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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A SERIES: HOLDING CANDIDATES ACCOUNTABLE ON THEIR CAMPAIGN LITERATURE - SNITCHLER

Todd Snitchler (Republican candidate for the Ohio House - 50th) is an attorney.

Yours truly is an attorney.

One thing that is drummed into attorneys while they are yet law students is honing sophisticated deductive reasoning skills.

The campaign brochure (at left) is no where near the reasoning skills one should expect of Attorney Snitchler, but rather is a shameful demonstration of the loosey-goosey operation of a human mind which has to be owned up to by Snitchler - for it is his campaign.

In sending out this literature, Snitchler gives birth to the question: Is this the kind of mind that 50th District Stark Countians want to send to Columbus to work on the overwhelmingly complex issues that face Ohio and derivatively Stark County?

Snitchler's loosey-goosey reasoning goes something like this. Celeste DeHoff is a Democrat. All Democrats favor big government. Big government hurts people. Senior citizens are people. Therefore, Celeste DeHoff, being a Democrat, will necessarily push big government in order to hurt senior citizens.

Snitchler did greet Sarah Palin when she came to Canton. Did he get too close?

Many people excuse this kind of literature as being "just politics." But not the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report).

If Snitchler has specific statements or policies that DeHoff has made or supported that would be harmful to senior citizens, let him provide this information to the voters; that's fair game.

This piece is a one that should cause Snitchler to hang his head in shame.

This analysis is the first in a series that The Report will running to assist voters in seeing through the "bull____" that candidates insult voters with.

Will DeHoff do better with her literature?

Monday, September 29, 2008

DISCUSSION: WILL COMMISSIONER BOSLEY EVER GET ANY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT HELP FROM COMMISSIONER HARMON?

One would think that Commissioner Todd Bosley is the commissioner running to retain his office this year.

Why would the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) make such a statement?

Because Bosley appears to be the lone commissioner out pushing hard, hard, hard for economic development.

The Report notes a sideline in The Alliance Review report on the most recent meeting of the Stark County Commissioners entitled: Molly Stark Hospital's asbestos is standing between Stark Parks, county commissioners.

The sideline has much more significance to the future economic well-being of Stark County; not to minimize dealing with Molly Stark.

Here is what The Review had to say about an exchange between Bosley and the other two commissioners:
In other business, Bosley also gave an update to the board on a meeting he attended earlier on Thursday with the Ohio Development and Stark Development boards. He said the meeting was held to view potential sites for automobile manufacturing. "I will give more updates as this moves forward," he said. "We are trying to get the county lined up for the future. I am also still talking with Fiat about the possibility of bringing one of their production plants here."
Now to the commissioner who is running this time around.

Commissioner Tom Harmon has been a major disappointment to The Report. From the get-go, The Report took Harmon at his word when he got the appointment (endorsing his appointment) - as he spelled out in general terms - his program for Stark County.

But The Report now believes Harmon (who is retired from being clerk of the Canton Municipal Court) is vegetating on the economic development issue from the county perspective.

And this is not good for Stark County. Because there is no one in Stark County who has more contacts and a more diplomatic way about him (which is a terrific asset in bringing others on an economic development express) than Tom Harmon.

The Report makes no bones about it. The Report's mission is to get Harmon of his duff and out pushing hard like Bosley in a joint quest to solve the county's economic dilemma.

His opponent Travis Secrest is not likely to be a viable alternative this time around.

One more note: No matter who is elected between Hagan (Republican) and Ferguson (Democrat) in the other county commissioner race, neither is equipped or energized to help Bosley out. What either might do is serve as an "amen" type commissioner and Harmon already occupies the "amen corner."

Question: Does Tom Harmon need to have a fire lit under him? Or, is Stark County destined to have an economic development committee of one because Harmon is comfortable and staying put in the "amen corner?"

DISCUSSION: WHILE OHIO/STARK COUNTY STRUGGLES ECONOMICALLY, 50TH HOUSE DISTRICT CANDIDATES DUEL OVER 2ND AMENDMENT?

On what issue do the candidates for the Ohio House (50th) decide to duel with the Ohio and Stark County economy sinking by the day?

On guns.

Yes, folks, guns and who is truer to the 2nd Amendment.

On Friday yours truly was watching TV and what should come up? A TV ad by the DeHoff campaign (on cable).

What was almost all the ad devoted to?

Guns.

This is really a very strange choice by DeHoff. Running as a Democrat, she is not likely to get a lot of support from the "gun people" even if she convinces them she is just as friendly to gun owners as the Republican Snitchler.

Why would she make this choice?

Probably because her political mentor/chief sponsor and Stark County Democratic Party chair Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. seemed to be most proud of his relationship with the NRA (National Rifle Association) as a sort of political coup-d'etat when he was state rep. in the old 56th House District.

If DeHoff is fortunate and voters are looking for a Democrat to vote for even in a gerrymandered Republican district; gun rights support is not going to be the difference maker.

The difference maker could be having a better plan for bringing jobs to Ohio and Stark County. DeHoff has a golden opportunity in this district because Snitchler is married to a political party and economic adviser (the chambers of commerce) which have failed Ohio and our county miserably over the last 20 years.

Snitchler's own website is a glaring indictment of how out-of-touch with political and economic realities. Look at this:
Core Beliefs

Todd has a detailed plan to help the 50th District and improve Ohio. These three core beliefs are the foundation of every position he has taken.
  • Government should run like a business and be efficient, competitive, and responsive to its customers.
  • Lower taxes and less regulation of business will serve to improve the overall economic climate in Ohio and spur development.
  • Government involvement in the lives of individuals should be minimized as much as possible. Individuals and families should also be accountable for their actions. (emphasis added)
Huh? Is Snitchler watching the news these days? Wall Street abuses? Examples of businesses that have been efficient, competitive and responsive? Taxpayers bailing out investment houses and banks to the tune of $700 billion and these are "efficient, competitive and responsive" businesses? Individuals being threatened with losing their retirement savings because of improvident business practices? Has Snitchler been hearing all this?

But you know what. Snitchler probably will get away with his pollyanish/rosy/naive view of business.

Why?

Because the DeHoff campaign is trying to out-Republican the Republican candidate.

Question: Do 50th House District have a choice? Or, is it six of one and half a dozen of another?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

DISCUSSION: IS STARK COUNTY IN FOR A ROUGH ELECTION DAY?


Pollworkers for Democracy on September 26th sent out an e-mail to at least one Stark Countian suggesting that Stark County may be in line to be an Ohio project to deny locals their vote on November 4th.

According to the e-mail (referring to an article in The Michigan Messenger:

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As sickening as that sounds, it's exactly what's being planned in some counties in Michigan and Ohio — and those are just the places we've heard about so far.
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The e-mail did not directly say that Stark County was a target but the clear implication of the e-mail suggest such is the plan.

Confirming, this admonition, the e-mail included the following:

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The good news is that you can fight back in Stark County. How? By becoming a pollworker.
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Why does the The Michigan Messenger have a subtitle "African-American"voters?

According to another excerpt from the article:

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The Macomb County party’s plans to challenge voters who have defaulted on their house payments is likely to disproportionately affect African-Americans who are overwhelmingly Democratic voters. More than 60 percent of all sub-prime loans — the most likely kind of loan to go into default — were made to African-Americans in Michigan, according to a report issued last year by the state’s Department of Labor and Economic Growth.
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The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) finds it hard to believe that our local Republicans would with purpose aforethought would want to target African-American voters or anyone else who has had tragic economic misfortune come their way.

Say the Pollworkers for Democracy e-mail is unfounded Stark County Republican chair Jeff Matthews. It is totally off base, isn't it?

One has to wonder whether or not the Pollworkers for Democracy have been in touch with Stark County Democratic Party chair Johnnie A. Maier, Jr and his Democrat sidekick at the Stark County Board of Elections (BOE) Attorney Sam Ferruccio, Jr.

