Blogger Tips and TricksLatest Tips And TricksBlogger Tricks

Friday, September 19, 2014



Today, the SCPR picks up the YouTube video file of the Cleveland City Club which presents "the one and only" debate between the candidates for any of the statewide offices.

The Report commends Republican state auditor David Yost for being willing to debate Libertarian Bob Bridges and Democrat John Carney.

By all reports, Yost, as the incumbent, has a comfortable lead over his two opponents.

But Yost distinguishes himself over fellow Republicans John Kasich (governor), Mike DeWine (attorney general), Ted Husted (secretary of state) and Josh Mandel (treasurer) as being "democracy friendly" and is willing to risk that he might make a politically damaging gaffe in the Cleveland City Club debate and thereby put his reelection in jeopardy.

Obviously, Kasich, DeWine, Husted and Mandel are putting their personal political interests ahead of the voting public's right to become better informed voters by seeing them side-by-side with their Democratic opponents answering the same question.

Shame on Kasich, DeWine, Husted and Mandel.

We know, of course, they are not Democrats, BUT with their refusal to debate for the benefit of the voting public, we have to question their commitment to democratic values.

While the SCPR does not support Stark Countians voting against Kasich, DeWine, Husted and Mandel solely for the reason that they refused to debate; The Report does think that, if whom to vote for on merit is a close call  in the upcoming November 4th election; perhaps, the demonstrated anti-democratic values stance of the four Republicans might be a tipping point in Ohioans/Stark Countians voting for their opponents.

Again.  Shame on Kasich, DeWine, Husted and Mandel for putting personal political interests ahead of the public interest!

Stark Countians and all Ohioans owe the Cleveland City Club a debt of gratitude for arranging for and hosting the auditor race debate.

For a third time a SCPR "shame on you" to Kasich, DeWine, Husted and Mandel for not honoring/supporting the Cleveland City Club democracy enhancing debate forum.

Just one more point.

"Well," some undoubtedly will say, "Democratic candidates in the same position would do the the very same thing."

Of course, they would.

But that doesn't make it the proper thing to do for the well being of our democratic system, which is to say: "let informed voters decide" who is to hold office.

All the "Democrats would do the same thing" argument proves is that such Democratic politicians are more committed to "self-interest, personal interest politics" than they are to America's democratic values.

Self interest over the public interest is why more and more of us disdain politicians of whatever stripe.

Over time the actions of folks like Kasich, DeWine, Husted and Mandel eat away at the very foundation of our cherished democratic processes.

And, yes, there are names to be named as part and parcel of "the acid of personal political interest" prevailing which undermines our way of life.  A way of life sustained at Lexington, Concord, Valley Forge, Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Normandy and in the battle against Al Qaeda and currently ISIS.

Here is the Bridges/Carney/Yost Cleveland City Club debate.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


UPDATED:  10:00 AM


Canton Mayor William J. Healy, II
Is Comprehensive Plan
Canton's Last Opportunity?

Ward 8 Councilman Edmond Mack
The Prospects for Plan Success

 Canton Citizen Dan Fonte
How did the Gervasi Vinyard Session Go? 
Tuesday night was the "kick-off" for the City of Canton's information gathering as one aspect of putting together a comprehensive plan to - in the opinion of The Stark County Political Report - to get the Hall of Fame City off life support.

The map of the city in today's lead graphic (restructured somewhat by the SCPR to emphasize the $15,398 "average sale price" of properties in large parts of the city) was put together by CZB, LLC, the consulting firm hired by Canton in the spring to bring the plan to fruition.

Readers should refresh themselves on the underlying discussion of whether or not Canton should hire CZB, LLC at this SCPR blog LINK.

Canton did hire CZB and Community Building Partnership of Stark County (as a local player) to get the planning process up and running.

For access to the Comprehensive Plan website, here is a LINK to access it.

With much of Canton's residential real properties selling at $15, 398 on average and with Canton being on the brink of being rated as an "extreme poverty city," the SCPR thinks that the city is on life support with barely a heartbeat detectible.

Such is the assessment of the SCPR notwithstanding the announcement this past week of the projected completion of the conversion of the former Onesto Hotel into downtown living space and the projected development of the Pro Football Hall of Fame complex into what is being called: Hall of Fame Village.

