Friday, October 31, 2008

DISCUSSION: THE REP FINALLY "GETS IT," AS DOES THE HEALY ADMINISTRATION ON AEP (OHIO POWER) RATE INCREASE REQUEST? (SEE TIMKEN CO TESTIMONY BELOW)

Finally, after 14 days, Stark County's largest newspaper - THE REPOSITORY - figured out that the Ohio Power rate increase request is of the highest importance to Stark Countians.

Can you believe it? The Rep had no one at the PUCO hearing on the requested increase held at Glenwood Middle School on October 16th. And consequently no reports on Stark County citizen, company and government unit reaction until a reporter was sent to the Stark County Board of Commissioners meeting yesterday.

After the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) said good things about The Rep earlier this week for its first rate Election 2008 resource online, it is disheartening to have to roundly criticize the movers and shakers at The Rep for failing area citizens, businesses and governments on Ohio Power rate increase request "hot" issue.

Yesterday, The Report asked Mike Hanke (for Rep general manager and now the top Stark County administrator) why The Rep was "mum" on the rate increase issue. Hanke seemed to think it was odd too and mused that The Rep certainly has a stake in the increase because of its use of electricity and Hanke when on to say: "And I know," obviously a reference to his days as general manager.

Initially, the Healy adminstration came out foursquare in support of the Ohio Power (AEP) request (see an earlier article and video posted by The Report by CLICKING HERE). Now that the mayor sees the public outcry and being challenged by city council, he has "adjusted" the administration's stance.

What follows is a report of Healy's "new" position on the rate increase request:
Canton Mayor William J. Healy II sent a letter a week ago to the Public Utilities Commission to clarify remarks Robert Torres, city economic development director, made during an Oct. 16 public hearing about AEP's proposal.

Some residents who attended the public hearing believed that Canton and the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce supported the hike.

But Healy said the city supports the company as "strong community partner," not the size of its proposed increase. He believes the increase would devastate area families and wreck existing and future companies.

"We have been fortunate as a region to have some of the lowest electricity costs in the state and because of this have enjoyed an advantage in site selection," Healy said in his letter. "We do not want to lose this competitive edge ...
One of the best statements on the unacceptable nature of the Ohio Power (AEP) request was made by the Timken Company - Part 1 of two parts (view below).

Does all of this, perhaps, go to show that The Repository and Mayor Healy are a tad out-of-step with the citizens, companies and local government units of Stark County?

DISCUSSION: WILL THE FABERS CAUSE CELESTE DEHOFF TO LOSE THE OHIO HOUSE 50TH DISTRICT?

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) was out to Canal Fulton (video camera in hand) to take in Ohio Governor Ted Strickland's attempt to "bailout" the Celeste DeHoff campaign.

Strickland needs to have a Democratic controlled Ohio House in the worst way, if he is to deliver on promises made to voters in his 2006 campaign.

Strickland's barriers in helping Celeste DeHoff win Ohio's 50th?

First, the William Faber family of Tuscarawas Township which is part of the 50th and the home of Stark County Democratic Party chair Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.. DeHoff is a Tuscarawas Township trustee and she, along with her fellows, terminated Faber on October 26, 2006 because of an incident between Faber and another employee while at work. The Fabers (William is a Local #92 Teamster) have been fighting the dismissal ever since with success in the legal arena. But the DeHoff lead trustees steadfastly refuse to reinstate Faber. Consequently, the Fabers have dogged DeHoff with picket signs at many stops along the campaign trail.

The Fabers are being effective with organized labor at the local level. The Report, who can identify local union members, saw only two at the October 26th rally.

Second, Ohio's 50 District is a gerrymandered district constructed by Republicans to be held only by a Republican.

Even with this being a gerrymandered district, a strong Democratic tide could pull DeHoff into office.

So the question is, will the Fabers cost Celeste DeHoff a seat in the Ohio House, and, by extension, perhaps, the governor an opportunity to have a foothold in the Legislature to aid him in the effort to deliver on campaign promises he made to the voters in 2006?

DISCUSSION: CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS, THE MILD MANNERED DR. PETER FERGUSON COMES OUT SWINGING ON JOHN HAGAN IN COMMISSIONER RACE?

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) could not believe it when a flier arrived which contained this slam (see the accompanying graphic) on Republican commissioner candidate John P. Hagan of Marlboro Township.

John Hagan is Stark County's most marginal public official.

He is easy to ignore in terms of his not having the gravitas to be in on any serious policy discussion and certainly not policy formulation.

Hagan is a follower trough-and-through. Just ask Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted. Hagan has made a career of finding a Husted and holding on for dear life.

Because he does not have creative, innovative and visionary qualities, he is as Ferguson says is the "Wrong Choice / Wrong Time. Wrong Time? That's all the time.

If Ohio Power (American Electric Power) gets its 52% (62% in the case of industrial manufacturers) increase over the next three years, Stark Countians have to look no further than John P. Hagan. He toadied up to the behemoths of the electric power industry and put the shaft to all Ohioans.

But for you folks who know Dr. Peter Ferguson, isn't this hammering uncharacteristic of the man? Isn't Ferguson piling on a testament to what The Report has been saying about Hagan for years?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

DISCUSSION: NOT "KNEE-JERK," STARK COUNTY COMMISSIONERS PROVIDE GOOD REASONS WHY AEP ELECTRIC RATE INCREASE SHOULD BE REJECTED BY PUCO?

UPDATE: (10/31/2008) Read Kelli Young's report in The Repository published today. Hperlink at the end of this article.

At today's meeting of the Stark County Board of Commissioners, with Commissioner Todd Bosley leading the way, the commissioners gave good reasons for passing Bosley's resolution resisting the AEP requested increase of 52% (15% in years 2009, 2010 and 2011 compounded) over the next three years. Commissioner Bosley cited figures that shows large industrial users will experience a 62% increase.


Play the video below to see the commissioners-in-action.

Harmon, who at a meeting or two ago asked for more time to review the increase proposal before voting on Bosley's initiative, was firmly behind the resolution calling it "a job killer" as was Commissioner Jane Vignos.

Now that the commissioners have acted as are the Plain Township trustees and Canton City Council, shouldn't all units of Stark County government be taking similar action?

What about county commissioner candidate John Hagan? Does he have some explaining to do to Stark County Voters for writing the bill in the Ohio House that enable AEP to ask for this kind of increase?

Link to Kelli Young's Repository piece.

VIDEO SERIES: CLIP #1 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS FORUM - SHERIFF CANDIDATE DORDEA ON COMMITMENT

The accompanying video clip is the first of a series the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) is doing on a candidates forum sponsored by the Canton Area League of Women Voters on October 29, 2008 at the North Branch of the Stark County District Library.

Clip #1 presents sheriff candidate Larry Dordea discussing the significance of Sheriff Tim Swanson not being at the forum.

DISCUSSION: REPUBLICAN JOHN HAGAN SUPPORTING DEMOCRAT CELESTE DEHOFF - OHIO'S 50 HOUSE DISTRICT?

It was a bitter, bitter Republican primary battle between Christina Hagan (daughter of lame duck representative John Hagan) and Todd Snitchler. Don't we all remember the Ohio Election Commission battles?

And whether or not the Democrats wrest control of the Ohio House from the Republicans could hang in the balance from the political fallout as a consequence of the caustic Hagan/Snitchler primary fight.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has learned from a Stark County Republican Party source that sitting Republican state Representative John Hagan is supporting Democrat Celeste DeHoff to succeed him in the Ohio House.

The Report has learned that Stark County Republican Party chair Jeff Matthews is furious with Hagan.

The Report knew that something was amiss in the post-primary Hagan/Snitchler relationship from other nuanced signs that The Report has picked up on. But Hagan's outright support for the Democrat candidate is quite a shocker. The Report understands that the Hagan homestead in Marlboro Township is plastered with DeHoff signs.

