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Saturday, February 28, 2009

DISCUSSION: COUNCIL RACE - 7TH WARD - ZUTALI VERSUS BARTON (INCUMBENT) IN DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY

Today the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) presents Wuyanbu Zutali, Democratic candidate for Ward 7 Council in the city of Canton.

Zutai is an expert Chess player going back a number of years. Perhaps, then this contest will turn out to who makes the Chess err political moves. The Report has done a little photo editing to show what a Zutali/Barton Chess err political match might look like.
More seriously, Zutali stopped by The Report's office and made a video about his views of why he is the best man for the 7th Ward. Two years ago Barton bested Zutali in the Democratic primary and went on to defeat incumbent Republican Councilman Richard Hart.

Hart is waiting in the wings (running uncontested in the Republican primary) for a November runoff with either Zutali or Barton.

The Report did invite Barton to a Q&A session, but Barton has chosen not to respond. Apparently, he doesn't think 7th Ward voters are entitled to know his views on important city issues.

To help readers of The Report to get to know Zutali better, The Report is including a link to a website he maintains. You can access the site by CLICKING HERE.

Here is the video of Zutali telling 7th Ward voters why the ought to be voting for him rather than Councilman Barton in the May primary:

Friday, February 27, 2009

DISCUSSION: REPUBLICANS EYEING AT LEAST ONE TRUSTEE SEAT IN PLAIN TOWNSHIP?

UPDATE MARCH 3, 2009

The latest list of Plain Township citizens who have either taken out or filed petitions to run for trustee. The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has been lead to believe that incumbent Pam Bossart will not be running to retain office.

With all the wrangling that has broken out in Plain Township among the trustees, is it merely coincidental that Republican Scott Haws has chosen this time (yesterday) to announce that he is running to replace either Democrat Louis Giavasis or Pam Bossart.

Republicans only control one of Stark County's major (population wise) townships (Lake). Perhaps there is an opening in Plain. Fighting broke out at this week's township trustee meeting because Trustee Al Leno exploded on fellow Democrat Pam Bossart for not participating in township meeting; other than to be there physically and to vote. From Bossart: no seconding; no nothing, that is, up until this past meeting.

Apparently, Bossart has been giving Leno and Bossart the cold shoulder, as suggested in The Repository article which reported on the meeting) because she was not elected president in last month's organizational meeting.

The Plain Township trustees race (which officially is non-partisan) could be very interesting Haws entry. The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) believes it could be more interesting if Stark County Republicans come up with another candidate. Two trustees are to be elected this time around.

Here is Haws' bio and statement of why he is running for trustee:
The high tax burden faced by Plain Township retirees and working families has prompted Scott Haws to declare his candidacy for Township Trustee.

Haws, a Diebold Product Specialist, believes the township must better prioritize spending, seek economies and secure regional partners to cut costs.

"I am deeply concerned that the cost of local government is beyond the means of taxpayers." We must find better ways to stretch our dollars out. I favor a State Auditor's performance audit to identify wasted money."

Haws has been employed by Diebold Inc. since 2000. He is a graduate of
Kent State University and holds an MBA from Walsh University. Haws is a graduate of Leadership Stark County Signature Program and Government Academy. Haws was also an inaugural recipient of the Chamber of Commerce’s YStark! Twenty under 40 Leadership recognition. Scott is a life long resident of Stark County.

Scott has regularly attended the Plain Township Trustee meetings over the last year and half. As well Scott Haws is involved with various organizations in the community including but not limited to:

• YStark! Events Committee
• Diebold Federal Credit Union Board of Directors Officer
• North Canton Jaycees

As Trustee, Scott Haws will look to work with local and state organizations to improve the business climate, making Plain Township appealing for employers to remain in and for investors to bring new opportunities. It is vital that our next Trustee understand how economic development, regional collaboration and annexation will impact Plain Township. Haws’ goal is to make Plain Township a thriving place of business opportunity in Stark County.

Scott’s strong educational background, community involvement, integrity and vision for Plain Township will allow him to be an influential member of the Plain Township Board of Trustees should the voters of Plain Township elect him on November 3rd, 2009 to the position.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

DISCUSSION: A MAN WHO CONTRIBUTED TO YOUR CAMPAIGN BECOMES THE BEST LABOR ATTORNEY IN OHIO - HOW CONVENIENT?



The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) put the words defining "disingenuous" into the mouth of Canton Mayor William J. Healy, II.

Why?

Just listen to his interview with Ron Ponder ("Points to Ponder" WHBC-AM 1480) on February 6th.

Incredible! How idiotic this guy thinks the rest of us are.

Some people think Healy is an awfully smart guy. And if you don't believe these folks, just ask him. He'll tell you himself.

But on scrutiny The Report says he is more slick than smart. To make the slick appraisal, let's do an analysis of his discussion with Ponder.

First, Healy ignores Ponder's clearly implied question about "avoiding" accountability to Canton City Council on hiring outside legal counsel for labor negotiation by negotiating a contract with the attorney (Gary C. Johnson of Johnson & Colaluca of Cleveland) for $14,999. Of course, we all know the rest of the story. At $15,000 Canton City Council must give it approval for hiring the Cleveland attorney.

Second, he slams the Canton Law Department by citing the definition for insanity, to wit: "to do things the same way and expect different results." Moreover, in referring to the existing labor contracts (negotiated by guess who? - yes the Canton Law Department), Healy says that "most people from the outside say, wow, these are very favorable contracts for the employees" (in other words the law department of years gone by have not done a good job and it would be insane to continue with them).
Third, Healy speaks of how "fabulous" Canton's organized labor employees are and that they are the ones who keep Canton going (impliedly its not Mayor Healy and his administration but the employees - mind you). Oh yes, our New York University Stern School of Business grad takes second fiddle to the ordinaries?

Fourth, Healy suggests that these "fabulous" employees who "really" run Canton are paid too much: 80% of Canton's budget. Eighty percent because of the "sweetheart" contract that the Canton Law Department negotiated with the union. Think about that Law Director Joe Martuccio?

Being a Democrat, Healy has to walk a fine line with organized labor. Looking at Healy's campaign fiance report, organized labor gave TeamHealy lots of money. For instance, Laborers Local #15 contributed $8,000.

The Report believes Healy merely plays the "rhetoric" game with organized labor in order to keep the campaign funds flowing. The Report further believes that Healy feels much more comfortable with the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce crowd. It's kind of like he is trying to be accepted in the "hoity-toity" club of Canton. But they only made token contributions to his campaign. And, in the opinion of The Report, the chamber types will never accept Healy as one of their own. After all he is a Democrat and he did take out their political darling Janet Creighton-Weir.

Fifth, Ponder asks Healy "so you didn't want to entrust that to the law department?" (which The Report thinks Ponder got exactly right) Healy denies the lack of trust. But then he goes onto "I WANTED OUTSIDE EYES TO LOOK AT THE CONTRACTS." Clearly, the mayor is a man who thinks that the rest of us are totally stupid and does what lawyers call a "confession and avoidance" (i.e. no but yes).

Sixth, then, according to Healy, "we contacted a gentleman, a gentleman came in with his credentials." A curious and subtle change from "we contacted" to "a gentleman came in," which The Report thinks is a cover for a politically connected person close to the Healy administration who wanted to steer Canton to the Cleveland law firm.

