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Thursday, July 31, 2008

DISCUSSION: IS THIS FOR REAL? UNCONTESTED CANDIDATE FUNCTIONS LIKE HE IS IN HEATED CONTEST TO STAY IN OFFICE


Readers of the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) know how dug in The Report is on political competition.

The Report's big beef with former Stark County Republican chair Curt Braden is his presiding over the demise of the Stark County Republican Party in terms of fielding a slate of competitive candidates.

Another "crow to pick" with both party chairmen (Maier of the Dems) and now Jeff Matthews of the GOP is how many races in Stark County are uncontested. The Report does buy into vigorous political competition as a check on public official abuse of the processes of government.

One of the main missions of The Report is to put the heat on both of Stark County's political parties to be the best they can be. All Stark Countians benefit from political competition. The parties don't/won't like the oversight.

But the fact of the matter is that both parties and many elected Stark County politicians are "anti-competitive" when it comes to their square inch. In theory political competition is fine - but for the "other guy."

Stark County Engineer Mike Rehfus (unopposed in the November general election) is proving that you do not have to be under intense scrutiny to be effective. He appeared this Tuesday morning at the Stark County Commissioners' meeting and announced a huge potential savings to Stark County taxpayers of some $400,000 to $600,000 annually.

This doesn't mean a refund check is coming to taxpayers, but it does mean that Rehfus will have more money to spend on roads, bridges, cleaning ditches, et cetera.

The Report hands out kudos to Republican Commissioner Jane Vignos. In the video, pay close attention to the questioning Vignos does (The Report absolutely loves inquiring public officials). The Report is convinced that Vignors would have skewered Rehfus if his proposal had all the markings of being "hype" with little likelihood that hoped for savings would be realized.

Another point about Vignos. She doesn't call the practice of some public officials as being "retire-rehire at the same job." But that is exactly what she is zeroing in on - in part - with her questioning.

Judge Stucki, Judge Hoffman and Sheriff Swanson take note. Maybe Stark County voters have (in the case of Stucki/if one takes Judge Park's allegation as being legit) and will (Hoffman and Swanson) be making a similar analysis on November 4th.

Back to the county commissioners video. If citizens want to know how public officials should be handling themselves when it comes to evaluating proposals such as the Rehfus plan, Vignos provides the model.

Another interesting tidbit about Rehfus' proposal is that Rehfus is a Democrat who is proving to be highly efficient with taxpayer dollars and is "shrinking the size of government (his operation, anyway). Republican politicians have historically tarred Democrats as being "tax and spend and increase the size of government" with some - but overblown - justification.

Rick Campbell of the Stark County Recorder's Office is another Stark County Democrat who has being highly efficient with taxpayer dollars.

The Report can name a number of Republicans who have not been. One being former Canton Mayor and Republican Janet Creighton. If you can get Mayor Healy in one of his "unguarded" moments he will give you chapter and verse of the financial mess Creighton left Canton in.

Republican or Democrat is a false dichotomy. Also, remember Rehfus is an exception. Most politicians who run opposed think they can do as they wish.

Readers can depend to on The Report to hand out praise/criticism of candidates/public officials regardless of likable or unlikable personality traits or the person's political affiliation.

Question: Do you have anything to criticize the Rehfus buy-out about? Or, do you wish to commend Rehfus?

DISCUSSION: IS THERE SUCH A THING FOR A "PROTECTED" ENCLAVE FOR A CANDIDATE FOR PUBLIC OFFICE?


Recently, Republican candidate for the Ohio House (50th) Todd Snitchler appeared before the Uniontown Business Association (UBA) with a presentation on his Lake Development Corporation.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) was there, camera in-hand (very openly) to record the presentation, a snippet of which has appeared in a previous report.

Apparently, the Snitchler campaign has complained to the UBA (either directly or through intermediaries) about the recording of Snitchler's comments. The Report received an e-mail from the president of UBA protesting that Snitchler's appearance wasn't a political event?

Give us a break, candidate Snitchler!

This meeting is open to the general public. Undoubtedly, many if not all attendees at this event knew that Snitchler is the Republican candidate for the Ohio House 50th (which includes Uniontown). In fact, Snitchler has appeared at the Lake Rotary and the Uniontown Lions Club with the same spiel.

Does anyone believe these were non-political?

The Report has been around the block a time or two. This was, as were the other two, a political appearance. Snitchler may be trying to appear as "Mr. Non-partisan," but nevertheless this sudden onset of appearances within the 50th on the Lake Development Corporation is not co-incidental with his campaign.

Another interesting fact about Snitchler is that he is one of the candidates that refuses to talk with The Report; ignoring several requests. Isn't some kind of arrogance when a candidate for public office thinks he can refuse the "hard questions?"

The Report thinks Snitchler was embarrassed that The Report pointed out that he did not even get a mention of being a candidate for the Ohio House. The Report has a pretty good idea that Stark County Republican chair Jeff Matthews nor Ohio Republican deputy chair Kevin DeWine will not like hearing that Snitchler is out there in one of the most crucial campaigns in Ohio (in determining who controls the Ohio House) making "non-partisan" - "civic" appearances.

The Report puts Snitchler and all candidates for public office in Stark County that you will be found out-in-public and you will have to answer the "hard questions."

Complain, complain, complain all you want. But the public is entitled to know your specific answers on specific issues - and - The Report will be out there in the public arena getting answers for The Report's readers!

Question: Is this guy Snitchler politically naive enough to think he can control inquiry at "open-to-the-public" venues? Is Snitchler trying to campaign in a "protective" bubble?

DISCUSSION: SHOULD CANDIDATES FOR COUNTY COMMISSIONER BE ATTENDING MEETINGS?


Of the three non-incumbent candidates for a seat on the Stark County Board of County Commissioners, only Dr. Pete Ferguson has attended any board meetings since being nominated as their respective party's nominee in the March, 2008 primary.

His attendance has not been great, but the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has learned, from an impeccable source inside the commissioners' office, that Ferguson has attended several meeting since March.

John Hagan, his opponent? None! Anyone who knows John Hagan surprised? The Report certainly is not.

Were Hagan to be elected, The Report can see a scenario in which he would be wearing an electronic earpiece at board meetings connected off site to former Commissioner Jane Vignos or Stark County Republican Party chair Jeff Matthews.

Hagan as state representative (50th) has demonstrated his inability to contribute fresh ideas, programs and policies for Ohio. His achievements (few, indeed) has been as the "poster child" for a Governor Bob Taft initiative (prescription drugs) or as a "gofer" for House Speakers Householder and Husted (vis-a-vis Ohio's public utilities).

Feguson is far from "perfect attendance." The Report would not want to hear that he is too busy with his chiropractor practice. For, if he were elected, he would have to find space for meetings as well as many other time consuming public activities that a county commissioner has to engage in.

On Travis Secrest (Tom Harmon's opponent for the other commissioner seat). The Report has learned some time ago that he suffered an injury which limits his mobility. For the time being, Secrest is excused from The Report's scrutiny on this issue. But when he sufficiently recovers, he should be hotfooting it down to each and every commissioners' meeting.

One other thing that both Hagan and Ferguson better get used to, is answering questions from The Report. Because there will be plenty of them at public meetings

Readers will recall that Ferguson called to complain to The Report about one of our pieces, then when The Report (after hearing him out) started asking questions, Ferguson ducked out, promising to call back.

The Report is still waiting for Ferguson's phone call.


Question: Should county commissioner candidate Dr. Pete Ferguson be held to his promises, prior to be elected county commissioner? If he doesn't call back, is it fair to question him being "a man of his word?"

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

DISCUSSION: THE MAYORS OF MASSILLION AND NORTH CANTON HAVE A DISAGREEMENT?



The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) today posts its first segment of a video interview with Massillon Mayor Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr.

The Report found Mayor Cicchinelli to be responsive to all our question. No dodging. No hem-hawing around.

Question: What is your take on the Massillon/North Canton tussle over Myers Controlled Power?

DISCUSSION: HOW DID FORMER STARK COUNTY PARTY CHAIR ROY GUTIERREZ BECOME AN EX-PRECINCT COMMITTEEMAN?

In a recent conversation with former Stark County Democratic Party chairman - Roy Gutierrez, the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL (The Report) learned interesting details of a Gutierrez loss to local Democratic Party kingpin Allen Schulman in a race for precinct committeeman (7C - Canton).

It is quite a fall from being party chairman to being challenged for and losing at the base level of political organization - precinct committeeman.

Not only is the loss stunning. But who did it and who Gutierrez says was behind the move is shocking.

Gutierrez says that a prime mover to get Canton City Council president Allen Schulman to run against him in 7C was Phil Giavasis (Canton Municipal Court clerk of courts) urged on by Johnnie A. Maier, Jr (Massillon Municipal Court clerk of courts and current Stark County Democratic Party chairman).

The Report counts Schulman and Giavasis as members of the Johnnie A. Maier, Jr wing of the Stark County Democratic Party.

Readers ought to follow this link to the Stark County Board of Elections
and check both the Democrat and Republican precinct committeeman races and see how many contested races there were this past March. The Gutierrez/Schulman race may be the only race that was contested out of the 728 (combined Rep/Dem) precincts.

So this was not a "politics as usual" event. It had to be an extraordinary political calculation. It certainly was not as simple as Allen Schulman waking up one morning and saying to himself: "You know what, I have the overwhelming urge to be a precinct committeeman. I know my friend and neighbor Roy Gutierrez has the seat now, but he's had it long enough; he'll understand."

Or, perhaps he is like Judge David Stucki (Republican - Stark County Court of Common Pleas/Domestic Relations) who said that he ran against fellow Republican Dixie Park (Probate Court judge) in the Republican primary because he could not abide her running uncontested (the Democrats did not field a candidate for the general election).

Does anyone think this was Schulman's motivation?

Nevertheless, winning this contest had to be gratifying to Schulman because he has not had much success in contested political races. He did win hands down for Canton City Council president, but he had no opponent.

Schulman has suffered a humiliating loss in a past run for the 16th Congressional district (in a Democratic primary).

Revisit May 3, 1994 with the following results: J. MICHAEL FINN - 18,582 votes, equaling 54.08% of the vote; ALLEN SCHULMAN - 15,780 votes, equaling 45.92%. A truly astounding turn of events.

Schulman's run against Gutierrez is all the more riveting given the storied history between the two. Gutierrez recounts their living within a few doors of each other for many, many years and how Gutierrez (when Schulman was a struggling young attorney) would transport him to and from work. This is just one of a number of historical personal ties between them.

So where did this relationship go awry? It is probably connected with evolving disaffection between Gutierrez and current Stark County Democratic Party chair Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. who was - according to Gutierrez - a fixture in Gutierrez's political life (i.e. in his role as party chairman) when Maier ran against Republican Red Ash for the Ohio House (the old 56th district). As Gutierrez tells it, he was the main support for Maier back in those days.

Roy Gutierrez is an outspoken person who has publicly and privately tangled with Maier on political matters over the years since the Red Ash days.

The Report believes that Maier broods over political differences, especially when they are persistent - biding his time until he has an opportunity to politically recriminate presents itself.

Question: Why do you think former Stark County Democratic Party chair Roy Gutierrez was contested in Precinct 7C (Canton) by Allen Schulman?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

DISCUSSION: THE COMMISSIONERS TRANSFER FROM "APPROPRIATED" ACCOUNTS - IS THIS PROOF OF COUNTY FINANCIAL PROBLEMS DR. FERGUSON? TRAVIS SECREST?


The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) brings readers a video of a segment of today's Stark County commissioners meeting which should demonstrates to one and all "how out-of-money" Stark County is.

Note from the video how emphatic Commissioner Vignos (apologies to her for "the voice only") is about what the commissioners have had to do in terms of altering the county budget to settle the legal challenge from the Stark County Veterans Service Commission which threaten a law suit because the commissioners were unable to comply with a state mandate (embodied in statutory law) to fully fund the commission's 2008 financial requirements.

The commissioners' action had to be somewhat bittersweet to Commissioner Bosley. Cleaning out the ditches in Stark County has been a huge priority with Bosley and he reminded The Report that his ditch cleaning advocacy was prime basis for his successful bid to become a Nimishillen Township trustee as he began his political career. Off camera Bosley reaffirmed to The Report that he is committed to continuing the ditch cleaning program in Stark County.

Question: Is transferring appropriated funds the proper way for the commissioners to go in solving county financial problems?

DISCUSSION: "LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD - OR - CAN'T?"


Is PUAMA (People United Against Massillon Annexation) the "Little Engine that Could" or is it the "Little Engine that Cannot?"

PUAMA has hitched up the Republican Travis Secrest county commissioner campaign as its load and is game to try to pull the load over the massive Mount Harmon (Democrat Tom Harmon's campaign).

Supposedly, Local 9187 of the United Steelworkers (the union at Stark County Jobs and Family Services) will be assisting the PUAMA Express. In the end, the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) believes the union will be cajoled into at least taking a "neutral" position in the race.

Unions are too ensconced in Democratic politics for anyone to realistically believe that a local union will bolt to a Republican candidate.

If Harmon loses this race, he has only himself to blame. Harmon has committed a number of political blunders that may have put this race in play.

The Report loves these "made in Hollywood scripts" and it would be a "stunner" of epic proportions in the annals of Stark County political history if PUAMA pulls this off.

The Massillon Independent has reported on a "successful" fundraiser that PUAMA sponsored for Secrest this past weekend. For Secrest to have a real chance to win this race, he will have to do a lot better than this event. But it is start.

Question: Can the PUAMA Express make it over Mount Harmon?

Monday, July 28, 2008

DISCUSSION: WHAT IS GOING ON IN ALLIANCE WITH AMBULANCE SERVICE?

Readers of the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) the piece in which The Report suggested that Larry Dordea (former police chief in Alliance" may be "too provincial" to be a countywide elected official (county sheriff) as evidence by his witnessing against a countywide 9-1-1 before Alliance City Council.

Another report from the Alliance Review seems to validate The Report's question.

In today's Alliance Review, it has been reported that Dordea serves on an Alliance task force looking into whether or not Alliance should enter into an exclusive contract with two Alliance area ambulance companies to provide emergency transport to Alliance area residents.

In the face of a county commissioner commissioned report which criticized setups like the Alliance task force proposal (with the likelihood that Alliance will eventually be part of a countywide 9-1-1 system), take a look at this excerpt from today's Alliance Review:

The task force recommended contracting with an exclusive provider, as it "will significantly, dramatically and materially reduce and diminish dumped calls."

The task force, consisting of Blaser, Law Director Andrew Zumbar, Health Commissioner Randall Flint, then-Police Chief Lawrence Dordea (emphasis added) and then-Fire Chief James Reese, issued its four-page report to council.

Democrat members of Alliance City Council seem to have reservations about the Dordea et al assessment.

The Report renews the original question:

Is there a side to Larry Dordea that demonstrates an inability to see the "big picture?" Is this a case that Dordea, knowing that his opponent Sheriff Swanson is committed to a countywide 9-1-1, is looking to establish another "politically derived difference" with the sheriff?

DISCUSSION: DORDEA V. SWANSON, BY PROXY?



Readers of the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) will recall the soapbox editorial by Executive Editor Jeff Gauger of The Repository of not allowing proxies to "spin" the campaign for the candidates.

Apparently, that doesn't apply to the race for Stark County sheriff.

The Report is introducing a new feature today. Now on selected posts the reader can scan the graphic which comes with each and every report with the mouse - if a hand appears; then the reader can link directly to a third party article on.

