Saturday, October 31, 2009
SCPR "ELECTION 2009 SERIES" (VOL 26): GROSS OVER McILLWAIN FOR CANTON CITY SCHOOLS SCHOOL BOARD (FULL TERM)
Next year Canton schools face a $3 million plus deficit.
Who is responsible?
Even in the face of tough economic times and continuing state of Ohio funding cuts, the SCPR ascribes a large part of the blame on the lack of foresight and choices that sitting board members have made; especially those who have been around awhile (e.g. Nadine McIllwain).
Canton voters should be looking for candidates who understand the long term ramifications of their choices as board members and put them in office.
It appears that Tim Gross, who is running against McIllwain, may well be such a candidate.
Take a look at the video below which features McIllwain who appeared at the NAVE (Canton's neighborhood consortium) candidates night held in early October. Gross could not make the candidates night, but did answer a SCPR questionnaire. The essence of his answers are featured over his picture in a Q&A format.
Friday, October 30, 2009
SCPR "ELECTION 2009 SERIES" (VOL 25): ALLIANCE CITY COUNCIL AT-LARGE - ANDREANI, DORDEA AND CRITES RECOMMENDED; OKEY & BROWN ACCEPTABLE
On October 28th, the Alliance Professional Firefighters Association hosted a candidates night at the Alliance Neighborhood Center.
The SCPR was present to record the candidates' responses to questions presented.
Based on the responses and the SCPR's prior knowledge of the candidates in terms of their attributes and leadership qualities, The Report recommends the election of Alan Andreani (Republican - incumbent), Larry Dordea (Republican) and Caroyln Crites (Democrat) to the three "up for election" council-at-large positions.
While the SCPR does not include Steve Okey and Sarah Brown in the "recommended" category, the are listed as "acceptable."
It is always difficult to assign candidates to a "not recommended list." But the SCPR believes that such a list is helpful to voters as long as reasons for the listing are provided.
THE RECOMMENDED LIST
Alan Andreani stands out as a candidate that the SCPR believes can be an effective leader of Alliance City Council. A former Marlington schools superintendent, he has extensive credentials in leadership as well as leadership personal qualities that make him the SCPR's top choice.
Foremost among his qualities is a detectable skill at bringing diverse points-of-view together. Though a thorough-going Republican, the SCPR believes he can put party loyalties aside to pursue community-enhancing goals.
One thing that Steve Okey has brought to the council-at-large part of council, in the opinion of the SCPR, is strife and "just-below-the-surface" partisan bickering.
The Report expects Andreani - if elected city wide - to be a healing force.
So will Republican Larry Dordea. A former police chief of Alliance, Dordea has a strong bent towards conciliation and finding ways to working together. Such would be Dordea's major contribution to reconstructing Alliance into a viable economic community.
Carolyn Crites, in the opinion of the SCPR, is not a strong legislative policy type candidate. But she is strong on community service and she is effective because she leads by example. A long time member of the League of Women Voters, Crites would be an ideal person on Council to put together a on-going community volunteer action group. Citizen involvement, action and persistence is a critical element, if Alliance is to recover any semblance of its former glory.
Here is a video for readers to view. The video consists of snippets that the SCPR holds out as being representative of the skills, characteristics, traits and policy initiatives which were instrumental in placing these folks in the SCPR recommended list.
Both Sarah Brown (Republican) and Steve Okey (Democrat) are two of the most pronounced partisans in all of Stark County.
Though both have many admirable qualities, each tends to be a poliarizing figure which can accelerate to a level of acrimony which make it difficult if not impossible for a deliberative body to more forward for the benefit of the community it serves.
Times are too tough for Alliance to continue Okey (an incumbent) on Council and to add Brown.
Individually, either can make a contribution. But if both are on Council, the SCPR believes that political one-upmanship will trump over the Alliance Public good. Neither would intentionally slight the public good. However, in the judgment of the SCPR, such is exactly what would happen if both are elected to Council.
So they are only "acceptable" on the condition that, if elected, they will self-discipline to put aside their personal and political differences and put Alliance first. Voters, before voting for either candidate, needs to make this judgment prior to putting an "X" next to either name.
The SCPR has put together an video for readers to see Okey and Brown in action at the Alliance Neighborhood Center. Clearly, both have "fire in the belly." Take a look.
The SCPR is pleased to see that seven candidates are running for three positions on Alliance City Council.
Not everyone is suited for government leadership. Independent Don Brady and Democrat Sue Ryan (an incumbent) have contributed to the public discussion by running in this race. However, the SCPR did not see in their responses to the questions posed enough substance to commend these two to the voting public.
The video that follows is a representation of the presentation that each made.
SCPR FINAL WORD
In Andreani, Dordea and Crites, the SCPR sees that these three with a political base across the entire city of Alliance can work effectively with the ward councilpersons to get Alliance headed in the right direction.
In the 2nd and 4th wards (the only competitive ward races), the SCPR recommends Phyllis Phillips (incumbent-Democrat) and Larry Thompson (incumbent-Democrat).
Phillips has been on Council since 1998. She has been a lightening rod of some controversy. But her competitor Latoya Hicks-Gooden (independent) is way too inexperienced and lacking in knowledge of city government to be a viable candidate. But Hicks-Gooden has a political future if she sticks with activism. She has an inviting "possibility" thinking way about her which is an attractive quality.
Larry Thompson presents as a reasoned and stable type Councilperson. B.J. Willis is an interesting candidate but in the judgment of the SCPR too extreme and simplistic in her views to be a positive factor on Council
Be sure to vote on November 3rd!
Thursday, October 29, 2009
SCPR "ELECTION 2009 SERIES" (VOL 24): JACKSON TOWNSHIP TRUSTEE WALTERS DOESN'T KNOW IF HE WILL VOTE "YES" ON ISSUE 5 OR NOT? WHAT WILL JACKSON & STARK COUNTY POLITICAL POWER RANDY GONZALEZ THINK ABOUT THAT?
Why is that?
Because you come across Stark County's "politically" significant people there.
Two weeks ago it was Sheriff Swanson in his dress top and blue jeans.
Last week Perry Township trustee Anna Capaldi and Deputy Sheriff Rick Perez.
Jackson Township James Walters.
Walters' visit could be a harbinger of an "up close and personal relationship" with Commissioner Todd Bosley.
The thinking is that Walters is assessing whether or not Walters is going to run against Bosley when Bosley comes up for re-election next.
But that possibility is not the focus of the blog, the graphic notwithstanding.
The treat was a colloquy between Bosley and Walters on the 0.50 percent "imposed" sales/use tax Issue 5 coming up for a vote this coming Tuesday.
In the opinion of the SCPR, Bosley was trifling with Walters on whether or not this Jackson trustee is going to vote for "Yes" on Issue 5. The SCPR suspects Walters knew what was going on and was having a hard time finding an exit point.
Moreover, he was likely thinking: "how is sales/use tax promoter Randy Gonzalez (Jackson Township fiscal officer) receive this report when he hears about?"
Hopefully, Gonzalez (said to be a huge fan of the SCPR), will send yours truly an e-mail with his reaction.
Bosley tells the SCPR that the conversation got quite heated later on (after yours truly left).
Next time, The Report will stay until the bitter end.
Nevertheless, watching the commissioner and trustee parry with one another was a treat. And just in time for Halloween. Or, was it Bosley playing tricks.
The video that follows is The Report's Halloween treat to SCPR readers.
Shafer, Lynch and Gress (not up this election cycle) fight among themselves and get very little done constructively for the township. They say this is "democracy-in-action" in the sense of being "due dliberation."
The SCPR says these trustees are working out ego problems at the Nimishillen public's expense.
Moreover, the trustees, led by Shafer and Lynch, have abrogated their duty to be in charge on the 9-1-1 consolidation issue and have allowed Fire Chief Rich Peterson to use township resources, in terms of keeping afloat a sinking ship of CenCom (the Nimishillen fire dispatching center - CenCom only dispatches for a "one-man" police department) in what appears Peterson's quest to look out for himself and his dispatching career.
When Peterson lost out on the 9-1-1 project manager job to former Canton services director Joseph Concatto (Creighton administration), he decided to become a part of problem (fragmented 9-1-1 services) rather than part of the solution.
From his perspective, Peterson's conduct is understandable. But for the trustees to let "the tail wag the dog" is unexcusable and irresponsible.
The SCPR's top pick is St. Luke's (North Canton non-profit adult care facility) Chief Financial Officer Ron Derry. As readers will see in the video (see below) that accompanies this blog, Derry is thoughtful and purposeful in identifying township problems and suggesting solutions.
As a second choice, the SCPR goes for former trustee Russ Goffus.
Goffus, though, is a wild card.
Goffus got into a "knock-down, drag-out" fight with former Nimishillen trustee Todd Bosley before the latter became county commissioner. Many blame Bosley for the trouble. And, they may well be correct. But The Report's quarrel with Goffus is providing Bosley with the opportunity to be opportunistic.
The question: Should township voters be wary of Goffus' judgment?
The SCPR chooses to take the tack that Goffus has learned from his prior "unwise" (in the opinion of The Report) behavior and that he can and will be a good relief (along with Derry) from the Shafer/Lynch era of discord and irresponsiblitiy.
He is the man that ought to be at township hall because of his thoroughgoing knowledge of the history, present operations and future viability of Nimishillen's dispatch facility (CenCom). Goffus has a unique background knowledge on 9-1-1 and strength of personality to rein Peterson in. And he needs to make this first priority, if he is elected.
James Anderson would also be an asset on the 9-1-1/CenCom/Peterson matter. Again, the video presented below shows Anderson's knowledge and foresight on the matter.
Both Derry and Goffus are strong in working with Louisville for the betterment, in terms of local government efficiencies and quality of services, of both Nimishillen Township and Louisville.
Shafer, Lynch, Anderson and Jordan seem to the SCPR to be weak, if not oppositional, on this matter of local intergovernmental cooperation.
If Nimishillen seeS fit to elect Derry, Goffus or Anderson as trustees to replace Shafer and Lynch, then Nimishillen can make a quick recovery to once again become one of Stark County's most respected township governments.
See the following video synopsis of the candidates' (challenging and incumbent) presentation at the Nimshillen Grange on October 22nd.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
The question for Louisville voters to answer is this: would you rather have your hometown library or do you want to regionalize (i.e. go county).
The SCPR's take on Louisville and area is that Constitution City residents take pride in being unique in Stark County. Louisville has one of the few remaining independent libraries in Stark County.
Joining Stark would not be bad for Louisville, but wouldn't Louisville residents rather maintain a more local flavor to its library?
Louisville residents would pay the Stark County levy rather than the a Louisville levy, if a merger takes place.
The SCPR believes that Louisville residents do like their local touch and therefore supports keeping the library uniquely Louisville.
Vote for Issue 46.
Here is a video in which Director Snyder made a pitch for the levy at the Nimishillen Grange sponsored candidates night on October 20th.
SCPR "ELECTION 2009 SERIES" (VOL 22): SCPR "ENDORSES" ISSUE 4 - CHILDRENS' SERVICES ISSUE (SEE VIDEOS)
Here is a video of a presentation made at the Neighborhood Associates Votes Empower (NAVE) candidates night forum held at the Canton Civic Center on October 12th.
For additional information, here is a link to the website put up to support Issue 4 (CLICK HERE).
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
SCPR "ELECTION 2009 SERIES" (VOL 21): ISSUE 5 - THE REPOSITORY EDITORIAL BOARD GIVES "NO PLAY" TO REASONS OTHER THAN A 9-1-1 AS A BASIS OF VOTING FOR THE ISSUE
Now isn't that "in depth editorial" journalism?
No discussion about the tax being imposed!
No discussion about the camouflaged "for the county general fund" aspect of the sales tax!
It has been a long time since the SCPR has seen such a super-superficial and incomplete editorial analysis of a very large issue facing Stark County voters.
Does Gauger, Beck et al expect Stark Countians to give any weight whatsoever to this example of empty, conflict-in-interest - editorializing.
