Saturday, May 31, 2008

RECOGNITION: FORMER JACKSON TRUSTEE (NOW GOVERNOR STRICKLAND'S REGIONAL 9 DIRECTOR) SPEAKS FOR GOVERNOR ON "10 YEAR STRATEGIC PLAN FOR HIGHER ED"



The STARK POLITICAL REPORT was at Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Eric Fingerhut's Strategic Plan for Higher Education that he presented at Stark State College of Technology, Friday, May 30, 2008.

One of the panelists was none other than Steve Meeks, a Stark County Democrat, who now serves as Governor Strickland's Region 9 Director.

Friday, May 30, 2008

DISCUSSION: DOES STARK COUNTY NEED THIS - NORTH CANTON TRYING TO RAID MASILLION IN THE NAME OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT?

The Repository reported today that North Canton Mayor David Held and Massillon Mayor Francis Cicchinelli are going head-to-head over an "unnamed" company.

The STARK POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) thinks this means that the company is looking to improve its bottom line at the expense of taxpayers.

Yesterday, The Report was being complimentary of The Dogwood City. "What a difference a day makes!"

Today, The Report roundly criticizes North Canton Mayor David Held for attempting to raid Massillion of one of its companies. These are Stark County jobs now. Is Held saying that unless North Canton can lure the jobs to North Canton, they will be lost to Stark County? If that is his point, he needs to say it publicly and justify any such contention with facts.

And, why is the Stark Development Board (started with Stark County commissioners seed money) taking sides with North Canton? At least, such is the implication of The Rep article.

The question: Who thinks that Stark County political entities competing with each other for companies already in Stark County, is a good idea?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

DISCUSSION: NORTH CANTON CITY COUNCIL REJECTS "NAYSAYERS?"


Chronic complainer and former North Canton councilman Church Osborne (Democrat) is at it again - trying to stymie growth and progress in "The Dogwood City." (Link: The Repository)

Under the leadership of Mayor David Held and Daryl Revoldt (Council President), North Canton's council, at its last meeting, rejected Osborne's call to abandon its efforts to build up a capital fund to foster economic development in the city.

The STARK POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) likes to see citizen-activism but is not impressed with Osborne's activities. Held and Revoldt are commended by The Report for not adopting Osborne's demand. Revoldt has experience in economic development, having worked in this capacity in the Taft administration.

On 9-1-1, the Council decided to move forward with a resolution of support of Stark County's 9-1-1 centralization effort. What is notable about this move is that Council is willing to move forward notwithstanding some questions it has and in the face of previously published opposition of North Canton fire chief John Bacon.

North Canton City Council and Mayor Held listen to dissent and disagreement but do not become hung up in moving forward. "The Dogwood City" gets a STARK POLITICAL REPORT "tip of the hat."

The question: Is North Canton government deserving of a "tip of the hat?"

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

DISCUSSION: IS FORMER STARK COUNTY REPUBLICAN CHAIRMAN CURT BRADEN "MAN ENOUGH" TO APOLOGIZE?


The headline written by The Repository's title editor for former Stark County Republican Party chair Curt Braden's May 14th published letter to the editor reads:

State Democrats are plotting behind the scenes to keep attorney general in office until Sept. 25.

Today, May 28, 2008, Ohio's non-conspiratorial governor, Ted Strickland, appointed the dean of Ohio State's law school to be interim attorney general.

Strickland said that he did not know the appointee was a Democrat until after he had decided to appoint her.

So it turns out that the only conspiratorial thinker is none other than Curt Braden himself.

But the STARK POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) will give Braden this, he is not alone. In The Report's association with Stark County Democratic chair Johnnie A. Maier, Jr., the same kind of thinking has been abundantly present. It must come with being a county party chairman.

The difference between Braden and Maier is that Maier doesn't write letters to the editor documenting his "baseless or excessive suspicion of the motives of others." (definition from Random House electronic dictionary). This difference is most likely the reason Braden is no longer party chair, while Maier continues.

I know, I know; this is how many politicians think. You are either for or against them. And, certainly, if one is either of the opposition party or, horror upon horror, an independent minded person - you by definition are up to no good.

The STARK POLITICAL REPORT is an independent voice on Stark County politics. Notice the operative word is "independent" not "neutral." The Report does and will continue to have a definite "point of view." But The Report will not be hamstrung by Republican/Democrat constraints.

Many times there is a third point of view that takes issue with the two major political parties.

Or, the issue(s) may not be Republican/Democrat political.

An example of the latter point. The issue: 9-1-1. In the judgment of The Report, Commissioner Todd Bosley (a Democrat) is for the plan supported by most of Stark County's fire chiefs, police chiefs and EMS chiefs (three centers in the county). on the other side is Jane Vignos (Republican) and Tom Harmon (Democrat).

Although The Report believes that this is not a party issue, The Report has suggested that, perhaps, the Bosley plan is in reality a Republican plan. In time, we shall know one way or the other.

Back to the main question: Does Braden need to apologize to Governor Strickland and The Ohio Democratic Party?

DISCUSSION: DID STARK COUNTY HAVE A "REAL" CHANCE TO LAND VOLKSWAGEN?

Stark County's commissioners had to try to land Volkswagen and its jobs for Stark Countians, but the effort was doomed from the beginning.

The 4,000 acres demanded. No problem.

The government (Stark County and Ohio) pooling their money to build a "ready-to-go" manufacturing facility and hand the keys over to VW; not in the cards!

Because Ohio's/Stark County's economic problems are so pronounced, the money simply wasn't there to meet VW's demands.

A much deeper Stark County problem is the misguided notion that a string of county commissioners have bought into; that is to say, the idea that government must subsidize business who agree to stay in or relocate in Stark County.

What the commissioners need to do is to lead a gigantic effort to rebuild Stark County's infrastructure. Not just the physical facilities, but also the educational base, the social base and the economic planning base. The county needs to develop a reserve of cash, perhaps through a bond issue, so that it can be a real player in bringing economic development and growth to Stark County.

Unless and until Stark Countians elect commissioners who have a vision and the leadership ability to rebuild a forward looking economic base, Stark will continue to languish.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT posits that only Commissioner Todd Bosley has the wherewithal to lead such a venture. Neither Harmon, Hagan, Peterson nor Secrest appear to be what Stark County needs to become a ecomomic player over ensuing decades.

Agree or disagree?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

DISCUSSION: AN "ERA OF GOOD FEELING? IS A MERGER OF THE COUNTY REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC PARTIES IN THE OFFING?

The base article (not the photo; not the write over, moreover, the e-mail address of the writer has been removed) in the adjoining graphic was recently published in The Independent (Massillon).

It brought a smile to my face. Maier used to single out to me one of the Democrats' elected Stark County officials as someone who was a pipeline to Stark County Republican Party officials with "inside the Democratic Party information."

Now that Maier has been recruiting candidates (DeHoff and DeOrio) fresh out of the Republican Party, the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT wonders if he would make the same criticism of the official today.

DeHoff almost became an appointed office holder as a Republican and DeOrio was big time in the Stark County Republican Party at one time. Besides that, you have Sheriff Tim Swanson who has been known to support a Republican or two.

