Sunday, August 31, 2008

DISCUSSION: HAVE LOCAL OFFCIALS FAILED UNIONTOWN/STARK COUNTY ON WHAT THE CCLT VIEWS AS A PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE?


Chris Borello of the Concerned Citizens of Lake Township (CCLT) ticks off a long list of Stark County politicians who have failed her and citizens action organization get the "Uniontown Dump" (officially known as the Industrial Excess Landfill - IEL) cleaned up.

Since the early 1980s the group has fought to get the industrial contaminants buried by Goodyear, Firestone, et al and the U.S. Military at the northern Stark County site identified and removed.

Now the Borello lead group has a new concern. Is the IEL about to be delisted from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) Superfund list. Borello tells the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) that she fears that there is a move afoot among area political and business leaders to have the IEL downgraded to being a "brownfield" and therefore eligible for industrial/commercial redevelopment after remediated under a much less rigorous standard from "brownfield" status.

Borello cites a number of familiar Stark County political names and civic leaders as being unhelpful - in the end - in the dealing with the possible problems to the health and safety of Lake Township residents as well as other Stark Countians downstream from the flow of underground water sources from the IEL.

Ralph Regula (the 16th District Republican retiring congressman from Navarre) is at the head of the list. Of all the Stark politicians with whom the CCLT has dealt, Regula, stands out as the person with the most political clout who has not been willing to help solve the IEL problem.

Borello does not believe that would-be successors to Regula, Boccieri and Schuring (who has, as a state senator, refused to meet with Borello on the issue), will be interested in helping the CCLT from keeping the Uniontown site from being delisted from Superfund.

Borello's main hope to get a turnaround on the thinking about IEL is the election of Barack Obama and the changes his election will bring to the administration of the US EPA.

Former Stark County prosecutor Robert Horowitz (now deceased) and Lake Township trustee Sue Ruley (now deceased) are named by Borello as area politicians who went from - being very interested and helpful in attending to IEL - to giving up on or, in the case of Ruley, opposing the CCLT promoted plan to clean up the problem.

Others on Borello's list of as unhelpful and/or disinterested Stark County politicians included former county commissioner Richard Regula (Ralph's son) and Ohio Representative Scott Oelslager. Richard Regula is an interesting case because he as commissioner was very active in helping area citizen action groups in working on concerns about the Countywide dump in southern Stark County. Why not the IEL?

Borello's take on former state representative Johnnie A. Maier, Jr., (now Stark County Democratic Party chairman) who served the Uniontown area for a number of years since the discovery of the toxic-laden Uniontown dump is ho-hum in that she doesn't recall him doing anything significant to help in remediation. This doesn't surprise. The Report sees Maier as a political operative past and present who had very little, if anything, in terms of impact in dealing with the needs the district during his tenure.

The Report specifically inquired of Borello on current state representative John Hagan who now represents the Uniontown area (now running for county commissioner). Not a word from on anything positive coming from Hagan. Again, no surprise here. The Report views Hagan as a "vegetative" politician.

The Report's point in doing this piece on the Uniontown IEL is to highlight to Stark Countians the frustration that any Stark County citizen is likely to encounter if he/she seeks to enlist the aid of area politicians to solve a given problem - especially if it is marked by a significant degree of controversy.

Borello is pleased that sitting Commissioner Todd Bosley has recently signed and sent a letter to the US EPA requesting that the Uniontown IEL remain listed on Superfund. Bosley may be the political person she has been waiting for over these 25 plus years as one who is willing to help a Stark County citizen trying to do good for her neighbors.

Question: Thinking over the long list of Stark County politicians, is there one you can list as one who will help an everyday citizen solve a Stark County problem? If so, give examples (name the politician and the action taken).

Saturday, August 30, 2008

DISCUSSION: A CASE OF POLITICAL "BOB 'N' WEAVE?"

When Todd Bosley was running for county commissioner, he sat down with Sheriff Tim Swanson and asked for his support in his race against sitting commissioner Richard Regula.

Swanson told Bosley in so many words that he didn't have a problem with Regula and that, though he would support Bosley quietly for the reason they were both Democrats, Bosley should not expect Swanson to go high profile against Regula.

In fact, there was a flap about one of Swanson's deputies appearing in the background of a Regula video political ad.

Some Democrats suspected that Swanson privately supported Regula. Supporting Republicans is nothing new to Swanson because he very publicly supported Republican Betty Montgomery over Democrat Marc Dann for attorney general (which turns out to have been a smart move - if you care about the integrity of the attorney general's office). Also, Swanson has told the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) that he has attended Republican Kirk Schuring's fundraiser(s) (when he wasn't running for Congress) and that he was taken to task by Stark County chair Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.

So does Bosley support Swanson or not?

The quotes from today's Alliance Review piece (which is follow-up article dealing with the Stark County Fair flap that Dordea and the Stark County Republican initiated) could be taken either way. The Report suspects this could be sort of a comeuppance from Bosley to Swanson for Swanson's questionable support of Bosley in the commissioner's race. At the very least, Bosley is doing a political "bob 'n' weave."

Question: How do you take the Bosley statements? Does he or does he not support fellow Democrat Swanson?

DISCUSSION: McCAIN PICKED THE WRONG SARAH? WOULDN'T STARK COUNTY'S SARAH BROWN HAVE BEEN A BETTER CHOICE?


Most political observers were stunned when Republican presidential candidate John McCain picked Sarah Palin to be the Republican vice presidential nominee yesterday.

The local press reports that another Sarah was in the crowd cheering the McCain selection. Who is this other Sarah?

Stark County's own Sarah Brown of Alliance, wife of Stark County Court of Common Pleas judge Charles Brown (who has also been chairman of the Stark County Republican Party - when the party dominated Stark County politics).

It was magnanimous for Stark's Sarah Brown to rah, rah for Sarah Palin. But the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) posits that Stark's Sarah Brown would have been a better choice.

The Report believes that Stark's Sarah (a thorough-going, if not rabid Republican) would position better than Alaska's Sarah to help McCain to carry Ohio in November.

"Our" Sarah has distinguished herself as a Stark County and Ohio Republican.

Let's take a look at Stark Sarah's storied political history.

She has served as an Alliance councilperson, been on the Alliance City Schools Board of Education and served with distinction on the Ohio Ethics Commission.

Stark's Sarah is a force to be reckoned with in Ohio politics. Only last year she was in the middle of a fight to make Stark's Curt Braden (former Stark County Republican Party chairman) the chairman of the Ohio Republican Party. And, she nearly pulled it off, even though her candidate didn't have the greatest credentials (having presided over the demise of Stark County Republican Party in terms of holding countywide offices).

Stark's Sarah has been a champion for getting more women in to active Republican Party politics.

From a Repository (Paul Kostyu - April 20, 2008) report on our Sarah: "Brown is working with former House Speaker JoAnn Davidson and Betty Montgomery, a former attorney general and former state auditor, to recruit 'qualified Republican women for legislative office.'

Who better qualified to attract those 18 million Democratic women Hillary voters to McCain - Stark's Sarah Brown or Alaska's Sarah Palin?

The Report remembers Stark's Sarah teaming up with one of Stark County's leading Democratic women (Jan Schwartz - who ran against Republican Kirk Schuring in 2002 for the 29th District state senate seat) to do a Republican/Democrat view of the issues on an Alliance radio outlet.

Undoubtedly, in the radio forum Stark's Sarah did have a well-studied opinion on Iraq whereas Alaska's Sarah hasn't given it much thought. From personal contact with the Browns (i.e. sharing a table with Sarah and her husband at a Canton Professional Educator event in 2004), The Report knows first-hand that Sarah Brown is well informed on issues ranging from the local board of education up through national and international issues.

Stark's Sarah currently serves as the elected
Republican State Committee woman for the 33rd Senatorial District. Moreover, she is the treasurer of the Stark County Republican Party.

There is the age thing too. Our Sarah is 63. Alaska's Sarah is 44. With experience being the standard laid down by the McCain campaign on Obama; isn't Sarah Brown's 19 year edge on Palin a significant advantage?