We need to remember that political consultant Jack DeSario (also a political science professor at Mount Union College) DR Consulting managed the Healy campaign for mayor. What is relevant here is that when DeSario consulted with former North Canton Mayor Tom Rice's campaign, he admitted that he had told Rice that Gary Johnson was "available" to replace Bob Tscholl as North Canton's labor negotiator.

Did DeSario have the same sort of conversation with Healy? With all due respect to Mr. Ponder, that line of questioning should have been pursued.

Sixth, notice how Healy cites all of Johnson's outstanding credentials, then, in the opinion of The Report, diminishes Johnson's role. All of a sudden the Mayor does an almost 180 and begins waxing eloquent about his team, to wit: the law department, the service director, the safety director, the auditor. It almost as if the "best labor attorney" in all of Ohio is just one of the guys on this team. Who believes that will actually be the case?

The Report predicts (if North Canton's experience is an indicator) that Johnson will be totally in charge and when he submits the final bill to Canton for his services, $14,999 will seem like a pipe dream that only William J. Healy, II believes. In North Canton, officials were stunned when what they were paying Bob Tscholl about $15,000 for ended up being approximately $55,000 from Johnson & Angelo (a predecessor firm, which included Jack DeSario, to Johnson & Colaluca - DeSario is not a part of Johnson & Colaluca). Guess who is back negotiating for North Canton. Yes, indeed - Attorney Robert Tscholl.

Seventh, the opinion of The Report the mayor impugns Robert Tscholl's motives in writing the letter cited by Ponder. On what basis does The Report have this opinion?

Well, The Report spoke with Tscholl about his letter (see a copy of letter by CLICKING HERE) and Tscholl told The Report that he was astounded at the mayor move to hire outside counsel. Tscholl said first of all that Canton had no need to hire him or any other legal counsel (Stark County based or not) to negotiate with the unions because the Canton Law Department has first-rate ability and an unquestioned record. But if outside legal counsel was to be hired, there were others - other than Robert Tscholl - who have great credentials in representing the management side of labor negotiations. Tscholl said local legal counsel would charge somewhere around $140 per hours whereas Johnson hires out at somewhere around $225 per hour.

The Report has listed in the accompanying graphic contributions that TeamHealy received from Johnson and one other member of Johnson & Colaluca (Attorneys).

The Report there are other connections between Gary C. Johnson and other TeamHealy contributors. The Report has endeavored to talk with the Healy or someone in the Healy administration and campaign about these contributions but to no avail.

One has to wonder why Healy and his campaign is being unresponsive, when you are on record as saying Gary C. Johnson is the best management side labor negotiator in Ohio.

Wouldn't it just be a formality to say something to the effect that: "The campaign contributions by Attorneys Johnson and Schmitz are by out-of-town folks who believe in Jamey Healy and his efforts to bring good government to Canton. Gary C. Johnson was hired because of his labor negotiating experience."

The Report's take on the "refusal to respond" is that Healy et al know that there are many other questions to answer about TeamHealy's campaign finance report.

Certainly the Healy folks understand that The Report is foraging through the campaign finance report to find out exactly who all the out-of-town contributors are in order to provide The Report's readers with background material, in terms of their interests, on the contributors so they can begin to make sense of the contributions - other than, the obvious and obligatory "we're for good government" spiel.

The Report fully expects the "non-cooperation" to continue. But The Report is tenacious and will not be put off easily.

Here is the audio excerpt from "Points to Ponder" to follow in comparing same to The Report's analysis:

DISCUSSION: YOU BE THE JUDGE, IS HEALY SETTING UP TO FIRE CHIEF POLICE MCKIMM?



Some time ago the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) wrote that Mayor William J. Healy, II attempted to fire Canton Police Chief Dean L. McKimm (CLICK HERE TO SEE PRIOR REPORTS).

Of course, all Cantonians have gotten is denial, after denial after denial.

Denials seem to "the coin of the realm" in the Healy administration these days.

The Report has known from the day yours truly first laid eyes on Healy that - to say the least - he is a "self-assured" person; some say "cocky;" while The Report (as has written before this piece) says he is arrogant.

The Report has come to an additional assessment of Healy based on his response on governing issues on the table regarding Canton government. To say the least, he is disingenuous. The Report believes that he is unbelieveable on most of the critical matters that are swirling around Stark County about Mayor Healy and his conduct in office.

But readers of The Report should be equipped to make their own assessments.

In that spirit, The Report endeavors to provide readers with documents generated by the Healy administration itself, to assist in the assessment task.

Doesn't the letter printed in the accompanying graphic give credibility the thinking that Healy is building a record on which to fire McKimm through the Canton Civil Service personnel process?

DISCUSSION: IS HARTVILLE'S SEWER RATE HEADED TO $50 PER MONTH?


The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) believes these are particularly hard times for the village of Hartville.

Mayor Ed Tucker is scrambling these days to get state and federal (can you believe it?) money to improve and update the villages' sewer plant. Right now use is at 97% and the rates are soaring.

In early January, Tucker told the Akron Beacon Journal that he was opposed to reworking the sewer system because it cost too much. Here is a Google summation of Tucker's position as of January 8, 2009:
... Hartville mayor opposing sewer work. Proposed $1 million design for $6.4 million plant expansion too costly, says Tucker, who favors repairs
Interestingly enough "patch and repair" is what Tucker favored when in challenged former Mayor Beverly Green in 2007. Green worked hard to get the village up-to-date on its sewer system. It is poetic justice that the problem is now Tucker's.

Why would The Report say parenthetically "can you believe it?" Because when Republican Ed DiGiacomo was mayor from the 1980s through the mid-1990s, the village turned down the opportunity to obtain Community Development Block Grant money due to the federal "strings attached."

But things are different in Hartville these days. The Report has been told that Longaberger is down to precious few employees in Hartville and, of course, the storied Schumacker Lumber is no more. However, there is one bright spot: Scott Process Systems, Inc. It is said to be growing and probably is the main reason Hartville is staying afloat these days.

Since Tucker and his administration are besieging Ohio and Washington officials for a handout, it must be that Tucker has converted from a "patch and repair" man to an "expansion man."

The price tag for expansion will be high. When Green was mayor, a resident's sewer bill was at $9.00 or so, increased to $17.00+, then to $27.00+ and now council is considering an increase to $33.00+. How far off can $50.00 a month be?

The political warfare continues in Hartville and the sewer issue is only one of many fronts that the political battles have been and will continue to be waged.

Tucker and his political cohort ousted Bev Green and her friends on council. Now, The Report understands, Tucker and his political friends are blaming Green and her supporters on council for everything that ails Hartville these days.

Four council seats are up this time around. And The Report expects "a battle royal" for control of the reins of government. The Report will not be surprised to see Green and her allies go for a rematch in November by trying to wrest control from the Tucker crowd.

Will Hartville see another sea change in its political makeup in November, 2009?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

DISCUSSION: ISN'T BEING CONGRESSMAN ENOUGH?



Last week our new Congressman John Boccieri issued a "meaningful" press release.

The Canton Repository, to name one local media outlet, picked up on the release and did a nice piece entitled Boccieri kicks off 'Congress on Your Corner' meetings in 16th District/Davies Pharmacy.

The Rep story detailed why, when and where of Boccieri's initiative to connect with his16th District constituents.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) applauds Boccieri's connecting with constituents effort.

What we can do without is this piece which appeared in The Alliance review today, to wit:
Boccieri hails Obama for taking control of country in recession.

A week ago or so, a Boccieri press release appeared in the Massillon Independent blasting Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives. Not one of them voted for Obama's stimulus package.

The Report sees a disturbing trend with the new congressman: politicizing too much.