Some local union officials have long suggested they question whether or not Maier is an authentic Democrat. They are so upset over what they perceive to be maltreatment of staunch Democrat Billy Sherer (former Stark County Board of Elections member) by Maier, that they are squarely behind an effort to persuade Lawrence Township trustee Mike Stevens to run as a "write-in" against DeHoff and Republican Todd Snitchler in November. Stevens narrowly lost to DeHoff in the March Democratic primary despite Maier's taking sides in the primary and getting big money from the Ohio Democratic Party to put in DeHoff's campaign.

With the Republicans down-and-out in terms of holding county wide office and totally bereft of elected officials in Canton and Massillon (except for a judgeship) and in a minority in the Alliance City Council, perhaps neophyte chair Jeff Matthews is discussing with Maier a merger between the two local parties?

Maybe in time Matthews and Maier can agree between the two of them whom, among their loyalists, to serve in what offices.

Question: Will the local party bosses take the excitement out of local elections? Has the "Era of Good Feelings (circa 1815-1824) resurfaced in Stark County, Ohio? Is Stark County in for a "Unity" slate of candidates?

DISCUSSION: "NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED" - ALIVE AND WELL IN STARK COUNTY?

Even at $10 a day, any Stark Countian who serves as a juror is doing a good deed. So why are they being punished? The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT believes it is because citizen-jurors are easy targets: people of good will, doing their civic duty and who wouldn’t dream of organizing and taking collective action.

The essence of The Repository's report is that the Stark County Court of Common Pleas is, in part, balancing the court’s budget on the backs of sacrificial jurors.

It must be those administrators: Marc Warner (the court administrator) and Mike Hanke (commissioners’ administrator). The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT lays at right at their doorstep.

Certainly, this taking away of a token payment would not have been the judges’ idea. We read in newspaper report after newspaper report how judges in a concluded jury trial routinely and profusely thank the jury members for serving while acknowledging, at a $10 per day remuneration, they are making a huge sacrifice.

Yes indeed, it must be Warner and Hanke (who are super-bureaucrats because they are managers who create rules [and budgets, if you will] for their underlings apply to the general public). Bureaucrats relish dishing you bad news. “The numbers are the numbers,” they say. It makes their day!

A more long term cause is the stream of county commissioners over the years who have played the “you can have something for nothing” game (e.g. Democrat Pete Ferguson in the current campaign) with Stark County voters. The “something for nothing mentality” is firmly ensconced in Stark County. It is about to become the county’s ruination.

From The Repository report, it is hard to say definitely but the court’s budget must be at least $3.8 million after the 11% reduction. Looking at the graph The Report has prepared, the $75,000 to $80,000 annual cost for jurors is .02 (folks, that two-one hundredth of a per cent) of the $3.8 million.

Now if it were $75,000 to $80,000 being denied to an organization that provides services to the court and the organization has political clout, Warner and Hanke would be singing a different tune. Then it would probably be something like: “We’ll shave $1,000 here, $5,000 there and so on and so forth until they had enough money to continue the $75,000 to $80,000 being preserved for the organization with the political clout.

The Report opposes this move because it symbolically depreciates the good deeds of everyday people doing their best to make Stark County a model of responsible citizenship.

That’s The Report’s take on this issue, what do you think?

Monday, May 26, 2008

DISCUSSION: "MEMORIAL DAY - 2008" CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES ON IRAQ & VETERANS

Several weeks ago the STARK POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) had a conversation with Democrat state Senator John Boccieri regarding his run for Congress (16th District).

Asked what he thought key issues would be in his race against Republican state Senator Kirk Schuring, Boccieri (a major in the U. S. Air Force Reserves who flies C-130s in and out of Iraq) said: “The economy, the Iraq war and health care."

On his website Boccieri has a more extensive list:

* Economy
* Education
* Energy Independence
* Mortgage Crisis
* Health Care
* Iraq War
* Second Amendment
* Social Security
* Veterans and Military Families

Schuring’s priority list includes tax reform, fighting wasteful spending, jobs and the economy, Second Amendment rights, defending values, education and immigration.

On this Memorial Day The Report focuses on the candidates' stands on the Iraq war and a related issue - veterans rights/benefits.

ON THE IRAQ WAR

The Boccieri campaign describes his position as being: “Bringing our troops home safely, honorably, and soon.”

Schuring has nothing on his website about Iraq but after persistence by The Stark County News and Views ... he did issue a statement on Iraq which is best summed up in this excerpt: "We must support our troops by following a military strategy that will stabilize Iraq and ultimately allow our troops to come home.”

It appears as Schuring is locked into the McCain-esque plan (staying the course?) whereas Boccieri’s emphasis is bringing the troops home “soon.”

In a political shrewd move, the Congressional Democrat caucus put John Boccieri on center stage this Memorial Day weekend with a national radio address.

Boccieri elaborated on Iraq in that address, saying: “While the Iraq war is costing us greatly in human terms, the money American taxpayers are pouring into that country is staggering. We're spending more than $10 billion a month on the war while the quality of life for millions of Americans goes from bad to worse. We're building brand new roads and bridges, and schools in Iraq when we need the same things right here in Ohio and in communities across our country.”

ON VETERANS

The Report can find nothing that Schuring has said about veterans’ benefits. The Report has asked Schuring for a statement. The Report is not optimistic that Schuring will respond but if he does this report will be updated with Schuring’s statement. Schuring’s failure to respond is not new. The Stark County News and View ... reported difficulty in getting a Schuring statement on the Iraq war.

Boccieri has the following statements:

"We need a president and a Congress who will take care of our veterans and find a responsible way to leave Iraq so that we can invest in the American people and in American jobs."

"We're proud of our troops fighting for us abroad. Let's make them proud of us by fighting for them here at home. They deserve nothing less."

One other matter. Project Vote Smart reports that Schuring has not taken its Political Courage Test on important federal issues. Boccieri has.

The question: Why is Kirk Schuring being so elusive on the issues?

Sunday, May 25, 2008


One of the trite assessments that Republicans universally make about Democrats is that they are "tax and spend" Democrats without examining the particular Democrat's reason for favoring a tax increase or without checking the longterm record of the Democrat.

The Republican approach is mindless and does not advance the cause of our democratic process of being informed before we vote.

The question that the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) poses today is whether or not the label fits Alliance City Council President John Benincasa?

Remember the words of O.J's defense counsel Johnnie Cochran (sarcasm, folks, sarcasm), "if it doesn't fit, you must acquit."

Seriously, one does need to examine WHY Benincasa wants (impliedly) to raise taxes in Alliance. The Report believes the answer lies in the recent loss by Alliance of its auditor to North Canton because Alliance was outbid for Alex Zumbar's services as reported recently by the Alliance Review and The Repository.

Alliance simply does not have the money to retain talented employees. If so disposed, key city officials can opt out of Alliance and get better money elsewhere.

Renewing the question, then: Is having more money in the cash box to be competitive in retaining employees a good enough reason to avoid being tagged a "tax and spend Democrat?"

Saturday, May 24, 2008

DISCUSSION: STARK COUNTY'S LEADER ON RETIRE/REHIRE?

Retire/Rehire is not setting well with many Stark Countians these days.

Most people who object merely talk about it. But not Jan Kishman of the Minerva Board of Education.

Kishman who runs an IGA (grocery store) business with her husband in Minerva, has been elected to the board twice. In November, 2003 she was the high vote getter (1,655) as she was in 2007 (1,698).

Yesterday, The Repository reported on Kishman's effectiveness in getting a retire/rehire high school principal to quit.