Another strange twist as background material to this bizarre political connection are the harsh words that Hagan's predecessor in the 50th (the old 56th) The Report (pre-2008) has heard Stark County Democratic Party chair Johnnie A. Maier, Jr hurl Hagan's way. Maier is DeHoff's political sponsor and has assigned Stark County Democratic Party political wannabe guru Shane Jackson as DeHoff's handler.

This story is a real head turner especially with the high stakes that could turn political fortunes one way or the other with the outcome of this race.

For Governor Ted Strickland to have much of a chance to get his "to be announced" education reform package through the Ohio General Assembly next year, he will have to have Democrats controlling the Ohio House.

With the advent of 2009, state Republicans will start lining up to run against Strickland in 2010. If Republicans still control both houses of the Ohio General Assembly, then Strickland will have to come with "hat in hand" to make good on his promise to Ohioans to resolve the school funding problem or his governorship will have been a failure.

The Report has no doubt that Strickland will cobble together some kind of deal with the Republicans (if they continue to control the Legislature) to make it subject to interpretation as to whether or not he has kept his promise. Republicans will force him to accept a plan that will leave it open to argument in the context of gubernatorial politics as to who really delivered: the Republican controlled Legislature or Governor Strickland.

Governor Strickland certainly does not want to go there ("hat in hand to the Republicans") and is working feverishly to ensure an Ohio Democratic controlled House of Representatives. He, U.S Senator Sherrod Brown, former astronaut and U.S. Senator John Glenn and Richard Cordray have been barnstorming competitive legislative districts to aid Democratic candidates. They were in Canal Fulton on Sunday trying to prop up DeHoff.

Who would have thunk it? Rabid Republican John Hagan politically consorting (indirectly and maybe inadvertently) with Democratic pol Johnnie A. Maier, Jr to, perhaps, deliver control of the Ohio House to the Democrats?

Indeed! "Politics do make for strange bedfellows," huh?

DISCUSSION: IT'S "PULL OUT ALL THE STOPS" TIME - SCHURING V. BOCCIERI?

It seems as if Kirk Schuring has had signs out forever.

So the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) got so used to seeing them that they became invisible.

But? This past week they became visible again.

How's that?

The yellow, that's it.

What do you mean - "the yellow?"

The endorsements stick ons. The Repository, the Akron Beacon Journal and The Massillon Independent. What a stroke of genius! Every campaign should figure out a way to make the "invisible," visible with clout!

So what difference does making the signs visible again have to the outcome of the Boccieri/Schuring race? Anyone who has run for political office knows that the importance of having loads and loads of signs out is way overblown.

That may be, BUT these are highly visible yellow NEWSPAPER STICK ONS with "value added - the endorsements," Newspaper endorsements in yellow, stupid. Don't you get it?

Oh yeah, you just go ask Janet Creighton about newspaper endorsements being a difference maker! All this shows is that this is desperation times for Schuring. Being down in the polls and voters actively looking for Democratic candidates and all.

What do you think. Political genius or desperation?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

DISCUSSION: THE REPOSITORY CREATES A "SUPERLATIVE" VOTER GUIDE?

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) is known to get after Stark County's largest newspaper from time-to-time.

Although there are other newspaper publications in Stark County, none have the resources and experience in the business as does The Repository.

So The Report's assessments are meant to spur The Rep into being all it can be which, if it continuously improves, will be to the benefit of all Stark Countians.

Having its 2008 General Election Voter Guide (The Guide) online is a terrific asset to Stark Countians who want to be informed voters on November 4th.

The Report encourages our readers to spend time thoroughly going over the issues and candidates covered in The Guide.

But - always come to the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT for detailed, incisive and "independent" political analysis on the candidates and issues.


Congratulations to The Repository for putting together this fine election publication.

DISCUSSION: A "TIP OF THE HAT" TO PLAIN TOWNSHIP TRUSTEES - "LETTER OF PROTEST" BEING SENT TO PUCO ON AEP RATE INCREASE REQUEST


The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) cites the Plain Township with a "tip of the hat" for a job well done by trustees Leno, Bossart and Giavasis in responding to the American Electric Power (AEP) projected increase of 52% (compounded at 15% per annum) over the next three years.

A thank you an "anonymous" comment to The Report with a link to The Rep's article today containing the quote cited in the accompanying graphic.

The Report suspects that one of the trustees was the commenter. But whether or not a commenter chooses to identify him/herself, The Report publishes anonymous comments so long as the comment is germane to The Report's published item and deals with a commenter's agreement/disagreement with The Report's positions on candidates, issues and officeholders.

So a "tip of the hat" to the Plain Township trustees for looking out for businesses and located in Plain and everydays who reside in the township.

So the question is: Shouldn't all of the townships/villages/cities and, indeed, Stark County itself (via the commissioners) be replicating the Plain Township initiative? How about Trustee Celeste DeHoff out in Tuscarawas Township (who is running for state representative), isn't resistance to the increase a "natural" for her to get on and advocate for within the framework of Tuscarawas Township government?

CAMPAIGN COVERAGE VIDEO: TEAM MAIER-DEHOFF GO AFTER SNITCHLER - OHIO HOUSE 50TH

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) finds it interesting that the candidates for the Ohio House - 50th interact differently depending on whether or not they are face-to-face.

The Report has commented previously how "ugly" this campaign is - from both sides. The Report has posted an example of the campaign literature of each campaign for voters to get a fix on what DeHoff and Snitchler do to each other from a distance.

While The Report has not seen them in every joint appearance they have made, it seems as if when they are in the presence of each other, the tone of the campaign gets much better.

The accompanying video shows DeHoff and Maier teaming up in Canal Fulton before a mainly Stark Democratic Party assembly this past Sunday to give Snitchler a good bashing. Undoubtedly, Snitchler has done the same to DeHoff when he appears before a "safe" audience.

Why can't these two make these charges face-to-face and give the other a chance to respond?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

DISCUSSION: WHO IS DORDEA LISTENING TO? CERTAINLY NOT STARK COUNTY'S "PROGNOSTICATOR-IN-CHIEF" - JOHNNIE A. MAIER, JR

Last Friday when the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) last talked with Larry Dordea, Republican candidate for Stark County sheriff, he was quietly confident of winning come November 4th.

The accompanying photo is a cropped version showing Dordea in a jubilant mood in a article entitled "Former [Alliance] police chief target of jokes at roast in honor of his retirement," by Alliance Review reporter Stephanie Ujhelyi on 2/15/2008.

The question is: Will Dordea be as happy in the late hours of November 4th?

The one thing that seemed to trouble him in The Report's interview was the prospect of a Democratic sweep in the county because voters seem to be looking for Democrats to vote for throughout Ohio and across the nation in this election cycle. Dordea is confident that he is the better candidate on the merits.

Recently, The Report captured Stark County Democratic Party chairman in Canal Fulton at the party's 50th Ohio House District rally for its candidate (see video below) talking about a Democratic sweep in all Stark County races one week from today.

Questions: What is your sense of the voters' mood in Stark County? Is Maier going to prove to be prophetic? If Dordea loses, will be because of the political environment rather than his merit as a candidate?

INTERVIEW: DR. GUY BLASER - REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE FOR STARK COUNTY CORONER

Monday, October 27, 2008

DISCUSSION: THANKS FOR THE COMPLIMENT, SHANE?

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) loves to find good things to say about candidates for public office.

Problem is, not many provide the grist for goodness - Democrat or Republican. Unfortunately, all too many are into themselves and, perhaps, their political party but only as a means to further personal political ambitions. Very few predominate in favor of the citizenry and coming up with well-thought-out programs and policies to help everydays.