The 16th Congressional District is a "swing" district which means that it may not be all that easy for Boccieri to get re-elected in November, 2010. The Report believes his re-electability should depend on "bringing home the bacon" to the 16th and being responsive to the heard concerns of those of us who live in the 16th.

It has to be tempting for Boccieri to ride the Obama popularity express. For Boccieri got elected because Stark Countians, in particular, yearned for a change which Obama and the Democrats campaigned on. But nobody knows whether Obama will be popular or unpopular nearly two years down the road.

Even if Obama remains popular and advantages his political office-holding supporters, "political coattails" is not a good basis for constituents that a candidate be elected upon.

As The Report said above: Boccieri's re-electability should depend on "bringing home the bacon" to the 16th and being responsive to the heard concerns of those of us who live in the 16th.

So, please Congressman Boccieri, leave the press releases praising President Obama to his press secretary - Robert Gibbs.

GRAPHIC EDITORIAL: PLAIN TOWNSHIP TRUSTEES ACTING LIKE CHILDREN?




Tuesday, February 24, 2009

DISCUSSION: MARLBORO TOWNSHIP TRUSTEES WISE & WOLF REFUSE MEDIATION OFFER BY BOARD PRESIDENT SHILLIG


The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) take on last night's Marlboro Township Board of Trustees meeting is that it was a complete bust.

Wise and Wolf are as intransigent as ever refusing Wayne Shillig's offer to mediate - preferably with the chief back on the job. Shillig moved to reinstate the Chief but could not get a second. Then he moved to go into executive session with the chief. Again, he could not get a second. (see the accompanying video to witness this process first hand)

Pictured above are most if not all of those who spoke up at the meeting. The Report estimates that there was upwards of 100 people present.

Police Chief Devies had what he thought was a couple of major revelations. First, he shared that the Stark County Crime Lab examination of the Township's computers did not produce whatever the trustees were looking for.

What were the trustees looking for?

Whether or not Chief Devies' son Kyle had been on the Township computer network after being fired by the trustees. In the video below, you will see and hear Kyle take the trustees to task on this issue.

If this were the only thing that the trustees were having investigated, then the failure of the crime lab (according to Chief Devies) to find anything would seem to end this matter.

But it is apparent to The Report that the trustees had Chief Deputy Rick Perez (Stark County Sheriff's office) looking into other things concerning the chief. What they are is anybody's guess including that of Chief Devies. This really is taking on the look of a "fishing expedition."

The Report gets the impression that Wise and Wolf are so fully invested in finding something on the Chief that they are prepared to stay on board the quest even if it ultimately means going down on a sinking ship.

Second on Devies' revelation list was his certainty that Perez had not yet gotten his report to Stark County Prosecutor John Ferrero. The Report believes the Chief's information was dated. Trustee Wolf's information that the report had been forwarded was Monday information whereas Devies' was Friday information.

How long will Ferrero be sifting through the report?

Nobody seems to know as predictably Ferrero would not commit to a timetable to any of the folks he has talked to.

However, Devies did tell the assembled crowd that his attorney (Jeff Jakimedes of Alliance) made it clear to Ferrero that if there is to be a grand jury phase of this investigation; that he would aggressively defend himself in that forum.

What follows in a video of that portion of the meeting that The Report deems to capture the essential core of the meeting.

DISCUSSION: CANTON CITY COUNCIL RACES - 9TH WARD

Will the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) cover ward races in the city of Canton. Of course. Candidates who wish to get their points-of-view out to the voters (ward or council-at-large) contact The Report at tramols@att.net or 330-699-5002.

Today, The Report feature Frank Morris who is running against the venerable Joe Carbenia.

Party officials (Democratic and Republican, but especially Republicans) do not like party primary fights. Plus in the city of Canton there aren't enough Republicans to have a contest.

But no so with Canton's Democrats. Look at the council-at-large field. Ten candidates for one seat.

One seat, aren't there three?

Yes, but does anyone really think Smuckler and Cirelli are going to lose?

Back to the 9th and Frank Morris versus organized labor friend Joe Carbenia (a long time member of and official of the Canton fire fighters union).What else does Morris have to say about Carbenia and his fellows on Canton City Council. Here is his statement to The Report:
Their attitude of business as usual needs to stop because it is not business as usual. this country is in serious trouble and local government needs to tighten their belts like so many of us.

There is no honesty in city government either, council raise the parking meters fee and increased ticket prices to " Increase the amount of shoppers in downtown" what are we stupid!!!

RedFlex is for our safety not revenue, but the first two minutes of the presentation showed a traffic accident that was caught on tape???
Guess the system does prevent accidents does it.

City council can no longer operate as they have in the past, it's time to think outside of the box.

Mr. Carbenia is not letting the voice of ward 9 be heard in council, he has become business as usual.
To find out more about Morris here is a link (CLICK HERE) to his website.

Is Morris a threat to defeat Carbenia?

Monday, February 23, 2009

NAMES IN STARK COUNTY POLITICAL NEWS: WHAT IS TO BECOME OF ALLIANCE CITY COUNCILMAN STEVE OKEY?

Democrat Alliance City Councilman Steve Okey (also a trial attorney) cannot seem to get his "political timing" in order.

When it became known that then Congressman Ralph Regula was contemplating retirement, Steve Okey's name surfaced in Stark County Democratic circles as a person who was interested in making the run.

In fact, Steve's interest predated the 2006 race, but apparently the prospects of success were not strong enough.

Most recently, Okey tried to get the appointment to succeed John Boccieri (elected 16th Congressional District congressman in November) as state senator from Ohio's 33rd District. Even though Okey served as Boccieri campaign treasurer and raised tons of money for Boccieri, it didn't seem to help him secure the senatorship. In fact, it appeared that he never had a real chance. Senate minority leader Capri Cafaro was hearing "none of that" in terms of someone from Stark County getting the post notwithstanding Okey's support of the Stark County Democratic Party and its chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr (a close political friend of Governor Ted Strickland).

It's hard to gauge his clout in Alliance politics. The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) suspects that his clout is suspect.

Why is his clout suspect?

Because Alliance's Republicans have fielded three strong candidates to run for council-at-large and Okey might be a victim given his somewhat controversial record in stirring things up in Alliance government and politics.

It appears that Alliance Republicans have awakened from their slumber of 2007 when Democrats wrestled control of city council from the GOP.

Alan Adreani a former superintendent of Marlington schools has been on council since 2006 and was the biggest vote getter in 2007.

Sarah Brown is the wife of Judge Charles Brown (Stark County Court of Common Pleas) and a former city council person, a former Alliance City Schools school board member, a member of the Ohio Ethics Commission and a Republican state committee woman. Moreover, she tied her herself to defeated vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin in Palin appearances in Stark County. Perhaps, Sarah Brown will provide another Stark County forum opportunity (presidential campaign 2012) by bringing Palin into Stark to campaign for her?

Larry Dordea is a highly popular former police chief of Alliance who ran a strong campaign against Tim Swanson in 2008 in a losing effort. Though Dordea is running for city council, the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has learned that he expects to be running for sheriff again in 2012.

The Report would not be surprised to see Alliance Republicans sweep the council-at-large races. Alliance seems to be the one place that the Stark County Republican Party has some life. The Report believes that this is the case because the last effective county Republican Party chairman was Charles Brown who is from Alliance.

Returning to Okey. It could be that Okey will regret turning down Canton Mayor Wiliam J. Healy, II to be named service director (as Healy's first choice) to succeed the fired Thomas Bernabei (as The Report has learned to be the case).