The vote was 3 to 2 in favor of the retiree/rehiree. But that was not good enough for him. The administrator is quitting early. He says:
I am ... tired of the nonsupport with the vote. That eats at me, especially after putting in over 38 years with this district."
In Stark County we have Sheriff Tim Swanson (Democrat) and Judge William B. Hoffman (Court of Appeals - Democrat) who have announced plans to retire before their new terms so that they can collect their retirement and the regular stipend that goes with the job. In Hoffman's case it will be the better part of $250,000.

Will Stark Countians follow the spunky Kishman's lead (who has consistently voted "no" on retire/hire) and vote "no" on Swanson and Hoffman?

Friday, May 23, 2008

DISCUSSION: GET READY, NATURAL GAS PRICES COULD GO UP 100% THIS WINTER. SEND TERMED-OUT JOHN HAGAN A THANK YOU!

John Hagan is a true blue "free enterpriser." For him, the marketplace is a cure for everything. Governor Strickland had to fight him "tooth and nail" to keep electricity rates affordable.

Where it works, private enterprise is terrific. But the marketplace does not work when a few companies control the marketplace. In Econ 101, this is called a monopoly. And we all know what happens when a few get control of a vital commodity. Prices soar - unless there is government regulation.

Because of Hagan (Public Utilities committee chair) and his Republican caucus in the Ohio Legislature, Stark Countians are very likely to see their natural gas bills double this winter.

Hagan's recklessness in the Legislature with the essential commodities of electric and gas make him a very dangerous person to sit as a Stark County commissioner.

Don't Stark Countians have to think not once, but two, three or four times about voting for this guy?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

DISCUSSION: IS COMMISSIONER TOM HARMON IN POLITICAL JEOPARDY?

If about 90 Tuscarawas Township residents are correct, Tom Harmon may be about to lose at the game of political jeopardy.

The Massillon Independent reported on Sunday about a Saturday meeting of a group of 90 or so Tuscarawas Township residents to protest the recent approval by Stark County commissioners (not including Todd Bosley) of the Poets Glen annexation to Massillon proper.

The group which calls itself PUAMA (People United Against Massillon Annexation) vowed to defeat Tom Harmon at the polls in November unless he reverses course on the annexation.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) does not take a position on the annexation but does applaud the citizen activism demonstrated by the PUAMA folks. Tuscarawas Township is a relatively small part of the Stark County electorate and it would take a close election for the anti-Harmon group to be effective.

Question: Does Tom Harmon have anything to fear from this group?

DISCUSSION: ARE TURF WARS RAGING IN - AND TO THE DETRIMENT OF - STARK COUNTY?


Recently, the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) started a series on Stark County's 9-1-1.

The Report started out on the premise that one of huge barriers to centralizing 9-1-1 were the "turf wars" going on between centralizers and many (but not all) of the fire chiefs, police chiefs and EMS chiefs of Stark County townships, cities and villages.

To The Report's surprise, Nimishillen Fire Chief Rich Peterson in a video interview (see snippet below) yesterday (May 21st) denied that "turf wars" are a significant problem in Stark.

As it so happens, on opening the online edition of The Repository (May 21), The Report noted a front page local page article on a presentation by Merele Kinsey of COMPASS (Community Objective Met through a Partnership of All Segments of Society), in which the opposite view is presented.

Kinsey cites as an example of Stark County turfism the following:
We are a very parochial county; we are very turf-oriented. People here, when they meet you, they want to know what high school you went to because they know each other there, or at least they know something about each other. We're at a point in time where we have to move out of that.
So the question is who is correct in your opinion, Kinsey or Peterson?

CLICK ON VIDEO BELOW TO SEE CHIEF PETERSON COMMENTS ON STARK COUNTY "TURF WARS"

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

UPDATE:


Unlike The Repository, when the STARK POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) does a piece that provides a candidate for Stark County office notoriety; The Report offers an opponent to that candidate space to react or respond.

Attorney Jean Madden (Republican) is running Frank Forchione (Democrat) for judge of the Stark County Common Pleas Court.

What follows is Attorney Madden's complete reaction:
Although, I would prefer not to comment regarding Mr. Forchione's handling of this particular case, I am very happy to hear that an innocent person was not convicted. I have concerns as to the investigation of this particular case given the information presented to the prosecution during the early pre-trial stages of this matter. I am also concerned about the use of a government web site with extremely limited access that was used for personal information gathering. It was not a site available to the accused or her attorney to access to assist in their investigation of this matter.

This case is a perfect example of how witnesses can be incorrect in their memory of an event and the need for an independent investigation into allegations. There are usually at least 2 sides to every story and a seasoned attorney, whether defense or prosecution, looks at all sides in reviewing their case.

DISCUSSION: DID FORCHIONE HELP HIMSELF OR HURT HIMSELF IN HIS QUEST TO BE A COMMON PLEAS COURT JUDGE?

Today The Repository ran a story about a former Carroll County woman now living in North Carolina who was charged with a hit-and-run offense by the city of Canton.

In the end, it turned out that the woman was not the culpable person and the Canton City prosecutor's office did the right thing and dismissed the charge.

But while the prosecutor's office was getting matters right, the lady was out $7,000 in defending herself, spent time in jail plus had the stress of wondering if she, an innocent person, was going to be wrongfully convicted.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT'S (The Report) impression is that it was a heroic person from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles that prevented a miscarriage of justice - not the office of Canton prosecutor Frank Forchione.

While The Report knows Forchione well and does not question his integrity, The Report does question the thoroughness of checking out the accused's alibi. In the opinion of The Report, Forchione's office put to much stock in the eyewitness accounts.

Anyone connected with the legal system knows how unreliable eyewitness testimony can be. Certainly, Forchione's office knows even better than most. So it is disturbing that Forchione's office didn't do a better job of checking out the quality of its case.

Maybe The Report is not reading Forchione's comments on the case as intended, but they do seem to be along the line "all is well, that ends well."

Is this an acceptable position for a prosecutor (who wants to be a Stark County Court of Common Pleas judge to take?)

What do you think?

GOOD GOVERNMENT AWARD: CITY OF CANTON

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) gives its "good government" award to Canton City Council.

About 2,000 Canton property owners (according to a TV 5 - Cleveland report) a year do not comply with a Canton City ordinance requiring grass 8 inches and higher be mowed or face penalty of law.

Some may say that Canton City Council has better things to do (like work on economic development) than to preoccupy itself with monitoring the height of grass.

The Report has some sympathy with that point-of-view but one of the functions of government is to provide a structure of neighbor caring about neighbor. These 2,000 uncaring neighbors are costing Canton taxpayers about $250,000 or so a year. Moreover, the eyesore properties detract from the aesthetics of Canton.

Hats off to Canton for showing responsible leadership model to it citizens.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

DISCUSSION: THE MOTHER HUBBARDS OF STARK COUNTY?

No, no - not because Peter Ferguson is a chiropractor. But because he claims as a candidate for county commissioner that the commissioners have money to spare and as commissioner he is going (can I say it?) dig it out.

Well, Stark County Democratic Party chair Johnnie A. Maier, Jr., and William Cline (Republican chair of the Board of Elections) want to find more bones if by bones you mean dollar bills. They say they are about 800,000 or so bones short of being able to run the November election properly.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) finds it more than a little bit ironic that Maier complains. For it is his political darling in Columbus, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner who has caused all the financial turmoil among Ohio’s county boards of election.

Returning to Ferguson. The Report wants him to step forward and identify to the sitting county commissioners where the money is he says is there to be found. The Report believes Ferguson’s primary election statements were flat-out wrong. What The Report is not sure of is whether the good doctor is ignorant on county finances or he knows these charges are untrue but is trying to demagogue the matter.

Now it would be extremely difficult for The Report to support Ferguson’s opponent John Hagan for obvious reasons, the main being how inept and “screw the people” he has been as a state legislator. But until and unless Ferguson steps up and fesses up that his accusation was phoney baloney or actually pinpoints to the commissioners where the money is; anything is possible.

The question remains: Can Stark County’s Mother Hubbards find 800,000 bones? Will the good doctor help in the hunt?

Monday, May 19, 2008

DISCUSSION: WILL SCHURING EVER DELIVER ON EDUCATION?

For a very, very long time now state Senator Kirk Schuring has been promising Stark Countians that he was going to help solve Ohio’s (and Plain Schools’, Jackson Schools’, Northwest Schools’, Marlington Schools’, Louisville Schools’, et cetera) public education funding woes.

It is hard for the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) to understand what moral compass (or lack of one) energizes Schuring to finesse voters and not be bothered that there is no chance he can deliver.

He seems so sincere. And, The Report believes that this is the hook that gets folks believing that Schuring will one day deliver not only on education but on a host of unkept promises.

The Report has over some six years had a number of conversations with Schuring. He is an affable guy that relies on his personal charm to disarm his questioners. A strategy that has not worked with The Report.

Schuring’s charm has worked with The Repository. Schuring is The Rep’s “boy wonder.” Schuring’s opponent Boccieri has no chance to get The Rep’s endorsement.

It takes more than charm to succeed in the rough environment of politics.

Schuring has gotten no respect in the Ohio General Assembly. Combined as a representative and senator, he’s been there 14 years. The most damning factor is that he has been part of a Republican majority (even a supermajority for a number of years). But all-in-all he has been ineffective for a man of his experience and political longevity.

Why would Stark Countians want to send Schuring to a Congress that will be controlled by Democrats? Democrats are well on their way to increasing their majority in the House of Representative having won special elections in Illinois, Mississippi and Louisiana (all former Republican-held seats).

Sunday, May 18, 2008

DISCUSSION: IS CANAL FULTON ABOUT TO SECEDE FROM LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP? WHAT IS FORMER COUNCILMAN COLAIANNI'S ROLE?

In November, 2007 Victor Colaianni lost his Canal Fulton council seat by coming in third in a three person at-large race where the two top vote getters were elected to seats.

Colaianni probably "cooked his own goose" by his very public stand on a non-Lawrence Township issue (i.e. the school levies for Plain Township schools) and by being a divisive person in the relations between Canal Fulton and the township.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT suspects that Colaianni was in the thick of Canal Fulton threats to secede from Lawrence Township over the failure of the township and city to work out the details of their JEDD (Joint Economic Development District).

Now post-election-lost he is continuing to "stir the -political- pot" in his home area. Colaianni has written a series of letters to The Rep pointing fingers at sitting Lawrence Township trustees a position he has modified of late to say some good things about Democrat trustee Mike Stevens. The other two trusteess are Republicans as is Colaianni.

So the question is this - what is Colaianni up to? Is he just being Mr. Good Citizen or is he setting up to run against one of the two Republican incumbents next year (probably Hardgrove)?

Would Colaianni in a government role with either Canal Fulton or Lawrence Township (a bit ironic?) be good for these two government units' future as negotiating partners?

DISCUSSION: STARK COUNTY FIRE CHIEF ASSOCIATION "PERSONIFIES" THE PROBLEM WITH STARK COUNTY 9-1-1:


In his letter to the editor toThe Repository (May 14, 2008), Stark County Fire Chiefs Association president John Bacon says it all

He says "IF (emphasis added) the current problem in Stark County ... ."

Bacon's word "if" communicates a lot. Bottom line Bacon doesn't think there is a problem with Stark County's 9-1-1.

Bacon's letter was in reaction to a Repository Editorial Board editorial of May 9th entitled "Summit County is beating Stark County to the punch."

The editors open with the poignant question: Must Summit County always be ahead of Stark County in streamlining government?

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) couldn't agree more with the editors. People like John Bacon stand in the way of a real solution to the 9-1-1. And, yes, Mr. Bacon, Mr. Dordea (the provincial who wants to be Stark County sheriff), Mr. Secrest (the party liner who wants to be Stark County commissioner), there is a real problem with 9-1-1 in Stark County that needs immediate fixing.

"Immediate" even in the minds of proponents of a fix means two years. To the likes of Bacon, Dordea and Secrest, two years is going to fast.

The Report believes that John Bacon is best represented as being an Ostrich with its head in the sand. Remember in his own words he says: "If."

It is only when Stark Countians starts besieging the likes of Bacon, will a 9-1-1 fix get rolling.

Agree or disagree?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

DISCUSSION: STARK COUNTY FINALLY HAS A ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT LEADER WHO MEANS BUSINESS?

April 9, 2008 could go down in the annals of Stark County history as the most significant date in modern times.

Why so?

Because on April 9th, a collection of northeast Ohio mayors, trustees, councilpersons, and county commissioners together with key unelected officials and business planners voted to proceed to Phase II of the Regional Economic Revenue Study (RERS).

RERS is dedicated to “planning and sharing for regional growth.”

Stark County’s own Canton Mayor William Healy, II is an integral part of this study. Healy has picked up where his predecessor Janet Creighton left off. As the study moves on, other Stark Countians (commissioners, councilpersons, trustees, other mayors, et cetera) will be joining the group according to an email exchange between RERS spokesman Kerry Smith and the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report).

The Report believes that the mayor of Canton should be the lead-person in economic development for Stark County because as Canton goes so goes the rest of Stark County.

Over the ensuring months The Report will be following developments with RERS and reporting at least weekly on aspects of the effort including any new developments.

Read the study in summary or in detail by CLICKING HERE.

After reading the study, shouldn’t Stark Countians at every turn be asking Mayor Healy for updates on RERS?

By doing so, you can participate in revitalizing Stark County.

Friday, May 16, 2008

DISCUSSION: WHAT SOME POLICE CHIEFS, FIRE CHIEFS AND EMS CHIEFS ARE TELLING THEIR AGENCIES TO DO IN TERMS OF 9-1-1 CALLING ADVICE?

The Regional 9-1-1, Dispatch Radio Study, and Recommendations (9-1-1 Study) reports that the advice being given by some local emergency force locations include the following:
During our research we found several Stark County agencies admitted that advice they give their constituents is along these lines: 'Do not call 9-1-1 if you have an emergency. Call our seven digit number.'
The 911 Study then goes on to detail possible scenarios where this kind of advice could be a personal catastrophe for a 9-1-1 caller. The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT believes the errantadvice is well-meaning but extremely ill-advised. One has to wonder if the chiefs are checking with legal counsel on the potential legal fallout from such advice.

Why is this advice being given anyway? To protect the agency's turf?

CAMPAIGN ALERT: WRITE-IN IN THE OFFING FOR 50TH OHIO HOUSE SEAT?


"To B. Determined" might be the most significant name in the Ohio House - 50th District race.

The word to the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) is that one of the options being considered in the 50th District by disaffected Democrats is running a write-in candidate against party nominees Snitchler (Republican) and DeHoff (Democrat).

