Friday, May 1, 2009


It appears to the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report/SCPR) that only Joe Cole and C. David Morgan of the ten candidates for three Canton council-at-large seats have the "potential" to help "turnaround Canton."

The operative word is "potential."

The Report is even skeptical of this duo: especially Morgan.

Why is Morgan the most suspect?

Because by his own word he has been in Canton 25 years. However, he has very little to show in concrete actions that he has generated that demonstrates that he has been and will continue to be an "agent of change" in Canton.

He has served on a number of boards and commissions, but to what practical end?

His idea of tearing down decrepit housing and creating reconfigured building lots with inherently more green space is a good one.

And if he makes good on this one idea in the sense of being a catalyst for full-blown implementation, it will have been worth voting him into office.

This Morgan idea is an important one to be realized in the framework articulated by Creative Class author Richard Florida, if urban areas are to become attractive to young professionals.

Morgan, being a minister, may also contribute as being a healing figure in the huge rift that William Healy's election as mayor has brought to Canton. Healy has not gotten along with Council almost from the beginning. The Report believes Healy is mostly to blame.

Like Morgan, Joe Cole has much to prove in real achievement. But he is young, energetic and brimming with ideas, which, if he can clothe them in materiality, could be the vanguard of Canton becoming a "re-invented" city a la Kalamazoo, Michigan.

In his essay written at the behest of The Repository, Cole expresses these important ideas:
We must support and help grow existing businesses and attract new businesses through joint economic development projects, new investment and beneficial annexation. Canton must regain its reputation as a business-friendly community. Moreover, we need to do a better job at publicizing Canton’s positive attributes by actively promoting our low cost of living, central location and high quality of life.
Cole is wrong in saying that Canton has a "high quality of life." That simply is not the case. If elected, he needs to pull his head out of the sand on this matter, and push for Council programs and policies so that he can eventually truly say that Canton has a high quality of life.

Cole signals that he will be different than incumbent councilman Bill Smuckler in that Cole will be for "beneficial" annexation . Smuckler and his sidekick Sam "Darth Vader to the townships" Sliman are on a program for Canton to annex its way out of Canton's economic woes. The Smuckler/Sliman annexation model is unsustainable and needs to be modified as suggested by Cole's use of the word "beneficial."

Though thin and way too general on ideas for the Canton of tomorrow, at least Cole has some ideas, to wit:
For instance, we can begin to rebuild by focusing on new technologies, such as “green-collar” jobs, medical and high-tech careers. These new businesses will increase the tax base and attract new residents.
Let The Report help Cole with some specifics.

Cole could push Canton City Council to work with the Stark County commissioners on Commissioner Todd Bosley's Bio-mass project he is trying to get the county to partner with Chevron.

Other possibilities for Cole is to advocate for Canton to partner with Stark State College of Technology (SSCT) to phase in studies at SSCT in cell engineering, tissue engineering and robotics; perhaps at a SSCT downtown campus site. These technologies are the future for cities who, like Kalamazoo, want to be on a path of constant "re-inventing" so that Canton's citizens have jobs grounded in the global economy marketplace.

Beyond Morgan and Cole, Canton's other council-at-large candidates are - for the most part - "six of one and half-dozen of the other" variety.

Bill Smuckler is part of the existing problem in Canton. He has not had answers for the city for his entire career on city council. It would be a huge mistake for Cantonians to re-elect him. But The Report expects that he will be re-elected.

Special mention also goes to candidates Bertram and Babcock who The Report takes as being "good ole boy" types who would, at best, just be there. No ideas, no energy. "Let me get from day-to-day types."

No matter who gets elected on Tuesday, the winners will be subject to intense scrutiny by The Report once they take office.

The Report has a keen interest in Canton because it is Stark County's flagship city and the SCPR firmly believes "as goes Canton, so goes the rest of Stark County."

No comments: