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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

SCPR "ELECTION 2009 SERIES" (VOL 3): STARK COUNTY'S VERSION OF THE "GUNS OF NAVARONE" - REINBOLD & GONZALEZ? CAN THE STARK CITIZENS FOR THE RIGHT TO VOTE TAKE THE GUNS OUT?



 REVISED & UPDATED ON 09/30/2009 AT 3:30 P.M.

The SCPR has learned that former Stark County Common Pleas judge Richard Reinbold and Stark County Democratic Party chair Randy Gonzalez will be manning the effort for Stark County government to retain the "imposed" 0.50 percent sales/use tax imposed by Stark County commissioners (Harmon and Bosley; not Ferguson - he had not yet taken office) in December, 2008.

It is appropriate that this duo lead the effort for the government.

Both have benefited richly from the public purse in the individual, personal sense and in the family sense in terms of benefiting from local government employment.

The Reinbold/Gonzalez led campaign will focus on 9-1-1 and will attempt to diminish that part of the imposed tax that is designed to raise millions of dollars for the Stark County general fund.

For the commissioners, do not expect Todd Bosley to be front and center on this issue.  Tom Harmon and the unelected Mike Hanke (county administrator) has been designated to "fall on the sword" for the county.

Why not Bosley?

Isn't he the one who came up with the idea and pushed it through?

Indeed.  But he faces re-election next year and the SCPR believes he is now trying to distance himself from the issue hoping voters will forget his fatherhood of the imposed tax by the time November, 2010 rolls around - if the issue loses this November.

Yesterday, The Rep had the local G-man and the anti-tax people in for an endorsement interview.

The SCPR reads one county official's allusion to the session as being "not so good" (The Report's words) for Messers Marcelli and Snyder; the leaders of the Stark Citizens for the Right to Vote Committee.

Yours truly is leaning towards voting "yes - retain the tax" (Issue 5).  But in the end, the vote could turn "no, do not retain the tax" (Issue 5) because of a perceived lack of confidence in Stark County officials to properly manage the funds that flow into county coffers.

9-1-1 does need repaired and the county does need the money for basic and essential county government services.  Both needs, if satisfied, will benefit thousands of Stark Countians.

So the question for many Stark County voters is whether or not to overlook the few who will benefit, unfairly in the opinion of the SCPR, from increased public revenues so as to advantage the many.

Some will say that's an easy one to answer.  "It's a no-brainer, let's benefit the many; so what that a few take advantage of their political connections."

On the other hand, when does one say "enough is enough" and insist that the politicos quit the practice of taking care of themselves, their families and their political loyalists at public expense.

The point that may be the tipping point for a "no, do not retain the tax" (Issue 5) for yours truly is that there are too many politically connected folks like Reinbolds and Gonzalez and their families that have used Stark County government and its political subdivisions as an personal employment agency.  

These jobs are withheld from the Stark County general public as set asides for the  Stark County political class, both Democrats and Republicans.  However, the Democrats hold most Stark County elective offices and therefore are - by far  -the greater beneficiaries of this abuse of the public trust.

The self-serving do not seem to be able to "get it," that voters are quite aware of their working the system for themselves.  Perhaps the time to drive the point home is when the government they have attached themselves to is in dire need of additional revenues.  One way to deal with them is to keep government on "life support" and deny them the opportunity to pad the public payroll with political patronage.

Since this is an issue, either side of the of Issue 5  can legally solicit and accept corporate money.

Which side of Issue 5 do you think has the best chance of getting significant corporate money?

Of course, the "yes - retain the tax" (Issue 5) folks.  Presumably, any company who is doing business with the county or who may want to do business with the county will be targets of a contribution request.

If the "yes, retain the tax" committee people  (Issue 5)  are actively soliciting this type of corporate money, then such activity is an additional reason for Stark Countians to vote "no - do not retain the tax" on Issue 5.

Another reason to vote "no - do not retain the tax" (Issue 5) is the manner in which the Gonzalez-led SCOG has chosen to restructure 9-1-1.

Local government entities get a tax revenue windfall when the county actually relieves them of the dispatching function.  So not only was their "we know you are against it" (a la Tom Harmon) "and therefore we are going to impose it;" anti-democratic but also is their "we are aiding and abetting local governments to divert the former 'dispatching monies' into other local government programs and purposes" structure.

It would be easy to be knee-jerk on this issue and be like some of the leaders of the Stark Citizens for the Right to Vote:  perceived by yours truly as being irrational in their opposition to the increased tax.

In fact, it is as discomforting being associated with the perceived irrationality as it is in supporting the abuse of the public purse.

For responsible citizens, the decision on repealing or not repealing the sale/use tax increase is not an easy one.

Whatever call an individual voter makes should be based a thorough consideration of matter in all its aspects.

JUST WHEN THOUGHT THINGS WERE GOING WELL IN HARTVILLE?


With Police Chief Dragovich on his way out and "the public prayer before meeting controversy" dying down;  it began to look like Hartville was revisiting the halcyon days of Ed DiGiacomo being mayor of Hartville.  In those days Hartville was the qunitessential "all-American," bucolic community.  Stability, stability and more stability.

With the advent of the Tucker administration (who defeated Bev Green a few years ago), it was beginning to look like there were "showers of blessings" raining down on Hartville, once again.

This is probably too much of a leap, but could it be because Pastor Tom Hough is a member of village council.

At least that was what yours truly was beginning to think.

So the SCPR was amazed to get a phone call from a Hartville resident putting all the "apparent" contentment and benison  in question.

Well, what did this person have to say about the state of affairs in Hartville.

First, was a shocker-roo, if true.  According to the source (who turned out to be wrong about a possible move), Scott Process Systems, Incorporated had been sold and the new owner wanted to move out of Hartville.  And, Mayor Tucker and Village Council were just letting it happen.

The SCPR asked Ron Genovese who is Scott Process Systems, Inc's vice president of sales/marketing whether or not there was any truth to the sale/move rumor. As you can see from the e-mail (duplicated below), Genovese does not respond to the sale question, but he does say Scott Process is going nowhere and is staying in Hartville "PERIOD!"



Second, that Hartville is no longer providing school crossing funding for teacher aides who help Hartville's children to safely cross the Hartville village street that fronts Hartville Elementary  Hartville funding has been in place since the early 70s. 

Apparently, this is so.  A source in a position to know (other than the original reporter) tells the SCPR that such is the case.

Most likely, the discontinuance is just a matter of economics.  Undoubtedly, if citizens of Hartville want their government to continue to fund this function, Council would be open to reversing course.  But they will have to visit a Council meeting and let their desires be known.

Third, that the Schumacher Lumber brothers are unhappy with the security that Hartville is providing for their vacant three story building located in the heart of Hartville.

The SCPR had a discussion with "soon to become" Hartville police chief Larry Dordea about this matter.

Dordea says that he definitely thinks that the Schumacher brothers are dissatisfied with the work being done by the Hartville Police Department (HPD).  However, Dordea defends the surveillance being done by the department.  He says that the Hartville police are at the Schumacher facility daily in an endeavor to capture intruders.  He thinks the  juveniles are the culprits.

Dordea relates how the HPD spends hours upon hours in policing the security of the Schumacher property,  citing how it takes an hour to do a walk through of the three story structure.


Fourth, the source says that Hartville sold four police cruisers (that should have been put up for public auction) to a friend of Dordea's located in Alliance for $1,500.

Dordea confirms that the cruisers have been sold to an Alliance scrap metal firm but denies any personal connection.  Dordea says he sought bids from a couple of scrap metal dealers who advertise in the Hartville News, but that they were offering from $100 to $200 per car.  Moreover, Dordea says that the cars were not road worthy enough to offer to the general public.

And there were other observations by the SCPR's source that were critical of how Mayor Tucker, the Council and the police department are handling matters in Hartville.

Are Hartville's residents about to see a revisitation of turmoil?

The SCPR senses that such could be the case even in face of the political reality that there are three candidates for four seats in this November's election cycle.

Perhaps not.

The next two years is likely to tell the tale.

Will it be a period of bliss or discord in Hartville?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

OPENING SHOT: SMUCKLER VERSUS HEALY - 2011 DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY?


Healy political antagonist Bill Smuckler had it both ways at Canton City Council meeting last night.

The SCPR believes that this is proof positive that God is smiling on Councilman Smuckler these days.  And the divine smile may carry him into the mayor's office come November, 2011.

Smuckler could not make it to Council last night because the meeting fell within Yom Kippur or the "Day of Atonement" for religious Jews:  the holiest day of the year for Jews, the devoutest of which spend the day fasting and prayer.

Undoubtedly it was co-incidental that Smuckler was busy being devout.

But the co-incidence benefited him enormously from a political standpoint.

The issue was whether or not Council was going to clamp down on Healy administration travel because of the huge financial deficit Canton is in the midst of.