The Report asked Canton mayor William J. Healy, II at the conclusion of Tuesday's first meeting whether or not the Canton Comprehensive Plan was "a last opportunity" for Canton to revive itself.

Notwithstanding his answer to the contrary,  The Report is convinced that Canton is at a crisis point insofar as its future is concerned.

One of Stark County's most capable citizens in terms of having the ability to critique plans is former Local 94, Plumbers and Pipefitters business manager Dan Fonte.

The Report knows Fonte to be a no-nonsense assessor of whatever topic he engages in who, like the SCPR, does not care who he p*sses off in his appraisal of public figure personalities and of public entities.

The Report thinks that the chances of success of Canton's Comprehensive Plan would be greatly enhanced if the city administration, city council and CZB and Community Builders of Stark County would embrace Fonte as a main player in the construction of and the implementation of the plan.

He has spent a lifetime advocating for the working class men and women of Stark County.

Here is Fonte's candid appraisal of the Gervasi Vineyard presentation.

The SCPR applauds the Healy administration and Canton City Council for conceiving and going forward with the plan.

Now it is up to Cantonians to take advantage of what The Report thinks may well be Canton's "last gasp" to attain a healthy heatbeat or to become a "dead - beyond revival" city for the foreseeable future.

Last night a meeting was held at the Canton Garden Center.

It was undoubtedly not happenstance that the first meeting took place at the Gervasi Vineyard complex which is located in Canton's most "well-heeled" locale (that is to say:  Ward 8) which is represented by Democrat Edmond Mack.

About 75 attended.

Here are Mack's post-meeting remarks to the SCPR.

Here is the rest of the schedule that Cantonians can and SHOULD participate in.

One has to wonder what kind of participation Councilpersons Greg Hawk, Thomas West, Jim Griffin, Chris Smith and Kevin Fisher will be able to generate when their areas inasmuch of their wards are among Canton's most depressed.

The SCPR will be tracking the evolvement and implementation of the resulting plan.

All in the continuing effort by The Report to have Stark County's politicians be accountable for their decisions.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Unless you are politically connected, a woman can forget getting a top level, high paying job in Stark County's most urban township.

As stunning as Jackson Township's numbers were in last week's SCPR series (volume 12) on gender equity, Plain's are even worse.

Of 94 township employees (full and part time, not including elected officials), on 5.5% of Plain's employees are women.

Of 68 township full-time employees, only 10% are women.

It appears to the SCPR that one way women can improve their lot in Plain Township government is to be politically connected.

Township Administrator Lisa Jackson Sabina Campbell is:
  • the daughter of former Stark County commissioner Gayle Jackson, 
  • the sister of Stark County Democratic Party Political Director,
  • the wife of Stark County recorder Rick Campbell
all of whom are part of what the SCPR calls the Johnnie A. Maier, Jr Loyalty Club.  Maier is a former chairman of the Stark County Democratic Party and is currently Massillon clerk of course with Shane Jackson employed as his chief deputy.

Pictured in the left hand margin is long time Plain Township trustee Louis P. Giavasis who is the brother of Stark County Dems' chairman Phil Giavasis.

Maier, Jr., by the way, says that Gayle Jackson is the best Stark County commissioner that Stark County has ever had.

Louis also works for Democratic Stark County Clerk of Courts Nancy Giavasis as does fellow trustee Al Leno, II.  

The SCPR has written prolifically over the nearly seven years of this blog about the political machinations which The Report believes took place to provide Jackson-Sabina-Campbell the opportunity to be Plain's top female employee and only second to Fire Chief Donald Snyder.

Snyder earns $78,500 after 35 years of employment.  Jackson-Sabina-Campbell earns $72,000 after some 18 years of employment.

But Administrator Campbell is the only female employee who does well pay-wise compared to the men that the township employs.

At number 62 is Linda Gambol.  After more than 20 years of service she only earns $37,148 which is a far cry from the administrator lofty $72,000.

Gambol has more service than many of the men ahead of her, but they are paid substantially more.

Only three other women earn in the $30,000 range in Plain. 

This group of women are in the rock-bottom tier of pay for Plain Township full-time employees.

One of the rejoinders of some readers of this blog is that many of Plain's employees are firefighters and that being a firefighter is not suitable employment for women.

To which the SCPR responds, balderdash!