For The Report's money, Stark's Sarah is the better bet for VP; what do you think?

Friday, August 29, 2008

DISCUSSION: IS SHERIFF CANDIDATE LARRY DORDEA A "STAND-UP" GUY? DOES SHERIFF SWANSON LACK GOOD JUDGMENT?

The Alliance Review is reporting that Larry Dordea reported what he alleges to be a campaign law violation by his opponent Sheriff Tim Swanson.

Dordea contends that Swanson used Stark County prisoners in constructing his booth at the currently in progress Stark County Fair.

Predictably, Swanson denies the allegation.

Two things stick out about this incident to the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report).

First, Swanson has to know that Dordea and his cohorts are out looking for matters that they can make a public deal out of in furtherance of his campaign. Why would Swanson have prisoners anywhere near his booth or at the fair at all with any material that is remotely related to what he does as sheriff? What kind of judgment is this?

Swanson's reaction from The Alliance Review:
According to Swanson, "They (inmates) brought out (from the jail) public information brochures, delivered the backdrop (which was stored at the jail) and tables, set up the tables and went back to jail."

The various brochures, he said, included information for teenage drivers, a safety manual coloring book for children, information on seat belt regulations, fraud, and how to be a responsible driver.
Very poor judgment, indeed, by the sheriff.

Second, Dordea shows what a cowardly opportunist he is. He calls The Review's reporter to inform her about the violation, then becomes unavailable she seeks to follow-up, to wit:

Although former Alliance Police Chief Larry Dordea contacted a Review reporter Monday on her cell phone informing her that deputies were supervising inmates as they erected the (sheriff's) booth at the fair, Dordea, who was also contacted on his cell phone Thursday evening while he was at the fair, would not comment to this reporter.


Dordea has pulled a similar stunt with The Report. He responds to an article but then refuses to answer questions about his allegations/positions.

Question: Does Stark County have two candidates for sheriff who have their problems. Does one (Swanson) have questionable judgment? Is the other (Dordea) a cowardly type who likes to imply, suggest and innuendo but runs for the hills when the direct questions come wanting him to substantiate his allegations?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

DISCUSSION: SOME POLITICIANS THINK EVERYONE ELSE IS STUPID?

In the experience of the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report), when a person says the he/she is not doing something, it most likely turns out that is exactly what is happening.

The Independent reported yesterday that Celeste DeHoff (Dem - candidate Ohio House 50th) said at Monday night's Tuscarawas Township trustees' meeting said “I’ve never been a person that does things for political gain."

DeHoff had just made a motion (which went unseconded) not to appeal a decision on the firing in October, 2006 of Teamsters members Faber and Knerr.

The Report is not buying DeHoff's self-serving statement. The Report believes that the ONLY reason for the vain act was to heed advice she has been getting from Stark County Democratic Party chair Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. (the person who got her to run for the Ohio House in the first place), and Ohio Democratic Party chair Chris Redfern.

Apparently, DeHoff, Maier and Redfern have no regard at all for the basic intelligence of 50th District voters. So this is a case of DeHoff doing exactly what she denies doing: "making a political statement." Insulting conduct like DeHoff's is precisely the sort of thing that gives politicians a bad name with voters.

Another note on the DeHoff campaign. The Report has learned that her opponent Todd Snitcher has had the Columbus-based part of his campaign (most likely the Ohio House Republican Caucus) contact the Fabers in an effort to exploit the hole that the DeHoff campaign has dug for itself with local (Stark County unions).

Redfern and Maier are responsible for DeHoff getting union support at the Ohio level. But she is a "no-go" for local unions.

The "wrap-myself-in-the-chamber-of-commerce-blanket" Snitchler is dreaming if he thinks he is going get any union support. The Report has learned that Snitchler did interview with Teamsters Local #92 earlier in the campaign and flunked with flying colors. And, by the way, at a Green Chamber of Commerce meeting on August 20th, Snitchler did rather timidly tell the group that he is running for state representative.

Note to Jeff Mattews (Stark County Republican Party chair): Be encouraged my friend, perhaps by the end of the campaign Snitcher will be shouting his candidacy from the housetops.

Back to DeHoff. The only thing that DeHoff can count on in this election is that disaffected District 50 Democrats will not be voting for Snitcher. But the bad news? They won't be voting for DeHoff either. Nor will they be contributing to DeHoff's campaign. And, they will not doing any grassroots work for her.

Do you believe DeHoff's statement was non-political?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

DISCUSSION: ARE STARK COUNTY VOTERS GOING TO ALLOW TOM HARMON TO RUN A "FRONT PORCH" CAMPAIGN FOR COUNTY COMMISSIONER?


The Secrest Plan For Stark County? Yes, indeed. The man has a plan; that is Travis Secrest who is the Republican candidate four Stark County commissioner. He is running against a powerful Stark County Democrat - Tom Harmon, who served many years as clerk of courts for the Canton Municipal Court.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) would be stunned if Secrest were to unseat Harmon (sitting by appointment at the hand of Stark County Democratic political boss Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.). But don't tell this candidate that he has no hope.

Secrest is (from a rhetorical standpoint) running the best countywide (not including the 16th Congressional District race) campaign. Look at his web site. He lists the key issues of the campaign:

(1) Stimulating Stark County's Economy and Protecting our jobs
(2) Enhancing Public Safety
(3) Providing Ethical and Open Government
(4) Maintaining Balance Budget
(5) Revitalizing Stark County Communities
(6) Reducing Unnecessary Regulation
(7) Exploring the Possibilities of Alternative Energy Sources
(8) Trusting and Empowering County Employees

And, if you hit the direct link to his web site above, he provides the core of his answers on each of the first four issues as of the date of this piece.

Now The Report has found Secrest's discussion on issue #1 to be a touch naive and hooked in the typical Republican panacea talking points (i.e. "cut taxes" [which by the way county commissioners do not have much in the way of taxing power]) but at least he is talking on the issues.

More than his opponent Tom Harmon is doing. Unless, that is, you consider articles appearing in The Repository reciting the financial crises in Stark County government.

But what kind of talk is this?

"Anybody got any bright ideas?" Commissioner Tom Harmon asked the group [of county deparment heads and elected officials in a meeting on Tuesday, August 19th].

Is this acceptable? A candidate for county commissioner doesn't expound on his own ideas?

Harmon is apparently feeling smug enough about the prospect of being elected that he proposes no ideas of his own. A google search by The Report does not locate a web site for Harmon. But if you are a shoe-in, what need is there to communicate on the issues with voters.

Are Stark County voters going to let Tom Harmon get away with not having a pro-active campaign (a la Secrest) with proposals for what ails Stark County?

Monday, August 25, 2008

POLL: STARK COUNTY'S ECONOMIC LEADER?







<a href="http://www.buzzdash.com/index.php?page=buzzbite&BB_id=102386">Stark County's most promising economic develoment planner is?</a> | <a href="http://www.buzzdash.com">BuzzDash</a>

DISCUSSION: SOMEONE OTHER THAN THE "STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT" THINKS LARRY DORDEA IS FUNDAMENTALLY UNFAIR?


When a person seeks to be Stark County sheriff, it is absolutely essential that such person be perceived as a "fundamentally fair person."

Larry Dordea has bristled at the suggestion of the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) that Dordea is being unfair when he makes vague, sweeping insinuations against sitting sheriff Tim Swanson's administration of the sheriff's office without providing specifics.

Moreover, Dordea refuses to subject himself to "in the line of fire" questions of The Report. Apparently, he is so used to being the "man in charge" (i.e. police chief of Alliance), that he thinks he is above being scrutinized and asked to provide chapter and verse for his statements and actions.

More and more, The Report views Dordea as the "home cookin" candidate. If a candidate can control his comfy turf (ref: search for Is Dordea too provincial to be sheriff), then he can feel good about himself while sailing towards electoral disaster.

The Report has criticized Sheriff Swanson for remaining on vacation while the Cutts/Davis matter was in full bloom. The Report has criticized Sheriff Swanson for his "retire/rehire" plan. And, The Report will continue to take the sheriff to task on programs, policies, statements and actions on which he is blameworthy.

