Thursday, April 30, 2009
UPDATE: 05/01/2009 at 5:30 PM
Interesting enough, Stark County Treasurer office staff attorney Lem Green responded lickety-split on Alan Harold's letter regarding the use of potentially misleading language by Harold.
If Frustaci is charged and is convicted in connection the theft of funds from the Stark County treasury, Treasurer Gary Zeigler is NOT required to resign as some may infer from Harold's declaration that Zeigler "must" resign.
Yours truly has the advantage of being an attorney and therefore always took Harold's use of the word "must" to mean "should;" not that the law required resignation if the conditions materialize.
This is an appropriate occasion to take a dig at Repository editorial page editor Gayle Beck. Ms. Beck scrutinizes some letter to the editor writers very closely and refuses to publish their pieces for the most arbitrary and asinine reasons or at least delay the publication until the writer knuckles under to her editorial demands.
In any event, Lem Green did the right thing in writing to make up for Editor Beck's failure and help Alan Harold get to the correct word usage.
Original article follows
Leading Stark County Republican Alan Harold had a letter to the editor published (Treasurer must resign if chief deputy is charged, convicted) in The Repository yesterday castigating current Stark County treasurer Gary Zeigler for his handling of the operations of the county treasury and for his failure to adequately supervise former chief deputy Vince Frustaci.
Although the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report/SCPR) agrees with Harold's assessment and his prescription, The Report is less than impressed with Harold for bailing out of running against Zeigler in 2008, when (according to both Republican and Democrat sources) pressure was brought to bear by his employer (Huntington Bank) for him to withdraw.
The Report asked Harold direct whether or not the sources are correct. He declined to answer saying that he and his employer have a confidentiality agreement prohibiting him from discussing the substance of their discussions with third parties.
Harold seems to be an impressive person who could be the type of individual that the Stark GOP needs to bring along if it is to bring competitive politics back to Stark County.
But is he?
There is the Republican-activist Alan Harold who appeared at a John Boccieri campaign event on July 1, 2008 as one among a group of Stark Republicans sent to politically harass Boccieri.
And then there is the Huntington Bank VP Alan Harold who can't withstand pressure to get out of the treasurer's race.
Republicans offer the excuse that Harold was the victim of Democrat incumbent treasurer Gary Zeigler putting pressure on Huntington through then Ohio treasurer Richard Cordray (Democrat) to ask Harold to stand aside. A key Stark Democrat elected official tells The Report that Zeigler substantiates the Republican account.
One can empathize with Harold, if indeed Huntington was putting on pressure on. It is understandable that he would yield. Most people would.
However, in The Report's book, doing so disqualifies him from running for public office when he will end up as the person in charge.
When one holds political office, pressure comes fast and furious from many different interest groups and persons. It is essential that the officeholder be able to stand his/her ground on behalf of the public interest. The Report doubts that Harold could handle the pressure.
Harold demonstrates that he stand across the street and yell at a Democrat candidate with political sign in hand. And he can write pointed letters like the one under discussion in this blog.
On the other hand, it is also clear to the SCPR that Harold cannot handle the "heat in the - political - kitchen."
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
It is a rarity, but they did it!
Who did it?
The Repository Editorial Board.
What did they do?
Wrote a meaningful editorial.
Ohio's "open records" law.
What's so special about this?
Follow through, follow through and follow through. That's what!
The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report/SCPR) applauds the The Rep's Editorial Board for criticizing (the Ohio Supreme Court's decision State ex rel. Toledo Blade Company v. Toledo-Lucas Cty. Port Auth. - See Courts deal setback to disclosure, April 27, 2009)
But there is a remedy for this "against the public interest" decision against requiring full public disclosure of the bases of actions by public entities when private legal counsel does the investigating. And the solution lies with the Ohio General Assembly.
If Stark County's legislators care, they will amend Ohio Revised Code Section 2713(A)(2) to provide for the situation the Toledo-Lucas Cty. Port Auth. case.
The Report is not optimistic Oleslager, Schuring, Slesnick or Snitchler will do so.
Why is The Report pessimistic?
Because of this group's collective refusal to act when it was pointed out to them that legislation granting public utility companies virtual veto authority over PUCO (Public Utilities Commission of Ohio) rate hike decisions. None of these legislators were even aware of this huge loop hole in the legislation.
Does anyone think any one of these legislators have the courage to stand up against American Electric Power, First Energy and Duke Energy?
Unless The Rep's Editorial Board, yours truly and the like keep up the pressure on our Stark County legislative delegation; they, like most public officials, will continue seeking to get from day-to-day; ruffling as few feathers as possible and maintaining a
de facto "the public be damned attitude.
The Report questions the stamina of The Rep Editorial Board.
Outside of "Sunshine Week," they do not do a consistent (let's say an Sunshine-esque editorial at least once a week directed at Stark's legislators) job editorializing in the public interest.
Is that about to change?
But one can fantasize, no?
MAYOR HEALY & SHERIFF SWANSON IN "EXTENDED" CONVERSATION - ABOUT WHAT? COULD IT BE ABOUT A CERTAIN CANTON POLICE CHIEF?
The last person the Swanson should want to be seen huddled up with is Canton Mayor William J. Healy, II.
Well, to hear Mayor Healy tell it, he has all these political enemies out there who are trying to keep him from being a successful mayor of Canton. Healy implied, in various media appearances, that the allegations on the 16 year old came from among his political enemies.
If Healy is correct, might not these same political enemies bide their time until one or more of them come up with more allegations?
Well, who is to investigate?
So if Swanson is perceived in the general Stark County public to be buddy-buddy with Healy, will Swanson have to do another Gary Zeigler/Stark County treasurer's office investigation maneuver: fade into the background?
The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report/SCPR) has written recently how Healy and Swanson were seen huddled up at a recently celebrity event talking for about an hour.
The point of the previous SCPR piece was that while Healy had leaned on others to pass on possible law enforcement rumors to Sheriff Swanson touching on a Canton City Councilman; Healy didn't breathe a word of it to Swanson in the one hour huddle up.
What did Healy and Swanson talk about?
The word to The Report is that Healy was seeking advice on how to deal with Canton Police Chief Dean McKimm.
The Report has frequently written about Healy's dissatisfaction with McKimm (civil service protected) which spread to Safety Director Tom Nesbitt (who continues to look for work elsewhere) when Nesbitt could not find a basis to fire McKimm which would pass muster with the Canton Civil Service Commission.
The Report has also written frequently how smart Mayor Healy is. At least in his own eyes.
Well, the celebrity event conversation was not too smart for Healy nor Sheriff Swanson.
How in the world could Healy ever make a credible presentation to the civil service folks after all his "cloak and dagger" machinations? Moreover, how could Sheriff Swanson's office possibly be the investigating agency if Healy's political enemies were to make additional future allegations?
Clearly, the Healy/Swanson duo has a constitutional right of "freedom of association" like every other American.
But then when it comes to the Sheriff doing his public job doesn't this consideration, in the light of close encounters of the type described in this blog, militate - from a public perception point-of-view - that if the Mayor should become a subject in an investigation in the future that Swanson step aside?