To the SCPR, budgetary concerns are a "red herring."  The real political deal is that with the mayoralty election now about two years away, Cantonians will see more and more political theater as Council member Smuckler jockeys with Healy for political advantage come the Democratic primary in 2011.

While Smuckler wanted to embarrass the Healy administration on Monday because its poor pre-2009 financial planning played a major role in Canton's full blown money crunch, he doesn't want to be seen as hamstringing Healy et al on minutia
such as travel.

That is what the 6 to 5 vote accomplished for Smuckler.  Had he been there, he would have been on the spot.  If he votes yes, then the measure passes and Healy is put under travel constraints.  Then in 2011, he hammers Smuckler for having hampered administrative efforts to redeem Canton finances.

If Smuckler votes no, then he sends a confusing message to voters.  Is for or against the debacle being foisted on Canton by the Healy administration.

So God intervenes on Smuckler's behalf.

And its a double blessing.  He doesn't have to vote, but Healy still gets embarrassed.  Moreover, to the religiously inclined, the theistic intervention is a sign from heaven who is right on the Healy/Smuckler fight.

Another thing the "travel issue" vote shows.

What is that?

How Council is lining up on the Smuckler/Healy confrontation, that's it.

However, the line up is malleable because Casar (who the SCPR counts as a Smuckler supporter - at this time) is not running again and there is a least one contested race that could alter the line up.

Which race is this?

The seventh ward, is the one.

There you have Barton (the incumbent who the SCPR believes will side with Smuckler as these "test votes" come along) versus Republican Richard Hart and independent but former Democrat Shane McCartney.

This is likely to be the only Canton council race that the SCPR covers in any depth.  The Stark County Republican Party has written off Canton and therefore there is very little political competition in Canton.  The Stark GOP's failure to compete makes it responsible, in part, for the decline of Canton.

For better or worse, it appears that the Healy administration and the Smuckler forces on Council will be waging political war while Canton slips deeper into the abyss.

For better or worse?

How could it get better?

Sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better.  Apparently, this is the only way for Canton.  Healy, in the opinion of the SCPR, would rather take Canton down "doing it his way" rather than work constructively with the many to turn things around!

"After you, Alphonse.", "No, you first, my dear Gaston!" ARE HEALY & SLIMAN CANTON'S "ALPHONSE & GASTON" ACT?



Stumbling and bumbling birthed in the soup of political arrogance.

Are Mayor Healy and Annexation/Civil Service Director Sliman the perfect match for the stumbling/bumbling going on at Canton City Hall?

Looks like it.

William J. "Arrogance Personified" Healy, II has been down right goofy as the "decider-in-chief" for the Hall of Fame city.   He revels in having graduated from the New York University Stern School of Business with a Masters of Business Administration and coming home to Canton to assume his rightful has the King of Canton.

Sam "Darth Vader to the Townships" Sliman looks down his nose to the rubes (as evidenced by him attributing to himself the aforemention Darth Vader attribution) out in the hinterland of Stark County.

He and the complicit Randy Gonzalez (Jackson Township fiscal officer, Stark County Democratic Party chair and deputy clerk of courts - Canton Municipal Court) have concocted this notion of the huge metropolis of CanJackson (Canton and Jackson Township) that by virtue of their combined largeness are thereby entitled to steam roll the rest of Stark County.

In an adaptation of the Alphonse and Gaston comic strip of  yore, the SCPR sees Healy and Sliman as deferring to one another in their arrogance.

If one looks at the definition of arrogance, one finds that arrogance is born of insecurity rather than self-confidence grounded in thorough preparation for the task at hand and for the tasks that loom in the future.

Healy and Sliman are working to create a culture (by ridding the administration of "independent types" like Bernabei and Nesbitt) at City Hall that is dragging the once great city into a financial/economic cesspool. 

The latest Healy/Sliman arrogence-bred stumbling/bumbling is summed up in an incident whereby Civil Director Sliman's clearly demonstrated an inability to do basic administrative/legal ministerial work in a tragic-comedic exercise of laying off cadet firemen in order to help the city save money in a desperate attempt to survive without going bankrupt.

 Healy and Sliman are negative leaders; a perverse form of leadership.

Cut,cut, cut, cut and cut some more.  And that is all Healy and Sliman can do now.  For they have dug themselves a huge hole over nearly two years in power.

Because of their failure to correct the fundamental errors of the Creighton administration (which Sliman was also part of) and, moreover,  because their failure to develop a sound, positive economic growth program (annexation is negative, temporary economic growth - over the long haul) in the Healy administration; Canton is in a downward spiral.  A crash landing is just over the horizon.

Matters have gotten so desperate these days that Sliman has been inquiring of Plain Township for the right to compete with Sheriff Swanson to handle police services for Plan.

No way would Plain ever agree to that scenario. 

Plain is government done right.  Canton is government done wrong.

Monday, September 28, 2009

SCPR SOURCES ARGUE OVER WHETHER OR NOT HARTVILLE POLICE CHIEF IS GOING TO RETIRE. WHO IS CORRECT?



The SCPR has been urging Hartville Police Chief George Dragovich to retire.

As has been documented in area media a number of times, Dragovich has been involved in number of controversies in recent years involving his conduct.  The SCPR believes these controversies have not been  a positive phenomenon for Hartville's image and that that Dragovich, if he cares anything about a community that has been good to him for many years, will move on.

Anticipating Dragovich's departure, Hartville went out and got former Alliance chief Larry Dordea to come in to beef up the Hartville police effort.  Undoubtedly, in the back of the minds of Hartville's governors, he was brought in to one day replace Dragovich.

But there has been a rub.

What rub?

Dragovich has a good thing going for him and has resisted Tucker administration (Ed Tucker is mayor of Hartville) efforts to move him on.  Dragovich announced during the Green administration (former mayor Beverly Green whom Tucker defeated) that he was going to retire (supposedly, June, 2006).

Well, he didn't.

Now a source is telling the SCPR that Dragovich is going on vacation on October 5, 2009 and will be retiring sometime in December.

The SCPR was all set to do a blog disclosing the imminent "for certain" retirement of George Dragovich.

Hold on, Martin!

Another source called the SCPR today and vehemently challenged the notion that Dragovich was going to retire.  This source says Dragovich is telling two stories in the Hartville community.

First, he is telling Tucker et al  that he is going to retire.

Alternatively, he is telling his friends that hangout at Hartville's McDonalds over coffee that is not going to retire.

Moreover, the SCPR's (not retiring) source says that Dragovich has too much to gain by staying beyond January 1, 2010.

So which account is the truth of the matter?

Probably only the passage of time will tell the tale.

You can be sure that Tucker and his key supporters on Hartville Council will push and push hard to get Dragovich to retire.  The trick on the administration's part is to get Dragovich's retirement without being sued by Dragovich.

The SCPR's (Dragovich is not leaving) source says that Dragovich is telling some village residents that "sue Hartville" is exactly what he will do, if Hartville officials make his departure involuntary.

Stay tuned folks!

SCPR "ELECTION 2009 SERIES (VOL II):" SCHULMAN VERSUS DENCZAK-HENDERHAN: SAME OLD POLITICS?



SCHULMAN

The graphic above is a "fictional" note from Canton City Council president Allen Schulman to his fellow Democrats on Council.

But from the looks of  Schulman's guest op-ed (With jobs at stake, even an increase in Canton income tax must be on the table) in The Repository (09/20/09), this is a topic that has been actively discussed in the "off-camera" contacts among Council members.  Of course, nobody will admit to such discussions, but it is apparent that the "tax increase option" has been "on-the-table."

The real question is not a mere "all options should be on the table" as Schulman presents the matter.

Rather, it is what would a tax increase do for Canton over the long term?

If the answer is nothing but maintain current jobs, then it should come off the table without further consideration.

If the answer is that it will generate capital needed to fund a grand plan for the economic rehab of Canton over the longer term, then discuss it Canton must.

The SCPR believes the Schulman "tax increase trial balloon" is of the former and not the latter.

DENCZAK-HENDERHAN

Symbolism, mere symbolism.  That is what the essence of Schulman's opponent op-ed response (Council shouldn't ever consider a tax hike, but should cut its own pay and benefits, 09/27/09),

Symbolism can be important, if it indicates something deeper and transformative is underway.

But Denczak-Henderhan seems to be stuck on the "leading by example" rhetoric much like the needle on the old 45 and 78 records would sometimes get stuck on a track and play and play and play the same refrain of music over and over again.

Once the sharing in hard times has happened; then what?

Denczak-Herderhan talks of pride, but in what?

Pride in the symbolic but inconsequential beyond the shared experience?

SO WHAT NOW?

The Schulman and Denczak-Henderhan Repository exchange should be disheartening to Cantonians.

