Monday, November 30, 2009

CELEBRATING THE STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT'S 1000TH BLOG: BLOGGER MARTIN OLSON TO TESTIFY IN SUPPORT OF STARK COUNTY STATE SENATOR KIRK SCHURING'S (CO-SPONSOR) SB 191 (CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORTING)



The Stark County Political Report has come a long way since yours truly started blogging in March, 2008.

This blog is the SCPR's 1000th blog.

As promised at the outset, the Stark County Political Report posts at least one blog each and every day "no matter what: - travel, sickness and a hugely busy schedule"

Reports have emanated from San Antonio, Texas, Colorado Springs, Colorado and from the border of the Rocky Mountain National Park (Grand Lake, Colorado).

There have been many milestones for the SCPR since March, 2008.

As readers know, yours truly has dug into the political and governmental nitty-gritty that lies hidden to many because they are hidden in the bowels of the political and government counsels of Stark County.

The Report's efforts and thoroughness have been recognize by local media.  The SCPR appears as a regular guest on the Pat DeLuca Show (Q92) as a political commentator and analyst.  The Report has been invited (at The Report's request) to videotape a discussion of Issue 5 (the sales/use tax) on 1480 AM WHBC's "Points to Ponder."

One of the projects that is near and dear to the SCPR is the quest "to follow the money."  At the state and national level, there are ample resources to find out who the big contributors are to political candidates.

But not at the local level.

Months ago, the SCPR approached Stark County state Senator Kirk Schuring (Republican - 29th) to introduce legislation to require local (county level and below) candidates to report  the occupation or employer for campaign contributions of $100 or more received from financial supporters.

Even though the SCPR has been frequently critical of Senator Schuring in these pages, he didn't hesitate in the slightest to agree to attempt to amend existing law which requires state level candidates to report the $100 and up occupation/employer information.



 Joining him as a co-sponsor is state Senator Tim Grindell  (Republican - 18th).



The Report thanks Senators Schuring and co-sponsoring this legislation and looks forward  (at the invitation of Senator Schuring) to appearing before the State & Local Government & Veterans Affairs Committee at a "2nd" hearing (Tuesday, December 1, 2009 at 10:00 AM) on the bill as Senators Schuring and Grindell guide the bill through to enactment.






Sunday, November 29, 2009

COMMISSIONER HARMON RESIGNING - EFFECTIVE TUESDAY, WILL STARK COUNTIANS REMEMBER HIM AS COUNTY COMMISSIONER?



The SCPR had high hopes for Tom Harmon when he was appointed by the Stark County Democratic Central Committee back in the summer of 2007 to be Gayle Jackson's successor as county commissioner.

And he said all the right things.

But as with ever so many politicians, he never delivered on his rhetoric.

To be sure, these are tough economic times and getting economic development rolling is easier said than done.  In hindsight, The Report believes that Harmon was not a good fit for the office.  Rather, he was a Stark County Democratic Party power broker who was assigned the task to hold the seat for former Jackson Township trustee Steve Meeks who was to have been the commissioner to succeed Republican Jane Vignos until Lawrence Township trustee Michael Stevens got in the way.

Harmon has been a competent caretaker.

However, Stark County desperately needs a commissioner with a fresh perspective, with inexhaustible energy and drive to be a catalytic force in refashioning Stark County into idea an incubator that results in Stark Countians becoming an economic garden spot in Northeast Ohio.

Stark does not need leadership that merely gets us from day-to-day.

Over the long haul, ho-hum leadership turns negative in consequences and Stark Countians suffer.

Harmon's one economic development idea (err, shall we say Elizabeth Burick's) about building a horse expo center at the Stark County Fairgrounds has promise, but it does not go nearly far enough.

As Harmon pointed out in promoting the plan, agriculture is the largest economic unit in Stark County.  What would be better than take the fairgrounds which are located in the heart of Canton and convert them into a a year-around, robust, job producing enterprise that would serve as a collecting point for Stark Countians to come together on a continuing basis.

The fairgrounds idea has enormous potential.

But the realization of the potential will only come with Stark County having a trio of county commissioners who have initiative, creativeness and vision to put such a project together.

Harmon has not been such a commissioner nor does Pete Ferguson seem to have the wherewithal to make such a project a go.  Bosley might, but he needs help.