Explain yourself in more detail Olson.
The SCPR has long maintained that the movers and shakers at The Repository are so in-bed with the "powers-that-be" in and of Stark County that Rep readers cannot trust the editors to give them incisive political analysis.
Let's just take one example: the Hanke hiring by the Stark County commissioners.
As soon as Commissioner Todd Bosley could arrange it (within months of taking office), former county administrator Jeff Dutton was out and the commissioners were looking for a new man.
Guess who should become available?
None other than former managing editor of The Repository Mike Hanke. After 35 years at The Repository, Hanke retired, but not really retired. He figured (in the opinion of the SCPR) that he could cash-in on his "close" contacts with the likes of Commissioner Tom Harmon.
Right out-of-the-box, Harmon said that he was Hanke's man inside the commissioner's office.
Once Harmon said how enamored he was of Hanke, the other 69 candidates could just forget it. It was Hanke once, Hanke the second time and Hanke the third time.
Was The Repository (Stark County's only countywide newspaper) going to complain?
Of course not. Hanke gets teary-eyed when he fondly reminisces his 35 years at the Rep. He still carries a torch for his former employer. Undoubtedly, tears reverse-flow from the biggies at 500 Market Avenue South too.
Add to this mix that Hanke is the chief spokesperson for the Yes for Public Safety Committee.
He takes on-the-job time at taxpayer expense to go out and campaign for Issue #5 (e.g. Points to Ponder, October 22nd).
Gee, if any other public official goes out and campaigns on the taxpayer's time clock, The Rep is going be all over it.
The short and long of The Rep's editorial is that a discerning voter will dismiss The Rep's editorial as pure pabulum.
There are good reasons to vote to retain the levy and there are good reasons to vote against retention.
If you were Rip Van Winkle and woke up on November 2nd, how in the world would you garner from Vote yes to retain the 0.5 Stark sales tax that there are a number of arguments for voting one way or another on Issue 5?
There is no way in the world.
Now isn't that splendid journalism!
SCPR "ELECTION 2009 SERIES" (VOL 20): LOUISVILLE BD OF EDUCATION - NOTHING DISTINGUISHED ANY OF THE CANDIDATES. MODERATOR/STARK COMMON PLEAS COURT JUDGE LEE SINCLAIR "INADVERTENLY" STEALS THE SHOW?
At the end of the questioning of Louisville City Schools candidates at the Grange sponsored "candidates night" on October, 20th, Judge Lee Sinclair (the moderator) asked the candidates a "from the audience" question, to wit:
"Why do you not cooperate with each other?"
All four candidates were puzzled as they should have been.
Why is that?
Because, of all the candidate nights that the SCPR has attended, these four contenders for three seats were in a virtual "love-in." And, the incumbent board members are obviously in sync. Louisville/Nimishillen voters have no "real" choice. All of the candidates are clones of each other.
All four were into hand-wringing about the dire financial condition of the Louisville schools. Louisville has not had additional money from local taxpayers since 1992. Collectively, the four say that a new effort will be forthcoming in one to three years.
None had any idea as to how to get local voters to support a levy attempt.
The one challenger (Sigler) is a former board member who told the SCPR he just "loved" being a board member and missed being one so much that he just had to give it a go.
Now isn't that a terrific reason for running?
None named former state Representative John Hagan, current state Representative Todd Snitchler and state Senator Kirk Schuring (about to play "musical chairs" - a version in which each gets a "seat" - a switched one, that is) as persons to blame for the critical financial crisis that is brewing for Louisville Schools.
But Stark Common Pleas court judge Lee Sinclair did.
Not by name, but reference and implication as being members of the Ohio General Assembly, past and present.
Although the SCPR did shoot video of the candidates, it is not a desire of The Report to put SCPR readers to sleep with their responses to the questions posed.
Rather, watch Lee Sinclair "steal the show" in this video in which his finger is directly at the culpable.
Posted by Martin Olson at 3:00 PM
SCPR "ELECTION 2009 SERIES" (VOL 19): MARLBORO TWP - HAS INCUMBENT TIM WISE "WISED UP" OR IS HE STILL A "WISE OFF?"
How about more articulate and urbane? Candidate Ken Eddelman runs a close second to Wise on these two factors.
For all his years in Columbus, John Hagan ranks third on these counts whereas Tim Cognata is sparse with his words and a "what you see is what you get" type of guy.
But none of those factors should be important to Marlboro voters.
The SCPR has already endorsed Cognata and Eddelman. And nothing happened at candidates night on October 22nd to cause The Report to change mind on the matter.
What did come through is how "unrepentant" Trustee Tim Wise is on the nightmare he brought to this bucolic community when he decided to take on the well-thought-of Devies family (i.e. Police Chief Ron Devies) with the assistance of fellow trustee Dave Wolf (who is not seeking re-election) and replace Ron as police chief.
Wise persistently denies that removing the Chief was his prime agenda during his first, and perhaps, only term as trustee. The SCPR is not buying his protestations. And his attitude at candidates night reinforces indications that more troubled times are ahead if Marlboro voters are "unwise" enough to re-elect Tim Wise.
Eddelman seems to has the best grasp on what is need to return Marlboro to stability and to get on with the important business of repairing a $4 million infrastructure problem (i.e. a broken sewer system) without burdening Marlboro taxpayers who are not hooked up to the system as it exists.
Wise told residents that his "political" (the SCPR's term, not Wise's) connections at the county, state and federal level puts him in the best position to get the needed $4 million to do the sewer repair.
Perhaps Wise's connections are alluring to Marlboro voters, but in the opinion of the SCPR the whole mess Wise created on the Devies matter was owing to his perceptions that he had the political power and connections to move Devies out.
It would be a huge mistake for Marlboro voters to bite on this "carrot."
Eddelman and Cognata can and will get the job done for Marlboro in an unspectacular but effective manner.
Republican John Hagan also talked about his "political" connections in Columbus to help solve the sewer problem.
Last time the SCPR checked, the Ohio House (Hagan's former haunting grounds) is controlled by the Democrats and Ohio's governor is a Democrat.
