Tuesday, March 31, 2009

DISCUSSION: WHAT CREDIBILITY THE REP HAS IS FAST VANISHING?

It is unfair to compare The Repository to The New York Times except on a relativistic scale.

The famous masthead motto on The New York Times is, of course, All The News That's Fit to Print.

For a newspaper like Stark County's only countywide publication - The Rep - the motto ought to be All the STARK COUNTY News That's Fit to Print. But it is not advertised to be so nor does it in fact do so.

The fact of the matter is that The Rep is arrogantly withholds news from the Stark County reading public the Rep "powers that be" decide among themselves that we Stark Countians do not need to know.

Case-in-point.

When the Canton/Jackson Township annexation was in full swing a key meeting took places between city of Canton officials, a Jackson Township official and Repository officials that had newsworthy content but which The Rep kept to itself.

Who were the public officials participated in this meeting (The Meeting)?
  • Canton City Council President Allen Schulman,
  • Canton City Council Annexation Committee chairman, William Smuckler,
  • Canton Annexation Director Sam "Darth Vader to the Townships" Sliman, and
  • Jackson Twp Fiscal Officer Randy Gonzales (also an employee of the Canton Municipal Court clerk Phil Giavasis)
So?

Obviously, the meeting itself was an effort by political kingmaker Gonzalez (who The Report believes to be into controlling the future make up of Stark County) to convince The Rep powers to use whatever influence The Rep has remaining in Stark County to side with Canton/Jackson over and against North Canton in the annexation battle that has been joined.

So?

Here's the key.
According to a source of the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report/SCPR), one of the points made by either Schulman, Smuckler, Sliman or Gonzalez - perhaps, in combination - is that North Canton chief administrator E.E. Wise, Jr (popularly know in political circles as EJ) and North Canton City Councilman Pat DeOrio were supportive of the Canton/Jackson annexation.

The Report thinks this is big county news that should have been reported by The Rep to the Stark County reading public because of the ethical implications of the suggestions as well as economic implications to various Stark County communities.

This is where the interplay of politics and government becomes murky.

Regarding E.E. Wise, Jr.

E. J. Wise is a highly respected Stark County Democratic political figure (who has pedigreed entree into Stark County Democratic circles through his father, former 5th District Court of Appeals judge Earle E. Wise, Sr.) : among the most respected in the entire county. It is well known that he aspires to be a judge. He, a former prosecutor associated with the Bob Horowitz prosecutorial team, ran against incumbent judge Dixie Park (of the Stark County Probate Court) in 2004 and ran a relatively close race.

E.J. did try to get Governor Ted Strickland to appoint him to a general jurisdiction Stark County Common Pleas judgship when Sara Lioi was appointed by President Bush to the federal bench (March, 2007). But he was up against the equally "highly respected" Democrat Canton Law Director Joe Martuccio and the properly "politically credentialed" Taryn Heath. Heath ended up with the appointment.

For anyone to suggest that E.J. is "playing North Canton government for the fool" (because of his personal political ambition) is not credible. However, it is newsworthy and the Stark County public's right to know was taken away by the "deciders" at The Rep.

Regarding North Canton City Councilman-at-Large Pat DeOrio,

Pat DeOrio used to be one of the most powerful Republicans in Stark County. Stark County political observers (including The Report) were stunned when, a few years ago, DeOrio announced he was turning Democrat.

It could be that DeOrio reads the political tea leaves better than any other Stark County Republican. Since his switch, Republicans have been completely shut out of countywide political office (except for a few judgships, which for the most part were obtained through gubernatorial appointment in the first place).

Instantly as a "new-born" Democrat, he became the favorite of Stark County Democratic chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. The Report believes that the "new" Democrat DeOrio was Maier's (and probably - associate party honcho Randy Gonzales) choice in the 2008 Democratic primary for county commissioner which Pete Ferguson emerged from as the winner).

Somewhere along the line DeOrio ends up on the payroll of whom?

So?

Canton Municipal Court clerk of courts Phil Giavasis. Isn't this interesting?

Who else works for Giavasis? Can you believe it? Jackson Township fiscal officer Gonzales!

So?

Well, how about this.

North Canton council members are so sensitive the ethical implications of the Gonzales/DeOrio relationship that they had North Canton Law Director Chris Goldthorpe check with the Ohio Ethics Commission as to whether or not DeOrio and fellow Councilman Doug Foltz (who works in the Canton Parks Department) should be voting on issues involving both Canton and North Canton interests.

The ethical remedy (apparently suggested by the Ohio Ethics Commission): Council has asked council president Daryl Revolt (when joint interest questions come before council) to excuse DeOrio and Foltz from the meeting and then DeOrio and Foltz "accept" the being excused and do not participate in the deliberations and any vote on those issues.

North Canton City Council believes this process protects the integrity of the proceeding both from Council's standpoint and from the standpoint of the individual councilmen.

Going back to The Meeting.


Given all the political dynamics at play, wouldn't one think that The Rep would report The Meeting made suggesstion that DeOrio had divided loyalities on the question of Canton/Jackson Township annextion?

Divided loyalities?

The Report has learned on a previous North Canton City Council (not the current one), DeOrio was putting pressure on Councilwoman Marcia Kiesling, who was chairing Council annexation issues at the time, to enter into existing negotiations between Canton and Jackson Township.

So?

The Report's source is convinced that DeOrio was putting pressure on Kiesling because Randy Gonzales was putting pressure on DeOrio to put pressure on Kiesling.

Obviously, DeOrio could argue and maybe he does posit that working for Gonzales in the city of Canton milieu is merely co-incidental and that he viewed it in North Canton's interest that North Canton be involved in the Canton/Jackson negotiations and that his working for Gonzales had nothing to do with his stance.

With legal counsel in-tow (on the recommendation of another council member), Kiesling did attend at least one session with Canton/Jackson officials.

But eventually negotiations on the North Canton phase of negotiations failed because of :
  • "the 99 year agreement not to annex without Jackson Township's approval" provision, and
  • North Canton Council's determined that at the end of the day, when one considers the "make whole" property tax provision in Jackson's favor and the 50/50 split on income tax revenues from the annexed area, an agreement with Jackson Township was not in the financial interest of North Canton.
THE BOTTOM LINE?

Executive Editor Jeff Gauger was so audacious as to announce publicly and boldly that The Rep would filter the Boccieri/Schuring citizen input in the run up to the November, 2008 election to determine which would succeed Congressman Ralph Regula as 16th congressional district representative.

Now we have The Meeting report.

Critical information that bears on important issues affecting the interests of all of Stark County and The Repository determines that the content of discussions they have with key Stark County officials is not newsworthy?

So it appears that between Executive Editor Gauger and publisher Kevin Kampman Stark Countians are not getting "All the News That's Fit to Print."

Rather, we Stark Countians are getting what local news managers Gauger and Kampman decide we get. They are, after all - "the deciders-in-chief."

Readers can depend on the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) to keep not only Stark County government accountable, but also Stark County's only countywide news outlet!

The Rep is a local news monopoly.

DISCUSSION: BOSELY ONCE AGAIN HAS TO MEDIATE A HARMON INDUCED COUNTY CRISIS?


The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report/SCPR) has learned that Stark County commissioner Todd Bosley will be meeting with prosecutor Deborah Dawson (chief, civil division) and the law directors of Alliance and Massillon to explore ways to avoid having the county sue Alliance and Massillon over delinquent jail fee charges assessed by Sheriff Tim Swanson for the county's housing of the respective city's prisoners.

Bosley has found it necessary to be mediator once again in the context of a Commissioner Tom Harmon instigated crisis.

Readers of The Report will recall that Harmon caused a rile with the Stark County Veterans Commission (SCVC) some months ago when he resisted the commission's entreaty for a greater share of Stark County budgeted monies that are mandated by Ohio law.

Bosley stepped in and mediated that dispute. Consequently, the SCVC accepted substantially less than provided for by Ohio law in light of the ongoing county financial crisis.

Here we go again.

Harmon put an agenda item on tomorrow's board of commissioners' agenda to provide authorization and direction to proceed with suit against Alliance and Massillon.

Seeing Harmon's initiative, Bosley got busy contacting Alliance and Massillon city officials over the weekend.

The question is this: Whether or not Bosely has acted soon enough (in terms there being enough time before tomorrow's meeting) to work out a compromise?

A further intriguing question is this: If Bosley is unsuccessful in his efforts, how will the county commissioner vote go?

Bosley will not be in favor of proceeding at this time. Harmon will be. Where does that leave newly elected Pete Ferguson.

Bosley seems confident that Ferguson will support his position. But so does Harmon as to his.

It will best for all concerned (the commissioners, Alliance, Massillon, Sheriff Swanson, the prosecutor's office and Stark County citizens) if Bosley cannot broker a deal.

For if he doesn't and a vote takes place tomorrow, the resulting acrimony could open up a persisting internal strife that could make future commissioner decisions of consequence very difficult indeed.

DISCUSSION: AN ELECTED REPUBLICAN THINKS IT WOULD "LITTLE BIG HORN" ALL OVER AGAIN, IF TRAVIS SECREST WERE TO TAKE ON COMMISSIONER BOSLEY IN 2010?


The color depictions are reverse (red for Democrat Bosley; blue for Republican Travis Secrest), but a Stark County local government elected Republican used "Little Big Horn" to describe what this STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT 'S (The Report - SCRP) source thinks would happen in a Secrest and Bosley head-to-head, if it materializes in 2010.

It appears as of now that no other Stark County Republican wants to tangle with Bosley.

Along with The Report, the source likes Secrest but mused on the likelihood that Secrest could find himself emulating the Zeigler model of getting elected to office were he to take up the charge against sitting Commissioner Bosley.

The Report has heard various reports on the actual number of times that Treasurer Gary Zeigler ran before coming home a winner. Suffice it to say, God Bless his persistence, Gary ran a lot before "bingo!" was called at his election night party.


Secrest has run for public office twice so far. One for Canton Township trustee (losing by a mere 103 votes) and by substantially more to long time Stark County politician Tom Harmon in a 2008 race for county commissioner.

If the Zeigler model is the way Secrest chooses, then a race against Bosley makes sense.

lf his desire is otherwise, then maybe he ought to choose a more winnable race.

Monday, March 30, 2009

NEW FEATURE: SCPR "BLOG-Atweeter QUOTE POLITICAL OPINION EXTRA

'Create


The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report - SCPR) endeavors in our electronic age to refresh the SCPR blog frequently.

The "refreshments" will include breaking Stark County political news, updates, interesting political quotes and the like.

The publication will be under the banner SCPR BLOG-Atweeter.

Thanks for reading the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT.

DISCUSSION: IS GOVERNOR STRICKLAND CAVING IN TO THE "OLD SCHOOL POLITICS" OF STARK COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIR JOHNNIE A. MAIER, JR.?


Stark County has really fallen on hard "journalistic times" these days.

For today's blog, the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has to draw from the Akron Beacon Journal not Stark County's "The Repository."

Dennis Willard, the Columbus Bureau Chief, yesterday wrote an outstanding political analysis on Governor Ted Strickland's turn toward secrecy as his administration move forward on revamping Ohio's public education.

Readers of The Report will recall that The Rep no longer has a Columbus Bureau Chief since The Rep's parent company let Paul Kostyu go about a year ago.

In addition, Stark County has at least two members of the Ohio General Assembly who refuse to answer questions about their activities in Columbus; namely, Representative Stephen Slesnick (Democrat - 52nd) and to a slightly lesser degree Representative Scott Oelslager (Republican - 51st).

Back to Willard.

The theme of the Willard's piece is that Strickland administration policymakers "appear" to be attentive to input, while in reality disdaining it. In other words, the Stricklanders have their minds made up already and are merely playing to egos of those appearing before them to testify.

Another grievous action spelled out by Willard as being done by the Strickland folks was to take public information private, to wit:
Last week, the Associated Press reported that the governor steered an end run around the state's open records law by relying on a private consulting firm [Discoll & Fleeter] to work on the nuts and bolts of his new funding formula rather than his own budget office or the Ohio Department of Education.
To The Report, what Ohio and Stark Countians are witnessing is a frittering away of the goodwill many of us felt toward for Strickland when he first took office. On April 1, 2007, yours truly wrote this in a letter to the editor of The Rep:
Gov. Strickland demonstrates new promise of breaking with old-school politics. But his recently announced "creative accounting" is a reversion to the shell game politicians typically play. Strickland needs to nip in the bud "doing what politicians have always done." The governor has high credibility and good will now. Does he really want to squander these assets on quick-fix nostrums?
Willard goes on to describe how the Stricklanders "got hoisted by their own petard." By going secret, the Governor's education plan was not thoroughly vetted. Consequently, his plan is in real political trouble. It has a number of problems that Strickland's policymakers and senior legislators are in a desperate race with time to fix.

A "desperate race with time."

Yes.

The 2010 gubernatorial campaigns already underway. Strickland set the bar high for himself when in his Inaugural address (paraphrasing) that he would be a failed governor if he failed to fix the unconstitutional funding of public education during his first term.

If the appearance of failure persists, you can be sure that the Republicans will be all over him over the next 20 months.

The Report believes that the likes of Stark County Democratic Party chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr., have given Strickland a bum steer. Johnnie is an openly avowed disciple of storied political strongman Verne Riffe. Maier/Riffe types both in terms of political advisers and policy advisers appear to be carrying the day with Strickland presently.

Strickland feels indebted to Maier because Maier was the first county party chairman in Ohio to endorse Strickland when he ran in the Democratic primary in 2006.

Strickland is likely at a crossroads of his future political career. The current national economic crisis has bought him some cover for not having "Turn[ed] Around Ohio" as promised in the run up to his election. But the cover is not likely to last through November, 2010.

Willard has some good advice for the governor in his column.

To Willard' advice, The Report adds the following:

Go back to being "proud of Duck Run Road and ... proud of that little school [you] attended" and the innocence and sincerity it instilled you.

Do not let the hard-boiled, cynical political power types change who Ohioans perceive who you are.

The question now may well be: Can Ted Strickland "turnaround" himself; let alone Ohio?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

DISCUSSION: WHOSE INTEREST IS NORTH CANTON COUNCILMAN PAT DEORIO WORKING FOR ANYWAY? AND, WHY BEHIND NORTH CANTON COUNCIL'S BACK?


The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has learned that North Canton Councilman Pat DeOrio is working with Canton Mayor William J. Healy, II to broker a deal wherey Canton takes over North Canton's building cede inspections.

The work from The Report's source is that so far as the source knows, North Canton City Council is not aware of DeOrio's activities.

DeOrio is one smooth politician. He was once a Republican member of North Canton City Council. Then he switched to becoming a Democrat and subsequently became Stark County Democratic Party chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr's candidate for Stark County Commissioner. But he lost to Pete Ferguson in the Democratic primary.

Probably because he did Maier's bidding, DeOrio landed a job with one of the Stark County's Democratic political patronage czars; namely, Phil Giavasis: Canton Municipal Court clerk of courts.

The Report knows of at one North City councilman who loathes Pat DeOrio. The Report suspects that their are others.

The Report doesn't get it.

DeOrio is not universally liked on North Canton City Council and he's trying to broker a "for now" secret deal with big brother to the south which could be viewed by some as a prelude to an eventual Canton takeover of North Canton?

Canton is hugely ambitious these days. The Report thinks Canton sees expansion and annexation as the only way it can survive economically.

