Tuesday, May 14, 2019

CANTON DEMOCRATS "LIKE" CHRISTINE SCHULMAN AS "COUNCILPERSON-AT-LARGE" BY A WIDE MARGIN!


A FOR SURE WINNER IN NOVEMBER!

WILL SHE BE HER OWN PERSON 
OR
BE PRIMARILY MINDFUL OF
"WHO BROUGHT HER TO THE DANCE?"

INSET SOURCE:  BOE

Folks (candidates, committeepersons, and members of the public) filed into Courtroom 5 of the Canton Municipal Court last evening right before 5:00 PM at which time Chairman Sam Ferruccio, Jr of the Stark County Democratic Party gaveled the "select a successor to resigned councilperson-at-large Corey Minor Smith as of  April 8, 2019.

Local Republicans are telling the SCPR that "organized" Democrats have "gamed the system" in terms of Corey Minor Smith after resigning staying on the primary election ballot of May 7th and winning a slot so as to preclude a Republican being elected in November.

The SCPR  thinks they have a point.  However, this blogger thinks that the likes of Republican chair Jeff Matthews would have counseled as it appears Dems chairman Sam Ferruccio, Jr appears to have done in order to look out for his political party's interest.

Both political parties, this blogger thinks, hold the political party interest over the public interest of having a politically competitive governance environment.

If the SCPR sees evidence re: the complaining Republicans, that they would do things differently than what it appears that Ferruccio and the Dems have done, which The Report hasn't, then this blogger would be duly impressed and herald the occasion.

But do not hold your breath!

All-in-all it only took a little over 28 minutes for the Stark County's largest urban Democrat fiefdom to select Christine Schulman (wife of recently deceased longtime Canton City Council president Allen Schulman) as recently resigned Councilperson-at-large Corey Minor Smith's replacement.

Here is the uncut, raw video of last night's proceeding:



While Schulman has no legislative experience as contrasted with candidates Slesnick and Kraus, she and Allen for years have been the cornerstone of organizing and hosting (at Allen's law office; the former Carnegie built Canton Library) many, many, many prominent local, state and even some national Democrats.

And they put their money where the mouths were in making numerous and substantial campaign finance contributions to Democratic candidates.

Schulman does bring with her a wealth of being a highly successful businesswoman.

The Stark County Political Report believed going in the last night's meeting that Schulman's chief rival would be former state Rep. Stephen Slesnick who surprised nearly everyone, including this blogger, when he became the Democratic nominee to replace Representative William J. Healy, II who opted to the leave the Ohio Legislature to run for and win the mayoralty of Canton in ousting Republican incumbent mayor Janet Weir Creighton.


Note that only 29% of voting registered Democrats support Slesnick; 71% preferred someone else.  Not exactly an overwhelming endorsement of the expectations that Democrats themselves had of what he would bring to government.

Of that group, only Rinaldi and West have qualities that equip them to be attentive, inclusive and transparent in relation to "all" of the district's citizens.

It appears to the SCPR that current representative Thomas West though being in a huge minority is doing much better than Slesnick did as a state representative.

Like most (e.g. Republican John Hagan) "once elected-now I am entitled to be elected to something, anything!" termed out public officials such as Slesnick was in 2018 from the Ohio House, Slesnick has run for county commissioner and last night sought to be appointed by local Democrats as Corey Minor Smith's replacement.


Once on the "public 'tit,' it is difficult for most to wean themselves off.

Stephen Slesnick, who, in the opinion of the SCPR was (as this blogger has written many times) a nearly worthless state representative perhaps rivaling former representative Mary Cirelli who Healy had ousted.

Readers of the SCPR hear this blogger harp incessantly about how  "sure to be elected" Democratic/Republican candidates for public office bring some very marginal at best elected public officials into our democratic/republican form of government.

Being a Canton councilperson-at-large candidate in highly Democratic Canton is almost guaranteed to be elected whether an incumbent or a first-term appointee.

Of course, Stark County Republicans engage in the same thing.  The Ohio Republican Party through its elected Ohio General Assembly (OGA) members have gerrymandered federal and state legislative offices so as to ensure whopping Republican majorities.

In Stark County, we have Scott Oelslager, Kirk Schuring and Reggie Stoltzfus in what are "impossible for Democrats" to compete in highly gerrymander seats.  District 49 (Democrat Tom West) is gerrymandered too.  For Republican lawmakers have more or less put as many registered Stark Democrats into the 49th to give the likes of Oelslager, Schuring, and Stoltzfus more "Republican" registered voter districts.