Readers will recall The Report's accounts of how Maier orchestrated the exit of long time member (13 years) and former ironworker Billy Sherer in favor of local attorney Sam Ferruccio. Maier said at the time that the move was made on the recommendation of Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner that local parties should be appointing attorneys to BOEs (Brunner denied that she made any such recommendation, once the glare of media publicity engulfed her - such is the world of politics Chairman Maier, no?).

So as it turns out, maybe Maier, recommended or not, made a prescient move. He could be a regular little ole "Jim Dandy to the rescue."

What shall we say? Go Jim Dandy, go Jim Dandy?

DISCUSSION: CAN/WILL COUNTY COMMISSIONER CANDIDATE SAVE STARK'S AEP CUSTOMERS FROM BEING CHARGED, IF NECESSARY?


A possible issue looms which could cost Stark Countians.

Will those Stark Countians who are customers of AEP, have to pay for the recent storm damage debris cleanup?

Stark County is somewhat unique in its ability to fight the imposition of a charge, should AEP decide to try charging retail customers.

Republican candidate for Stark County commissioner, John Hagan is currently state Rep. (Ohio House - 50th [Stark County]).

To boot, he is chariman of the Ohio House Public Utilities Committee. AEP, in order to charge must get the approval of PUCO (Public Utilities Commission of Ohio).

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) fully understands that Hagan is not a member of the PUCO. But, as chairman of the Public Utilities Commission, couldn't he exercise a lot of clout to intervene on behalf of Stark Countians, if needed?

Question is not, from The Report's perspective, can he? It is will he?

Why wouldn't he?

Because, in the view of The Report, he has never stood in the way of AEP and what it wants in the past.

This should be one measurement by Stark Countians of Hagan and his looking out for the interests of Stark Countians (as an indicator of whether or not he will fight for everyday people), if AEP decides to move against Stark Countians to ante up to offset the expenses wrought by the storm.

Question: If AEP presses the issue, who do you think John Hagan will side with? Everyday Stark Countians or American Electric Power?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

DISCUSSION: GET YOUR INFORMATION ON THE STARK COUNTY COMMISSIONERS RACES FROM "THE AKRON BEACON JOURNAL?"

Years ago, Bob Horowitz (now deceased), who served as Stark County prosecutor and Stark County probate judge, extolled - to yours truly - the virtues of the Akron Beacon Journal over The (Canton) Repository in terms of the depth of reporting on Stark County news.

The negative evaluation of the "hometown" newspaper was rather astonishing to hear from a man who had a stake in supporting all things Stark County.

But when something is bad, it is bad. And The Repository does leave a lot to be desired. The remedy is to push The Rep and its ownership to "be all it can be" rather than advocate Stark Countians becoming Beacon Journal users.

Having said that, it is clear to the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) that the Beacon Journal article today gives Stark County voters insights (not available so far from The Rep's reporting) into the "plans for action" among the various candidates for the two commissioner offices.

It was surprising to see in this piece that the marquee issue for candidate John Hagan that he is for continuing Stark County's increased (over the state mandated minimum) county sales tax, to wit:
Hagan sees a need to persuade the public to renew a 0.25 percent county sales tax in 2010. That tax generates about a fifth of the county's revenue.
The irony here is that when Hagan ran against then incumbent state Representative Mike Stevens (now a Lawrence Township trustee), he won a very close race by painting Stevens as being a tax increaser.

Will the Ferguson campaign use this tack on Hagan?

Speaking of Ferguson, Hagan's opponent, his apparent remedy for Stark's financial woes is to make each department/agency of Stark County government that gets money from the county commissioners to justify its existence or get the ax or, if permitted continued existence, to have to "do more with less" (this approach is popularly known as "zero-based budgeting"); to wit:
''If I'm successful,'' he said, ''I'm going to meet with every elected official, every department head and every board whose budget falls under the authority of the county commissioners. If I'm elected Nov. 4, Nov. 5 I will begin that process."
In the other county commissioner race, the quote of the day goes to challenger Travis Secrest. His obvious problem to overcome with voters is his youth. He's in his early 20s having just graduated from Baldwin-Wallace College, to wit:
''I think we've been stuck on 'old think' for quite a while,'' he said. ''Yes, my opponent has more experience than I do, but what's that experience gotten us?''
The Report agrees with Secrest, Harmon does seem to be a stagnated thinker who is thoroughly caught up in the "if you always do what you always done; you will always get what you have always gotten."

These are Harmon ideas. Do they indicate fresh thinking? To wit:
Harmon points out that $627,000 of the sheriff's budget pays utility costs. He and his fellow commissioners have started the process of selling long-idle property, including the 430-acre county farm, to fund improvements in long-term energy efficiency.

Harmon said he has joined with fellow commissioners to create jobs by investigating the feasibility of building an agricultural exposition center and reviving a dormant community improvement corporation dedicated to nurturing business through grants and loans.
When Harmon was originally appointed, The Report supported the appointment. What a disappointment Harmon has been! His experience in government and politics indicates that he would be a positive introduction into the search for ways to revitalize Stark's economy. But it seems to The Report he has chosen to be a key part of Stark County's "good ole boy" network which sees government as an opportunity for "meism" (i.e. what is in government for me and my friends?)

Is Secrest ready for primetime? His major idea is, to wit:
Secrest sees cutting crime as the key to cutting county spending, since 70 percent of Stark's general fund goes toward criminal justice.
Don't all of these candidates have serious flaws? Which, in each race, is least flawed?

Friday, September 26, 2008

DISCUSSION: ISN'T TOM HARMON JUST ONE WONDERFUL HUMAN BEING?

Stark County voters just have to looooove Commissioner Tom Harmon!

Anyone who would risk life and limb (close, even if he is strapped to a veteran skydiver) for a charity (the Susan G. Konen foundation) has to be a person of the highest character.

That's all voters need to know in deciding to vote for in Democrat Harmon's race against Republican Travis Secrest.

Harmon's sense of timing is superb in pulling off this stunt.

If one were to raise money for a charity, shouldn't it be timed to get maximum publicity and therefore a high number of potential donors?

Yes, indeed.

Let's see, what do you suppose would come rushing into Harmon's mind as an event to focus on as a tie-in?

Of course! The fast approaching election in which the charitable minded person is a candidate, and, just to make sure the voting public doesn't miss the subliminal? message, find a nice big farm to dive on to.

Who has such a farm? Aw shucks, what luck. Harmon's fellow commissioner and Stark County politician Todd Bosley has a "made to order" landing site. And, "Lord have mercy," Bosley just happens to be having a political fundraiser the day of the jump. What a co-incidence?

Isn't this the best of all worlds?

When you are a throughly good human being, all else is irrelevant?

Doesn't a consummately good person deserve to have all the stars aligned?

DISCUSSION: IS DORDEA CAMPAIGN TOO NARROWLY FOCUSED?


For being involved in an uphill battle to unseat a longterm incumbent, the Larry Dordea campaign for Stark County sheriff seems to be narrowly focused.

Dordea's website is filled with pictures of prominent Stark County Republicans who predictably endorse a fellow Republican for countywide office.

Some of the endorsers are of questionable value to Dordea. For instance, Judge David Stucki is not exactly the most popular person within the Republican side of the political divide.

State Representative John Hagan has his hands full running for county commissioner. Political insiders says he and his opponent, Democrat Doctor Peter Ferguson, are competing to see who can win despite conducting the laziest campaigns of all the campaigns going in Stark County this election cycle.

And then there is the battle between Dordea and Sheriff Swanson for police endorsements, as if Stark County's "finest" are, in and of themselves, elect the next Stark County sheriff.

Finally, there is the Dordea focus on the Steffy case. Readers will recall that there is some controversy on the procedures Swanson's deputies used in processing Steffy when she was arrested by deputies earlier this year. The matter is now in civil litigation.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) talked with Dordea briefly at the Stark County fair in late August. Dordea went into a mini-diatribe on the failure of The Report to make the Steffy case a centerpiece of The Report's analysis of the Dordea/Swanson race.

It is surprising to The Report that Dordea, a police/government official for many years would want to pre-judge this matter until the legal processes have fully dealt with the matter.

Obviously, Dordea can run his campaign anyway he sees fit, but to The Report he is not running a style of campaign that is likely to appeal to political independents and Democrats.