Celeste DeHoff is one of the foremost of the seriously lacking candidates. And believe me, her Republican opponent Todd Snitchler is nobody to write home about. Her main claim to fame is that she is a tried and true loyalist to Stark County Party chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. When she doesn't have a carefully crafted political script, she can barely put together an intelligible presentation on an issue.

The readers of The Report well know that The Report has incurred the ire of both Democratic and Republican officeholders and candidates. Why. Because the sole quest of The Report is "to hold them accountable."

The Repository has shown that it only spasmodically gets the accountability job done. As The Report evolves, readers can expect more and more stories with incisive political analysis as to whether or not Stark County officeholders are getting an effective job done for us.

Yesterday, The Report walked into a "firestorm of one" at the Strickland endorsement event of the Celeste DeHoff 50th Ohio House District candidacy at the Canal Fulton Community Center. Who was that one? Shane Jackson who works for Stark County Democratic Party chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr in the clerk's office of the Massillon Municipal Court.

On three different occasions Jackson had outbursts against The Report starting off with a "wise-guy" type comment as The Report entered the community center.

Another of the outburst is represented by the graphic which accompanies this piece.

The Report compliments Jackson Township Fiscal Officer Randy Gonzales for getting a handle on Shane and calming him down. Though The Report's friend and Hall of Fame AFL-CIO president Dan Scuiry will not like seeing this (at last report Scuiry loathes Gonzalez because of Gonzalez's refusal to support Scuiry's preferred candidate for Jackson Township trustee several years back), but The Report thinks Gonzalez is one of the steadiest hands in the Stark County Democratic Party.

Another such person is Steve Meeks (who also comes from Jackson Township and is a former trustee). Meeks who is Region 9 Economic Development Director for Governor Strickland is "a cool customer."

The Report's emphasis on Gonzalez and Meeks is to point out to Maier (who in The Report's opinion more political firebrand than substance and encouraging substantive candidates to run for office) and Shane Jackson that there are figures (Gonzalez and Meeks, to name two - there are more) in the Stark County Democratic Party they ought to be emulating.

One of the immediate superficial contrasts between DeHoff and Snitchler is demeanor. Even though The Report has been highly critical of Snitchler and his overly-reliant relationship with chambers of commerce as some sort of panacea for what ails Ohio and Stark County, he has always been personally cordial with The Report. DeHoff turns her back and eschews conversation with The Report. Much like term-limited out Republican John Hagan.

Shane Jackson is a relatively young man. If he can get a handle on himself in the face of political disagreement in the public square, he will do just fine. He needs to remember that the American political system is a democracy and people will have different perspectives.

In the end, The Report takes the Jackson outbursts as a compliment. The Report is being effective in delivering to the Stark County voting public an "independent" analysis of the candidates and issues that dot the Stark County political landscape. Shane Jackson knows this. And that is what he is unhappy about. His candidate is not a good choice for voters of Ohio's 50th House District!

Question: Does the Shane Jackson outburst do anything positive to advance the cause of his candidate?

DISCUSS: THE "ONE REMAINING HOPE" OF THE SCHURING CAMPAIGN?

The Alliance Review ran a well-documented story today on the fundraising efforts of the Boccieri and Schuring campaigns.

The Review's piece reeks with data supporting the Schuring campaign's contention that John Boccieri is "Youngstown John" or "Outsider John" out to buy the 16th District congressional seat with money largely coming from outside the district.

With Obama being in town today, October 27th, and threatening to make a landslide election out of the presidential contest, the question is for the Boccieri campaign, will he pull through on Obama's coattails?

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) believes that the only Schuring hope is that 16th District voters focus predominantly on the "he's not one of us" theme of the Schuring effort and retain this seat for the Republicans in the new Congress.

In other times, the Schuring strategy would very likely be a clear winner. In 2008 though, maybe not. Why?

Schuring is tarred, in being a Republican officeholder for all of the eight years of the Bush administration, with an association to the Bush administration policies. Every time George Bush has come to town, Schuring has been there front and center to greet him. If John McCain supported Bush 92% of the time, for Schuring it has to be somewhere near 100%.

What about you? Do you agree that the major thrust of the Schuring campaign is that Boccieri "is not one of us?" Will it work?

DISCUSSION: FREEDOM'S WATCH - A NON-FACTOR IN THE BOCCIERI/SCHURING RACE?



Remember this robo-call made in the 16th Ohio Congressional District in July, 2008?

As described by POLITICKER.COM:

"Hi, this is an emergency gas price alert from Freedom's Watch. Did you know Ohio gas taxes add more than 28 cents to every gallon of gas? 28 cents!" an announcer intones on the calls going out to voters in Boccieri ... . The call then asks what Boccieri ... [is] doing to address the issue. "Nothing," announcer says.

"If we can't depend on John Boccieri to stand up for us today, when can we count on her?" asks the call targeting Boccieri.

Then again in August Freedom's Watch ran an ad lambasting Boccieri on his energy policy.

Nothing since.

Projected originally to put some $30 million into congressional campaigns in support of Republicans, the actual number spent by Freedom's Watch is something like $4.1 million one week before the election.

Confirming source: Politico's Wave Watch: On Freedom's Watch by Martin Kady II (10/24/2008)

What is the significance of this "unwelcome" (so says Schuring) participation by Freedom's Watch in the 16th District Congressional campaign. Because Schuring prevailed on them to stop? They ran out of money? Or, the polls in the Schuring/Boccieri campaign made the effort futile?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

DISCUSSION: ARE CANAL FULTON'S (LAWRENCE TWP) SCHOOLS ABOUT TO BECOME A PART OF THE AREA'S GHOSTLY PAST?

CLICK HERE to go to a website (Haunted House History Walks of Canal Fulton) that focuses on Canal Fulton's (Lawrence Township) eerie past.

The point?

Listen to the funeral-esque music and ponder the question: Are the Northwest schools about to enter the ghostly past of Canal Fulton/Lawrence Township?

If Canal Fulton's mayor John Grogan and Lawrence Township trustee Marvin Harbaugh are listened to by voters, the answer is likely yes.

Look at the following excerpt from The Independent in an article written by Michael Freeze:
To make matters more grim, the issue has not received much support from city and township officials.
“With the way today’s financial situation is going, I guess it all depends on how much your house is worth,” said Lawrence Township Trustee Richard Harbaugh. “If you’ve got a $150,000 property, (and the district is) asking for another $49 in taxes a month. There is a lot of people thinking, ‘Save the school, lose your house.’”
Canal Fulton Mayor John Grogan, who has children in the district’s elementary, middle and high schools, said he sympathizes with the district’s teachers and praises their work in the schools, but he believes the district is asking voters for too much.
If readers will click through to The Independent article, it will be abundantly clear that the Northwest schools are on the brink of extinction.

52nd Ohio House candidate Richart Hart thinks that Stark County has too many school districts. If the Northwest levy fails, perhaps, Northwest will be the leading edge of consolidation to three school districts he proposes?

Isn't the Grogan/Harbaugh "failure to support" downright crazy? Leading political figures are not supporting the key Canal Fulton/Lawrence Township public institution? Unbelievable, heh?

DISCUSSION: ISSUE #53 - A GOOD DEAL FOR STARK COUNTY? PART I


In the accompanying video (see below), Kent Oliver, who is Executive Director of the Stark County District Library, speaks to the particulars of Issue #53 - a replacement levy issue for an existing issue.

The particular segment is an intro to Mr. Oliver and to the specifics of the levy itself.

Between now and the election, the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) will add video clips in which Director Oliver explains the benefits that the library offers Stark Countians.