Dordea thinks he can marginalize The Report's hard-hitting analyses by implying (apparently a skill he trying to hone into an artform) that because in The Report's pre-blogging days there was a political connection with Swanson.

The Report has made over 200 posts since the inception of this blog in March, 2008. Ask Stark County office holding Democrats and candidates if they think former political connections exonerate them from the scrutiny of The Report.

The Report extracted portions from a letter to the editor to The Repository (today's edition - see lower-left graphic). Is this person biased too, candidate Dordea? What connections is Dordea going to drag out about the historical relationship between Director Budgake and Swanson?

Dordea still has an opportunity to show that he is a "grown-up" politician notwithstanding that this, obviously, his first foray into the rough and tumble world of politics. Stark Countians want candidates who hold their opponents accountable with specificity but who also transparently hold themselves up to public examination.

Will Dordea ever stand front and center in this campaign. Or, will continue to distract and obsfuscate and be vague?

DISCUSSION: STARK COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIR MAIER BECOMING THE "DE FACTO" CHAIR OF THE STARK COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY?

Massillon City Councilman Tony Townsend (political ally of Stark County Democratic Party chair Johnnie A. Maier) has been appointed to the Stark State College of Technology Board of Trustees by Governor Ted Strickland.

A strange appointment indeed from a governor who says that he is an advocate for fixing public school funding and opposes the charter school movement and vouchers.

Politically knowledgeable Stark Countians know that the Stark County Republican Party has only one countywide elected official in place (Jane Vignos) who is not a judge.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has criticized former Stark County Republican Party chair Curt Braden for letting the Stark County Republican Party become non-competitive.

The Report's position is this: Having one political party super-dominate a unit of government is bad for the people. Whether its Canton (Democrats), Massillon (Democrats), Stark County (Democrats) or the state of Ohio (Republican until the elections of 2006), one-party-rule is bad, bad, and badder for the people.

So, The Report has taken it on to chide the Stark County Republican Party leadership for being non-competitive at the county level. Why the county? Because the local Republican Party does have a base within the county to be competitive. But it isn't because of the poor leadership qualities of Curt Braden. There are signs that current chair Jeff Matthews will do better (e.g. getting Richard Hart to run against Stephen Slesnick (Democrat and sitting appointed state represenative). However, the jury is still out on Matthews.

It may not matter what Matthews does. It appears that Matthews' leadership is be usurped by Stark County Democratic chair Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.

First, Maier has taken on an anti-union stance as evidenced by the Billy Sherer (Democrat and a former ironworker and stalwart union man) non-renewal on the Stark County Board of Elections. Second is his decision to not reappoint Dan Scuiry (president of the Hall of Fame AFL-CIO) and Joe Carbenia (a union firefighter) to the executive committee of the Stark County Democratic Party. Third, Maier's recruitment of longtime Republicans Pat DeOrio (to run for Stark County commissioner) and Celeste DeHoff (to run for state representative [50th].

Now we have Maier weighing in on behalf of charter school advocate Massillon City Councilman Tony Townsend. Townsend has served as principal and vice principal of David Brennan's White Hat Management sponsored Hope Academy. The Canton Professional Educators, the Ohio Education Association and the Ohio Federation of Teachers will be pleased (being sarcastic here) to see this Republican-esque move by Maier.

Is Johnnie A. Maier, Jr a political Trojan Horse who will restore Republicans to leadership in Stark County?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

DISCUSSION: WHAT'S NEXT? THE AKRON-CANTON BEACON JOURNAL?

Viewing "The State of Ohio," (this past Friday) a weekly teleproduction of the Statehouse News Bureau (public television), the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has learned that GateHouse Media (locally - The Repository) no longer has a Columbus News Bureau.

In a passing comment, one of the guests on the program mentioned that Paul Kostyu is no longer a member of the Ohio statehouse media corp. Also, mentioned were the financial pressures on media in general which is causing a scaling down of workforces within the media.

The Report did search The Repository for an article on this move, but could finding nothing. Either my searching skills need to be upgraded or The Rep/GateHouse Media is being "mum" on the matter or the mention is flat-out wrong.

The Report believes that Paul Kostyu is no more at The Rep at least as Columbus Bureau Chief. The search does reveal that nothing has been published under the Kostyu byline since August 12th.

If Kostyu has been let go from his Columbus responsibilities, this is a blow to Stark Countians ability to be informed as to the doings of area representatives/senators Boccieri, Hagan, Oelslager, Okey, Schuring and Slesnick.

The Repository, in the view of The Report, has - in modern times (1975 through 2008) - been a substandard publication.

Many hope that its acquisition by GateHouse Media would be a positive move to make The Rep a worthy daily publication. But such has not been the case. Apparently, this move has headed The Rep in the opposite direction: from a second-rate publication to, perhaps, a third-rate newspaper.

In the area we have the Akron-Canton Airport, the Akron (Canton) Aeros and, maybe in the offing, the Akron-Canton Beacon Journal?

Question: Is The Rep on its way to oblivion? Is The Rep destined to become an "Internet Only" publication?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

DISCUSSION: WILL FERGUSON EVER FIGURE OUT THE REAL ISSUES IN THIS RACE?


Readers of the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) will recall that The Report has taken Democrat candidate Dr. Peter Ferguson to task for launching his campaign (in the primary) calling for spending cuts by the Stark County Commissioners.

The Report would be first in line for cuts if there is room for cuts. Anyone who knows anything about Stark County government knows that there is no funding slack in the Stark County budget.

But Ferguson is not alone. Republican Travis Secrest (running against Tom Harmon) is another of the uninformed calling for more budgetary cuts and on top of that calling for tax cuts which the commissioners do not have the power to do.

The Report thinks the voters have to be very wary of Ferguson and Secrest until they give chapter and verse where cuts can be made without jeopardizing baseline governmental services which could put the public at risk.

Can Ferguson and Secrest deliver? The Report thinks not.

Now we have Ferguson calling for change? One thing The Report notes about Ferguson is that he likes to speak in terms of "glittering generalities," providing little or not specifics.

More disturbing about Ferguson is that neither cuts or change are the issues unless he has dynamite ideas for changing the way Stark County goes about economic development. But who knows what he means. The Report suspects that Ferguson has not gotten beyond the slogan stage.

Gathering resources for economic development is the issue in both commissioner races. To Harmon's credit, he is following Commissioner Todd Bosley's lead. The Report hasn't heard anything from Harmon that excites the imagination of what he might have mind to rejuvenate Stark County's economy.

Isn't it just more than a tad distressing that Ferguson and Secrest do not seem to have a clue as to what is important to the future of Stark County?

Friday, August 22, 2008

DISCUSSION: THE REP'S EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR ALLOWS HERSELF TO BECOME POINT OF CONTROVERSY?

Gayle Beck, the editorial page editor of The Repository, is the bane of area Democrat candidates and letter to the editor writers.

It is no surprise to the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) that the Boccieri for Congress camp (16th Congressional District) would find Ms. Beck as moderator objectional as reported in today's Rep.

The Report's experience with Editor Beck does not exactly square with Repository Publisher Kampman's description of Beck.
Kampman said he was shocked and disappointed that Boccieri's campaign decided not to participate in the Canton Forum debate.

'I am at a loss to understand their objection to our choice for a moderator,' Kampman said. 'Gayle Beck's integrity and fairness are beyond reproach. No one from their group has attempted to discuss their concerns with me since the initial meeting.'
The Report's take is that in her own mind (what else would one expect), Beck believes she is the quintessentially fair person. But that perception is not shared by many area Democrat officeholders/candidates/letter to editor writers.

Letter to editor writers who espouse Democrat (especially "well left of center" positions) bitterly complain how Beck refuses to publish their letters and, for letters which eventually get published, engages in nitpicky quibbling on sources, et cetera.

On the other hand, she seemingly lets "right wing" attack dogs unfettered access to the editorial pages of "the only newspaper in town."