Doesn't seem likely that Hagan can deliver in this political environment.
Moreover, despite his talking about being a hard worker (when in office), the fact of the matter is he wasn't and, what's more, he "cherry-picked" who he would talk to in terms of constituents.
Hagan would not be the unmitigated disaster that Tim Wise has been, but the SCPR is firm: Eddelman and Cognata are the best chance the Marlboro community has to return to civility and stability that the community has enjoyed for many, many years before Tim Wise and Dave Wolf arrived on the scene.
Here is a video that should give viewers some insight into the qualities of the candidates:
Monday, October 26, 2009
As implied by the primary "for" and "against" positions as set forth above, there are other players in this issue: the Sierra Club, the U.S. Humane Society and the Ohio Environmental Council.
The primary players?
The Ohio Farm Bureau as being for Issue 2.
The Ohio Farmers Union as being against Issue 2.
The best article the the SCPR has seen that gives a complete picture of the contending forces and personalities can be accessed by CLICKING HERE. This piece in The Madison Press covers the whole range of interests.
Is this issue important to Stark Countians?
Agriculture remains the largest industry in Stark County.
What is the SCPR take on this issue?
The SCPR is against Issue 2.
Primarily because its proponents have put into constitutional amendment form what should be a matter for the Ohio General Assembly. "Constitutionalizing" everything has become a dangerous lawmaking fad these days in Ohio. Sort of like California.
A second reason is soil and water degradation that occurs from the run-off of waste from the so-called mega farms.
The SCPR recommends a No vote on State Issue #2.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
In Stark County you have Commissioner Pete Ferguson, Congressman John Boccieri, former state representative John Hagan, just to name a few.
To yours truly's way of thinking, this in and of itself should be a basis for not voting for an official or former official, the next time the person is before the voters.
Why would elected officials ignore a voter?
Because the official doesn't want to hear the message, that's why!
These officials want to hear what they want to hear and when a consituent is not compliant, then the likes of Ferguson, Boccieri and Hagan shut them down. But Pete, John and John do not turn down the money that the critical constituents pay towards their public paycheck.
One Stark Countian who has been abused hugely by many Stark elected officials is Chris Borello of the Concerned Citizens of Lake Township.
Chris has been working tirelessly since the early 1980s to get a clean up of the toxic industrial chemical waste site located about 1/2 mile south of the center of Uniontown in northern Stark County.
Every Stark County should rally to Chris on the issue of being paid attention to by elected officials. Because their ignoring her yesterday and today presages their ignoring each of us tomorrow.
Here is an e-mail that Borello sent to U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown yesterday. Notice she did not copy John Boccieri. Apparently, she has been blown off by Boccieri numerous times. No surprise to the SCPR on this count.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
STARK COUNTY'S VERY OWN "SWALLOW A CAMEL; STRAIN AT A GNAT," TO WIT: CHARLES SNYDER: STARK CITIZENS FOR THE RIGHT TO VOTE & CANDIDATE FOR THE FAIRLESS SCHOOL BOARD
UPDATED TO INCLUDE VIDEO OF CONLEY SPEAKING ON "POINTS TO PONDER"
The Stark Citizens Right to Vote members like to say: "we are not anti-tax."
And one of the group's members is out to prove it in spades.
Charles Snyder, a chief spokesman for the group, that's who.
Well, he and the Stark Citizens are saying that the County sales tax is "a money grab." (to quote Stark Citizens Right to Vote fellow-Snyder spokesman Craig Conley)
Here is a video of Conley accusing the Stark County commissioners of doing a "money grab" with the imposed sales/use tax.
On the other hand, Snyder, who is a candidate for the school board in the Fairless school district, tells the SCPR that the Fairless system rivals Northwest in financial desperation and therefore he is a supporter of an additional levy for the Fairless schools.
Well, what are the facts? (this is special for group member Tom Marcelli). Marcelli has a terrific skill of getting his facts (as do other members of the Stark Citizens) wrong and confusing "an opinion" as being represented as facts.
Construing "the facts" most favorable to Snyder et al, he (having told the SCPR he supports the efforts of Fairless school officials to get a levy passed) would cost property owners in the Fairless system "on the average" at least $291 per year in increased taxes over the next 5 years (using the information from the 9.5 mill issue that was rejected 2 to 1 by Fairless voters in May, 2009).
Note that the average 2007 value of a Fairless school district home is $116,721 (2007). So the actual average cost would probably be over $300 a year.
On the sales/use tax increase.
The average income per family for Stark Countians in 2000 (according to the census) was $47,747. Using this figure, which clearly gives the benefit of any doubt to the anti-sales-tax folks, Stark County families will pay $119 per year in additional taxes. Very few of us believe that that Stark families will actually pay $119 per year in additional taxes.
So Snyder's Fairless tax clearly outstrips the sales tax (calculated to benefit the Stark Citizens argument) nearly $3 to $1.
This blog will surely cause pain to the et al in the Stark Citizens for the Right to Vote Committee and the inconsistency of member Snyder.
The SCPR thinks the group (except for Snyder and his parochial interest) is anti-tax through-and-through (kind of like a "you can indeed have something for nothing" mentality), even if the tax is for a justifiable purpose.
Snyder is an aberration who is out taking care of his square inch in Fairless where he is a "certain" beneficiary of the public service to be rendered.
Snyder may or may not benefit from a "fixed" 9-1-1. He may or may not benefit from the provision of essential government services by Stark County.
But again, he does have a definite and certain benefit to be gained by a financially viable Fairless school system.
The SCPR loves to sift through the agendas of the various players in these public issues.
On the county's side, there's the part where certain county officials use taxpayer money to support family, friends and political loyalists with public jobs set aside for such purposes.
Final take of the SCPR:
The "cost of the tax" position is bogus. Snyder proves this with his hypocrisy. And, the worst case scenario boils down to about 33 cents a day per Stark County family - on average - in increased sales taxes paid.