Remember the Canton/Jackson annexation deal? Remember the self-described on video Sam "Darth Vader" Sliman who is apparently hellbent on annexing all of the economic productive areas of the county.

Farming out its management skills "for a fee" (a la "let us enforce your building code") is a new avenue of Canton in the survival mode.

The Report believes that Canton Mayor Healy is in the process of dramatically raising fees for most city services as a sort of "secret" raising of taxes.

We know about the Canton parking meter fee and fine increases and the attempt by Mayor Healy to benefit co-incidental campaign contribution benefactor Reflex (through some employee donations) with a city contract to "enhance public safety." Of course, most Cantonians do not buy the "public safety" spin and see it for what it is: a revenue raising measure.

Perhaps Healy is following the lead of his political benefactor Governor Ted Strickland who has raised state of Ohio fees to the tune of $236 million while insisting it is not a tax increase.

Back to DeOrio.

Is there any chance for this man, who has a foot in North Canton and a foot in Canton, to pull off the Canton takeover?

The Report would not necessarily discount such happening because North Canton is vulnerable. North Canton is also mired in a negative into the future financial picture.

Normally, one who gets outed on a Machevellian political move is done for.

Given North Canton's need to economize its government operations, could DeOrio's secret planning behind the backs of Council work?

DISCUSSION: THE REPOSITORY FOLLOWS; THE STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT LEADS


In yesterday's online edition, The Canton Repository finally got around to doing some detail work in the contributions to the TeamHealy Committee.

To readers of the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) this indeed is "yesterday's" news. The Report receives many compliments from Stark Countians because The Report alone is in the lead with an insightful analysis of the "politics" involved in day-in, day-out Stark County local government decisions.

The reporters at The Rep do a pretty good job of reporting surface news. But investigatory reporting is almost not existent and The Rep's editors are as vapid as one can get and not nearly as "incisive" as The Report's material.

The Repository has enjoyed being a monopoly for some time now. Like most in a non-competitive situation, The Rep has stagnated and has not served the Stark County public well in terms of revealing the backroom political deals that affect the lives of everyday Stark Countians.

The Rep editors like to talk about "sunshine." But how much rolling back of the clouds of local political intrigue do they roll back to "let the sunshine in?"

Not much.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT has no contracts with the city of Canton, the Jackson schools like The Repository does. There are likely others that pay revenue to The Rep for its publishing services. When these businesses and local government entities run afoul of the law or have ethical problems, can The Rep be trusted to report and editorialize candidly; especially, given The Rep never issues a disclaimer when so reporting or editorializing.

On national news and public opinion shows, one hears disclaimers all the time.

With The Repository, "what is good for the goose (others), is not good for the gander" (The Rep).

It is obvious that The Rep is having a difficult time to adjusting to the "the new kid on the block."

But, indeed, a new day has arrived in Stark County on penetrating, hard hitting political analysis.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

DISCUSSION: IS MAYOR WILLIAM J. HEALY, II ABOUT TO GET "LUCKY?"


CORRECTION: 03/28/2009 AT 11:55 AM. Jack DeSario was a "political consultant" to William J. Healy, II in his race for mayor of Canton; not "campaign manager" as stated below. A SCPR thank you to the TeamHealy member who wrote in to point out the error.

These days Canton Mayor William J. Healy, II is probably saying to himself: "I'd rather be lucky than smart." That is quiet a leap for Healy who prides himself on and widely touts himself as being a graduate of the New York University Stern School of Business."

But a politician has to do what a politician must do to survive.

And Healy's luck may be turning?

Earlier this week Governor Ted Strickland announced Stark County's share of federal stimulus money: $21.5 million.

Guess where most of it, if not all, goes?

You've got it. To the city of Canton.

Remember that the governor has a huge stake in the survival of the Healy administration.

How's that?

It took Strickland (according to Jack DeSario) to get DeSario to agree to become the campaign manager of the TeamHealy Committee (the Mayor's campaign committee).

Some Stark Countians believe DeSario's involvement was a key to Healy's victory over Republican Janet Creighton. Although DeSario denies that he had anything to do with Healy being able to attract campaign donations from Cuyahoga County political figures, a number of local political observers are skeptical of the denial.

It has long been a sticking point with Stark County Democratic officials and undoubtedly the likes of Chris Redfern (chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party who personally donated $5,000 to the Healy campaign), that Canton (before Healy's election) was the only one of Ohio's eight major cities not to have a Democrat as mayor.

So it stands to reason, once your man wins you will do anything the law allows for to keep him in office, although his performance on the job indicates that he is heading pell mell for failure.

Hum? Stimulus money? Canton's economy is going nowhere? So why wouldn't the governor who is an arch-Healy supporter, with tons of discretionary authority, direct the money where certainly a huge need exists, (Canton has an 11.5% unemployment rate) and - by the way - co-incidentally props up a political ally?

Now on to the Swanson factor.

It could be that Stark County Sheriff Tim Swanson is so deficient in manpower that he cannot conduct expeditious and efficient investigations.

If such is the case, Swanson needs to farm out his work to less busy investigatory units - especially when there may be a political dynamic to the matter being investigated.

Maybe the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) is just seeing things that don't exist, but it does appear to The Report that Swanson has tough time being expeditious and efficient in investigation on politically sensitive cases.

The Report believes that Marlboro Township Devies case is an example of a "slowdown." In the judgment of The Report, there is no way it should have taken over two months for Swanson to make a determination of whether or not Marlboro Police Chief Ron Devies and his son Kyle may have violated Ohio's criminal laws in course of Kyle being a township employee working the township's computer system.

The Report has an advantage over the readers of this blog. The Report has a working knowledge of the intricacies, relationships and connections of Stark County politics from both sides of the isle.

The Report does not believe Tim Swanson is dumb enough to let the fact that Ron Devies openly supported his opponent (Republican Larry Dordea) in Swanson's 2008 re-election campaign be a motivation in how the Devies matter has been handled.

If politics were involved in what The Report perceives to be a slowdown, and The Report emphasizes the IF, then the politicizing factor would have been far more subtle and virtually untraceable to the average observer.

The Report does not know whether or not politics were a factor in the perceived slowdown in the Devies investigation nor, for that matter, in the Healy investigation. But The Report does know that political relationships and connections exist deep within the Stark County political establishment which could - if were ever know the truth of the matter - end up being factors.

Okay, assuming The Report's perception is correct and there was indeed a slowdown in Devies; such begs the question:

Why?

The Report believes that the investigators were having a difficult time finding (criminal charge wise) something to nail the Devies' with. And there were a couple of township trustees rear-ends to protect (from possible civil suits, if nothing else - NOTE: the SCPR has learned that Stark County Prosecutor John Ferrero sent "civil side" legal counsel to the last Marlboro Township trustee meeting to advise the trustees during the meeting). And, maybe just maybe, political pressure (from the deep recesses of Stark County political relationships and connections) was being brought to bear to find something.

Well, how does The Report's take on Devies factor into the Healy situation.

Pretty much the same, but with one important difference. In the Healy situation, the political push (if there is one) from Stark County's deep political recesses would be the opposite of what The Report speculates in the Devies matter.

In Healy, The Report's conjectured reasoning is that slowdown is needed to give time for the local political climate surrounding the Mayor to cool down. Once matters cool down, then it would be easier to sell a "no bill" to the awaiting public.

Whether or not The Report is correct in its analysis, one thing is for sure.

The political survivability of Mayor Healy is looking better everyday.

Healy may in time join in on a chorus with his TeamHealy devotees, the New York Sun editor September 21, 1897 penned the refrain: "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus."

Friday, March 27, 2009

DISCUSSION: STARK COUNTY HAS ONE SUPER BUSY SHERIFF?

Republican Larry Dordea (now second in charge in the Hartville police department) can't wait to get another go at Sheriff Tim Swanson.