The Report's experience is that The Rep. only endorses Democrats (in general elections) when victory is a foregone conclusion.

The Rep's editorial conduct in the Creighton/Healy race was a editorial disgrace. One wonders how Beck et al could look at themselves in the mirror after that performance. The Rep unabashedly published, republished and republished again its preference of Creighton to the point of being open to being perceived as the public relations arm of the Creighton campaign.

Healy, in the opinion of The Report, allowed Beck to serve as moderator of his Canton Forum debate with Creighton only because he knew winning the race was pretty much of a slam dunk.

But the 16th District is a different story. Boccieri probably has a leg up on Schuring and The Report has previously predicted a Boccerri win anywhere from 55% to 45% to 52% to 48%. Others think the race will be much closer. Some even predict a Schuring win. So the Boccieri camp apparently is not willing to chance getting blindsided by The Repository/Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce (notoriously seen by many as an arm of the Stark County Republican Party) "axis of political mischief."

Kirk Schuring himself has told The Report that he discerns a bias in his favor by The Repository Editorial Board, Well, Gayle Beck is, perhaps, the cornerstone of the Board. Why would the Boccieri people trust her to be fair and balanced as a debate moderator?

The Report is surprised that Beck has allowed herself to be the issue on whether or not 16th Congressional District voters get to hear the candidates' views in a moderated debate.

Question: Who does The Repository care more about? Its editorial page editor or the voting public? Shouldn't Editor Beck remove herself from the controversy?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

DISCUSSION: WILL MIKE STEVENS WEIGH IN ON OHIO HOUSE 50TH RACE?

Lawrence Township Trustee Michael D. Stevens narrowly lost to Celeste DeHoff in the March 4th primary.

The question is: Will he support fellow-"Democrat" DeHoff.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) thinks not.

That is not to say he will support Republican Todd Snitchler. But Stevens and other 50th District Democrats will be sitting this election out. If DeHoff is to win, it will have to be a stunning upset; notwithstanding that DeHoff has Democratic party boss Johnnie A. Maier, Jr's undying support.

Stevens will not support DeHoff for a number of reasons including: the fact that one of her supporters (certainly one would think with DeHoff's blessing) filed a complaint against Stevens with the Ohio Elections Commission (which The Report understands has been dismissed); DeHoff was unhappy with Stevens post-primary election employment with the city of Massillon and complained to a Massillon councilperson; DeHoff comes off as being unfriendly to organized labor (to say the least - witness the Tuscarawas Township trustees firing of two Teamsters) and Stevens has a storied union connection, and DeHoff recently (four years ago) turned from Republican to Democrat.

So DeHoff has cooked her own goose in what was going to be an uphill fight with everything going her way.

The 50th is gerrymandered to favor Republican candidate which probably will be offset this election cycle because voters are looking for Democrats across the nation at local, state and national levels. Also, the Ohio Democratic House Caucus is making the 50th a targeted district which hasn't happened since the days that Maier was elected to the old 56th (which was not gerrymandered Republican in those days because it had Massillon and all of Perry Township in its boundaries).

Agree or disagree with The Report analysis? If you agree, why? If you disagree, why?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

DISCUSSION: IS THE NORTH CANTON CITY ADMINISTRATION BEING WISE?

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) was given (along with other area media) an e-mail "heads up" yesterday on the North Canton administration's refusal to certify citizen-activist Chuck Osborne's (a former councilman) ballot initiative to redirect economic development money into the city's operating fund.

The Report disagrees with Osborne's position on the issue and believes that North Cantonians will also disagree if allowed to vote in November. So is it wise for the administration to choke off this "democracy-in-action" effort?

The Report does not believe this was Zumbar's decision alone. Mayor David Held had to be part of the decision making process along with Daryl Revoldt (council president).

The Report understands that North Canton has a questionable economic future and the city's leadership is trying to right a economy badly off course with the demise of the Hoover Company as the economic mainstay of the community. As The Report sees it, a November vote likely would be an opportunity for city leaders to have voters endorse their leadership.

Something seems wrong with this picture of stiffing a citizen-activist. Mere overreaction? Or, is something else afoot? Why not allow democracy take its course?

What The Report does not like about the matter of the CIC money, if true, is its alleged use to take jobs from Massillon. Mayor Held claims North Canton is saving the jobs for Stark County because he is sure the company would be heading to Sharon, Pa or to California.

In previous posting on this site, Mayor Cicchinelli of Massillon in his own words (via video) asserts Held's claim is nonsense and North Canton is trolling Stark County looking for jobs to shift to North Canton. The Report is against intra-county raiding, but is not sure who is correct on the the Myers matter.

Over the long haul, will being hyper-technical to thwart citizen exercise of the franchise on the direction the city should be heading be counterproductive? 880 petitioners is a highly significant number, isn't it?

DISCUSSION: JEFF MATTHEWS PICKS UP THE PACE FOR STARK REPPUBLICANS?

The best hope for Stark Countians to get the ear of area politicians is for them to have to run in a competitive race.

Maybe Stark County Republicans have better things ahead for them if the change in candidates running in the 52nd Ohio House district under the GOP label is a indication that party chair Jeff Matthews can recruit candidates better than former chair Curt Braden.

The original nominee for the 52nd (Easterday) had no chance at all against Democrat Slesnick who holds office by virtue of appointment. Republican replacement Richard Hart will be competitive but is unlikely to win. After all, as reported in today's Repository, he lost a Canton City Council race in 2007.

But offering something other than a doormat candidate is a step up for Stark Republicans.

Former chair Braden's legacy may be that his last slate of candidates for countywide office did not produce a win and all countywide offices will end up in the hands of Stark Democrats. Only John Hagan (running for county commissioner) seems to have a chance of winning in November. Even if he does, the victory would not be a gain because the spot is now held by the sole countywide Republican officeholder (aside from several judgeships) Jane Vignos.

Even if Easterday had remained in the race, at least the Republicans had a candidate. Democratic party chair Johnnie A. Maier, Jr couldn't find anyone to run against Scott Oleslager in the the 51st district.

Slesnick is in trouble with Stark County's organized labor for opposing the (Ohio) unions' Healthy Families Act which is set for voter approval/disapproval as a constitutional amendment proposal in November. Hart could benefit from the rift, if he has it within him as a Republican to come out strongly for the proposal. Otherwise, he will end up as a Republican who was more competitive than Republicans generally are in the 52nd.

The 50th House District is competitive but not because of the quality of the candidates. Neither candidate has any distinguishing features and voters will be faced with a choice which of the two is the least worst. The Republican Todd Snitchler is in an arm lock with the Ohio, Canton and several township chambers of commerce. Undoubtedly, he will get his marching orders from the chambers. Democrat Celeste DeHoff will get her marching orders from her patron saint Stark County Party chair Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.

Question: Is the Hart political recruitment coup a sign that Matthews will be recruiting more competitive candidates for future countywide races? Or, is this just an isolated happenstance and Matthews will ultimately fall back into the Braden pattern?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

DISCUSSION: COUNCILWOMAN CATAZARO-PERRY COMPARES MAYOR CICCHINELLI TO WHOM?


Politics can get "down and dirty." Mayor Francis M. Cicchinelli, Jr., told STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) in the accompanying video that Councilwoman Kathy Catazaro-Perry has called him evil and compared him to the Devil.

Now folks, those are some "hard feelings." Can there be any doubt that the "gentlewoman" from Massillon is itching to take her fight to the voters come 2011, if the mayor chooses to run.

Question: Is there anywhere in politics for this kind of talk?

Monday, August 18, 2008

DISCUSSION: SCHURING/BOCCIERI - CAPTIVIES TO SPECIAL INTERESTS: WHAT IS THE INDEPENDENT MINDED VOTER TO DO?

Both of the candidates for the 16th Congressional District are partisans through and through.

Both are beholden to special interests.

Schuring is the corporate and management candidate (last week The Repository reported a U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsement of Schuring [no surprise there]). He has a longtime close political association with Canton corporate magnate W. R. Timken, Jr. (Bush's ambassador to Germany). A check of Schuring's campaign finance contributions show upwards of 70% (or perhaps even higher if we had a look of donations of less than $250) of his campaign funds come from CEO and upper management.