Very little if any factor in the overall question of whether or not women are suited to be firefighters, policepersons on any other "traditional" male-centered occupations have to do with physical ability to do the job.

The major factors are cultural-centered biases.

Historically in America, women have done just fine as firefighters when provided an opportunity or they have seized the initiative on their own.

Here is some history:
The first known female firefighter of the United States was a slave from New York named Molly Williams, who was said to be "as good a fire laddie as many of the boys," and fought fires during the early 1800s. ...
In the 1820s, Marina Betts was a volunteer firefighter in Pittsburgh. ...
Lillie Hitchcock was made an honorary member of the Knickerbocker Engine Company, No. 5., in San Francisco in 1863, and fought fires for some years after.

In the 1910s, there were women's volunteer fire companies in Silver Spring, Maryland, and Los Angeles, California. ...
In 1936 Emma Vernell became the first official female firefighter in New Jersey. ...

During World War II some women served as firefighters in the United States to replace firemen who joined the military; indeed, during part of the war two fire departments in Illinois were all-female. ... 
In 1942 the first all-female forest firefighting crew in California was created. ...

There were all-female fire companies in Kings County, California, and Woodbine, Texas, in the 1960s.
In 1971 an all-female BLM (Bureau of Land Management) firefighting crew fought fires in the wilds of Alaska during the summer of 1971, and an all-female U.S. Forest Service firefighting crew fought fires in 1971 and 1972 in Montana. ...

The first known female fire chief in the U.S. was Ruth E. Capello. Ruth Capello was born in 1922 and became fire chief of the Butte Falls fire department in Butte Falls, Oregon in 1973. She died at the age of 70 in 1992. ...
Sandra Forcier, the first known paid female firefighter (excluding forest firefighting) in the U.S., began working in North Carolina in 1973; she was a Public Safety Officer, a combination of police officer and firefighter. ...
The first woman to work solely as a paid firefighter (excluding forest firefighting) was Judith Livers, hired by the Arlington County, Virginia, fire department in 1974. ...
The first female head of a career fire department, Chief Rosemary Bliss in Tiburon, California, became fire chief in 1993. ...
One of the concerns on physical ability has to do with the handling of hoses. 

From a Wikepedia article:
According to the publication LA Weekly, "Firefighters pull heavy lengths of hose, climb stairs while wielding giant power tools like chain saws, and lift 180-pound, 35-foot wooden ladders... Firefighters' physicians say that a human expected to pull the heaviest hose lines must weigh at least 143 pounds," and some women go through extensive training, sometimes paid for by the hiring municipality, prior to beginning actual training in a firefighting academy ... .
The short and the skinny of it is that hiding behind the notion that firefighting is "men's work" is utter nonsense.

For Plain Township or any other Stark County political subdivision to perpetuate the myth is an outrage on the 51.5% (52.3% in Plain) of taxpaying women who constitute the Stark County population.

For Plain to being doing worse than Jackson Township on gender equity issues is interesting.

Jackson is probably the Stark County bastion of the Republican Party which is not particularly well known for its looking after minority rights.

Plain, on the other hand, has Democratic leadership and while not like Canton in the overwhelming predominance of Democrats in its population, it certainly is predominantly Democratic in voter registration.

And many, if not most, Democratic officials like to think they stand more for minority rights (women are classified as being a minority in U.S. law) than Republicans.

So what is going on in Plain?

5.5% women in employment compared to Jackson's 13.5%.

While both are a disgrace, it is very telling on Plain officials that the Plain led by Democrats Giavasis and Leno are outpaced by Jackson's Republican (Hawke and Walters) leadership.

So much for the rhetoric, no?

The SCPR is pleased in this series to bring to the attention of Stark Countians the degree to which Stark County government abides unfair treatment of the county's women.

Such does beg the question:

How long are Stark/Jackson/Plain women going to abide their public officials abiding gender inequity?

Perhaps Stark's women should be thinking in terms of developing some political muscle for themselves.

For it appears that political connections and oomph can be very effective!

The SCPR is on volume 13 of this series on gender equity in Stark County/political subdivision government.

Here are links to the prior blogs:

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


(the Stark County prosecutor should make the referral!)

Today's blog is something quite different than The Stark County Political Report envisioned at the outset of putting it together.

As readers of The Report know, "no stone is left unturned" in the effort to put together an interesting blog.