Isn't "being to close to the subject matter of the investigation" exactly the same kind of thing that prompted Ohio Auditor Mary Taylor to push Swanson to the sidelines in the Stark County treasury investigation?
Will Swanson ever learn to be civil and courteous but ever mindful of the need keep an appropriate distance from local politicians and public figures?
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
In the days leading up to his congressional race against Democrat John Boccieri, Republican Kirk Schuring worked hard on a proposed Ohio constitutional amendment the main feature of which was to take funding of Ohio education from the back burner to the front burner.
The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report/SCPR) thought Schuring's effort was more political gambit than a proposal that had a real chance to be accepted by the Ohio General Assembly even though it was controlled by the Ohio Republican Party. If perchance it did, Governor Strickland would have vetoed it inasmuch as he would not standby and allow the success to undermine "brother-esque" John Boccieri's drive for congress.
But today is a different day.
Now Strickland has to deliver on his inaugural day address that he must fix education in Ohio or his governorship will be a failed governorship.
Who could be key in Strickland's quest?
Yes! Stark County's very own. J. Kiirk Schuring (Republican - Jackson).
The Akron Beacon Journal's Dennis Willard, the area's only statehouse writer - and, a darned good one - now that Stark County's only countywide newspaper (The Repository) has let Paul Kostyu go, had this to say in Sunday's edition:
State Senator Kirk Schuring can (if he has the political courage) and should be the governor's point man in the Ohio Senate.
The governor ... [is] taking the right approach to weaning the state from residual budgeting, or the money leftover, and basing the system on scientific research [the evidence-based scientific model].
[He is] also making long-term strides toward reducing the over-reliance on local property taxes to pay for schools.
And an advisory council, which would continuously review not only Ohio's formula, but examine what is working and failing in other states, should be rightly acknowledged as a vital key to keeping the state on track to continuous improvement.
The Report is skeptical that he can break the mold of being a "cookie cutter Republican" and do the right thing by future generations of Ohioans, but yours truly does hold out hope.
Will Schuring disappoint or will he "rise and shine?"
Monday, April 27, 2009
So let's get this straight. Mayor Healy is saying that his conversation with a "group" of folks at a recently celebrity function that touched on one of his arch-political-enemies; namely, Canton Councilman Greg Hawk, was private.
The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report/SCPR) has learned that Healy - in his self-described/labeled conversation, was recruiting people to go to Sheriff Tim Swanson with hearsay and maybe even double hearsay allegations.
Remember, William J. Healy, II just appropriated unto himself the mantle of "ethicist-in-chief" in his State of the City message only one week ago today.
Also remember that this is the same guy who went on television and interviewed with local media about the outrage he felt when anonymous sources accused him of having an inappropriate relationship with a 16 year old.
How about Councilman Hawk? Shouldn't he feel outraged at Healy? Indeed! And The Report hears he was and burned Healy's ears with choice words.
Healy doesn't have the politica/ethicall nerve to go to his own police department?
No, Healy won't do it. He doesn't want his neck on the line. But its okay for him to goad others to pass on hearsay and perhaps even double hearsay.
Healy's conversation was sooooooo private that he goes to area media to explain that it was private.
Can you believe this guy about anything?
And get this.
Healy proximate to telling the group - in private (according to Healy) - about his supposedly inside scoop, sat down with Sheriff Tim Swanson (how to you like them apples?) and didn't say a word.
Who would talk with Mayor William J. Healy, II, in private?
"Not I," said the Duck.
"Not I," said the Cat.
"Not I," said the Dog.
TRACKING OUR LEGISLATORS SERIES: CONGRESSMAN JOHN BOCCIERI ON VIDEO OUTLINES OBAMA AGENDA & THE CONGRESSMAN'S TAKE
One of the highlights on this video presentation by the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report/SCPR) is Congressman Boccieri telling his Alliance "Congressman on Your Corner" audience about a piece of legislation that he parted company with the Obama Administration.
Not too long ago, The Report got this email from a reader who makes this point:
Fact, he gripes about the Republicans and then votes with his own party 94.1% of the time, showing he can't stand on his own 2 feet or has the b*lls to say NO to the status quo.Assuming that the 94.1% is an accurate number, is this too high of a number?
Congressman Boccieri also, in this video, gives an outline of the Obama agenda and his thoughts on that agenda.
In later segments, The Report will present Boccieri providing specific answers to audience directed questions.
Here is the video for today.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
UPDATE: 04/29/2009 AT 4:45 PM
Tom Hough was elected in November 2005, took office in January 2006. That is the year [Hartville Council] passed the prayer resolution. Ron Beltz was elected in November 2007 and took office in January 2008.
Last Sunday the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report/SCPR) noted that Republican Hartville Village Councilman Thomas Hough wrote a letter to the editor of The Repository that should be instructive to citizens of Hartville.
In the letter, Hough launched a typical right wing attack on President Barack Obama.
Time will only tell as whether or not Obama turns out to be an effective president. Over 50 per cent of Americans are hopeful for Obama.
But not with Thomas Hough and Rush Limbaugh.
It is interesting that Hough did not refer to himself as being a Hartville councilman or “a pastor at Sixteen St. John's Church, an independent evangelical Bible church" located in North Lawrence (a little north of Massillon).
In The Report's view Hough is not only "right wing," but way, way, way right; and, to boot, religious Right."
Hough, who along with fellow councilman Ron Beltz, (Beltz shares with Palin her former denomination identity - Assembly of God), made instituting prayer before council meetings a top council agenda item when they first took office.
The Report wonders whether or not the likes of Palin and Stark Countians Hough and Beltz are the leading edge of a relative new burgeoning movement called the "Christian Nationalist" movement?"
One writer describes the movement thusly:
[W] hat Christian nationalism is, and how it differs from Christian fundamentalism. It's an important concept to understand, because the threat to a pluralistic society does not come from those who simply believe in a very conservative interpretation of Christianity. It comes from those who adhere to a political ideology that posits a Christian right to rule.Some folks discount political figures who serve at the local level in terms of what their views portend for their policies and programs both at the local level and higher level if they have greater ambition.
Christian nationalists believe in a revisionist history, which holds that the founders were devout Christians ... never intended to create a secular republic; separation of church and state, ... .
But not The Report.
Yours truly has seen these "religious Rightist" folks try to politically take over local communities where they can be successful because of a largely disengaged local electorate. All they do once is power is create political havoc.
Accordingly, Councilmen Hough and Beltz bear watching by Hartville voters.
SHOULD SHERIFF SWANSON AND PROSECUTOR FERRERO BE TAKING A NEW LOOK AT HOW POLITICALLY SENSITIVE LAW ENFORCEMENT MATTERS ARE HANDLED IN STARK?
Recently Stark County Sheriff Tim Swanson's office has been involved in three high profile investigations in which the subjects involve political factors.