In this instance, by passing the mouse over Dordea's face, the reader links to a letter to editor written to The Rep on Dordea and the same applies to the Swanson picture.

Question: Is the proxy "letter to the editor" fight a case of The Rep applying different standards to different races?

DISCUSSION: IS THE BOCCIERI ENDORSEMENT LIST UP-TO-DATE?

Last week the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) interviewed Mayor Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr and will, over ensuing weeks be bringing snippets of video with commentary to The Report's readers.

The Report came away from the interview wondering whether or not Cicchinelli will be endorsing 16th district congressional candidate John Boccieri in the general election.

What's that? A hue and a cry goes up from the Boccieri camp. To The Report: "Haven't you checked the Boccieri website and seen that Mayor Cicchinelli is listed as a Boccieri endorser?"

Indeed. But wasn't that from the primary race? Remember? - Boccieri versus Cirelli?

Check out the endorsement list: "Akron Beacon Journal?" The Report is sure that the Akron Beacon Journal has not made an endorsement in the general election. Such may be the case for Cicchinell.

From the tone of The Report's interview with the mayor as to the part that touched on the Boccieri/Schuring race, The Report did not come away with a clear understanding that Cicchinelli had endorsed Boccieri in the general election.

Cicchinelli is set to meet with Boccieri (this week, as The Report recalls). And, if Cicchinelli has not made a endorsement in the general election; expect a confirming announcement soon.

It is hard to imagine that being the self-described staunch Democrat he is, the mayor would not be endorsing Boccieri in the general election.

As The Report has published before, a considerable number of Stark County Democrat elected officials have - in a low profile sort of way - supported Boccieri's opponent Kirk Schuring in his previous state senate/house races.

Question: Does John Boccieri still have to convince the mayor of Massillon to endorse him in the general election?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

DISCUSSION: A WORTHLESS ENDORSEMENT? - UNLESS, OF COURSE, HAGAN THINKS HE CAN WIN COUNTYWIDE WITH ONLY GETTING REPUBLICAN VOTES

You see it all the time. Political parties endorsing their own candidates, Republican and Democrat officeholders endorsing Republican and Democrat candidates.

But what do these endorsements mean to the voting public?

Absolutely nothing!

Another common practice is for the parties to form "generic" sounding names of groups which endorse only whom? The candidates of a particular party.

Here are a couple of local examples. The Stark County Republican Party has formed "Votes for Women." This organization endorses only Republican candidates to make it appear that a given candidate is the preferred candidate of women across the board.

The Stark County Democratic Party has formed "Coalition of Women Voters." Samo, samo. The Coalition for Women Voters endorses only Democratic candidates to make it appear that a given candidate is the preferred candidate of women across the board.

Stark County Republican and Democratic chairs should be ashamed of themselves. Perpetuating a deception on local voters.

Question: What do you think of the attempted deception on voters by Stark County's two main stream political parties?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

DISCUSSION: "NO-GUFF - HARMON?"

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) knows that its "tough" being an elected official these days.

The Report has learned that Commissioner Tom Harmon will defend himself from what he views as unwarranted political attacks.

At a recent area civic organization meeting, Harmon was (according to one of The Report's sources) getting "unfairly" pummeled by a questioner. After abiding the unfairness for a period of time, Harmon gathered up his things and respectfully left the meeting.

That is one version of this incident.

Another one suggests that Harmon wasn't long-suffering at all. And, to the astonishment of the attendees; after a number of "hard-to-field" questions, packed up his stuff and left.

The Tom Harmon The Report knows squares up with the patient and abiding Tom Harmon rather than a "don't ask me hard questions" or "I'll take my ball and go home" Harmon.

The Report endorsed the selection of Harmon to replace former Commissioner Gayle Jackson when she took a Strickland appointment to the Lottery Commission. The Report has written a number of letters to the editor/comments in The Rep challenging Harmon to be the kind of leader The Report thinks he can be.

A good starting point would be to take out
his list of goals for Stark County he articulated upon in The Rep and keep an accounting of the concrete achievements he has had in pursuit of those goals - and - report the specifics to we Stark Countians.

The Report sees that Harmon has two major hurdles to overcome to begin making real progress on his goals

First, he needs to separate himself from (in the view of The Report) a too close of a relationship with the Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. wing of the Stark County Democratic Party (Maier, DeHoff, Gonzalez, Giavasis, Catazaro-Perry, Reinbold, the Jacksons, et al). The word is that Harmon somehow thinks he owes Maier, et al, for his appointment. Such is an inappropriate reason for how one handles oneself in public office.

Second, Harmon needs to be more attuned to everyday people. The Report understands that a public official has to work with chamber of commerce types and other "establishment/management/corporate ownership" types to get anything done. But he needs to keep his ear to ground and be receptive to the input of day-in, day-out Stark County citizens.

Question: Who is the Tom Harmon you know - a measured, patient and reflective person or an impatient "pop-0ff?"

DISCUSSION: STARK COUNTY LEADERSHIP SURFACES AGAIN?

There has been a dearth of leadership in Stark County for some three decades now.

Increasingly, the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) believes that leadership is surfacing.

The Report is reluctant to stamp "Mission Accomplished" on the search for local leadership because unanswered questions remain about the "apparent" leader of the Stark County Board of Commissioners.

Just yesterday Commissioner Todd Bosley stepped into the leadership void once again. By opening a dialogue with the Stark County Veterans Commission, he averted an embarrassing and, perhaps, unsolvable problem with the county funding the Veterans organization as required by Ohio law.

As noted before, The Report believes that Bosley has political ambitions way beyond the commissioners office. And, that is okay (Stark County needs motivated leadership) as long as the ambition doesn't become all consuming to the point of intimidating/destructive of all who would stand in the path to greater glory.

But it is up to the local media to keep political ambition in check and to put the light of day on abuses perpetrated by any offending office holder.

For now, it seems that Bosley is becoming a more circumspect politician who understands that while it does take strong initiative and an aggressive tone to be an effective leader; being a "bull in a china shop" could be a sign that he is taking press attention and accolades too much to heart.

With this reservation, The Report says to this blooming Stark County leader, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!"

Question: Agree/Disagree with The Report on the Bosley assessment?

Friday, July 25, 2008

DISCUSSION: STARK COUNTY VETERANS SERFVICE COMMISSION V. STARK COUNTY COMMISSIONERS: "MEDIATION?" - THERE IS A BIGGER ISSUE?

Another case of The Repository Editorial Board missing the "elephant in the room?"

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) thinks so.

Certainly, for the short-term, there is nothing wrong with the editors' recommendation. But it will not work.

Why?

Because the commissioners do not have the money.

The real culprits in this local mess are Stark County's elected Ohio General Assembly members (Democrat and Republican).

From The Rep's editorial:
Randy K. Wilson, the lawyer representing the Veterans Service Commission, argues that commissioners are violating a state law that entitles the agency to receive the equivalent of a 0.5-mill property tax levy, an amount that could surpass $3 million.
Years and years ago, The Report remembers attending a "town hall" meeting (probably at least 20 years ago) presented by Senator Grace Drake (R-Solon). Senator Drake said she was determined to get rid of "state mandates." State mandates are those little nasties passed along by the likes of Boccieri, Hagan, Oelslager, Okey, Schuring and Slesnick which require local taxpayers to pick up the cost of Ohio prescriptions for local government.

What these legislators depend on is "fragmentation." Every local unit of government gets nailed by a state mandate here and there. But they just roll with the punch and figure out a way to come up with the money. But they never seem to zero in on how common and prolific this phenomenon is.

The Report thinks it high time to focus on the real culprits beginning with the Stark County commissioners. Stark County's commissioners need to get in the face of the state legislators and demand that theses practices stop.

For its part, over time The Report will be putting each of Stark County's Ohio General Assembly members and aspirants on record on this particular matter.