But Okey's refusal did help former Alliance City Council member and mayoralty candidate (2007) Warren Price get the service director post. Price applied for the job when Healy was filling out his cabinet posts in early 2008. At that time Price was 9th on the list of potential appointees.

The moral of the Price story for Okey?

Keep hanging around the political hustings.

You just never know when lighting will strike?

DISCUSSION: DEVIES UNLOADS ON MARLBORO TRUSTEES WISE AND WOLF - PART VII OF SCPR VIDEO INTERVIEW

In this episode of the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) series (Part VII) on Marlboro Township Police Chief Ron Devies, the chief describes a "list of concerns" that Trustees Wise and Wolf have about him.

Chief Devies is currently on "paid administrative leave" pending the investigation of unspecified matters of concern that the trustees (including Shillig) say they have. But Shillig does say he doesn't understand why Devies can't be working pending the outcome of the investigation.

Here is Part VII of the Devies interview:

Sunday, February 22, 2009

DISCUSSION: GAUGER OF THE REPOSITORY - "SET UP MAN" OR "SCREW UP MAN?"


On Friday past, the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) alerted readers to the imminent meeting that was about to take place at Mayor Healy's request with "the powers that be" at The Repository.

Clearly, this meeting was designed by Healy to finesse "Canton Reps" executive editor and derivatively the whole machinery of The Repository into being Healy's "set up man."

According to Wikipedia: "Setup pitchers, unlike closers, commonly appear in games where their team is tied or even behind ... "

Mayor Healy is looking to "close out" this game ahead. Right now, in the opinion of The Report, Healy is behind. And he is using The Rep to keep the wolves at bay while he scrambles to get ahead of this story.

Why would The Repository become Healy's ally in this fight for his political life. That is not "the only newspaper's - in town - " role. All of us who know Jamey Healy are empathetic with him. What a horrible spot to be in. But if he is in a problem, he has no one to blame but himself.

The job of an effective media is to set its own agenda of when, where and under what circumstances and ground rules to question. Not the subject himself.

What The Repository failed to do - or if it did and just is not sharing with the general public, is ask Healy about the e-mails and/or text messages that reportedly exist and are supposedly in Sheriff Swanson's possession which are said to have emanated from Healy himself to the 16 year old who is the subject matter of allegations that Healy had an inappropriate relationship with.

What The Rep has done is let Healy set the table. Can't blame Healy for trying. Apparently, he has succeeded.

The Report hopes that it is shown that none of these reports about a Healy "inappropriate relationship" are not true. Healy is correct (see "Healy hires lawyer to find who sent 'sordid' letters," The Rep on 2/22/2009) these accusations "have distracted him from important city business."

But to get to point of a final determination, all the documentary matter (electronic included) needs to be dealt with.

Healy talks very freely about the outrageous anonymous letters, as well he should. How about the other side of things, mayor?

Is Healy prepared to say that no e-mails and/or text messages between him and the 16 year old exist?

As matters stand, we don't know whether or not any such electronic communications exist?

Why?

Because The Repository has failed Stark County once again in its questioning/investigatory role. And because Mayor Healy hasn't volunteered the information.

Why doesn't the mayor (who yours truly knows well) call The Report?

Readers of The Report know that talking to yours truly is not likely to be a conversation Healy would relish.

In the end The Report says that Jeff Gauger is both a "set up man" and a "screw up man" for The Rep's handling of the "private" interview with a "public" figure on issues of huge public importance.

DISCUSSION: PART 1 - ALL OF THAT OUT-OF-TOWN MONEY IN THE RACE FOR MAYOR OF CANTON?

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has begin the task of going through the TeamHealy Committee campaign finance reports (CFRs) on file with the Stark County Board of Elections.

The Report's major effort will be to add more than is apparent from the sterile numbers in the CFRs. The Report will be adding contributors once an effort has been made to find out in more detail about a given contributor and why the contributor is interested (as an "out-of-towner" in contributing to Mayor Healy's campaign fund.




Saturday, February 21, 2009

DISCUSSION: IS MAYOR HEALY A CANTONIAN "THROUGH AND THROUGH?"


He brags about his New York education (the NYU Stern School of Business), he brings quite of number of out-of-towners into his administration and he accepts large numbers of out-of-town contributions; all of this raises a question with the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report).

Is Mayor William J. Healy, II really committed to Canton, Ohio?

How much listening is there in the Healy administration to the voices of day-in, day-out Cantonians when one considers how suffused with the "out-of-town" factor?

Yesterday, The Report went to the Stark County Board of Elections to do a check of Healy's campaign contributions. In the ensuing days, The Report will be writing about whom and how much out-of-towners have contributed to his campaign. All of which raises the question of how much Cantonians are heeded by this administration.

The Report was surprised to learn how relatively little of Healy's big contributors were from Canton or even Stark County. Although Canton City Council President Allen Schulman made a $500 contribution on June 11, 2007 (The Report didn't pick up on any other Schulman contributions), and to most of us $500 is huge; for Allen Schulman this is "chump change," and in light of the huge out-of-town contributions $500 is indeed "chump change."

Normally Allen Schulman is a huge voice in Canton, Stark County, Ohio and significant voice in Washington political circles because of his record of being a prolific and generous campaign contributor. But in his hometown? Not with the Healy administration. Why he wasn't even told that his good friend Tom Bernabei was about to be fired. Allen Schulman on the outside looking in? Wow!

Follow The Report over the next number of days as we detail some the "persons of interest" who have contributed to the "TeamHealy" mayoralty campaign.

DISCUSSION: DEVIES UNLOADS ON MARLBORO TRUSTEES WISE AND WOLF - PART VI OF SCPR VIDEO INTERVIEW

In this episode of the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) series (Part VI) on Marlboro Township Police Chief Ron Devies, the chief continues his account about how the accumulation of annoyances at the hands of Trustees Wise and Wolf built up from when they first took office (January, 2006) to the present day to a point that Devies says his job became stressful.

Chief Devies is currently on "paid administrative leave" pending the investigation of unspecified matters of concern that the trustees (including Shillig) say they have. But Shillig does say he doesn't understand why Devies can't be working pending the outcome of the investigation.

Here is Part VI of the Devies interview:

Friday, February 20, 2009

BULLETIN: HEALY OBTAINS LEGAL COUNSEL & REQUESTS AND IS GRANTED A PRIVATE MEETING WITH THE REPOSITORY

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has confirmed with Adam Herman, Healy administration Communications Director, a tip that Mayor William J. Healy, II has retained legal counsel.

Herman told The Report that the hiring of legal counsel (who Herman could not provide the name of) was for the purpose of tracking down and dealing with the author(s) of the anonymous letters alleging that Healy has had an inappropriate relationship with a 16 year old female.

Herman denied that the attorney-retention had anything to do with Healy defending himself against the allegations.

Does this mean that Healy has given up on the FBI pursuing the anonymous letters?

Communications Director Herman also confirmed Mayor Healy had requested and was granted a meeting with Repository officials and that a reporter would be present. He indicated that whether or not the meeting proves to be a "newsworthy" event, would be up to The Repository.

Earlier today The Repository posted an online story pointing out that Mayor Healy was spotted at the Stark County Sheriff's Department early this morning. However, the story was subsequently pulled by The Rep together with comments on the article. The Report has learned (not from Herman) that the meeting was with Chief Deputy Rick Perez, but does not know what the subject matter of the meeting was.

