Tuesday, August 22, 2017

ELECTION 2017: NORTH CANTON CITY COUNCIL—KIESLING AS TARGET?

PLUS

COUNCILMAN DAN GRIFFITH DEBUNKS NOTION OF COUNCIL MEETING LESS


VIDEOS

COUNCILMAN-AT-LARGE
DAN GRIFFITH
"MISUNDERSTANDING ON HIS MEETING CHANGE PROPOSAL"

...

WARD 4 COUNCILMAN
DOMINIC FONTE
ON
GRIFFITH PROPOSAL


It is apparent to The Stark County Political Report (SCPR) that veteran North Canton City councilwoman Marcia Kiesling is the target of some of those North Canton citizens who want to see a change in the membership of council in the wake of the upcoming November 7th election.

Pictured above is a collage going back over the past two years or so of council group photos in which Councilwoman at Large Kiesling is absent.

A council member absence is not an unusual happening for councils across Stark County's cities and villages, but, in some instances, it seems as if some members are absent far more frequently than others.

In North Canton, the SCPR take is that Kiesling and fellow council member Stephanie Werren (R, Ward 3) take the prize over their council peers for absenteeism.


After last night's meeting (which started at 7:00 p.m. and which lasted 11 minutes), the SCPR learned that a group of North Canton citizens had gathered at North Canton Hoover High School's soccer facility to capture on video council meeting absent Councilwoman Kiesling attending her daughter's first soccer match of the season.

That effort showed to the SCPR that a main issue on the part of the involved citizenry indicates that Kiesling will be targeted for her spotty attendance record at council meetings, at least over the last five years of so.

In 2015, the SCPR published this chart showing attendance of then council members for the period December 1, 2011 through September 9, 2013:


As far as the SCPR knows, no compilation of Kiesling attendance exist but as the photo at the head of this blog is evidence of, it is not unheard of for Councilwoman Kiesling to be among the missing at a council meeting.

As a matter of blog traditions, the SCPR has annually published a January 1st New Year's Day "public official" Resolution for the New Year blog.

Included in the 2014 blog:


Only Ward 1 Democratic councilman Doug Folts  (the only Democrat on all of North Canton City Council) exceeds Kiesling in longevity on council who goes back to in the neighborhood of 2001 as an elected councilperson at large.


But she has lost a council-at-large arge election along the way:


The question:  Is she going to be the odd person out in this year's election?


Kiesling not only has the "absenteeism" to contend with, but she has been at the center of a number of controversies that have occupied council since her return to council in 2005; nearly 12 years ago.

Before it became apparent to the SCPR (as of post-council-meeting last night) that Kiesling is being targeted to be fourth person in vote tally in the council-at-large race for three positions, the conventional wisdom is that Councilman Dan Griffith is the most likely candidate to become an ex-councilperson.

Probably the very best council member that North Canton has had going back to the late 1990s and into the 2000 to 2015 era (with a stin as mayor) has been Daryl Revoldt who at one time was on the congressional staff of the recently deceased 16th congressional district Ralph Regula.

Moreover, he has had interspersperced employment with Ohio Department of Development, a private sector business located in Wooster and with Stark State College.

Everybody that the SCPR talks to thinks that Revoldt will dominate the results come November 7th.

Which, of course, presents the question who is going to be out?

If there is an alternate target to Kiesling, it would be Councilman Griffith.

He caused a furor in recent days in suggesting to council that it modify council's meeting formula to this:

Councilman Griffith on video after the meeting answered the questions of  the SCPR as to whether or not a concern on the part of some North Canton citizens that his proposal was designed to further isolate council in interacting with the North Canton public.

Councilman Griffith:



As you have seen, he thinks the opposite is the case and appears somewhat troubled that not one North Canton citizen approached him before last night's meeting about the effect of his proposal.

Councilman Dominic Fonte (who faces a formidable challenge of his own to his being re-elected Ward 4 councilman) had this to say about Griffith's effort:



In any event, no matter who one believes; it appears that the Griffith proposal is DOA.

However, his raising the question of restructuring North Canton meetings scheme of things will not help him come November.

He may, however, breathing a sigh of relief that Marcia Kiesling seems to be the councilperson with the BIG TARGET on her back for being retired as a North Canton councilperson.

It appears to the SCPR that there is likely to be significant change in the membership of North Canton City Council this November (and, perhaps, the mayoralty) which should be worrisome to some un-elected officials in North Canton government.

