Tuesday, May 26, 2009
IS THE ANTI-SALES/USE TAX PETITION DRIVE FLOUNDERING?
2ND UPDATE: (05/26/2009) The opinion expressed in the "original article" below is the opinion of Martin Olson and is not intended to represent the view of a source Michael Mouse who yours truly used as a source for the article.
Mouse as asked The Report to affirmatively express his point of view that the collectors of signatures will be successful in their quest.
The SCPR has learned that Tom Marcelli was in Paris Township on Memorial Day collecting signatures.
Marcelli even approached Stark County Commissioner Todd Bosley (who was the Memorial Day speaker in Paris) and asked him to sign the petition.
Approaching Bosley was one matter, but apparently not all attending the Paris Memorial Day parade were as cordial as Bosley when asked to sign the Marcelli's petition to get vote on whether or not the commissioner imposed tax should stand. Reportedly, Marcelli got into a shouting match with a parade watcher when Marcelli asked for a petition signature.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE (PUBLISHED 05/16/2009)
Is anyone signing up? Of course.
But are the petition circulators getting enough signers? (about 14,000 are needed) Are they getting qualified signers?
The SCPR has learned that the originator of the petition drive, Michael Mouse of Canal Fulton, is no longer a member of the group of a half-a-dozen or so circulators.
The SCPR believes it is because the circulating group has become a renegade (the SCPR's term) effort.
Mouse, who was formerly an elected official in Canal Fulton (city councilman), knows how one circulates petitions effectively. The first step is to obtain what is known is political circles is a "walking list" of registered voters. Secondly, from that list, one focuses on voters who do what? Vote consistently. Petition signers might actually show up at the polls and vote for the issue, if it gets on the ballot.
Commissioner Todd Bosley is on record as chiding almost taunting the circulators about their ability to get the repeal effort to the ballot.
Could he be on the mark with his observation?
It appears so.
Mouse says he was not pleased with the focus, dedication and leadership of the group.
Towards the end of Mouse's direct involvement with the petition drive, it became apparent to him that circulators were just collecting signatures. No walking list, no nothing, except - of course - the petition itself.
A main reason petition drives fail is just this way of getting signatures. When the board of election folks start checking the voters rolls, many signers get stricken from the list for a very simple reason; they are not registered voters. Duh?
When Mouse organized the group, he was careful to ask each participant to ante up a equal share of the expenses that the effort was going to engender. Feeling assured that the money would be there, Mouse advanced $220 to get the drive underway. A Defiance attorney was hired to draft the petition and off and running was Mouse and friends.
It soon became apparent to Mouse that promising to share in the expense is one thing; actually forking over the money proved to be another. Mouse did get some members to pay but got discouraged with the hassle of pushing for the promised monetary participation.
Initially, Michel Mouse was to be the leader. He would be working closely with the Defiance attorney and he would organize and monitor the collection of signatures.
Before the petition was finalized, it dawned on Mouse that the he had lost control of the group; if he ever had control. Petitions were being circulated before a circulation plan was agreed to and one Thomas Marcelli appeared to be emerging as the de facto leader.
Well, Mouse didn't seem to think putting Marceilli front and center was a good idea.
Because Marcelli has been the subject of several local media pieces detailing how Marcelli is way behind in paying his Stark County property tax bills and providing chapter and verse about Marcelli challenging Commissioner Bosley and Stark County auditor Kim Perez to what appears to be a physical confrontation.
Another troubling development to Mouse was the suggestion by group member James Bailey that he go to the Stark County Republican Party and ask the party leadership to get behind the repeal effort.
Mouse wanted to make the effort an "across the board" grassroots movement; not the capture of the Stark GOP.
The SCPR believes that is exactly what Bailey did and the result was a Stark GOP (engineered by Stark Republican operative Jason Wise) coup d'etat of the Tax Day, Tea Day - Canton, Ohio April 15, 2009 event crowned by the appearance of Stark County Republican chair Jeff Matthews.
What does all this "trouble" mean to the success or failure of the petition drive.
The SCPR believes that the incorrigibility some of the petition-drive-group-members, that Mouse describes could cause two things:
First, they fail to come up with the needed nearly 14,000 valid signatures, and
Second, if they do, when Bosley et al come out with their political canons; all the discord and dissonance of the petitioner-group may prove to be the group's undoing at the polls.
While the SCPR supports the need for the 1/2% sales/use tax increase (which will be parceled out to a reworked 9-1-1 countywide emergency system and to the county general fund); yours truly also supports the notion that Stark County voters should have a right to vote on the measure.