Question: What do you think of the Dordea approach to campaigning?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

DISCUSSION: WHICH IS BETTER - A "NEW LOOK" OR EXPERIENCE?

Travis Secrest, running for county commissioner against the appointed Democrat Tom Harmon, continues to impress.

Just look at the issues he lists in the accompanying graphic and click here to go to his website to get the details of his answers.

On the other hand, Harmon is mum in terms of publicly outlining and discussing his plan for Stark County.

Does Harmon have one?

Probably not. And, if he does, he is doing a terrific job of keeping it to himself.

Harmon got the appointment on the basis of inside Democratic politics and his close relationship with the Jackson-Maier wing of the party. He is said to think he owes Stark County Party Johnnie A. Maier, Jr and therefore is quick to check with the chairman and former commissioner Gayle Jackson (and, perhaps, her son Shane who works for Maier) before taking positions on county issues.

If this is so, obviously, this is not good for Stark County.

As these are scary times for the nation, these are scary times for Stark County. The only Stark County commissioner who has shown initiative on turning the Stark County economy around is Todd Bosley.

But one has to wonder whether or not he is more appearance than substance. He has been in office for nearly two years but Stark County has realized little in terms of actual achievement. It could be that Vignos and Harmon are more of a hindrance than a help. By the time he has served a full four year term, there will have to be results.

Stark Countians ought to take a close look at Secrest. Though well short of Harmon's experience and knowhow, he might be an effective partner with Bosley to get Stark County moving again.

Whomever, among Hagan (Republican) and Ferguson (Democrat) wins the other county commissioner race, will not be an asset. At best, the winner will just be there with no "value added" to bring to the office.

Question: Does Travis Secrest deserve a serious look by Stark County voters as an alternative to the veteran politician Tom Harmon?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

DISCUSSION: NORMALLY JOHN HAGAN IS UNCOMMUNICATIVE AND OBSCURE. NOW ALL OF A SUDDEN HE GETS RELIGION?


This little ditty should cost Republican John Hagan big time with Stark County voters in his race against Democrat Pete Ferguson for the county commissioner seat that Jane Vignos is vacating.

Remember, Pete Ferguson is not exactly a favorite of the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report), but being up against Hagan, he keeps looking better and better.

Here's a guy (Hagan), who holes up in Columbus not communicating with constituents, especially those with hard questions, and decides out of the clear blue sky that it is time to correspond with the folks back home - even with folks who are on the voter registration rolls as Democrats.

Democrats? A breed John Hagan really does loathe. In fact, John Hagan doesn't like anyone in the political sphere but "card carrying Republicans" who have a strong dose of personal loyalty to him.

But when you are about to be out of a job, one pulls out all the stops to show you have had a "road to Damascus experience."

"Now," he muses to himself (The Report speculates), "would be a great time to ask for constituent input?"

What for, The Report asks? To pass it on to Todd Snitchler (most likely) or Celeste DeHoff? Hagan certainly won't be acting on it.

"Aah," he continues his thinking to himself, "voters will not connect my sudden interest in dialogue to my running for Stark County commissioner?" Somewhat worried about voter backlash, he goes on - "the timing is merely co-incidental." "Politicians do have conversion experiences - don't they?" prolonging the rationalizing inner conversation.

For voters who believe the Hagan mailing 41 days before election day is merely co-incidental, then salesmen dealing in Florida swamp land cannot be far from your door.

Question: Don't you just love arrogant, insulting, self-justifying and rationalizing politicians like Hagan?

POLL: (VIEW VIDEOS BELOW - FIRST) ON BEING A FRESHMAN CONGRESSMAN







<a href="http://www.buzzdash.com/index.php?page=buzzbite&BB_id=102386">"ON BEING A FRESHMEN CONGRESSMAN, WHO IMPRESSES MOST?</a> | <a href="http://www.buzzdash.com">BuzzDash polls</a>

YOU BE THE JUDGE: BOCCIERI V. SCHURING - KUDOS TO THE ALLIANCE REVIEW! SEGMENT 1 - ON BEING A FRESHMAN CONGRESSMAN



The Repository Editorial Board put to shame again? Yes, in the view of the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report).

When the Alliance Review Editorial Board did its interviews of Democrat John Boccieri and Republican Kirk Schuring, who are vying to being the 16th District congressman replacing retiring Ralph Regula, the board videotaped the interview and posted them on YouTube.

The Report is refining the presentation of the video by collecting and presenting them in pairs so that readers of The Report can make a head-to-head comparison. The Report will be taking a specific topic and pairing the responses periodically now through election day.

Sort of like an "online" debate, isn't it?

Watch the videos and them vote on the poll above the clips as to whom you think made the more persuasive presentation.

DISCUSSION: BOCCIERI HEADING TOWARDS A 55% TO 45% VICTORY?


Survey USA published a new poll yesterday showing Democrat John Boccieri leading Republican Kirk Schuring.

Several months ago the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) assessed that the 16th District Congressional race was John Boccieri's to lose.

Nothing has happened in this campaign to change The Report's thinking.

The Report stands by its estimate that Boccieri will likely win in the range from 55% to 45% to 52% to 48%.

If Boccieri continues to pick up 6 out of 10 "undecided" voters, he will top out at 54/55%.

What can Schuring do to alter this trend? Not much. The nation, rightly or wrongly, will be turning to Democrats this fall.

While Schuring is a strong Republican candidate, he is not the strongest that the Republicans could have fielded. That would have been Republican state Representative Scott Oelslager.

What do you think the final margin of victory be? Which candidate will end up on top?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

DISCUSSION: BOCCIERI OR SCHURING - POLICY-WONKS?

Anyone who has personally met with and talked with 16th District Congressional candidates Democrat John Boccieri and Republican Kirk Schuring would not come away thinking he/she has just spoken with a "policy-wonk."

Such is typical of politicians. They generally are not deep-thinkers who can get at the causes of problems and thereby figure out solutions.

Since neither Boccieri nor Schuring qualifies as a wonk, who, among the two, has a greater "grasping" the complexities of the issues capability?

That, the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report), urges should be determinative of whom among this duo the voting public sends to Washington.

So far in this campaign, both candidates have been local mouthpieces of the "talking points" of their respective parties.

Schuring's lead man (McCain) blames the current problems on the greed of Wall Street types.

Boccieri's main man, Obama, to his credit, does point to policy positions (probably the wrong ones to point at) as his campaign approach.

What Boccieri and Schuring ought to do to get a basic understanding of why America has a monumental financial problem on its hands is to read a mere 895 words of a piece entitled: Anatomy of a Crisis by Barry Eichengreen (University of California, Berkley economics professor).

Either Boccieri or Schuring is going to Congress and will be working longer term on the underlying problems which have caused the current crisis.

Whomever it is, shouldn't this person have a basic understanding of the problem. Don't 16th District voters owe it to themselves, to Ohio and, indeed, to the nation to try to figure out whom among the two "gets it?"

DISCUSSION: HE WHO LIVES BY THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, DIES BY THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE?


For the past 20 years the Ohio Chamber of Commerce has been in a deep embrace with the Ohio Republican Party.

What has been the result? Losses of tens upon tens of thousands of jobs.

So it strikes the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) as being pretty strange that a politician would want to embrace a chamber of commerce at any level in Ohio.

Yet, that is exactly what Republican Ohio House - 50th District - candidate Todd Snitchler is doing.

He sought the Ohio Chamber of Commerce endorsement in his primary against current representative John Hagan's daughter, only to learn he was too late.

Snitchler is a past president of the Lake Chamber of Commerce and is currently president of the Lake Development Foundation - a close or distant cousin of the Lake Chamber of Commerce (whenever Snitchler can figure out which it is; see the Report's prior video of Snitchler hem-hawing around on exactly what the relationship is).

Now we have a report in The Repository about the demise of a Hartville company that apparently slipped away under the watchful eye of Snitchler and his Lake Chamber of Commerce friends.

Tony Fiore, Director, Labor and Human Relations, of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce (COC) appeared recently at the Green Chamber of Commerce to put the fear of God into local members on the "sick days" possible ballot issue that was then looming on the horizon. Snitchler was in attendance.