In the final analysis, the SCPR believes Commissioner Tom Harmon has been a caretaker commissioner.

Will his "apparent" successor be more productive?

Probably not.

Steve Meeks is cut out of the same cloth as Tom Harmon.

As long as Stark County sees a succession of  Tom Harmons, Stark County is going nowhere economically anytime soon.

In the end, Tom Harmon:  "bang or bust?"

Neither.

Just muddling along.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

WILL NORTH CANTON REMAIN "THE DOGWOOD CITY" OR IS IT ABOUT TO BECOME THE "THE POTHOLE CITY?"



Several weeks ago (post-election) the SCPR was in a discussion with Pat DeLuca of The Pat DeLuca Show on Q92 about the election results.

One of the topics that came up focus on the electoral fact that Stark Countians had turned down en-masse any levy that called for "new" tax monies EXCEPT for North Canton.  The Dogwood City voters had "apparently" passed a one mill additional levy for road/street repairs by a mere six votes.

Not so quick.

 

When "all" the votes were counted (e.g. absentee), the result "apparently" has flip-flopped.  Now, unless a change takes place at a recount scheduled for this coming Thursday, December 03, 2009; there will be NO additional taxes approved anywhere in Stark County.

Hmm?

"Hey, folks - there is a cost to government.  "There is no free lunch."

The best "editorial" on the topic appeared in the "comment" section of Edd Pritchard's (of The Rep) piece of yesterday on the failure of the one-mill and what it may mean to North Canton's ability to make street/road repairs in the future, to wit:





Indeed, "the people have spoken, they want pot holes!"

The beauty of the American system of government is that when one gets to the end of the process, voters determine by providing or not providing government revenues the quality of "public life" they want.

The SCPR is for washer-ringer efficiency in government, but at the end of the day voters get the government services they pay for.

Unless the vote turns once again on Thursday, there is a good chance that "The Dogwood City" will become "The Pothole City!"

Friday, November 27, 2009

THE SCPR RECOGNIZES STARK COUNTY COMMISSIONER/DR. PETER FERGUSON FOR HIS EFFORT TO BRING A VA CLINIC TO STARK COUNTY



The Stark County Political Report (SCPR, The Report) hereby recognizes Doctor Peter D. Ferguson (Stark County commissioner - elected November, 2008) for his efforts to bring a Veterans Clinic/Hospital to the former Doctors Hospital now Affinity Medical Center to Perry Township.

The effort "apparently" has proved unavailing as the SCPR predicted and which was anticipated by Pete Ferguson himself.

In a recent conversation with Commissioner Ferguson, he bemoaned to The Report the inertia in place at the Veterans Administration (VA) in Washington.  Ferguson was struck by the reality that even elected officials (i.e. Congressman Boccieri and Senator Sherrod Brown) couldn't seem to get the ball rolling with the VA.

The "Ferguson VA project" - for any chance of success - had to have begun even before Ferguson became commissioner.  Hindsight being 20/20, Ferguson could have and should have made such a project a cornerstone of his campaign to replace Gayle Jackson as commissioner.

Readers of the SCPR will recall the steep criticsm that The Report directed at Ferguson and his Republican opponent John Hagan for their laziness and lack of definition in the presentation of their campaigns.

Had Ferguson heeded the critique, he could have gotten a jump start on this project while yet "an ordinary citizen" and in the process have given himself a fair chance at success.

But he didn't and the SCPR will not belabor spilled milk.

What should be the focus now is that the Ferguson effort, no matter how late in the game it is, should not have been in vain.

When Affinity announced its recent decision to raze the medical center by year's end, it cited one clearly compelling reason:  the expenses!   It costs Affinity $100,000 a month to maintain the facility.  Moreover, there are about $1.2 million in taxes in the offing to be paid Ohio in prospective franchise taxes and $40,000 to Perry Township in property taxes.

What business/business person wouldn't go for bottom line efficiency?  Affinity is doing what a focused business model commands:, "act yesterday" to stop a drain on its investment monies.

Can Stark County salvage the Ferguson initiative?

Probably not.

But here's an idea.

The Stark County commissioners (one of whom, obviously is Ferguson) should go to North Canton City Council president Daryl Revoldt and ask him to "on a volunteer basis" take on the task of buying more time for Stark County to get the VA moving on the Ferguson idea.

Why Revoldt?

Because he is the most talented economic development person in all of Stark County.