To boot, Oelslager and Schuring have circumvented the voters of Ohio expressed will that they be limited to eight consecutive years in the Ohio General Assembly by trading districts (between the Ohio House and Senate) when each is about to be term limited out of either the House or Senate.

While legal, it is an arrogant move that is the equivalent to an "in your face" to the voters of Ohio.

Moreover, what have they done for the well being of Stark County in their nearly combined 60 years in the OGA?

Undoubtedly, there are some things they have shepherded through the OGA but not nearly what it should have been in light of nearly everybody else being limited to eight years in the body as compared to their combined 60.

Tell me, how does "unaccountability" in terms of having "a safe seat" advance the cause of our democratic-republic.

To me, the politicos who support lopsidedness do a great deal to undermine the American system of government.

Despite her impressive Democratic credentials as outlined above and now that she is councilwoman-at-large, the SCPR trusts that she will endeavor to be the representative of "all the people of Canton" and not cater "to her base group" as to the detriment of America, the president of the United States is currently doing.

The SCPR trusts that Christine Schulman will be an exception to "the rule of staying with a partner who brought you to the dance."

Canton City Council, the Ohio General Assembly, and the Congress are not "dances."

They are about attentive, inclusive, transparent governance.

To the degree that political parties incorporate the foregoing democratic-republican values, terrific!

To the degree organized political parties undermine core democratic-republican values, "a pox on both their houses."

Sunday, May 12, 2019

WHY SHOULD "EVERYDAY" STARK COUNTIANS CARE ABOUT STARK COUNTY'S E-FILING IMPLEMENTATION?



VIDEO: JUDGE TARYN HEATH
"EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT E-FILE"

CLICK ON GRAPHIC TO ENLARGE

As shown in the graphic above, the implementation of an Electronic Filing System (E-file) with the Stark County court system might not be a matter of interest on the part of the Stark County general public in that it most directly affects the courts themselves, attorneys who file cases with the courts and Stark County general agencies of government who interact with the courts.

So why should a typical reader of The Stark County Political Report (SCPR) linger on and read and view (the video of Judge Heath's Q&A with the SCPR) this blog?

First and foremost is the projected longer-term overall cost savings which in one form or another (e.g. less clerk of employees and other court-connected employees being needed) filter through to Stark County users of the courts and ultimately to Stark County taxpayers.

Secondly, the savings in time and concomitant expense (for their attorneys which should filter through to clients) with the potential promise of less need to physically travel to the courts for those Stark Countians who have legal matters to be brought before the courts in terms of a civil or criminal matter.

Thirdly, to understand the thoroughness with which Judge Taryn Heath (e-file liaison judge) is proceeding (since 2011) to make sure that the final implementation of e-file in Stark County is the best that it can be if it rolls out in December 2019 or whenever it gets implemented and published.

There are other reasons in terms of more efficient government agency integration with the court system which though largely unseen by the typical Stark County citizen definitely benefit citizens in cost and convenience.

Here is the video of the SCPR's May 1, 2019 interview with Judge Heath that explores the entire time span (late 2011 through December 2019 or later) on the evolvement of the e-filing project.

This video is about 30 minutes long and is an example of a straight-talking, transparent elected official candidly answering all the SCPR's questions.

A MUST SEE for any reader who cares about transparency and candor in local government!



It has taken way too long for Stark County to get e-filing and its attendant e-filing system up and running.  It has been in process since late 2011 and (keep your fingers crossed) might be up and running by December 2019.

Here is a graphic of the financial progression of e-filing in Stark County going back to 2011 as prepared by Dwaine Hemphill who is the court's chief administrator.

CLICK ON GRAPHIC TO MAKE LARGER

So why the delay?

The initial contract with Tybera was signed in 2015.  (See exhibits 1 & 2 in the appendix to this blog).

Almost immediately upon Tybera getting its contract with Stark County government, it became apparent that the county's case management computer system was so adequated under the watch of the likes of Stark County former clerks of court Phil Giavasis, Nancy Reinbold and currently Louis Giavasis that it has had to be rebuilt.

NOTE:  The foregoing assessment is NOT that of Judge Heath but completely and totally the assessment of this blogger.

Judge Heath as seen in the video DID NOT point fingers at anyone working in Stark County government as being the cause of the delay in implementing e-file.