Dordea doesn't think Swanson runs a very efficient office.

Dordea ran against Swanson in 2008 and made a very respectable showing.

But will he get the chance?

Stark Countians will recall that Swanson announced before the 2008 election (as required by law) his plan to retire before taking up office again, if re-elected.

As if he didn't have enough to do, the good sheriff has turned to writing letters to the editor to The Canton Repository. The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) applauds Sheriff Swanson for the effort. In his letter earlier this week, Swanson came to the defense of his good pal and Stark County Treasurer Gary Zeigler.

If memory serves The Report well, Swanson, Zeigler and John Ferrero ran as "a law enforcement team" in 2004. The Report is quite sure how Zeigler (the treasurer?) fits in, but that's how it was. "That's how was" until Ferrero had a tiff over the arrangement and dropped out. But Swanson and Zeigler remain as mutually committed friends. Witness the letter to the editor.

Yours truly has written many, many letters to the editors and accordingly has nothing but good feelings for brothers and sisters of the pen.

But then The Report got to thinking. Maybe Sheriff Swanson really doesn't have time to write these letters.

Why would that be?

How about a backlog of investigations?

Undoubtedly, Sheriff Swanson and Chief Deputy Rick Perez have a long list of investigations they are working on.

But The Report remembers how terribly long it took Swanson's department to investigate the Devies matter (Marlboro Township Police Chief Ron Devies and his son Kyle).

The sheriff (actually Chief Deputy Perez) was called in to investigate in early January and it was only last week Stark Countians learned of the results of the investigation.

And, if The Report understands correctly, Swanson has some sort of investigation going on Canton Mayor William J. Healy, II.

When is that investigation going to be completed?

If the Devies investigation is an indication, with the Healy matter being much higher profile; it's anybody's guess.

One thing The Report remembers is that members of the Marlboro community felt they were given the runaround by Swanson et al (i.e. we sent it to Prosecutor Ferrero; Ferrero's people would say "we don't have the report") Kind of reminded yours truly of the Abbott and Costello scene described thusly by Wikipedia:

Who's on First?

Who's on First? is a comedy routine made famous Abbott and Costello. The premise of the routine is that Abbott is identifying the players on a baseball team to Costello but their names and nicknames can be interpreted as non-responsive answers to Costello's questions. In this context, the first baseman is named "Who"; thus, the utterance "Who's on first" is ambiguous between the question ("which person is the first baseman?") and the answer ("Who is the name of the first baseman.").

The Report used to believe that Sheriff Swanson ran an efficient operation. But no more!

Larry Dordea was on to something in 2008 and all Tim Swanson has done ever since is to validate Dordea's contention.

So okay Sheriff Swanson, write this letters for your political pals. But don't forget, getting those investigations done on an expeditious basis is JOB #1.

DISCUSSION: IS NORTHWEST BOARD PRESIDENT STEVE JONES WORKING FOR OR AGAINST THE UPCOMING LEVY?



Obviously, working for it.

But from the way Jones (the board's president) is handling the replacement of a recently deceased board member "in secret" (according to a report in yesterday's Rep), the effect may be that he working against it.

Anytime a public official does something "in secret," it raises eyebrows.

And the upcoming levy approval request by the Northwest schools may be decided by the narrowest of margins. In November, 2008 and February, 2009 levies failed by less than 400 votes.

All Northwest needs is a few "fence-sitting" voters to go negative because of Jones' uncalled for secrecy.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) recommends that Mr. Jones return to his alma mater Malone College and take a course in Politics 101.

Actually he needed to take the course before now. In 2003 he failed to qualify for the regular ballot in running for the Northwest Board of Education because he turned in a petition with the bare minimum of 25.

So?

Well, one of the 25 was invalidated because the Stark Board of Elections determined that one spouse had signed the other spouse's name. He ended up running as a "write-in" candidate.

Politics 101 truism: "write-in" candidate do not generally win. And guess what? Jones did not come close to being one of the winners, even though he had been on the board for 8 years by the 2003 election rolled around.

Anyone who has a ordinary political IQ knows better to show up with the bare minimum of required signatures.

Jones has been on the Northwest Board of Education for going on a total of 13 years. He should have more political sense than to do what he doing in the handling of the board member replacement.

It's one thing if he suffers individually for his political mistakes. It's quite a different matter when the victim could be an entire school system.

DISCUSSION: HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE THE STARK CO STATEHOUSE LEGISLATIVE DELEGATION TO FIGURE OUT HOW MUCH & WHERE THE MONEY GOES IN STARK?

UPDATED: 03/28/2009 AT 8:00 AM. Apparently, Stark's legislative delegation had no say in how much money ou was coming to Stark (which turned out to be 21.5 million, according to a Repository report) and where it would go within the county (just about all to the city of Canton). It would be interesting to know how the governor decided these questions.

For the last couple of days it has been raining in Stark County. It's springtime and that's the way it ought to be.

In coming days Stark should be getting a different kind of rain: green rain. Yes, the governor has gotten his hands on Ohio's share of federal stimulus money and now we will find out if our legislative delegation is going to get Stark County's fair share.

The Report suggests to the delegation that they bring Stark County Democratic Party chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. in as a consultant on this one. After all, he was the first Democratic chairman in all of Ohio to endorse Strickland before it was a sure thing that Strickland was going to be governor.

Don't think the governor has forgotten "good ol' Johnnie," do ya?

In case you have forgotten how close Johnnie and the governor are, here is a video reminder.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

TRACKING OUR LEGISLATORS: STEPHEN SLESNICK - OHIO HOUSE (52ND) - DEMOCRAT


The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has embarked on a"tracking our legislators" series.

The first track was of Congressman John Boccieri (16th - which includes Stark County) who issued the perfunctory press release highlighting the fact that the good congressman had introduced his first bill in Congress since taking the oath of office.

The bill: HB 545. This is a bill to provide for a research and development tax credit for predominantly domestic companies. CLICK HERE to see the initial SCPR story.

On March 23rd The Report asked Congressman Boccieri about what this bill will do for the 16th congressional district (focusing on Stark County.)

So far, no response! Only a promise of a response. How long to you suppose this will take? Perhaps, The Report should have asked to be a part of Boccieri's 2,200 person conference call. How many of these folks got the questions answered?

But it does make for good PR. The Report is beginning to suspect that "looking good" might be Boccieri's major asset.

Today, the SCPR turns attention to Canton legislator Stephen Slesnick.

In perusing the Ohio House webite, The Report zeroed in on bill on which Slesnick is a sponsor: HB 3.

Readers need to know that Democrat Slesnick is not a "primary" sponsor of any legislation. A surprising find to The Report because he has been in office for over a year now (having succeeded William J. Healy, II) when he was elected Mayor of Canton).

In contrast, his Republican colleague from the 50th (which is basically a horseshoe shape on the outer fringes of Stark County) Todd Snitchler (who just took office in January, 2009) has already introduced legislation as a primary sponsor.

Getting back to Slesnick and HB 3.

HB 3 is popularly known as The Home Foreclosure Prevention Act.

Here is a graphic which shows Slesnick as a sponsor:




Undoubtedly, the co-sponsored bill is one that engenders a lot of sympathy for those Ohioans that this legislation will help.

But there is a problem.

This bill is not likely to become law, even if it gets passed, because it has serious constitutional problems. CLICK HERE to get a version of those problems.



We are working on three (3) days now that the SCPR has not heard "boo" from Representative Slesnick.

Maybe he can tell The Report and his constituents why he believes that his co-sponsorship is consistent with his taking the oath of office (pictured above).

But will he?

Slesnick has every appearance of so many elected public officials. They only deal with "softball" questions.

In The Report's book these folks are not entitled to ignore the "hard questions." They are, whether or not they want to own up, accountable to all of us.

The Report will dog Slesnick until he gives a response.