The Report is a lifetime member of the Lake Branch of the Stark County District Library "Friends of the Library" at a one-time $100 contribution. The Report urges readers to become annual or lifetime members of the Friends of the Library and to vote for Issue #53.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

EDITORIAL: WILL STARK COUNTY VOTERS GET "SHORT-CHANGED" AGAIN BY THE CANTON AREA "LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS?"

It is difficult to criticize Stark County's local unit of the League of Women Voters (LWV). Clearly, this group has the best of intentions. But it is not doing an effective job in structuring and operating it candidate forums.

As readers of the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) know, The Report will go "where angels fear to tread" in the sense of criticizing an organization that is trying to contribute to the public discussion of political issues.

The Report was a member of this organization a number of years ago. Quite frankly, the reason membership was terminated is because this local unit of the LWV only does one thing well: its narrative report (newspaper format) on the candidates/issues in any given election.

The Report attended the Canton Area LWV event for state representatives on October 22nd. With all due respect to the organization, it was clearly substandard in being marketed, and in terms of its format and presentation.

Only a few citizens attended on the 22nd. For an event where two of the candidates appearing are going to be elected to be a part of determining the future well-being of Ohio and by extrapolation Stark Countians, The Report thinks all of us who attended got short-changed on our precious time.

Publicity about the event and buttonholing of Stark Countians to attend should have been a major effort some time ago. The local League could have gone out and gotten sponsors to underwrite a full page ad in area newspapers. Time-Warner should have been hit up to produce some videos and provide free air time Many other possibilities exist, if the local League had any creative/innovative thinking going on.

Yours truly has participated as a candidate in previous Canton Area League of Women Voters events. Same old thing. Candidates value their time and to attend a poorly promoted hence attended event is not worth their time. If the local League is going to continue these "good deeds," then it needs to get its house in order.

One more change Canton League of Women Voters. Get a new moderator. In the opinion of The Report moderator Richard Kuhn acts more like a "censor-in-chief," rather than an enhancer of the attendees getting their questions asked/answered.

The Report has a particular grievance against Kuhn growing out of the state representative event. The Report submitted a question about the candidates' reaction to American Electric Power's (AEP) request for a 52% increase (when compounded over the three years it is to be phased in at 15% per year). Did they support the request or did they not support the request and the reasons for their position?

The mechanism for AEP's request was created by the Ohio General Assembly (and by the way, county commissioner candidate John Hagan is chair of the Ohio Public Utilities Committee and guided Senate Bill 221 through the Ohio General Assembly) and therefore the matter of an increase was clearly a relevant question for state representative candidates. Also, as readers of The Report know, the issue of an electric bill increase has huge consequences for individual Stark County citizens as well as our area businesses.

That Kuhn blew off (deep-sixed) the question, is truly an outrage. Kuhn had the audacity to allow a follow up question on another issue which undoubtedly, he will claim, did not leave space for the AEP question. Perhaps, Kuhn will formally revive the question to be asked of the candidates appearing on the 29th.

If not, The Report asks the candidates to fit an answer to its AEP question somewhere into their discussion about the request's potential adverse effects on the economics of Stark County's citizens, its businesses and, indeed, the government itself (i.e. Stark County departments of government and the expenses of its daily operations).

Even though The Report thinks that the Canton Area League of Women Voters must do much better (as early as October 29th), The Report still recommends and encourages Stark Countians to attend and ask the hard questions of the candidates!

DISCUSSION: SHERIFF CANDIDATE "KEEPS HIS WORD" CONTACTS THE STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT

On Wednesday of this week Republican Stark County sheriff candidate and former Alliance police chief Larry Dordea made good on his word given at the Stark County Fair to the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) to discuss his issues on the management of the sheriff's office.

Actually the conversation took place yesterday.

The issues discussed included:

1. The handling of the Steffey case.
2. Emergency Response capability.
3. The budget of the office.
4. Services provided by the office.
5. Employee relations.
6. 9-1-1 central dispatch.
7. The safety of Stark County.

On the Steffey case: The main point of our conversation was Dordea's emphasis that the Steffey matter was very preventable. According to the challenger, had Sheriff Swanson anticipated that sooner or later that his staff would encounter a Steffey situation, he could have (should have) devised alternative, flexible ways to deal with this inevitability as well as others that will come along down the line. Dordea says that Swanson is a "by the book" leader who demonstrates no confidence in his personnel to deal with such incidents in a dynamic way. He promises to change Swanson's way of doing.

Emergency response: Dordea says that Swanson has refused requests for Sheriff's Emergency Response Team (SERT) assistance to area subdivision police operations (Dordea and that the unit has not trained in years). Moreover, he cites instances where SWAT team assistance has been provided under "mutual aid" by the likes of Canton and Alliance because of Swanson's denial of use. Dordea, if elected, promises to reorganize and restructure SERT so that it is up-to-date trained and available to all of law enforcement throughout Stark County.

Sheriff's budget: The former Alliance police chief made a comparison to The Report. He said that according to the Federal Annual Certification Report for 2003, Sheriff Swanson reported a budget of $12+ million. In 2007 the sheriff reported $17+ million - a 38% increase. He further said that he is mystified where all the increased money has gone necessitating the laying off of staff in 2008. Dordea has reason to believe that if Swanson is re-elected, he plans a major layoff in March, 2009. If elected, Dordea plans on initiating a thorough review of finances and to institute efficiencies to maintain, if not expand, operations. Dordea also says that Sheriff Swanson has not effectively used "asset forfeiture dollars" as a source of revenues to support the operations of the department. He promises to reconstitute the narcotics law enforcement group of the department and make it profitable to Stark County taxpayers by seizing and selling illicit drug-connected property.

Sheriff's services: Dordea points out that one of the major functions of the sheriff's department is road patrol. As matters stand now, only one, sometimes two cars are out patrolling the township/suburban areas of Stark County. He asserts he can change this coverage without more personnel cost to Stark County. How? He plans to use a program that Sheriff Swanson has implemented (which Dordea praises) where the sheriff deputizes retired/reserve police officers which gives them countywide jurisdiction. The deputization empowers the recipients to earn income working for third party security users. But he would take the program one step further. Dordea would ask those deputized to give back to Stark County. He wants them to give back 16 hours annually to the Stark County community. How would the donated hours be used? For one, according to the candidate, these "volitional deputies" could be a source for the personnel needed to staff additional patrols throughout the rural and suburban areas of Stark County.

Employee relations: Dordea claims that 30 to 40 of the deputies currently on Swanson's staff secretly support his candidacy (afraid of recrimination, if they go public). Moreover, he says that he has four such employees on his "spot dial" list. Morale, according to Dordea, is low. Dordea's reasons for saying this? First, he says deputies tell him there is no "made available routinely to the deputies" policy manual (only a handbook) for deputies to check with to know what the expectations of the job are. Second, that the policy manual (which Dordea says is closeted away) hasn't been changed in 20 years. What's Dodea's remedy? Within six months of becoming sheriff, he will, in a documented format, communicate to each employee his expectation of the employee. Moreover, he will require each employee to detail his/her expectations. Dordea's plans on auditing each and every employee classification within the department. Dordea himself plans to become a "working" sheriff in the sense he will be taking on the responsibilities of one of the chief deputies. That's how - he says - he can save the department the salary and benefits of one chief deputy. He is open to either Perez or McDonald staying on but each would have to reapply. Dordea promises not to hire political friends merely because of that relationship. Any hires, according to him, have to be from among the best that Stark County has to offer.