Democrats in particular are dissatisfied with the field of candidates. Celeste DeHoff is viewed my many Democrats (with the 63% anti-DeHoff vote in the primary) as not being representative of the Democratic perspective.

One of the names as a possible write-in is Lawrence Township trustee Mike Stevens. He nearly bested DeHoff in a 5 person race in the primary. Stevens has legitimate Democrat credentials whereas DeHoff is suspected by many area Democrats as being a DINO (Democrat in Name Only). Stark County Party Chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr, who in the judgment of The Report, values personal loyalty over being a traditional Democrat on the issues, was responsible for bringing state party into the fray on behalf of DeHoff.

This seat should be a Democrat win this time around. But the question remains, has Maier outfoxed himself in advantaging his personally loyal candidate?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

DISCUSSION: WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE 9-1-1 SET UP DEBACLE?

Drum roll, please.

Announcing the names of the public officials who created the 9-1-1 mess Stark County is in.

First, recently retired mayor of Canton Richard D. Watkins (Republican). Second, Jerry Patrick (Republican). And, last but certainly not of a lesser responsible person, Norm Sponseller (Democrat - now deceased).

Stark Countians need to pay attention to the lack of vision demonstrated by these three. Not that their mistake can be rolled back and the damage undone.

The lesson to be learned is to quiz current candidates for county commissioner: Ferguson, Hagan, Harmon and Secrest and know what their vision for the future of Stark County is.

On 9-1-1 we know the views of Secret and Harmon. Secrest fails the test. In a press release a few weeks back, Secrest takes the position we need to go slow. Go slow for what! So more people lose their lives (perhaps) or do not get timely critical care (say like in the case a stroke where a few minutes can make a huge difference).

Normally one shouldn't hold it against the likes of a Secrest who is 22 years of age or so. But his age is against him on the 9-1-1 issue. He probably feels young and invulnerable. Most Stark Countians are older and know better. Harmon has a big leg up on Secrest on this one.

One wonders if there isn't a lose confederation of stance on the 9-1-1 issue among Republicans running for county office. Is it just happenstance that Larry Dordea (candidate for sheriff) and Secrest have virtually the same position. We will know more when we hear from the remaining Republican candidates for county wide office.

9-1-1 is not a partisan issue. Republican Commissioner Jane Vignos is a staunch proponent of fixing 9-1-1 and fixing it now (or, at least within the next two years).

New Stark County Republican Party Chairman Jeff Matthews is from Alliance. Larry Dordea is from Alliance. Are the two of them making 9-1-1 a partisan issue in the November election?

Is Travis Secrest merely following marching orders from Jeff Matthews?

DISCUSSION: IS KATHY CATAZARO-PERRY RUNNING FOR MAYOR OF MASSILLON?

A friend of the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has suggested to The Report that Massillon Ward 3 Councilperson and Democrat Kathy Catazaro-Perry is already running for mayor of Massllion.

Problem? Yes, the office is already occupied by fellow-Democrat Mayor Francis Cicchinelli.

Other than the suggestion, The Report believes that there are other signs that Catazaro-Perry is gearing up for a run.

First, Catazaro-Perry says that Cicchinelli went out and personally recruited an opponent to run against her in her last race for Massillon City Council.

Second, Catazaro-Perry and Cicchinelli and have had a stormy relationship in city council proceedings. Catazaro-Perry is a leading force on council to help Rite Aid Drug stores get necessary approvals to set up in Ward 3. Cicchinelli and a group of citizen-activists have opposed her move.

Third, Catazaro-Perry chief political sponsor is Stark County Democratic Party chair Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. The Report is not sure that Mayor Cicchinelli is aware of it, but Maier has had many negative remarks to make about Cicchinelli over the years The Report has known Maier.

The Report invites readers to read Massillon City Council minutes. They are quite entertaining. The te-te-a-tes between Catazaro-Perry and Cicchinelli.

The Catazaro-Perry possibility is a part of the larger Maier plan to staff the leadership of the Stark County Democratic Party with folks who are personally loyal to him.

Question: Is it good for Stark County to have party (a la Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.) boss who controls who runs for what office in Stark County?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

DISCUSSION: TUSCARAWAS JOINS JACKSON, PERRY & PLAIN TOWNSHIP TO SUPPORT CENTRALIZED DISPATCH. ARE MORE TO COME?

All it took for Tuscarawas Township to join with Canton, Louisville, Massillon; Jackson, Perry and Plain Townships was a meeting of the Ohio Township Association.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) hopes that other Stark County Township will have the awakening that Tuscarawas did under the leadership of Celeste DeHoff.

DeHoff has never been impressed The Report with leadership skills. Particularly unimpressive is her lack of a public school funding plan. But maybe this is a start.

Here it mid-May and her opponent (Republican Todd Snitchler) has no published position on the 9-1-1 issue. A check of his website shows that as of May 14th, all one gets is "Check here to learn more about Todd's plan to bring Ohio back." But there is absolutely nothing on any plan on any issue.

These is one think worse than not having a website in a 2008 election. Having a website that is not complete. Is this a sign of the quality of the Snitchler campaign.

So while The Report is dubious about DeHoff, it could be that she is head and shoulders above Snitchler. Time will tell.

The question: Will other townships being following the lead of Jackson, Perry, Plain and Tuscarawas and endorsing the county wide plan for dispatch?

DISCUSSION: A FORMER PARTY CHAIRMAN WHO ALL OF A SUDDEN IS FOR GOOD GOVERNMENT?

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) agrees with former Stark County Republican Party Chairman Curt Braden that Democrats should not be gaming the system on the Dann scandal.

And, The Report, believes because of the strong moral leadership of Democrat Governor Ted Strickland, gaming will not occur. Reports are streaming across the Internet as I write that Dann is expected to resign at 4:45 p.m. today.

Braden is hardly the one who ought to be writing a letter to the editor (The Repository - 5/14/2008).

Braden didn't write any letters to The Rep condemning Tom Noe of Coingate fame.

Braden didn't write any letters to The Rep condemning Bob Taft of taking illegal gifts fame.

Braden didn't write any letters to The Rep condemning Bob Ney of Abramhoff scandal fame.

Stark County voters have to be sick and tired of the likes of Curt Braden who ignore the sins of their partisans but then go public in blasting the other side.

The Report, of course, has seen the same kind of conduct from Stark County Democratic Chair Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. when tables are turned.

These men are not primarily concerned about good government. They are about their respective political parties and the political gain they can garner as a consequence of the sins of the opposition party. They are political sharks who circle around when they smell blood.

Voters should not pay any attention whatsoever to the Curt Braden's of the world.

Hypocrites are not credible people.

Agree or disagree?

DISCUSSION: MAYOR HEALY - CUTTING HIS LOSSES?

Now if a prospective employee for finance director has a background in "bankruptcy," would you want to hire him to build a budget that has to balance out?

The STARK POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) is just having a little fun at the expense of the Healy administration.

Actually, the mayor is showing a high degree of responsibility in owning up to a mistake in hiring Frederick J. Green as finance director.

Many public officials have huge egos that will not allow them to correct problems in their infancy because doing so is a public admission that the official failed in an exercise of judgment. While the official's ego may remain intact, the public function suffers.

So The Report applauds Mayor Healy's demonstration of political maturity in the firing of the finance director after only a few months on the job. Having to do so definitely brings Healy's judgment into question.