He can give his response in the comfort of his office by sending a return e-mail or he can face The Report in a public venue some time down the road.

Which is it going to be Representative Slesnick?

DISCUSSION: CAN ATTORNEY CRAIG T. CONLEY OF THE "STARK COUNTY RIGHT TO VOTE COMMITTEE" SETTLE DOWN THOMAS MARCELLI?


The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has learned that Stark Countian Thomas Marcelli showed up at yesterday's Stark County commissioners' meeting to challenge Commissioner Todd Bosley on his move, in January, to have his fellow commissioners join him in imposing a 1/2% sales/use tax.

The Report is being just a tad euphemistic is describing yesterday's encounter as a challenge. Apparently, word had gotten around that Bosley was describing Marcelli either as being a lunatic or ludicrous. Either of which were offensive to Marcelli. And Marcelli confronted Bosley.

From there, it was a short trip for Marcelli to suggest to Bosley that they could better settle the matter outside.

Has Marcelli forgotten that the name of the group he is a founding member of is called the Stark County Citizens Right to Vote Committee? (emphasis added)

The Marcelli-objected-to imposed tax was primarily designed to provide funding for the reconfiguration of the Stark County 9-1-1 Center into a true "state of the art" countywide emergency dispatch center. But the imposed does have money built in to help relieve a shortfall in county general revenue funds.

Bosley tells The Report that Marcelli turned up at a Bosley political fundraiser on March 14th with petitions to repeal the tax (being circulated by the Stark County Citizens Right to Vote Committee) in hand as Bosley supporters entered the entered the event.

The Report supports the Bosley-led sales/use tax effort, but does not have a problem with Stark Countians voting on the matter. However, yours truly probably wouldn't sign one of the group's petitions to at least put the matter on the ballot in view of the antics of group member Marcelli.

The Report believes that Attorney Craig T. Conley is the de facto if not the de jure leader of the Stark County Citizens Right to Vote Committee. Other members include Charles Snyder of Bethlehem Township (Marcelli's home area) and William Daugherty of Louisville.

The Report has lauded Daugherty for his work in resisting the huge 52% electric rate increase that American Electric Power has the Ohio Public Utilities Commission to approve last July.

On the sales/use tax matter, the question becomes: as the leader of the repeal effort, is Conley going to be able to control Marcelli?

For The Report is prone to think that if Conley can't, then the likelihood of success of even getting the 13,000 plus signatures to get the repeal on the November ballot may be in jeopardy.

Marcelli has other negative publicity he carries with him.

An example.

As reported in area media in October, 2008, Marcelli being behind on his real property taxes to the approximate tune of $7,000 challenged Stark County Auditor Kim Perez to "duel" over Perez's appraisal, to wit: (as reported by Kelli Young of the Rep)
A Bethlehem Township man challenged the county auditor to a duel Thursday, prolonging their yearlong feud over property values.
Thomas Marcelli of Beth Avenue SW made the challenge during the public speaks portion of a county commissioners meeting. Stark County Auditor Kim Perez does not attend the commissioners' meetings.

Commissioner Todd Bosley asked Marcelli, "Are you serious?"

Yes, Marcelli said, he is serious.

"What do you mean, guns?" Bosley asked.

"Whatever he wants. I prefer hand-to-hand, but I'll go either way," Marcelli said.
In the end, will the members of the Stark County Citizens Right to Vote group be asking themselves this question: With a friend like Thomas Marcelli, who needs any enemies?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

DISCUSSION: STARK COUNTY 10.6% UNEMPLOYMENT PUTS OFFICE UNDER STRESS?


Recently, Stark County Treasurer Gary D. Zeigler has been under a great deal of stress managing the treasurer's office.

This year he expects to receive $107,079.30 less in his general fund.

What to do?

Cut employees?

No.

With a 10.6% unemployment rate (as of February), the last thing Stark County needs is to be cutting jobs.

He reconfigured the hours county treasury employees work in order to cut the total number of house they work in order to save county taxpayers money while maintaining the number of hours the office is open to the general public.

Zeigler says his office will $48,000 over the time span of April through December, 2009.

The graphic above (i.e. 105 ways) is tongue-in-cheek, but these days county officials across the board have had to get creative to simply stay afloat notwithstanding increased monies coming into county coffers because Commissioner Todd Bosley had the political gonads to persuade the Board of County Commissioners to impose a 1/4% increase in the county sales/use tax.

Treasurer Zeigler believes any new money will be a wash because of lost money on investments and other shortfalls (because of the depressed economy) revenues.

That raises the question: What if the effort by the Stark Citizens Right to Vote Committee to repeal the sales/use tax succeeds?

If it does, then 105 ways will truly be in play.

And it will be no fun at all being a county official.

However, what the Stark Citizens Right to Vote Committee has to look forward to is a massive turnout out of county workers to fight the the repeal. After all, there very jobs will be at stake.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) believes the effort to repeal has virtually no chance to succeed.

But as scary as it is that anytime a repeal effort gets on the ballot, there is a chance it might pass, The Report thinks that a rejection vote of the repeal effort helps Stark County over the long term.

How so?

In terms of perceived legitimacy and, of course, breaking Stark County's seemingly perennial cycle of not being real about the reality that it does take money to provide government services and to provide infrastructure monies to help with economic development efforts.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

BLOG-A-TWITTER: STARK UNEMPLOYMENT DOING WORSE THAN OHIO OVERALL!



BLOG-A-TWITTER: NESBITT ON THE MOVE?

DISCUSSION: WILL HEALY HANG ON UNTIL CANTON GETS RAVAGED BY AN ECONOMIC STORM?

It is becoming more and more clear to the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) that Canton Mayor William J. Healy, II is prepared to take the "great" city of Canton down with him in his political troubles.

The Report has had a conversation with an area politically powerful person who insinuates that politicians in high places (e.g. Columbus and Washington) now see Canton as a liability in terms of doing anything extra to help Canton pull itself out its economic blight.

Who's to blame?

The answer.

The political turmoil that Jamie Healy has brought to Canton in his coming into office in January, 2008.

The turmoil began when it became apparent to local political observers (including The Report) that Healy and Canton City Council were not going to hit it off. Healy's one chance to bridge over to Council was through the goodwill that his services director and chief of staff Tom Bernabei had with many council members. In hindsight, The Report's take is that this was likely a major liability for Bernabei because it is likely (given Healy's hubris) that the Mayor viewed the relationship suspicicously.

Next we had the 1888OHIOCOMP matter and associate contributions to the Healy campaign along with the revelation that figures being investigated by the FBI in the Cuyahoga County government corruption investigation had contributed to the Healy campaign.

Next was the dramatic press conference by Healy in which he outed allegations that he was involved with a 16 year old female.

Then the firing of Bernabei.

Number next. Safety Director Tom Nesbitt (brought in by Healy from Nebraska only a year or so earlier) announces he is applying for 9-1-1 Project Manager as part of the Stark County Council of Governments (SCOG) revamp of 9-1-1 into an efficient and effective emergency services unit.

Next there begins to emerge a possible pattern of folks who made campaign contributions to Healy end up with city contracts. So much so that even The Repository editors (whose employer has a publishing contract with Canton) call for Healy to pledge that anyone who contributes his campaign will not be considered for a city contract.

As a Nesbitt sequel, he announces that he will be leaving the city in the near term future.

The Report on an ongoing basis investigates the connection between out-of-town contributors and the Healy administration. The question: Why are folks from Maumee, Las Vegas, Cleveland, Columbus and Akron contributing to the TeamHealy Committee.

After being promised by Director of Communications Adam Herman that a TeamHealy person would respond to The Report's questions about the contribution, The Report has received no contact. The Report did make a follow up call to TeamHealy's campaign treasurer; only to be ignored.

What does Healy/TeamHealy have to hide on the Mayor's campaign finance reports?

