Thursday, October 15, 2009


A pox on both their houses?

Such could be the response of Stark County voters on Issue 5 come November 3rd.

But the "pox" remedy won't work.

Because it's an up or down vote on Issue 5.

"Not voting," is not a viable option. 

There will be a winner and there will be a loser in the early hours of November 4, 2009.

Listen to Charles Snyder of the Stark Citizens for the Right to Vote committee (SCRVC) giving that groups take on the issue and a recent NAVE gathering at the Canton Civic Center:  (Vote Yes for Public Safety had no representative present)

Take a look at the full web page on the website of the Vote Yes for Safety:

As the SCPR sees it, the most glaring problem for the Stark Citizens folks is that a 39% net increase in revenue to the county is simply inaccurate.

As the SCPR sees it, the most glaring problem for the Vote Yes folks is its avoidance of forthrightly discussing the fact that there is a revenue enhancement for the county general fund in Issue 5.

Yours truly is not surprised that Snyder et al can't or won't get their fact right.  The Report's take on these folks is that they are so impassioned about their cause that they fail to bring themselves (because of the fervor) to informing the electorate in a thoroughgoing and hence accurate fashion.

Yours truly is surprised that the Vote Yes folks mimic the Stark Citizens in not presenting a complete picture by their avoidance of the revenue ramifications of Issue 5.

Why does the SCPR differentiate between the two?

Because Vote Yes leaders are former and current elected public officials who are duty bound to keep the public trust.

No excuses for the Snyder and friends.  They are utterly unimpressive with their "let's throw everything including the kitchen sink" approach.

Their only valid argument is that citizens should send a message to the commissioners by repealing a imposed tax.

For Stark Countians who vote No on Issue 5, such is a valid basis in the opinion of the SCPR.  The rest of the Stark Citizens' arguments are bogus except the point about alternatives to fix 9-1-1 should be considered.

They have hurt their cause in playing loose with the facts and throwing in the irrelevant (e.g. the Gary Zeigler argument).

So have Reinbold (a former Stark County Common Pleas Court judge) and Jane Vignos (a former county official who voted to impose the tax) and their allies Stark County Democratic Party chairman Randy Gonzalez (also a Jackson Township official and Canton Municipal Court official), Commissioners Harmon, Bosley hurting the "Yes" cause by virtue of their trying to mislead the voters into thinking that Issue 5 is all about fixing Stark's broken 9-1-1 system.

The SCPR calls this "the fear factor."   And if there wasn't a tax increase for general county operations, the public should be fearful of not having a properly functioning 9-1-1. (though the fix must be cost effective and rational). With the general revenue raising part of Issue 5, came the responsibility to go beyond "fear" and justify the need for general operations money.  Stark officials are operating on fear alone.

For former and current public officials, who are often victims of distortions and outright untruths, to engage in the "avoidance" tactic on Issue 5, should make fair minded people less sympathtic when the cry foul in their victimhood.

Moreover, if the "Yes" folks win, the failure to be totally forthcoming with all the sub-issues on Issue 5, de-legitimizes, in a de facto sort of way, the general revenue fund aspect of the increased tax.

When a public official achieves an objective through a deception worked on voters, then they increase the cynicism of day-in, day-out Stark Countians who then get knee-jerk when other public officials asked for increased taxes in their venues.

School, fire, police, road and social service levies difficulties increase incrementally with every misleading campaign that a public official has a hand in.

The SCPR suspects that the out-and-out politicos among the group of current and former public officials named above have come up with the deception campaign.    But their should be no protest from the "go along, to get along" about being lumped in.  They have lent their public prestige to a highly unsavory approach.

Shame on them.

And, shame on the Stark Citizens group.  These folks are setting the cause of citizen activism back with their approach.  Ordinary folks need to think twice, three, four and more times when asked by the likes of the Stark Citizens for the Right to Vote to join their effort.

Because people to get judged by their associations.

Both groups are having a hand in the degeneration of public discourse concerning the hard issues that everyday Stark Countians have to deal with on November 3rd.

So what to do?

For the SCPR, the inclination is to vote with the "Yes" folks.

However, it is only an inclination.  Imposition and deception by public officials do not sit well with yours truly, by anyone, but especially by folks charged with exercising the public trust.

The Yes folks have to provide a compelling fact-based REASON to vote yes.

The No folks have to provide a compelling fact-based REASON to vote no.

The SCPR is skeptical that either group will do so.

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