In recent conversations with Revoldt, he has outlined to the SCPR a 36 month plan of action to get Stark County economic development going in high gear.

Of course, for Revoldt to take on an extended economic plan, commissioners would have to find the money to hire Revoldt for that specific task.

However, being the public service minded guy he is, he might be willing to take on a "salvage Ferguson's plan" project.

One the huge problems with the "Vote No Increased Taxes" people, who showed their political muscle in trouncing the 0.50 "imposed" sales/use tax by a 64% of Stark Countians rejecting retension of the tax, is this:  they seem to be totally focused on cutting county expenses.

And there is a case to be made for eliminating wasteful expenditures and/or reallocation of existing revenues to high priority functions of Stark County government.

But is there a positive aspect to Conley, Snyder. et al.

If there is a proactive factor with the "Vote Nos", in the context of their working with the "citizens review committee" being be put together by the Stark County Common Pleas judges; it could give authenticity to the cohort's claim that they are not purebred expense cutters and that they are willing "to be part of the solution of government," if they propose/promote a long range Stark County economic development plan which is adequately resourced.

If the citizens review effort does not produce an adequately resourced Stark County economic development plan, the Stark County voters should be set, once again, to reject a new tax initiative.

Commissioners Bosley (BioMass), Harmon (Horse Show Arena) and Ferguson (VA facility) are starting to get it as to what their primary positive priority should be:  A LONG TERM "ARTICULATED" STARK COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM LED BY THE BEST LEADERSHIP THAT STARK COUNTY HAS TO OFFER AND WITH BUILT-IN BENCH MARKS AND ACOUNTABLITY.

Congratulations to Commissioner Ferguson on being the recipient of the coveted SCPR "Good Try!" award.

But The Report believes that Ferguson would be the first to say that a "good try" is just that.

But, again, from the SCPR to Commissioner Ferguson:  thanks for trying.

Stark County could show its appreciation for his initiative by acting to keep Ferguson's idea alive!

But are Stark's "movers and shakers" up to it?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

THANKSGIVING 2009





Stark County has had a number of local political figures step forward with a positive contribution to the well-being of our county in 2009.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) recognizes the following for their contributions to better government and/or making current officeholders more accountable.

MIKE REHFUS (Stark County Engineer) demonstrated exemplary courage and steadfastness despite an ongoing battle with cancer which resulted in him untimely death on November 11th at age 49.

It is not surprising that Rehfus was courageous to the end.  Courage is a quality that he has shown over his tenure as county engineer.

He pushed for an increased license plate fee so that the Stark County is better positioned to construct new roads and rehabilitate  roads and bridges greatly in need of repairs. 

In 2008, he convinced Commissioners Bosley and Vignos to support imposition of the fee over Commissioner Gayle Jackson's objection.

Rehfus is the quintessential county official for streamlining operations and thereby doing more with less in terms of personnel.

Despite his illness, he worked hard with Commissioners Bosley and Harmon to effectuate a merger between the engineer's operations with that of the Stark County Sanitary Engineer which will prove to be highly beneficial for Stark County taxpayers who will enjoy more performance for less money because of the merger.

For his many years of service to Stark County, Stark Countians, indeed, are thankful that Mike Rehful came our way.

CHARLES BROWN (judge/Stark County Court of Common Pleas).  Judge Brown is a leading member of  a group of  Stark County jurists (Common Pleas) who have been and continue to work hard to facilitate the return of Stark Countians, who have gone awry of the law,  to a restored position in the Stark County community.

Moreover, Brown is a leader in working with Stark Countians across-the-board to go back to the drawing board to find ways and means to adequately fund Stark County government in the light of the failed Issue 5 which was designed, in part, to provide sorely needed revenues for the Stark County general fund.

Undoubtedly, Judge Brown would be the first to say that he, along with Judges Lee Sinclair and Tayrn Heath the visible part of the Stark County judiciary working in a "let's work together" mode with the Stark County public to put together a funding mechanism for Stark County which will meet county needs as well as working for the taxpaying public.

What is impressive about the judges' effort is that they could just sit back and let other county officials "twist in the wind."

How's that?

Ohio law empowers county judges to mandate county commissioners to fund whatever the judges say their financial needs are.

But Stark County's judges have not rested on this prerogative and have chosen instead to be caring of the needs of the entire county.  For this attitude, Stark Countians are thankful.