Monday, August 21, 2017

"PONDER" RON PONDER' 'S OP-ED QUESTIONS RE: TRUMP'S STARK COUNTY REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP SUPPORT




"A picture says 1,000 words," the adage goes.

As the picture above shows, Stark County's leading Republican leaders:
  • Stark County commissioner Bill Smith (then candidate Bill Smith),
  • Stark Count commissioner Richard Regula,
  • Stark County treasurer Alex Zumbar,
  • Stark County GOP vice president Jane Timken (now Trump supported Ohio GOP chair),
  • Stark County Republican chair Jeff Matthews, and
  • Stark County 50th House District Christina Hagan 
in deciding to show up in September, 2016 to a Donald J. Trump campaign rally were "all-in" with the most outrageous major political party candidate to ever run for president of the United States of America.

Not there because of a "prior commitment,"  but equally supportive of the incorrigible Trump at that time, was Stark County commissioner Janet Creighton.  Countywide, Creighton is the most powerful vote getting candidate that today's local Republican Party has to offer.

In an Op-ed piece in The Repository yesterday former WHBC talk show host Ron Ponder (Points to Ponder) in writing about the Trump presidency to date  (Sometimes I hate to be right) had these poignant questions to ask of our local/Ohio politicos:
But what about local Republicans in locales like Stark County? Where do they stand? With Trump? And where do the candidates for state offices stand, such as the Republican candidates for governor? Do they support this man? Do they support his policies? Do they support his methods? 
Will the Republican Party itself be identified as being racist? Will this perception of the Republican Party “trickle down” to DeWine, Husted, Renacci and Taylor, Ohio Republican gubernatorial candidates? Would it be fair to do that? Should they answer for the sins of Trump?
It is "fitting and proper" to ask the posed questions of politicians that many of us rub shoulders with.

Compliments to Ponder for devoting yesterday's piece to pointing the "accountability" finger at local/Ohio political leaders.  The only thing missing was at the Stark County level; naming names.

The Stark County Political Report (SCPR) does name names and, of course, show pictures of those named "in action."

Look at Stark GOP chair Jeff Matthews clapping for Trump.

Moreover, it was a bit bizarre to see the 50ish Jane Timken acting the high school cheerleader at the Trump sited Canton rally of September, 2016.

Back to the Ponder piece:  "Should they answer for the sins of Trump?"

Indeed, they should except perhaps for Mike DeWine who seems to have kept a "I'm not too sure about this guy" distance from the irrepressible president.

Ponder does not mention him, but Republican and Governor John Kasich is to be lauded for his sense of political decency and his intuitive reflect of "ya know, there is something highly troubling about this guy" as a president of the U.S. stance.

Back on July 28, 2016 (right after Trump in mid-July had been nominated as the Republican Party candidate for president), Ponder emceed, in the wake of police/African-American citizen confrontations sprinkled across the nation, a local forum on police/community relations at the Canton Memorial Civic Center.


Before the event got underway, Ponder asked me what I thought of the Trump phenomenon.

My response:  "I can't get beyond (the largely Trumpian) lack of 'civility' aspect" of his rise to the head of the national Republican Party let alone his inflammatory policy pronouncements along with his disrespectful of women, Muslims, African-Americans and others rhetoric.

Who can forget his over-the-top aspersions cast on his fellow candidates.  Here are a few:
  • Lying Ted,
  • Little Marco,
  • "Many lies by Ben Carson,"
  • "Nasty," (Jeb Bush), and
  • "No honor," (Lindsey Graham),
Daresay that none of the Stark County/Ohio Republican leaders listed in this blog would engage anyone who insulted them in the manner in which Trump insulted and continues to disparage those who differ with him.

Nor should they.

However, in embracing Trump (September, 2016), they all showed an incredible lack of sound judgement on discerning minimally acceptable political campaigning behavior or, alternatively, are so blinded to and by Republican Party political interests that they reveal themselves as being suspect in assessing and acting in the public interest over and above their political party identity.

As they stand now, the likes of Matthews, Hagan, Smith, Regula, Creighton, Zumbar, Timken, Renacci, Taylor and Husted have a lot of explaining to do.

Moreover, they carry the burden of offering that their "all-out" support of Trump was a rare mis-step in judgement not to be repeated.

Silence is not good enough.

A recent poll shows that most Americans including many Republicans are embarrassed by the rhetoric of Donald J. Trump.