Stark County school boards, villages, cities, townships need to collect themselves and put enormous pressure on the Ohio General Assembly folks to stop the "state mandates."

If a program or policy is worth a state mandate, then Ohio must - absolutely - fund it!

Question: Has The Repository Editorial Board gotten to the real issue? Isn't this "mediation" thing a dance around "state mandates?"

DISCUSSION: IS CELESTE DEHOFF MATURE ENOUGH TO BE STATE REPRESENTATIVE?

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) recently learned that Ohio House - 50th district candidate Democrat Celeste M. DeHoff (until four years ago a registered Republican) complained to a Massillon City Councilperson because the city of Massillon recently hired Michael D. Stevens "knowing he ran against her in the [Democratic primary] election."

Stevens was recently hired to be the superintendent of the Massillon Street Department.

We all know about "sore losers." But a "sore winner?"

Yep, that's what we have in Celeste DeHoff.

Apparently, DeHoff doesn't understand that when the word gets out on her complaint, voters will wonder whether or not she has the maturity to be state representative.

The Report thinks DeHoff has learned "political comeuppance" well from her political mentor, advisor and model - Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. (chairman of the Stark County Democratic Party).

Readers will recall that The Report described in a previous report a Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. post-election diatribe against the person who had the audacity to run against him in his last successful to remain clerk of courts in Massillon.

Question: If DeHoff were to be elected, what retribution would DeHoff visit on a constituent who publicly embarrasses her in a public exchange? Is this candidate mature enough to be elected as state representative?

DISCUSSION: "BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA" - HAGAN VERSUS FERGUSON?

Sometime ago the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) passed on to the readers of The Report the assessment of an elected county official that county commissioner candidates John Hagan and DR. Peter Ferguson are "the two laziest candidates [in the Stark County field of candidates, and] the winner would be the least lazy."

All Stark County voters should be distressed at this assessment.

Why?

Like it or not, one of these two will become Jane Vignos' successor.

The Report has known John Hagan for years and knows first hand how utterly lazy and pompous this guy is. If Hagan gets elected, he will consult with Stark County Republican Party Chairman Jeff Matthews and other "leaders?" of the local Republican party to determine what the "official party position" is on any given issue, and, that is how he will vote. John Hagan is the perfect person when leadership wants a "gofer."

Pete Ferguson, was indignant and upset about being called lazy. And, he called The Report to complain. Only problem was is that The Report never called him lazy - who did? Remember? The elected county official The Report refers to.

The Report pointed this out to Ferguson. Then The Report had a few questions for Ferguson. Ah, but guess what? - he was too busy at the time and promised to call back.

Well, Ferguson has never called back. Now The Report is thinking that Ferguson is not a man of his word.

The Report already had misgivings about Ferguson because of his declaration at a meeting of the North Canton Area Democratic Club in January/February of 2008 in a candidates night meeting that his candidacy was based on making more cuts to the county budget.

A friendly Democrat questioned - where? Ferguson hem-hawed and never provided specifics. The Report ran into the "friendly Democrat" at the John Boccieri event at the W. Tusc. Sunoco on June 30th. Asked to the "friendly Democrat" - has Pete Ferguson ever answered your question on where he would make cuts? Answer: no - but he did say he would research it and get back to me.

So The Report's take on Ferguson is that he is guilty of "sound-bite" politicking. Uninformed Stark County voters will like hearing this unreal solution to the county's financial woes. But any candidate who takes this position cannot have investigated county finances in any detail.

Accordingly, it would be scary for this person to be elected county commissioner.

The Report is bewildered at having to choose between Hagan and Ferguson.

The only solace to voters is that Bosley continues as commissioner and - very likely - Harmon will remain.

Question: who will do the least damage to the future of Stark County, Hagan or Ferguson?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

DISCUSSION: HAS THE REPOSITORY GONE OVER THE LINE?

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has learned that a Canton Repository reporter has dragged the Boccieri family into the Boccieri/Schuring race for Congress.

According to a source close to the Boccieri campaign, The Rep reporter appeared out of thin air in the Boccieri neighborhood and quizzed the family about their residency in the city.

The Report understands that The Rep is in the business of gathering information to report to its readers. But does this include pumping the family for information?

The Report in a sit down with Kirk Schuring over a year ago talked to him about his relationship with The Rep. From his perspective, as far as favorable treatment is concerned; he admitted that The Repository has been very favorable to him over his years as a local politician.

Favoring Schuring is one thing, but seemingly becoming an investigative arm of the Schuring campaign is quite another.

This episode has smackings of "tabloid journalism" to it.

Question: Do the "powers that be" at The Rep owe John Boccieri an apology?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

DISCUSSION: IS A PICTURE WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS? (OHIO HOUSE - 50TH DISTRICT RACE)

DISCUSSION: HAS 16TH DISTRICT CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE SCHURING FRITTERED AWAY HIS "ROMANCING OF THE UNIONS?"


Kirk Schuring and his Stark County Republican soul mate, Ohio Representative Scott Oelslager, have worked hard to make local organized labor feel that they are not your oft-found, rabidly anti-union Republican.

Checking over Schuring's campaign finance reports, the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) notes that some of Stark County's core unions have made contributions to Schuring's state senate/representative campaigns.

The contributions show that Schuring has had some success in "neutralizing" unions (not nearly as effective as Oelslager has been, but better than most Republican candidates). But with his opposition to an Ohio organized labor constitutional amendment mandating 7 sick days be provided by Ohio employers of 25 or more workers; all his "romancing of Stark County unions" will come to naught.

Some readers of The Report might say - "so what?" "Most union members aren't going to vote for Schuring anyway, and what's more, how many of them are there to be concerned about?"

Good points.

But The Report has this take on Schuring's high profile opposition to the proposed constitutional amendment. Energizing rank-and-file union members (by his public opposition), will be "the losing edge" for Schuring in the 16th district Congressional race against John Boccieri.

John Boccieri probably has already put together mailers that will be flooding into Stark County homes come October, which will paint Schuring as an "anti-everyday person" candidate; largely on the back of Schuring's opposition to the amendment.

Want an example of the vigor and virulence of Stark County union sentiments about Schuring these days? Link up here to Stark County Hall of Fame AFL-CIO Dan Scuiry's letter to the editor in The Repository today.

Scuiry has told The Report that in light of local unions being on the outs with Stark County Democratic Party Chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr., they will not be working in any meaningful way on any Stark County campaigns other than the Obama/McCain contest and the Schuring/Boccieri race.

This is not good news for Schuring. Union members may be relatively few but they can be a powerful edge in local elections. Boccieri is where he is today, largely because of organized labor.

Ask Ron Hood (former Republican state representative from the Alliance area)? John Boccieri came out of oblivion a number of years ago to defeat Hood (a "right-to-work" Republican). Organized labor has been fanatical about Boccieri ever since.

This all adds up to "the losing edge for Schuring." He may win Ashland, Medina and Wayne counties by slight margin, but he will lose significantly in Stark.

Who will be the catalyst to bring victory to John Boccieri - you've got it, Stark County's organized labor!

The reason why Schuring's campaign is focusing so much on the "Youngstown John" label is as an answer to the union onslaught that is about to be manifested.

The Report believes the Schuring campaign has made yet another major mistake. While he was never going to be the main man for Stark County unions, Schuring, as a state legislator, had softened union opposition. The softening could have been Schuring "winning edge," but having taken the advice or RNCC types, he has tossed away his long-worked cultivating of a more friendly union relationship for the "Youngstown John" approach.

Question: Has Schuring frittered away his chance to win and embraced "the losing edge" by coming out against the union-backed sick leave constitutional amendment initiative?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

DISCUSSION: CORDRAY IN ACTION - GETS "EARNED MEDIA" AND ENLISTS LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN HIS BID TO BE ATTORNEY GENERAL?