GRAPHIC EDITORIAL: THE PATHETIC SHAPE OF THE STARK COUNTY REPUBLICAN ORGANIZATION

DISCUSSION: MRDD Series Vol 1 - IS MRDD'S MIKE MILLER ANSWERING COMMISSIONER BOSLEY'S CONCERNS?



Back on January 17th the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) went to a "levy information" presentation at its Whipple Dale facility put on by the Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (MRDD) administration.

This is the first in a series that The Report will be doing on the MRDD levy request.

Much of The Report's presentation will be video taken at the January 17th presentation so that you can hear straight from CEO/Superintendent Michael Miller.

For today, The Report - as a intro - repeats one simple question posed by the Stark County commissioners as voiced by Commissioner Todd Bosley in a article by Alliance Review reporter Laurie Hoffman.

Here is the essence of the commissioners concerns as expressed in this excerpt from The Review:
Voters should be aware, it was also noted by Commissioner Todd Bosley in an interview on Thursday, that even if the levy is approved and the entity's Southgate and Eastgate schools are kept open, they will change from what they are today. This information was given to the board of commissioners during a presentation on Feb. 4 by Mike Miller, Stark MRDD director. "We have given them (Stark MRDD) the opportunity to make their case to the voters, and I wish them success," said Bosley. "I posed a series of questions to Mike (Miller) at the Feb. 4 meeting and I was told if they are in fact kept open, the schools will change."

Bosley also questioned Miller at the same meeting as to what, specifically, would be different at the schools, but Miller said he could not give an answer at that time.
The Report's question is this. Should Stark Countians be willing to vote for an "unknown?"

Thursday, February 19, 2009

DISCUSSION: DEVIES UNLOADS ON MARLBORO TRUSTEES WISE AND WOLF - PART V OF SCPR VIDEO INTERVIEW

In this episode of the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) series (Part V) on Marlboro Township Police Chief Ron Devies, the chief gives his account about how the accumulation of annoyances at the hands of Trustees Wise and Wolf built up from when they first took office (January, 2006) to the present day to a point that Devies says his job became stressful.

Chief Devies is currently on "paid administrative leave" pending the investigation of unspecified matters of concern that the trustees (including Shillig) say they have. But Shillig does say he doesn't understand why Devies can't be working pending the outcome of the investigation.

View Part V below:

DISCUSSION: SLIMAN, GONZALES & PIZZINO? OUT TO REMAKE STARK COUNTY?


An interesting meeting the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) took in yesterday.

The meeting seemed somewhat surreal in that one could easily slip into thinking: Are these guys trying to break up Stark County as a unit?

What guys?

Canton Annexation Director Sam Sliman, Jackson Township president of the trustees John Pizzino and Jackson Township fiscal officer Randy Gonzales; those guys.

Watch the video of the meeting embedded at the end of this article.

Sliman - self describing as "the towships' Darth Vader." Really?

Sliman, Gonzales and Pizzino had their lines rehearsed well: "Stark County economic development," "historic," "not a land grab. and "one-third the population of Stark County." Sift through the video. Don't they sound like a chorus?

Somehow the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) doesn't buy that this Canton/Jackson Township tryst is anything but a satisfaction of the moment.

This forced marriage out of desperation for Canton and Jackson Township and is not going to be a benefit to Stark County at large.

Gonzales, in particular, is known for ignoring significant parts of Stark County in his 9-1-1 work: Minerva, Alliance; who else?

No, it smacks of these three Stark County kingmakers creating a "county within a county" dedicated to the proposition of barricading Jackson Township for 99 years. Canton for its part, is a dying economy; yes dying.

Why would current government officials (Canton City Council) go for a 99 year deal except out of economic survival desperation. In following Bill Smuckler, Canton City Council is following the "Pied Piper of Canton." Smuckler, a long time council member, has been in the thick of Canton's decline and apparently determined to take Canton and Stark County over the cliff with him.

So in the future, The Report will refer to the Sliman, Gonzales and Pizzino creation and Canackson County.

Where is it?

Some where in the midst of Stark County!

Here is the video.

DISCUSSION: CANTON MUST BE AWASH IN MONEY?

Canton mayor William J. Healy, II is making some mighty poor decisions for the city of Canton these days.

A major one appears to be a decision to hire Attorney Gary Johnson (a Cleveland lawyer) to do labor negotiations for Canton.

Why is this a poor decision?

For a number of reasons.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has featured as the graphic for this story, a letter from Canton attorney Robert Tscholl setting forth quite clearly why the Healy move is unnecessary.

Tscholl's baseline position is that no outside (the Canton Law Department) help is needed. And, if it were, the place to go would be local legal counsel (not necessarily Tscholl) who are highly capable and competent. Tscholl told The Report that his fee, if he were to be hired, would be $140 per hour. But, again, he sees no need for Canton hiring anyone.

It is more than a bit hypocritical of the mayor of Canton to go to Cleveland for legal help or, for that matter, a workers' compensation claims processing company; while trumpeting jobs for Canton and Stark County.

What is this fixation that Healy has with Cleveland?

Healy's move to Johnson has an eerily resemblance to North Canton mayor Tom Rice's hiring of Johnson which ended up costing North Cantonians about $40,000 in premium legal fees.

In the Rice case, local political science professor (Mount Union) and political consultant (Rice campaign adviser - 2003 mayoralty campaign) Jack DeSario was the connecting point between North Canton via Mayor Rice and Attorney Johnson.

The Report is not aware of any statement by DeSario disclosing any role in the Healy/Johnson connection. Nor does The Report know of any documentation indicating that DeSario had anything to do with the Healy/Johnson connection even in light of DeSario having served as Healy's political consultant in his 2007 mayoralty race.

Only time will tell whether or not the Healy/Johnson connection (which The Report agrees with Tscholl is not needed) was because of "Johnson's" outstanding labor negotiating credential that Healy gave as his reason for hiring him on a recent "Points to Ponder" show or there is something more to it.

Another negative on this whole situation, is the mayor having the contract come in at $14,999 so that he could do the deal without council scrutiny and approval.

At the very best, this Healy decision was a very poor one in terms of justification!

DISCUSSION: SHERIFF'S DELAY IN CONCLUDING DEVIES INVESTIGATION MAKES ONE WONDER?


Part of the text of an e-mail from Karen Kirsch of Marlboro Township to the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) is as follows:
Latest news is that the sheriff and prosecutor are receiving lots of calls, but the sheriff is now telling people that they "have just received some new documents and so it's going to take a while to process these...."
Really?

"some new documents?"

Wasn't this investigation all about computers?

Actually, The Report believes that Trustees Wise and Wolf have made it much more than that.

A source independent of locals who are at the forefront of defending Chief Devies, but close enough to Wise and Wolf to know, tells The Report the two main antagonists are scrambling to save their political hides and are desperately seeking to inject any morsel they can dig up to make their case against Chief Devies.

The Report believes the "adding on" and "delay" undermines any credibility that a investigation report fixing wrongdoing on Devies would have. On the chance that the report comes back showing the no wrong doing, then then Wolf and Wise have "super egg" on their faces.

In any event, The Report believes that this whole scenario is a "lose, lose" for the Wise-Wolf duo come November?

No matter the outcome of the investigation, this question arises.

Have these two trustees have taken Marlboro Township - the bucolic community it is - and thrust it into the world of "cloak and dagger politics" where "witch, err, warlock hunts" are "par for the course?"