As a state senator and representative Schuring has a high 90s percentage support of the Republican Party line.

Schuring has helped himself with independent minded voters by denouncing the nationwide 527 Freedom's Watch organization injecting itself into the race.

Boccieri is the organized labor candidate. If it were not for unions, he most likely would be living in oblivion in New Middletown, Ohio. Boccieri became the lightening rod candidate chosen by organized labor to take out Ron Hood (the Right to Work state representative who once represented the Alliance area). Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been donated to his campaigns by labor unions from his initial run against Hood through his current contest with Republican Kirk Schuring to succeed 16 District Congressman Ralph Regula.

As a state senator and representative, Boccieri has a high 90s percentage support of the Democratic Party line.

So what criterion are independent minded voters going to go to in order to determine whom to vote for?

The Schuring campaign in banking on the fact that Boccieri only recently moved into the district as being the deciding factor.

Boccieri is relying on his "war hero" status and the fact that across the nation voters are looking more towards Democrats than Republicans to bring the nation out of its economic malaise.

Initially, the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) viewed the Schuring emphasis on the residency issue as more of an distraction than anything else. But when one looks at the offsetting partisanship and special interest connections, the Schuring camp might be on to something in pushing this point for the independent minded to consider as a differentiating factor.

For Boccieri the partisan card may work because independent minded voters are predisposed to support Democrats in competitive districts in the 2008 election cycle. But he needs to convince voters that notwithstanding his being a solid Democrat, he will put constituent interests above party politics.

And, of course, Boccieri flying C-130s in and out of volatile Baghdad imbues him with a sense of being a stand up guy who puts his life on the line in support of the Bush administration's decision go into Iraq. To the independent minded, he will be perceived very positively for his devotion to military duty.

Question: Which factor do you think will be most persuasive to independent minded voters?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

DISCUSSION: WHY WAS GOVERNOR STRICKLAND A "NO SHOW" IN LOUISVILLE ON SATURDAY?


On Thursday, in The Repository, was an announcement. "Governor Strickand, DeHoff to visit Louisville."

Susan Faber of Tuscarawas Township thought this would be a grand opportunity to meet with the governor on a pressing issue to the Faber family. The firing of her husband (a Local 92 Teamster) by the Tuscarawas Township Board of Trustees.

As Faber sees it, Trustee Celeste DeHoff was the initiator of the firing (October, 2006).

The issue has wound itself through various legal proceedings and now is before the State Employment Relations Board (SERB) for a determination of whether or not the matter will be ordered to arbitration.

Faber tells the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) she has been seeking an audience with the governor for some time now. She thought she had one in the works for December 4, 2007. But the proposed meeting fell apart. Why?

Faber had asked for the meeting in a face-to-face encounter with Strickland when the governor was in Stark County at a political event. He agreed to meet with her and set forces in motion at the hand of his Region 9 Director - Steven Meeks (former Jackson Township trustee).

Who refused the meeting? Susan Faber. Why? Because the meeting was to include Stark County Democratic Party chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. and Meeks himself.

Faber's beef is with DeHoff (who is Maier's handpicked candidate in Ohio 50th House District) and her position is that such a meeting would not be one-on-one with the governor but one which included the governor and two DeHoff supporters (Maier and Meeks).

How does Steve Meeks get into this as a direct DeHoff supporter? (other than being a Stark County Democrat) Faber says that Meeks was the driving force in his days as Jackson trustee to get DeHoff appointed a Jackson's assistant law director. (probably at the behest of Maier)

So this winding route explains why Faber was in Louisville on Saturday looking for the governor.

Her efforts proved futile. Faber believes the word somehow got out that she and her supporters would be showing up at the announced Louisville event. Other than the Faber entourage, only a DeHoff campaign volunteer, Stark County commissioner Todd Bosley and maybe another person or so showed up.

Faber says she was excitedly greeted by the volunteer and was told that yes the governor was coming. Faber noted that the volunteer made a number of cell phone calls were made and after a bit of time elapsed announced that the governor would not be in Louisville after all.

Where did the governor indeed show up in Stark County? St. George's Center off Applegrove in North Canton. Faber did not crash the "ticketed" event but she did make sure Louisville (which is in the 50th House District) voters knew about DeHoff's part in her husband's firing by parading a sign in the downtown area.

Undoubtedly, the governor's real reason for coming to Stark County was the "Cornhole" tournament. Maier saw this as an opportunity to piggyback a DeHoff event onto Strickland's being in the area. Obviously, the governor did not want to be associated with DeHoff in a controversial setting. So The Report surmises that his handlers had him bypass Louisville.

Question: Has the governor learned anything from this "hide 'n' seek" venture? Will his advisers be looking several times at a Johnnie A. Maier, Jr request to appear with Celeste DeHoff anywhere in Stark County?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

DISCUSSION: JEAN MADDEN IS RUNNING AS A NON-PARTISAN, IS THIS HOW VOTERS WANT JUDICIAL CANDIDATES TO RUN?


In this video interview with Republican candidate for Stark County Common Pleas judge Jean Madden, viewers will note that she has opted to run as a non-partisan. Her opponent, Frank Forchione, has told the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) that he is undecided whether to run as a non-partisan or as a Democrat.

An Ohio Supreme Court ruling now permits judicial candidates to run under a partisan label. The Report believes that as of the 2008 elections, it is an advantage to run as a Democrat in Stark County. It will be interesting to see what decision Forchione ultimately makes. In all likelihood, the decision will be made on whether or not he believes he is clearly ahead in the polls.

Question: From a voters perspective, is it desirable for a judicial candidate to run as a non-partisan or with a party label?

Friday, August 15, 2008

DISCUSSION: KUDOS TO SECREST FOR OUTLINING COUNTY COMMISSIONER ISSUES: WILL HARMON, HAGAN AND FERGUSON FOLLOW SUIT?


The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) is impressed with county commissioner candidate Republican Travis Secrest stepping front and center with a list of issues he thinks are the most important to be resolved in order to ensure a bright future for Stark County.

But The Report will be following up with questions on points made in Secrest's issue presentation. In fact, The Report has already fired off an email to the candidate with a number of questions about "Stimulating Stark County's Economy and Protecting Our Jobs."

The Report anticipates Secrest providing timely and responsive answers to pass on to The Report's readers.

One thing The Report can say about Secrest's listing of issues is that in doing so, he sets forth an "informative to the voters model" for candidate Harmon (D - Secrest's opponent), and Hagan (R) and Ferguson (D), the candidates for the remaining commissioner seat to embrace.

The Report is skeptical that Harmon, Hagan and Ferguson will follow the Secrest model. But maybe the Secrest initiative will put some pressure on them to do so.

Question: Should Harmon, Hagan and Ferguson publish their issues and answers a la Secrest?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

DISCUSSION: AN INDICATION OF HOW HAPPY OHIOANS ARE. HOW ABOUT STARK COUNTIANS?


Qunnipiac University recently did some pollings of how Ohioans feel about our government officials and the attitudes of Ohioans about the way things are in Ohio today. This particular poll reflects how Ohioans feel about the direction that Ohio is heading.

What we do not have a poll on is whether or not this Ohio poll is reflective of how Stark Countians feel about our local government. Is there trickle down?

Is there any reason to believe that Stark Countians are more pleased with the direction that the county is headed in as compared to Ohio?

Is Stark County in better shape than the state of Ohio?

DISCUSSION: CAN COMMISSIONER BOSLEY BRING FIAT TO STARK COUNTY?



At a recent Stark County Board of Commissioners meeting, board president, Tom Harmon read a letter from Fiat (the Italian auto manufacturer) acknowledging Stark County's interest in attracting a Fiat auto manufacturing plant to Stark County.

The initiator of the pro-active move to bolster Stark County's economy is Commissioner Bosley who persuaded Commissioners Harmon and Vignos to join him sending a letter of interest to Fiat.