This is the best that Cantonians can look forward to from the president of Canton City Council after November?

So far as the SCPR is concerned, it matters not which of these two are elected in November.

Canton is a dying city.

Her mayor is about manipulative as a public official gets. Council's de facto leadership (Smuckler) thinks the city can annex its way out of its severe financial/economic problems.  And basically all that Council and Healy can seem to do well is:  fight!

The Schulman/Denczak-Henderhan race hold no promise of a better day for Canton.

Just further proof that Canton is indeed a dying city.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

SCPR "ELECTION 2009 SERIES": (VOL I) LOUIS GIAVASIS FOR PLAIN TOWNSHIP TRUSTEE; DOES HE DESERVE ANOTHER TERM?



UPDATE (09/28/09)

Giavasis contacted the SCPR to state that Mike Stevens was not hired as Plain Township administrator because he wanted to remain as Lawrence Township trustee.

If the answer to the question posed in the graphic above is "yes," then Plain Township trustee Louis Giavasis deserves to be re-elected to one of the two trustee positions up for voting this coming November.

He is opposed by Diebold employee Scott Haws and Dawn Campanelli.  The SCPR will cover their campaigns in later volumes of the SCPR "ELECTION 2009" SERIES.

Louis Giavasis is an interesting political study for Stark County students of politics.

He is a guy who appears to be largely non-political but the reality is that he is enmeshed in partisan Democratic politics.

For instance, he now works in the Stark County clerk of courts office held by Nancy Reinbold.  Clerk Reinbold got her job from guess who?  Louis's brother Phil who used to be Stark County Common Pleas clerk of courts until he decided it was more remunerative (and therefore more retirement benefit enhancing)  to be the Canton
Municipal clerk of courts.

Reinbold (the wife of  long time Stark County Court Common Pleas judge - now retired - Richard Reinbold in the opinion of the SCPR is beholden to the Giavasis political family.  When Phil moved on, he was hostileto anyone who wanted to consider running for the county clerk job because he - Phil - had determined that the job was to go to Nancy Reinbold.

So now you have Louis in the clerk's office.  Hmm?  Politics or merit?

On the other side of the political coin is the reality that Louis has been in the running for "political" jobs in the past, only to come up empty.  If he is so politically connected, how can this be?

In part, because he is a bit of a loose canon on township governmental decision questions and,in part, because within the Stark County Democratic Party there are a number of divisions.  An example:  Louis being part of the Giavasis wing (Phil's political machine) of the Stark County Democratic Party makes application with the Healy administration which is controlled politically by the "TeamHealy" political machine of the Stark County Democratic Party.  It would not necessarily be beneficial for Louis Giavasis of the Giavasis political machine to expect a political advantage with the TeamHealy folks. In fact, it was (when Louis applied) a big negative.

That's how Stark County Cemocratic politics works.

Notwithstanding the SCPR's understanding of how caught up Louis Giavasis is in the inner workings of Stark County Democratic Politics, yours truly thinks Louis is one of the very best, if not the best, township trustee in Stark County and, perhaps, beyond.

One of Giavasis' prime political skills is to be able to work with co-equal officeholders.  Being township trustee or county commissioner is challenging because of the egos involved in holding office on a three person board.

Giavasis' success in Plain Township, the SCPR believes, is attributable - in the main-  to spreading the glory around.  Never, in the SCPR's conversations with Louis, has he taken full credit for Plain's successes as a exceptional example of how township government can work well for citizens.  He always has made it clear that Plain's success is attributable to all three trustees.

While many Stark and Ohio townships are having severe financial/economic hardships, Plain Township is relative secure; especially on the financial side of the equation.

And, Giavasis is currently on the threshold of breaking through on a major economic development coup for Plain.  As early as Wednesday of this week, Stark County commissioners could decide to release $2 million in federal stimulus money loan guarantees so that a Boston developer can get the money he needs to create 129 new (a mix of full/parttime) jobs within two years.
Get this folks.  The $2 million is only a guarantee (somewhat like FDIC (protecting bank deposits) and the money will be repaid to Stark County so that the county can seed other economic development projects.

In 2000, the Oakwood Square shopping complex went belly up because its anchor tenant Giant Eagle move one mile to the west to Washington Square.  But, to protect its territory, Giant Eagle negotiated a lease to to prohibit a competing grocer from going into Oakwood Square for what seems to be an eternity.

Louis Giavasis has fought Giant Eagle tooth and nail on this issue ever since his election in 1993 after being appointed to the office in 1992.

There are other successes that Giavasis likes to point to:
The Plain Township parks system, and

the fact that Plain Township officials saw the financial/economic downturn coming as much as five years ago and have created reserves to create the buffer they need to weather the hard times.
The SCPR is impressed by Gaivasis.  So much so that yours truly wonders why, in the face of the rumored Tom Harmon step-down as county commissioner after the first of year, Stark County Democrats would choose anyone other than Louis Giavasis as his successor?

If Harmon does resign, then politics will enter in bigtime, and Steve Meeks (former Jackson Township trustee) has a much thicker political relationship with Stark County Democratic Party chairman than does the Giavasis family.

One of the most powerful families in Stark County politics, is the Gayle Jackson family.

Gayle (a former county commissioner)  is now with the lottery commission having been appointed by Governor Strickland on the recommendation of former Stark County Democratic Party chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. who Strickland is highly indebted to because Maier was the first Ohio county chairman to endorse him for governor in 2006.

Her son, Shane, works for Maier as chief deputy making more money than Massillon mayor Francis Cicchinelli, Jr, and is the political director of the Stark County Democratic Party.

Her daughter, Lisa (wife of Stark County recorder Rick Campbell) works for guess who?

Plain Township.

So?

The "so" leads to the question  as to what political role did Louis Giavasis have in helping her land the job?

The SCPR believes substantial.

Lawrence Township trustee Michael Stevens was the odds on favorite to get the job when it came open several years ago.

The SCPR believes that Maier and Louis' brother Phil leaned on the Plain trustees to opt for Lisa.

The Campbell hiring folks is a apt description of the inner workings and realities of Stark County politics.

Is Louis Giavasis up to his eyeballs in Stark County Democratic politics?

Probably.

However, the SCPR believes he is likely the very most visionary (e.g. Oakwood Square)of all Stark County trustees.  Moreover, he understands and teams up with Plain Township other two trustees to configure and implement township government efficiencies and plan in advance and install financial mechanism to keep Plain Township richly solvent.

A huge Giavasis strength is his persistence.  Witness the Oakwood Square project.  he has been working on this project for nearly 10 years!

All of this goes to prove that being highly political does not necessarily mean that one is not a high quality public official.

Many times it does.

But not in the case of Trustee Louis P. Giavasis.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

WHY DON'T ALL STARK CO SCHOOLS VALUE GOD? SCPR COMPARES STARK'S 16 OTHER SCHOOL DISTRICTS ' MISSION STATEMENTS TO LAKE: TODAY - MASSILLON


So far in the SCPR survey of Stark County school districts, only Lake and Louisville have a direct/indirect reference to God.

This leaves out Alliance, Canton City, Canton Local, Fairless, Jackson, Marlington and Massillon.  Of 9 of the 17 school districts in Stark County covered by the SCPR so far out of a controversy generated by the  a few Lake residents (Lake is the SCPR's home area) in a complaint to the Freedom from Religion Foundation over Lake's use of God in its mission statement, 6 make no reference to God.

A whopping 78% ignore God in their misson/values/vision statements.  Only Lake and Louisville (sort of) stand for God in their public statements.

While this blog is published on both the Stark County Political Report and the Stark Education Report, the best place to keep track of which school districts do or do not have any kind of reference to God in their mission statements is at the Stark Education Report.

Friday, September 25, 2009

ARE STARK COUNTIANS IN FOR "TWO" BLESSED EVENTS?





The SCPR has been ignoring, for some time now, source reports that a major shake up in about to be made by the Strickland administration that affects Stark County.

The Report chooses to nominate the "shake-up" as blessed events as indicated in the specially "conceived" graphic to appropriately honor the subjects of Strickland administration attention.

Blessed Event #1

Democrat Steve Meeks, former Jackson Township trustee who tried to pass his trusteeship on to wife Patty, is about to become the ex-regional 9 economic development?

Meeks couldn't persuade Jackson Township voters to go along with his grand plan to keep it all in the family.  Keeping it in the family seems to be a common trait among many Stark Democratic office holders.

Meeks got his political mentor and ally, former Stark County chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr., to sponsor him with governor-elect Strickland to appoint Meeks to the economic development directorship.  A post formerly held by North Canton Council president and Republican Daryl Revoldt when Bob Taft was governor.
So say multiple sources of the SCPR.