As readers of the SCPR know, this blogger has never been shy about naming names that The Report thinks is responsible for this or that thing in local government this blog's quest to hold Stark County government officials accountable for their actions and/or inaction.



This blogger is fully aware of Sheriff George T. Maier's admonition recently, to wit:  "Martin, you know you have a lot of enemies [in Stark County government].  

It is a little bit unnerving to have Stark County's chief law enforcement person to make such a statement, joking or not.

Whichever it was, an attempt at intimidation or joking, it was totally inappropriate for the county sheriff to have made such a statement.

A part of the out-of-date factor of the case management system has been the inability of the clerk's office to hire and maintain technical personnel needed to restructure the case management system.  Prior technical employees left county employment because the county was not competitive in the salary range which, of course, is a determination made by the elected clerk of courts.

Anita Henderson one of the Stark County auditor's top Internet Technology (IT) experts has helped the clerk of courts IT to resolve the deficiency in the office's case management software.

The SCPR has written that the Stark County clerk of courts office appears to be highly politicized in terms of the selection of the clerk him or herself and some of the key employees of the office that perhaps the office is not getting the very best from the general employment market that have the skills with which to avoid situations like an adequated case management system.

It is tempting to think that it "six of one and a half a dozen of another" when it comes to government employees.  The SCPR is not one to accept that kind of thinking.

Though politically connected employees might we be "workman-esque" performers, The Report thinks that to make political connections a factor in who gets hired and who does not even have the opportunity may prove very costly to particular elected officials.

Former Stark County treasurer Gary Zeigler told this blogger on April 1, 2009 that all he knew about then chief deputy of the treasury Vince Frustaci is that "he was just some guy out on the golf course."

Think about that statement.

If true and Zeigler had not thoroughly vetted him which resulted in unknowingly getting an employee that turned out the way Frustaci did was indeed costly to Stark County taxpayers and to Zeigler in his individual capacity.

If not true and Zeigler hired Frustaci merely because of political considerations what difference is there in terms of inviting potential consequences of having made such a hire.

None of us know the full story of the adverse and detrimental to Stark Countians (in both quality of government service and a poor, if not a devastating, taxpayer financial consequences [e.g. Frustaci]) improperly vetted and/or politically connected hirings!

Though certainly quite different than the treasury situation, the SCPR believes that for years the clerk of courts office has been a haven for the politically connected to get a preference in obtaining local government jobs.

And there are other county offices that "persons in a position to know" tell the SCPR are rampant with employees who likely were and continued to be hired because of their political connections which obviously make the hirings "a crapshoot" as to whether or not the hire is in the best interest of the service and value  Stark Countians receive at the hand of local government offices.

The Stark County commissioners have made a step in the right director in trying to ensure that availability of county jobs is broadcast generally so as to enhance the field of candidates and thereby improve the chances that the county hires highly productive employees.

However, the created Stark County Human Resources (SCHR) appears to be little used by independent of the commissioners elected county officials.

Recently, the SCPR has done on the hiring practices of Stark County clerk of courts Louis Giavasis.  Giavasis told this blogger he has used SCHR only once in his nearly four years of being the elected clerk of courts.

The SCPR is gathering additional material on other local government elected officials who do not have in place structures of employment that enhance the likelihood of obtaining the most creative, efficient and productive workers that the general employment market can provide.

As regular readers of the SCPR, this blogger generally provides much more information on any given topic that the local mainstream media does.

And the e-file project is no exception.

For those readers who like to dig into the interstices of data, here are documents that should make for an interesting read.

APPENDIX

INITIAL CONTRACT WITH TYBERA



FOLLOW UP CONTRACT WITH TYBERA



TYBERA'S PROMOTIONAL MATERIAL



RECEIPTS DETAILS



EXPENDITURE DETAILS



Wednesday, May 8, 2019

STARK CO. COMMISSIONERS ACT TO MAKE COUNTY SAFER WITH ADVANCED 911 SYSTEM.



The Stark County commissioners earlier today at their regular Wednesday meeting (1:30 p.m.) at the Stark County Office building approved on the recommendation of Stark County Emergency Management Agency (SCEMA) and endorsement of Stark County Sheriff George T. Maier passed a resolution authorizing the implementation by Stark County-based dispatch centers a state-of-the-art "enhanced" 911 call system.

Here is a 17-minute video (raw footage) of the entire meeting from beginning to end.