One of Fiore's big arguments was how many jobs the proposal would cost Ohio, if passed. Fiore went on to talk about how Ohio's struggling economy could not handle the competitive disadvantage that would flow from passage.

The Report then asked Fiore how he could explain how Ohio's economy is such desperate straits given the fact that the Ohio Republican Party has been in charge in Ohio over most of the immediate past 20 years and that it is well known that the Ohio Chamber of Commerce is the economic development arm of the Ohio Republican Party?

Fiore's answer?

The Republicans did not do everything that the COC told them to.

Undoubtedly, that reponse is probably highly disputable in it essence. There may have been a tweak here and a tweak there that differed insubstantially from the COC program. But certainly not enough to put the label "failed" on the COC's 20 year long prescriptions for what ails Ohio's economy.

Even the Strickland administration doesn't get it. For they have included the COC in their plan for "turning around Ohio" (remember Strickland's campaign slogan?).

Readers know that The Report is not about to be recommending Celetese DeHoff.

The Report believes that Snichler will win this race.

Unless he goes to sources other than the COC for his economic thinking (he can start by reading some "thinking outside-the-box" books on new ways of economic planning such as "Wikinomics" and Richard Florida's "The Rise of the Creative Class" and the like), Snitchler will go down in the annals of Ohio political history as "having done the same old thing" and "getting the same old results."

Is the folding of Longaberger's Hartville operation double bad news for Ohio, Stark County and the 50th voters? One, further job losses, and two - all while our local chamber of commerce guy, who wants to go to Columbus with economic prescriptions, stood by and watched it happen?

Monday, September 22, 2008

DISCUSSION: FOLLOW THE MONEY?


Most party pros believe that campaigns are won or lost on money infused into a given campaign.

In the close Boccieri/Schuring race, could money actually be the difference?

If such is the case, then Boccieri has the best reserve to draw from.

Political.com keeps track of how much money is available to the DCCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) and the RNCC (Republican National Congressional Committee). Here the Democrats have a $9 to $1 advantage.

So come mid-October Stark Countians should probably expect more of Boccieri than Schuring on the air waves, in the mail boxes and other mediums through which political candidates communicate their messages.

Democrats have a double incentive in the 16th. This seat has been held by Republicans forever. And, Democrats want very much to increase their majorities so that they can legislate without Republican support.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) believes that this money difference could end up being the difference in this race.

What do you think is the difference? $$$$? or the candidates positions on the issues?

DISCUSSION: WHY ARE CANDIDATES SO HUNG UP ON ENDORSEMENTS?

The Repository endorsed Janet Creighton when she ran for mayor of Canton (2003) against Canton City Councilman Bill Smuckler. She won by 300+ votes. Did the endorsement make the difference?

The Repository endorsed Janet Creighton when she ran for mayor against state Representative Jamey Healey. He won by 1000+ votes. Would she have lost by 2000+ votes but for the endorsement?

As painful as it may be to newspaper editors, the truth of the matter is that their endorsements have lost their clout. In fact, some voters vote the opposite of a newspaper endorsement as a matter of practice.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) believes that endorsements in general (not only newspaper endorsements) are highly overrated.

On September 17, The Report received an e-mail press release from the Travis Secrest campaign publicizing the fact that Secrest received the endorsement of the Canton Police Patrolmens' Association (CPPA).

The Report understands that a first time candidate would be excited at being endorsed by anybody. Larry Dordea is making a big deal out of the fact that the Stark County Educators endorsed him over Tim Swanson in the sheriff's race.

The impressive thing to The Report about Secrest is that he is addressing the issues that are relevant to the commissioners' office. Harmon is not. At least not publicly. In fact, Harmon asks if anyone has any ideas to solve Stark County's severe economic problems. And, that's fine. But how about Harmon himself?

So what voters ought to fixed on in Secrest is not CPPA or even a Repository endorsement (if hit happens). Rather on his specific proposals and whether or not he can separate himself from Stark County Republican Party "talking points."

Are you influenced by endorsements? If so, why? If not, why not?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

DISCUSSION: IS STARK COUNTY ABOUT READY TO GET WORSE OFF? WILL BOCCIERI/SCHURING MATCH REGULA?

The Akron Beacon Journal did an interesting piece on Congressman Ralph Regula today.

The theme of the article is Ralph's focus on his home area and being accessible.

A few slices from the feature:
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He is repeatedly described as a person who has not forgotten where he came from and for whom he works.

Ralph and Mary Regula have remained accessible — with their home number listed, even paying to have it in the Ashland, Medina and Wayne County phone books.

"In some sense, you really can't replace him because of his unique experience and personal virtues,'' said John Green, director of the University of Akron's Bliss Institute of Applied Politics. ''Either [Boccieri/Schuring] would do well to use him as a model."
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Picking up on John Green's point. Will there be a drop-off in accessiblity with either Boccieri or Schuring? The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) believes there will be.

Schuring has already signaled that he does not consider the lop-sided Democratic city of Canton as being Schuring-friendly.

And, Boccieri? Are the folks in heavily Republican Wayne County, Ashland County and Medina County going to get much attention from him?

Who will do the better job in terms of accessiblity? Schuring? Boccieri?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

DISCUSSION: BOCCIERI OR SCHURING - WHO HAS THE MOST EXPERIENCE ON OVERSIGHT?

President George Bush and his administration have sat by, despite early warning signs going back some two to three years, and let Wall Street mismanagement mature into a $1 trillion raid on American taxpayers (middle class folks, for the most part).

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) could not but help recall how 16th Congressional District candidate Kirk Schuring sat on the Ohio Retirement Council (including a stint as its head) and let the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio (STRS) take a huge hit on the pension benefits of the hard working teachers of Ohio.

So no doubt about it, Schuring has actual experience in ignoring looming problems and being part of allowing a crisis to get to fruition.

So far as The Report knows, John Boccieri has never sat by and allowed things to get out-of-hand on his watch.

The question: Wouldn't Schuring be a better fit in Washington than Boccieri? Hasn't Schuring proven that he is a master at looking the other way as troubles bubble up until headlines appear?

Friday, September 19, 2008

STARK COUNTY POLL ON PALIN VIDEO (SEE VIDEO BELOW FIRST)







<a href="http://www.buzzdash.com/index.php?page=buzzbite&BB_id=102386">Which statement best describes your reaction to this video? Video:</a> | <a href="http://www.buzzdash.com">BuzzDash polls</a>

DISCUSSION: IS THIS AN ISSUE THAT STARK COUNTIANS CARE ABOUT?



Recently, Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin was in Stark County to fund-raise for the Palin/McCain ticket (how she described the ticket - obviously a misstatement, but humorous, nonetheless - in a recent campaign appearance).

Most likely, among the well-heeled attendees/contributors, nary a question was raised about the subject matter on the accompanying video.

Once you have viewed the video, participate in the poll at appears in the blog immediately above this one or comment on this one.

The question and proffered answers (shortened in the poll above because of limitations of space):

Which statement best describes your reaction to this video?

(1) This is an obnoxious video that has no place in the presidential campaign.
(2) The video presents a important issue bearing on Palin's credibility as a candidate.
(3) The video is a "bleeding-heart, tree-hugging" liberal's anti-Palin smear.
(4) The video presents an issue that merits some consideration but is not a top issue.
(5) This video show that Palin is an uncaring, ravage wildlife at-will, candidate that is determinative of whether or not the McCain/Palin ticked should be elected.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

DISCUSSION: DEMOCRAT TO DEMOCRAT(DINO?). A RINGING ENDORSEMENT?



Why is Celeste DeHoff's name in purple?

Because the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) is of the opinion that she is no Democrat. At best, she is a DINO (Democrat in Name Only). For years a registered Republican, she developed a close political relationship with Stark County Democratic Party chair Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. (e.g. her support of Johnnie's wife Debbie for Tuscarawas Township fiscal officer). This politically loyal relationship seems to be a plausible explanation of why Maier has politically adopted this former Republican and catapulted her into the 50th District Ohio House race.

Maier's support certainly can't be based on DeHoff's credentials.

In contrast to DeHoff, Mayor Cicchinelli has been a Democrat for all of his life He has been through many political wars. While he works with party officials, he is his own person. Moreover, his credentials as a public officeholder are unsurpassed in Stark County.

Another factor in the background here is the connection between Cicchinelli antagonist and Massillon City Council member Kathy Catazaro-Perry (who may run against Cicchinelli in 2011) and DeHoff. Catazaro-Perry is a key political supporter of DeHoff and serves as campaign treasurer. Moreover, Catazaro-Perry is a close political ally of Chairman Maier.

For those Stark County Political Report readers that have seen the Cicchinelli videos published by The Report, remember how puzzled the mayor was by Judge Eddie Elum's vehement (Elum compared Cicchinelli to the Devil) opposition to him in the 2007 mayoralty race? What struck The Report was how Cicchinelli described Elum as being more upset at Tim Bryan's loss than Tim Bryan was.

Isn't it well known that Elum is yet another staunch political ally of Chairman Maier?

Still another factor. Cicchinelli would never say this but The Report will. The Report believes (but is not suggesting Cicchnelli agrees) that Chairman Maier does not like Frank Cicchinelli and may be using DeHoff among number of personages (perhaps including Catazaro-Perry, Elum and few others Massillon-based Maier allies), to vex the mayor under the cover of anonymity.

Now on to the inter-governmental issues between Tuscarawas Township and Massillon. The Report understands that DeHoff has different constituents and interests as a township trustee from Cicchinelli as mayor of Massillon. But as the mayor seems to suggest, there is something more to this than each representing different political entities and interests.

The Report likes Cicchinelli because he is one of the few no-nonsense politicians left in Stark County. The Report disagrees with the mayor from time-to-time. But, different from other area politicians, he can handle it and notwithstanding the differences he answers The Report's questions.

He even went on camera (which most of Stark County's all too many pusillanimous politicians will not do) for people to judge him based on his unfiltered answers.

The language in the graphic is apt re-make of what Cicchinelli had to say to The Massillon Independent's reporter. The paraphrase succinctly suggests that she could learn credibility by review his longterm conduct as a public official in Massillon.

Here is what Cicchinelli actually said about DeHoff and her fellow trustee:

We’ve always thought that was the best way to start [good faith negotiations], .... However, with Mr. Green and (trustee) Celeste DeHoff, that wasn’t going to happen. They want to keep fighting and wasting taxpayers’ money on fighting annexations. What’s the point of sitting down and working out an agreement when, as far as I’m concerned, you are dealing with people who are not credible?

In light of what Cicchinelli says and a public record which documents a number of difficulties at township hall, how can Tuscarawas Township residents be pleased with the governance they are getting?

As the readers of The Report know, the DeHoff (a Maier political appendage) Snitchler (a chamber of commerce political appendage) race from The Report's perspective is a non-winner for the 50th and by extension for all of Stark County; no matter who wins. Neither has the gravitas nor independence of thought and action needed for this office. But this is nothing new in the 50th. Look at the current occupant: John Hagan. He's about as ineffectual and dependent on his political sponsors as public officeholders get.

Question: Is it likely that Celeste DeHoff's campaign literature will have a Massillon Mayor Francis Cicchinelli, Jr endorsement on it?

DISCUSSION: THREE MOST STYLISH POLITICIANS IN STARK COUNTY - SCHURING, HARMON & SWANSON?

Appearing in "Stark County's Premier Magazine" STARK STYLES (September, 2008) are three well known area politicians.

Who are these luminaries? And, is their appearance pure show (or, if you will "style") or is there some substance involved?

They are:

1 - Republican 16th Congressional District candidate J. Kirk Schuring who now serves as state senator for most of Stark County, and

2 - Democrat Stark County Commissioner candidate Tom Harmon,

3- Democrat Tim Swanson (incumbent candidate for Stark County sheriff).

But the circumstances are different.

The Schuring appearance is what "politicos" call "earned media" attention. In a piece entitled Kitchens are the Hub of a Household, describes Schuring picking up on a Wayne County man's discovery that following his wife's death that "tens of thousands of dollars of [her] prescription medications were literally flushed down the toilet."

What did Schuring do to earn Stark Styles' attention? He shepherded legislation through the Ohio General Assembly which allows medicines in the control of a state licensed care provider. a nursing home and the like to recycle these medicines to others when left over on the death or discontinued use by a user. As the article pointed out, "medications from someone's medicine cabinet are not eligible for re-use" under the Schuring sponsored legislation. In the article Schuring is described as "plann[ing] on making a difference with such [i.e. the re-use of qualifying prescription drugs] innovative government programs in Washington ... ."

The Harmon appearance is not "earned media." His was a paid for political ad. A half a page on page 12. But he must think it is very important to appear before voters who read "Stark County's Premier Magazine" STARK STYLES. No substance in his ad, only "Keep Tom Harmon Commissioner."

Sheriff Swanson (article title: The man behind the badge) appears because he is being endorsed over challenger Larry Dordea by Brent Barnhart, Publisher, Managing Editor of Barnhart Publishing the publishing house for STARK STYLES.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) take on the divergent Schuring/Harmon/Swanson appearances is as follows: (1) maybe The Report has been too hard on Schuring over the years as being a politician who is "all show, but little, if any, substance," (2) too charitable on Tom Harmon as being or at least the potential to be more "substance, than show," and (3) will Larry Dordea, in view of the endorsement, have ugly things to say about a stylish (no pun intended) magazine?

Appearing in STARK STYLES, is this good press for Schuring, Harmon and Swanson?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

DISCUSSION: BOCCIERI COMMUNICATES WITH AREA CITIZEN ACTIVIST, WILL SCHURING FOLLOW SUIT?

Chris Borello of Concerned Citizens of Lake Township has had a devil of a time getting the ear of Stark County elected officials.

Commissioner Tom Harmon hasn't answered her questions nor has Prosecutor John Ferrero as well as a host of others.

But there seems to be a glimmer of hope.

John Boccieri, who currently only represents the eastern slice of Stark County, on September 12th e-mailed Borello letting her know that he has her concerns in mind.

How about Kirk Schuring who actually represents the geographical area that is the focus of Borello's concern?

Schuring and Boccieri are running against each other for Ralph Regula's seat in the U.S. Congress (16th District). Both are currently members of the Ohio Senate. But both have seemed to be unconcerned about the Industrial Excess Landfill (IEL) "Superfund" site located in Uniontown.

Is that changing?

Boccieri seems to understand that this is a problem that is not going away anytime soon. Does Schuring?

In any event, can Kirk Schuring afford to be perceived as a candidate who selectively engages his constituents?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

DISCUSSION: STARK COUNTY CITIES & THE COUNTY ITSELF PARCEL OUT OUR MONEY. WHERE'S THE ACCOUNTING?

A question that every Stark Countian ought to have on his or her mind?

What are taxpaying Stark Countians, Cantonians, North Cantonians, Massillonians and Allianceites getting for their economic development money?

Yesterday, the Alliance Review ran an outstanding AP wire piece which critiques how government accounts for our tax dollars in the area of economic development.

When the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) visited with Democrat Mayor Francis Cicchinelli a few months ago, he decried the absolute need to ante up taxpayer money as a precondition to even begin discussions with companies about expanding in or relocating to Massillon. Cicchinelli doesn't like this reality, but a reality it is. Being kind, one would call this an "entitlement attitude," but to be brutally honest about this corporate economic development reality would be to term it: "we have you over a barrel and we are going to put the screws to you - grin and bear it."

A couple of days ago, The Report e-mailed Commissioner Todd Bosley an asked him whether or not Stark County could account better than Ohio does. No answer as of the writing of this piece. But The Report will be patient, with the storm and all.

The Report turns attention to Ohio House 50th District candidate Republican Todd Snitchler on this "reality." Here's a guy who has unbridled faith in the goodness of corporations and their "PR organizations" to wit: Stark County's local chambers of commerce and, of course, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.