Maier is in Strickland's thrall because Johnnie had the good luck to be the first county chairman to endorse Strickland when he ran against Brian Flannery in the Democratic primary in 2006.  Strickland makes it abundantly clear that Maier has a special place in his heart.  Apparently, emotion has trumped over good sense with the humble-born Strickland from Duck Run, Ohio.

In the judgment of the Strickland folks, Meeks has outlived his usefulness and it is time for him to move on.

Move where?

Well, hold on just a minute will you!

DRUM ROLL PLEASE!!!



BLESSED EVENT #2

Tom Harmon is said to be stepping down as Stark County commissioner after January 1, 2010.

Now folks, wasn't it worth the wait?

The most unbelievable part of the Harmon step-down conjecture is that he is said to be headed to Columbus or elsewhere in our Buckeye state in the service of the Strickland administration.

Yours truly knew things are bad in Ohio.  But really, Tom Harmon working at the state level.

That part is likely untrue.  Here's a guy who likely spent decades slung back in his easy chair with feet on desk while clerk of courts for the Canton Municipal Court.  Then he moved on to the commissioner's office where he has achieved virtually nothing now he's going state?    The SCPR refuses to believe this part of the story.

The next part?

Maybe?

Steve Meeks is going to be appointed by Stark Democrats at the insistence of Stark County Democratic chairman Randy Gonzalez.

Makes sense to the SCPR.

After all, they are long time political pals out there in Jackson.

If these speculated "ahake-up" events come off; should Stark Countians see them as "blessed events?"

Thursday, September 24, 2009

JACKSON TRUSTEE SHOWS UP AT STARK COMMISSIONERS MEETING FULL OF "P??S & VINEGAR;" LEAVES "DEMORALIZED?"



You just gotta love Stark County commissioner Todd Bosley and the "political theater" he generates in Stark.

And it not just theater.

This guy has an agenda which includes things he really cares about:  fixing 9-1-1 and making sure Stark County has the financial resources to do the "unglamorous" things that government does like keeping the ditches of Stark County open and clean so that Stark Countians are repeatedly getting their properties flooded.  Of the three sitting commissioners, only Bosley has lifted a finger to get economic development going in the county.  Witness his Chevron/Biomass project.

Harmon and Ferguson (with his Department of Defense contacts - what a laugh) feign at doing economic development, but that's exactly what it is:  "feigning."  Neither would know economic development if the phenomenon hit them square in the face.

So Bosley is both entertaining and serious and, like most politicians, has a healthy dose of ego.  Many of the most try to get us to believe they have no ego.  Bosley is much more candid than the many. 

The theater on Wednesday grew out of the fact that Jackson trustee James Walters showed up at the regular commissioners' meeting.

Walters probably has never been at a commissioners' meeting before yesterday.  But, apparently, he is giving serious consideration (so he has told the SCPR) to running against Bosley.  So "bingo," let me go to a commissioners' meeting.

Well, he may have been ebullient going into the fanfare of attending the meeting, but after he had a little sit-down with Bosley after the meeting, perhaps reality has begun to set in.

In what appears to be just a smidgen "over the top," Bosley called Walters in for a little chit-chat on the talk (must have been a reference to the SCPR because no other Stark media has speculated on Walters running) that Walter was thinking about running against the commissioner.

Over the top?

Well, the SCPR wonders why Bosley is so preoccupied with who is going to run against him.  And to sit Walters down and suggest "you better think this one over, I am a campaigner the likes of which Stark County only rarely sees (the SCPR's words; not Bosley's).

Yours truly thinks Bosely is likely right.  Walters is no match for Bosley.  When he won as Jackson trustee, he was a huge beneficiary over former trustee Steve Meeks attempt to hand over his trustee position to his wife Patty.

Maybe no Stark Republican can defeat Bosley, but either Creighton or a rematch with Richard Regula stands a better chance than Walters.

It could be that the Stark Citizens for the Right to Vote Committee succeed in their repeal effort in November and keep things together for November, 2010 to specifically target Bosley.   That might be a scenario that a Creighton or Regula could unseat Bosley.

The SCPR does not see Walters as being a real threat to Bosley under any scenario.

But why would Bosley rub Walters' face in it?

Heavens only knows.

Back to the beginning.

You just gotta love Stark County commissioner Todd Bosley and the "political theater" he generates in Stark.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

TRACKING OUR LEGISLATORS SERIES - BOCCIERI: DEALING OUT YOUR TAX DOLLARS. DO YOU APPROVE?


Let's see:  7 attorneys and 11 social workers for temporary jobs (17 months at most, some only 12 months)  Is such a good use of your federal tax dollars in Stark County?

The SCPR thinks not.

Undoubtedly, Stark County prosecutor John Ferrero thinks so and Stark County Democratic Party chairman Randy Gonzalez will be cheered by the news.  A good chance to beef up political patronage, is it not?

Moreover, the one million plus should go to capital/infrastructure projects that local governments could not otherwise do (except for the likes of the "sewer/water line to nowhere in Canal Fulton).

Boccieri is very much a "let me get local government officials on my side" type of guy for they can help get me re-elected.  So if local officials determine that they want to use "temporary" money to "temporarily" employ or avoid laying off employees, "so be it" to consummate politician John Boccieri.

It is kind of like what the Stark County commissioners are doing with the 9-1-1 restructure.

A little different, but not much.

"We (the Stark County commissioners muse to themselves and to each other - with a "wink and a nod") will impose a 0.50 percent sales/use tax increase under the primary 'apparent' reason of fixing 9-1-1 (although beefing up general fund money is the bigger part of the deal), and, to gain support of the Stark County's township, village and city officials we will - in effect - "kick-back" to them for them to use the monies they currently use for 9-1-1 for other purposes.  Aren't we being cute?"

Of course, they are.

There is the political benefit to the commissioners and their effort to keep the tax.   The employees and officials of these Stark County communities - with new revenues at stake - are going to be out working hard to defeat the Stark Citizens Right for the Vote Committee effort to repeal the commissioner imposed tax.

Another result of the "cute move" by the commissioners?

Stark Countians are paying twice for 9-1-1.

So where are the similarities between Boccieri and his federal government largess to Stark County and the commissioners' 9-1-1 ploy.

Both the federal stimulus monies and the 9-1-1 sales/use tax collections are sort of like a "shell game."

How so?

They constitute a hiding of tax dollars being spent in terms of accountability as to "really" doing the "essential" services of government and preparing the community infrastructure so as to make a given Stark County community attractive to existing employer job expansion or to lure new employers to Stark County communities.

Both the federal stimulus monies and the 9-1-1 sales/use tax collections are being used to buttress the "staying in office" ambitions of the politicians who dole them out (the Stark commissioners) or have a hand in doling them out (Boccieri).

What the commissioners and Boccieri do not understand is that each and every act like these make ordinary voters just a tad more skeptical perhaps even cynical about the efficacy of government and over the longer haul less supportive.

HEALY GETS ONE RIGHT! CANTON CITY COUNCIL - BACK OFF!


Yes, "Healy gets one right!"  So says the SCPR.

The Repository reported yesterday (Healy, Canton Council debate city travel, Ed Balint) that Canton Council is trying to stymie Canton's most valuable economic resource.  Indeed, Mayor William J. Healy, II.

Hizzoner is likely to fall off his throne (err chair) when word gets back to him on this blog.

What is Canton City Council doing?

What in the world is wrong with Healy et al going out-of-town to drum up business?

Isn't this a good thing for Canton?

Things really get messed up when Healy is around to add his touch to city government, no?

So, it bears repeating, what is Canton City Council and Councilman Hawk doing?

Let him go!!!

Let Torres go!!!

Let all the mayor's economic development people go!!!

Can't hurt.  Might help.  If he is in town, Canton will hurt.

By all means send Healy "apackin!"

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

DEMOCRAT SPEAKER OF HOUSE (BUDISH) & GOVERNOR (STRICKLAND) HAVING A TOUGH WEEK? MAYBE A TOUGHER ELECTION IN 2009?


Can you see it?

See what?

Strickland and Budish "high-fiving" and "gafawing" over the number they did on Ohioans in the budget negotiations back in July.

First, there was expansion of gambling in Ohio and Governor Strickland and Armond Budish (Democrat Speaker of the House) structuring it to deny Ohioans the right to vote on the issue.

Well, they (Strickland and Budish) lost that one when the Ohio Supreme Court ruled 6 to 1 that "LetOhioansVote" could go forward to contest, with a referendum initiative,  their "thwart the voters" plan.

By the way, Kirk Schuring (Republican/Jackson - 29th - Ohio Senate) and Todd Snitchler (Republican - 50th - Lake) tried to stop the gambling expansion.

Second, it came to light in The Repository yesterday (New fee just a way to drive down deficit) how Budish working hand-in-glove with the Strickland administration "snuck" in a late fee ($20) for those who are more than seven days late renewing their drivers' licenses and license plates.