9-1-1 central dispatch. Early on in the campaign The Report was critical of Dordea for appearing to being into turfism on the central dispatch issue (See "Is Dordea too provincial to be Stark County sheriff). Dordea says The Report misunderstood the reported (by The Alliance Review) exchange between him and Stark County commissioner Jane Vignos and 9-1-1 centralization czar Randy Gonzalez when they appeared before Alliance City Council asking for a resolution supporting centralized 9-1-1. Dordea says that he is for centralized 9-1-1 but that the county needs to proceed cautiously to ensure that emergency responders are totally behind it when it gets implemented. He takes no position on whether there should be one center with a backup or three centers. However, he does want to know why a wall separates the call takers from the dispatchers at the 9-1-1 unit based at the Stark County sheriff's facility on Atlantic Boulevard.

Safety of Stark County: Dordea says that a precondition for meaningful economic development in Stark County is for the county to become known as a safe place to locate. He points to his record as police chief in Alliance as having provided the leadership to achieve a reputation for being criminal unfriendly and therefore a safe and desirable place to locate. He says there is a perception that Stark County is unsafe. Although he sees some significant basis for the perception, he does not draw the conclusion that Stark County is unsafe. What he does say, is that the perception must be changed if Stark County is to become a thriving community. For him, changing the perception is a high priority.

So there you have it folks. The Report spoke with Mr. Dordea for nearly two hours.

Questions: What do you think of this challenger's take on the issues? his positions? his criticisms of Swanson's leadership? For Swanson supporters, where is Dordea off base? Does he demonstrate by the content of his campaign (as alleged by Swanson) that he is not prepared to step up to being county sheriff? Maybe even Sheriff Swanson himself will respond via the comments? With just a little over one week before the election, don't we all owe to ourselves and to the community at large to fully discuss the quality or lack of quality of the Stark County sheriff department operations?

Friday, October 24, 2008

DISCUSSION: IN A CLOSE RACE - WHY WOULD YOU USE A CAMPAIGN TACTIC THAT ANNOYS VOTERS?

Congress exempted "political" robo calls from the Do-Not-Call list.

Figures, doesn't it.

Actions like these give politicians such a good name with the general public.

"What is good for the goose, is not good for the gander" with politicos who make our laws and rules.

Moving on. It probably is a "pretty close call" for campaigns in determining whether or not to make political robo calls. Why? Because it is a growing reaction that voters may vote against candidates who use robo.

The campaign of Celeste DeHoff has made the decision to make "robo calls."

The star attraction? Stark County Democratic Party chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.

Perhaps the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) should encourage Maier to abandon the robo calls. No, no - not because they are annoying to some voters.

Maybe Maier ought to make "live" calls to 50th District Ohio House voters. The Report knows Maier well. He is so well endowed with personality that live calls would have manifold return for his candidate.

Others who know Maier well will identify the sarcasm reeking The Report's previous paragraph.

The Report has heard a number of comments over the years noting Maier's often used scowling, bordering on hostility, person-to-person manner.

So The Report takes its advice back. Robo calls are the perfect medium for Maier to use for his candidate.

Question: How do you react to robo calls? Do they help the candidate, hurt the candidate or make no difference one way or the other?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

DISCUSSION: WHO BELIEVES JOHN HAGAN?


From today's Repository (an article by Kelli Young):
"Reached after the event, Hagan said he didn't know about the town hall meeting. Event organizers, however, said they received commitments from each candidate and were surprised when Hagan didn't show."
What town hall meeting?

One sponsored by the the Greater Canton Veterans Council along with veterans councils from the Stark County cities of Alliance and Massillon and held at VFW Post 3747.

That STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) checked with a Canton area veteran's official who confirmed that it is "absolutely sure" that John Hagan knew about this event and the sponsoring organizations are clear that they had confirmation that Hagan would be attending.

So why not own up to it and move on? In a race that is as close as this one is (Republican Hagan versus Democrat and Dr. Peter Ferguson), the apparent stonewall by Hagan could be the critical races.

Either Hagan forgot the commitment or thought better of it because the attendees could make a direct comparison between him and Ferguson. Perhaps, a comparison he feared?

As we who follow politicians day-in, day-out, it is very rarely that the act itself gets the politician but the denial and over up.

As the saying goes: "Tis a puzzlement." And, not uncharacteristic of public officials who have convinced themselves they can do no wrong.

The question: Will this flap cost John Hagan the election? Thousands upon thousands of Stark County veterans will learn of this

DISCUSSION: AMERICAN ELECTRIC POWER INTIMIDATES STARK COUNTY'S ELECTED OFFICIALS/CANDIDATES FOR OFFICE?

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has learned that Commissioner Todd Bosley will lead the fight in Stark County to stop the American Electric Power (AEP) rate increase currently before the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO).

Bosley at the last meeting of the county commissioners let it be known that he plans to offer a resolution against the rate increase "at this time." Bosley says that there could not be a more devastating time for AEP to be asking for an increase as it will have a debilitating effect on Stark County located businesses such as Timken and Diebold to compete and still preserve Stark County jobs.

Commissioner Tom Harmon, as he frequently does, wasn't ready to proceed with Bosley's resolution and asked for a delay until October 30th before Bosley actually moves on the resolution.

The Report wonders who Harmon has to check with? A 52% increase request (when 15% per year is compounded over three years) and Harmon has to pause for thought?

It would not surprise The Report that Harmon refuses to support Bosley's move when it comes on the 30th. Harmon is proving to be a real drag on the commissioners' office exercising leadership in the county. In dire economic times like these, Harmon seems to be a guy hard at work digging a deeper hole for the county.

Bosley is hard at work with a Stark County citizen who is featured today in the accompanying video testifying against the requested rate increase at the PUCO hearing held at Glenwood Middle School on October 16th.

Question: Is Commissioner Todd Bosley to be the lone elected official dogging AEP and its huge rate increase request?

See William Daugherty's testimony before the PUCO below.

DISCUSSION: SNITCHLER SURFACES TO TOP?

At a "Meet the Candidates" night at the 25th Street "North Branch" of the Stark County District Library (not sponsored by the library), Republican 50th District candidate distinguished himself as the most polished candidate of the four present.

Snitchler's opponent, Celeste DeHoff had the dubious distinction of being the least impressive of the candidates. Although she had her "handler" present (Shane Jackson, Stark County Democratic Party political guru? and party chair confidant Johnnie A. Maier's main political man), she appeared to be out of her league.

DeHoff stumbled on substance and style. She seemed to read from prepared text answers to questions posed. Nevertheless, answers were often wide of the mark of the question asked.

After Snitchler, it was closer as between Republican Richard Hart and Democrat Stephen Slesnick (52nd District). Hart seemed to have the edge on style (more composed) whereas Slesnick might have had the more detailed answers on substantive matters. But whether or not Slesnick had a substance edge is certainly arguable.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) did make videos of the event, but is undecided as to whether or not it is worth The Report's readers time to look at even snippets. That's how uninteresting this event was.

All of which raises this question.

Are "Meet the Candidates" nights an effective use of the the candidates' time, the voters' time? What has been your experience?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

OHIO POLLS - NEW "PEW POLL" HAS OBAMA UP BY 14 POINTS NATIONWIDE

DISCUSSION: IS STARK COUNTY READY FOR "FRESH IDEAS?"

If the merits of a candidate mean any thing in terms of new ideas and a fresh approach, then Republican county commissioner candidate Travis Secrest would be a lock to win his race against Democrat "ward-heeler" type candidate Tom Harmon.

Another "ward-heeler" type candidate is Secrest's Republican stable-mate, John Hagan.

Harmon and Hagan are very similar in that they latch on to power broker types and aspire to be political power brokers themselves which leads to them becoming stagnated personages who always play it politically safe to ensure their personal political fortunes at the expense of their constituents.

A source high in local Republican Party circles has told the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) that a Travis Secrest victory at the polls does not seem likely. The Stark County Political Party leadership is much more optimistic about Hagan's chances. But they are skeptical - overall - about his chances to win.

Why?