However, The Report was totally unprepared for what met the eyes in looking at Stark County sheriff Republican candidate Larry Dordea's Facebook page last evening, to wit:

I have given much thought to this post and I know its going to be long but some things just need to be stated. This is not my first campaign for sheriff and I and the Dordea for Sheriff volunteers have never been disrespected by a political opponent or their volunteers in previous campaigns. There have been many incidents of apparent intimidation, some of which have included the fully uniformed sheriff. My volunteers have been bumped into and crowded by the opposition while handing out campaign materials. While campaigning, they have been directly confronted by the uniformed sheriff who called the member by name and belittled their campaign contributions. I too have had multiple “confrontations” which I did not initiate. To me, these are unprofessional but too petty on their own for me to publicly complain about.

An incident last night, Sunday, September 14, 2014 at about 9:30pm is my real issue of concern. First of all my campaign truck is a 1979 Chevy P-30 which many call “an old bread truck”. It has one seat with a lap seat belt and no air conditioning or radio. I generally drive the truck except during parades when one of my volunteers drives. 

I picked up the truck from a parking lot in Canton and drove it home. It was warm so the sliding driver’s door was locked in the open position as I traveled east on RT 62. The vehicle started making strange noises and I thought it would soon break down so I slowed and watched as many vehicles passed me. As I turned onto Beech St. from State Route 62, my left rear wheel came off of the hub. My truck leaned dramatically to the left as the wheel rolled past me into the middle of Beech St. I regained control of my truck and managed to pull to the side of the road. I exited the truck and quickly recovered my loose tire/wheel from the middle of the road as it was a hazard

The first thing I did was to inspect the tire and wheel and there was very little damage. Next I inspected the hub and the studs and found only minor damage to the hub although (2) two of the (8) eight studs had been sheared off of the hub. The remaining 6 studs showed no thread damage and I was not able to find any of the lug nuts. It is important to note that I had purchased and installed 4 (four) locking lug nuts several years ago and I knew that I had not had any recent work done on the tires or wheels so I knew that no mechanic error would have caused this occurrence. The only logical explanation for this is that someone had removed at least 6 (six) of the lug nuts. I suspect that all 7 (seven) of the standard lug nuts were removed and the only lug nut that remained was the locking lug nut. In any case, my route home was delayed by about an hour while Mel’s Towing responded and raised the truck with its wheel lift and the driver placed the wheel back on my campaign truck. We removed 6 (six) lug nuts, 2 (two) from the remaining wheels and secured the wheel and I drove on to my destination.

So many bad things could have happened here. I generally drive on highways at 55 miles per hour or so and a rolling tire on the highway could have caused a terrible accident. My door is nearly always open when I drive, as it was during this incident, and if the truck would have tipped over I would have had direct immediate contact with the pavement and may not have survived. Whoever did this committed a very serious and dangerous criminal act. I promise to be much more vigilant and I will prosecute anyone found tampering with campaign equipment or attempting to intimidate a campaign worker. This campaign is for the election of the Stark County Sheriff, everyone involved needs to be professional and follow the law. (4 photos)

To the SCPR, it was unmistakable.

What Dordea appears to be implying,  in writing his description of the the series of incidents occurring during his campaign and seemingly coupling them with the Sunday night incident, is that some "over-the-top" Maier campaign zealot may have been the perpetrator of the latter.

When queried, Dordea denied that such was the case.

He said, "I am not suggesting anybody associated with the George T. Maier campaign for sheriff was involved in the Sunday night incident."

To which the SCPR rejoined:  "But that is what some people reading your narrative are going to think, no?"

Dordea:  "I can't control what people might think."

As the SCPR has written many, many times when subjects of this blog deny one thing or another, "it [the denial] may be true (in this case, authentic), but who is going to believe it?"

The SCPR has high regard for Larry Dordea.
However, The Report thinks he is being disingenuous in saying "I am not suggesting anything."

To say it again.  It could be true that he is not. But who is going to believe it?

What the SCPR thinks is rather odd is that Dordea, a long time policeman (chief in Alliance for about nine years, and currently chief in Hartville) decided not file a police report.  But he puts it on Facebook.  Does this make sense?

The Report not only thinks it odd, but goes one step further and labels the decision not to make it a law enforcement investigation matter:  "unacceptable."