First, in late 2008, it was the anonymous allegations that Canton Mayor William J. Healy, II had been involved in an inappropriate relationship with a 15/16 year old. Swanson investigated and in collaboration with Stark County Prosecutor John Ferrero's office determined that there would be no charges filed against Healy. And then Swanson obtained a legal opinion that the media and public would not have access to the file.
Second, in two Marlboro Township trustees asked Swanson's office to investigate whether or not Marlboro Township police chief Ron Devies and his son Kyle did anything to "criminally" alter township computers. The investigation led to Stark County Prosecutor John Ferrero to seat a grand jury which resulted in each of the Devies being indicted for fourth degree felonies.
Third, Treasurer Gary Zeigler (Stark County) in March fired Stark Countian and chief deputy Vince Frustaci accusing Frustaci of stealing county money. Swanson was in the thick of investigative efforts but later announced he was receding to the background.
By the time we get to treasurer's office matter, maybe just maybe, Sheriff Swanson is learning that he is a political figure in Stark County who is a Democrat in which all the elected countywide offices (non-judicial) are Democrats. And through in heavily Democratic Canton and Massillon.
Well, the sheriff is known to be a solid, loyal Democrat who supports many, many locally well known Democrat office holders. He contributes to many of their campaigns and vice-a-versa.
Well, when these political colleagues are subject to criminal investigation, is it in the interest of the impartial administration of justice for Swanson to be leading the investigation?
Moreover, when subjects are the political adversaries of the sheriff (e.g. Ron Devies was a strong supporter of Swanson's last opponent - Republican Dordea), is it in the interest of the impartial administration of justice for Swanson to be leading the investigation?
The Report thinks not.
By the time we get to the Frustaci matter (which occurred soon after Swanson had written a letter to the editor of The Repository supporting the way Zeigler runs his office), apparently the sheriff himself agrees or does he? (Swanson self-describes as being in the background)
It would be easy enough for Sheriff Swanson, and by the way, Prosecutor Ferrero, to recuse themselves from the investigations of high profile cases involving political figures or dynamics and bring in outside law enforcement officials.
Why bring this up now?
Because there is a political fight between Mayor Healy and Canton Councilman Greg Hawk underway which may have law enforcement implications. Healy is trying through others to get Sheriff Swanson's office involved.
Swanson shouldn't bite. If an investigation is merited, it should be done by Republican law enforcement officials from out of county.
The Report does not say that Swanson or Ferrero have let political bias affect any of their work.
But when you have political elements lurking around a law enforcement situation, isn't is best for all including the Stark County system of justice "to avoid the very appearance" that political relationships might be perceived by the public at large to be at play?
Saturday, April 25, 2009
As one should expect, Healy focuses the likes of Council president Allen Schulman (unnamed) and long time council member Bill Smuckler (also unnamed) who successfully ran against Healy for mayor in the Democratic primary in 2003.
The Report agrees with Healy that Schulman and Smuckler and their cohorts are indeed his political enemies. Where the SCPR differs with Healy is that Healy himself is the reason for his own troubles. Healy exudes arrogance, brooks no "differing of opinion" within his administration and demonstrates paranoic-esque actions to control; even those who he has no direct authority over.
Unless and until Healy recognizes that his firing of his Tom Bernabei as service director and chief of staff together with a host of other political goofs vis-a-vis Council and other key players in larger Stark County community, he will spend the rest of his days as Mayor being embattled and therefore detrimental to the social, political and economic revival of Canton.
Note in Healy's State of the City address how he makes special mention of his supporters.
Well, The Report has had contact with several of his supporters who thought they were, on one hand, mentally pugilistic enough to browbeat the SCPR into being less critical of the Healy Administration; and, on the other, smart enough to finesse the same result.
Let's hope the Mayor can do better than this group for support. But they fit a disturbing pattern your truly sees with the Mayor himself. Apparently, one must drink the Healy Kook-Aid concoction to get treated respectfully by the Mayor. The SCPR sees that Mayor William J. Healy, II abhors any disagreement and works to marginalize those who think differently than he does.
Healy is not the only Stark County politician who gets vengeful with those who disagree. Yours truly can tick off a half dozen without giving the matter much thought.
When the Mayor politically matures and starts genuinely seeking advice from others and showing the ability to work with dissenters on his government policies and practices, then, not only The Report, but many other Stark Countians will take note of the change and view the Mayor in a different light.
A dose of political maturation will be much more effective than asking Kool-Aid drinking supporters to go out and do political bombast or spin for him.
View and hear Healy speak for himself in the following video.
TRACKING OUR LEGISLATORS SERIES: CONGRESSMAN JOHN BOCCIERI ON VIDEO INTRODUCES HIMSELF TO ALLIANCE RESIDENTS
On April 9th the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report/SCPR) was on location at the Alliance Rodman Public Library to video newly elected Congressman John Boccieri's "Congressman on Your Corner" presentation.
The Report took a lot of footage and it is being broken down to facilitate viewing (in terms of time and complexity of matters present).
In today's segment, Boccieri tells about being congressman, his first impressions of Congress and he launches into a discussion about what difficult times 16th district constituents face and describes some remedies that are in the works.
Here is the video.
Friday, April 24, 2009
DISCUSSION: "A POLITICAL DOGFIGHT" BETWEEN CANTON MAYOR WILLIAM J. HEALY, II & WARD 1 COUNCILMAN GREG HAWK? YES, TO PUT IT MILDLY!
The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has learned that open warfare has broken out between Canton Mayor William J. Healy and Ward 1 Councilman Greg Hawk.
A few days ago The Report did a blog on Hawk getting a job with Massillon Muny clerk of courts Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.
Did that story strike a cord with the Healy camp?
A TeamHealy member who has called yours truly every name in the book because of the SCPR hard hitting pieces on the Mayor, all of sudden became The Report's best friend?
This person started feeding the SCPR information about Hawk. Yours truly has been around the block and time or two and for this person and another Healy supporter (Eric Resnick - who gave The Report info about Healy's future legislative agenda and then complained when yours truly wrote about it) to not understand this is interesting.
The Report accepts information from various sources and works hard to be satisfied that the info has substance. Coincidentally, The Report's incisive political analysis may benefit certain political figures. That's today. Tomorrow, if that's where the story leads, may not be so pleasing to these folks.
Both of these two have to get up earlier in the morning to get ahead of The Report.
As The Report has said about Healy, he is one of the most opportunistic/manipulative politician yours truly has ever been around. That's why the SCPR did a blog with a character laughing vigorously at the thought that William J. Healy offering a "true" ethics reform package. The Report has opinionated that Healy is politically amoral and only thinks about his own skin in his political machinations.
Many times over, The Report has said that Healy thinks he is smarter than the rest of the world (and certainly the likes of Tom Bernabei, Allan Schulman and Bill Smuckler) and contemptuously toys with them, The Report, The Repository and others (in his own mind).
Now it turns out that Healy is ratcheting up his political game.
One of Healy's most bitter political enemies in Canton Ward 1 Councilman Greg Hawk.
Hawk has an opponent in the upcoming May primary: Robert Harper. The SCPR has learned that Healy has directed his political assets to go all out for Harper in the Democratic primary (Harper was a Republican according to Stark County Board of Election records as late as May, 2005).