Schuring and the Republicans in the Ohio Senate thought they had it out, but the guv and his speaker are sneaky-sneaky.

If the voters decide to stop expanded gambling in Ohio, it will put Strickland and Budish right in the middle of a state government fiscal nightmare.

Why's that?

Because they were depending on the expanded gambling to raise about $851.5 million for FY 2010-2011.

But they do have a Plan B?

It appears so.  If the expanded gambling is rejected, the rumor is that Strickland, Budish and their "expanded gambling supporters" in the Ohio General Assembly will be begging Ohioans to be late in their license purchases.

Yes, late.  For they desperately need some way to make up $851.5 million dollars even if at the rate of $20 at a time.

Indeed, Ohioans may well have the "last laugh" on "the best laid plans of  mice and men" gone awry by voting "no" on gambling expansion and paying for their licenses on time.

Monday, September 21, 2009

SCHURING & SNITCHLER GET IT RIGHT. THE REST OF THE STARK COUNTY OHIO GENERAL ASSEMBLY DELEGATION "GET CAUGHT WITH HAND IN TAXPAYER'S POCKET?"




The Schuring quote is from his op-ed piece that appeared in The Rep shortly after the vote on the Ohio budget bill in July, 2009.

Today, the Ohio Supreme Court in a 6 to 1 vote, validated the Schuring position.



The man who wants to play musical chairs Schuring and become Stark County's primary state senator (once again); namely,  Scott Oelslager (Republican - 51st), crossed aisles to join Democrats on July 13, 2009 to vote for a de facto $851.5 million to deny Ohioans the right to vote on whether not to expand gambling in Ohio.

Oelslager joined Ohio House Democrats Mark Okey (61st), Slesnick (52nd) and Schiavoni (33rd - the Senate) to deny the basic right of Ohioans to self-determine on the spread of gambling.

Why did Oelslager and the Democrats approve the "usurping the voters" measure?

Because, if they didn't; they would have to join opponents Schuring (R - Jackson - 29th/Senate) and Snitchler (R - Lake - 50th/Ohio House) in an up or down vote on a tax increase to plug a nearly $900 million deficit if voters opt not to allow an expansion of gambling come November.

Voting "up or down" is what legislators should have to do.

So one can only look on Oelslager, Okey, Schiavoni and Slesnick as being "political cowards."

The SCPR applauds Schuring and Snichler for being willing to put their political necks on the line next year less than a year before they have to stand for re-election.

You can be sure that all of the Stark County delegation members (including the "apparent for now" stand up guys) will be working overtime between now and the pre-election break next summer/fall to find a way to avoid voter accountability on raising taxes.

Keep tuned on his one.  A front and center up or down vote on a highly controversial issue may well be in the offiing before the November, 2010 elections!

THE REPOSITORY - "PR" AGENT FOR STARK EDUCATION PARTNERSHIP? SCPR TAKES A LOOK AT NON-PROFIT TAX RETURN NUMBERS & QUALITY OF EDUCATIONAL ACHIEVEMENTS


Recently, The Canton Repository did a "puff piece" on the Stark Education Partnership, Inc. (SE),  (Stark Education Partnership celebrates 20 years of reforming education, Edd Pritchard, September 18, 2009).

The SCPR doesn't believe that the Stark Education Partnership has achieved much of anything.

But over the eight years of her tenure as president of SEP, Adrienne O'Neill has made a tidy income.

SEPs main claim to fame is increasing the number of graduates from Stark County's high schools above the state standard 90% plus.

And, increasing the graduation numbers (quantitative analysis) can be important.

The penetrating question that needs answered on SEP's work:  what is the education quality of high schools students graduating in Stark County?

Here is a SCPR thumbnail analysis of the Stark Education Partnership: 

Initially, let's take a look at Doctor (Ed. D.) O'Neill's income in relation to total revenues, expenditures and carryover funds for fiscal year 2008.
O'Neill, according to SEP's Form 990 filed with IRS for the fiscal year,  was paid a total of $191,760 (which includes the employer pension contribution).


O'Neill's income represents:

20% of SEP's revenues ($950,383) for the reporting period.
18% of SEP's expenses ( $1,050,170)
25% of SEP's carryover ($765,971) of cash to FY 2009

What are other non-profits in America doing:



If you lump the O'Neill income factor with her second-in-command:

O'Neill's income when coupled with SEP's vice president Doctor (Ph. D.) Joseph Rochford's  (which totaled $115,949), cause the percentage of administration costs to increase significantly, to wit:

32% of SEP's revenues ($950,383) for the reporting period
29% of SEP's expenses ( $1,050,170)
40% of SEP's carryover ($765,971) of cash to FY 2009

And there are two other employees of SEP.

It appears that Stark Countians are not getting a good value on their money?

Hold on a minute, Olson!  What do you mean Stark Countians?  These monies come in large part, if not exclusively, from Stark County's foundations, United Way and the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, don't they?

Indeed, they do.

But the SCPR's point:  is there is too much administrative expense being expended by the Stark Educational Partnership and could be put to more efficient "non-profit" use that thereby benefit more everyday Stark Countians.


Now back to the question of quantity versus quality.

Probably a year ago, the SCPR contacted Doctor O'Neill to ask questions about the unacceptably high "remediation rate" among Stark County high school graduates who go on to college.  (Three of Stark's best have remediation rates reported by the Ohio Department of Education of being in the 30+ percentile)

First of all, she blew off yours truly's e-mail.  Such is always a marker that a public figure thinks she or he is only accessible to her/his professional peers, personal friends and family.

Second, in yours truly's  follow up telephone call, she had no answer whatsoever on the remediation question and saturated the conversation with "the huge increase in the high school gradudation rate."

The SCPR's take on Doctor O'Neill is that she has done well by herself in fitting into Stark County's and Ohio's education establishment.  But how does it benefit the Stark County citizenry at-large?

Not very well, in the opinion of the SCPR.

The SCPR believes that Stark County schools are graduating too few quality students in the midst of  increased quantities which increases taxpayer costs because we foot the bill of remediating student/worker deficiencies once they leave high school.

The Repository and the Stark Education Partnership shouldn't be celebrating anything.

Is this a "Mission Accomplished" event?

Well, if O'Neill and the powers that be at The Rep and in the Stark County Educational establishment think so, they are in for a huge surprise when the educational "chickens come home to roost."

The SEP's website is replete with laudations for the organization.

The SCPR's experience is that when the "chest thumping" begins, the discerning need to dig deep to see why there is need to self-praise.

Usually one finds that there is a lot less achievement than appearances might indicate.

Such is what the SCPR thinks about the O'Neill-led Stark County Educational Partnership.

From time-to-time, the SCPR will be analyzing how effectively Stark County's non-profits are serving the Stark County public.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

WILL WISDOM PREVAIL IN THE STARK COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY?



As matters stand now, the SCPR believes that the Stark GOP is heading down a Jason UnWise (err Wise) path to "virtual" extinction.

If UnWise (err Wise) has his way, the local GOP will become the "Stark Tea-bagger Party,"   He can do all the disclaiming he wants (i.e. until he's blue in the face), but it is clear to yours truly that UnWise (err Wise) is into doing a de facto take down of the Stark Republican Party and replace it with a bunch of Republican/Republican-esque right wing radicals.

But why is the SCPR concerned about the direction the Stark County Republican Party is heading in?

Because Stark Countians have very little political competition to pick from now and if  the UnWise (err Wise) course is followed, then there will be absolutely NO political competition.  Rational Stark Countians will not vote for the irrational.

Now it is said that Stark (countywide) leans Democratic.  But there are still pockets of Republican officeholders.  Brown, Sinclair, Stucky, Howard, James , Parks (all judges and therefore by Ohio Supreme Court edict low key in their political involvement), Oelslager, Snitchler (state reps) and Schuring (a state senator).

Were the Stark GOP to become perceived by the Stark County voting public to be synchronized with the Stark Tea-bagger Party, then if the aforementioned public officials identify too much with the local party, then might they also bite the political dust?

Stark County desperately needs a different perspective than the Democrats offer.  But the Stark County Republican Party must re-invent itself to survive.  The SCPR is not real wild about Oelslager and Schuring because they squandered 40 years in the Ohio Legislature (much of it in supermajority status) and have stood by and wathced Ohio and Stark County decline.

But they are a "sight for sore eyes" when one contemplates who the Republicans might put up if WnWise (err Wise) were to be calling the shots at the Fulton head

Snitchler?  The SCPR sees him clearly as being in the UnWise (err Wise) wing of the Stark County Republican Party. 

Recently Bill Moyers of the "Bill Moyers Journal" did a program on:


From the transcript of this program, wherein Max Blumenthal had gone out and interviewed some tea-baggers recently assembled in Washington to greet the "Tea Party Express" (which had stopped in Canton on the way), was the following:

MAX BLUMENTHAL: So you're saying if the government eliminates Social Security and Medicare then you'll get out of the program?