Ohio Treasurer Richard Cordray (Democrat) is getting excellent political advice.

Tapped by the Ohio Democratic Party to be the party's candidate to become Ohio's next attorney general, he has embarked on a politically masterful strategy.

Cordray's strategy is all summed up in The Repository's piece (today) on action taken by Massillon City Council (the body which finally found something to do over the summer months):
MASSILLON City Council adopted a resolution Monday crafted by Ohio Treasurer Richard Cordray to place pressure on credit card companies to end "unfair" practices.
The strategy: Fashion an issue that has everyday people appeal (i.e. "ending 'unfair' credit card practices" - not bad, heh?), convince a politically friendly governmental body to be your foil (Massillon City Council staffed by all Democrats and arguably controlled by the Stark County Democratic Party chairman [Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.] who is linked tightly to Governor Ted Strickland and state party chair Chris Redfern) and get the media (The Repository, The Independent and the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT, et cetera to bite [that is to say - give the event publicity]).

A political stroke of genius! Ohio's and Stark County's Republicans must be absolutely beside themselves. They probably thought (and who could argue with them) that in light of the Marc Dann scandal, this could be a Republican statewide pick-up in November.

But the Democrats (including the "non-political" Governor Strickland) are proving to be much better politicians than the Republicans. Apparently, Kevin DeWine is in over his head much as former Stark County Republican chair - Curt Braden - was, when it came to Stark County politics.

Look for Canton City Council to follow suit. Canton City Council President Allen Schulman is a local Democrat who has powerful Democratic connections in Columbus and it is predictable that the plan is already laid out for Canton.

Question: Is the Massillon City Council move a display of masterful Cordray political skills or is just plain old "good" local government in action?

DISCUSSION: LOUISVILLE CITY COUNCIL - THE "POSITIVE" EXAMPLE FOR ALL STARK COUNTY GOVERNMENTS?


The Alliance Review (this morning) reports that Louisville City Council has taken action that is hugely important to Stark County.

Council voted unanimously to seek location of Stark County Commissioner Todd Bosley's proposed Stark County recycling center in Louisville.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has previously lauded Bosley for coming up with the idea of the recycling center.

A recycling center is important for a number of reasons for Stark Countians. First, in these tight economic times, the County could save up to $1.3 million on its yard refuse recycling program from its budget and have the Stark-Tusc-Wayne Solid Waste District (with money to burn) pick up the set up costs. Moreover, Commissioner Bosley tells The Report that Stark County could actually add revenues to its budget by initiating a mulching operation which will generate a saleable product on which Stark County can turn a profit. Third, recycling is the "green" thing to do. Taking care Stark County's environment is a top priority.

A lot of squabbling goes on among governmental units in Stark County which hampers the county in moving forward in economical development. But Louisville City Council gets a STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT "Tip of the Hat" for proactively being a positive force working intergovernmetally for the benefit of Louisville residents with spin off positives for all of Stark County.

A "Tip of the Hat" to Commissioner Bosley. As The Report sees it, Bosley is one of the few Stark County government officials with a "can-do," "will-do" attitude that has the potential to be good news for Stark County economic development.

Question: Is this move by Louisville in response to the Bosley initiative, a harbinger of a reversal of economic fortunes for Stark County?

Monday, July 21, 2008

DISCUSSION: DID "THE REP" DEAL A BLOW TO STARK COUNTY EDUCATION ON THE "MRDD" LEVY ISSUE?

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has learned that some Stark County school officials are privately saying that The Repository's refusal to endorse the March, 2008 MRDD levy issue was the reason it lost and may cause huge economic damage to non-MRDD Stark County school districts.

The thinking among area school officials must be that if MRDD cannot get its financial house in-order, the financial burden will ultimately shift to each of the 17 Stark County school districts.

Costs for providing MRDD-like services are much more expensive than services that schools normally provide students in their respective communities.

The Report believes that the editors at The Rep were so focused on the MRDD financial picture, they did not see the elephant in the room - the potential adverse consequences that the MRDD levy defeat could have on the already financially strapped Stark County local school districts.

Although the school officials may be overstating the consequences of The Rep's failure to endorse (an 11,000 plus vote loss), theirs is a plausible assessment in a close election as this one was.

Just look at the defeats that Stark County school levies took in March. Can these districts afford to absorb the extraordinary costs of MRDD-esque services?

The Rep frequently admonishes others for being irresponsible in not looking at all the consequences of an action.

Question: Did The Rep Editorial Board act irresponsibly in not considering the probable adverse financial consequences of a MRDD levy defeat on the budgets of the 17 Stark County school districts?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

DISCUSSION: WILL THE DEMOCRATS STILL CONTROL THE STARK COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS, GENERAL DIVISION AFTHER NOVEMBER 4TH?


It is a touch ironical for the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) to approach a discussion of this race in terms of which political party will control the General Division of the Stark County Court of Common Pleas after the upcoming November election?

Why ironical?

Because neither candidate focused on party identity in their respective interviews with The Report.

Prior to a judicial challenge by Judge William O'Neill (of the Youngstown area), general election candidates had to run as "non-partisans." O'Neill's challenge changed that and judicial candidates can run emphasizing their party label.

In Stark County these days, if he chose to do so; it would be an advantage for Frank Forchione to run as a Democrat. He has not made a final decision on the matter. His opponent, Jean Madden, says she is running as a non-partisan.

Currently, the General Division is staffed by three Democrats (Haas, Heath and Reinbold) and two Republicans (Brown and Sinclair). Reinbold is retiring and Madden and Forchione are contesting this seat.

While these candidates are taking the high political road, you can bet that their parties are very much tuned into the political dynamic. The only place that Stark County Republican Party has any hold in the Stark County political scene is with the courts. And that is only because Republicans hold all three judgeships in the Domestic Relations Court.

David Stucki tried his best to change that picture. Readers will recall his taking on fellow Republican Dixie Park who is the Probate Court judge. Had he succeeded, Governor Strickland, undoubtedly, would have appointed a Democrat replacement.

Getting back to the Madden/Forchione race, the largest campaign donation to Madden as of the last campaign finance filing was a $1,000 contribution by "Votes for Women," a Stark County Republican Party sponsored judicial PAC. Another major contributor is Jeff Jakmides ($500) a local criminal defense attorney who ran four years ago as the Republican candidate against Stark County prosecutor John Fererro. An interesting sidelight here is the fact that Jakmides also made a contribution ($75) to Madden's opponent Forchione. What was that all about?

Madden's total contributions to date approximate $6,700.

Forchione's list of contributors list like a "who's who" of the Stark County Bar Association: Democrat - in the main, but more than a few Republicans. They include: Harry Klide (former Democrat Common Pleas judge), Gary Willen (former Republican candidate for Carroll County Common Pleas judge), John Poulos (Democrat Canton Municipal Court judge), Mary Jo Shannon Slick (legal counsel for the Stark County Educational Service Center), Roy H. Batista (Republican who has represented a number of township trustee boards in Stark County), Randy Gonzalez (Democrat - Fiscal Officer/Jackson Township), Jeffrey Haupt (Republican - well known Stark County criminal defense attorney), Eddie J. Elum (Democrat Massillon Municipal Court judge), Thomas E. Cecconi (Republican - President/CEO of Mercy Medical Center), Ellis Erb (Republican - Lake Township trustee), Krugliak, Wilkins, Griffiths & Dougherty Co., L.P.A., William Emley (Buckingham, Doolittle, Burroughs, LLP), William J. Healy (Democrat - Canton mayor), Black, McCuskey, Souers & Arbaugh, Stanley Rubin (Republican - attorney), Mastrivacovo (Democrat - guest columnist/The Repository), and Todd Bosley (Democrat - Stark County commissioner), among a host of contributors most of whom seem to be practicing attorneys.

Forchione's contributions total some $52,000.