But the failure to do so could have been a huge impediment towards Healy's goal of turning around Canton.

In a general discussion that The Report had with Healy when Governor Strickland visited the Brewster Cheese Factory, Healy told us that his predecessor Creighton had left Canton's finances in a monumental mess.

Kudos to Healy for attacking this problem and for not burying his head in the sand when his own problem comes to the fore.

Agree or disagree?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

DISCUSSION: NORTH CANTON - THE TREND CONTINUES AMONG MOST SMALL STARK COUNTY ENTITIES - POLICE CHIEFS, FIRE CHIEFS & EMS CHIEFS AGAINST STARK COUNTY

This morning The Rep reported on the opposition of the North Canton police chief to the the commissioners' county wide 9-1-1 centralized call receipt/dispatch plan.

True to form, like former Alliance chief Larry Dordea (who now, ironically wants to be a county wide official [running for Stark County sheriff], North Canton Police Chief Mike Grimes and Fire Chief John Bacon say the "politically correct" thing from the vantage point of the parochial interests of Stark County.

But in reality they are against shoring up the safety of Stark Countians, though they say they are not.

Moreover, they say they are "open-minded." Really? Reading between the lines of The Report report of their comments belie Grimes' and Bacon's face-value comments apparently supportive of a county wide dispatch system.

Meanwhile, 70 percent of better of Stark Countians report emergencies via cellphone and Stark County Dispatch centers (except for Canton) do not have what is call Phase II capability to pinpoint the location of the inbound emergency call.

STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT readers will note the absence of any reference to the huge "cellphone tracking gap" in the current 9-1-1 system that Grimes and Bacon avoid.

Also, Grimes and Bacon come through as saying that everything is cool in North Canton (sliding over the "cellphone tracking gap" and the reality that there's "one additional call" in the current system before there can be any dispatch, and we don't care about Stark County as a whole.

One wonders if Grimes and Bacon want all Stark Countians to pitch in and fill the economic gap left by the departure of Hoover jobs. Undoubtedly. But with them it appears to be a one way street.

With leaders like Grimes and Bacon, how can Stark County move forward?

Monday, May 12, 2008

AWARD: 2008 POLITICAL CHUTZPAH AWARD




The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT wasn't present but undoubtedly Stark County Democratic Chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. was the man in charge of handing out Democratic Party awards on May 1st.

Especially deserving of an award was Party stalwart Billy Sherer (a long time member of Ironworkers Local 550). Billy (as his friends call him) deserved to be recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Billy Sherer is a class act and it is more than ironic that the man behind the award (Maier) finessed Sherer out of his Stark County Board of Elections post after 13 years of service by concocting a scheme to make it appear that Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner had demanded that an attorney (Feruccio, Johnnie's ally) be selected. A less mature person than Sherer might have balked at taking an award initiated by Maier but it needs to be said again: Billy Sherer is a class act who more than deserves any award the Stark County Democratic Party issues.

Not to take anything whatsoever from Sherer's honor, the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) muses on Maier's ulterior motive (in light of Maier's insult on Sherer in the Board of Election caper), but in the judgment of The Report, Maier does nothing without having some perceived advantage flow to him as a consequence of acting.

Many folks in Stark County's organized labor movement do not see the chairman as being labor friendly. They see him and some of the Democratic candidates/officeholders as taking them for granted and a good source for fundraising.

The Report believes there are two factors in the Maier turnabout. First, he desperately wants Celeste DeHoff elected as 50th House District represented. She brings her own baggage vis-a-vis organized labor. As a Tuscarawas Township trustee, she participated in the firings of several union workers. Moreover, she is viewed with suspicion by some in the party as not being a real Democrat. Up to as recently as four years ago, she was a registered Republican.

Second, it could be that the Strickland people in Columbus have told Maier to mend fences with Stark County organized labor. Stark County unions really like Governor Strickland and it is thought they have complained to Strickland's confidants about Maier's seeming anti-union attitude. Local unions have found Maier hard to stomach. They demonstrated this by running their own candidate for Sherer's Board of Elections seat when his immediate successor Randy Gonzalez had to resign because of a conflict with his government job.

Make no mistake about it, Maier is a political manipulator, extraordinaire. As a state representative, Maier grew up politically under old style political boss Vern Riffe and to this day reveres the man. His applies the lessons learned with precision.

There you have it folks; "hats off" to the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT'S 2008 POLITICAL CHUTZPAH AWARD winner - Stark County Democratic Party Chairman - Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.

DISCUSSION: STARK COUNTY LACKS THE ABILITY TO EFFECTIVELY DEAL WITH WIRELESS 9-1-1 CALLS?

Probably more than 70% of all calls to the centralized Stark County call receiving unit (NOTE: I DO NOT SAY "CENTRALIZED DISPATCH" - no such thing exists in Stark County) is made via cellphone.

Because of Stark County's fragmented, hodgepodge 9-1-1 system (can we really call it a system?), wireless callers run a huge risk of receiving delayed attention to their emergency calls.

Every Stark County citizen should be grabbing a copy of the "Stark County Regional 9-1-1, Dispatch Study, and Recommendations Report".

Read it for yourself. Your life or the life if a loved one could be at stake.

For wireless callers now (under the current wildly deficient county system), a cellphone call will only tell the receiving 9-1-1 receiving center the location of the "cell tower" which processed the call and the sending cellphone number. Needless to say, the emergency is very unlikely to be right under or next to the cell tower processing the call.

Projections are that if everything falls into place, Stark County could have a "modernized" system within two (2) years or so.

But, the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT is not optimistic that Stark County will come anywhere near perfecting a county wide system anytime soon.

Given the political realities with police chiefs, fire chiefs, EMS chiefs, township and village officials and the city of Alliance officials resisting change; UNLESS THERE IS A PUBLIC OUTCRY AND THE APPLICATION OF POLITICAL PRESSURE ON THE "RESISTERS," it will be a long time before the Stark County 9-1-1 gets fixed.

The question: How long will we Stark Countians allow local officials to frustrate remedying this glaring problem that is very solvable if we can get locals off of their square inch?

DISCUSSION: BOCCIERI & SCHURING NEED TO TAKE CARE OF OWN HOUSE?

John Boccieri was slow to come out of the gate on moving against Marc Dann to get Dann to resign or be impeached.

While the Dann fiasco is getting prime attention, there is another cesspool that not only Boccieri but also his congressional opponent Kirk Schuring need to deal with.

Dennis Willard of the Akron Beacon Journal reported this past Sunday about the arrogance of state Senator Ray Miller who is in the leadership of the Democratic Party in the Ohio Senate.

It seems as if Miller thinks that campaign finance reporting laws do not apply to him. Moreover, Miller has had an ethical lapse for which he was sanctioned by the Joint Legislative Ethics Commission.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) does not think Miller has been dealt with severely enough. A leader in the Ohio General Assembly disses the law and his peers look the other way?

Though they are running against each other in the 16 District Congressional race, Stark Countians Kirk Schuring and John Boccieri (a Stark Countian after his childrens' school year ends) should be taking the lead - together - from their perch in the senate (both currently state senators) to initiate proceedings to drive Miller out.

Does anyone expect that either Schuring or Boccieri - much less both of the - will be interested in cleaning out the Senate from the likes of Ray Miller?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

DISCUSSION: (DAY 1) WHY STARK COUNTY'S 9-1-1 IS SUCH A MESS. WHO'S TO BLAME? WHAT POLITICAL LESSONS DO WE LEARN FROM OUR HISTORY?