Yes, The Report believes that the political cloak and dagger world that William J. Healy, II has brought to Canton is hurting Canton terrifically.

The area "politically powerful person" is on to something.

While Healy is mayor and enveloped in controversy, Canton will stay put - at best, but more likely it will regress.

Know Healy as The Report does, it is hard to believe that he would be willing to take the city of William McKinley down with him.

But isn't that exactly what he is doing?

DETAILS ON THE DEVIES LEGAL DEFENSE FUNS



UPDATE: 03/24/2009 AT 9:35 A.M.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) spoke with Chief Devies this morning on a number of topics:

First: Devies is deeply appreciative that this friends and neighbors have come to his aid. His legal bills will be huge and he has already begun selling some of his prized possessions to come up with the cash to pay them.

Second: He relayed to The Report that Chief Deputy Rick Perez was rude to his son Kyle when Perez served grand jury papers on him Friday. The Report wonders? Does Sheriff Tim Swanson have control of this chief deputy. It is one thing to have a job to do. It is quite another for a public official to be rude. Swanson needs to get a grip on Perez.

Third: Devies suspects that his strong support of Republican Larry Dordea when he ran against Tim Swanson in November, 2008 has something to do with his current troubles. But Devies vows to be front and center against Swanson and Stark County Prosecutor John Ferrero (who ran unopposed in 2008) come 2012.

The Report believes that there is only one problem for Devies here and his 2012 plans. Swanson, already has retired only to run again, is not likely to seek re-election in 2012. Ferrero, in the judgment of The Report, is a different story. He is likely to run again. But this time the Stark Republicans hopefully will have their act together and have someone run against him.

The Report believes that Ferrero is a classic case of an elected official who takes too much at having been unopposed. It appears that he feels he does not have to be responsive to the Stark County citizenry.


For background on the Devies/Marlboro Township trustees clash, search on the name "Devies" in the search box on this upper right hand corner of this blog site.

DISCUSSION: IS CEO/SUPERINTENDENT MICHEAL MILLER THE PERSON TO LEAD MRDD AFTER THE LEVY PASSES?



The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) believes that there is "an internal crisis of confidence" between many of the staff and the leadership at the Stark County Mental Retardation Developmental Disabilities Center (MRDD.)

The Report is in total support of the 1.4 mill levy that is on the ballot in May, but believes that only a change in leadership at MRDD will put the agency back on solid footing.

The Report will be doing a number of pieces on MRDD between now and the election. However, this series will be difficult because The Report so much believes in the essential work of MRDD, while questioning the leadership style of Michael Miller and, in fact, the MRDD board.

The Report has just learned that when Ron Ponder of "Points to Ponder" (WHBC - 1480 AM) a while back featured the MRDD operations, and it is obvious that an existing MRDD employee is calling in; the powers that be at MRDD listen closely to try and identify the caller.

Educators have told The Report that MRDD's Eastgate and Southgate schools are of superior quality. Moreover, Stark County Educational Service Center head Larry Morgan has gone on record as saying that it is critically important to the 17 school districts which comprise Stark County education that the levy pass. And pass, it must.

CEO/Superintendent Mike Miller is noncommittal about the future of Eastgate and Southgate except they will continue to exist in some way, shape and form. Stark County commissioners seem to think vagueness on the future of the schools is not an option. And The Report agrees.

The Report's impression is that Miller is in a world of his own making and sources tell The Report that he appears to think that he has MRDD employees and customers between the proverbial "rock and hard place" and acts accordingly.

Monday, March 23, 2009

DISCUSSION: MOST OF MARLBORO IS BEHIND THE DEVIES FAMILY?

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has learned that supporters of Ron and Kyle Devies are forming a DEVIES FAMILY DEFENSE FUND to help Marlboro's police chief and his son come up with the financial wherewithal to defend themselves againist Stark County Grand Jury indictment charges which were an outgrowth of an criminal investigation launched by Marlboro Township trustees.

Readers of The Report will recall that Kyle Devies started out as a volunteer to fix the Township's decrepit computer system several years ago.

Trustee Wise got wind of the "volunteer" status and insisted, according to Police Chief Ron Devies, that Kyle be put on the township payroll. Apparently, that was before Wise and his fellow Dave Wolf figured out that the chief was not easily ordered around by trustee micromanaging when it came to how he ran the police department.

The Report believes that once Wise and Wolf concluded that the chief was going to run the Marlboro Township Police Department the way he saw fit, they devised Plan B.

If there was a Plan B, what would it be?

The Report is of the opinion that Plan B was to replace Ron Devies as police chief and they (not Trustee Shilig) were waiting for something to materialize (e.g. out-and-out insubordination) that they felt would carry the day, in terms of community acquiescence, to implement the plan.

Nobody is really sure (outside of Sheriff Swanson, Prosecutor Ferrero and the grand jury members) as of the writing of this blog, exactly what the factual allegations are which underlie the indictments. Speculation seems to center on Kyle and his use of township computers with the complicity of his father in the alleged mischief.,

With the grand jury action (remember the popular saying about grand jury indictments" "a grand jury would indict a ham sandwich if the prosecutor asked it to), Kyle Devies stands charged with a fourth degree felony: Disrupting a Public Service and, his father Ron, with Complicity in Disrupting a Public Service. These charges carry a possibility for a 6 to 18 month jail term and up to $5,000 in fines.

The Report thinks at the end of the day the Devies will be acquitted or work out a plea bargain.

If there is an acquittal, one would think that there will be a civil suit and Ron Devies could wind up re-instated as police chief as part of a settlement of such a suit.

The Report likes to think and believes that this whole matter has gotten out-of-hand and Trustees Wise and Wolf wish they could "put the genie back in the bottle." But they can't. So what The Report' believes started out as something like "we have to replace our insubordinate police chief" is now way beyond that.

This whole scenario is tragic for all concerned: the Devies, the trustees and the community of Marlboro.

TRACKING OUR LEGISLATORS: BOCCIERI OFFERS FIRST BILL IN CONGRESS


The Alliance Review recently reported that Congressman John Boccieri has offered his first piece of legislation as the 16th District's new congressman.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) will be tracking Boccieri's legislative efforts and report on/comment on the legislation he is offering, what it will do for the 16th Congressional District, and whether or not it passes.

Boccieri's offer was reported thusly on GPO Access:

One of the measures of success of a congressman, is getting legislation passed which benefits his district.

Boccieri says that this legislation will help keep manufacturing jobs in America, and by inference, in the 16th Congressional District.

We shall see and The Report will be tracking this bill.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

DISCUSSION: THE PUCO ALLOWED "AEP" A HUGE ELECTRIC RATE INCRASE; WILL OBAMA AND CONGRESSMAN BOCCIERI ACT TO HUGELY INCREASE YOUR NATURAL GAS RATE?



The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) is on the mailing list of Mike Brakey of Brakey Consulting which is a firm which advises business customers on ways to save on their energy costs.

A recent e-mail contained the following informative piece on the potential for all Stark Countians and 16th District residents to be paying substantially more for their natural gas heating fuel. Coupled with the Ohio Public Utility Commission's approval of a 24% increase (AEP/Ohio Power over the next three years) in our electric bill, we could all be struggling to pay our day-in, day-out living expenses. And folks at the economic margins might not be able to cope with the increase at all.

Here is the Brakey Consulting piece:
Maybe we all need to be asking our new congressman about this proposed legislation? Will support it or not?

DISCUSSION: SWANSON'S TWO CHIEF DEPUTIES (PEREZ) ON & TO BE ON (MCDONALD) RETIRE/REHIRE LIST? MUST BE CATCHING?


Earlier this week the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) learned that The Report missed a Stark County official who had retired and got rehired.

The Report is not one to slight proper recognition a retiree/rehiree.