The analysis should be:
Does 9-1-1 need fixing? If so, Is the plan a good one? if implemented, Is it going to be free of doling out political favors to the family, friends and political loyalists to Stark County's political class?
Does Stark County need more money to provide "essential services" that Stark Countians demand of their local government. If so, is the money going to be dedicated to critical needs? If approved, do I trust Stark County officials to keep the money out of the hands of the family, friends and political loyalists that make up Stark County's political class?
The Stark Citizens Right to Vote Committee deserves the praise of Stark Countians for having called the Stark County commissioners on having imposed the tax.
But they have mismanaged the "sales job" on why the sales tax of 25 cents on $100 of purchasing should not be retained.
"Let it be written; let it be said!"
Friday, October 23, 2009
For background on this blog, please read the SCPR's recent report - CLICK HERE - on a specific situation that has been unfolding in Canal Fulton over the past few days.
Okay Stark County local government class 101, look at the heading of the following letter:
Do not put yourself in a position to get a letter with this kind of open.
Free speech is the cornerstone of our democracy. Anyone who messes with it in any guise is in for the fight of their political lives.
Only the foolhardy tamper with this precious right of Americans.
How protected is the right of free speech?
Back to another portion of the ACLU/Canal Fulton letter:
And how do like this for an ending?
Remember the saying: "Only fools rush in, where Angels fear to tread!"
Ron allowed The Report to sit in on the discussion and videotape the presentation.
The SCPR thanks Ron Ponder and WHBC for the opportunity.
Here is Segment #! of a series about 10 or so that the SCPR will be publishing on this blog site.
UPDATE: 10/23/2009 at 10:30 AM
Yesterday Attorney Craig Conley, who represents Canton Police Chief Dean McKimm, said that his client will not be signing any of the the drafted statements that have been floated by McKimm so far by Canton's Healy administration in the Administration's quest to conclude the Canton Police Patrolman's Association (CPPA) federal lawsuit against the Canton Police Department (CPD) at the hand of then union boss John Miller, Jr.
Chief McKimm is not named individually as a defendant in the CPPA generated lawsuit.
Conley said that Dean McKimm has been the leading factor in the CPD to eliminate any trace of racism in the department.
But Conley did stop short of saying that McKimm would not sign any statement whatsoever.
Conley's point was that McKimm will not sign any statement that has any chance at all to being taken to the effect that McKimm has been a part of or has condonned racism in the department.
It appears to the SCPR that there is very little chance that the CPPA lawsuit is going to be settled, if the CPPA sticks to its guns (no pun intended) on what the union so far is insisting upon - in terms of language - that McKimm sign on to.
Recently, the SCPR received an e-mail from a source, which - in part reads:
That is their [The Rep's] reporting of a "settlement" in the John Miller/Steven Fowler, police officers, lawsuit. I have heard from very reliable sources that there was NO settlement. According to this most reliable of sources, Chief McKimm is being pressured by the Canton law department to sign a letter of "apology" that has him asserting that he is, in effect, a racist.Here is The Rep's headline on the matter:
What is the truth of the matter?
To find out, the SCPR talked with McKimm and Canton City Law Director Joe Martuccio.
McKimm: "As far as I am concerned there is no settlement. I have never discriminated, I am not now discriminating nor will I ever discriminate."
Martuccio made several points to The Report:
- There have been multiple findings that McKimm the city has not been disriminatory.
- That the Canton police union case has never been about discrimination, but rather an alleged infringement of former union chief John Millers first amendment free speech rights.
- That the Canton Police Department under the hand of Safety Director Tom Ream would make a statement in the name of the Canton Police Department (CPD) (not McKimm personally, who is not individually a defendant in the Canton Police Patrolman Association lawsuit) that there has never been nor is there any intention to discriminate by the Canton Department of Public Safety.
- That such does not appear to be acceptable to the CPPA and therefore it seems as if the purported "settlement" is in jeopardy as the deadline of 30 days to get back to federal judge John Adams approaches.
If the CPPA hangs tough on its insistence that McKimm individually signs any statement which in any way, shape or form allows a reader to infer that he is a discriminator, then the settlement is off and the case will go forward.
In the opinion of the SCPR, this is exactly what should happen. This case should go to trial. The SCPR believes the CPPA will come out of a trial with egg on its face.
The supposed settlement is a "face savings" for the CPPA and if they want to save face the union had better accept Ream's statement and take the "attorney fees" money.
In the end, these kinds of machinations are a total turn-off to citizens.
So what does the CPPA care about: the egos of John Miller, Jr. and Steve Fowler or the well-being of Canton.
Canton already suffers bigtime from the gigantic failure of William J. Healy's leadership and here we have the CPPA piling on. Over what? Huge egos?
Current CPPA president Bill Adams should put a stop to this nonsense.
But can he?
Probably not. A source tells the SCPR that Adams is union president because of the efforts of John L. Miller, Jr.
Political relationships like these are typical of the mishmash that is driving Canton into economic oblivion.
What company in its right mind would want to come to a city steeped in political morass?
Posted by Martin Olson at 10:30 AM
Thursday, October 22, 2009
SCPR "ELECTION 2009 SERIES" (VOL 18 - Issue 1): WHBC 1480 "POINTS TO PONDER" ON ISSUE 5 - COUNTY SALES/USE TAX INCREASE
Yours truly thanks Ponder and WHBC-AM for the invite and the permission to videotape for presentation on the SCPR.
The Stark County Political Report is in the process of breaking down the film into digestible units of no more than 5 minutes each for readers' viewing experience.
The first will appear tomorrow, Friday, the 23rd.
The entire audio version is to be available online at the WHBC website. Click here to get to the WHBC website.
Several months ago Mayor John Grogan was involved in a controversy about a bar fight in one of Canal Fulton's bars. Questions arose about how the Canal Fulton police investigated the matter and the decision making process"not to prosecute" Grogan was made by the Massillon Law Department.
Probably the last thing most citizens of Canal Fulton want to happen is for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to "getting on their back." But sources tell the SCPR that the ACLU may be in the process of packing its bags and coming to Canal Fulton.
Why is that?