The question is as a follow up to the Ponder Op-ed:  Are our Stark County Republican leaders sufficiently embarrassed in having supported Trump for president willing to admit in having made a "mistake in judgement" that has brought harm to the United States of America?

If not, Stark Countians should weigh-in on the lack of an apology in their having engaged the insupportable misjudgment in having  backed the caustic Trump in any their future election/re-election bids.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

CONTINUING SERIES ON REDISTRICTING: CLEVELAND.COM, A RESOURCE PAR EXCELLENCE!




The Stark County Political Report has published a number of blogs over its existence (nearly 10 years now) on the unfairness of Ohio's elections on account of "organized" Republicans and Democrats going back well over 100 years of contorting state legislative and congressional election districts to ensure in varying degrees that incumbents of whichever of either party get re-elected.

Recently, the blogs include:
One of the more interesting and disturbing factors that came to light in the development of this series was Stark Countian (a former vice president of the Stark County GOP) and now Ohio Republican chair Jane Timken's assertion that she does not see redistricting as something she can support, to wit:  (from a Cleveland City Club appearance on July 7, 2017)

Question.

"Do you and the Republican Party favor setting up a commission to redraw [congressional] district to provide more equitable division between parties in congressional districts?

Answer.

"I tend to think elections have consequence and we have a history of being able to draw congressional districts based on our [Ohio's] apportionment board.  I tend to want to keep that system unapologetically.

Catherine Turcer of  Common Cause Ohio (Fair Districts = Fair Elections) which is behind a petition drive effort to make congressional districts fairer had this reaction to the Timken statement:
Catherine Turcer <CTurcer@commoncause.org>  Today at 9:37 AM
To:  Martin Olson 
Mr. Olson, 
Good morning!  I am surprised by Jane Timken's statement.  The state legislature is responsible for drawing the congressional districts, rather than the Apportionment Board.  In 2015, more than 71% of voters supported creating the bipartisan Ohio Redistricting Commission to draw state legislative district lines.  Issue 1 of 2015 was supported by both the Ohio Republican Party and the Ohio Democratic Party.   
I do agree that elections have consequences but I also believe that districts should not be artificially manipulated to favor one political party over the other.   Fair elections are the cornerstone of a robust democracy.  Computers have made gerrymandering or mapmaking for partisan advantage much easier and have created truly uncompetitive elections. 
We deserve more compact districts that keep communities together and more robust elections. Because -- as Ms. Timken's said-- elections have consequences.  These consequences should not be determined by mapmakers but by the voters. 
Thanks,
Catherine 
It appears that Timken is out there somewhere all on her lonesome.

Witness, the outcomes of an election held in 2015 in which Ohio/Stark Countians voted overwhelmingly to require redistricting on a fairer basis than is currently in place.


Most encouraging that a congressional district version of the 2015 passed state legislative districts mandate for fairer districts is the work that the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Cleveland.com (a work of Advance Ohio) through numbers analyst/reporter Rich Exner is doing so that Ohio can get a very clear picture of the monstrously unfair congressional districts Ohio currently has.

Readers who care about fairness in our elections should follow Exner's effort very closely.  Here are two links to recent (August 16th and August 17th) article published on Cleveland.com

Exner's work is outstanding and the SCPR urges readers to keep in touch with the Cleveland.com continuing coverage of the need for fairer redistricting in Ohio.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

$800 MILLION DOLLARS, PERHAPS AS MUCH AS "ONE BILLION" FOR CANTON/STARK COUNTY REHAB ALL ON 100 plus ACRES. A MIRACLE IN THE MAKING: YOU NAYSAYERS

SCPR POLITICAL SATIRE

PRESIDENT TRUMP WEIGHS IN

UPDATED:  1:30 p.m.



Many of The Stark County Political Report's blogs have a tinge of political sarcasm scattered among its letters, words and headlines.

A little over a week ago, the SCPR honored The Repository's executive editor Rich Desrosiers with the first of The Report's full-blown satirical piece.

Here is a refresher of the definitions of satire/sarcasm for those who do not often run into such material.

But sarcasm is a little harsh, and, it gets missed by readers all too often.


I decided I needed to change my ways and go to a milder form of getting my point of view across in my blogs.


A master of satire is The New Yorker's Andy Borowitz.


He is my inspiration for doing political satire on local political and public figures.

So brace yourself Stark County elected officials and public figures.

You are about to become the stars of Stark County's only political satire outlet.