Because in presidential years Stark County Democrats are more energized to vote than are the Republicans. Also, in this election cycle, independent voters are looking for Democrats to vote for; not Republicans.

Question: Is Travis Secrest the breakthrough" young candidate that can bring new thinking and action to the Stark County economy?

DISCUSSION: UNION METAL COURAGEOUSLY "SPEAKS UP" ABOUT PROPOSED AEP ELECTRIC BILL INCREASE OF 52%

In the accompanying video, Union Metal Corporation Facilities Manager, Lee Henderson, speaks as to how American Electric Power's projected 52% (over three years) increase will, at a minimum, cost the company $250,000.

Henderson shares how this increase, if it happens, will affect Union Metal's ability to compete and threaten its ability to keep its 356 jobs in Canton.

Much was made at the recent Public Utilities Commission of Ohio hearing on AEP's request (10/16/2008), of what a good corporate citizen American Electric Power is? Whatever that means in terms of its request for a gigantic increase? Does it mean that if one gives to charity, then its request for more of the public's money should go unchallenged?

The Healy administration, the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce and area economical development people lined up at the hearing to sing the praises of AEP. The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) believes that AEP"s government lobbying group called in "due bills" on the aforementioned entities/personages. And, so what did hearing attendees see. A virtual parade of AEP loyalist.

The surprising thing was that Stark County commissioner candidate and Republican candidate John P. Hagan wasn't there leading cheers a la former Canton mayor Janet Creighton. Hagan as state representative and chair of Public Utilities (Ohio House) paved the way for AEP and other monopolistic behemoths to have their way with the public's money via rate increases.

Healy and Hagan say they are bringing jobs to and keeping jobs in the city and county. But the position on AEP's 52% request belies the rhetoric.

Back to the "good citizen" point. As pointed out by Union Metal's Henderson, Union Metal is also a good corporate citizen. Union Metal does good works just to do good works. Apparently, AEP has ulterior motives.

Undoubtedly, Union Metal was "stung" with the Healy administration lining up with AEP.

Question: Maybe the Healy administration needs to amend its take on AEP's request?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

DISCUSSION: ISSUE #15 IN MASSILLON - A TRIAL HEAT FOR IN THE CATAZARO-PERRY/CICCHINELLI FIGHT FOR POLITICAL CONTROL OF MASSILLON?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DISCUSSION: WHY IS THE HEALY ADMINISTRATION LINING UP WITH AEP AND AGAINST EVERYDAY PEOPLE?

At the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) hearing last Thursday at Glenwood Middle School, (located, I am told by a reader, in the city of Canton - not Plain Township) the Healy administration did show up to speak about American Electric Power's (AEP) 52% rate increase proposal to be applied over the next 3 years.

Most likely, many Stark County citizens will wish Canton economic czar Robert Torres had stayed at home.

As readers/viewers of the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) will see in the accompanying video, Torres threw the full support of the Healy administration behind AEP's request.

The Healy administration has made a huge political blunder in being so staunchly behind the requested increase. AEP did lean on the economic development leaders within the "rate increase" zone to show up in force to support AEP. It was like a parade without end of economic development and chamber of commerce types at the hearing praising AEP for its "good works" in their respective communities. Only Union Metal (from the corporate community) clearly stood up against AEP on its request.

Torres (listen up at the end of the video) was roundly criticized many of those attending the hearing.

The Report had reservations about Healy when he ran against Creighton. For the years The Report has known Healy, no one is more impressed with the academic/business credentials of Mayor Healy than guess who? You've got it! Yes, indeed, Mayor William J. Healy, II himself.

Healy, obviously, is not connecting with the predominantly working class folks that inhabit Canton. He is more in tune with the Stephen Katz's of the world (Katz is a key figure in the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce) than everyday people. The Katz's of Stark County will abandoned Healy in a heartbeat if Stark County Republican chairman Jeff Matthews can come up with a strong Republican candidate for the next Canton mayoralty race.

Sooner or later Healy et al will have to be asking Cantonians for a Canton tax increase. But if the AEP proposal sails through, there will be no money for the citizens of Canton to pay in increased taxes. Perhaps Healy can ask AEP to make a substitute donation to city coffers - the good public citizen AEP is.

To repeat. Healy was not at the hearing. No elected official was at the hearing (only appointed ones).

Judge for yourself. Look at the video. The ask yourself. Does Healy's unqualified endorsement of the AEP rate increase proposal please you?

Monday, October 20, 2008

DISCUSSION: IS DORDEA FINALLY GETTING HIS CAMPAIGN IN SHAPE?


Congratulations to The Repository for doing excellent editorial work (10/14/2008) on Dordea v. Swanson county sheriff race, buttressed by an outstanding follow-up by reporter Kelli Young (10/19/2008).

And congratulations to candidate Larry Dordea for coming up with a "positive" idea or two or three for dealing with the financial problems at the Stark County sheriff's department.

For much of the campaign Dordea has lashed out at Sheriff Swanson (his opponent) in vague terms unsupported by specifics. Maybe, just maybe, that is changing. And change it must, if Dordea is to unseat Swanson.

So what about Dordea's ideas?

First, "making cuts sooner than later." Who can quarrel with this point? With Stark County experiencing severe financial woes, not only Swanson, all county office holders ought to have their budgets under constant review (the heart and soul of Dordea's point) and make efficiency changes without having to be forced do so.

Second, "getting rid of one chief deputy." In these dire economic times this recommendation makes sense. These are truly times when county office holders have to "do more with less." Remaining sheriff department employees will simply have to step up and take on the duties of the eliminated position.

Third, "getting rid of the part-time attorney." Yes, Prosecutor's Ferrero's office should be used to provide legal assistance to the sheriff's department. And, to meet Swanson's objection of delayed response, Ferrero needs to implement an "expedited" means to meet the time needs of Swanson and his department.

As an aside, the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) takes issue with how the prosecutor's office handles the legal work of local government entities. The Report has heard local government unit after local government unit justify hiring its own legal counsel because it takes forever to get anything out of the Stark County prosecutor's office.

Unacceptable! Unfortunately for Stark Countians, Stark County Republican Party chairman Jeff Matthews couldn't find anyone to run against Ferrero. A missed opportunity to raise the "failure to provide timely representation to local government units" issue. A sarcastic "thank you" to Jeff Matthews for failing Stark Countians.

The question: Has sheriff candidate Dordea gotten his campaign headed in the right direction? If so, is he "a day late, and a dollar short?"

DISCUSSION: ARE THE POLLS WRONG ON BOCCIERI/SCHURING? IS THIS WHY BOCCIERI IS ROMANCING THE U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE TYPES?

The strange twist to the Boccieri/Schuring contest (to succeed Ralph Regula - 16th District Congressional seat) is the reversal of roles.

Boccieri going after business and chamber of commerce support.

Schuring going after organized labor support.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) understands the Schuring quest. He cannot win with the uppity types like the Timkens et al. Schuring must make inroads with middle income and working class voters or he loses, pure and simple.

But Boccieri going after the Brahmans?

With polls showing he is up by about 10 percentage points, one wonders why his attempt to claim U.S. Chamber of Commerce (USCOC) support on his healthcare plan. Could it be that the Boccieri campaign knows the polls are shaky and it needs to connect to Republican voters in order to win this race?

The Boccieri/Schuring campaign is indeed strange on this reversal of roles.

Question: What is the political significance of Boccieri going after the "business class" vote?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

DISCUSSION: WILL OBAMA REPEAT THE KERRY 2004 VICTORY IN STARK COUNTY? ALSO, IS THERE A GAYLE QUINNELL WALKING THE PRECINTS OF STARK COUNTY?