As odd as Dordea's decision appears to be; anybody who knows Larry Dordea comes to appreciate person who seems to be man of very high character who is a conciliator and not a power politician.

In that context, perhaps, his decision does make sense.

Nonetheless, Dordea owes it to the Stark County public, the Maier campaign (i.e. the suspicion it may raise in some circles and on the part of some people) and the rule of law that the matter be thoroughly investigated by law enforcement and an attempt made to identify the person who Dordea says he is certain perpetuated a criminal act.

To point out the gravity of the situation, the SCPR repeats Dordea's statement:
... if the truck would have tipped over I would have had direct immediate contact with the pavement and may not have survived ...
With all due respect to Dordea's wishes that the Sunday night incident not become a law enforcement matter, the SCPR strongly disagrees.

It is grievous enough that any citizen might have been the subject of such an alleged attack, let alone a person running for public office.

And, not just any office.  But Stark County's top law enforcement position.

For Ohio/federal officialdom to let this matter go uninvestigated whether or not Dordea cooperates, is unacceptable.

The possibility that the matter may be a criminal act against one running for public office is enough to take it out of Dordea's hands.

If an investigates results in the identification of a person who did in fact loosen the lug nuts as Dordea alleges and reveals a politically inspired motivation, such would be an attack on the democratic election processes of our system of government.

Obviously, Stark County prosecutor John Ferrero cannot be part of the investigation given his opposition to George T. Maier becoming the Stark County Democratic Party appointee as sheriff of Stark County.

Nor, obviously, can the sheriff's office or any other Stark County based law enforcement entity be involved in the investigation that The Stark County Political Report is calling for.

But the Ohio attorney general's office/the United States Department of Justice can be and most definitely should be.

Prosecutor Ferrero should make the referral today!!!

Monday, September 15, 2014


Yesterday, Tom Suddes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group (aka The Cleveland Plain Dealer) wrote in effect "just when you thought things couldn't get any worse; they do."

That is if you are a city councilperson or mayor of an Ohio city.

And that exactly is what the prospect is for mayors across Ohio, including, of course, Stark County.

Canton City Council president Allen Schulman speaks ad nauseam about the ravaging of the finances of Ohio's urban areas by the Ohio General Assembly (OGA).

According to Suddes, the Ohio Democrats already "on life support" in terms of numbers are all lined up to lose additional two seats in the Ohio House.

Currently, the GOP holds 59 of the lower chamber seats to 39 for the Dems (one vacancy).  However, given the overall political climate in Ohio and the coming Republican John Kasich wipe-out of Cleveland Democrat Ed FitzGerald, the number is more likely to be 62 GOP/37 Dems on November 5, 2014.

Dems could get a better result in the Ohio Senate but not much.

As the SCPR sees it, the Ohio Democratic Party and the Stark County Democratic Party are "pathetic" political organizations that are hardly worthy of the name of being political organizations.

Both, seemingly, had a disastrous game plans going into the 2014 elections and all that has happened as we near November 4th, is that "things have gotten worse."

At the state level, the Dems will likely lose all statewide races except that there is a glimmer of hope that Connie Pillich will take out incumbent Republican Josh Mandel.

And that, if it happens, will be because Mandel is his own worst enemy.

But the Ohio Dems' permitting Clevelander Ed FitzGerald to be the party's gubernatorial standard bearer may be enough for even Mandel to survive in a close election.

In Stark County, the Dems have aided and abetted the increase in Republican Ohio House numbers.

They are allowing Jackson Township Republican Kirk Schuring to run unopposed.

Moreover, Stark Dems have assigned a "mission impossible" task to Lake Township's Debbie Cain (a former Lake Township Board of Education member and currently on the Ohio Board of Education, having served a time as president) to unseat Republican Christina Hagan.

The latest campaign finance reports are not due until October 23rd, however, a SCPR check of contributions on the Ohio secretary of state's website does not show that OGA complainer-in-chief Allen Schulman has contributed to the Cain (or Democrat Ohio Senate candidate, the 29th, Connie Rubin) campaign.  He did contribute to the Todd Bosley (a House race) and Richard Reinbold (an Ohio Senate race) in 2010.

It will be interesting to see in the October 23rd reports how much Schulman and other prolific Democratic candidate contributors put in to the campaign of Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee appointed sheriff George T. Maier.

There is an lot at stake in the Maier/Repubican Larry Dordea race.