Here is a LINK to the first SCPR satirical blog>

Today, the cheer/LEADER(S) of/for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Village Project (HOFVP) with a very, very, very special nod to executive director—America's greatest visionary EVER—C. David Baker.


That descriptor came from our Make America Great Again—Greatest President EVER—Donald J. Trump.

His visit to the HOFVP on September 14, 2016 as presidential candidate Donald Trump was an omen that things were only going to get greater for the HOFVP, Canton and all of Stark County.


The Donald was absolutely thrilled to hear from the SCPR of this "in-the-works" blog (note:  a imaginary conversation).

He says he believes that the HOFVP is the greatest infrastructure ever undertaken in the land of "from sea to shining sea," bar none.

Might Trump borrow the HOFVP model as a model for his promised U.S. infrastructure rebuild?

Has to be tempting to him, one has to think.

However, there are those locals who say that pro football is in decline and heading for marginal existence, long term and the HOFVP will one day stand as a dinosaur skeletal remains.

The truth?  BIG, BIG time FAKE NEWS!


Professional football is "the cat's meow" for America's "hooked" on entertainment' devotees.  Pro football fascination continues to grow while professional baseball is fading.

The smasher/basher tackling, the slashing running, the artisan quarterbacking command the attention of thrill seeking Americans glued to the tube.

In the former glory days of American dominance, the heart and soul of the nation was industrial might which Canton and Stark County was part of.

But in this day and age folks, ENTERTAINMENT is the way to go. Every U.S. town needs a P.T. Barnum-esque character to distract us from our "real" everyday life cares, concerns and troubles, no?

The  visionary C. David Baker was brought in by local leadership seers to keep professional football in a growing mode.

So what if he has a troubled past.

That's what his detractors point to.

My God! folks, give it up!!!  That was some 30 years ago.

There is atonement, there is forgiveness, there is redemption and the Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village "refuge" is the place of restoration for C. David Baker.

C. David Baker:  definitely an example of being "born again," no?

Pro football "alone" will do the job that yesteryear local captains of industry could not sustain of Canton and Stark County having a economic bulwark.

Industry has no sex appeal.

Entertainment at its base is glitzy, glitzy, glitzy in sex appeal and therefore is in a "the sky is the limit" mode in sustainability.

And a Entertainment economic base is cheap to staff.

High return on investment (ROI) on the backs of low-paid service workers?  What a terrific financial model, no?

And think of it, right here in the most deserving place sited in a nation that has welcomed hordes of immigrants who in turn made Canton, Ohio and the USA the greatest industrial juggernaut EVER.

After all, it is not every community that can call itself home to a past president who has had one America's great mountain named after him (even before he actually became president)  obviously as an attestation of him being one of our truly great leader destined to become one of our greatest presidents inasmuch as McKinley (err Denali/2015; renamed by Obama administration executive action—Go Figure, no?) is the HIGHEST mountain peak in the Greatest Nation ever to don the face of the earth.

"When they go low, we go high," to turn the Michelle Obama quote upside down in topic application.

Who can forget the gallantly successful effort of recently passed Stark County native Congressman Ralph Regula in 1975 staving off the re-naming of McKinley to Denali.
 Koyukon Athabaskans who inhabit the area around the mountain have for centuries referred to the peak as Dinale or Denali. The name is based on a Koyukon word for "high" or "tall"  (Source on history of Denali/McKinley:  Wikipedia article on Denali/McKinley
For the SCPR, that mountain will forever be Mount McKinley no matter Obama and his politically correct ways and compatriot leftist leaning activists.

Indeed, GREATNESS is undoubtedly in the genetic make up of Canton, Ohio.

And, therefore, it should surprise nobody that Baker should be brought to the Hall of Fame city which is on life support to do a Lazarus-esque resurrection on a very, very, very special type of infrastructure development.

Just what America needs, just what Ohio needs and for sure just what Canton and Stark County needs.

A gigantic entertainment complex that Baker, with his keen sense of appropriateness, likens to Disney World.

What a perspicacious human being!  Without parallel, no?

Sorry for the big word, but Baker is literally a big man and more importantly a man of really BIG ideas and drive all wrapped up in a humble spirit that can only be described a the GREATEST paradox of all time.

Yes, when Stark Countians scatter across the nation on vacation, visiting family and friends, on a business trip or whatever; when asked about their hometown, they are at the ready.