According to the "Regional 9-1-1 Dispatch Radio Study, and Recommendations (911 Report), "Stark County is served by a non-standard 9-1-1 call processing and answering environment ... '

What's wrong with being "non-standard," isn't Stark County unique?

The problem: Non-standard "results in the need to transfer well over 70 percent of the 9-1-1 calls."

So what? Delay, my friends, delay!

If it's your life on the line and that extra call or two has to be made before aid is on the way - it could be a matter of life or death! Only if you live in the city of Canton, does a 9-1-1 caller get immediate call receipt and dispatch.

All other Stark Countians experience at least one more call before dispatch is made. In 2006, the delay affected 130,000 Stark Countian calls.

The original set up by the 1986 set of Stark County commissioners initiated the onset of Stark County's "non-standard" 9-1-1 configuration. From the get-go, only Canton city residents go one-step 9-1-1 services.

Many times voters do not know what criteria to use to determine which of the commissioner candidates.

Well, "vision" is one criterion for sure, and, perhaps, gumption. Gumption? Yes, gumption!

Because of entrenched interest in the "status quo" system, it takes commissioners with the will power to resist and more forward for the good of all citizens against the established political interests (fire department chiefs, police department chiefs, and EMS leaders and their patron mayors, city/village councils and township officials).

More than 20 years later Stark County is dealing with deficient decision making in 1986!

Agree or disagree?

DISCUSSION: MAYBE STARK COUNTY COMMISSIONER CANDIDATE PETE FERGUSON IS RIGHT?


During the primary election, Democratic candidate Pete Ferguson was saying there was more to cut from the Stark County Board of Commissioners' budget. The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT was skeptical of this claim. But with the run of recent developments, one has to wonder!

Initially, (relying Repository reports) $1 million was cut in the current round of cuts from Stark County Sheriff Tim Swanson budgets. With the $1 million cut, Swanson announced 33 layoffs were in the offing. Then the county commissioners "found" extra money so the cuts could be pared to 22 because the commissioners found $300,000 (just laying around?).

Now we learn that another $495,000 has been "found." So only 13 of the original 33 sheriff department employed remained on lay-off.

On another front, as reported on April 26th in the Akron Beacon Journal, the commissioners are adding staff and giving pay raises!!

What gives???

Do any of your county commissioners have a handle on county finances?

Is this scary or is this scary? How about county administrator Mike Hanke, does he know who's on first?

Friday, May 9, 2008

DISCUSSION: DOES STARK COUNTY, THE 50TH DISTRICT WANT A DIVISIVE STATE REP?


Trustee Celeste DeHoff (Tuscarawas Township) and Democratic candidate for the 50th Ohio House District is stirring up a tempest between the township and the city of Massillon and its long time Democratic mayor Francis Cicchinelli.

The fuss? An annexation issue and roadway maintenance issues. That's it.

So, DeHoff, working through her township colleague Dean Green is at loggerheads with the Massillon mayor and his Safety-service Director Mike Loudiana.

Massillon seems to want to talk it out and work together with Tuscarawas Township officials including DeHoff according to press reports from the Massillon Independent.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT surmises that DeHoff has adopted the antipathy of her political sponsor Massillon Clerk of Courts and Stark County Democratic Party Chairman Johnnie A. Maier has expressed toward Mayor Cicchinelli.

With Stark County and a constituent part (the 50th House District) having serious economic problems, does DeHoff demonstrate the characteristics that show her to be a problem solver rather than a problem creator?

DISCUSSION: HAS SCHURING GOTTEN PUBLIC EDUCATION RELIGION IN TIME FOR NOVEMBER?


Has Kirk Schuring the consummate Republican lost his "GOP-esque" memory?

Ohio media outlets reported yesterday that Schuring was one of three votes against a Republican-initiated Ohio General Assembly plan.

Paul Kostyu of The Rep described the effort as being "Senate Bill 57, which the Senate passed 17-15 Wednesday, would create a five-year pilot program in the Department of Education for "scholarships" to allow families of special-education students to choose a school that best fits a child's individual needs."

Another quote from Kostyu's piece is very revealing (reading between the quote marks).

"State Rep. Kirk Schuring, R-Jackson Township, said he has a 'longstanding' position opposing moving money for programs that are better suited for public school systems."

For those who have known Schuring for the better part of his 14 years in public office know that he has been a Legislature voting supporter of charter schools, community schools, vouchers and other Republican contrivances to undermine public education.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) takes this vote by Schuring to be a political gambit. He knew that the bill, even if it passes, will not see the light of day because Governor Strickland has promised to veto it. His friends in the political Right will soon forget this vote but Schuring has begun to and will continue to use this vote to confuse the voting public on his true position on the charter school versus public school competition.

These are desperate time for Schuring. Political wisdom says that Schuring is substantially behind Democrat John Boccieri in the race to become long time Congressman Ralph Regula.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT spoke with Boccieri a couple of weeks ago when The Report did a piece poking a little fun at Boccieri over when he will move into the 16th District.

Boccieri who was mildly upset at the setting for the piece but seemed to settled down when there was no intended specific meaning of the make up of the crowd that Boccieri was seemingly lost in, told The Report that he would be moving into the district as soon as his childrens' school term ended.

Boccieri also said that "he hoped Schuring would continue to use the [carpetbagger issue - my phrase] as his main campaign issue." Meanwhile, Boccieri promised focus on issues he feels voters really care about: Iraq, the economy and healthcare insurance issues.

The Report notes that efforts to get a response from Kirk Schuring on various campaign issues failed. The Report notes that at least one other blogger experience similar experience from the Schuring campaign.

But all this makes sense. Last summer in a one-on-one talk with Schuring in Hartville (before the campaign began), Schuring confirmed that he knew he had favored status with The Repository Editorial Board.

So obviously Schuring is going to try to use The Rep as his public relations arm. Wise readers will read Rep opinion pieces on Schuring with skepticism.

A strange position for a man who is substantially behind in the race.

But the question remains. Will voters see how Schuring works the "chameleon effect" strategy of the Schuring campaign?


Thursday, May 8, 2008

DISCUSSION: DOES THE CANTON LAW DEPARTMENT/CANTON CITY COUNCIL HAVE A CONFLICT OF INTEREST PROBLEM?

A reason that you should read the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) is because The Report will ask questions that no one else who reports on Stark County politics will - no matter the subject and the personages involved - friend or foe?

The Report thinks that Canton Law Director Joe Martuccio is one of the very highest quality officials that Stark County has.

Martuccio is on the list of those recognized by the Outstanding Young Americans organization. From The Report's personal contact with Martuccio, it is apparent that Martuccio is a quality guy.

One has to wonder whether or not Martuccio has any misgivings about the Canton Law Department providing legal representation in the city's quest to get, via eminent domain proceedings, an easement on behalf of private entities the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the DeHoff Family Foundation which constitute Canton Commerce Development.

A good summary of the situation has been published by The Repository.

So where does the rub come in so far as a potential conflict of interest in concerned?

The good corporate citizen that the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) is, it has taken on the project of putting on an annual Government Leadership Academy. One of its graduates who returns to speak to new classes? Canton Law Director Joe Martuccio.