MORE FROM MARY PARKER (SEE AN ADDED QUOTE FORM MARY BELOW IN HIGHLIGHT YELLOW)

Matt Bai of the New York Times magazine wrote that electoral analyses show that Bararck Obama could lose up to 6% of the total vote because of racism (a voter won't vote for a black person - no matter the issues).


Of course, the percentage will vary given the locale.

Where does Stark County fit? At the high end, or, the low end?

Obama campaigners are running into racism in Stark County. One such report, to wit:
A conversation [not by the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) but by a Stark County resident] on the telephone with an Obama field organizer today left me less optimsitic than I have been about Obama's prospects in Canton and Stark County.

She said that the door-to-door canvasssing is running into an enormous amount of racism and nastiness of the kind that has characterized the McCain-Palin campaign. I inquired more than once but she insisted it was much worse than she had anticipated.
Also, The Report turns to an observation by Mary Parker (a lifelong Stark County African-American), to wit:
"Is it possible there is more racism in Canton than in much of the rest of the northern tier of states?". I would answer that, "absolutely, overwhelming, YES. Ohio period, is a very racist state, and I think Canton is about as racist as it gets.. People who read the comments will note that I talk about racism a lot. Too much for most. That's only because I've lived and breathed and experienced racism for well over 60 years here. With the exception of seeing things that were segregated, such as the schools, housing, swimming pools, desegregated, I haven't seen that much of change in racial feelings and tolerance in Canton

People here are afraid to advertise to their neighbor that they are for Obama.. I see it all the time down at the headquarters, and other places when some of the very people that are coming down there and volunteering, when I ask them if they want an Obama yard sign for their yard,, many give me that look an shake their heads to let me know they are NOT willing to let their neighbor know that they are for Obama.
If the Bai estimate is correct, unless is running much stronger than Kerry among other voters in Stark County, then Obama will likely lose in Stark.

What is your sense of this election? Is Obama running stronger than Kerry and therefore has a chance to win here?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

DISCUSSION: DEHOFF/SNITCHLER - "GUTTER POLITICS" - WHAT ELSE WOULD ONE EXPECT?

Here it is 50th District voters: The piece that Republican Party candidate Todd Snitchler is complaining about.

Snitchler's right. This is a piece of political garbage. But he's hardly one to complain. He signs on to political trash by allowing the Republican House caucus to send such material out in his name. This blog did a detailed critique on his "Senior citizen" mailing not long ago. It was a totally despicable example of "faux" thinking.

As has been pointed out by the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report), these two (DeHoff/Snitchler) deserve each other.

But the hardworking folks who make up the 50th deserve better. Whichever of these two goes to Columbus, the citizens will be the loser.

Nothing new about this. Republican John Hagan, who currently represents the district, was eight years of vapidity.

Snitchler has no ideas of his own. He checks in with his chamber of commerce pals periodically to get refilled on the "recycled, stale ideas" that chambers of commerce have been pedaling for years now. Chamber-types are so rigid in their thinking paradigms that they make concrete seem like jello.

Chambers of commerce from the top of Ohio down through the townships keep repackaging the "same old ideas and keep getting the same tired, old results." The problem is that Ohio and most, if not all, of Ohio's counties are on the economically declining list. And over dependence on the chambers statewide has a lot to do with Ohio being in the doldrums.

Snitchler of neighboring Uniontown was recently praised by a Hartville councilman in area media for his effectiveness. That's strange. Lake Township has been the home of The Report for 33 years now.and is in a position to know that Hartville has been on the economic downswing for all of those 33 years (e.g. closing of Longaberer, Schmaucher Lumber and Monach Teledyne). Snitchler as a leader of the Lake Chamber nor the Chamber itself has been effective in stemming the decline except to "rearrange the chairs."

Snitchler is trying with his Lake Development Foundation to get economic development going in Lake. However, despite consulting with the Massillon Chamber, the effort still struggling 5 years into the project. The question becomes: Shouldn't the initiative be beyond the struggling stage at the 5 years mark? How long does Snitchler need to make it work?

The Report has asked (face-to-face) one of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce's key officials about the Chamber's dismal record as the economic policy making arm of the Ohio Republican Party. Answer? The Republican super-majority didn't do everything we asked them to. How weak can you get? They probably did only 95% of what they were asked to do.

Turning to DeHoff. She has to check in with her patron Johnnie A. Maier, Jr (a quintessential political operative and Stark County Democratic Party chairman - not exactly a prolific source of policy ideas) for her content. Isn't this more than a tad distressful?

The Report says this about DeHoff "tongue-in-cheek." The Report does not see a whole lot of intellectual curiosity DeHoff's part. She will be content to take her marching orders in Columbus and sit back an enjoy the notoriety of being a state representative.

So what is left for 50th District voters? Despair?

Friday, October 17, 2008

DISCUSSION: A CASE IN POINT - WHY INCREASING NUMBERS OF CITIZENS DISDAIN PUBLIC OFFICIALS & CANDIDATES FOR OFFICE?



The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) sees public officials/candidates for office "wring their hands" and hears their bitter complaints about the generally accepted reality that the general public has a low opinion of them.

Right now the public's approval of Congress in about 10%, the president in the 20s and like numbers for politicians generally.

Is the public's view any better in Stark County?

Not if you soak in the cynicism expressed at the PUCO (Public Utilities Commission of Ohio) hearing last night on American Electric Power's (AEP) request for an electric rate increase of 52% (15% per annum compounded over 3 years).

The Report did not see one single elected official (only a few appointed officials) at the meeting held at Glenwood Middle School located in Plain Township. Not one single Plain Township trustee was present.

Canton did send its Economic Development head Robert Torrez to the meeting. But he was met by jeers when he announced that he and Mayor William J. Healy, II were endorsing full approval of AEP's request.

It seemed as if AEP had called in its due bills from all area economic development entities as they all dutifully walked up to the testimonial microphone and said what a wonderful company AEP is.

Well, Mr. Kevin Ellis of Louisville doesn't think AEP is so wonderful. In the accompanying video he says AEP only becomes a good corporate citizen by dropping the rate increase.

Over a period of time, The Report will be presenting videos of actual testimony before the PUCO including the reading of Mayor Healy's letter of unqualified support for AEP's rate increase.

Ohio Representative (50th) and Republican running against Democrat Pete Ferguson for Stark County commissioner was not there. Why is his absence of any particular significance?

Hagan is the chairman of the House's public utilities committee which ushered this legislation to passage. It is not good legislation because it allows for large increases like AEP's request. Had not Governor Strickland not intervened, it would have been even worse for consumers.

John Hagan has been a patsy for the utilities. He above other area politicians should have been at the meeting last night to explain to a number of middle income and fixed income Stark County families how they are going to manage over the next 3 years.

But John Hagan has proven over and over again what a political coward he is. He inhabits the back rooms and dark places of politics in which he consorts with those who want to shaft everyday people.

It is beyond The Report why any Stark Countian would want to vote for this guy for Stark County commissioner.

But this is another race which hard to get enthusiastic about the alternative. What is Ferguson's remedy for what ails Stark County? Turn to the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce. He has got to be kidding!

How does he think Stark County got in the dire condition it's in now. The Chamber has stood by watching, doing nothing or ineffectively dealing with problems (e.g. The Hoover Company, et ceteera) in the Stark County economy for years now.

The question: Do you accept that public officials can sit on the sidelines and not attend and testify at a hearing that is going to bring a 52% increase in your electric bill, if approved?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

DISCUSSION: DOES NEW YORK TIMES POLL SPELL "DOOM" FOR SCHURING CANDIDACY? DOES SCHURING NEED TO SEPARATE HIMSELF FROM McCAIN?


Is it time for the Schuring 16th Congressional District campaign to "jump ship?"

Apparently, the McCain campaign is going down in flames and now the danger is that it's taking Schuring-like candidates (those running in competitive districts) with it.