"CANTON, OHIO is where I'm from!  We have the MOST FABULOUS high school football stadium in the land."  Who else can brag about having a $150 million high school football stadium?

A true measure of greatness, no?

Canton/Stark County is the home of "the memories"of the famous and great.

McKinley (Stark's esteemed president), Brown (the greatest NFLer of all time) to name just a couple.

And one day in the wild blue yonder, our streets will be paved in gold.  A city foursquare that challenges Heaven itself.   What a joyous day that will be. We have David Baker to thank and thank him we will.  For locals will no longer refer to Canton by its official name.  Like the locals in the vicinity of that GREAT mountain in Alaska, we will call our home Bakerville.

"One more thing.  We owe all to the 'Bakerville Times' (err The Canton Repository) which locked arm-in-arm with Baker et al promoting the development of the HOFVP as "the official newspaper of the Pro Football Hall of Fame."

Just think about it.

Canton and Stark County saved from oblivion by the intense development of a mere 100 plus acres (about 1/2 square mile), more or less, in a town of about 25.5 square miles and a county of about 575 square miles

Its a miracle!

And it only cost $800 to 1 billion dollars in largely private sector funds.

A true testament to American Enterprise!

Leveraging at its best, no?

Monday, August 14, 2017

WHAT IS THE CURE FOR THE NORTH CANTON TO ALLIANCE "ANTI-DEMOCRATIC" SPREADING INFECTION?

UPDATED:  7:33 AM

OKEY FOR CLIENT LESLIE YOUNG
ON APRIL 6, 2017 FILED
 "PROPERLY" MOTIVATED LAWSUIT AGAINST ALLIANCE GOV'T!
--------------------------------------------------------
2017 ELECTIONS TO SOLVE NORTH CANTON PROBLEM?


In this day and age, it is not unusual for city governments to compete with one another especially on economic development matters.

A few years ago, North Canton lured a Massillon company to what used to be officially known as "The Dogwood Tree" city by advancing $400,000 (more or less) of upfront money to buy a crane for the company.

Insofar as the SCPR knows, there is no such history between North Canton and Alliance.

However, it does appear that Alliance and North Canton are vying with one another in a race to the bottom in disrespecting its citizenry's right to know, to be heard and to participate fully as a critically important factor in how we Americans govern ourselves.

At least since September, 2012 and the hiring (by North Canton City Council) of Tim Fox as law director, North Canton appears to The Stark County Political Report (SCPR) to surge to the lead among Stark County's political subdivisions in a dubious category:  a marked decline in respect for and implementation of fundamental democratic-republican values.

Under Fox's reign, North Canton has had problems"
  • being transparent, 
  • providing requested public records, 
  • complying with its own charter requirements, 
  • councilmembers' attendance (Stephanie Werren, a primary offender) at public meetings, and 
  • respecting the will of North Canton voters as expressed at the ballot box.
And there are a number of  other things concerning the undermining of core democratic values that one could cite North Canton government for.

Some think that the Alliance parallel to North Canton's Fox is Safety-Service Director Mike Dreger.

Dreger was appointed by current Alliance mayor Alan Andreani in September, 2014.

A number of Carnation City residents think that Alliance has not been the same in terms of basic democratic-republican values (e.g. first and foremost, administrative transparency).

A big brouhaha broke out into the open at the Alliance City Council on August 7 when Councilwoman Julie Jakmides took it on herself to walk out of council when she was worked over by council president Arthur Garnes for discharging a prime legislative function of questioning Andreani's safety-service director (Dreger) and the independently elected law director (Jennifer Arnold) and various and sundry questions on policing, administrative oversight issues and spending volume for legal services.

Nobody should be surprised by the anti-democratic actions of Alliance government which took place on August 7th.

In April of this year, at the request of Alliance citizen Leslie Young,  Attorney Steve Okey (a former Alliance councilman, a former council president and a past candidate [against Andreani] for mayor of Alliance) filed a lawsuit against Alliance government alleging that the Andreani administration violated Ohio's open meetings law in not complying with Ohio law (on legal advice provided by Arnold) with regard to a proper "in accordance with law" motion to go into executive session as presented to council which ultimately passed:  4 votes to 3.

Here is a copy the suit:



Kudos to the citizen and Okey for standing front and center for Ohio's open records law.

Here is Alliance's answer:



Trial is set for February 12, 2018.