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

DISCUSSION: DEVIES UNLOADS ON MARLBORO TRUSTEES WISE AND WOLF - PART IV OF SCPR VIDEO INTERVIEW

in today's STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) film segment, Chief Devies brings Trustee Tim Wise into view.

Watch as Devies describes the "off-hand" and/or "by-the-way" approach of Wise in bringing up the Lyle Devies working on township computers.

Of course, hindsight is 20/20. The whole let's give the Devies kid $9.50 an hour but police officers $9 an hour is in of the world of the surreal. To his credit, the chief has a problem with this.

Watch for yourself:

DISCUSSION: SEQUEL #2, DESARIO AND THE NORTH CANTON CAPER

Yesterday, the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) related how the Mayor Tom Rice (North Canton) with, perhaps, a nudge from political consultant Jack DeSario replaced Stark County labor attorney Robert Tscholl, who represented North Canton in negotiations with unions, with Cleveland-based attorney Gary Johnson's law firm.

This event along with a number of others prompted former North Canton city councilman Chuck Osborne to filed a complaint with Canton City Prosecutor Frank Forchione (now a Stark County Common Pleas Court judge).

The Report in this blog is going to parse the Forchione report.

First, to the left is a summary of the background of Forchione's work (hereinafter "FR") taken out of the first paragraph.
The Report has highlighted certain portions of the graphic insert. The green highlight indicates language that The Report will comment.

The Report talked with Attorney Robert Tscholl prior to preparing this report and learned that Attorney Tscholl never told Prosecutor Forchione nor anyone else that he "no longer wanted to negotiate [North Canton's] contracts.

Moreover, in February, 2003 it is very likely that Rice was considering hiring Jack DeSario to run his campaign against Osborne (and Stark County Republican Party stand-in Christopher East). Let The Report be the first to say, what Rice was doing in February is sheer speculation.

Forchione, in an omitted part (omitted by The Report) of the FR goes on to talk about the fees that Gary Johnson would be charging North Canton. These particulars are only relevant in his report because part of the allegation that North Canton way overpaid Johnson (almost $55,000) for the work especially in the light of the approximately $15,000 the city was paying Tscholl.

Second, by May, the relationship between Rice and DeSario was cemented in an actual contract.

Did Jack DeSario know that Rice was keeping the DeSario/Johnson connection secret from North Canton officials?

Forchione stops with the Rice aspect, since that was the mandate of his investigation. So we will never know unless Rice or DeSario want to address the question.

Third, Attorney-labor negotiator Gary Johnson "pussyfoots" around as to whether or not Jack DeSario works for Johnson & Angelo. Why?

DeSario himself revealed to Forchione that - yes - he worked for the firm and that he discussed union negotiations with Mayor Rice and go so far to own up to discussion Johnson & Angelo with Rice.

Folks, this is a strange course of events (the hedging of Johnson, while DeSario is forthcoming).

For Stark Countians The Report believes there are several things to be garnered from Frank Forchione's investigation of Osborne's complaint as it relates to the Jack DeSario/Johnson & Angelo/North Canton connection.

1. Stark County attorney Robert Tscholl lost a client (he is now back working for North Canton for two years now) through political machinations.

2. North Canton paid approximately $40,000 more for legal services than Tscholl would have charged.

2. Stark Countian Jack DeSario was apparently looking out for his Cuyahoga County association while living in and working in Stark County (both as a political science professor at Mount Union College and as a political consultant).

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

DISCUSSION: CANTON CITY COUNCIL- AT- LARGE SERIES - REV. DR. DEBORAH A. WATKINS SPEAKS ON CANTON POST OFFICE ISSUE AT CITY COUNCIL - 1/26/09

The photo of the Rev. Dr. Deborah A. Watkins (council-at-large candidate for Canton City Council) was taken at a Canton celebration of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Recently, Dr. Watkins appeared at Canton City Council (January 26, 2009) to speak on the issue of moving of certain Canton U.S. Postal jobs to Akron.

Here are Dr. Watkins' remarks:
Dr. Deborah A. Watkins as he just mentioned is my name. My address is 9204 St NE. I am in the 2nd Ward.

I would like to address this information to the entire body, to the Mayor, to his cabinet members, to the acting President taking President Schulman’s place and to all the Council Members or Persons.

As of April the 1 , the Post Office service will be re-routing Canton’s mail to Akron. I am sure that some of you might be aware of that. The Post Office that will be effected are several to my understanding and one is the New Market downtown on 4 Street, 220 SW.

The second one is our main Post Office which is on Cleveland Avenue. That would be Cleveland Avenue NW, 26, in the 2600 block.

The Post Office workers and the community, we’re again upset about this issue and this situation.

And you see, I want to mention again and emphasize it and preface that statement with saying again we’re upset because, last year in 2008, the community, the Postal Worker s, and some of you Council people were there at a meeting which we held. Our problem with the meetings that we held, we really didn’t get the full turn out of the entire Council and we should have.

It was the concerns and problems that we had with, one the wanted to take especially Ward 2, take it and change it and put cluster mailboxes. Now along with the cluster mailboxes, they also had wanted to take and re-route or route the mailing at that point in 2008, they wanted to start it.

But there such, let me say, strong support or opposition against it that we were able to and as I see it this time to only delay the situation.

I have to say to the Council, to the President, to the Mayor, what are we doing about this problem or this situation?
Do you agree with candidate Watkins? Should stopping the removal of postal workers jobs from Canton to Akron be a top priority with Canton council members?

DISCUSSION: SEQUEL #1, JACK DESARIO - "THE LITTLE POLITICAL GODFATHER OF STARK CO.," "STARK COUNTY'S POLITICAL OCTOPUS," AND "THE COMMON THREAD?"

Yesterday, the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) did an introductory piece on the political comings and goings of Mount Union political science professor and political consultant (D&R Consultants) Jack DeSario in the Stark County political world.

It is common for The Report to have additional sources come forward once a piece has been published. Already this has occurred in the Jack DeSario matter.

Chuck Osborne who served formerly on North Canton City Council and ran for mayor in 2003 against incumbent mayor Tom Rice (a DeSario political consulting client) came forward to connect DeSario with Republican Rice and the Cleveland law firm of Johnson (principal Gary Johnson) & Angelo and North Canton hiring Johnson to do its labor negotiations.

Sound familiar?

While The Report has been unable to turn up any direct evidence linking DeSario to the hire, even though he was a key player in the Healy mayoralty campaign; it arouses one's curiosity that recently Democrat Mayor William J. Healy, II accepted a bid by Gary Johnson to do some labor negotiations for the city of Canton.

Healy, "in the spirit of full accountability," asked Attorney Johnson to fashion his bid at the price of $14,999 so that the mayor did not have to get council approval. Formerly, Canton has used the Canton Law Department to do the negotiations.

Back to the North Canton situation.

After Democrat Osborne lost the mayoralty contest to Republican Rice, Osborne filed a complaint with the then Canton City Prosecutor Frank Forchione (now a Stark County Court of Common Pleas judge) about certain campaign conduct by then Mayor Rice.

The only part that The Report is going to deal with has to do with the involvement of Jack DeSario in the Rice campaign and the connections between DeSario and Rice which may have resulted in North Canton hiring Johnson (a law associate of DeSario at the time).

Today, The Report lays out the complaint involving Rice's relationship with DeSario and North Canton hiring lawyer Johnson.

Tomorrow, The Report lays out the results of Prosecutor Forchione's investigation.

The relevant portions of the complaint:

Tomorrow: Forchione's findings.