Bosley, after the meeting, told the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) that he planned to be in contact with the Ohio Department of Economic Development to pursue the necessary step to give Stark County a leg up on bringing Fiat to Stark County.

Question: Does Stark County have the necessary infrastructure to attract Fiat?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

CANDIDATES/ISSUES SERIES: MADDEN (R) VERSUS FORCHIONE (D) - COMMON PLEAS COURT JUDGE


The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) presents a excerpt of an interview with Stark County Court of Common Pleas candidate Jean Madden.

Her opponent, Frank Forchione, was offered an opportunity to appear on camera but declined the invitation. Forchione did interview with The Report via telephone which was the basis of the initial article on this race several weeks ago.

This video segment focuses on Madden describing her prior legal experience/education as preparation for serving as judge, if elected.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

DISCUSSION: LOSE, LOSE & LOSE - GOVERNMENT LETS STARK COUNTIANS DOWN AGAIN?

It is truly amazing how government at all levels can and do botch things up.

What's this? A gentlemen's agreement between governments. Nothing in writing.

Wow!

Is doesn't take a lawyer to know that all agreements need to be in writing.

The current crises between the Stark County Board of Commissioners and the Stark County Office of the Sheriff on one side versus Alliance and Massillon on the other side could have been averted by a simple written agreement with language to the effect: "when this levy (Criminal Justice) expires, then the agreement by Stark County to house Massillon city and Alliance city prisoners free also expires."

Just as happened with 9-1-1 when it was set up, a past Board of Commissioners comes back to haunt the current board.

But Sheriff Swanson and the city governments of Alliance and Massillon share responsibility. It was also incumbent on them to insist on a written agreement dotting the i's and crossing the t's.

The bottom line for Stark County taxpayers outside of Alliance and Massillon is that the citizens of townships, the remaining cities and villages may end up subsidizing Alliance and Massillon forever, if the cities can make their interpretation of the 1997 "verbal" stick.

Because of government's failure (it is important to have competent people in office), there is "bad blood" brewing between the various parties which only serves to hurt all of Stark County working together for the betterment of the entire county.

Question: How should this issue be resolved?

DISCUSSION: WHO IS MAYOR CICCHINELLI'S PRIME POLITICAL ENEMY?


The first guess out-of-the-box might be Kathy Catazaro-Perry. And, that could be the final answer. But not so quick.

In the accompanying video, Mayor Chicchinelli names another whom he implies was a prime mover to eject him from the Massillon mayorality in 2006. More intent, Cicchinelli says, than the candidate himself: Tim Bryan.

Question: Are you surprised at the name of the prime mover? What do you think the political consequences will be in future Massillon elections?

Monday, August 11, 2008

DISCUSSION: WHO WILL BECOME STARK COUNTY'S SHERIFF COME NOVEMBER 4, 2008 - INSTALLMENT #5


This episode's issue raised by Larry Dordea's website:

THE SHERIFF IS NOT COMMITTED TO HIS JOB ON A DAILY BASIS.

In his face-to-face interview with the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report); something Dordea refuses to do even though he complains that The Report comments on his positions without knowing him, Swanson responded to the Dordea charge this way.

Swanson asserts he works on-the-job and not as a politician a full week's work without fail (double full week's work 60% of the time). The sheriff did tick off a series of activities that he says more than takes up a normal work week: taking citizens calls, handling complaints, checking on deputies activities out on road patrol, working on grant applications, coordinating with law enforcement agencies throughout Stark County, monitoring centralized 9-1-1, promoting the 800 radio system, working on budgeting issues and on and on goes the list.

No one would tell the sheriff he is not entitled to take a vacation. But The Report raises this question. Are there any circumstances under which the sheriff breaks off a vacation and returns to duty?

Readers will recall that Swanson was on vacation when the Jesse Marie Davis (Bobby Cutts) matter was dominating local headlines. Shouldn't the sheriff have broken off the vacation and returned to Stark County to take charge of the investigation?

Swanson responds by saying he has a very capable staff headed by Chief Deputy Rick Perez (brother of Stark County auditor Kim Perez) who was more than up to handing the matter. In fact, Swanson says - even if he had been in town during the Davis/Cutts event; Perez would have been the man-in-charge anyway.

The question: Does Swanson's absence during the most major criminal case in Stark County in recent times give credibility to opponent Larry Dordea's charge that Swanson is not committed to being sheriff on a full-time, daily basis?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

DISCUSSION: CAN SCHURING MAKE IGNORANCE PAY OFF?

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has long held that Republican Kirk Schuring of Jackson Township is a glib, charming politician who has no gravitas. He has produced no major legislation in fourteen years in the Ohio General Assembly.

Reflective Stark Countians will note that he has gotten nowhere with his "marquee" project - fixing public school funding in Ohio.

But Schuring's limitations may, in fact, help him find his way to Congress.

Paul Krugman, a columnist for the New York Times, recently wrote on a political strategy that seems to be taking hold nationwide for Republican candidates.

The strategy? Know-nothingism.

Krugman defines "know-nothingism" thusly:
What I mean, instead, is that know-nothingism — the insistence that there are simple, brute-force, instant-gratification answers to every problem, and that there’s something effeminate and weak about anyone who suggests otherwise — has become the core of Republican policy and political strategy. The party’s de facto slogan has become: “Real men don’t think things through.”
At the end of June, Schuring sent his proxies to the Sunoco station on West Tusc. in Canton to pester/goad Schuring's 16th district Congressional opponent Democrat John Boccieri (announcing his own energy policy) into endorsing the Schuring plan for solving the high gasoline prices we are experiencing across the nation.

Drill, drill and drill - right now! That's the Republican and Schuring plan.

Of course, thinking people know that drilling know that it will take (according to the Bush's Department of Energy) at least seven years, if ever, for drilling to have any effect on gasoline prices at the pump.

The Schuring campaign has put Boccieri in a tough spot. If Schuring's simplistic solutions stick with the voters, Boccieri could be a candidate that snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.

With the wind at his back (i.e. voters looking for Democrats to vote for), Boccieri should be a shoe-in. But is he?

The Report believes that Boccieri's people better figure out how to get 16th district voters to understand it's "snake oil" Schuring is trying palm off on them.

Otherwise, Schuring may pull off one big political upset come November.

Question: Has Schuring come up with an ingenious strategy to knock off Boccieri in November?

DISCUSSION: HOW ARE STARK COUNTIANS TO KNOW ABOUT ELECTION VIOLATIONS?


Recently the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) did a piece on charge and countercharge on elections violations coming out of Tuscarawas Township.

Although the staff of the Ohio Elections Commission was very cooperative and faxed requested information to The Report, the Commission's website is pathetic.

Commission Executive Director Phillip Richter was apologetic that The Report and other interested Ohioans could not access information from a database (a la the Ohio secretary of state's website), the fact of the matter is that there is scant information available to Stark Countians or any other Ohioan who wants to know about complaints filed, the progress of the proceeding, the disposition of a given case and obtaining a transcript of proceedings.

Why is this website so pathetic?

Because it has no money or technical support to the executive director.

The Report pointed out to Richter (who only has two staff members to help with the volumes of complaints filed and processed) how wasteful it was of staff time for his administrators to field telephone calls, take notes on the desired information, gather the records and mail (which would necessitate the additional step of copying them first) or fax the records to the requester.

Richter readily agreed.

So did Stark Countian Steve Meeks, who is Governor Strickland's Regional 9 Director. Meeks is the "eyes and ears" of the governor for Stark County as well as nearby counties.

On contacting Meeks, he swung into action contacting Region 9 legislators (including Stark's Oelslager [a champion of public records assessibility], Stephen Slesnick, John Hagan and Kirk Schuring [who may to be too busy running for Congress to address this matter.]

Why the legislators?

Meeks says that Election Commission operation is funded directly by the Legislature and the dearth of funds in attributable to the Ohio General Assembly.

The legislator who bears particular watching on getting something done poste haste on this matter is Scott Oelslager (R-Plain). Oelslager has made a political living on playing to The Repository and Ohio media in general on his devotion to the cause of open public records and accessibility.