The Democrats have held the office for many, many, many years and should Dordea triumph, it will mean that the Dems will have lost most of the major countywide offices (commissioners, the county auditor, the county treasurer) except for the prosecutor's office.

Not a very good track record for the Stark Dems.

These losses, if Maier is defeated, in the opinion of the SCPR, will be owing to the lackluster leadership of Randy Gonzalez who recently gave up the post in favor of Phil Giavasis.

However, do not look for things improving under Giavasis.  The SCPR sees nothing special about this Canton Municipal Court clerk of courts.  He is a continuation of the Gonzalez way of doing things.

These are minor points but they do speak the SCPR thinks of the ineptness of the goings on at the Stark County Democratic Party.

The website on the SCPR's Google search today showed the following:

First, Gonzalez, who stepped down as party chair in May) is still featured as chairman.  (Here is the link to the errant page, which, undoubtedly will get changed).  So here is the posting as of September 15th.

Second, the website still uses the old party headquarters address.  The party moved in July.

Ohio's/Stark's Democratic leadership moan and groan with excuses as to why they have been so utterly ineffective.

Chief among the excuses is gerrymandering.

This Republican Party abuse of Ohio's voting reality (Ohio is pretty much a 50/50 voting state in statewide election in most election cycles) is an outrage.

Anybody can sit in the chairman's seat and let the political structure realities take their course.

Which all goes to prove that there is nothing special in the leadership qualities of Ohio Dems' chairman Chris Redfern or of Stark Democratic leaders Phil Giavasis and Randy Gonzalez.

So if Schulman et al wants to improve things in the Ohio General Assembly and in the make up of the Stark County delegation to the OGA, perhaps, they ought to be looking for creative, invigorating and imaginative leadership?

Friday, September 12, 2014



One thing that Canton City Council has done very well with - better than any other Stark County political subdivision - is to foster and help develop citizen participation in local government processes.

The primary citizen-democracy enhancing mechanism is a forum at the very top of the council meeting agenda named "Public Speaks."

A key person in making "public speaks" citizens feel that they are heard is council president Allen Schulman.

As far as the SCPR is concerned, Schulman, "far and away" is Stark County's most skillful moderator of "public speaks" forums.

Here is a sampling of a typical Canton City Council "public speaks" session: (September 8, 2014)

Laura Simon talked about O# [Ordinance number] 108/2012, where the City changed the Income Tax Credit from 2% to 1.7%. She thought that this was unfair because it was a .3% tax increase for those who work in another municipality.

She has lived in the City for 30 years and has a family business in East Canton. She didn’t realize that the income tax had changed because her accountant paid the correct amount. She didn’t realize that there was a change until her daughter, who went to school at Kent State and worked there, received a letter that she owed money on her taxes.

Debra Berbelis stated that she resided in Ward 8 and that she is extremely upset about the proposed park going in at St. Mark’s. She thinks a park is unnecessary. She stated that this area is made up of middle aged citizens, with no traffic, noise, little or no crime issues. She feels a park would change this in a negative way, and feels that St. Marks needs to find another solution to the problem.

Tom Berbelis stated that he is also upset about the proposed park going in. He says he supported Member Mack and Park Director,
Derek Gordon, but that he would no longer support them. He is upset with the way they’re going about getting a park put in, and feels they both should have contacted the constituents in that neighborhood. He says they went to the church instead of the constituents. Mr. Berbelis feels that there is a conflict of interest because Derek Gordon attends St. Marks and should not have approached his own church. He also stated that when he and his wife confront Member Mack, he asked them “who told you”, and admonished them not to talk about it. He says they were told to “Quit rallying the troops”. He says they are strongly opposed to the park and are circulating a petition against it.

Charles Cox stated that he moved into the neighborhood a few years ago and enjoyed the peace and quiet of it. He said there is very little traffic and enjoys that. He is getting neighbors opinions on the proposed park and are finding that they are very concerned.

Here is a video of the exchange between Simon and Schulman, with Schulman's remarks coming in the "miscellaneous business" section of the agenda which occurs at the very end of the meeting.

But, perhaps, Canton's leading civic activist Leon Cote (pictured in the lead-graphic of this blog) did not speak.

And he speaks infrequently during the "public speaks" forum time.

But "man-o-man" is he active as an engaged Canton citizen.