Back in 2014, Okey filed in his own name a lawsuit against certain members of Alliance City Council with Larry Dordea as the lead-named and pleading referenced defendant which the SCPR said at the time appeared motivated to embarrass Dordea, who, at the time was in the midst of Stark County sheriff campaign seeking to unseat Okey political ally George T. Maier.

Okey said that it was unconnected with the Dordea/Maier matchup and the litigation was filed because of Okey's devotion to Ohio's Sunshine Laws.



This Stark County Political Report was not buying Okey's protestation that the 2014 litigation was all about Ohio's Sunshine Laws.

The SCPR wrote a number of blogs castigating Okey for having filed the case on account of what appeared to be obvious political implications of Councilman Dordea running against Okey political friend George T. Maier.

So it is a touch more than ironic that Dordea was among three councilpersons (Jakmides and Edwards also voting NO)  on presented motion for council and certain Andreani administration officials and Law Director Arnold to go into executive session which prompted the Leslie Young lawsuit.

What should disturb the citizens of Alliance is that under the Andreani administration lead, seemingly based, in large part, upon the legal counsel of Jennifer Arnold (Alliance's independently elected law director); it appears that Alliance is heading in the same direction as North Canton in curtailing compliance with core democratic-republican values and perhaps in the process violating Ohio law.

However, as the SCPR sees the matter, it is likely that Okey/Citizen Young will, if the lawsuit goes to trial, prevail.

Of course, it is possible that the Andreani administration on counsel by Arnold will drop defending the suit and implement the asked for remedies.

Either way, there might be these Alliance taxpayer costs, either agreed to or ordered by the court:
  • up to $1,000 in damages,
  • court costs and plaintiff's attorney fees, and 
  • legal fees paid by Alliance government for outside legal counsel
Shouldn't there be a "moral obligation" for those who participated in the manner in which the executive session was presented for an up or down vote to reimburse the city treasury?

Perhaps the Young lawsuit will prove to be curative of the Andreani administration's flirtation with its seeming unlawful manner of going into executive session.

One more thing.

An important point that Okey raises in the lawsuit is that governments MAY but is not required to go into executive session for reasons enumerated in the underlying Ohio statute cited in the Young lawsuit.

The SCPR's take on executive session use among Stark County local governments is that elected officials are all too quick and prone to invoke the permissive right to go into private session without considering adequately the necessity of doing so.

The taxpaying public has a right to know to the greatest degree as is practical and feasible to have discussions which serve as the basis for decisions made in public, be "public" themselves.

Government propensity to overuse is to deny, via out-of-view executive sessions, public access to the deliberations constitute the foundation upon which decisions are made in public session.

Such is a key ingredient among a number of others as why citizen trust of government grows by the day.

 In terms of the taxpaying public having confidence in the integrity of government, the processes of governing can be more important than the substantive decisions themselves.

Alliance council members Dordea, Jakmides and Edwards as well as Leslie Young and his attorney have courageously stepped forward to bolster democratic-republican values.

In North Canton, it appears there is no elected official on the inside at city hall (except perhaps a fleeting moment here and there by Councilman Foltz) who has the moxie to stand up for core government democratic enhancing process values.

All the city's councilpersons and the mayor seem to be good at is patting one another on the back in self-congratulation while they foster North Canton's democratic processes decline.

Accordingly, it  appears that the only North Canton cure is that its voters will take matters in hand in the November general election and place in office council members and a mayor who respect citizens' fundamental democratic-republican values.



Friday, August 11, 2017

JULIE JAKMIDES: Stark County's Premier "transparency in government" Advocate

UPDATED:  3:49 p.m.


It appears that there are those in Alliance city government who are trying their darndest to place a cloud over, if not totally obscure, "transparency-in-government" in the operations of Stark County's Carnation City.

Try as they may, The Stark County Political Report is betting on Councilwoman-at-Large Julie Jakmides to defeat the obscuring ways of the mayor (Andreani), the law director (Arnold), the safety-services director (Dreger)  and, perhaps, too, the president of Alliance City Council (Garnes).

Acrimony between Jakmides and her core supporters on council (Dordea and Edwards) and peripheral (i.e. here and there) supporters (King and Cherry, but NEVER Rhome) on the issue of administrative obfuscation came to a head at last Monday's regular council meeting.

The administration's thwarting of  Councilwoman Jakmides' incisive questioning prompted her walk out of council proceedings in protest to the administration-inspired attempts to shut her down in questioning various actions of the administration with regard to Alliance policing and irresponsibly spending Alliance taxpayer monies.