Tuesday, May 7, 2019

SEE STARK CO POLITICAL REPORT "POST-ELECTION" ANALYSIS TWEETS

LINK

The Stark County Political Report, Stark County's premier governance/political opinion supported by facts blog!

Friday, May 3, 2019

WHO WILL LAKE VOTERS AGREE WITH? TRUSTEES OR OPPOSITION. LAKE 2.0 MILL MIDWAY PARK LEVY

UPDATED:  7:15 A.M. 05/05  

ISSUE 3 AUDIO INTERVIEW WITH ISSUE 3 OPPONENT EVE MORGAN


6:19 PM - AUDIO INTERVIEW WITH ISSUE 3 PROPONENT SETH MARANA


9:21 AM -  PRO ISSUE 3 PRE-PRIMARY CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTORS
(SEE IN APPENDIX)

LAKE ISSUE #3 - GOING DOWN TO DEFEAT?

SEE SCPR VIDEO INTERVIEW OF TRUSTEE JEREMY YODER SUPPORTIN LEVY

ALSO, VIDEO OF OPPONENTS AT COMMUNITY MEETING


Recently, this blogger was into a local barber shop and, of course, anyone who has ever been to a barbershop know that it "pulse of the community central."

A Stark County Political Report (SCPR, The Report) visit to a local barber who the SCPR thinks knows the Lake community politics better than anyone else living in the township:

Question:  Is the proposed 2.0 mill Midway Park levy going to pass?

Answer:  "I don't think so."

If the barber is correct, then the folks  (about two dozen of them, likely near all of them against the levy) who showed up at the Uniontown Fire Department (FD) on April 18, 2019 for an informational meeting, will be cheered up.

Here is a SCPR video sampling of some of those folks who had specific objections to the levy.





The Report has not gotten the impression from Lake Township trustee Jeremy Yoder that the issue is obviously destined for failure.

He appears to the SCPR to be mildly optimistic that Lake voters will approve the ambitious Midway Park plan which will come at an average cost of $100 a year or so for an average-valued home owned by Lake Township residents.

The levy is for 10 years and likely, according to Stark County auditor Alan Harold, raise about $15/16 million.

Here is a LINK to a video that shows the design concept of the proposed Issue 3 project.

A few weeks ago, the SCPR did a videotaped interview with Trustee Yoder.

Here is that video.



As a matter of disclaimer, this blogger  (a Lake resident) favors the levy.

But, as Trustee Yoder said at the Uniontown FD informational meeting, Lake residents who vote on May 7th will decide the issue for all.  The vote on this issue is an example of Democracy at work.

Those gathered at the FD on April 18th made an interesting rejoinder to Trustee Yoder when he opined that Lake lags Jackson and North Canton in park development which draws many people to a community and therefore Lake suffers from a lesser commerce factor which in turn makes Lake one of Stark's most expensive real property tax communities.

The rejoinder?

"We do not want to be like Jackson and North Canton!"

Here is a letter which underscores the foregoing point:


As a follow up to the foregoing letter, the SCPR via telephone interviewed Ms. Morgan on Saturday, May 4, 2019:



However, there are those like this blogger want to see the Midway project pass for several reasons.

First and foremost is that it is likely a facility that will get heavy use by nearly all age groups.

Heavy promotion of using the facility should be made to the youth of Lake in hopes that involvement with the use of the park will be a healthy diversion from the youth engaging in unhealthy activities.

Next, it will be an economic plus and long term property tax relief for Lake which is primarily a "bedroom community" and therefore has to have high property tax rates.

Here is an audio interview with a proponent of Issue 3; namely, Seth Marana of Uniontown:



The Lake citizens who oppose the issue are making terrific points in that it appears that the Lake trustees and other "on board" community leaders have not thought out well enough.

For instance, one resident at the FD meeting guffawed at the notion that a couple of employees could maintain and manage the park.

The SCPR agrees and, if passed, the trustees need to get real and make sure that along the course of construction and develop that there is an adequate proportion of the $15/16 million set aside for the operational side of the facility.

There were other salient points made by the objectors.

Hopefully, Trustee Yoder heard them and will be a force for addressing their concerns.

APPENDIX

Pro Issue 3 Campaign contributors
(No report filed by anti-Issue 3 group; likely because less than $1,000 was raised)




For those readers who want to dig deeper into the makeup of Lake Township, see the YMCA commissioned report which follows: