Tuesday, October 21, 2008


There seems to be a lot of bad blood in Massillon between Councilwoman Kathy Catazaro-Perry and Mayor Francis Cicchinell, Jr.

On November 4th, there will be a preliminary event to the main event of the next Massillon mayoralty race a few years down the road.

Catazaro-Perry has been fighting Cicchinelli on this issue of rezoning
in her ward - which is the substance of Issue #15 - for a number of years now. Cicchinelli, when the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) interview him his past summer, told The Report he was standing up for the will of the people in Catazaro-Perry's district.

Cicchinelli may be right in identifying himself more with the people of Catazao-Perry's 3rd Ward than the councilwoman herself. For years this ward was a Republican ward. And, it may be again after Catazaro-Perry moves on. Cicchinelli certainly has a deeper history with the folks of the 3rd than Catazaro-Perry does.

The mayoralty factor lurking in the background should add spice for voters as they wait to see how this issue comes out. If the rezone passes, it will be full speed ahead for Catazaro-Perry towards the mayoralty race. If the rezone fails, it will still be full speed ahead for the councilwoman. But the impetus will be different. Winning will foster an attitude of inevitability. Losing will motivate her to vindicate her opposition to the mayor.

As The Report sees it, Massillon City Council is split right down the middle among Democrats. Donnie Peters is in the catbird seat as council's only Republican who can act as a political kingmaker of sorts.

The Report's readers will recall the video tape that the mayor did in which he said that Catazaro-Perry had compared him to the Devil. Also, one has to wonder where Judge Edward Elum of the Massillon Municipal Court fits in to all of this, if at all.

The Report would be surprised to learn that the judge has "no dog in this fight" given how the mayor described Elum as being more for Tim Bryan (Cicchinelli's last opponent) than Tim Bryan himself was.

And finally there is Stark County Democratic Party chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. who is also the clerk of courts for the Massillon Municipal Court.

Mayor Cicchinelli seems to think Maier is behind him. The Report is skeptical of the mayor's take on Maier, having heard Maier, over a number of years, complain vociferously about the mayor. But maybe Maier's outbursts were just Democrats being Democrats?

Question: Does the infighting among Massillon Democrats give Republicans hope that they can make Massillon a more politically competitive town?

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