015 990 on page 52

$9,100,000 in Capital Investment

The total amount given by Lichter/HOF Village LLC is $36,276,635

Interestingly, the breakdown shows the Capital Investment totals $24,276,635

The Capital Contribution is $12,000,000

Lichter/HOF Village LLC becomes a investor in the PFHOF with a bold infusion of $24,276,635 of Capital Investment and $12,000,000 of Capital Contribution at a time when the EB-5 Visa program is coming under scrutiny of the Trump Administration and may actually be discontinued. 

Keep in mind the following:

Lichter pledged the EB-5 Visa money to the Hoover District Project in 2012 and it was $36 million.

The EB-5 Visa money pledged in the Pots of Money article to the HOF project showed that it also was $36 million.

Coincidental ….

I stopped believe in coincidences a long, long, long time ago.

The SCPR uses the "backbone" metaphor as a example of hypocrisy on the part of North Canton councilman at large Mark Cerreta who while accusing the likes of Mayor Held of lacking "backbone" in North Canton government negotiations with OMNI Orthopaedic over whether or not OMNI will have to annex to North Canton to get city water.

Watch/listen to Cerreta:



The Report thinks that Cerreta is in reality the  prime North Canton government official who lacks "backbone" and is in the words of North Canton civic activist a "pie in the sky" guy who on the water issue is an example of his pejorative-intended "wishful thinking" label he attempts to place on Held (said he would veto OMNI getting water without annexation) and on Councilman at Large Daryl Revoldt (a former mayor and council president).

The SCPR thinks that Cerreta (given his fascination with developers especially North Canton's
Bob DeHoff [the last the SCPR knew, a 10% ownership interest in Lichter's Hoover rehab project known as Maple Street Commerce, LLC]) demonstrates that he is part of the "wishbone" crowd that seems to populate Hoover rehab optimists and HOF-VP enthusiasts.

Moreover, the SCPR is being told that Stuart Lichter has been in direct contact with at least one North Canton councilperson and in the opinion of the person sharing with The Report is trying a divide and conquer routine between council and the mayor.

Bottom line in the assessment of the SCPR source, Lichter is trying to convince North Canton government to come up with "more" public money in order to finish Phase II of the Hoover rehab.

The mayor quite openly says and is acting through North Canton's administrative staff to get Lichter to do one thing:  "get the Hoover facility 'up to code!'"

No more public money for Stu Lichter to complete the Hoover project, so says Mayor David Held.

A question the SCPR has for Councilman Cerreta.

What has Councilman Cerreta done to ensure that the millions of taxpayer money (a State of Ohio grant funneled through North Canton government) as well, perhaps, as the $36 million EB-5 money, more or less,  find its way into the Hoover project so as to provide a return on investment to North Canton, Ohio and U.S. taxpayers?

Here is a copy of a pending lawsuit against Lichter et al that focuses on the EB 5 money.



And here is a copy of Sarah Lioi's  (a former Stark County Court of Common Pleas judge) latest order in the case which gives the parties until June 11, 2018 to work out a settlement or the case becomes active again



Where pray tell Councilman Cerreta is that $36 million that the SCPR has been told by numerous North Canton officials was to be spent on completing Phase II of The Hoover project?

Do you Councilman Cerreta have the backbone to face up with Stu Lichter et al and get answers for the North Canton taxpaying public?

Is this guy "all mouth," and very little action?

A typical tactic that pontificators like Cerreta employ is to accuse others what he himself exemplifies.

Again, returning to the HOF-VP, to repeat and emphasize:  "Godspeed & Good Luck" to the HOF-VP with "private" sector money.

BUT FOR PUBLIC MONEY, THERE MUST BE ACCOUNTABILITY, TRANSPARENCY AND NEAR CERTAINTY OF VIABILITY SO THAT THE TAXPAYING PUBLIC GETS A SUBSTANTIAL RETURN ON INVESTMENT!

If there is a failure for public money invested so far to produce a return to taxpayers, then those public officials named in Stark County Political Report blogs should be held accountable "at-the-polls" once it becomes apparent that the HOF-VP is not going to produce a return on investment on taxpayer dollars.

Monday, April 16, 2018

SCPR "COUNTDOWN TO PRIMARY" ELECTION SERIES (VOL 10) "VIABLE" 16TH & 7TH DISTRICT CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE CFRS AS OF 03/31/2018

UPDATED:  3:38 PM List of Stark County contributors to Harbaugh/Gibbs campaign

UPDATED  TUESDAY 8:50 AM List of Stark County contributors to Hagan/Gonzalez

HAGAN WINNING FUNDRAISING BATTLE IN STARK COUNTY! BUT LAGS BADLY IN REST OF DISTRICT (Alliance Councilwoman Julie Jakmides Donates to Gonzalez)

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In a little over three weeks (May 8, 2018) all the votes will be counted in the 2018 Democratic and Republican primary election races.

In the 16th Congressional District, it appears to The Stark County Political Report that Republican Anthony Gonzalez (of suburban Cleveland) out raising Stark Countian Christina Hagan nearly $3 to $1 in campaign contributions will win handling when all the votes are in and counted about midnight on May 8th.


At least in the 16th there is a real primary race even if Hagan is destined to become "an also ran."

In the 7th, neither Democratic Ken Harbaugh of Avon, Ohio nor Republican incumbent Bob Gibbs of Holmes County has meaningful/competitive opposition.


The only question in the seventh is whether or not the political pundits "blue wave" will materialize in the November general election and sweep out Gibbs and replace him with Democrat Harbaugh.