Today, The Report adds Chief Deputy Rick Perez (brother of Stark County Auditor Kim Perez) to the STARK COUNTY PUBLIC OFFICIALS RETIREMENT HALL OF FAME. The Report apologizes to Chief Deputy Perez for the inadvertent omission.

The same source who chided The Report for missing Perez also informed The Report that Chief Deputy Mike McDonald (who is in charge of the Stark County jail) is planning a retire/rehire soon.

It is one thing for an elected official to do a retire/rehire a la Sheriff Tim Swanson (because he announced his plan before running for re-election). But it is quite another for the unelected to do the same. Of course, the sheriff bears responsibility for rehiring Perez. As he does, if McDonald follows through with retirement and then ends up back in his pre-retirement job.

Doesn't Swanson have officers in his department to promote when senior deputies retire?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

DISCUSSION: SHOULD THE DEVIES HAVE BEEN INDICTED?

UPDATED: 03/21/2009 AT 11:30 A.M.

The viewpoints in graphic format above are largely based on the viewpoint holders take on the factual underpinings of events that precipitated the Marlboro trustees referring the matter to the sheriff and the county prosecutor.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report, SCPR) takes a difference perspective in arriving at a point-of-view.

Although the indictments are fourth degree felonies (Disruption of Public Services [Kyle] and Complicity Disruption of Public Services [Ron], the The Report's point-of-view is that Trustees Wise and Wolf have created a public turmoil hugely disproportional to the allegations - even if one accepts the factual premise of the trustee, the sheriff, the prosecutor and the grand jury.

Much more serious allegations involving public officials may be in the process of being white-washed by Sheriff Swanson and Prosecutor Ferrero (reference: the Healy matter).

Why make that point?

Because The Report believes that there is a disparity in the Stark County law enforcement community, at the county level, as to who gets prosecuted and who does not. While the law enforcers will claim a factual distinction for the variations, The Report believes, when public officials are involved, the real reasons are too often tinged with political considerations.

In the Marlboro situation, The Report believes the sensible solution would have been for the sheriff and prosecutor to encourage and perhaps even facilitate a sitdown between the Devies and the trustees to iron this matter out without invoking the criminal process.

Now that the legal path has been chosen, it should be obvious to one and all that Marlboro Township will be ravaged by political vendetta after political vendetta after political vendetta.

The Report believes that Wise and Wolf were motivated in the first place by political vendetta. Chief Ron Devies is a strong personality and did not kowtow to the all powerful Trustees Wise and Wolf ("all powerful" in their own minds).

So now Marlboro Township and derivatively Stark County has a mess on its hands.

If Stark County had a sheriff and a prosecutor (who, by the way, was unopposed in the last election) with some social and community sense about them, they would have been instrumental in having "cooler heads" prevail in the Marlboro situation.

But Stark doesn't.

Swanson too often acts like a "bull in a china shop," and Ferrero, a former chair of the Stark County Democratic Party, has - in the opinion of SCPR - a tendency to look at matters from a political perspective. Political in the sense who are the players in the matter before him.

They will tell Stark Countians that they "play it by the book." The Report knows both of them and does not believe such protestations for one second.

Swanson and Ferrero have let the Marlboro matter get totally out-of-hand.

In the judgment of The Report, they could have prevented this escalation and therefore have failed the Stark County community.

Friday, March 20, 2009

DISCUSSION: MARLBORO POLICE CHIEF & SON INDICTED?

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has reason to believe on the basis of a report from a source close to the Devies that Stark County Chief Deputy Rick Perez has served grand jury indictment papers on Marlboro Township Police Chief Ron Devies and his son Kyle today.

At this writing The Report does not know what the specific charges are.

A source who is familiar with the investigation surrounding the Devies matter has told The Report that the source understands that the charges focus on the tracking of inter-trustee e-mails and from the reformatting of the confiscated computers' hard drives to remove traces of the tracking effort.

No matter which way this case ends up, The Report's sense of the community reaction is that there are gaping open wounds in the body social and politic that will take years to heal.

DISCUSSION: RIGHT WING CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN TONY DANE OF LAS VEGAS CONTRIBUTES TO MAYOR HEALY'S CAMPAIGN - RIGHT BEFORE ELECTION, HUM?

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has learned some interesting this about TeamHealy Committee contributor Tony Dane of Las Vegas just 5 and 6 days, respectively, before Cantonians went to the polls in the Healy/Creighton mayoralty contest.

Dane is reported in Las Vegas media has being:
  • an activist and political consultant (Dane & Associates)
  • an auto-dialer
  • a boxing promoter
  • sn snti-gay political activist
  • a staff member of the Duncan Hunter ( a very conservative Republican) for President
This is an odd pairing, no? Healy and Dane.

An arch conservative, anti-gay Republican contributes to the Democrat Willaim J. Healy, II campaign. Strange indeed when you know, as The Report does, that one of Healy's most ardent local supporters is a front and center gay person.

The Report wonders if Dane knew that?

Now for some tidbits from the Las Vegas media and from Wikipedia:
  1. In 2002, longtime Republican opponent Tony Dane (who [incumbent David] Parks [the first openly gay member of the Nevada legislature] defeated in 1996 and 1998) convinced a man also called David Parks to run against him for the Democratic nomination in the 41st Assembly district. Challenger Parks' name was removed from the ballot when it became apparent that he was not a resident of Clark County, nor indeed of Nevada. Incumbent Parks won the general election. (source: Wikipedia)
  2. ... As for Tony Dane: this man is a complete and total idiot. And he never does anything without a hidden agenda. ...

    ... Every political issue or campaign he's gotten his claws on has been doomed to fail. He knows nothing about politics. Any candidate who gets involved with him should know it's the kiss of death for their campaign.

    Dane is a snake in the grass. It will be interesting to discover just what his hidden agenda here really is. After all, you know he has one. (source: Vegas PUNDIT)

  3. But eventually it will have the exact same success as the recall of Gov. Kenny Guinn a few years ago by that right-wing kook Tony Dane. (source: Muth's Truth)
The Report has tried to get answers from the TeamHealy campaign about connections between Healy and these out-of-town contributors. Why are they contribution to a Canton mayoralty race? But they aren't talking.

As we all know, Healy himself likes to muzzle people who works for his administration. Apparently, he has told his campaign finance people that "mum is the word."

Is this a guy who be mayor of Stark County's largest city?

GUEST COMMENTARY - "ANONYMOUS" - COMMENTER FEARS RETRIBUTION. SUBJECT: RETIRE/REHIRE


In any crisis, financial or otherwise, we must seek solutions that are unique and innovative. Solutions that are achieved by thinking outside the box, so to speak.

I want to express my opinion about the controversial practice of rehiring.

This is the practice of hiring a retired employee back to perform a similar job as the one he/she retired from. I have to state that I am not opposed to rehiring employees, under certain conditions.

There are benefits to such a practice. With that said, the proverbial however is next. However, there should be some strict guidelines employed when rehiring.

Proposed Guidelines

  • NO benefits, no healthcare – this represents a substantial savings
  • Start at a wage that is well below the starting wage of a new employee or below the retiree’s position or industry standard wage. You get the benefit of experience and knowledge at a substantial cost savings. You could even cut the wage by 30% or more. This will weed out the greedy from the needy. Some professionals would do this to remain active in an occupation that they love. Tap into that sense of duty and service to the community.
  • Experienced trained ersons need no initial, basic training. They arrive already trained. You would not have to send an individual to a Police Academy or other training. more savings to the municipal, county or state governmental body.· The practice of rehiring at lower wages and no benefits opens funds for the hiring of full time Officers and Deputies.
  • Experienced retirees are intimately aware of the dynamics that exist within and without their respective law enforcement organizations.

Consider what I am proposing being instituted at the local municipal or township Police Departments or Sheriff’s Office level.

I am not advocating replacing Police Officers or Deputy Sheriffs on the street with retirees or disabled Police Officers. What I am proposing is that those individuals that have become disabled in the line of duty or are retired be utilized to supplement the sworn members of the law enforcement agency.