As far as The Report is concerned, Snitchler's fascination with the chambers has more to do with his deficient ability to think of new approaches to get at solving severe Stark County and Ohio economic problems than anything else. The chamber of commerce thing is a cover for his inadequacies to think outside-the-box. He is so utterly unoriginal in thought that he needs the chambers to have any economic program whatsoever, notwithstanding Ohioans' clear understanding that the Ohio Chamber of Commerce has been and continues to be a failed key player in solving Ohio's economic problems.

By his own account, his own Lake Development Foundation is floundering. How's that? Snitchler says on a video published by The Report (prior article) that the foundation has no money.

With ties like his, it is not likely that Stark Countians can count on him to push for greater accountability in the slipshod relationship between government and the corporate world on the matter of economic development.

Snitchler's only consolation in his race is that his opponent, Democrat Celeste DeHoff, is even more anemic on this front. All she has to do, if elected, will be to call on former state representative Johnnie A. Maier, Jr., (now clerk of courts in Massillon and chair of the Stark County Democratic Party and her chief sponsor) for direction. We all remember what a "giant of a legislator" he was in the Ohio House, don't we?

There is a growing citizen suspicion that taxpayers are getting worked over by companies who are working a system they invented and who are insulated from public scrutiny by bumbling government officials or those who are in the hip pocket of corporate interests.

We have "No Child Left Behind" to document achievement/non-achievement as a check on educators. But what to we have to measure how state and local governments are "investing" taxpayer dollars and whether or not recipient companies are producing according to their promises.

Ohio, for its part, in The Review piece admits that it has no way to tell whether or not the 200, 000 promised jobs over the past 10 years have materialized for the $1.7 billion in tax breaks, et cetera.

How about this for a laugh (to the lament of the taxpaying public)? Ohio is going after Skybus which is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. What genius in the Ohio Department of Development (Lee Fisher?) helped this company with taxpayer money? A company which was offering $10 fares (a terrific business model). Gee, maybe it would have been prudent to require the company to post a bond with the state of Ohio?

All Ohio has is a fragmented, case-by-case, way to track. And currently, it is obvious that the fragmentation reduces to some Department of Development bureaucrat scrambling to come up with a scintilla of data to satisfy an inquiring newspaper reporter for the moment.

And remember, in January, 2006 Governor Strickland, in his Inaugural address, promised government accountability as well as personal accountability. Now, according to the AP report, in the light of big deficits that Ohio is currently running - there's a question: Is there money for devising a tracking system that will provide the promised accountability.

Returning, for a moment, to Todd Snitchler and his chamber friends. Next we will hear how requiring corporate accountability and requiring them to return taxpayer money for promises unkept will hurt Ohio's and Stark County's ability to compete.

The question: (Republican or Democrat) Will Ohioans, Stark Countians, Cantonians, North Cantonians, Massillonians, and Allianceites ever get accountability from our government executives? From beneficiary-corporate executives?

DISCUSSION: STARK'S REPUBLICANS CERTAINLY HAVE THEIR PRIORITIES RIGHT?

Is Stark County's Republican-in-Chief, "Timmy" Timken cutting lose of Stark County cash for the McCain/Palin campaign via the Washington-based National Republican Committee.

A touch of irony here?

Area media is reporting that Stark County Republicans paying either $25,000, $10,000 or $2,500 per head, depending on the degree of "up close and personal" contact one wanted with GOP VP candidate Sarah Palin when she appeared at one of Stark County's posh country clubs on Monday (Brookside).

A second irony?

Republican candidate for Stark County Common Pleas Court Jean Madden and Jane Vignos (Republican county commissioner) have to be grimacing on seeing all this money leave Stark County.

Madden is a top Stark County Public Defender and Vignos has been quoted in The Repository as saying that if the commissioners had the money, she has the Public Defenders office as being right behind the Stark County Board of Election for additional county appropriations. At least there are a few Stark County Republicans who give indigents and their constitutional right to be represented a thought.

A third irony?

Guess who works for the Stark County Board of Elections? Of course, main cheerleader for the Palin "send Stark County money to Washington" event - Stark County Republican Party chair Jeff Matthews.

A fourth irony?

A mainstay argument among many of the Republicans running for countywide office is that Stark County commissioners are "runaway" spenders who need to stop their frivolous spending.

A fifth irony?

Another leading figure on the Palin "big-stakes" Stark County fundraising event - Stark County Republican Party treasurer Sarah Brown (Palin's soulmate?). Sarah Brown is married to Judge Charles Brown of the Stark County Court of Common Pleas (who is reported to have been at the Palin event).

How much money did the Browns send to Washington?

Should Charles Brown (former Stark County Republican Party chairman) be heard ever to complain or muse about additional money that the county has to come up with to pay private attorneys because the Stark County Public Defender got cut; wouldn't that be a bit too much?

Isn't there some kind of huge disconnect going on here?

Monday, September 15, 2008

DISCUSSION: WHAT REPUBLICAN COMMISSIONER JANE VIGNOS WORKED SO HARD TO BRING TO STARK COUNTIANS IS HIDDEN. IS JOHN HAGAN TO BLAME?


When she ran for county commissioner four years ago, a main campaign theme of incumbent Republican candidate Jane Vignos was to bring "cheaper" natural gas prices to Stark Countians.

Vignos and her fellows Richard Regula and Gayle Jackson were successful.

It's a twist ironic that one of the candidates who is running to replace Vignos (who is retiring), is not doing all he can to get Ohio to publicize the availability of those cheaper prices to Stark Counltians.

On September 14th The Repository published a letter to the editor by a Bruce Hord of Jackson Township who wrote, in part:
Recently I spent a very frustrating three to four hours trying to comprehend the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio "Apples to Apples" natural gas rate program Web site.
Then Hord added:
The purpose of this letter is twofold:

• To highlight to all Stark County residents the absurdity of the highly complex and basically useless PUCO "Apples to Apples" Web site.

• To question the integrity of gas supply companies that, when asked for the most competitive price available to Stark County residents, offer no thoughts about the aggregation price. I tested this at two different locations/phone numbers for one gas supplier and received the same erroneous answers.
What Hord failed to mention, perhaps, because he didn't know, is that Stark County has a state representative who is in a position to correct the "anti-consumer-friendly" Apples-to-Apples.

Yes, indeed! Who is this person? John Hagan (Republican - Marlboro) who chairs the Ohio House Public Utilities Committee and, get this, is currently running for county commissioner.

Now, if this guy was a smart politician (?) and if he were consumer friendly (??) and he wanted to add to the legacy of fellow Republican Jane Vignos (???), wouldn't he get on the stick and use his clout to save Stark Countians like Bruce Hord hours upon hours hunting down the particulars of Stark County's Natural Gas Aggregation Plan?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

DISCUSSION: DOES THE AKRON BEACON JOURNAL EDITORAL BOARD HAVE MORE ANALYTICAL HEFT THAN THE REP EDITORS?


A downer for Stark Countians, in the view of the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) is that our home county newspaper (The Repository) has a "light weight" editorial board as compared to our neighbors to the north.

An example. In endorsing in the DeHoff/Snitchler race (the 50th House District), The Rep's editorial board made the "mere assertion" that both were outstanding candidates on their way to endorsing Snitchler.

Very little, if any, analysis in this race.

In fact, the editors of The Rep thought so little of the significance of the Stark County Ohio House contests that it lumped three endorsements into one editorial.

The truth of the matter that both DeHoff and Snitchler are marginal candidates who were picked by party bosses (at least in the case of DeHoff; the Ohio Chamber of Commerce in the case of Snitchler) for their perceived loyalty once one of them arrives at the statehouse.

Looking at the Hart/Slesnick part of the The Rep's endorsement there is no anaysis; only reciting of the candidates' history and even this treatment was cursory.

On the other hand look at how the Beacon Journal editors' handled the task in concisely substantiating their pick:
What makes Hart the more appealing candidate is his council experience. He often was the lone Republican. He has a practical, nonideological bent.

Hart initiated Canton's recycling program. At the Statehouse, he would promote recycling statewide, among other things, to curb the flow of garbage into Stark County. Hart has a good grasp of the school-funding challenges. He embraces a shift from local property taxes toward statewide revenue. He favors school-district consolidation to reduce overhead.