Fixing this glaring hole in the public records scheme of things is a grand opportunity for Oelslager to shine.

But Governor Strickland himself is also on record as being a foremost proponent of open public records and accessibility. And, The Report is impressed that Meeks was quick to see how inadequate the Commission's website operation is and immediately began taking steps to remedy the situation.

Question: Does it surprise you to learn how out-of-date and "technologically challenged" the Ohio Elections Commission is? Will Oelslager attend to fixing this problem?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

DISCUSSION: THE EDWARDS AND DANN "FALL FROM GRACE" RELEVANT TO STARK COUNTY POLITICS?


Readers of the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) will recall that The Report was first on board when Canton attorney Allen Schulman decided he wanted to be Canton City Council president.

Schulman is a very talented local trial attorney who The Report believes has the intellectual wherewithal and political clout to help Mayor Healy get Canton moving in a positive economic direction.

But with the passage of time and no reported earth moving contributions by Schulman on council, The Report is beginning to wonder if Schulman is deflected from the primary task at hand by being mired in state and national politics.

At first glance, The Report did not see the breaking news of yesterday of former presidential candidate John Edwards problems as being particularly relevant to Stark County politics.

But on second consideration, The Report does see a local connection. And, the Edwards' factor is not the only one. The other that stands out is the Marc Dann tumble from power.

What is the connection?

It is this.

Canton City Council president Allen Schulman was a big campaign contribution supporter of both. In the case of Edwards, Schulman actually hosted local events supporting his candidacy.

So what?

Good point.

The point for consideration is this. Obviously, one would think, Schulman would like to do take backs on both. Because it does make one ponder on Schulman's ability to make sound political judgments. Doesn't it?

What do you think? Is Schulman's political judgment suspect. Or, is he like most politically involved people, sometimes you get it right; sometimes you miss the mark? But is Schulman, consequently, diverted from his primary task of getting Canton headed in a positive economic direction?

DISCUSSION: CAN HEALY UNDO THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE UNIMAGINATIVE LEADERSHIP OF CREIGHTON & WATKINS?

First of all, the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) does not necessarily agree with Forbes.com's listing of Canton as being a dying American city.

But.

But what? There is enough evidence that the assessment may be true that the suggestion has merit - to prompt local leaders to do some "soul searching."

(From The Rep): "... Canton native Carl Lavin is the managing editor of Forbes.com, and he said the numbers such as 0.7 percent annual growth in gross domestic product speak for themselves. "

Moreover, Lavin goes on to say the following:
We've gotten questions. For a lot of people, you hold up a mirror and they don't like what they see." ...

The smart civic leader will use this to help galvanize resources that will reverse those trends.
The Report thinks Canton is the local mirror of Ohio. The supposedly pro-business party (the Republicans) have been the executives in charge during what has certainly been an economic tailspin of "Canton" (Creighton and Watkins) and "Ohio" (Taft and Voinovich).

Joined-at-the-hip with the Republican executives has been the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Ohio Chamber of Commerce. These overrated economic planners haven't had many answers to stem the decline.

The chambers have been like a broken record as have been their Republican sponsors. Their rhetoric: "Cut taxes, cut costs, cut government (which Republicans have not done), birth low paying jobs" (which they have done by the score) and on and on go their words and phrases which have not been effective to actually turnaround Canton's and Ohio's economy.

Can Healy and his Democrat team reverse things in Canton? Can Democrats Bosley/Harmon team up to reverse things in Stark County? Can Strickland and his Democrat team reverse things in Ohio? Can they devise a "new" formula to bring their respective economies out of the the "nosedive" - "tailspin" economic nightmare?

Time will tell. Maybe yes. Maybe no. All Cantonians, Stark Countians and Ohio should be pulling for their success.

In the end it matters not what someone's politics is. For everyday people, it only matters that new thinking with positive results surface from our political leadership.

Final question: Do Healy, Bosley, Harmon and Strickland have what it takes to be "smart civic leader[s]?"

Friday, August 8, 2008

DISCUSSION: WHAT IS GOING ON IN TUSCARAWAS TOWNSHIP? IS THERE SOMETHING IN THE "POLITICAL" WATER?


A reliable source from Tuscarawas Township has been keeping the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) up-to-date on the political warfare that is taking place in the township.

The political infighting involves political contests for township trustee and township fiscal officer.

A series of complaints have been filed with the Ohio Elections Commission. The captions to the cases appear in the graphic to the left of this report.

For the disposition of these case - click here.

Readers will recall that during the March primary another Tuscarawas Township official (Trustee Celeste DeHoff - candidate for the Ohio House/50th and protege of Stark County Democratic Party chair Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.) filed a complaint against Mike Stevens with the Ohio Elections Commission.

The Report believes that all the political turmoil revolves around Chairman Maier and his dominant role in township politics. His wife Debra is the township fiscal officer.

DISCUSSION: STARK COMMISSIONERS PROTECTING JACKSON TOWNSHIP'S EMERALD ESTATES FROM FLOODING?


The Repository is reporting a Stark County commissioners' decision that could be costly to a Stark County developer.

While the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) fully understands that the change in Stark County subdivision regulations is a civil matter and therefore probably not covered by the U.S. Constitution prohibition on "ex post facto" (after the fact) laws (rules and regulations), it will be interesting to know if Stark residents feel that Villa Miramar was dealt with fairly on the matter of its development of Jackson Township's Emerald Estates.

In the accompanying video, readers of The Report can get a sense of the issues that the commissioners had to deal with.

Question: From The Rep report and the video, do you get a sense of fair play on the Emerald Estates matter?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

DISCUSSION: IS SCHURING TAKING THE HIGH-ROAD IN CAMPAIGN AGAINST BOCCIERI? OR, IS HIS STATEMENT DISINGENUOUS?





























The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) sees 16th district Congressional candidate state Senator Kirk Schuring as a somewhat classy guy who has, in the past, demonstrated political maturity.

The Report is not surprised at the quote attributed to Schuring (see above) in an Akron Beacon Journal article on 527 radio ads that Freedom's Watch is running on local radio stations.

Yesterday The Report was speaking with a Canton source who was listening to the Ron Ponder show on WHBC when the 527 ad came on.

The source was indignant with Schuring at the airing of the ad.

The question The Report has is this. Is it fair to tie Schuring to the 527 ad?

The Boccieri folks aren't so quick to exonerate Schuring. Boccieri is quoted as accusing Schuring of being part of the 527 effort.

Question: What do you think? Is Schuring declamation for real? Or, is, as Boccieri asserts, is this a case of a person protesting too loudly?

DISCUSSION: STARK UNIONS TO SPEARHEAD OBAMA CAMPAIGN LOCALLY? BUT CELESTE DEHOFF IS STILL LEFT HANGING?


Barack Obama himself was part of a recent (last Thursday) conference call which also included a local AFL-CIO official in a pre-planning process as a prelude for the Obama campaign to setup in Stark County.

Stark Countians will be seeing local unions being full steam ahead on three campaigns:

1. The Obama campaign.
2. Boccieri (D) versus Schuring (R).
3. Ferguson (D) against Hagan (R).

One campaign not on the list is the DeHoff (D?) and Snitchler (R). The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has learned that the Hall of Fame AFL-CIO and the trade unions will not take an active part in the DeHoff effort as matters stand now.

Local 92 (the Teamsters) is in a fight with candidate DeHoff over a firing of two Teamster-member workers which the union accuses DeHoff being the mastermind of.

Undoubtedly, DeHoff sponsor - Stark County Democratic Party chair Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. has asked Ohio AFL-CIO head Tim Burga to intervene with local unions to get her local union support.

The Report has also learned that Maier has enlisted the support of state party chair - Chris Redfern.

Maier has "chilled" relationships with local unions after he failed to renew former ironworker Billy Sherer for his post at the Stark County Board of Elections. Instead, Maier opted to support local lawyer Sam Ferruccio - on the advice of - (if one believes Maier) Jennifer Brunner (Ohio secretary of state).