Julie Jakmides is a SCPR type of political party partisan.

Her demonstrated, time and again,  track record is "community interest(s)" over political party interest(s) is a model for all Stark County elected officials.

And the SCPR, really, really, really likes that quality in any Stark County politician.

Political parties are just fine as long as their interests take a backseat to the public interest.

Unfortunately, the Jakmides of Stark County political life are few and far between.

The Stark County "organized" Democratic Party effort to shut down the "independent" candidacy of Thomas Bernabei is a prime example of political parties gone wrong.

As specifically demonstrated about two years ago, Jakmides, a thoroughgoing Republican, opposed Alliance law director and Republican Jennifer Arnold in her quest to become the elected law director of Alliance over Democratic candidate Mark Whitaker.


Jakmides was unsuccessful in her 2015 effort, but she has continued to press her case against Arnold as being an "undesirable' law director based in large-part on inappropropriate for any public official, much less a law director," Facebook series of entries.


The SCPR thinks the Whitaker loss by a mere 46 votes out of over 4600 cast shows the political clout that Jakmides has in Alliance.

She, likely, was the primary factor in Democrat Whitaker almost pulling off a stunning defeat of the political party appointed law director.

Beyond Arnold's 2015 inappropriate Facebook behavior, it appears she continues to show that she is not up to—public official performance-wise— rendering acceptable standards of transparency in government.

Accordingly, Councilwoman Jakmides continues her quest to hold the law director and her Andreani administration cohorts accountable.

Asked whether or not the name Julie Jakmides might appear on a Republican Party primary election ballot as an Arnold opponent, Jakmides left open the possibility that such could be the case but as of August 11, 2017 she has no such plan.  Jakmides has graduated for The University of Akron School of Law and is awaiting her bar results.

And get this.

Asked further whether or not she plans to oppose Mayor Alan Andreani when his term is up in 2019, she had a thoughtful response:
  • Maybe he will not be running again,
  • Perhaps he will not have an opponent, and
  • (by implication), he could change his ways in terms of transparency within the next two years and thereby redeem himself
But if he doesn't change and he does run again, she made it clear that she would have no problem whatsoever as a Republican supporting the right kind of Democrat or perhaps, even another Republican in the 2019 primary to deny Andreani another term as mayor.

Jakmides, despite her youth, appears to the SCPR to one of Stark County's most thoughtful and mature public officials.

Jakmides and the SCPR have had our differences in the interplay of public official/public figure and the media.  Nevertheless, she has continued to be accessible for Q&As.  Another sign of political maturity that quite a few of Stark County's political subdivision elected officials lack.

Accordingly, The Report rates Jakmides as one of Stark County's very best public officials in terms of her political maturity and has shown that she is committed to working for continuing/enhancing fundamental democratic-republican values over her political party ties.

Projecting forward, Jakmides, perhaps, has the makings of a Robert Mueller-esque government service lawyer  in terms of her personal integrity, independent-mindedness and devotion to wherever the facts take her as she moves through her public life.

The SCPR's focus in this blog has been on democratic-republican processes inherent in the substantive dispute between Jakmides et al and the Alliance city administration as she defines "administration" (i.e. the mayor, the law director and the safety-service director)  in the sense of being a problem that currently preoccupies all things government in Alliance.

For those readers who want to augment the SCPR's tact in this blog with a detailed exploration of the substantive elements of the disputes among Alliance city officials, the best source is Jakmides Facebook page (LINK).

Alternatively, readers can go to Stephanie Ujhelyi's excellent reportorial work to get a solid background on the matter at the following links:
One Alliance resident who is not part of the current flap has offered to the SCPR that a removal of Safety-Service Director Michael Dreger might go a long way to abating the discord among the various elements of Alliance government.  Jakmides did not disagree with that observation when presented to her.  Nor did another source intimately familiar with Alliance city government operations.

The SCPR has learned that Jakmides' ally and Ward 3 councilman Larry Dordea has taken the lead in dealing with Dreger.

A position that has surfaced in discussion with SCPR sources is that Dreger did at least a presentable job as water department superintendent, but is thought to have taken on an arbitrary/tyrannical bent as safety-service director and thereby is not, in the opinion of a number of folks, of a suitable temperament to be an effective safety-service director.