And that is Healy's perfect right.
Moreover, the Healy supporter source complains that Hawk was originally Healy friendly, although the Healyite claims that Hawk publicly says he voted for Republican Janet Creighton in 2007, but is to be chastised for questioning Healy et al during the city budget considerations. Really? Councilman Hawk is disloyal because he does his job as a councilman?
What happened next is what should disturb Stark County law enforcement officials and Cantonian citizens.
At a recent area function in which local "celebrity" figures (political, civic and whatever), Mayor Healy made a very serious hearsay (hearsay in that it had been passed onto Healy - according to Healy - by a knowledgeable woman) allegation about a Hawk family member to a group of attendees and alleged drug activities in the Hawk home
But get this?
Healy makes it known this group of people at the celebrity event that he (Mr. Let Me Propose Ethics Reform for Canton) that he's not going to the police with the allegations.
That's Healy's ethics for you.
What an outrage!!!
Hawks reaction? Quite understandable. Four letter words were flying all over the place hurled in Healy's direction.
The more that the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT digs into how Healy operates and his false notion that nobody in Canton or Stark County or maybe even the world is sharp as "hizzoner," the more The Report is convinced that governing Canton in a constructive, productive and helpful way is not Healy's primary agenda.
No, not at all!
As far as the SCPR is concerned, Healy is all about Healy!!!!
DISCUSSION: DOES JOHNNIE A. MAIER USE HIS PARTY CHAIRMANSHIP TO TAKE CARE OF FAMILY, FRIENDS AND POLITICAL ALLIES WITH TAXPAYER FUNDED JOBS?
It is interesting to the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report/SCPR) how well Democratic and Republican party officials take care of themselves, some members of their family and, of course, their staunchest political allies with publicly funded jobs.
It would be one thing if these jobs were with private entities, but it is quite another when the jobs set aside are financed by taxpayer funds which do not seem to be available to the general public or perhaps promotions made on political considerations rather than on merit and merit alone.
Stark County Democratic Party chair Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. appears to be the personification of taking care of one's own in the "public?" jobs realm. And we know, by his own words, how indebted Governor Strickland is to Chairman Maier for being the first county chairman to endorse the governor when Strickland ran for governor.
The Report was given the heads up earlier this week that Maier's brother Chuck, who is also an elected Massillon City Councilman, would be appointed to a position by Ohio treasurer Kevin L. Boyce (who himself was appointed treasurer by Governor Strickland on December 24, 2008).
The same "heads-up" told The Report that a Stark County Auditor Kim Perez relative who held the job that Maier was to get was moving to Columbus for a state position to clear the way for Maier. The Report on Maier turned out to be accurate as Treasurer Boyle at a semi-annual Stark County Democratic Party gathering (presumably invited by Chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr) announced the Chuck Maier appointment.
Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. is the elected Massillon Muny clerk of courts and his wife Debra is the elected fiscal officer of Tuscarawas Township.
Just as an aside. Johnnie was outraged that the Republicans put up a candidate against him last time out. Apparently, Johnnie feels entitled, huh? What is this thing called a democracy anyway? Bah, humbug!
Getting back to Chuck Maier.
Exactly what is a Stark County Ohio treasurer liaison any way?
Boyce does have to run again in 2010. Wanna make a bet? The Report wagers that Chuck Maier will show up Boyce's Stark County phase of his re-election effort as a prime campaign figure. Any takers?
The Report does not know of any other Maier family employment connections to public jobs that suspiciously look like political connections were a factor, but your s truly would not be surprised to learn to the contrary.
And there is clearly a long list of non-bloodline-political loyalists that the chairman appears to have helped get publicly funded jobs without having had to compete with the taxpaying public.
The names and positions are sprinkled throughout the blogs of The Report and The Report will continue to bring these seemingly "politically based" appointments to the public's attention; not only by the Democrat but also by Stark's Republicans. They have their own rich history of using publicly funded jobs for political party spin off advantage.
How long will the public continue to fund Stark county, village, city and township government where there appears to be a "political set aside?"
And the word is, he's still smarting over the loss.
Over the past two weeks North Canton officials were sweating it out whether or not a North Canton/Maple Street Commerce (Stu Lichter's majority interest company) Altercare deal was going to fly. Apparently, area realtor Robert DeHoff has been fighting tooth and nail to keep Altercare at his facility on Whipple for the remaining four months of its lease.
Obviously, a political tug-a-war has been going on.
The North Canton "sweating it out" came to be because North Canton officials were stunned some two weeks ago when they received a modified Jobs Ready Site agreement which had new language (as compared to the original) which would have prohibited North Canton from using its $5 million grant to facilitate the relocation of Altercare to North Canton unless officials could get a waiver.
The Report has learned that an Altercare official was jawing with the Ohio Department of Development over the new requirement. Presummably Stuart Lichter and his adversary in this deal (DeHoff does own about a 10% interest in Maple Street Commerce) both weighed in.
One area official described the Lichter/DeHoff standoff as being like an 800 pound gorilla versus a rhesus monkey; hence the graphic above.
No doubt that Lichter has a lot more political clout in Ohio and, indeed, in Stark County than Bob DeHoff. After all, Lichter stepped in and perhaps saved Governor Ted Strickland's chance for a second term by coming up with a re-development plan to keep the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company international headquarters in Akron.
Can you imagine the political fallout in northeast Ohio for Strickland, if Goodyear left the area.
So the official word from the Ohio Department of Development (ODD) is that the "new" language does not apply the "in process" applications - only new applications.
The Report will believe the ODD stance on new applications when the happen. The "waiver" is a huge political loophole that the ODD will find a way to grant when the governor or some other powerful politician wants it waived.
The Report understands that Jackson Township officials are very angry over the loss of the 270 jobs from thw township. It could be because of the "blood feud" that is going on between North Canton and a Jackson Twp/city of Canton annexation combo over a plan that Stark County commissioners recently approved and which is being litigated.
It can't be an income tax thing, since Jackson has no income tax.
Notwithstanding the effort of the ODD to stop internecine economic warfare among the counties, townships, villages and cities of Ohio, don't look for these politico/economic fistfights to abate (pardon the pun) anytime soon.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
When Healy fired close Schulman confidant Thomas Bernabei (service director and chief of staff) while Schulman was out-of-town (at the Obama inauguration), Mayor William "I have nothing to lose" Healy, II fired the first "public" shot at certain members of council.
The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report/SCPR) says "public" shot because warefare was well underway between Healy and Council prior to the Bernabei firing. In fact, Bernabei, in a very diplomatic and modest way, told The Report that he was the main reason that Healy had any kind of working relationship with Council.
For Bernabei to be such a "success or fail" figure for the Healy Administration agenda was intolerable to the narcissistic Healy and therefore the former stalwart of Council had to go. Healy's snub of Allen Schulman was about a dumb a political move that yours truly has ever seen in Canton/Stark County politics.
It was not long until Schulman went public in his fight with Healy.