Because there is a heated election going on in Canal Fulton. There are four seats up on Canal Fulton City Council this November and a group nominated "the slate of four" by the SCPR is running to unseat incumbents Cihon, Deans, Downings, and Zahirsky.
There are a total of six candidates running for the seats. The SCPR has endorsed the "slate of four" and non group member Susan Mayberry.
It seems as if Council Loesch (as he reportedly stated at Council meeting this week) had a couple of complaints about the 4 foot by 6 foot signs planted throughout Canal Fulton by Messers Bagocious, Buwala, Gabbard and Mouse (the members of "the slate of four").
The question to Councilman Losch: Do these signs comply with Canal Fulton sign regulations.
Hmm? Mayor Grogan apparently says to himself, being a person who likely wants to keeps Council just the way it is, "manna from heaven!"
So he sends his zoning inspector out to check the signs.
The SCPR send Mayor Grogan an e-mail asking about the reported "sending out the zoning inspector" initiative, but Grogan is not answering.
Finding of the zoning inspector?
The sign dimensions do not comply with zoning standards.
So, what to do?
If Grogan et al order the signs taken down, then - for sure, such would be s clear invitation to the ACLU "coming to town."
Hmm? Grogan and friends must has counseled among themselves: how can we deal with this and, perhaps, achieve the objective of getting the signs down?
Someone from among the City Hallers likely pipes up. "Eureka! I've got it." "Let's send a letter to each and every property owner telling him/her that the signs are not in compliance - but leave it at that. If we take no offcial action, then what is there for the ACLU - if they come - to do?"
More and more Canal Fulton City Hall is looking like Canton City Hall. Political machinations and manipulations galore. All while the city is struggling to survive tough economic times.
Grogan and his incumbent friends on Council likely have outsmarted themselves on this one. They seem bent on putting their citizens smack dab in the middle of a turmoil that does not reflect positively on Canal Fulton.
H1N1 is spreading these days.
And so, too, is politics for politics sake among Stark's communities as November 3rd approaches.
In the case of Canal Fulton, city officials may be inviting a guest into the "canal boat city" who will be staying for longer that it takes for a ride on the St. Helena?
As expected Congressman John Boccieri (Democrat - Alliance) is at mile 3 in cash-on-hand whereas his likely Republican opponent is former Wadsworth mayor Jim Renacci.
In this blog, the SCPR looks at the names of the "heavy hitter" individual contributors (Stark County only) to both candidates. These contributors are among the folks who will be the "more than equal" citizens who will have priority access to the winner.
Matt Miller is not listed as the SCPR does not consider him a serious candidate as this time.
List put together from data provided by the Federal Elections Commission.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
- scanning in campaign finance reports as they are filed ( required by Ohio law this coming Thursday - 10/21) would necessitate purchasing expensive equipment, and
- and the expending of intensive, voluminous labor by board employees
Excellent scanning machines can be purchased for $500 or so. They can be loaded with 50/100 sheets at a time and left unattended while they do their work.
Most sophisticated commercial copy machines (something the BOE would be looking to purchase) have scanning ability included.
Mullane had told yours truly the BOE was looking at getting a new copier before the campaign fiance reports were due. Apparently, the board squelched that idea. No surprise here.
The current system is the ungodly expensive system which wastes the time of citizens wanting the records (to and from the BOE as well as gasoline/wear and tear on vehicles) and consumes enormous amounts of time of board employees making copies.
How much does the board charge citizens for the paper, the toner and the labor to produce copies of desired campaign finance reports? $0.10 per page.
Think the board covers its cost at $0.10 a page? But going electronic could help reduce costs and cope better with the reduced level of the BOE staff.
An assumption of Mullane's email is that the board employees would need to drop everything and go now and scan in all existing campaign finance reports - going back years.
Not at all.
Just start with Thursday's batch and go back during slow time and retrieve older reports.
The Stark BOE doesn't even need to re-invent the wheel. Rick Campbell has put all recorded documents in digitized form (having done so over time) while digitizing current documents as they are filed.
Campbell's office has been able to reduce his staff needs dramatically since he took over as recorder (saving the county and taxpayers oodles of money) and has created the most efficient and user friendly government office in all of Stark County.
The Stark BOE can and must to the same eventually.
Why the foot dragging on saving taxpayer money and having citizens feel some love with accommodating services to boot?
The Stark County commissioners should take note that government services (e.g. the Stark BOE's failure on the rather simply done and inexpensive Internet available campaign finance reports) that are anti-consumer/citizen friendly do not help their cause to retain the sales/use tax they imposed in December, 2008 come the election in two weeks.
With friends like the Stark BOE board members, the commissioners do not need any enemies a la the Stark Citizens for the Right to Vote.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Congratulations to Messers Duff, Resnick and Smith, candidates for the Canton City Schools (CCS) Board of Education.
Each managed to pretty much ignore the the question posed by the Neighborhood Associates Votes Empower (NAVE) moderator on the October 14th candidates night.
Readers can see what the SCPR means in viewing the videos of each included at the end of this blog.
One doesn't expect local school board candidates to do what veteran politicians do: i.e. either ignore an undesired question altogether and just talk banalities (family history, et cetera or make it into a predetermined question of their own making).
Each candidate did the latter on the 14th.
Such is problematical to consumers of Canton City schools education. Will the successful candidate listen to and answer "head-on," the questions of his constituents?
In the judgment of the SCPR, the field of Duff, Resnick and Smith is not a distinguished field of candidates. But Resnick and Duff show some promise. William Smith and his "fresh face" promotion is too much of a risk for Canton voters to take.
Resnick gets high marks for persisting in talking about whet most politicians do not like to talk about: raising taxes.
The SCPR believes that Resnick is correct and courageous in calling for Canton voters to be given the option to solve their $3.8 million deficit (by 2010) with a local levy increase.
One problem The Report has with Resnick being on the board is his having filed (2005) and completed (2008) a bankruptcy. (Canton Repository, October 10, 2009, Finances a concern in Canton Board of Education race, Denise Sautters)
Here you have Resnick calling for a increase in revenue for a school system that has not managed its finances well. Add to that a board member who has demonstrated a lack of personal foresight. Is this a good combination?