The Washington based Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) thinks so, to wit:


The most recent Federal Elections Commission (FEC) list Gibbs as having received 314 contributions and Harbaugh 1007.

Interesting, no?

Here is a list of "individual" Stark Countians who have contributed to the Harbaugh campaign as of March 31st according to FEC data:


Here is a list of  "individual" Stark Countians who have contributed to the Gibbs campaign as of March 31st according to FEC data:


Here is a list of  "individual" Stark Countians who have contributed to the Hagan campaign as of March 31st according to FEC data:


Here is a list of  "individual" Stark Countians who have contributed to the Gonzalez campaign as of March 31st according to FEC data:


Sunday, April 15, 2018

LINKS TO PLAIN DEALER GOVERNOR ENDORSEMENTS

DEMOCRAT:  DENNIS KUCINICH

REPUBLICAN:  MIKE DEWINE

SCPR "COUNTDOWN TO PRIMARY ELECTION SERIES" (VOL 9); "DIRTY TRICKS" AGAINST STOLTZFUS IN 50TH GOP PRIMARY RACE?

UPDATED:  1:50 PM

23 DAYS TO THE FINAL DAY OF VOTING (MAY 8, 2018)

In a conversation with 50th Ohio House District GOP candidate Reggie Stoltzfus, one of the explanations of why he did not make a timely email response to a SCPR inquiry about his view on his political association with now former Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger was (quit as speaker on Friday because of an ongoing FBI investigation about him) his having to deal with a flyer (see above) sent out to prospective Republican voters in the upcoming May 8th GOP primary election.


Stoltzfus opponent is Josh Hagan, a brother of current 50th District Republican representative Christina Hagan who has opted out of running for a fourth term (after which she is term-limited out) as a state representative.


Stoltzfus in describing what most pols (in experience of the SCPR) would describe as being "political 'dirty tricks'" took the high road and euphemistically identified the above-flyer as being "a negative campaign development."

"Dirty tricks?"

Pols ascribing the phase "dirty tricks" to the likes of the flyer sent out against Stoltzfus do so on the premise that on its face the flyer only tells "part of the story."

The full story is one in which a teenager is understandably and courageously intervening on behalf of his mother and not what is conjured up in the minds of most of us when the expression "domestic violence" is the focal point.  Go to this LINK to see/hear Stoltzfus (from about the 2:30 remaining mark of the video to about 1:30 remaining) about the incident "in his own words."

An extract from the Stoltzfus Facebook page as he adds more detail, to wit:

While this happened 18 years ago, to this day I would act on behalf of my mother’s safety every time! I am the man I am today because of my childhood, and that is one of the fundamental reasons why I believe stronger families will lead to a stronger Ohio. Why my opponents used this visceral topic to attack me is obvious, but I wanted to take the opportunity to inform you, the voters. (large print added by SCPR for emphasis sake)

The flyer address/return address showed the sender to have been the Growth & Opportunity PAC (Political Action Committee, a super-PAC) our of Lexington, KY), to wit:


Here are a few other links to the G&O PAC and/or connected to the G&O PAC (connected by virtue of Federal Election Commission information):
And, here is a SCPR compiled list from "Open Secrets" of contributions to the G&O PAC.


Of course, the SCPR suspects that the person behind the mailer is Stoltzfus opponent Josh Hagan.

The Report has attempted to contact Hagan by telephone to get a confirmation/denial of his having a role in the mailing of the flyer but has been greeted by "busy" signals on each attempt.  However, the SCPR will continue the effort and supplement this blog Hagan's response if he becomes accessible.

The Stark County Political Report invites Josh Hagan to call this blogger at 330 430 9378 or email me at tramols@att.net with his response.

In the meantime, The Report has inquired of the Growth & Opportunity PAC, to wit:

Martin Olson <tramols@att.net>  Apr 13 at 2:09 PM

To: eric.lycan@dinsmore.com

Mr. Lycan,

Martin Olson here of The Stark County Political Report (SCPR, The Report)

It has come to SCPR's attention that the Growth & Opportunity PAC Inc which according to FEC documents you are listed as being treasurer of, has become involved (i.e. return address on flyer) in Ohio's 50th House District Republican primary between Reggie Stoltzfus and Josh Hagan.

The SCPR covers Stark County government and politics and has done a number of blogs on the Stoltzfus/Hagan Republican primary.  Here is a LINK to the latest.

In view of the G&O involvement, The Report has a number of questions to ask of you as the FEC listed G&O contact person.

Here are the SCPR's questions.

Who (person or other entity) requested that C&G generate and mail out a flyer (see attachment) designed to influence the outcome of the Stoltzfus/Hagan race?

Who (person or other entity) funded the C&G generate and mail out a flyer (see attachment) designed to influence the outcome of the Stoltzfus/Hagan race?

How much money did the preparation and mailing of the flyer cost?

Also attached is an Open Secrets compilation of contributors but nothing listed for so far in 2018.  Please provide the SCPR a list of contributors for the 2018 time period.

Thank you,

Martin Olson
The Stark County Political Report
tramols@att.net
330 430 9378

If and when the Growth & Opportunity PAC responds to the SCPR e-mail inquiry, this blog will be supplemented to share with readers exactly what the G&O PAC has to say.

If the Josh Hagan campaign is behind the flyer being published, it will be interesting to see on Hagan's campaign finance report (due April 24, 2018) if it reveals in-kind-contribution/expense data that shows a Josh Hagan campaign connection to the G&O PAC.

The SCPR thinks that fairness dictates that the full story be told in political advertising.

Readers of The Stark County Political Report know that this blogger works diligently to get "all" the information out to the voting public on any candidate race or issue contest.