Of course Healy and Smuckler have probably never gotten along. They ran against each other for the right to take on Republican Janet Creighton in 2003 with Smuckler winning. Since then there has been one fight after after another.
Mary Cirelli. Well, Healy ran her out of the Ohio House (a Democrat safe seat) by taking her out in a Democratic primary in 2004. Is there any doubt that Cirelli is on Healy's enemies list.
Greg Hawk. Why is he on the list. Well, it couldn't be said better than by one of Healy's staunchest political supporters in an e-mail to The Report, to wit:
The battle lines are drawn in Canton and the Ethics Ordinance is Healy's "Pickett's Charge."
Something is up with Schulman and Hawk.
In early 2008 Hawk came to my home for my signature to become a Central Committee person. When he was here he said he had his first meeting on finances with Mayor Healy and thought the meeting was great and he really liked the Mayor now that he got to sit down and talk with him. Last fall Hawk started jumping on the Mayor for everything you can imagine.
He has been neglecting his ward duties. He has not attended the Neighborhood Assoc meetings in the neighbor HE lives in for 5 months.
I believe Schulman want (sic} to be Mayor and is trying to run off Jamey.
Things are getting really out of control in Canton.
Will this Healy gambil prove to be undoing of William J. Healy, II as mayor of Canton?
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
DISCUSSION: THE TESTIMONY IS IN - JUDGE SINCLAIR TO MAKE DEVIES "MOTION TO SUPPRESS" DECISON IN ABOUT 72 HRS
The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report/SCPR) was at the Devies' generated (Attorneys Richard Reinbold [Ron] & Jeff Jakimedes [Kyle]) Motion to Suppress hearing before Stark County Common Pleas Judge V. Lee Sinclair this morning in Canton.
Here is a short video in which Judge Sinclair is seen and heard stating his timetable for issuing a decision on whether or not to suppress the evidence gathered by investigators when three township computers housed in the police department part of township hall were taken by sheriff deputies and sent to a crime lab for analysis.
The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report/SCPR) would like to take Mayor William J. Healy, II at his word that he is sincerely for ethics reform.
But yours truly cannot.
Too much water has flowed over the dam for that. The Report believes that these are desperate times for Healy and he is flailing about to find a life raft to save his political viability in Canton and Stark County.
After listening to Healy's proposal several times (including the live presentation), The Report sees the proposal as containing one poisoned pill, if not several.
The "killer pill" for sure is the requirement that council members and city administration officials make their city of Canton income tax returns public.
Healy has to know that there is no way council will agree to this. Presidential candidates labor over press demands that they reveal their federal incomes tax returns. And Healy thinks that city council members are going to agree to such a requirement?
Healy, being the smart - in some ways - guy he is, undoubtedly has calculated this factor and figures he has created a failsafe harbor amidst allegations he has conducted himself unethically.
Well, he says to the public, I proposed the ethical reform. I was for it. Who failed to pass it? Canton City Council, that's who.
Watch the accompanying video in which Healy attempts to bootstrap himself into being the ethical one. Throughout the video he figuratively points the finger at Council as being the ethically challenged.
The Report is not buying what appears to be a Healy political gambit.
Here is the video.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Helping his political friends get public jobs that the general public never gets a shot at.
Harmon himself was originally appointed by Stark Democrats as county commissioner when former commissioner Gayle Jackson left for a Strickland administration job (probably at the behest of and certainly with the assistance of Stark County Democratic Party chair Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.)
The beneficiary this time?
Canton City Councilman Greg Hawk who is the owner/operator of Original Arcade Coneys (located at 215 West Tuscarawas St) and who is Canton City Ward 1C precinct committeeman.
In addition to owning and operating his own business and being a paid Canton City Council member, Hawk is now also working for Massillon elected official Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. Hawk joins Stark County Democratic Political Director Shane Jackson (who is Gayle's son) in the Massillon clerk of courts office. Shane's sister Lisa is the Plain Township administrator. A job she landed after she left the Stark County recorder's office because she had married Recorder Rick Campbell.
Why is The Report making a deal out of the Hawk hiring?
Let's see, three jobs he has. Okay he owns and operates his own business. This is wonderful. His second job is as an elected official. This is fine too. He went out got himself elected.
And The Report would be fine with him having a third job with local government, if The Report believed that he was the best person for this job. He may be. But who did he compete with to get the job? Let's see the list. Many very able Stark Countians have no job.
Stark organized Democrats (as Republicans like Janet Creighton and Jane Vignos did) are really loading up political insiders with jobs in taxpayer provided jobs.
If the general public only knew the degree to which Stark Republicans and Democrats alike set aside taxpayer funded jobs for their political cronies and allies, Stark Countians would likely be less likely to support city income tax issues, county sales/use tax issues, et cetera.
Yours truly has generally supported tax initiatives. Because? Because government does take money. However, our elected officials need to run government operations as if the money was coming out of their own pockets.
When we taxpayers get a growing sense of being abused by our elected leaders in their hiring practices, then it is time to stop and take a hard look.
These elected leaders may think they are playing us taxpayers for being fools, but they aren't. We are very much aware of what they do. A word to the wise: unless these leaders stop excluding the general public and stop it soon, we (voters who normally support funding government) will dry up their money.
The Report knows of and has reported on and will continue to report on Stark County politically connected folks who seemed to end up with a disproportionate number of public, taxpayer funded jobs.
A mission of The Report is to give readers an independent look at how political partisans use taxpayer dollars to provide for their political friends and for their families. Oh, they don't do direct hires. But they mask the hirings by having fellow officeholders do the hiring.
The issue is not the competence these folks have for these jobs. In some cases, the hirees are not competent (remember Ohio congressman Wayne Hays and Elizabeth Ray), but out-and-out incompetence is the exception rather than the rule.
The prime issue is whether or not the general public had a fair opportunity to get these jobs?
The Report has also learned that there may be something in the works at the hand of a Stark County Democratic Party and elected official to send a Stark Countian to Columbus to the Ohio treasurer's office so that a local taxpayer funded job opens for that official's relative.
Stay tuned. The Report is on this story and will be watching closely to see if it materializes.
The Report's guess is that this official is so utterly arrogant that the plan will proceed notwithstanding that the official is being watched with hawkeye precision.
Is Massillon Mayor Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr's letter to Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher the reason "clause 5" got added to the North Canton "Jobs Ready Site" grant agreement?
Clause 5 (which was added to the North Canton agreement within the last ten days) may prohibit North Canton from using its $5 million grant to reconfigure the old Hoover site to prepare for the relocation of Altercare (and its approximate 270 jobs) from Jackson Township to North Canton because of language precluding IN-OHIO relocation UNLESS a waiver is obtained.
See the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report/SCPR) article published yesterday - CLICK HERE.
The Report has learned that an Altercare official is in discussions with the Ohio Department of Development about this matter. Presumably, North Canton officials are too.
The Report will then "invite" you to the SCPR website storage venue to view the entire address.
DISCUSSION: KEY HEALY SUPPORTER TELLS "THE SCPR" THAT HEALY ADMINISTRATION PLANS "FAVORABLE" LGBTAC" LEGISLATION. REALLY?
