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.
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)
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.
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?
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!
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?
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.
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.
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.