WOMAN: No, I said if they get out of my life.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Out of your Social Security and-

WOMAN: No, out of everything.

BILL MOYERS: But they had also come to deplore and denounce President Obama- in their minds a tyrant akin to Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, and Saddam Hussein.

MAN: I'm afraid he's going to do what Hitler could never do and that's destroy the United States of America.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: And what's the Obama revolution, what's going to happen?

MAN:Similar to Germany, like what Hitler did. He took over the auto industry, did he not? He took over the banking, did he not? And Hitler had his own personal secret service police, Acorn is an extension of that.

BILL MOYERS: They had found a new hero in Joe Wilson, the South Carolina Republican whose shout heard 'round the world was now the rallying cry of the weekend.
Why put this excerpt in this blog?

Because this is the kind of thing that is indicative of what the SCPR believes UnWise (err Wise) wants to install at Stark GOP headquarters in Canton.

But all is not lost!

The Stark GOP does have a viable alternative.

And the alternative is resident in the likes of Travis Secrest.

Secrest ran against the old Democratic political warhorse "politics as usual" Tom Harmon in the 2008 Stark County commissioners race for one of two open seats (Harmon had been appointed and not elected to the seat).

If one were to look only at the articulations of each candidate's vision, the choice was a "no-brainer."

Secrest, fresh out of college (Baldwin Wallace - political science major), was visionary and relatively specific in outlook.  Harmon came across as the practiced politician who says nothing even as he utters words.

However, Harmon had the huge advantage of having been in office for decades (Canton Municipal clerk of courts).  So politics being what it is (mostly name identification at the local level - that's why it is so hard for a judge to lose; once in office), Secrest never had a chance.

And Stark County is the worst for it.  Harmon along with Doctor Ferguson are vegetating in office as Stark declines.  Only Bosley offers any hope of real leadership and he is highly enmeshed in partisan politicals and his own personal political future.

Unfortunately for Stark, a guy like Secrest is too new to local politics to be a viable candidate.

Well, what role could Secrest play in Stark County?

If the Stark County GOP Executive Committee members were smart, they would go "hat in hand" and implore Secrest to take over the reigns of re-building Stark County Republican Party.

Secrest is open minded, rational, visionary and practical.

Take this quote in an article by Matthew Rinker of The Massillon Independent (It's Harmon's experience vs. Secrest's change message in commish, 10/31/08):
Though a Republican, Secrest said he is much like Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama in that he will be an agent for change if elected.
“His message is change and so is mine,” Secrest said. “On a national level, change means voting for a Democrat. On a local level it means voting for a Republican. There is only one Republican officeholder in county government (Commissioner Jane Vignos) and she is retiring.”
So the SCPR has set up the pronounced difference that a UnWise (err Wise) as compared to a Secrest-led reformation of the Stark GOP would bring.

UnWise (err Wise) demonstrates irrationality and reactive politics, us ("the true believers versus them") political mentality.  Secrest:  pro-active, how can we work together in a constructively competitive political environment to get the best out of our Stark County community.

The Stark GOP and its local patron saint and financial support should hope that Secrest would be interested in taking on the re-building project.

The SCPR does not know that he is available or that he may have already settled into something he is not about to give up.

But the Stark Republicans should ask him.

And, the local GOPers "powers that be" should provide him with a paid position stipend (meaning  "I can live on this income") and administrative support apparatus to get the job done.

If Timken et al don't find an alternative to UnWise (err Wise), then Stark County will truly become a "one-party-county" a la Cuyhoga and Summit and we all know where that leads.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

WHY DOESN'T EVERY STARK COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT VALUE GOD? THE SCPR COMPARING STARK'S 17 SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND THEIR MISSION STATEMENTS: TODAY MARLINGTON


So far in the SCPR survey of Stark County school districts, only Lake and Louisville have a direct/indirect reference to God.n

This leaves out Alliance, Canton City, Canton Local, Fairless, Jackson and Marlington.  Of eight of the 17 school districts in Stark County covered by the SCPR so far out of a controversy generated by the  a few Lake residents (Lake is the SCPR's home area) in a complaint to the Freedom from Religion Foundation over Lake's use of God in its mission statement, 6 make no reference to God.

A whopping 75% ignore God.  Only Lake and Louisville (sort of) stand for God in their public statements.

While this blog is published on both the Stark County Political Report and the Stark Education Report, the best place to keep track of which school districts do or do not have any kind of reference to God in their mission statements is at the Stark Education Report.

Friday, September 18, 2009

WE DON'T HEAR MUCH FROM GOVERNOR STRICKLAND THESE DAYS ABOUT "TURN AROUND OHIO" - WHY NOT?


What a difference four years make.

A folksy guy from Duck Run, Ohio was running for governor this time of year in 2005 promising to Turn Around Ohio in terms of job creation and fixing the funding of public education.

In his inaugural address, he aaid that he failed on the education problem, he will have failed as governor.

Well?

You can bet that there be no talk of turning around Ohio in the 2010 election.

Stark Countians, indeed all Ohioans, have the prospect selected from the "failed" (by his own definition) Strickland and the "failed" by others definition John Kasich (of Fox News and Lehmann Brothers - dubious- fame).

Just has a refresher about Strickland, view an shortened version of a speech (see below) he gave at Brunswick in the 2006 campaign against Republican Ken Blackwell.

Ask yourself after viewing this refresher whether or not Strickland has done what he said he would do?

Another good question.  Will he be making the same kind of speech in Canton on October 25, 2009 as he made in Brunswick?

Here is the video: 

Thursday, September 17, 2009

REPUBLICAN SPY TIPS JANET CREIGHTON OFF THAT ALL IS NOT RIGHT WITH COMMISSIONER BOSLEY?

When you are "second banana" and are always getting your brains beat in by the competition, what do you do?

What is the prescription for what ails you?

For many it means spying on your competition to see what you can learn to turn things around.

For instance, many - if not most, countries around the world spy on American industry to learn our technological secrets and then one-up us.  Of course, international political spying has been around at least going back to biblical days.

 But Stark County politics?

 It seems so.

The SCPR has learned that former Canton mayor Janet Creighton didn't just wake up one morning as say to herself:  "I think I'll run against Todd Bosley for county commissioner.  You know what, I better get cracking on some Bosley research to find out what 'Toddy-boy' has been up to over the last three years at the good ole comish."

No, she got a phone call from a Republican/Republican sympathizing mole that works or once worked in the Stark County commissioners office.

THE SPY:  "Janet, I hear you might be running against Todd Bosley and do I have some juicy information about him for you.  But you'll have to ask for it by making a 'public records request.'  If I were you, I'd ask for 'a listing of all the boards, commissions or assignments of Commissioner Bosley, those he serves in his official capacity'"

Of course, Creighton's ears perked up. 

"Great idea!" she says.  And off goes the e-mail public records request.

What Janet forgot is that she was up against one of the wiliest politicians Stark County as seen in many a year.  And he plays political "hardball" too.

When Bosley got county administrator Hanke's e-mail informing the commissioner on Creighton's request, he embarked on a relentless quest to track down the "internal" Creighton/Stark GOP spy.

And he found the spy!

The spy had told Creighton that Bosley was not attending meetings on a commission that Bosley serves on as a representative of the county commissioners. 

But the spy was not in full command of the facts of the situation.  It turns out that another commissioner (Ferguson - an absolute favorite of the SCPR) has been attending in Bosley's stead.

The SCPR has learned that Bosley believes that fellow commissioner Tom Harmon was an "unwitting" facilitator of the Creighton/Republican Party spying.

What else can Bosley say?

Yours truly thinks Bosley is being very generous to Harmon in applying the label "unwitting."

The more profound part of this story is this. 

Does Janet Creighton really believe that whether or not Bosley attends boards/commission meetings is going to be a big deal with voters?


Bosley has handed her or any other Republican challenger at least three issues on a silver platter.

First, the imposed sales/use tax (if it gets repealed).

Second, his failure to fix 9-1-1 (an issue he used against Richard Regula to devastating effect) during his three years - so far - in office.  It is not likely that the fix will be done by November, 2010, even if the repeal is not successful, and

Third, he and his fellows have failed to reverse the slide in the Stark County economy.  The Republicans do own some of this negative because Republican stalwart Jayne Vignos was in office through 2008.

So what is all this "cloak and dagger" stuff, Janet?

Reminds the SCPR of former Stark County Democratic Party chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.

Yours truly has heard Maier go on and on about a Republican who would call him up from time-to-time (apparently just ot chit-chat) that Maier was convinced was a Republican spy.