UPDATE: April 21, 2009 at 7:00 AM - No mention was made by Mayor Healy of the Resnick predicted action on favorable LGBT legislation in his State of the City address.
Back on March 20, 2009 the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report/SCPR) did a piece on campaign contributions to the TeamHealy Committee by out-of-town contributors.
A highly puzzling piece had to do with one Tony Dane of Las Vegas, Nevada who contributed $15,070.00 to William J. Healy, II's run for mayor of Canton.
CLICK HERE to see the referred to piece for detailed background information.
In short, this contributor was puzzling to The Report because how utterly anti-gay Tony Dane is known to be in Las Vegas political circles. The Report has never fancied Healy as being anti-gay. In fact, one of his key supporters is openly gay.
That supporter has supplied the missing link between Dane and Healy.
What is it?
Healy and Dane went to the New York University Stern School of Business together, for heaven's sake. Yours truly should have known!
Apparently the Healy supporter referred to (Eric Resnick - who writes for the GAY PEOPLE'S Chronicle.com), was distressed that Healy had received money from a LGBTAC basher and must have gone to the Mayor with his concerns.
Resnick in his email to The Report promised to provide a "hot tip" once he knew a telephone number contact. The Report was immediately wary of the promised tip.
Because the tip could easily have been included in the email. Why the need for telephone contact?
The Report believes that something else was up. Whatever something else was, if it was anything, never materialized.because telephone contact was never established.
Yours truly thinks that the "hot tip" was going to be Healy's ethics ordinance proposal that The Repository reported on and which The Report commented on.
The Report suspects that Resnick was acting as an emissary from the Healy administration as a Healy-esque manipulation in an attempt to blunt The Report's propensity to be highly critical of the imperious and ethically challenged ways of the Mayor.
While The Report appreciates getting tips, yours truly has been around the political block a time or two and is onto such attempts.
If Mayor Healy would only sit down with the SCPR and provide chapter and verse on his campaign contributions, perhaps yours truly would be less suspicious of matters emanating from the Healy camp. But Healy does not have the stomach to face The Report when he has the soft touches on The Repository Editorial Board to finnesse.
The Report does thank all of you readers who have provided significant and timely tips. For those of you who have important inside political/governmental info to share, you can reach The Report at (330) 699-5002 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Back to Healy and Resnick.
Interesting information that Resnick provided in his email is the following (an excerpt from his email):
The Healy administration has lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender support, and a gay cabinet member. There will be, as time goes on, some administration-led legislation very favorable to LGBT Cantonians. I doubt that contributions from Tony Dane will inoculate the mayor from local nut ball gay haters when that time comes.So the next question is?
When will the "administration-led legislation very favorable to LGBT Cantonians" be forthcoming and, picking up on Resnick's point: will there be any political fallout for Healy if and when he makes to legislative move forcast by Resnick?
And, of course, exactly what will be the specific subject matter of the Resnick predicted legislation?
Monday, April 20, 2009
It is critically important to the future of Canton that the numerous council-at-large candidates be forced to answer eyeball-to-eyball hard questions about what prescriptions they have for what ails Canton.
So what does Stark County's only countywide newspaper do?
It does a powder-puff series in which the candidates make self-serving presentations (one written, the other video - "whoop-de-doo" - The Rep knows how to use technology without substance).
Today, The Rep puts Jimmy Babcock and Guy Bertram on. Undoubtedly, the other candidates are to follow. If the Babcock and Bertram pieces are any indication of what is to follow - save your time.
The Report is being facetious with its graphic representing a Rep employee handing out campaign literature. However, that is what yours truly thinks The Rep's series amounts to.
The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report/SCPR) has asked all the council-at-large candidates for a "no holds barred interview." Any takers? Yes, to her credit Cynthia Vignos. Apparently, the rest know they cannot stand the probing questions.
For Cantonians this means that Canton will likely get a replacement for the retiring Don Casar that will be unwilling and unable to provide answers for the manifold problems pressing in on Canton.
Repository Managing Editor Don Detore, Executive Editor Jeff Gauger and their newspaper is failing the Canton voting public.
Note that The Report says "their newspaper." And that's all it can be. For they are not pressing The Rep's staff to do the hard journalistic work that they ought to be doing. Being the "easy mark" they are for public officials and candidates, The Rep has not commanded the respect of the Stark County public to adopt The Rep as "our community - ever vigilant - newspaper."
Indeed, hard times have fallen on Canton, Ohio!
DISCUSSION: OHIO DEPARTMENT OF DEVELOPMENT DAMAGES NORTH CANTON'S ABILITY TO REDEVELOP OLD HOOVER FACILITY?
Meeks office did say that the "new" language will be a party of future agreements.
UPDATE: #3 - 04/22/2009 AT 6:52 AM - The Report talked with a spokesperson from the Ohio Department of Development yesterday and was told that Director Bardash is not considering resigning over the North Canton matter.
CORRECTION: The original article erroneously reported the tenant as being AultCare when in fact the correct name is Altercare. The original article has been corrected.
UPDATE #2: 04/20/2009 AT 12:37 PM - A source of The Report says Eric Bowles' (North Canton's economic development director) characterizes the problems with the Hoover re-development project as being "a rift between Stuart Luchter and Bob DeHoff."
UPDATE #!: 04/20/2009 at 10:45 AM - North Canton Mayor David Held tells The Report that he feels confident that the problem with the tendered "Job Ready Sites" agreement can be resolved.
Held says that North Canton will ask the Ohio Department of Development to retrace its steps and go back to the original agreement which did not contain the limiting language (not within Ohio).
The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report/SCPR) has learned many of the details of a rewrite of the Ohio Department of Development rules that may stymie the redevelopment of the former Hoover Company in downtown North Canton.
One of the fall-outs of this flap, may include the resignation of interim director of Ohio Department of Development (ODD) Mark Bardash. The Report is working on this aspect of the story and will update later.
What has happened to cause North Canton to possibly scrap its $5 million Ohio Department of Development "Job Ready Sites" grant?
The rubbing point is that within the past 10 days the North Canton administration has received an agreement on the grant to sign that is hugely different than ODD was having grantee sign before the North Canton agreement.
The specific troubled language in the agreement?
Clause 15. This clause prohibits grantees from using grant monies to attract IN-OHIO businesses to "Job Ready Sites" such as the Hoover redevelopment under the name Maple Street Commerce which is largely owned by partner Industrial Realty Group, Downey, California (of which Stuart Lichter is president and senior managing partner) in partnership with local real estate entrepreneur Robert DeHoff who owns about a 10% interest).
Okay, okay, how does this language specifically affect Maple Street Commerce?
Interesting, very interesting.
DeHoff Realty has a tenant at it facility on Whipple (in Jackson Township) known as Altercare. Many Stark Countians are familiar with Altercare which provides assisted living, rehabilitation and senior care services. Altercare at the DeHoff owned premises has about 270 workers at the DeHoff Realty owned site and sources tell The Report that Altercare desires to leave DeHoff yesterday even though four (4) months remain on the lease.