The Report talked with both Hart and Slesnick at the Stark County Fair. It was clear to The Report that Stephen Slesnick is no William J. Healy, II and certainly not the equal of Richard Hart in understanding of key issues facing Ohioans/Stark Countians in the upcoming 128th Ohio General Assembly.

Shouldn't it distress Stark Countians that our home county newspaper cannot dedicate more editorial space and analysis than the neighboring Summit County newspaper?

DISCUSSION: 50TH OHIO HOUSE DISTRICT - HAS DEHOFF STIRRED UP A "HORNET'S NEST" OR IS THIS MERELY A "TEMPEST IN A TEAPOT?"

In October, 2006 Tuscarawas Township trustees voted to terminate her husband from his union job with the township and township resident Susan Faber figures that Ohio House - 50th District - candidate and township trustee Celeste DeHoff is primarily to blame.

Ever since, Faber has been on a mission to make sure organized labor's supporters are aware of DeHoff's involvement.

Faber has been trying to get an audience with Governor Ted Strickland to get him to intervene and restore Faber's husband to his job for the township.

Faber contends that her efforts have been blocked by Stark County Democratic Party chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr., (the husband of township fiscal officer Debbie Maier) and the governor's Regional 9 Director and former Jackson Township trustee Steven Meeks.

A tentative meeting had been previously scheduled but on the condition that Maier and Meeks be present. Faber rejected the proposed terms of the meeting (because she thinks Maier and Meeks are too entrenched as DeHoff political allies) and insisted on a one-on-one with the governor. But the governor's representatives reject a one-on-one.

So what is Faber's response. She is out picketing, when she has access, whenever the governor or his wife appear in Stark County. Several weeks ago, Strickland was scheduled to appear at the Louisville McDonalds with DeHoff but the campaign event fizzled. However, Faber was present with her signs.

This past weekend Faber was again out with her signs ( pictured [similitude] in the graphic to this article). Frances Strickland made two area appearances last weekend. She was at the Louisville Eagles last Saturday at a Celeste DeHoff campaign event and at the United Steel Workers hall (the Golden Lodge) located on Harrison is Canton at a union rally for 16th District Congressional candidate John Boccieri.

Faber tells the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT that she received much support from passing motorists in Louisville and from the union members at the Golden Lodge.

One person who avoided (or you might say snubbed) Faber was party chairman Maier. But maybe he might have been a bit upset by another sobering reality. He was not put on the platform by union organizers of the event. Was this an organized labor comeuppance on Maier? Could this be an outgrowth of his difficulties with labor that go back about a year, when he replaced (some say involuntarily) long term ironworker Billy Sherer as a Democratic representative on the Stark County Board of Elections?

But in any event, the question is: Is Faber's pursuit of DeHoff/Strickland on the campaign trail a "real" political problem for DeHoff or is it merely an annoyance?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

DISCUSSION: STARK'S "EVERYDAY" WOMEN TO FLOCK TO PALIN EVENT?


From a Repository story on Friday:
To get in the door, (emphasis added) attendees have to donate or raise at least $2,500 for the Republican National Committee and state Republican organizations. Those who want to have their picture taken with Palin will have to pony up $10,000. A chat with Palin at a private reception before the main event will run $25,000.
Undoubtedly, there are 180 to 225 "well-heeled" women in Stark County, who have cash to hand over to this PooBah Republican event - will be there.

But where will they be coming from? Congress Lake, Glenmoor, Brookside and the like. That's where they are coming from.

Stark County's Republican Party leadership are proving, in hosting and HEADLINING this type event, how utterly removed they are from everyday Stark County women.

Are Brown, Matthews and Timken so much into the "let them eat cake crowd," that they are oblivious to the everyday, workaday world of the overwhelming majority of Stark County women.

It would be one thing to squirrel this event off in a corner of a society page somewhere. But to flaunt Republican excess in hard national, Ohio and Stark County economic times is quite another.

No wonder why Democrats control most of Stark County's major offices.

But there is a qualifier to this critique of local Republican leadership.

The same standard applies to Democrats. Democrat Canton City Council president Allen Schulman has been known to host "big hitter" events for the Democrats. Democrats are supposed to be the "party of the people." Democrats headlining and hosting Republican and Palin-esque events put the claim of being for everyday citizens in great dispute.

When "everydays" see the celebration of these high-priced, gaudy political events; they are reminded of the "two-Americas" contrast that has been made in this 2008 presidential election cycle.

Don't Sarah Brown, Jeff Matthews, Ward "Timmy" Timken, Jr., Allen Schulman and those who have the financial resources to buy tickets to the Palin event live in a different America from the rest of us?

Friday, September 12, 2008

DISCUSSION: DOES THE SNITCHLER CAMPAIGN THINK ITS ABOVE SCRUTINY?



Not long ago the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) caught Todd Snitchler (Republican candidate for the Ohio House - 50th) on video waffling on his connection with area chamber of commerces and, of course, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.

The Report has long held the position that chambers of commerce are way overrated on their effectiveness in bringing about economic development in Stark County and in the state of Ohio as a whole.

Snitchler, aware he was being video taped, and knowing the actual, factual dismal record of chambers of commerce in turning around Stark County and the state of Ohio did what most politicians will do - look for the nearest escape exit.

Snitchler's own effort at economic development in Lake Township is anemic by his own words. Do a search under the name Snitchler on this blog and take a look at this brief video.

Snitchler's response to the video taping? He went back to the Uniontown Business Association (UBA) to complain about the video taping of his remarks in his "non-political appearance." Dutifully, the president of UBA admonished The Report for publishing the tape.

The Report stands by its action. A person has to be incredibly naive to think Snitchler's sudden rash of appearances in the 50th about his Lake Development Corporation with the onset of his declared candidacy is non-political.

Snitchler remains uncured of his "cognitive dissonance." The Report spoke to Snitchler person-to-person at the recently concluded Stark County Fair. With a straight face, he repeated that "local" chambers of commerce are non-political. Who believes that?

The more disturbing factor about the one-on-one with Snitchler is that The Report came away convinced that Snitcher is into "doing the same old thing and coming up with the same result." When asked by The Report who other than the "failed" Ohio Chamber of Commerce would Snitchler look to in order to help Governor Ted Strickland to "turnaround Ohio?"

Snitchler just had a blank expression on his face and went off into the "evasive" mode that the general public senses is the first and most basic political skill that politicians master. Snitcher is no exception.

Additionally, The Report has learned that the Snitchler campaign has refused to accept help from a 50th District citizen because of the person's connection with The Report.

The Report takes this as a compliment and gauges this as a "cut your nose off to spite your face" type strategy. The disturbing aspect of this is that it may translate into: "I can't work with legislator "X" because he is somehow connected to "Y" or political party "Z."

His opponent, Democrat Celeste DeHoff, in The Report's view, has very little chance to defeat Snitchler in November.

However?

Maybe, just maybe Snitchler is up to proving that he is a candidate can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

If Snitchler does get elected, as The Report expects he will, he will be under the continuing scrutiny of The Report. Can we expect more crying and selectivity?

Maybe it's something in the water among Republican candidates in the 50th (sounds eerily similar to current representative John Hagan's modus operandi).

Why doesn't Snitchler just stick to campaigning on the issues and forget this "non-political" bellyaching nonsense and "I can only work with certain people"modality?

DISCUSSED: A MISSED OPPORTUNITY FOR A STARK COUNTY REPUBLICAN TO GET UNION SUPPORT?


Dan Scuiry, the head of Stark County's Hall of Fame AFL-CIO, tells the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) that 52nd District Ohio House Republican candidate Richard Hart asked for an opportunity to get the endorsement of the local union.

Only one problem.

The request was too late.

Scuiry tells The Report that the Hall of Fame AFL-CIO had already heard the candidates and made its endorsements for the fall election before Hart made his request.

Hart only got into the race after the endorsement interview came and passed.