The SCPR thinks he ranks right up there if not exceeding Ward 9 (Frank Morris' ward) citizen activist Bruce Nordman of Group 175 fame in that there are no "unspeakable" topics that he/they will not touch upon in addressing city council members in and out of council chambers.

The SCPR applauds the likes of Cote and Nordman.

Today's blog focuses on Cote.

Why is that?

Because he had the temerity (at the risk, the SCPR thinks, of being called a racist) to suggest that the City of Canton is wasting taxpayer money in endeavoring to beef up the number of minority members of Canton's police and fire departments.

Here is what Cote had to say to the SCPR in an e-mail sent on August 31st:

> From: Onroadagain1225 <onroadagain1225@ . . .>
> To:
> Sent: Sunday, August 31, 2014 7:46 PM
> Subject: A New Class For Minorities To Pass The Canton Police And/Or Firefighters Exam
> Dear Martin, 

I posted the following on the Ward 9 Web Page about a week ago.  

The Ward 9 web page is the most read page by ALL elected officials in Canton.  

To date there has not been one comment or answers to any of the questions requested below.  

Wouldn't you think that the elected members of Council at least would want answers to these questions.  

Maybe you can ascertain the answers to the questions below.  

Good luck.  

Hopefully they will not stonewall you as they are apparently doing to me.  

Sincerely, Leon M. Cote 

> Last year a Class was held to help prepare minority candidates to pass the test for the Canton Police and Fire Departments. 

The classes were held over a period of a number of months. I believe 32 candidates started out in these classes. 

It was initially stated that the cost was $100,000.00. 

After a public outcry it was then stated that the cost was ONLY $30,000.00 - $40,000.00. 
So somewhere between $30,000.00 and $100,000.00 lies the truth. 

I believe only 3 or 4 passed.... 

The rest either dropped out or failed either the agility or drug test. I understand a new class has started and I would ask a member of the Canton City Government to please answer the following questions:

 1. Has the class started and if so when? 

2. Who authorized this class? 

3. How many students are in this class? 

4. What is the cost of this class? 

5. Where is the money coming from? 

6. Have the students been drug tested before the start of classes? 

7. Have they been given an agility test before classes started? 

It would seem to me that the drug and agility test should be given before not after the classes. 

8. Has there been an effort to recruit at area colleges? 

The college students probably wouldn't need the classes to pass the test for the Police or Fire Departments. I am sure that there are many other Canton tax payers that would like the answers to the above questions. 

I wonder if these classes are being held to honestly help the minority candidates pass the Police and or Firefighters exams or just an exercise to get votes in the next election? 

While I believe the City of Canton needs more police and firefighters I wonder why we are not striving for the best possible candidates to serve the city regardless of Race, Color or Creed?

It is particularly interesting to the SCPR that African-American Ward 2 councilman Thomas West was not quick to respond to Cote.

West, in the experience of The Report, tirelessly promotes minority hiring within government and particularly Canton's government.

Not long ago West was promoting that the City of Canton adopt/adapt to city hirings throughout city departments of government what he referred to as being "the Rooney Rule" to wit:
The Rooney Rule requires National Football League teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation jobs. It is sometimes cited as an example of affirmative action, though there is no quota or preference given to minorities in the hiring of candidates. ...  It was established in 2003. ... [Source: Wikipedia]
The SCPR does not recall West acknowledging what appears to The Report's as being a de facto implementation of "the Rooney Rule" within the Mayor William J. Healy, II administration.

Perry and Williams (since the picture was published on the Canton government website, has been promoted to deputy mayor) are universally lauded as first-rate administrators.

Moreover, at last count, there are a significant number of very able African-Americans that serve the mayor and Cantonians at the sub-cabinet level.

The SCPR's take on Councilman West is that he is mostly mouth and very little in terms of hands-on action to conceive, develop and implement effective programs to put African-Americans in a position to compete at "every" level of the Canton city government hiring process.

The SCPR contacted Canton Civil Service director Samuel Sliman (held in high regard among local political/government observers) for answers to Cote's questions.

And here is what he had to say:

Dear Mr. Olson,

This letter is in response to Mr. Leon Cote's questions about the Canton Safety Prep Program.

The program was authorized by a collaboration of me, Samuel J. Sliman, director of Civil Service, the Administration, Fire Chief Stephen Rich and Police Chief Bruce Lawver. The funding for the Safety Prep Program is from the general fund.

The program for 2014 just ended, and we had to compile the figures from the Police and Fire Departments. 

The recruiting for the program started in March of 2014 and was done through job fairs/career days, churches, Jobs for Ohio, and yes, colleges. All candidates had a criminal background check before being accepted to the program, but they were not drug tested.

The Safety Prep Program is a 16 week/100 hour commitment. 

Through the course of the classes for both 2013 and 2014, there were some candidates who stopped attending the course for various reasons. 

Some realized that this was not the career path they were interested in pursuing.

The Safety Prep Program included several areas of training. One part of the program included physical agility training. The Fire Department familiarized the candidates with the fire tower at Stark State, and the Police Department had the candidates practice the Ohio Peace Officer Basic Training physical fitness requirements needed to complete the academy training.

The Safety Prep Program accepts anyone who is interested in participating with the only requirement of being at least 20 years old and less than 30 years of age.

Classes for the program in 2013 were held from June through September. 

We had 41 candidates start classes after a criminal background check and orientation was held. The following are the ethnic statistics for these candidates; 7 black females, 24 black males, 6 white females, 2 white males, 1 Hispanic female and 1 Hispanic male. 

The total number of candidates that completed the 16 week/100 hour program was 29.  

Twenty six of the candidates signed up to take either the Fire Exam or Police Exam; 21 showed up to the written exam; 13 of them did not pass the written portion; 8 of them did pass the written portion; however, one did not show up for the physical portion and 3 of them did not pass the physical portion

We had 4 candidates that passed and were placed on the eligibility list. One of them scored high enough on the eligibility list to get hired in the first round

The total cost of the program for 2013 was $33, 771.78.

Classes for the program in 2014 were held from April through August. 

We had 66 applicants that were interested in the program. 

We had 47 candidates start the classes after a criminal background check and orientation was held. 

The following are the ethnic statistics for these candidates; 7 black females, 1 biracial female, 13 black males, 10 white females, 14 white males, and 2 Hispanic males. 

The total number of candidates that completed the 16 week/100 hour program was 23. 

The cost of the program so far this year is $33,862.86.

The program was not designed as a civil service study guide to taking our police or fire tests.

This program was designed to promote diversity and to give individuals the opportunity to see first-hand what it would be like to become a police or firefighter, and to help them determine whether this is a career path they would want to pursue.

The written portion of the Fire Exam is October 15, 2014, and the Police Exam is November 4, 2014.

[SCPR Note:  Certain texts of the Sliman letter were enlarged for emphasis purposes as was the inclusion of color text and in the separation of paragraphs/sentences from the exact form of the Sliman communication]

The SCPR thinks that the Sliman letter validates Citizen Cote's implicit point.

Even $33,771.78 for one hire is unacceptable.

And we do not even know whether or not that hire will be an African-American!

Add on that another $33,862.86 and the ineffective use of taxpayer money from the city's general fund (a city that says it is in a "hand to mouth" financial mode) and the inefficiency is doubled for it does not appear that the 2014 is on track (remember 23 achieved first round completion in the 2013 process) to be any more productive than what happened last year.

Canton has had a few examples of rogue police officers in recent times.

As Cote says:

While I believe the City of Canton needs more police and firefighters I wonder why we are not striving for the best possible candidates to serve the city regardless of Race, Color or Creed?

The SCPR agrees with Cote and thanks him for having the courage to take on those who want more minority hiring in the City of Canton but are more "mouth than action."

And, finally, will the rest of council continue to allow the leaking of the precious few general fund dollars for a hugely ineffective "program designed to promote diversity?"

The SCPR supports affirmative action programs that "are effective."

Canton's program is not effective and therefore should be scrapped!

Does council have the guts to do so?

Thursday, September 11, 2014


At yesterday's regular Stark County commissioners weekly meeting, after the weekly pledge of allegiance to the flag, commissioner president Tom Bernabei had County Administrator Brant Luther - as a special tribute to tribute to those killed by terrorists on 9/11/2001 - sing the Star Spangled Banner.

Luther, at the behest of Bernabei, then read a resolution in which the commissioners officially commemorate America's September, 2001 fallen heroes.

And Bernabei called for "a moment of silence" in honor of the memory of the 9/11 victims.