According to a very reliable source, because Altercare is very upset with how it is being handled in the landlord/tenant context by DeHoff and because Altercare needs more room.
So Altercare commissioned a "Site Selector" that came up with the idea that the old Hoover facility would fit Altercare's need.
But because of the clause 15 language in the "Job Ready Site" tendered agreement, North Canton cannot allow the relocation or the city will be on the hook for the $5 million in renovation costs to the Hoover site as well as the re-work of roads and other infrastructure around Hoover.
There is a "waiver" possibility on the IN-OHIO exclusion but a source tells The Report that nobody knows what the criteria will be for obtaining a waiver and that even if the rules were known, who, under the contract rules of due diligence would recommend that an Ohio based company consider relocating within Ohio.
A souce has suggested to The Report that perhaps the ODD will sued because of the two sets of rules that apply pre-North Canton/Hoover and post-North Canton/Hoover.
The Report can see a strong "equal protection of law" argument against the Strickland administration's new inserted language.
The bottom line is that what the Strickland administration's Department of Development is doing to Ohio's economic development efforts could be devastating in the near term.
Who would argue with the need to go out and get non-Ohio business to come to Ohio?
But is it fair to do to North Canton what Ohio is doing?
Not in The Report's opinion.
One remaining question.
Did Mayor Frank Cicchinelli having anything to do with ODD's change of language?
He did complain to Ohio officials when Myers Industries moved recently from Massillon to North Canton. It could be that Cicchinelli had Stark County Democratic Party chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. put pressure on the Strickland administration to change the language, but The Report doubts it.
Maier is politically close to Strickland and many in his administration.
But close enough to get a major policy change made?
It is especially interesting when an "accountability/auditing" person is primarily a political partisan. Because Ohio Republicans are nearly shut out of state government in Ohio these days, the Ohio Republican Party (OPR) is using her (though she likely is fully complicit) as a point person to oppose the Strickland administration in any way she can for any political gain she can make for the OPR.
The flap that Willard writes about is Taylor's prediction (looking into a "red" tinted crystal ball). Before the 2010 - 2011 budget has been dealt with, Taylor is saying that there will be an $8 billion shortfall in the 2012 - 2013 budget.
Strickland through his political mouthpiece (Democratic state party chair Chris Refern) says that Taylor and House Republicans are set to be Ohio's version of the "Just Say No Republicans" (i.e. refuse the stimulus money [including the jobs that the money will create] and, by the way, cut taxes),
Willard points out that "just say no" (or, if you will, play the role of backbenchers) will work with isolated Republicans like Taylor and Ohio House Republicans but not likely with Ohio Senate Republicans. Unlike minority Republican members of the House, "in the majority" Republican state senators actually have a state constitutional responsibility, working with the governor and majority Democrats in the House, to provide Ohio with a balanced budget.
This is where Stark County comes in.
Undoubtedly, Stark Countians Scott Oelslager (Republican - Jackson) and Todd Snitchler (Republican - Lake) will toe the party line in the Ohio House Republican caucus.
Both Oelslager and Snitchler like to insinuate that they seek opportunities to be bipartisan. But the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) sees very little evidence to support either's claim.
Oelslager has done a little bit along bipartisan lines over his 20+ years in the Ohio General Assembly. While Snitchler is in his first term, there is no "real" evidence (only rhetoric) that he will shake free of Ohio minority leader Billy Batchelder and do what is good for Ohio and Stark County over his political party.
If you take his performance at Matt Patrick's and Jason Wise's highly partisan ditty (with denials of partisanship galore - "thou protest too much") at Tax Day, Tea Day - Canton as any indication where Snitchler is on the right wing continuum, it is beginning to appear to The Report that Snitchler is pretty much a carbon copy of his predecessor John Hagan except he may be a little smarter. He should be. After all he is a lawyer who should have superior analytical skills.
Maybe in time Stark Countians will realize that Todd Snitchler is not one wit sharper than Hagan, just more polished. And perhaps even worse on policy matters.
State Senator Kirk Schuring is the local politician to watch on the budget.
Schuring keeps telling yours truly that he is "no cookie cutter Republican."
Well, according to Willard, his vote on the Strickland budget will be "come to Jesus" time for the good senator and his colleagues in the Ohio senate.
We shall see.
Watch Ohio Auditor "Mary Taylor" (from the nearby City of Green - Summit County) speak for herself in the accompanying video snippet from the full piece produced by the Ohio Republicans.
Be sure to note the "great" Ohio economy that Taylor refers to in the video that apparently only a blindly partisan Republican such as Mary can see as having come from Republican one-party-rule for the better part of 20 years in the pre-Strickland political era of Ohio.
How did the rest of us miss the booming Ohio economy that Taylor thinks came out of the Voinovich and Taft administrations and the Republican controlled Ohio General Assembly?
Sunday, April 19, 2009
DISCUSSION: WHO BROUGHT THE NEED FOR AN ETHICS ORDINANCE TO CANTON CITY GOVERNMENT? YOU'VE GOT IT. NONE OTHER THAN THE "PROPOSER-IN-CHIEF" WM HEALY
The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report/SCPR) takes this proposal as Healy "playing the public for the fool" once again.
An abiding premise of The Report is that Mayor William J. Healy, II of Canton is that Healy thinks he is smarter than anyone else in the world and he can manipulate anything he wishes to his political advantage.
If Healy "really" meant business he would take the suggestion of The Repository editorial board in its March 17, 2009 editorial entitled Mayor, server donation-contract link with this suggestion:
Specifically, he should decide this: Individuals and companies that contribute or have contributed to his campaign won’t be considered for city contracts while he’s in officeHealy's failure to heed this sound ethical wisdom presented by The Rep editorial board does indeed make his reasoning ("avoiding the very appearance of impropriety" for ethical reform laughable as evidenced by his position that accepting political contributions from those who end up doing business with the city of Canton "complied with state law."
This Mr. Mayor is not "avoiding the very appearance of impropriety." It is meeting the technical definition of the law which any lawyer knows is meeting the "minimum" ethical standard; not the highest ethical standard implicit in the "very appearance of impropriety" language.
Healy continues to be an unrepentant ethical minimalist (to be generous to him) who thinks he can bamboozle yours truly, The Rep editorial board, Canton City Council and, yes, the people of Canton.
Healy has forgotten the adage: "you can fool all the people some of the time, some of the people all the time but not all the people all of the time."
Healy is an amoral politician who in proposing ethics legislation in the light of his individual conduct establishes himself as a "living oxymoron."
Meanwhile, he looks on as Canton continues to slide into the economic abyss.
But William J. Healy, II has never been about the welfare of Canton in a primary sense of caring. He is about the well-being of William J. Healy, II and how he looks in the public eye.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Stark County treasurer,
Stark County prosecutor, and
Stark County engineer.
Unbelievable, simply unbelievable! Current Stark GOP chairman Jeff Matthews has failed Stark voters as has his predecessor Curt Braden.