Mike McElfresh of Local 540 IBEW ran against Ferruccio and was defeated when Maier made the contest a referendum on his leadership. McElfresh in now president of the local trades union coordinating body.

The Report believes that Maier is desperate to redeem the union disaffection with DeHoff for several reasons.

First, DeHoff was up until four years ago a registered Republican herself. If voters remember that, there is little chance she can make any in roads into the 50th district Republican base. The 50th has been gerrymandered to favor a Republican candidate. The Report doesn't think that Snitchler (who remains a Republican) fears the DeHoff challenge in his wheelhouse of support.

Second, unions provide two things: manpower and money. Certainly DeHoff needs both to pull an upset in this race. And, it would be an upset if DeHoff were to win.

The Ohio Democrats are targeting this contest because it is an open seat (which are the easiest to turnover from one party to another) and Maier has put his political prestige behind the DeHoff campaign.

Were the Democrats to win this election, certainly this would mean that Ohio's statehouse would flip over to Democrat control. If Governor Ted Strickland (a union favorite) is to do anything to solve the public school funding problem, Democrats must win control of the Ohio House.

The Report has learned that the price tag for DeHoff (currently a Tuscarawas Township trustee) getting local union support is for her to lead a Tuscarawas Township move to reinstate the two union workers fired at her initiative.

The DeHoff lead effort is losing in a series and legal administrative and court proceedings and now is in arbitration.

Question: Local unions are convinced in their heart-of-hearts that DeHoff (being the former Republican she is) is anti-union (though she protests to the contrary) and will not pay the price to get their support. But even if she flips, wouldn't any support she gets be lukewarm at best? Should Governor Strickland be betting on the 50th district race to be a factor in the Ohio House to become Democrat controlled?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

DISCUSSION: ARE THESE TWO CAMPAIGNS HEADING IN DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS?

Who is advising the Celeste DeHoff campaign?

While the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) does not believe that campaign websites (as typically constructed) mean much, if anything, towards the outcome of an election, the outright lack of a website presence might indicate a floundering campaign.

Campaign websites probably influence very few voters because most citizens are aware that these websites are "spin" pages that propagandize for the host candidate.

If a candidate were to put a live chat on their website and do other interactive features that allow for some spontaneity, then the site could be worth visiting.

But to expect any candidate to expose him/herself to one-on-one with a voter with other voters looking on is a bit much.

So The Report is not surprised that the Snitchler site is the same old protective shell that candidates who cannot face the voters typically put up. But at least the fact Snitichler has a site indicates some life.

How about the DeHoff campaign. Is a "currently under maintenance indication that this campaign is "dead in the water?" Is this a sign that Stark County Democratic chair Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. has given up on his political ward?

DISCUSSION: WHY DOES MAYOR CICCHINELLI HAVE PROBLEMS WITH ORGANIZED LABOR?


Being the staunch lifelong Democrat he is, one can tell that it authentically troubles Mayor Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr. that he has a difficult relationship with Stark County organized labor.

In the accompanying video, Mayor Cicchinelli provides the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) with chapter and verse of the genesis of the problem. Only a few Stark County Democrat elected officials and candidates (e.g. Celeste DeHoff) have a tense relationship with local unions.

The Report is well acquainted with Stark County's organized labor and Cicchinelli's account squares up with what unions have told The Report.

Union opposition is no small matter for a Stark County Democrat as chamber of commerce dislike would be to most Republican candidates.

In the case of Cicchinelli, the unions ran a candidate (Tim Bryan) against the mayor. And, it was a relatively close race with Cicchinelli winning 2120 to 1862.

Question: Should it bother Mayor Cicchinelli that he has an abrasive relationship with local organized labor?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

DISCUSSION: YOU DECIDE! SHOULD CLEAN OHIO BE EXTENDED IN NOVEMBER?


$4,398.612.01 out of $400,000.00 from 2001 through 2008. Is that enough to justify Stark Countians voting to extend CleanOhio come November.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) painstakingly went through the numbers published by the Ohio Public Works Commission?

The Report has been in touch with spokesperson Connie Rubin of the Stark County Park District and she has put together a report that gives the details of how Stark County has benefited from CleanOhio.

Of the $4,398.612.01 some $3,711.402.01 has already been spent in Stark County. There remains $687, 210 to be spent.

What do you think? Do those numbers impress you? Have you read Connie Rubin's report? Is her report substantiation enough for you to support the issue in November?

DISCCUSSION: DEMOCRATS ON ALLIANCE CITY COUNCIL NOT LOOKIN TOO GOOD?


Not long ago the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) did a on-camera interview with Alliance City Council member Steve Okey.

Readers will recall that Okey blamed Alliance Mayor Toni Middleton for dragging his feet on economic development in Alliance.

Well, the last couple of days The Alliance Review has been running pieces on a tug of war between the Democrats and Republicans on council and throw in Republican Mayor Toni Middleton. Here's a link to the latest.

Democrat Phyllis Phillips who is chair of the Community Development Committee seems to need to get her facts straight. It appears that Winkie Industries, Inc (which is having its $200,000 UDAG [Urban Development Action Grant] grant held up because she thinks Winkie does not hire enough minorities.

It appears that Winkie hires a highly educated workforce for the most part and therefore has a limited field of candidates for most of its jobs.

In light of this development, the question becomes:

Who is holding back economic development in Alliance? Is it credible to believe that Mayor Middleton is the culprit?

DISCUSSION: WHEN WILL STARK COUNTY FAMILY COURT FIND STARK COUNTY SOURCES FOR RESIDENTIAL PLACEMENT AND KEEP $400,000+ AT HOME?


At last week's Board of County Commissioners meeting Commissioners Vignos and Bosley are shown on the accompanying video discussing a letter the commissioners received from Stark County Family Council.

What was the topic of the letter?

The letter was addressing the concerns of the commissioners that Stark County is spending $400,000 or so per year sending Stark County youth with residential treatment needs out-of-county.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) believes the commissioners are on a mission to get the Stark County Family Court (Judges Stucki, James and Howard) directed towards (with the assistance of Family Council) establishing a Stark County capability to provide residential treatment needs and thereby keep the money in Stark County.

The Report believes that the Stark County Family Court has had a lackadaisical attitude towards developing a Stark County capability and thus keeping the money at home. The Report further contends that the Court's ho-hum attitude is a consequence of the lack of political competition for these judgeships.

Mike Howard did have determined opposition from Taryn Heath in his election bid. But this is the exception rather than the rule.

Lack of competition across-the-board for judgeships is another way that former Republican Party chair Curt Braden and current Democratic Party chair Johnnie A. Maier, Jr., failed and continue to fail (Braden now replaced by Jeff Matthews) the general public.

The Report will give Maier this. He notes how when a judgeship is up for appointment by the governor, you have applicants coming out of the woodwork. But when it comes to running, these folks are nowhere to be seen. Well, Maier is a Vern Riffe (strongman) type of chairman. Why doesn't he twist some arms?

To The Report throwing hands up in resignation (which is what Maier does) is not good enough. Braden (now Matthews) and Maier need to invoke imaginative ways to cultivate a group of lawyers who are willing to wade into these waters. Party chairmen being imaginative for the public good? Considering the public good is not a priority for party chairmen, The Report's experience is that they look out for themselves and their closest friends.

Just as an aside. Readers will recall the big to-do that Judge Stucki (Family Court) made about Judge Park (Probate Court) not having competition. The Report's question to Stucki. Was he upset that he didn't have competition the last time he ran for Family Court judge?

To his credit Commissioner Todd Bosley is pushing the development of a Stark County capacity. The Stark County Family Council has a Service Coordination Committee (SCC) made up of up Stark County agency notables (in the words of Rick DeHeer - SCC Chair and Carol Lichtenwalter - SCC Director) are "very aggressively ... address[ing] the issues related to [Stark County] youth being placed out-of-county in residential treatment facilities."

Question: Is lack of political competition a key source of the Family Court judges historical disinterest in tackling the issue of forcing the development of a residential treatment program capacity in Stark County?