The local AFL-CIO has been very unhappy with the Democrat Stephen Slesnick because it believes that Slesnick is putting his family's business interest above workplace and consumer issues of the constituents of the 52nd.

A sick days legislative ballot initiative has become a non-issue because Democrat Governor Ted Strickland convinced organized labor sponsors to withdraw it on the promise that he and other key Democrats across the nation will push for national legislation on the assumption that Barack Obama will be elected president. But Slesnick's troubles with local organized labor began with his negative take on the initiative.

Question: Should the Hall of Frame AFL-CIO reconsider Hart's request for endorsement?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

DISCUSSION: HAS THE STARK COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY LET STARK COUNTY DOWN?

The most destructive forces of our democracy are one-party-rule and candidates running unopposed. Why? Because both permit politicians to be unaccountable to the people.

Recently, the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has learned that a Stark County citizen wrote John Ferrero (Stark County prosecutor) a letter asking a very important question.

Does the Stark County Prosecutor's office have a conflict-in-interest problem in representing various Stark County governmental officials (who the questioner says have adverse interest to one another)?

To date, no response from Prosecutor Ferrero!

The Report believes that Ferrero will not be answering this question nor any discomforting questions that come from ordinary citizens because he is unaccountable - he's running "unopoosed."

Unaccountable?

Yes, unaccountable.

You see, Ferrero, due to the derelict of public duty on the part of the Stark County Republican Party, has no opponent. Having no opponent, public officials (and Ferrero is no exception) have a tendency to "blow-off" troubling questions from everyday citizens because they reason what is the citizen to do on being ignored? If The Repository or "Action on Your Side" (Cleveland's Channel 5 News) or the like doesn't publicize the snub, the official gets away with being unresponsive.

In Stark County, the Republican Party wants the recognition and fruit of being one of Stark County's two major parties; but it doesn't function as a major party by being competitive. Accordingly, countywide and in two of three of Stark County's major cities, many citizens go unlistened to. The Democrats have unfettered control.

The Report attributes Ohio's falling on economic hard times with no apparent way out (including our own Stark County) on the one-party-rule that the Ohio Republican Party had in Ohio for nearly 20 years. Democrats only recently has made inroads (2006 elections). The Ohio Democratic Party has a long way to go before full blown competition kicks in and Ohio begins to benefit.

Gary Zeigler (Stark County treasurer) is another case of an "unopposed" countywide candidate. Giving Jeff Matthews (or his predecessor Curt Braden) some credit, he did recruit Alan Harold (a Huntington Bank vice president) to run. But for unexplained reasons, Harold dropped out.

Okay, things happen in a person's life and one makes adjustments. What strikes The Report about Harold is, that post-dropping-out, he has continued to be politically active. He was at the Sunoco station on West Tuscarawas protesting 16th Congressional District candidate John Boccieri's energy policy pronouncements in late July.

So it won't hold water that Harold has elected not to be politically involved in 2008. Running against Zeigler would be a much higher contribution to the vitality of Stark County democracy than protesting an energy policy. Why didn't Harold stay in the race? Why didn't Matthews find a competitive candidate replacement?

So far as The Report knows, Zeigler has not become arrogant and unresponsive (like John Ferrero). But what, other than his sense of civic responsibility, is in his way of doing so.

Hasn't the Stark County Republican Party utterly failed Stark County's voters?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

DISCUSSION: THE REP'S CAMPBELL ENDORSEMENT IS ABOUT AS GOOD AS THE EDITORIAL BOARD CAN DO - BUT IT IS STILL LACKING?

For The Repository, the editorial endorsement writing doesn't get much better than what the writer did today in the newspaper's endorsement of Rick Campbell for the office of Stark County Recorder.

But it is deficient in several respects.

First and foremost, the editors fail to take full advantage of its "right-on" analysis of Campbell's cutting edge online accomplishment of citizen access to the recorder stored public records.

This is odd as The Rep folks say they are for more public access. When they have the attention of readers (and certainly all of Stark County's elected officials), they drop the ball.

If the editors were more global in their thinking processes, they would posit the Campbell accomplishment as a challenge to all other Stark County officeholders to, in the words of "the good book;" go and do likewise.

Second, is there anything to critique Rick Campbell on?

Of course.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) can think of one biggy right off the top of the head.

Campbell is a "card-carrying" member of the Stark County Democratic Party political machine put together by Chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr., Campbell's mother-in-law and former Stark County commissioner Gayle Jackson, and Randy Gonzalez (Jackson Township fiscal officer and a Phil Giavasis employee at the Canton Municipal Court Clerk of Courts office) among others which (the machine) uses to staff government offices with machine loyal employees.

To be fair, Republicans have done this themselves. Does anyone forget how Jane Vignos (retiring county commissioner) and Janet Creighton used the auditor's office (now it's Democrat Kim Perez's turn) to house loyalist Stark County Republicans who just happen to be first-in-line when it comes to staffing party political campaigns?

The point. If Campbell was all he could be, he would break this vicious cycle of political parties using the public payroll to warehouse "so-so" workers (not necessarily very best you can get - though one could get lucky), who become the vanguard of political campaigns.

The Report agrees with The Rep editors that Campbell stands out as a county official. But the question remains.

Doesn't a first-rate editorial board use the endorsement process to challenge endorseea to be even better and, what's more, - when performing at a high level - as a model for their peers?

DISCUSSION: A CLASSIC CASE - CANDIDATES TRYING TO BE SOMETHING THEY ARE NOT?

An upside down question mark? Yes, indeed. Because the candidates for the 16th Congressional District are trying to confuse the voters by denying their history.

J. Kirk Schuring is business through and through.

John Boccieri is a union man, through and through.

But now, according to area media reports, both are out courting the other side's base support.

Try they may, but a "leopard does not change its spots" except the leopard in the accompanying cartoon figure.

J. Kirk Schuring is owned lock, stock and barrel by business types. Just look at his history with the W.R. Timken family.

John Boccieri is owned lock, stock and barrel by union organizations. Boccieri would not have a political existence unless the unions had made him their cause celebre in his run against right-to-work Ron Hood in a race for the Ohio House years ago.

It's Stark County politics "really weird" when candidates try to being something they're not. Everybody knows, but guess who? The candidate!

Does any one other than a Rip Van Winkle-esque person in Stark County think Kirk Schuring is pro-union?

Does any one other than a Rip Van Winkle-esque person in Stark County think John Boccieri is about to become the darling of chamber of commerces?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

DISCUSSION: HAS LARRY DORDEA MADE AN ERROR IN CAMPAIGN JUDGMENT?

Larry Dordea, candidate for Stark County sheriff is a novice at running for political office.

One of the temptations for political neophytes is to latch on to seasoned politicians; especially when you know that early in the campaign you know your political party (the Republicans, in this case) have a poll showing you behind the sitting sheriff 75% to 25%.

As troubling as those number may have been, they were early numbers and have more to do with name recognition than anything else.

Now that Dordea has been running a vigorous campaign for a number of months, the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has to believe that the numbers have narrowed significantly.

By associating with John Hagan, Dordea may be stunting his ability to get closer to his opponent Swanson.

The Report did a piece some time ago suggesting that Hagan and his Democratic opponent Pete Ferguson may be the laziest candidates running for countywide office in the November election. The Report did not invent this notion, it came from an elected countywide official and has been confirmed in an offhand way by a high Stark County Republican Party insider.

Another thing that may hurt Dordea in connecting with Hagan in his effort to attract independents and disaffected Democrats (disaffected with Swanson), is that Hagan is widely known by political insiders to be a Republican Party hack.

The Report realizes that both Dordea and Hagan are Alliance area politicians. But why would Dordea allow geographical affinity to hurt his chances to become county sheriff?

The Report can readily see why Hagan likes the Alliance alliance. It gives him more credibility than he can garner on his own. Dordea does have significant independent voter support and even some Democrats going his way. Hagan does not. Hagan has never had to run in an area dominated by Democrats and Democrat leaning independents. He has only run in the Republican gerrymandered 50th House district.

Question: Is this Dordea's political naiveness coming to the fore? Will being an inexperienced politician be the difference between him and Swanson?