On March 31, 2009, the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report/SCPR) received a tip that Stark County treasurer Gary Zeigler had fired his chief deputy Vince Frustaci was fired amidst allegations of theft from the treasurer's office.
So the days of March 03, 2008 (primary election day - no Republican candidate for treasurer), November 04, 2008 (as an alternative no independent or write-in candidate for treasurer) and March 31, 2009 are days that signal major failures within Stark County political and governmental leadership.
An aspect of the Stark County treasurer office theft caper not discussed in the media so far (except in The Report) is the lack of leadership in the Stark County treasurer's office in terms of the lack of effective oversight and structure so as to have prevented the theft from taking place in the first place.
Another aspect of the Stark County treasurer office theft caper not discussed so far in the media is the role the Stark County Republican Party and its inability to provide political competition in the Stark County treasurer's race in 2008 played in enabling a lacakadaisical leadership attitude to set in within the Stark Treasury leadership and thereby helping to set up conditions for the theft to occur.
THE STARK GOP FAILURE
While Stark County treasurer bears prime responsibility for not having or not properly monitoring checks on Vince Frustaci, the Stark County Republican bears at least secondary responsibility in the sense of giving Zeigler a "free ride" to another term as treasurer.
Now Zeigler has 3-1/2 years to hope the voters forget his failure in leadership. Had the Stark Republicans.
Listen to the audio below as WHLO-AM (640 on the dial) talk show host and politically supportive of Matthews and Stark Republican candidates presses Stark Republican Party chairman on the question of why the Stark GOP is not competitive countywide in Stark County.
All yours truly hears from Matthews is an excuse.
Stark Republicans can't do any better than this guy?
The Report believes Treasurer Zeigler got way too comfortable somewhere along the way in his ten years as treasurer and lost touch with the day-to-day operations of the office. And, when he had no opposition at all in 2008, he had to be feeling especially relaxed.
But the Stark GOP failure to provide an alternative to Stark voters does not excuse Zeigler.
There had to be signposts along the way (that Zeigler apparently ignored or was oblivious to) that trouble was on the horizon.
First, we now know (and s "due diligence" Zeigler should have known) that he did not have adequate structural safeguards in place within the office and in relations with an area banking institution which housed county money.
Second, despite acting as if he barely knew Frustaci in a brief interview yours truly had with Zeigler; The Report believes that Zeigler and Frustaci had become political pals and Zeigler let down his guard which, when coupled with the structural deficiencies, presented a ripe opportunity for the alleged theft to occur.
Third, a source has told The Report that it was known (certainly Zeigler had to know) that Frustaci liked to play high stakes poker and go to Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort to gamble.
Talk about a red flag? Duh?
The Report has learned that Zeigler is working the Democratic office holding crowd to put out the word that "he is a good guy."
A good guy (in the personal sense) Treasurer Zeigler may well be. That is not the question.
The question is this:
How much money are Stark taxpayers going to be out because he did not adequately lead as Stark County treasurer?
The Report wonders whether or not the thought has ever crossed Zeigler's mind that perhaps he is not up to being treasurer?
Now listen to Stark Republican Party chair Jeff Matthews trying to explain the failure of the Stark GOP to provide political competition in Stark.
Friday, April 17, 2009
DISCUSSION: MATTHEWS APPEARS TO HAVE A CONFLICT-IN-INTEREST; EITHER HE SHOULD RESIGN OR THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS SHOULD ASK HIM TO RESIGN?
In his discussion with Maier, Matthews invoked the name of an area Republican elected official as the person who communicated the alleged Bosley threat.
On Wednesday, Matthews took the stage with Matt Patrick of WHLO-AM (640 on your radio dial) and announced he was at the Tax Day, Tea Day - Canton, Ohio rally to join in the protest to national, state and (with an obvious flourish) local taxes.
A audio recording of the Matthews Tax Day, Tea Day comment can be heard at the end of this article.
The Report connected the "middle man" that Matthews identified to Maier. This official owned up to having had a conversation with Matthews cautioning him not to go public with opposition to the sales/use tax for obvious "conflict-in-interest" reasons.
The official emphatically denied that he passed on a Bosley threat to Matthews and that Matthew's attribution was a total and complete fabrication and that, he, the official was not conveying a Bosley message.
The Republican official also pointed out to The Report that on the one hand Matthews
and his bosses at the Board of Elections have a stake in the Stark County commissioners have sufficient revenues to fund regular and "extra" (an extra request was made in the 2008 election cycle) of the board on the one hand.
On the other hand, Matthews, as the chairman of the Stark County Republican Party is recruiting candidates to run against Bosley (2010), Harmon (2012) and Ferguson (2012) and to assist fueling them with campaign issues by making a stink about matters such as the "imposed" sales/use tax.
The Report agrees with the Republican source who quite articulately and forcefully pointed out this obvious conflict-in-interest.
The Report takes the further position that Matthews should resign his board of elections post. If he doesn't, the full board should call a meeting to discuss the future of Matthews as a board employee and move to immediately resolve any conflicts-in-interest!
Conflicts-in-interest is not something the Stark County public will abide.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
DISCUSSION: STATE REP TODD SNITCHLER (R-LAKE) WANTS TO SEND BACK $9 BILLION OHIO STIMULUS SHARE TO WASHINGTON?
What a difference a legislator makes?
In the piece immediately preceding this one, the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report/SCPR) plays an audio for readers in which Canton Tax Day, Tea Day event master of ceremonies (Matt Patrick of WHLO-AM/640) is obviously impressed that Boccieri, at his own initiative, appeared before a hostile crowd (Patrick's words; not The Report's) and handled the adversity very well indeed.
As one must be impressed with Boccieri, one should be totally unimpressed with Todd Snitchler (Republican - Lake) who was among friends.
Rather that be thoughtful and measured, Snitchler got caught up in the hysteria that was rampant at the event and made what appears to be an absurd statement that Ohio ought not accept the $9 Billion in federal stimulus money.
In fact, Snitchler got inflammatory by terming the money as being "bailout" money in an apparent attempt to whip this highly Republican supportive crowd into a frenzy. And, the suggestion is highly disingenuous. Snitchler knows that a rejection/return of the money is not about to happen. So it's safe to demagogue as Snitchler was doing.
Before this little ditty, The Report was beginning to think that maybe Snitchler was not a "red meat," simplistic solution type of politician. Now, The Report doesn't know what to think.
Perhaps he is, after all?
For now The Report is going to chalk this one down as Snitchler having a bad day. One wouldn't expect him to be the equal of John Boccieri because Boccieri has quite a few years under his belt as a public official. But The Report believes that Snitchler can do better than he did yesterday and will do better in the future when he reflects on how utterly partisan and reactionary he appeared to those us looking on from the sideline.
In all, Snitcher was on camera for about 5 to 6 minutes. The Report will be presenting follow up segments over ensuing days. And, unfortunately, the Sntichler performance does not get any better.
It never does when one get caught up in the hyper-emotion of a crowd. Hopefully, Snitchler has learned a lesson.
Here is the "reject the stimulus" portion of the video. Judge for yourself.