Even without the growing McCain debacle, the nation is not (rightly or wrongly) disposed towards Republicans accordingly the recent New York Times poll (see accompanying graphic).

Schuring will probably choose to be "loyal to the end." That's just how the man is made. And, perhaps, it would not help him if he started distancing himself from McCain/Palin.

The Report's "early-on" analysis of the Boccieri/Schuring race is looking more and more like it is right on target (52% - 48%/best case scenario and maybe as much as 55% - 45%) in Boccieri's favor.

What do you think Schuring do for the rest of the campaign?

DISCUSSION: BUDGET CRUNCH HITS CITIZENS "RIGHT TO KNOW" WHAT THE STARK COUNTY COMMISSIONERS ARE DOING?


The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) thought it would be good to check out what is going on at the Stark County Board of Commissioners these days.

So The Report when to the board's website to check the minutes of "recent" meetings' minutes.

What a surprise!

The most recent minutes as of today (October 15th) is 7-22-2008.

Undoubtedly, if we asked, we would be told that they simply do not have the personnel to keep up with the task of keeping Stark County citizens informed.

Seems as if chief administrator Mike Hanke really has things in hand at the commissioners' office.

The Report certainly could dig up from The Rep's archives (Hanke's former employer [general manager, no less], pontifications about government's responsibility to help citizens to be informed.

More and more it is looking like Stark County's lead government unit is in a tailspin.

Question: Three months behind on making board minutes available to the public? Does this indicate serious internal administrative problems at the Stark County Board of Commissioners?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

DISCUSSION: WHAT DOES CELESTE DEHOFF (TUSCARAWAS TOWNSHIP TRUSTEE/CANDIDATE FOR STATE REP 50TH) HAVE IN COMMON WITH JOHN McCAIN?

A temperament problem?

DeHoff who has been a subject in the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) as having called a Massillon City Council ally to complain when losing primary opponent Mike Stevens got a job with the city. A sore winner?

Now she is quoted in The Independent (Massillon) as smarting off on Massillon Mayor Francis Cicchinelli.

Does this lady get "hot under the collar" in a heartbeat?

Is flipping out a good characteristic for a public official to have?

Gregg Kohntopp of The Independent reports an incident at Tuesday night's Tuscarawas Township trustees meeting this way:
At Tuesday’s Tuscarawas Township trustees meeting, DeHoff read that letter [a letter from Massillon Safety Services Director Mike Loudiana saying Massillon's been doing its part of road maintenance] aloud and then showered sarcasm toward Massillon Mayor Frank Cicchinelli.

“I know I’m not credible; neither are you, Dean,” DeHoff said to fellow Trustee Dean Green.

“Didn’t we already have this conversation with the mayor (in the past)?”
Green acknowledged that is the case.

“I wonder who is really not credible here,” DeHoff added.

DeHoff was responding to a comment Cicchinelli made to The Independent a few weeks ago in which he said that he would not meet with DeHoff and Green regarding road maintenance issues because they both lacked credibility.
The Report wonders where Stark County Democratic Party chair Johnnie A. Maier, Jr a friend of both DeHoff and Cicchinelli (at least the mayor says so, The Report is not so sure) in getting these two together.

The astute politician he is (?), he can't believe that this is good for his party. It certainly is not good for the prospects of DeHoff winning her race Republican Todd Snitchler in the 50th House District. And, if she loses, this will hurt the Democrats chances to control the House in the 128th Ohio General Assembly which will not be very pleasing to Ohio Democratic Party chair Redfern and Governor Strickland.

The question: It's not "Here's Johnnie," but "Where's Johnnie?"

DISCUSSION: FROM TODAY'S REP LETTERS TO EDITOR SECTION: "MAIER & REINBOLD - POLITICAL CRONIES?" "REALLY?"


A headline in today's Rep editorial section:

We need Jason Wise and other new blood in county elective offices

The rest of the letter (edited to remove names of other candidates referenced).

==========================================================================
I was appalled by The Repository's endorsement of yet another Johnnie Maier crony, Nancy Reinbold ("Reinbold for Stark clerk of courts," Oct. 7). Reinbold has no experience actually running the office. She is just running it on Phil Giavasis' coattails.

The editorial board is full of hypocrites. They tell the voter, in their endorsement of Barack Obama, that this country is headed in the wrong direction. Doesn't this country also include this state and this county? So why would they endorse every Democrat currently running this county into the ground?

I am voting for Jason Wise because he has fresh ideas. He asks questions about how to save the taxpayers money.

Why is the county paying for its own courier service? That's a large liability if someone is injured by this courier's driving.

What has Reinbold come up with? Nothing new!

We need business owners, who are also human and make mistakes, to develop new ideas for Stark County — not surrogates of Johnnie Maier.

This county needs new blood in office, like Jason Wise, ... , or we will continue a downward spiral into the gutter.

DONNA BYER, PERRY TOWNSHIP
==============================================================

Is there any credibility to the letter writer's claim?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

DISCUSSION: CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS? REP EDITORIAL BOARD ACTUALLY DOES A THOROUGHLY VETTED ENDORSEMENT


The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has written many times that newspaper endorsements don't count for much these days.

The reason is that newspapers, historically, have aligned themselves with either the Republican or Democratic parties. Voters figured this out a long time ago and have been discounting endorsements ever since.

So when The Rep registered recently with Editor & Publisher that it was no longer a Republican paper but an independent paper, it remains saddled with its Republican legacy in the minds of many Stark Countians.

There is another reason why newspaper endorsements are not heeded much anymore. The editors do a sloppy job of vetting the candidates and it becomes apparent, to readers with critical faculties, when a given endorsement is whimsical.

The endorsement process in the Swanson/Dordea determination was, perhaps, one of the finest pieces of work that The Rep editors have done in the memory of The Report. It is obvious that in interviewing Swanson and Dordea, the editors were prepared and asked the important questions. And, the editors go to great length in their reasoning to explain why they are for Swanson.

The Report was amazed to read from the endorsing editorial the following:
Meeting with the editorial board, with Swanson across the table, Dordea was asked about the Steffey incident. He responded, "I don't know enough to say ... right or wrong. ..."
Why amazed? At the Stark County Fair in a conversation with Swanson's challenger, Dordea chastised The Report for not mentioning the Steffey case one time in all the articles on his race against Swanson.

So the last week of August/early September Dordea did know enough that the handling of Steffey by Swanson's staff was problematical, if not worse. But at The Rep interview he didn't?

Larry Dordea was the first person to post a comment on this blog. He complained about The Report's article that, perhaps, he was "too provincial to be sheriff." The "too provincial" suggestion was grounded in his seeming "turfism" position on the countywide 9-1-1 issue when he appeared before Alliance City Council.

He said in his comment - "when The Report gets to know him." Well, The Report has tried to get to know him but he has refused all requests for interviews. He even broke a promise to contact The Report by the end of September to arrange for an interview. A promise he made at the fair.

It appears that Dordea is a "whipsaw" type person. This comes through in The Rep endorsement interview too. He tried to play The Rep editors for the fool on Swanson's use of prisoners at the county fair. He did the same thing to an Alliance Review reporter.

The "wise one" (a characteristic he attributed to himself to The Rep editors - a real modest man, huh?) - seems to think everybody else in Stark County can't see through his veneer.

The Report was told by Sheriff Swanson in an interview, that Dordea would be a return to the days of Berens. Swanson's reasoning? Berens was not prepared to be sheriff and neither is Dordea ready to step up from being Alliance police chief to being sheriff.

The Report did not buy Swanson's theory when made. But every time Dordea opens his mouth, Swanson's evaluation becomes more plausible.

Question: Shouldn't the Dordea/Swanson endorsement process and publication become the standard for future Repository editorial work?