As far as the qualifications to be judge, both candidates emphasize their experience as practicing attorneys in Common Plea Court.

Forchione, of course, has vast experience with misdemeanor work in Canton Municipal Court including the early stages of felonies which get switched over to Common Pleas. And, he makes a point that he has tried a number of personal injury actions and real estate cases (from his civil law practice) in Common Pleas Court, General Division.

Forchione takes pride in the fact that surrounding counties have asked him to take an objective look at and or prosecution of cases which involve politically sensitive issues. He thinks these requests are a testament to his integrity.

Madden has been assistant public defender in the Stark County Public Defender's Office and has worked scores of felony cases all the way up to capital cases. Before working with the public defender, Madden had extensive experience working on the administrative side of the Stark County Common Pleas Court.

So what are voters to make of this race?

To The Report this is a contest between an establishment type candidate (just look at who is making campaign contributions to Forchione) versus an underdog advocate. Madden was impressive to The Report as a person who totally understands the plight of everydays and devotes herself to fighting for their getting a fair shake out of Stark County's legal system.

Forchione focuses heavily on his individual integrity which is curious to The Report for The Report knows of no one who questions his integrity. The Report did have an extended conversation with Forchione on the Anna Hall Colvin case.

The Report believes that his handling of this matter could be a measure of how he'll handle cases that would come in front of him as Common Pleas Court judge.

Right as the jury was to get the case Forchione elected to dismiss it when a Bureau of Motor Vehicle employee re-checked records and spotted a transposed digit on the license plate put the eyewitness accounts of identifying the defendant in question.

Forchione's rational for dismissal was based on a "maxim of American jurisprudence is that it's better for ten guilty men to go free, than for one innocent man to be convicted." The Report's take on Forchione's dismissal is that it was a real struggle for him. He was torn between standing behind the officers who investigated the incident and put together the case for the prosecutor's office to prosecute and the late arriving contraindicating BMV evidence.

That's how The Report sees this race, who do you think is the better candidate for judge? Madden or Forchione?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

DISCUSSION: COMMISSIONER TOM HARMON DOESN'T RETURN PHONE CALLS?

Commissioner Tom Harmon thinks he is above returning phone calls to everyday citizens? If you believe one of the Stark County Political Report's (The Report) sources.

If this is so and if Stark Countians elect John Hagan county commissioner (Hagan v. Ferguson), then none of us will get our phone calls returned, unless, of course, we call Commissioner Todd Bosley.

A The Report source located at Stark County Jobs and Family Services tells us that
Harmon's words to the source were to the effect: "I don't return phone calls - people call me and may or may not get me - but I do not return phone calls." Also, Harmon dubbed himself as management that does not soil himself in dealing with everyday people issues.

Harmon sounds like 50th district Ohio House representative John Hagan (Republican - Marlboro) who is running against Doctor Pete Feguson for county commissioner.

Hagan filters his calls for devoted supporters and followers, or, powerful media he cannot ignore, and those are the only people who can get through to him. The moral of the story: Never take exception to John Hagan or you will end up on his ____ list and you certainly will not get your phone calls answered or returned.

So there you have it folks. County commissioner candidates who think they are not accessible and, it stands to reason, not accountable to everyday citizens?

Question: Do Stark Countians want Ivory Tower commissioners?

Friday, July 18, 2008

DISCUSSION: WHOM, AMONG BOCCIERI & SCHURING IS BEST EQUIPPED TO REPRESENT ORDINARY PEOPLE?

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has done a detailed analysis of the latest Federal Election Commission (FEC) report on individual contributions to both Boccieri and Schuring.

Republicans want to skewer Boccieri on his Youngstown connection.

Democrats want to lampoon Schuring on his connection to business to the exclusion of ordinary people.

What does the FEC data show on the Youngstown/predominantly business factors.

The Report's analysis shows that approximately 30% of Boccieri's money comes from Youngstown area supports.

The Report's analysis shows that approximately 61% of Schuring's support comes from business owners and executives in major area corporations. The Report believes that the number is actually higher than 61% because many of Schuring's contributors are listed as "retired." The Report suspects that a significant number of these folks are retired CEOs, CFOs, and business owners.

Question: Looking at this data, which candidate is most beholdened? If Boccieri is elected, will this mean that the Youngstown area has 1-1/3 in congressional representation (Tim Ryan represents the Youngstown area) and 16th district residents will get shorted? If Schuring is elected, does this mean "ordinary people" can forget getting their congressman's ear?

DISCUSSION: IS THIS HEADLINE WHAT IT APPEARS TO BE?


Appearing on Time Warner's In the Spotlight recently, Canton Mayor William J. Healy, II made a startling statement: Healy, said he was supporting both congressional seat opponents (16th district) - Boccieri and Schuring.

But - for different positions.

Boccieri for Congress; Schuring to remain in the Ohio Senate.

Healy pointed out that it is almost certain that Boccieri will be part of a Democratic-majority House of Representatives where he will be given (in Healy estimate) priority to get things done for the 16th Congressional district to aid him in getting re-elected in 2010.

On the other hand, tongue-in-cheek, Healy observed how, as a part of a Republican majority, Schuring would be most useful for Stark County and Canton by his remaining in the Ohio Senate.

Question: Is Healy making sense in supporting both Boccieri and Healy?

DISCUSSION: SLESNICK BECOMES TARGET OF HALL OF FAME/AFL-CIO?


In a chat with Dan Scuiry, president of the Hall of Fame AFL-CIO, shared with the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) his disgust for newly appointed 52nd district state representative Stephen Slesnick.

Fortunate for Slesnick, the Stark County Republicans rolled over for him and nominated a nonentity as its candidate (Easterday) in the November election.

It is not realistic that in the foreseeable future that the Republicans could come up with a credible candidate (in the sense of having a real chance to win) .

More likely, the challenge will come from within. We all remember how Jamey Healy (now Willam J. Healy, II - mayor of Canton) took Mary Cirelli out several years ago. You can bet that Stark County labor organizations will be watching Slesnick very closely over the next two years.

What is Scuiry so upset about? Slesnick joining in concert with Republicans Oelslager, Schuring and Hagan at a Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce event at the McKinley Grand to condemn a union initiative to embed in the Ohio Constitution a mandate that employers with 25 or more employees over 7 sick days annually to their employees.

Scuiry said that Slesnick comes from a "business-family" and that therefore he is representing the interests of business types and is not looking out for the best interests of everyday Stark Countians/Ohioans.

Question: Is Stephen Slesnick the right fit for a largely working class legislative district?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

DISCUSSION: STARK COUNTY PROSECUTOR/FORMER DEMOCRATIC CHAIRMAN TAKES CURRENT CHAIR TO TASK?


The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has learned from a number of sources that John Ferrero (Stark County prosecutor and former Stark County Democratic Party chair) express his displeasure (to put it mildly) with current chairman, Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.

What was the beef?

Maier's treatment of former party chair Roy Gutierrez in dumping Gutierrez from the Stark County Democratic Executive Committee.

The Report understands that "the explosion" took place at a recent Amvets located fundraiser for John Boccieri. Ferrero's political base is in Massillon as is Maier's. So this should be an interesting test of Maier's ability to continue his leadership of the Stark County Democratic Party.

The Report did contact Ferrero but he was unwilling to go into the specifics of his unhappiness with Maier.

Question: Is Maier administering a "political cleansing" and "purification?"Is Johnnie Maier, Jr outsmarting himself with his "divide and conquer" strategy of maintaining control of the Stark County Democratic Party?

DISCUSSION: WHO ARE THE "INDIVIDUALS" CONTRIBUTING? BOCCIERI - FIRST IN A CONTINUING SERIES - LISTING 10 CONTRIBUTORS AT A TIME

DISCUSSION: WHO ARE THE "INDIVIDUALS" CONTRIBUTION? SCHURING - FIRST IN A CONTINUING SERIES - LISTING 10 CONTRIBUTORS AT A TIME





DISCUSSION: HAVE THE CHANCES FOR STARK COUNTY SCHOOLS' LEVIES/BOND ISSUES IMPROVED?