DISCUSSION: DEVIES UNLOADS ON MARLBORO TRUSTEES WISE AND WOLF - PART III OF SCPR VIDEO INTERVIEW

In today's interview, Chief Devies describes to the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) how his son Kyle got started setting up the Marlboro computer network and continuing on to maintain the system until he was let go by the trustees on January 6, 2009.

Readers will recall that the basis on which the trustees to "paid administrative leave" action against the chief, in some way or fashion involves a couple of the township's computers. Tomorrow's video has the chief explaining some interesting exchanges that the chief had with Trustee Wise on Devies' son and the computer system.

Here is Part III of the Devies interview:

Monday, February 16, 2009

DISCUSSION: WILL THE PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION OF OHIO (PUCO) CONSIDER AEP'S USE OF CORPORATE AIRCRAFT (PERSONAL USE) IN ITS RATE INCREASE CASE?


UPDATE: From a source: "... THE 2007 FERC [Federal Energy Regulatory Commission] filing for AEP, and Mike Morris' compensation package include $289,865 of "Personal Use of Company Aircraft.'' (Michael G. Morris-Chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer)

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) passes on a little tidbit to readers about what AEP (Ohio Power) is doing with some of the revenue it raises from electricity users.

The tidbit is from a friend of The Report who has connections inside the utility world, to wit:
A friend of mine was at a party with some of the AEP big shots and she said they were bragging that the company owns three jets -- and makes them available to the bosses for personal travel. I'm assuming we're paying for that, too.
Do you wonder whether or not member of the Stark County legislative caucus has any interest in looking into this bit of information?

How about it Oelslager, Okey, Schuring, Slesnick, Snichler and Shiavoni?

DISCUSSION: STARK COUNTY POLITICAL SUBDIVISION ELECTED OFFICIAL TABS JACK DESARIO AS THE "LITTLE POLITICAL GODFATHER OF STARK COUNTY?" REALLY?


Yes. That's how a Stark County political subdivision elected official thinks of Dr. Jack DeSario, a political science professor at Alliance's Mount Union College to the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report): once again here it is - "the little political godfather of Stark County."

Alternatively, the source assesses DeSario as being "Stark County's political octopus."

Another elected official bills DeSario, because of his involvement in Stark Countians' recent political campaigns, to The Report as being a "common thread" linking a number of Stark County elected officials.

The Stark County names that surface in local political circle talk include: Mayor William Healy (D), Canton service director and Democrat Warren Price (when he ran for mayor of Alliance), Democrat Stark County Auditor Kim Perez, Democrat Dr. Peter Ferguson (as a candidate for county commissioner), Republican Richard Regula (defending his commissioner's seat) and Mayor David Held (R - North Canton).

A twist on DeSario working for Healy is that he (DeSario) says in a Repository report that Governor Strickland asked him to do so because it was utterly (The Report's term) important that Healy be elected mayor of Canton.

There is an unusual twist on DeSario working for Richard Regula's campaign for Stark County commissioner (2006).

The Report has learned from Democrat Commissioner Todd Bosley that DeSario was all set to run the Bosley for Commissioner campaign. However, before getting up and running on the campaign, DeSario contacts Bosley and relates to him that he cannot do so front and center in the public eye.

Why would that be?

Bosley tells The Report that DeSario recounted to him that his Republican opponent Richard Regula's father Ralph (the now retired 16 District congressman) sat on the Board of Trustees at Mount Union College where DeSario is a political science professor. Bosley went on to recollect that DeSario related to him that someone in the Mount Union administration told him it wouldn't set well with the, then, congressman, if he (DeSario) worked openly for Bosley against Regula's son Richard.

But as Bosley tells it, DeSario still wanted to work for his campaign sub rosa in the context of the Bosley campaign being billed by and payments being made to a DeSario proxy.

The rest of the story? Bosley rejected the proposal and DeSario went on run Richard Regula's campaign.

By the way, Stark County Board of Election records show that DeSario is registered as a Democrat.

The Report has tried to ferret out all Stark County politicians who have had some connection with Jack DeSario and his campaign consulting activities. The possibility exists that other Stark County politicians have a DeSario connection that The Report has not picked up on.

But Jack DeSario as a "common thread" linking Stark County elected officials? To what end?

A political science professor working the political hustings is an especially intriguing topic to yours truly, being a political science undergrad major. However, The Report does not find this troubling in and of itself. Some political science professors get involved in political campaigns, but many do not.

As noted above, DeSario worked on Republican North Canton Mayor David Held's most recent contested campaign. It just so happens that DeSario and Held live cattycornered from each other. Have since 2002. Held appears to be close to Mayor Healy of Canton for whom DeSario served as campaign manager in the Canton mayoralty race 2007.

The Report has learned that Held was one of Healy's key advisers on which applicants to place in the newly elected mayor's cabinet. Moreover, DeSario was one of the interviewers of at least one of Healy's cabinet candidates.

Another Stark County connection for Professor DeSario is Stark County Democratic chair Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. Maier appointed him to head a screening committee to make a recommendation to Governor Strickland as to whom he should appoint to the Stark County Common Pleas bench to replace Sara Lioi whom President Bush had appointed to a federal judgeship.

Maier is also known to recommend to individual Democratic candidates that they consider hiring Jack DeSario for their campaigns. Getting back to DeSario and Healy, did Maier (arguably, the governor's best Stark County political friend) weigh-in with the governor to persuade DeSario to take on the Healy campaign?

There is no doubt that Doctor (Ph.d) Jack DeSario is deeply insinuated into Stark County politics.

DeSario does come with specific ethics credentials. He was appointed to the Ohio Ethics Commission by then Governor George Voinovich on December 20, 1991 to a six year term which ended on December 18, 1997. He served as chairman in 1993, 1994 and 1996.

The Report asks again, so what - Jack DeSario of North Canton being involved in Stark County campaigns; after all he is a political consultant. A "common thread?" To what end?

Some Stark Countians (polIticos as well as everyday citizens) seem to be distraught over campaign contributions ($500 each) by Cuyhoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora (DeSario worked on some of his campaign) and Auditor Frank Russo to the Healy mayoralty campaign (DeSario denies having had anything do with facilitating the Dimora/Russo contributions).

Why are these Stark Countians disturbed? Apparently because they question whether or not the contributions to TeamHealy by Dimora/Russo and others (four in number contributing a total or $4,600) who have a connection with a workers' compensation claims management company - (1-888-Ohio Comp) - resulted in Healy changing Canton's workers' comp provider from a Columbus firm to 1-888 soon after Healy took office.

Mayor Healy says the contributions had nothing to do with his decision on which company was provided the workers' comp contract.

Remember, Jack DeSario denies any connection whatsoever to the contributions and the 1-888 decision.

On Wednesday (February 11), The Plain Dealer reported the FBI had subpeonaed Parma (Ohio) school district records including those of DeSario 's D&R Consulting:

The Plain Dealer report put DeSario's connection to the Parma schools and his response to the subpeona this way:
Desario, a political ally of Dimora, said Tuesday he had no idea why his company's name is on the subpoena. His company had a $10,000 contract with the district in 2005-2006, but most of its consulting has been for Parma's Back the Schools Levy committee, according to records.
A final note. DeSario does have a law degree and at one time was registered with the Ohio Supreme Court to practice law in Ohio. But The Report's check with the Ohio Supreme Court (via publicly available records online) show that DeSario let his registration expire in December, 2005.

So there you have it folks. Professor, lawyer trained and political consultant Jack DeSario is a colorful politically connected figure with a strong Stark County involvement.