WAYNE SCHILG (Marlboro Township trustee).  Trustee Schilg has just gone through the most trying time of his political life.

Schilig was caught in the middle of a battle between Trustees Tim Wise (who was defeated on November 3rd) and Trustee Dave Wolf (who chose not to run for re-election) over Marlboro Police Chief Ron Devies and son Kyle's activities on transitioning from Kyle being Marlboro's computer man to a successor caretaker.

The SCPR is not going to dwell in any more detail on the particulars of the "disagreement." and, instead focus on Schlig and his abiding efforts to conciliate.

In the end, he was unsuccessful for reasons he could not control.  But his mediating efforts were not in vain.  For they created the foundation for healing within Marlboro Township. 

Stark Countians, at large, and Marlboro residents, in particular are certainly thankful for have the likes of a Wayne Schilg serving the citizens in a constructive and helpful way.

LOUIS GIAVASIS (Plain Township trustee) has lead the way in showing that in troubling economic times, government leaders at all levels can anticipate and take measures to avoid a financial meltdown in trying economic times.

Giavasis very unselfishly gives fellow trustees Al Leno and Pam Bossart (who will be leaving as trustee on December 31st because she did not seek re-election) full credit for the good fiscal condition that Plain Township is in as 2010 approaches.

Under the Giavasis-led Plain Township trustee effort, the SCPR evaluates Plain to be "the best run Township in all of Stark County," and ranks in the upper tier for all of Ohio.

Another Giavasis quality that Plain Township residents are undoubtedly thankful for is Lou's tenaciousness.

From the day that the anchor store left the Oakwood Square Shopping Center in Plain (years ago), Giavais has worked tirelessly to get a replacement.

It appears that he may realize his goal soon.  For this persistence and durability, Plain Township residents are surely thankful.


RANDY GONZALEZ (9-1-1 Stark County Council of Governments [SCOG] Governance Committee chairman and Jackson Township fiscal officer).

Gonzalez has a terrific characteristic of marshaling community forces to solve a problem.

If Stark County achieves a state-of-the-art centralized 9-1-1 dispatch, it very likely will be because of Gonzalez.  He has a knack for bringing people together who come from different "turf," and getting them to work together on a commonly beneficial project.

Gonzalez is close to pulling off "a coming together" on the 9-1-1 project.  He says he is about 90% towards reaching his goal.  The SCPR believes his number is credible and that the dissidents will come aboard in time.

In years to come, when Stark Countians dial 9-1-1, it is very likely that those who remember the Gonzalez effort on 9-1-1 will utter to themselves a "thank you."  While Stark Countians in general may not know about the Gonzalez effort, they too will be thankful that that "unknown" person who pushed 9-1-1 into being a high quality emergency services center. 


CHARLES SNYDER (member of Vote No Increased Taxes Committee and newly elected Fairless school board member).

Among the basic points of the Vote No Increased Taxex Committee made during their campaign, first, to put the "imposed" 0.50 sales/use tax increase up for a vote and, second, to find a cheaper way to rework 9-1-1.

A primary person shepherding the Vote No group was Charles Snyder.

A keystone of a democracy is that citizens need to have a say in the decisions that are made by public officials in their conducting public policy and operations.  While yours truly ended up vote to ratain the imposed tax, all Stark Countians certainly have to be thankful to Snyder and his cohorts for ensuring that we - the citizens of Stark County - did get to vote for or against retaining the tax.

The SCPR believes that an spin-off of the vote effort and the decision of Stark Countians (64% of those who voted) not to retain the tax was that, perhaps, the Vote No Increased Taxes Committee had a point that the 9-1-1 rehab could be done for significantly less money (in terms of new taxes) and in a way more palatable to Stark Countians.

Though some may see Snyder and his fellows in the Vote No context as being negative; a fair look at the committee effort sifts out positives for which Stark Countians are certainly thankful.

MARK BUTTERWORTH (Councilman-elect Canton's 8th ward).

Up by 14 votes as this piece is being written, it appears that Republican Mark Butterworth has broken the stranglehold that Democrats have on elective office in Canton.

Canton is on the brink of bankruptcy and a primary reason is the lack of political competition and youth among Canton's public officials.