Former Democratic councilwoman Sue Ryan once reported to having thought that Dreger was a good choice by Mayor Andreani for safety-service director in September, 2014 based on his service in  Alliance's water and distribution/utility services going back to 1979.

Ryan says she has changed her mind on Dreger and further says her change is based on a shared perception that he has taken on a arbitrary/tyrannical manner about himself in his current position.

Ryan as councilwoman demonstrated many of the pro democratic-republican values characteristics that Jakmides does.

In the spring of 2014, she fought fellow Democrat Steve Okey to be named president of council when John Benincasa died.

And she called him out when a controversy broke out between him and Alliance Council when he took over as council president.

Jakmides, being a fair minded person, points out that she thinks that Alliance auditor Kevin Knowles is NO part of a conspiratorial-esque appearing  (my phrase, not hers) administrative alliance that appears hellbent on destroying trust that Alliance's citizens have had in overall Alliance governmental operations before Arnold.

In an interesting aside, when asked to compare council president Garnes (to former council president Steve Okey, she left the SCPR with the impression that of late Garnes is not impressing her.

Initially, he did.  But no more.

Jakmides was at the forefront of an effort of council to censor Okey during his stint as president for his highhanded way in dealing with council.

One has to wonder whether or not Garnes might also be faced with a council censure should he continue shutting down Jakmides in her endeavor to ask telling questions that might dig out embarrassing responses by the likes of Andreani.

Such is speculation on the part of the SCPR and was not indicated as a potential plan of action by Councilwoman Jakmides as an outgrowth of the interview.

Alliance's citizens/voters should rally behind Jakmides if they care about transparency in government.

There is none better in Stark County political subdivision government on this score than Alliance councilwoman-at-large Julie Jakmides!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

CHRISTINA HAGAN ON HER WAY TO RAISING MILLIONS IN HER RUN FOR A U.S. HOUSE SEAT?

THE GREATEST CONGRESSIONAL CAMPAIGN EVER?


In a March, 2016 interview with ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), state Representative Christina Hagan said she wants "to do something great for our community ... ."

She currently represents the 50th Ohio House District.

In early April, she announced she is giving up her seat in the Ohio House (she can run for one more term before being term limited out) to run for the 16th Congressional District  U.S. House seat of Jim Renacci, who is running for governor.


Maybe The Stark County Political Report (SCPR) has missed something, but nothing comes to mind as Christina Hagan having done something great for the 50th let alone the state of Ohio, if that is how she wishes to define community.

To be in a position to show how great she is as a financially adept politician, the SCPR has learned that Hagan is likely telling Republican Party bigwigs that she WILL raise $1.5 million in her quest to gain the Republican nomination to be the party's candidate for the 16th,  come May 8, 2018 and next year's Republican primary election.

Impressive, no?

But that ain't nothing.

Hagan goes on to say that if she is successful in getting the GOP nomination, she will raise $16 million for the general election to be held in November, 2018.

By my book, raising that kind of money pretty much makes her a shoe-in to be the successor to Renacci.

One has to be highly skeptical that Hagan can come anywhere near raising that kind of money.

The passage of time will tell the tale.

With this blog, the SCPR begins tracking Hagan's fundraising efforts.

The Federal Election Commission reports that as of her July15, 2017 reporting of contributions received as June 30th she has raised $127,265.

The next reporting period is through September 30th and should be published shortly after the next reporting date of October 15th.

During the current reporting period Hagan shows only about 39 different contributors (e.g. Walton Armour with two contributions counts for one unique contributor; John/Tina Hagan [her parents] with four contributions count as one unique contributor).  There are a total of 68 contributions.

Many of the contributors are "locals" meaning residents of Alliance, Louisville, Canton and the like.

Having  raised $127,265 is not bad for a start.  But it is a long way $1.5 million.

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer (i.e. Cleveland.com), two other Cleveland area Republicans have declared or expressed interest in running for the 16th District opening.

In terms of fundraising, that the two, Anthony Gonzalez of Westlake and state Rep. Tom Patton of Strongsville throwing their hast into the ring likely means that prospective donors will not be that easy to come by for Hagan, especially in view of the fact that she does not live in the 16th as Gonzalez and Patton do.

Names on Hagan's list that Stark Countians should be familiar with include Sarah Brown (wife of retired Court of Common Pleas judge Charles Brown), Stephen Coon of Coon Restoration & Sealants and her parents.  Father John served in the Ohio House from 2000 through 2008.

Here is Hagan's current FEC reported campaign finance contributions: