The most destructive forces of our democracy are one-party-rule and candidates running unopposed. Why? Because both permit politicians to be unaccountable to the people.
Recently, the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has learned that a Stark County citizen wrote John Ferrero (Stark County prosecutor) a letter asking a very important question.
Does the Stark County Prosecutor's office have a conflict-in-interest problem in representing various Stark County governmental officials (who the questioner says have adverse interest to one another)?
To date, no response from Prosecutor Ferrero!
The Report believes that Ferrero will not be answering this question nor any discomforting questions that come from ordinary citizens because he is unaccountable - he's running "unopoosed."
You see, Ferrero, due to the derelict of public duty on the part of the Stark County Republican Party, has no opponent. Having no opponent, public officials (and Ferrero is no exception) have a tendency to "blow-off" troubling questions from everyday citizens because they reason what is the citizen to do on being ignored? If The Repository or "Action on Your Side" (Cleveland's Channel 5 News) or the like doesn't publicize the snub, the official gets away with being unresponsive.
In Stark County, the Republican Party wants the recognition and fruit of being one of Stark County's two major parties; but it doesn't function as a major party by being competitive. Accordingly, countywide and in two of three of Stark County's major cities, many citizens go unlistened to. The Democrats have unfettered control.
The Report attributes Ohio's falling on economic hard times with no apparent way out (including our own Stark County) on the one-party-rule that the Ohio Republican Party had in Ohio for nearly 20 years. Democrats only recently has made inroads (2006 elections). The Ohio Democratic Party has a long way to go before full blown competition kicks in and Ohio begins to benefit.
Gary Zeigler (Stark County treasurer) is another case of an "unopposed" countywide candidate. Giving Jeff Matthews (or his predecessor Curt Braden) some credit, he did recruit Alan Harold (a Huntington Bank vice president) to run. But for unexplained reasons, Harold dropped out.
Okay, things happen in a person's life and one makes adjustments. What strikes The Report about Harold is, that post-dropping-out, he has continued to be politically active. He was at the Sunoco station on West Tuscarawas protesting 16th Congressional District candidate John Boccieri's energy policy pronouncements in late July.
So it won't hold water that Harold has elected not to be politically involved in 2008. Running against Zeigler would be a much higher contribution to the vitality of Stark County democracy than protesting an energy policy. Why didn't Harold stay in the race? Why didn't Matthews find a competitive candidate replacement?
So far as The Report knows, Zeigler has not become arrogant and unresponsive (like John Ferrero). But what, other than his sense of civic responsibility, is in his way of doing so.
Hasn't the Stark County Republican Party utterly failed Stark County's voters?