Where his links and ties lead, is anyone's guess.

Perhaps, they lead to nowhere.

Do you have an opinion?

DISCUSSION: DEVIES UNLOADS ON MARLBORO TRUSTEES WISE AND WOLF - PART II OF SCPR VIDEO INTERVIEW

In today's video on the Devies/Marlboro Township saga, the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) begins a Devies interview timeline of the unfolding events which, in hindsight from the chief''s perspective, has contributed to the deteriorating relationship between Devies and township trustees Wolf and Wise.

Part II of the Devies interview follows:

Saturday, February 14, 2009

DISCUSSION: AN ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITY FOR BOCCIERI & BROWN TO GET STIMULUS $$$ INTO UNIONTOWN, STARK COUNTY OHIO?


Ohio's junior U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown rushed back to Washington, D.C. last night from attending his mother's wake, to cast the deciding vote (the 60th) in gaining congressional approval of a bill providing for $787 billion in economic stimulus money including $5.5B to cleanup "nuclear waste sites."

Concerned Citizens of Lake Township president Chris Borello of Plain Township who has been spearheading efforts to force cleanup of the Uniontown Industrial Excess Landfill (IEL) jumped right on this news in a e-mail to the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) and others.

The first question is: Why would "cleanup of nuclear waste" apply to the IEL?

The Report has no clear answer.

But there is a dispute about whether or not plutonium was dumped by the U.S. Army or its proxy at the IEL.

If The Report understands the IEL position on the plutonium issue, it is that CCLT does believe that plutonium was dumped at the Uniontown area. Other locals and Ohio and federal officials dispute whether or not this was the case.

The Report's position is this. Why not err on the side of caution? Isn't there enough of a question to justify pushing for some of the $5.5B to be applied to the IEL?

Shouldn't Boccieri and Brown be fighting to get some of this money into Stark County and Uniontown?

GRAPHIC EDITORIAL: STARK COUNTY'S "EXPEDITED" LAW ENFORCEMENT TEAM?

DISCUSSION: WHO'S BLUFFING, WHO'S NOT?

North Canton has just upped the ante on the Canton/Jackson Township Stark County internecine war that, in the end, will be highly damaging to Stark County's effort get its economic development cards in order.

The move by North Canton officials in filing a complaint (see North Canton files complaint on Canton Annexation bid - posted on line 2/13/2009 by The Rep) is a making good on a statement yesterday by a North Canton official to the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) to wit: "We've got a legal card or two, We're not done yet."

This same official acknowledged that North Canton ia "behind the eight-ball" (The Report's phrase). Moreover, an ensuing discussion focused on the phenomenon that "its not over until its over." (a quote attributed to famous Yankee catcher Yogi Berra) So The Report expects this war to go on and on and on.

The Report's ending point is this.

While it may be a lot of fun to play poker where there is a jackpot winner, and in this game either the Canton/Jackson Township side or the North Canton side will be a winner in the narrow sense of the word; however, in the end - the broader economic interests and future of Stark Countians will be the loser.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A SCPR GRAPHIC EDITORIAL

DISCUSSION: DEVIES UNLOADS ON MARLBORO TRUSTEES WISE AND WOLF - PART I OF SCPR VIDEO INTERVIEW

Marlboro Township Police Chief Ron Devies has a few things to get off his chest about the treatment he says he has gotten at the hands of Trustees Wise and Wolf since they were sworn-in January, 2006 (having been elected in November, 2005).

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) sat down and had a far reaching discussion with Chief Devies today and The Report will be posting a series of clips from the video over ensuing days.

Part 1 of the interview is posted below:

CANTON CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATE SERIES: VOL I - VIGNOS ON "ZERO TOLERANCE"


The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has started talking with and assessing the views of candidates for Canton City Council.

This election may be one of the most important in Canton's storied history. As The Report sees it the city is as a crossroads. It seems to have highly deficient leadership these days.

The question becomes this. is there a field of candidates from which voters and draw to change the direction in which Canton is heading?

Between now and May, The Report will be focusing on the Council-at-Large race because there is a potential of 11 candidates for 3 spots - all Democrats.

So far no Republican has gone so far as to even take out a petition. Unless this changes between now and the filing deadline for the primary, whomever survives the Democratic primary will be the the at-large representatives on council.

One of the key issues in this campaign is how each of the candidates see one of Mayor William J. Healy's main campaign themes when in ran for mayor.

Here is candidate Cynthia Vignos view: (CLICK HERE TO SEE CANDIDATE VIGNOS WEBSITE)
What people have to recognize is that "zero tolerance" doesn't mean that crime doesn't take place - it simply means that it won't be tolerated. Personally, I believe that Mayor Healy meant these words to imply that he would do everything within his power to address crime in our city (this is just my interpretation, of course). He is restricted by the limits of his authority, the budget, etc. As we discussed, city council is only capable of so much as well. Obviously, the entire system is going to be more effective and efficient by everyone working together - rather than as adversaries.
Do you agree or disagree with Ms. Vignos?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

DISCUSSION: NORTH CANTON'S PRESIDENT OF CITY COUNCIL ANSWERS CRITIC - WHO WILL SPEAK FOR JACKSON TWP? CANTON?

REGARDING SCPR POST: ARE STARK COUNTY'S CITY, VILLAGE & TOWNSHIP OFFICIALS OUT TO DESTROY STARK COUNTY'S ECONOMIC FUTURE?

Earlier today an "anonymous" commenter made the following POINT on North Canton's negotiations with Jackson Township regarding possible annexation and/or Joint Economic Development District (JEDD) or Community Economic Development Association (CEDA) zeroing in on Daryl Revoldt's role (as president of North Canton City Council, and probably because the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT expressed a positive take on Revoldt ), to wit:
Daryl Revoldt is the reason all of this is happening right now. It has been his past and present unwillingness to cooperate in good faith with North Canton's neighbors. He had a choice and he blew North Canton's chances once again.
To his credit, Council President Revoldt by name responded to the commenter's "point" with this COUNTERPOINT, to wit:
First, I did not particpate in the negotiations with jackson. The mayor, two
members of council and outside counsel participated.

However, I did insist that the city approach the agreement like a business
deal. Legal council reviewed the terms and we modeled the tax sharing
formula.

The contract required the city surrender annexation rights for 99 years, but
did not require Jackson perform with any CEDA or JEDD. In fact, I suggested
to our team that we sunset the agreement if no JEDD or CEDA action occur.

With regard to the tax sharing formula, the agreement required the city make
Jackson "whole." on property tax and that we split any income tax revenue
50/50. We created 8 study areas. We modeled one with 122 properties. If the
city adhered to the propsed tax sharing formula, the city in the single study
area alone would have owed Jackson nearly $100,000. The city's take: $0.

During the study process, the city was constantly pressured to enter the
agreement: Canton will get it, Canton will get it.

Common sense, not pressure or public relations had to drive a deal of 99
years.

We knew from our earlier analysis of the Plain CEDA proposal that Jackson is
filled with buildings that have high property taxes, but have relatively few
jobs, hence a very low income tax yield. We confirmed to out satisfaction
that the proposed formula wasn't good business. This simple fact should
caution Canton.

Our team concluded that the proposal was unworkable. Jackson telephonically
was quickly advised that the tax sharing proposal didn't work. It did not ask
to review our worksheets or offer a counter proposal.

The matter ended there.

Has Revoldt effectively answered his critic?

Why so?

Why not?