While Resnick appears to have a better grasp of key issues facing the Canton City Schools (hence the SCPR recommendation among a field of weak candidates), Duff may, end up in the mind of a majority of Canton voters as being the better choice, perhaps, because Resnick did not go far enough in his personal financial troubles explanation.
Why is the Resnick follow-on missing?
Likely because the lack of foresight was a failure in judgment by Resnick and there is no explanation.
If there were, Resnick certainly would have shared it. His bringing the Chapter 13 filing up on his own, shows a person of some political skill trying to get out in front of a problem and putting the best "spin" on a negative situation.
Will he have learned from his personal experience, if elected? He says yes.
That is one of the judgments Canton voters will have to make on Resnick.
The SCPR is impressed with the citizen activism as described by incumbent Ron Duff in his answer to The Rep's candidate questionnaire. His persistence with Ohio Schools Facility Commission to stop the closing of Souers is impressive.
Such is a "grassroots" demonstration of collecting citizens into an effective political action force. Tough times lie ahead for the Canton City Schools and having a Ron Duff on the board could be a terrific asset to the CCS in being able to connect with the day-in, day-out citizens of Canton.
Here is the video of all three candidates.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Frequently, the SCPR is told: "Everyone in Stark County needs to come to the Stark County Political Report to find out what is really happening in the backrooms of Stark County government and politics."
Growth in the SCPR readership has grown dramatically since March, 2008 when the Stark County Political Report launched.
And steady, weekly growth continues.
The SCPR growth so far is totally the product of readers who encourage their Stark County friends and family to visit The Report. The SCPR does no advertising.
The Stark County Political Report is content for Stark County citizens to learn over time the value added of the SCPR's incisive political analysis to citizen knowledge of our local government and the officials who staff it.
Yours truly thanks SCPR readers for their work in bringing new readers.
In time, the SCPR will become "the source of choice" for anyone who wants an independent minded look at Stark County government and politics.
Pat DeLuca of DeLuca in the Morning (Q92/WDJQ-FM in Alliance) recently contacted me to inquire whether or not the SCPR was interested in going "live" on the radio.
Obviously, the answer was "yes" and so this Wednesday at 9:05 A.M. yours truly will make a debut on Q92.
The SCPR thanks Q92 for this opportunity to reach a wider audience.
SERIES: (VOL 1) CAN THE STARK COMMISSIONERS SAVE UPWARDS OF $500,000 ANNUALLY IN ENERGY COSTS AT THE STARK COUNTY JAIL?
On October 6, the SCPR went to county commissioners meeting.
At the meeting Chevron officials were there to present the outlines of a proposal to work a partnership with the Stark County commissioners to devise an energy recycling system to take "yard" waste and convert it into heat for the Stark County jail in the hope that such a system will save Stark Countians $500,000 on the county's energy bill.
Many questions need to be asked of Chevron and county officials about the details of this plan. This is where the SCPR comes in.
Yours truly has already begun asking questions of commissioners, solid waste district personnel and and Chevron officials.
At first blush the plan seems to be too simple, straightforward and productive of a "windfall" to Stark County, to be true.
But it may be.
As with all other matters, the SCPR will ask the hard questions of the participants in the formulation of this plan.
What follows is a video that provides an overview of the project.
Posted by Martin Olson at 8:41 AM
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Posted by Martin Olson at 2:51 PM
SCPR "ELECTION 2009 SERIES" (VOL 16): CANAL FULTON CITY COUNCIL - A CLASSIC "THE WAY THINGS ARE" VERSUS "CHANGE IS DESPERATELY NEEDED" BATTLE!
It is the "establishment" versus "agents of change in the November 3rd elections for seats on Canal Fulton City Council.
On September 14th, the Canal Fulton Friends of the Library held a "get to know the candidates" night at The Chapel, a long term care facility located north and east of the canal boat city.
To fully understand the charges, the reactions and countercharges that are made by several of the candidates in the video which readers can see below, CLICK HERE to see the list of ten deficiencies in Canal Fulton government as generated by "the slate of four" who are running to effect change.
Although the SCPR believes that the "agents of change" are - separate and apart from their agenda - more talented in terms of the cognitive abilities than the incumbents running for re-election; if readers like how Canal Fulton has been governed, then the incumbents as a group are the candidates to vote for.
The only viable wild card in this race is Susan Mayberry. She worked in administration (non-elected) for a number of years and clearly knows the mechanics of governance. But she is a wild card.
At The Chapel, Mayberry talked and talked and talked about integrity. Integrity as a general quality that an officeholder should have and as a specific characteristic for those who sit on Canal Fulton City Council.
Who can argue with that? It would be like coming out against God, mother and country.
Mayberry might turn out to be a high quality legislator, but, then again, she may never get "enough facts" to be productive as a councilperson. Such was her excuse for have no specific agenda if she were to be elected.
Anyone voting for this woman would be taking a chance. She is vivacious and appears reasonably intelligent, but what is the "real" reason she has no thought-out legislative agenda?
Another candidate that makes the SCPR nervous is Ken Gabbard.
Gabbard is only one of two candidates (the other being Cihon) that got no film footage in the video that accompanies this blog.
He had nothing at all to say about the substantive issues facing Canal Fulton. He told personal tales indicating that he is a "stable" person. Wow!
By his self-description, he made it clear that he doesn't have the capacity to say in 3 minutes what one can take 30 minutes to do. Obviously, a bright guy who has demonstrated in business that he is an accomplished person following the direction of others. He does not appear to have his own perspective.
In the judgment of the SCPR, on Council, he will likely follow the lead of either Bagocious, Buwala or Mouse. Gabbard is clearly the "weak link" on the "slate of four."
Like Ken Gabbard, Nellie Cihon got no video time.
Because all she wanted to talk about was a trip she had made with a group that included the moderator of the candidates night, her granddaughter winning her volleyball match the day of the candidates night and other similar material.