By replacing sworn Officers at positions that are inside jobs such as report desk or crime scene technician, this would permit more Officers/Deputies to be placed on the street or in other units such as gang task force, patrol division or the detective bureau.

The Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association, FOP and CPPA may not agree with my proposal, that is fine. They all should agree as to what is best for their memberships.

Is it in the best interest of their members to face financial crisis resulting in possible layoffs or permanent reduction in workforce numbers?

Is it best to consider all alternatives when dealing with our financial woes?

Consideration does not automatically mean agreement or implementation. Consideration means just that, consideration.

This practice of rehiring is already in place in a limited capacity. (Common Pleas Court Bailiffs)

Stark county must save money whenever and wherever it can. When money is saved and services remain static or improve then all Stark county residents win. Savings can be achieved without sacrificing public safety and service.

Thank you.

A concerned Stark County resident.

DISCUSSION: SCPR WILL PUBLISH COMMENTS "NOT FOR ATTRIBUTION" OR, IF YOU WILL, ANONYMOUS


The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) treasures readers comments on The Report's blogs.

Initially, The Report accepted "anonymous" comments posted on the blog. However, too many of the comments were "off topic," "in very poor taste," "attacking of persons" on factors that were loosely connected to the person who was the subject matter of the blog," or "way over the line."

Consequently, The Report reverted to a registration system available Blogger.

It seems as if commenters are more likely to be relevant to the topic at hand and self-disciplined to keep strongly felt opinion within proper bounds, if there is an identity factor.

So that is the reason The Report went with the registration system.

For readers who do not want to participate in the Blogger registration system, The Report will accept direect e-mails to tramols@att.net. If the commenter includes NOT FOR ATTRIBUTION or POST FOR ME ANONYMOUSLY, so long as the comments meet The Report's criteria for publication; then The Report will publish in an anonymous format.

The Report recognizes that there are a number of good reasons to withhold a commenter's identity.

So please feel free to e-mail The Report direct.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

DISCUSSION: IS IT TIME FOR A CHANGE AT THE HEAD OF MRDD?


On January 17th, the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) took its camera to the MRDD (Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities) facility at Whipple-Dale to hear CEO/Supertendent Michael Miller's pitch for the upcoming (May 5) 1.4 mill operating levy.

First, The Report makes the point that we were not favorably disposed to MRDD because of negative experiences with MRDD's administration prior to attending the January 17th public meeting.

Why?

Because The Report made a request through its public relations arm for an interview with CEO/Supintendent Michael Miller and he totally blew yours truly off.

A public official is not entitled do what Miller did.

But The Report was undeterred by Miller's snub and went to the January 17th meeting and buttonholed the superintendent after the meeting.

The Report's impression of Miller did not improve with the "up close and personal" encounter him at Whipple-Dale Center.

As you can see from the chart in the graphic that accompanies this post, Miller and MRDD's board only got religion on the need to make cuts after MRDD's financial crisis was in full bloom.

When asked about MRDD's failure to see financial problems coming, he simply hem-hawed around the question.

Another issue that Miller has unsatisfactory answer for is the fate of its Eastgate and Southgate schools. The missions of these two schools are described this way on MRDD's website (www.yesstarkmrdd.com):
Eastgate Early Childhood and Family Center provides education from birth through age five and Rebecca Stallman Southgate School educates students up to the age of 22.
The Stark County commissioners, in particular Commissioner Todd Bosley, are concerned that one or both of these schools will be closed.

When asked, Miller simply says there will be changes.

What changes?

Miller refuses to get specific.

According to The Repository, he did say at last night board meeting that "another 190 employees at the Rebecca Stallman Southgate School and Eastgate School also could be laid off."

The Report has been hearing rumblings of great dissatisfaction with Miller from within MRDD operations and is in the process of tracking down the specifics.

The Report is inclined to support the levy, but is still mulling it over. Miller is a super negative. Everything else about MRDD is a positive.

Eastgate and Southgate are of critical importance to Stark County's 17 public school districts.

Witness this exchange between Miller and a citizen asking a key question. Why can't Miller take a 20% cut? Everybody else in Stark County seems to be taking cuts or losing the jobs altogether.

Here is the video of Miller and the citizen.

DISCUSSION: BOSLEY TO KEEP UP FIGHT AGAINST AEP 24% RATE INCREASE?



CORRECTED

Stark County Commissioner Todd Bosley is THE public official who started the Stark County fight against a rate increase filed by American Electric Power (AEP/Ohio Power [locally]).


The initial AEP request was for 52% over three (3) years. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) split the difference with AEP settling on 24% increase over three years.

Listen to Commissioner Bosley being interviewed by WKSU's Karen Schaefer below:

DISCUSSION: CAN "THE REP" REPORT ON ANY STARK COUNTY GOV'T ENTITY WITHOUT HAVING A CONFLICT-IN-INTEREST? ANOTHER DICY RELATIONSHIP SURFACES


Recently, the Jackson Local School District (JSD) passed a levy. Being the pro-education person yours truly is, the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) was glad to see it pass.

But there is a disturbing question concerning how JSD got there.

For those in Jackson who opposed the levy, they undoubtedly would like to have known that there is a financial relationship between The Canton Repository and Jackson schools.

What is the relationship?

The Repository publishes the school quarterly named the Polar Bear Pride (Pride).

A local communications and publishing company had been publishing the Pride, but was losing money. That company wanted to raise rates to advertisers, but Jackson school officials wouldn't allow it and continue to use the local company as its publisher.

What difference does it make to the JSD if its publisher makes the publication free to the school district but needs to raise advertising rates to make the enterprise a profitable one for the company?

The Report believes the answer is who was lurking in the background to take over the publishing of the Pride when the original relationship gets terminated.

Who might the lurking company be?

Yes, indeed. One of Stark County largest publishers: The Canton Repository.

The Report has learned that The Rep has cut a deal with the Jackson schools to publish the Pride "free" and pay money to the schools, to boot.

How much money? That The Report does not know. But any money is significant. What this means is that The Repository is making money on the advertiser money WHICH IS HIGH ENOUGH (remember JSD officials would not let the original company raise advertiser rates so it could make money) that The Rep could make money and pay a percentage of its profits to the Jackson Schools.

Did the Jackson Local School District have other motives for establishing a financial relationship with The Repository?

Back to the recent effort to pass the Jackson levy.

Exactly how much "ink" (free publicity) did The Rep give the JSD on the levy effort. What degree of scrutiny did the editors and reporters give Jackson school finances as a base of information for Jackson voters to make a decision in the voters booth?

Did Jackson schools set up the original company to fail, so that it could enter into a co-opting relationship with The Repository.

The Report thinks both The Repository and the Jackson Local School District have damaged their credibility in the public eye because of this "secret" relationship?

Secret?

Probably not from the JSD perspective. The Report believes that somewhere buried in minutes of the proceeds of the Jackson Board of Education is a board approval of the contract with The Rep.

Probably from The Rep's standpoint. Is there a press release somewhere within the bowels of The Rep's archives where The Rep's operations guy, Chris White, details the existence and details of the Jackson/Rep relationship.

How many such other relationships does The Rep have with government units it reports on and which the reading public has no idea exists.

Why doesn't Executive Editor Jeff Gauger get on his soapbox pontificate on these "ethically challenged" relationships.

Why isn't The Rep inserting disclaimers in the pieces they publish when the subject matter is an entity with whom The Rep is financially involved?

Whenever The Rep publishes a "letter to the editor" by a candidate for public office, Editorial page editor Gayle Beck always has inserted for example: "Joe Doe is a candidate for Stark County commissioner."

So we know The Repository folks know how to write disclaimers.

How is it they fall silent when The Rep has a financial state in the entity being reported on?