Also, Maier used to go on and on about a certain county elected official (a Democrat) that he suspected of passing inside Stark County Democratic Party information to the Republicans. 

The joke was that this official would be in a meeting with his fellow Dems where politically sensitive information was discussion and to party officials' astonishment, Stark Republicans had the information by the time the officials had settled in back at home.

All this Stark County political spying stuff is simply rediculous.

Although she looks good now compared to the disaster that William J. Healy has visited on Canton; Creighton was not the solution for the "already under way slide" that Canton was experiencing when she took office.

Creighton is personable and a good "rah, rah" type.  But she does not possess leadership qualities that are catalytic. 

Stark Republicans need to bring someone forward to run for commissioner who has a dynamism about him/her and has a track record of being imaginative, innovative and be willing to fight for what is good - long term - for the Stark County public.

Janet Creighton is yesterday's political bread.

IS $40,000+ IN ANNUAL REVENUES WORTH "FREE OFFICE SPACE" TO THE FINANCIALLY STRAPPED CITY OF CANTON?

All Cantonians/Stark Countians know that the city of Canton cannot be affording to let out its facilities to anyone these days.  Canton is facing a $3 million deficit next year.

So when the SCPR got this tip from a reader, The Report went into action to find out what is going on.

The tip e-mail:
Mr. Olsen, (sic)

Come to find out that Joe Hoffman (the owner of the Canton Legends) has been renting space at the Canton Memorial Civic Center for over a year without any payments to the City of Canton and no lease since the team is all but dissolved.

I can't verify this, but he was also a contributor to Healy's campaign and also to his big "thanks for electing me" party at the civic center that he held for the "small people" of Canton.

At this crucial time in the City's Budget, I cannot believe that we the citizens of Canton would allow free office space to a private individuals so called business.  I'm sure you would even like to have this free office space to run your business out of.

I would love to start up a small business in the City if they would give me free space in one of their buildings.

I'm not sure if council is even aware of this.

Thanks for your time.

concerned tax payer (sic)

It took no more than a phone call to Canton Public Services Director Warren Price.

Price confirmed the SCPR reader's point.  Indeed, the Canton Legends are currently the beneficiaries of about 1,500 square feed of office space at the Canton Civic Center  (Center) "for the time being."

Price has huddled with Canton development department people (presumably Economic Development Director Robert Torres) as to what to do when Canton officials learned that the Legend would not be competing in League play in 2009 and a Healy administration decision was made to allow the Legends to keep space at the Center in the hope that the Legends could reconfigure the ownership factor so that the team would be in a position to have games at the Center in 2010.

The SCPR learned from Price that Canton received $40,000 in game associated revenues in 2008 and also benefitted from increased food concession sales.  In the contract between the city and the Legends (a copy of which the SCPR has obtained and which is available here for readers to view), did not specifically break out office space as a separate rent item.  The space was deemed to be included in the formula for the city's share of ticket sales revenues.

So how long is the "rent free" to be maintained, now that there are no games (2009) to produce revenue for Canton?

December 31, 2009 seems to be the deadline right now, if the SCPR understands Price correctly.

Earlier in the year, Legends officials (who declined to answer the SCPR's e-mail) were telling Price et al that 2010 was looking positive.

But that was early in the year.

Price indicated to yours truly that he is pessimistic that 2010 will be a go for the Legends even though he has given the go ahead to Center officials to reserve dates for the Legends' games in 2010.

What does the SCPR make of this?

First, the "concerned taxpayer" should be concerned.  But the city appears to have "not forgotten" about this situation and has taken the attitude that the space being used by the Legends is not needed for other uses and there is no rental demand from other sources and therefore no harm is done in allowing the Legends to maintain a presence at the Center.

Second, Price assured the SCPR that if there is a better alternative that comes along, the Legend will get trumped for the sure thing.  This seems sensible to The Report.

Although the SCPR has been highly critical of the Healy administration for the past 10 months; the Legends/Center situation and how it is being handled does not trouble The Report.

Let's hope that the Legends get financial matters worked out and resume play at the Canton Civic Center in 2010.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

2009 "SCPR" CANDIDATE QUESTIONNAIRE NOW AVAILABLE: LINK IN TEXT OF THIS BLOG

The SCPR will be commenting on "contested" issue, board of education, trustee and city council races that are on the ballot this November.

The SCPR's assessments will be "dynamic assessments."  In other words, as new information becomes available, The Report will be updating or augmenting candidate assessments and various factors that impact the race.

Contested races will be the subject of SCPR analysis whether or not a particular candidate chooses to download The Report's pdf "fill-in-the-blanks" form tailored for each office.

Candidates interested in participating should download the forms at the link provided below and e-mail the completed form to the SCPR at tramols@att.net.

BE SURE TO DOWNLOAD FROM SCRIBD AS A "PDF" FILE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE FILL-IN-THE BLANK FEATURE

Candidates for trustee, obtain the questionnaire by clicking on this sentence.

Candidates for council, obtain the questionnaire by clicking on this sentence.


Candidates for board of education, obtain the questionnaire by clicking on this sentence.

Thank you for your participation.

FORMER CANTON MAYOR JANET CREIGHTON TURNS HER ATTENTION TO STARK COUNTY COMMISSIONER TODD BOSLEY?

 
One would think that for Canton mayor Janet Creighton would want to come to the rescue of the Hall of Fame city come 2011.  Of course, the way Mayor William J. Healy, II there may be no city left.  Canton could be a ghost town.  What would be left for her to govern?

The SCPR has learned that Janet Creighton is thinking about running for Stark County commissioner.  

The note in the graphic above makes it clear that such is not merely Bosley's imagination.  At one time or another Bosley seemingly has every live Stark County Republican politician who looks askance at him gearing up to run against him.

Yours truly is not saying that Creighton will run.  But the note is what people who run for political office term "political research."  Obviously, Creighton is digging to see if she can find skeletons in the Bosley closet.

What is not known is other digging Creighton is doing on Bosley to unearth nasties to turn on him in the general election slated for November, 2010.  Moreover, how much money can she raise?

If Creighton decides to run against Bosley, she will think the 2007 mayor's race was a "walk in the park."  William J. Healy, II is slick; Todd Bosley is "in your face."

The SCPR has said it many times in this blog:  Todd Bosley does not play nice.  The Stark Citizens for the Right to Vote Committee will find this out on the sales/use tax repeal effort as will Canton's former mayor, if she decides to run.

Creighton should sit and talk with Richard Regula by the hour, if she hasn't done so already.  Richard probably still doesn't know completely what hit him in the 2006 election when Bosley came out of nowhere to defeat him.  But he can piece the small parts of the political wreckage together to give Creighton a clue.

Bosley tells the SCPR that he is out campaigning already and that he handed out 10,000 notebooks at the Stark County Fair.  So while Bosley is out campaigning (appearing at high school football games and the like) Creigton is making public records requests?

Stark Republicans are smarting.  They are desperate to find someone who can win a countywide office.  Currently, they hold none except for several judgeships.

Other than get herself ready (research, raising money and out campaigning door-to-door/football game-to-football game now), Creighton will have to do one more thing if she is to have any chance at all against Bosley.  She will have to get Jeff Matthews (Stark GOP chairman) and Jason Wise (the Stark GOP's chief political operative) off their zany fascination with political tea-bagging.  

If Matthews and Wise are tea-bagging and campaigning for Creighton, the tea-bagging will be a distraction at best, perhaps even drag on a Creighton campaign.

The SCPR is wishing for a Bosley/Creighton campaign.  It promises to fill many, many blogs.  

Run, Janet, run!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

WHEN YOU CAN'T SERVE OUR HOME COMMUNITY EFFECTIVELY (I.E. BY MAKING YOUR PARTY COMPETITIVE IN LOCAL ELECTIONS) YOU BRING IN THE "OVER THE EDGE" MARK WILLIAMS OF THE "TEA PARTY EXPRESS?"

 
As any politically attuned Stark County citizen knows, the Stark County Republican Party is not competitive in countywide elections except for some Common Pleas Court judgships.


So rather than spend their energies reconstructing the local Republian Party left in shambles by former chairman Curt Braden,  Chairman Jeff Matthews and his mainstay political operative Jason Wise bring political trash into Stark County.


Yes, that is what the Tea Party Express is.


The Tea Party Express has hijacked the legit political concerns of many Americans and turned them into a political orgy of wacko, fringe cast of characters that in no way represent the thinking Americans including Stark Countians.


Just listen to one of the leaders (Mark Williams) on last night's CNN (360 with Anderson Cooper).




The SCPR says that Wise (and to the degree Stark GOP Chairman Matthews stood by and watched) allowed Stark County to be stained with political extremism on September 9th.

But that's what you do when you can't compete.

Change the topic.  Bring in political showmanship.  Heat up the political rhetoric.  And on and on goes the list of the non-competitive's diversionary tactis into to deflect attention from their political inadequacies on to a sideshow.