In the current class, there are two sitting members of Canton City Council. The Report would not be surprised to learn that others sitting on council have attended this excellent "preparing to be an effective elected official" program.

So where's the potential conflict?

The Chamber has another side to it. It has teamed up with the DeHoff Family Foundation in a private business enterprise profit making effort.

Well, what's wrong with that?

Absolutely nothing, in the view of the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT.

The problem. The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT thinks it is all too easy for public officials to develop a comfy/cozy relationship with businesses which may want to use government to advance their private purposes and who are quite skillful a putting a "public skin" in order to enlist the assistance of the power of government.

In this particular situation, the business entity has been unsuccessful in attempting to negotiate the easement it desires to have with the landowner. Step 2 then has been to enlist the aid of government to achieve what this private business entity presents as a public purpose.

Martuccio and City Council have bought into the entity's selling points.

The question is this. What this an arm's length decision? What do you think?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

DISCUSSION: IS A "STARK COUNTY" STAR BEING BORN?


The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has been a bit skeptical of Todd Bosley.

Why?

He appears to be a somewhat of a grandstander. Moreover, he seems to too ambitious. Witness his announcement (to Democratic Party confidants) right after winning a county commissioner's seat, that he was ready to take on Ralph Regula for congressman (16th District).

But in the judgment of The Report, perhaps, political realities have set in and he has tamed his grandstanding and his ambitions.

Bosley is an "outsider" who will never be accepted by the Stark County political establishment as one of its own. In contrast, Commissioner Tom Harmon is the quintessential "insider" who is not only accepted by the "powers that be" in Stark County, he could be the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain.

Bosley can be like a "bull in the china shop." Just ask former Nimishillen Township Trustee Russ Goss with whom Bosley served four years.

Now approaching two full years as commissioner Bosely has done more than any other county commissioner in recent memory in moving the ball forward in Stark County.

Bosley is the force behind getting the 911 consolidation (central dispatching0 closer to existence. He alone had the political courage to dig into the Stark County Job and Family Services fiasco. Now we learn (from a Repository report) that he tried but failed to get Volkswagen to come to Stark County.

If only Bosley had someone to work with. Tom Harmon is a huge disappointment to The Report. Harmon is not the "bold" factor that Stark County needs to rejuvenate itself. Neither are Pete Feguson and John Hagan, one of whom will be replacing the retiring Jane Vignos.

The question: Can Bosley drive Stark County into the 21st century on his own?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

DISCUSSION: A PROFILE IN POLITICAL COURAGE?

When the story first broke, successor to Canton mayor William Healy, II, Stephen Slesnick didn't know enough to comment on the Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann controversy.

Well, all the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report), "What a Difference a Day Makes."

Now Slesnick has jumped on the bandwagon State Rep. Mark Okey (D-61) started.

What's more, 16th Congressional candidate John Boccieri has gotten much stronger in his condemnation of Dann.

You even have Stark County's ultimate politico, Democratic chair, Johnnie A. Maier, Jr., getting in on the act. With the likes of Maier jumping ship, Dann has to know he is in big, big trouble.

Returning to the Slesnick "Profile in Political Courage," on Friday May 2nd, he told The Repository "I don't know enough about the situation to be able to comment . . . "[w]e have been very busy working on legislation."

By May 5 he was telling The Rep:
"I'm right behind the governor, . . . [g]iven the facts are correct, we are all on the same page as the governor." Still kind of mealy-mouthed in the estimate of The Report.

Slesnick is an example of what is the worse about politicians. Mark Okey is a model of "A Profile in Courage."

Among the two, which in your opinion is the the one who exemplifies political courage?

Monday, May 5, 2008

DISCUSSION: IS TODD BOSLEY THE ONLY COMMISSIONER DEMONSTRATING EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP?

Todd Bosley has be saying for a long time how broken Stark Count Job and Family Services is.

Apparently, his fellow commissioners Harmon and Vignos disagree.

Harmon and Vignos have hired an interim director from within despite a report.

Bosley is quoted in The Canton Repository as saying: "I have a very hard time of allowing the same people who have been in control for many, many years, while these problems have been happening, to stay in control," . . . "To allow this to continue is a great injustice to the community."

What Bosley says makes a lot of sense to the Stark County Political Report (The Report). Moreover, at one time The Report was supportive of Harmon as commissioner.

But as time goes on it it seems as if Harmon is a "good ole boy" type public official who does not serve the public well because it he worried about offending someone in the hierarchy of Stark County leadership.

What do you think?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

DISCUSSION: WHY HASN'T A STARK COUNTY OFFICERHOLDER CALLED FOR MARK DANN'S RESIGNATION?


The best we got was a stinging condemnation by state Representative Mark Okey (D) who represents the eastern fringe of Stark County.

The next strongest rebuke was from congressional candidate John Boccieri (D). His opponent, Kirk Scurring (R) was bland at best.

50th District Rep. John Hagan is quoted in The Rep as saying; "I'll stay out of that one." Strange comment from a self-announced Promise Keeper who one would think would stand up for morality in a big way.

Stranger yet is a comment by Canton Democrat Stephen Slesnick - "I don't know enough about the situation to be able to comment." Not commenting at all is Scott Oelslager (R-Jackson).

Isn't it hard to fathom why every one of Stark County's elected officials are not demanding Dann's resignation?

Friday, May 2, 2008

DISCUSSION: SHOULD STARK COUNTY OFFICIALS SOLVE STARK COUNTY BUDGET PROBLEMS BY SUPPORTING CASINO GAMBLING IN OHIO?


A no nonsense campaign to bring gambling to Ohio is underway by an group known as MyOhio.com.

The group behind the effort is trying to get Stark County elected officials to support the campaign through endorsement and other campaign activities.

Stark County stands to gain $7 million plus if the constitutional amendment initiative succeeds. The county budget is about $50 million. An infusion of the money would represent a 14% increase in revenues.

This is one of the few ways county officials can grow revenues because it is like pulling teeth to get Stark Countians to support sales tax increases.

Would Stark Countian support their public official campaigning for this initiative?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

DISCUSSION: GIAVASIS ANNOINTS REINBOLD "CLERK OF COURTS," IS THIS THE WAY STARK COUNTIANS WANT COUNTY OFFICES FILLED?



Was she born to be Stark County Clerk of Courts. If you ask former Stark County Clerk of Courts (now Canton Municipal Clerk of Courts) Phil Giavasis, she was.

Many Stark County Democrats were surprised when about a year ago Phil Giavasis announced that he was running for Canton Municipal Clerk of Courts (better pay; better retirement benefits) on the retirement of the sitting clerk Tom Harmon (now Stark County Commission - seems sorta like a retire/rehire type situation doesn't it?).

Oh well, getting on with the Giavasis/Reinbold saga, when Lawrence Township Trustee Michael Stevens heard of the apparent vacancy; he went and talked to Giavasis to express an interest in succeeding Phil.

As Stevens tells it, Giavasis became visibly annoyed and upset that Stevens would be interested. Apparently, Phil had let it be known through Stark County Democratic Party chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr., that he already knew who his successor would be and that person would be Nancy Reinbold (wife of retiring Stark County Court of Common Pleas judge Richard Reinbold). Isn't this getting to be amazing. All these Stark County officials retiring?

So there you have it folks: Giavasis the self-appointed patron saint of Nancy Reinbold. After all, it's her birthright!

Question: Is this the way Stark Countians want their elective offices filled?