Probably not. Nor, for that matter, does the Plain School District (if it chooses to put an issue on for November).

Ohioans and Stark Countians are waiting to see what the Strickland administration is going to come out with in his "State of the State" message in January, 2009. In the meantime, the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) predicts that no new revenue raising measures will pass in Stark County this year. Voters will be waiting to see what Ohio is going to do in their respective districts.

The Report has learned it is a go for the merger between the Lake Senior Center and the Lake Branch of the YMCA. It was thought that the merger would be contingent on the Lake schools passing a $28 million bond issue to secure funds to do major new construction on the main Lake campus (the site of the Lake YMCA) for the merger to happen.

But no. The Report understands from a key official on the board of the Senior Center that Lake Township trustee Ellis Erb has taken the position that the bond issue will not pass but that the merger will happen because the new construction which would accommodate the Senior Center will go forward without the schools' money.

Question: What do you think? Is The Report correct? If Lake voters, Plain voters, Northwest voters are faced with revenue approval requests in November, are they doomed?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

DISCUSSION: YOU TALK ABOUT "INACTIVITY?"

Periodically, The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) checks on efforts by the DeHoff campaign to communicate with constituents.

Celeste must be doing a lot of door-to-door because she certainly isn't spending much time on her website. It took her forever (it seemed) to get anything up in the first place. Then it only lasted a few weeks.

The Report understands why it was jerked down after a short life. The initial site was worthless.

The same can be said for her opponent's (Republican Todd Snitchler). No interactivity; no real news about the ongoings of the campaign.

This campaign likely will go down in the annals of Stark County campaigning as one of the most boring on record.

The Report ran into Stark County Auditor Kim Perez several weeks ago. Perez was asked if his, then employee, Mike Stevens (who now works for Massillon) was going to be a "write-in" candidate for the 50th District seat.

Perez's response was terse. His take: "write-ins" cannot win. He was behind DeHoff because she was the best chance for the Democrats to take control of the Ohio House. This, Perez said, was his top priority.

Well, if Perez's wish is to become reality, Stark County Democratic Party chair Johnnie A. Maier, Jr., Ohio Democratic Party chair Chris Redfern and the Ohio House Democratic caucus better get the DeHoff campaign moving. The 50th is indexed Republican due to gerrymandering. This race is an uphill climb even though Snitchler is such a vanilla candidate (e.g. made an appearance recently at the Uniontown Business Association and never mentioned once that he was a candidate).

If DeHoff loses, the blame will be squarely on the shoulders of Maier which will tarnish his image with the Strickland administration.

Question: Does it bode well for Ohio House Democrats that Celeste DeHoff is one of their "tipping point" candidates?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

DISCUSSION: WHEN A CAMPAIGN PUTS OUT "INTERNAL POLLING" NUMBERS, WHAT DOES THIS SUGGEST?


A internal poll leak by the Schuring campaign. Is this a sign of Schuring campaign desperation?

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) recalls Hillary Clinton citing an internal poll suggesting she was running neck-and-neck with Obama in the North Carolina Democratic primary. But the real poll, the election itself, showed the internal poll to be a highly flawed poll.

It is a truism in politics that an organization never leaks an internal poll except, perhaps, as a desperation measure when the campaign is going poorly, or - in the very last days of a campaign - to show that the leaker campaign is sure to win and voters should get on the bandwagon.

Since this is July 15th, (nearly four months until the election) the Schuring leak must be out of desperation. Schuring has been running a stealth campaign so far and media types are beginning to talk about this race being Boccieri's to lose.

Last week we had the Schuring people get the aid of a 527 organization with Schuring deploring the "unwanted" assistance (if you can believe him) in the light of the 527 being wrong on which candidate voted which way. Schuring voted to increase Ohio gasoline tax, Boccieri voted no. But the 527 errantly accused Boccieri. We have a name for this tactic these days - it's called "swiftboating."

You would think that seasoned politicians would be embarrassed to put out a poll showing 26% undecided. But when you are desperate, you probably pull out all the stops.

Again, The Report asks, why doesn't Schuring just be Schuring. He might actually have a real chance to pull this one out if he chucked all the RNCC folks and ran as he has always run in Stark County. And Stark County will be the election will be won or lost.

For now The Report is sticking with its 52% - 48% ranging up to 55% - 45% Boccieri over Schuring prediction and the spread could go even higher if Schuring keeps following the RNCC advice.

Question: Is it a sign of desperation for 16 District Congressional candidate Kirk Schuring to be putting faith in an internal poll showing 26% of the voters have not yet decided on which candidate they will vote for?

DISCUSSION: DOES MASSILLON CITY COUNCIL HAVE A CLUE?

Massillon City Council demonstrated last night at it meeting that it still doesn't have a clue.

The headline this morning in The Independent is "Council: Why are we here?"

A day or so ago The Independent had a succinct read (the editorial page) on Massillon City Council (staffed by all Democrats) in saying:
Jeers to some members of City Council for proposing a summer vacation schedule of sorts. Given the city’s tenuous financial picture and the recent vote to increase sewer rates, this isn’t the time to tell Massillon residents you want to work less for the same pay.
Question: No wonder Massillon is withering on the vine? Losing its businesses to North Canton?

Monday, July 14, 2008

DISCUSSION: FIND OUT WHO IS SUPPORTING PETER FEGUSON: ANY SURPRISES?


The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) researches the political candidates for Stark County elected positions.

While The Repository provides readers with sketchy reports and only for races it deems important, The Report will provide detailed reports on all the candidates.

You, the reader, can determine what significance to attach to the contributions. Of course, The Report will, from time-to-time, comment on certain patterns or high-profile locals dollar amounts ($100 and above per contribution) who are supporting a particular candidate:

Here is the list for Stark County commissioner candidate Peter Ferguson (Democrat) as of the April, 2008 filing as amended, if amended:

  • Cecclia C. Spitale - $50
  • Robert D. Fiquerella - $70
  • Allen Schulman - $1,070 (Canton City Council president and personal injury attorney)
  • David Meeks - $100 (Dublin, Ohio)
  • John Brechbill - $200
  • Ray Thompson - $35
  • Mike Kell - $35
  • Fedorko Chiropractic Health Ctr - $250
  • Thomas Bernabei - $75 (Canton Services Director)
  • I.B.E.W. COPE - $70
  • Steven DiPietro - $140
  • Plumbers & Pipefitters Local Union #94 - $70
  • James DiCola - $50
  • Joy Jannine Mizer - $120
  • Frank Provo - $600
  • Gary Zeigler - $1,035 (Stark County treasurer)
  • Dr. James Powell - $250 (Canton chiropractor)
  • Harry W. Shaw III - $25
  • Ernest O. Schott - $50
  • Helen N. Sommer - $35
  • John P. Foradas - $35
  • Ronald J. C. Ward - $25
  • M. Flory Fernandez - $25
  • Larry V. Slagle - $35 (Massillon councilman)
  • Joseph F. Cholley - $35
  • Terry J. Nolan - $100
  • Julia M. Stambaugh - $35
  • C. G. Calhoun - $50
  • Terry A. Hughes - $40
  • Brent Burton - $250
  • Hughes Assoc - $100
  • Manuel J. Albacete - $70 (Director/Canton Art Institute)
  • Frances Regiec - $25
  • Tiffany Hughes - $35
  • David Roshang - $70
  • Michael Rufo Sr - $70
  • David Regiec - $100
  • Jeffrey Prlik - $70
  • Gary Brahler - $70
  • Phillip DeMario - $70
  • Thomas Harmon - $100 (sitting Stark County commissioner)
  • Debra Charles - $100
  • Craig Chessler - $200 (Perry Township trustee and Canton City Law Department)
  • Debra A. Kattman - $500
  • Joseph F. Cush - $500
  • Rodney L. Napier - $1,000
  • Lee J. DiCola - $1,000
  • Re-elect Casar - $70 (Canton councilman)
  • Thomas A. Kolp - $70
  • Betty W. Yaghodti - $70
  • Re-elect Phil Giavasis - $70 (Canton Clerk of Courts)
  • Roy Gutierrez - $35 (former Stark County Democratic Party chairman)
  • Joseph F. Norcia - $70
  • William J. Bachman - $35
  • Timothy A. Trbovich - $35
  • Peter Calac - $35
  • Michael Monastra - $70
  • John Kurtzman - $70 (Stark County Prosecutor's office)
  • Keep Ferrero Prosecutor - $100 (Stark County prosecutor - John Ferrero)
  • Samuel R. Coletti - $35
  • Donald S. Beard - $70
  • Frank S. Drlik - $170
  • Michael J. Rehfus - $200 (Stark County engineer)
  • Paul A. Milano - $70
  • Douglas J. Prestier - $70
  • Michael K. O'Brien - $70
  • Friends of John M. Rinaldi - $35 (former board member, Canton City Schools)
  • Nick Novelli - $35
  • Jack R. Baker - $35
  • Richard Lee Wollenberg - $370
  • Shelley M. Roman - $70
  • Nick Sylvester - $70
  • Thomas V. Ferrero - $70 (losing candidate for Massillon Municipal Court judge - 11/2007
  • Adam Rossi - $70
  • Anthony C. Vitale - $70
  • Joan M. Souliere - $70
  • Beverly M. Kell - $70
  • Aurelia Burgess - $70
  • James A. Vitale - $50
  • Matthew W. Widerman - $105
  • Joseph M. Vitale - $250
  • Friends of Mike Stevens - $35 (Stevens [Lawrence Township trustee] lost to Celeste DeHoff [50th House District] in 3/2008
  • Teresa J. Purses - $300 (superintendent/Canton Local and wife of former Canton mayor Same Purses)
  • Dan Fonte - $35 (retired leader of Plumber and Pipefitters Local #94)
  • Donald G. Jones - $70
  • Harold Ziegler, Jr - $35
  • Kay H. Paar - $35
  • Victor DiCola, Jr - $35
  • Carl L. Capestrain, Sr - $70
  • M. Catherine Swallen - $70
  • Paul M. Gemmato - $70
  • Mary Ann Horrigan - $70
  • John P. Kotagides - $70
  • Ronald W. Steffen - $70
  • James J. Purses - $70
  • Karl A. "Butch" Kraus, Jr. - $70 (Canton councilman)
  • David A. Dorland - $70
  • Vincent L. Guardado - $70
  • James A. Pastore - $200
  • Richard V. Forte - $50
  • JM Associates - $200
  • Mark J. Pellegrino - $35
  • Roseann M. Pucci - $35
  • Richard Jacobsen - $35
  • Dale J. Wheeler - $35
  • Rose Everhart - $35
  • Hoffman for Judge Committee - $35 (William B. Hoffman - 5th District Court of Appeals)
  • Virginia R. Vernier - $35
  • William J. Hamann - $35
  • Lester Baroni - $35
  • Christopher Clay - $70
  • Jeffrey W. Crowl - $35
  • Thomas G. Valentine - $70
  • Marland J. Hoover - $70
  • Peter M. Ranalli - $70
  • Leo E. Doyle - $70
  • Peter N. Porrazzo - $70
  • Edward A. Rehfus - $70
  • Paul L. Pucci - $70
  • Leonard P. Bossart - $70
  • Jeffrey A. Ferry - $70
  • David Sager - $70
  • Jim McDonald - $70
  • Marianna Lijoi - $70 (from Wadsworth)
  • Keep Joe Martuccio Law Director Committee - $70 (Joe Martuccio - Canton law director)
  • Sam Anthony Purses - $100 (former Canton mayor)
  • Celeste M. DeHoff - $35 (Tuslaw Township trustee, Democrat candidate for Ohio House - 50th)
  • Guy R. Bertram - $30
  • Randolph Lee Snow - $35 (former board member, Canton City Schools)
  • Katherine M. Catazaro-Perry $35 (Massillon councilwoman)
  • Timothy M. Wise - $35
  • Peter T. Pertinc - $35
  • Vickie Ashbaugh - $35
  • Suzanne Farelli - $35
  • Donald A. Diamond - $35
  • Re-elect Judge Haas Committee - $35 (Judge John Haas - Stark County Court of Common Pleas)
  • Ray E. Jones - $35
  • James M. Carmon, Jr - $35
  • Timothy K. Souliere - $35
  • James A. Purses - $35
  • James D. Hare - $35
  • Milia M. Dorkin - $35
  • V. Maria Byington - $35
  • Gary J. Ranalli - $35
  • Joec V. Souliere - $35
  • Dr. Murthy - $35 (Stark County coroner)
  • Joseph F. Hawkins - $35
  • Friends of Rick Campbell Comm - $35 (Stark County Recorder Rick Campbell)
  • Jeanette Mullane - $50 (Director - Stark County Board of Elections)
  • John R. Guia - $70 (Canton attorney)
  • Mary A. Falvey - $70 (Canton Municipal Court judge)
  • Gregory A. Haban - $70
  • Dr. James R. Pritchard -$70 (former Stark County coroner)
  • C. Fred Hock - $70
  • Samuel J. Ferruccio - $70 (Canton attorney and Democrat member of Stark County Board of Elections)
  • Jane M. Carman - $70
  • Bradley R. Iams - $70 (Canton attorney)
  • James D. Purses - $70
  • Anthony J. Norcia - $70
  • John E. Oliver, Jr - $70
  • Robert J. Bolek - $70
  • Re-elect Judge Gwin Comm - $100 (Scott Gwin/judge - 5th District Court of Appeals)
  • Richard D. Reinbold, Jr - $100 (judge - Stark County Court of Common Pleas/General Division)
  • Thomas A. Ascani - $100 (member of Mayor Healy transition team)
  • Rick Purses - $100
  • Paul L. Williams - $140
  • Samuel J. Sliman - $140
  • Tasos G. Kalantzis - $350 (president, Tasos Electric Co Inc)
  • Bernard L. Hunt - $35 (former Canton Safety Director/Republican Janet Creighton's administration)
  • Joseph C. Joseph - $35
  • James W. Kessler - $35
  • Timothy A. Swanson - $35 (Stark County sheriff)
  • Brian F. Fitzswimmons - $35
  • David N. Novelli - $40
  • Michael S. Shaheen - $70
  • Barbara Wood - $70
  • Susan Steiner - $70
  • Rodney L. Fete - $70
  • James J. Spitale - $70
  • James L. Ergon - $70
  • Nick G. Koinoglou - $70
  • Canton Auto Repair & Towing - $70
  • Paul Mastriacovo - $70 (Repository guest columnist and former prosecutor)
  • Mariella Mestel - $50
  • Marlene K. Oster - $100
  • Scott E. Oster - $50
  • Friends of Perez Comm - $1,250 (Kim Perez - Stark County auditor) LARGEST SINGLE DOLLAR AMOUNT CONTRIBUTOR
  • Leon Orin - $70
  • Greg Hawk - $35 (Canton councilman)
  • Al Leno - $70 (Plain Township trustee)
  • Vincent Frustaci - $35
  • Darla Mroczkowski - $35
  • Gary Young - $50 (Canton - chief deputy auditor)
  • Marcello Frustaci - $50
  • Jim Armstrong - $35
  • Bill Smuckler - $35 (Canton councilman)
  • Hallie Umpleby - $35
  • Joan M. Ungashick - $70
  • George N. Michael - $70
Questions: Any surprises on this list?