Wise and Matthews owe Stark Countians an apology for bringing this "over the edge" event to Stark County.

And if the Stark County Republican Party Executive Committee does nothing to reign this duo in, the committee members - in effect - are buying into the coarsening of Stark County politics into a hate driven milieu.

There is plenty that needs to be rectified about both political parties in Stark County and the deficient leadership they are providing Stark.

The mayor of Canton, the Stark County commissioners and other "leadership deficient" Stark County offcials must love it when the likes of a Tea Party Express rolls into town.

For them, the freak-ladened sideshow nature of the Express is the ultimate political cover.

By comparison, Healy et al don't look all that bad.

What a shame!

Borrowing the words of the highly respected voice of reason David Gergen (a CNN political analyst), Stark County continues its nosedive while the local political party opposition bathes itself in  a "bread and circuses" political soup.

REPOSITORY GETS SCOOPED BY SCPR AGAIN. DID THE STARK BOARD OF ELECTIONS TIP OFF THE REP EDITORS THAT THE SCPR HAD ASKED THE BOE TO MAKE REPORTS AVAILABLE TO GENERAL PUBLIC?

They are throwing fits over at 500 Market Avenue, South these days.

Really?  How so?

As late as September 6th, the editors at The Rep realized they had been scooped by the Stark County Political Report (SCPR/The Report) yet again.

If you will look at the e-mail that yours truly sent Jeff Matthews (deputy director as well as chairman of the Stark County Republican Party) and Jeanette Mullane (director), on August 20, 2009 The Report requested that the Stark Board of Elections (BOE) put campaign finance reports online.

Did Mullane or Matthews call or mention to someone at The Rep The Report's e-mail?

Could be.

The Repository (its editorial board and reporter staff) have ingratiated themselves so much so with local government officials that a case can be made that the reading public has to read whatever appears in the pages of The Rep with great, great skepticism.

A case in point.

Consider the exchange of e-mails between "Karen" (the initiator) and the SCPR:


Is Karen correct?

Could be.

There is no doubt about it.  Whether its a reporter (with the management's approval) buying interviewee (Canton Safety Director "to be," at the time), Tom Ream a beer or Mayor William Healy inviting himself down to The Rep's editorial offices to explain away his blunders as mayor or The Repository being the paid publisher of Canton's glossy propaganda public relations piece,

The Repository is so hooked into special "we'll treat you with kid gloves" relationships (and its implied "please call us with inside information, first") that its reporting and editorializing is bereft of any value as far as Canton's/Stark County's public officials go - to the general public.

Do you ever get a disclaimer from The Rep on its special relationships?

Only the Stark County Political Report fearlessly reports on the doings of Stark County's political kingmakers without being a respecter of persons.

The Rep only works over the "unconnected" or they are good to "pile on" as a public figure is going down.

Back to the BOE aspect of this blog.

Mullane called The Report a day or two after the e-mail and danced all around the request.

Nevertheless, yours truly did pin her down as she was trying to be non-committal.

After a "its like pulling-teeth" exercise, Mullane did tell the SCPR that the BOE was in the process in bidding out for a new copier and as soon as it was on board, she anticipated that campaign finance reports (also validated petitions to run for an office) would be available without yours truly or any Stark County citizen needing to traipse down to the BOE.

The timeline?

October.  Some time in October before the next campaign finance reports are due.

Mullane requested that the SCPR sit on the story until the board members approved the purchase of the copy machine.  No follow up at all from Mullane.  In fact, right around the time The Rep did its editorial, the thought occurred that Mullane needed to be followed up with. 

So did Mullane do a number on the SCPR and transmit the information to The Rep?

Could be.

It also could be that The Rep got lucky.

However, Mullane is the political handmaiden of the Stark County Democratic Party and former chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.  and current chairman Randy Gonzalez.

No doubt about it, one has to wonder.   Undoubtedly, this duo would probably love the opportunity to "one-up" the SCPR,  given the incisive blogs The Report has done on both of them.

Did one or both instruct Mullane to make the "new access to public information" plans known to The Rep?

Could be.

The point of this blog is that the credit for getting the general public access to public records in this instance is not the newspaper industry (and it high profile "Sunshine Week" highlighted in  March of each year) and its local outlet - The Repository.

No, its a "little-ole-one-person-operation" called:  THE STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT!

Monday, September 14, 2009

IS CANTON'S & STARK COUNTY'S "INDUSTRIAL RECOVERY" NOW REDUCED TO COMING "ON THE WINGS OF A HOPE & A PRAYER?"

How "fitting and proper!"  (At the end of this blog, an explanation of why fitting and proper is given)

Sunday, September 13, 2009 in The Canton Repository:


Now here's a guy and a congregation who care about the future of Canton and, derivatively, all of Stark County.



Harris:  "We know the political leadership, national and local, are (sic) not moving us forward."

SCPR:  Amen, brother!

Harris:  "We need the best consultants in the world to guide this great city into a posture of economic strength. Therefore I am asking the 'captains of industry' of the Greater Canton area to step forward with a plan to regenerate industry in Canton. To step forward as true patriotic leaders and help us win the battle for economic growth. "

SCPR
:   "great city?"  Leave it up to a preacher to be positive.  Canton used to be, but "no more."  Canton's slide did not begin with the Healy administration but Healy and his political battles with Canton City Council have co-joined with the overall poor economic climate and consequently have Canton headed in a free fall downward.

"captains of industry?"  Who are these folks?  One of yours truly's comments to a North Canton city official recently was:  "Folks don't realize it, but when a company like Hoover goes belly up, the community not only loses jobs; it loses its leadership (Harris' "captains of industry"

"regenerate industry?"  The best that anyone hopes for in terms of manufacturing jobs in America these days is 20%.  Perhaps, in other partS of the country, but not Canton and Stark County; no?

With all the political squabbling going on (e.g. Healy/Canton City Council; Cicchinelli/Massillon City Council and Held/North Canton City Council), these municipalities, in particular, and Stark County, in general, are highly unattractive to new industry.

From an AFL-CIO report on manufacturing in America:
As a share of total U.S. jobs, manufacturing has declined since its peak of 40 percent just after World War II to 27 percent in 1981 and now stands at about 12 percent. (The Future of Manufacturing and America's Middle Class, James Parks).
Back to the Harris "letter to the editor."

"the best consultants?"  That we have.  Ever heard of Jack DeSario, political science professor at Mount Union College who is in the consulting business?  Oh, the Reverend doesn't mean "political" consulting?  Business and economic development consulting? 

Well, Mayor Healy is a graduate of the NYU Stern School of Business and Canton has annexation director Sam "Darth Vader to the Townships" Sliman and his pal Bill Smuckler of Canton City Council. They think Canton can annex its way out of economic stress, don't they?

Harris:  "There is another group that needs to step forward and give positive and cooperative leadership to economic growth. The unions are desperately needed to give their insights and practical knowledge of industrial growth."

SCPR:  Are union members truly stakeholders anymore?  Union membership is about 12% in the U.S. and only about half of those are in manufacturing.  This group is almost non-existent.  With such small numbers, would they be listened to?

SCPR's CONCLUSION
:

The pastor's poignant point is that Canton and Stark County have no leadership.  

Yours truly's "best bet for Stark County" has been Commissioner Todd Bosley.  But that's not because he is a great leader.

On a relative scale, he stands head and shoulders above his fellows (Harmon and Ferguson).  Saying that is like giving a "left-handed" compliment.  The last time yours truly talked to Bosley, he was reminded how much of a "stand-still" if not regression, Stark County finds itself in economic development after he has been office for nearly three years.

The only thing the SCPR can say for the pastor's largely non-existent "captains of industry" is that the only place for Stark Countians to turn is the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce (CRCOC) as a "sort-of-substitute."

As we all know substitutes are no replacement for the "real deal."  And the CRCOC proves the truism in spades.

The SCPR applauds Canton chamber's effort at creating a leadership class for Canton and Stark County ("A+ for effort," as the expression goes), but it is proving to be a lame effort. 

Its Government Leadership and Signature leadership groups are not, for the most part, made up of folks who - on graduating - roll up their sleeves and do the hard work of leadership and open their minds in a creative, energetic fashion to engage a new potential that could offer some promise to the future of our community.

Moreover, the Chamber provides the general public nothing in terms of accountability for the accomplishments of its grads. 

Apparently, getting a diploma from the CRCOC schools is akin to having one more plaque to hang on the wall.

With the lack of  actual "real" leadership or developing leadership, it may well be the time to turn to the pastor and his flock as a "fitting and proper" place to now be.

Why is that?

Because the leadership deficit of Canton and Stark County is likely to the point that its solution shall only come on "the wings of a hope and prayer!"