She did obliquely make it clear she was offended the list of 10 Canal Fulton deficiencies put together by Eric Buwala, but she didn't grab anyone item off the list and respond like City Councilwoman Linda Zahirsky did.
The SCPR will not ask readers to take their precious time to what film that is not responsive/relevant to the discussion being held.
The Stark County Political Report does believe that Canal Fulton needs to take a fresh look at local governance and therefore recommends the "slate of four" with the exception that voters might want to replace Gabbard with Mayberry.
She could serve as a "swing" vote, if she can ever get her facts together. The SCPR suspects she is "really" a better replacement for one of the incumbents because of her years connecting with them as a non-elected city administrator.
A concern that voters might have with the "slate of four" is whether or not they will fall into fighting among themselves.
Bagoucis, Buwala and Mouse are strong individual personalities. Can they really work together to bring well-thought out and positive change to Canal Fulton.
The SCPR thinks so, but recognizes that it if The Report is wrong; then turbulence will be the order of things in Canal Fulton.
Canal Fulton stands at the crossroads of its future. Citizens need to pay very close attention to these candidates and diligently attempt to "rightly divide" in coming to a conclusion as who to vote for.
Here is the SCPR edited video (the actual presentation of which went way too long to put the entire session on this blog) to help Canal Fulton voters make a wise choice.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Day before yesterday Commissioner Todd Bosley went to the monthly Stark County Township Association meeting to push for a Yes on Issue 5 vote.
Imagine Bosley's surprise when Osnaburg Trustee Richard Pero got up and voiced his opposition to retention of the tax.
More interesting is Pero's reason for saying he was going to vote No on Issue 5.
"Because the commissioners had imposed the tax," that's why.
Bosley made the point that "Well, you have the opportunity to vote on it now." Meaning that it is now time to determine whether or not the county needs the tax to fix 9-1-1 and for general revenue fund purposes.
But Pero was not going there.
He was still "mad" at the trustees for "imposing" the tax and he was not about to cogitate of whether or not the county actually needs the revenue.
The SCPR focuses on the Bosley/Pero exchange because it highlights the need of Stark County voters to make a determination on the substance of the issue.
Pero is an example of Stark Countians who plan to vote No for the sole reason that the tax was imposed.
Pero's fellow trustee Donna Middaugh (both are running for re-election on November 3rd), said she was voting Yes on Issue 5 because she was convinced the money was needed.
The SCPR understands that 80% or better of the trustees attending the meeting favored the Vote Yes position.
Is the 80% approval rating a sign that the tax is going to be retained or is it the opposite?
The SCPR brought you a story on Thursday about Stark County prosecutor John Ferrero getting up and walking out on a Thursday Stark County Police Chiefs Association meeting when it became clear that the Chiefs would be taking a "neutrality" stand on Issue 5.
The question coursing through yours truly's mind is whether or not dissension among the direct stakeholders in the outcome of the issue is a marker indicating that Stark Countians are going to vote No on retaining the tax.
That's the way it's looking to the Stark County Political Report.
Friday, October 16, 2009
SCPR "ELECTION 2009 SERIES (VOL 15): NORTHWEST SCHOOLS - APATHY PREVAILS, HOW LONG CAN THIS SCHOOL SYSTEM LAST?
Perhaps in a few years Northwest students will be a part of the Massillon School District or another close by district?
There are two elections for the school board this November.
First, there is a slate of three running for three full-term (4 years) positions. There is no competition is this race.
Second, there are three candidates running to fill two "unexpired" terms.
Because there is no competition for the full-term positions, the SCPR is going to give short shrift to this part of the Northwest school board election.
The apathy/disgust is soooooooooooo strong in Northwest that the race includes a candidate (Beadle) who is a "home schooler" at heart. He did appear at the Canal Fulton Library candidates night last Wednesday, but it seems as if he is a recent convert to the public school system because he says he has a "special needs" child.
As a taxpaying citizen, he certainly has a right to run. But how committed, dedicated can a board member be when he has historically had no confidence in the public school system. Also disturbing was his pleasure at being in a school district (Northwest) with half the property taxes of his former district (Copley - Summit County).
To the SCPR, the addition of Mr. Beadle is a sign that Northwest is headed toward public school oblivion in terms of how we identify the Canal Fulton, Clinton, Lawrence Township, New Franklin, North Lawrence and Wayne County (only a small part of the district) as being the Northwest Local School District.
There may be some hope for Northwest with at least one of the candidates for the "unexpired" two positions that three candidates are vying for.
Where does the hope come from?
From Nicole Metzger, that's who.
The SCPR was not impressed when the Northwest school board circumvented an "open to the public at large" application process to pick Mrs. Metger to succeed her husband who passed away recently.
Short-circuiting the public is a symptom of very, very deep problems with the the board at Northwest.
Notwithstanding, the SCPR's condemnation of the board for cutting out the public, it turns out that Nicole Metzger is "the best of the bunch" in the opinion of yours truly based on her presentation at the candidates night.
She owned up to the huge "lack of trust" problem that the Northwest school board and administration has and seems to have the spunk/etermination to deal with it as well as a forthright willingness to take input from the citizens of the district.
It is inspiring to see a person such as Nicole Metzger, who has gone through an excruciatingly difficult personal tragedy, to apparently be the person who will redeem the public trust, if anyone can.
It certainly will not be Stephen C. Jones. The SCPR's take on Jones, over the years of being familiar with him and his tenure on the board (broken for a period of time because he didn't get enough qualifying signatures for one election cycle), is that he is on the arrogant/dismissive side and thereby is likely a huge reason why the board has gotten in such disfavor with the board's constituents.
He reinforces the SCPR's take on him by, one, not appearing at the candidates night and, two, by not turning in answers to a questionnaire sent to him by The Repository.
While Victor Colaianni is questionable credentials to be a school board member, he has to be a better bet than Jones. Colaianni will most likely be more attentive to Northwest's consumers of education that Jones. However, the SCPR does have questions about his judgment. Hopefully, he has improved. He is a former member of the Canal Fulton City Council.
Here is a video of the Metzger and Colaianni presentations at the Canal Fulton Friends of the Library candidate night.