Canton's 8th ward has been held the past four years by a well known Canton Democrat with strong ties to organized labor.  But Mark Butterworth was not intimidated and in running a highly effective campaign, he very likely has ousted the Democrat and will bring a fresh political perspective and a touch of youth to Canton City Council.

If the result should turn around on a recount, Butterworth has still made a noble contribution to the well-being of the body politic in Canton.

Butterworth's infusing local government with competition and youthful vigor is something for all Stark County's citizens to be thankful for.

TODD BOSLEY has slipped from the top of the list to eighth because of some difficult issues that he has not handled well, but, nonetheless, he still demonstrates, more than any other county official a purposefulness, a stamina and a vision for Stark County that tops all other non-judicial elected officials.

Despite setbacks, Bosley demonstrates daily his commitment to repair Stark County's 9-1-1 dispatch in to a state-of-the-art operation.

One of Bosley's finer qualities is his willingness to get into difficult situations to effect a "coming together" of folks at odds with each other or with Stark County government in Lawrence Township  (road ingress/egress) and Nimishillen Township (flooding concerns) and to avoid a funding standoff with the Stark County Veterans Service Commission - to make some but not all of his efforts.

Stark Countians have benefited from and are appreciative of Bosley's hard work.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

SCPR "ELECTION 2010 SERIES: "CANDIDATES SPEAKING FOR THEMSELVES" STEVE CURTICIAN - MAY 04, 2010 PRIMARY RACE FOR COUNTY COMMISSIONER



The SCPR is well into the 2010 election.  The primary for the Republican and Democratic parties are scheduled for May 4, 2010 - only 159 days from today.

Recently, The Report did a piece on Steve Curtician who is running for the county commissioner seat currently held by Commissioner Todd Bosley (Democrat - Marlboro).

Here is a link to the prior piece (CLICK HERE).

The SCPR has a policy of allowing candidates to speak for themselves, especially in response to SCPR commentaries on their candidacy.



Here is the contents of an email received from Curtician earlier today:

Mr. Olson,

If talking about myself and previous accomplishments is “over the top”, what platform do you recommend? I hear others talk about how they have balanced a budget of a community and not even finish a job they were elected to do. Isn’t that self promoting also. I understand the fact that you think I am over the top, “Never under estimate a man, who over estimates himself”, I get that, but I had to provide a platform of accomplishments from my past or I may as well run as a ghost. I had to get your attention somehow.

However, I feel the difference between myself and other candidates at this time is real life experience, and we have a real life situation in Stark County. Believe this, I will use every man hour, every resource and every willing body to turn Stark County back in the right direction. I have not forgotten what it feels like when your future is unknown. As someone who has lived through these times, from the grass roots level, I feel the pain and stress that the citizens are feeling today. Uncertainty is a tough world to live in, these times are tough and now is the time for leadership to rise to the occasion and promote Stark County to the World!

You can form your own opinion, I respect that, but let’s all work together and make Stark County thrive again. Way too much violence, too much unemployment and the morale of the County is falling rapidly. I have explained to you in past correspondence my plans to address these situations, but I would be thrilled to talk with you via phone, in person, or two soup cans and a fishing line, you tell me?

Whether I win or not, that’s not important. My goal is to get Stark County moving in a direction where people will be proud to say where they are from, where they work, and the citizens of Stark County will be the ones in the end, who will undoubtedly turn this County around.

Respectfully,
Steve Curtician

CLEAN UP OF STREET SWEEPER BACKFILL COULD COST $100,000 PLUS HOW MUCH IN EPA FINES?



The SCPR spoke with Mayor David Held last evening and asked him numerous questions about the city of North Canton being dealt with by the Ohio Environmentaql Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) as well as the Army Corp of Engineers and the Stark County Health Department over the city's illegal backfilling of street sweeping debris (considered to be "solid waste" as opposed to "yard waste") in a lot adjacent to North Canton's water and waste treatment plant located on Freedom Avenue in Jackson Township.

Ask questions?

Yes, ask questions.

So what is the big deal?

Well, North Canton citizen Chuck Osborne was not permitted to do so (nor make a prepared statement) during the "Public Speaks" portion of the North Canton City Council meeting of Monday evening.

The Report is told that Osborne was muzzled by North Canton City Council president Daryl Revoldt from reading his prepared statement of the dumping topic and ask follow-up questions because Revoldt feared that Held would provide answers that would get North Canton "deeper into the doo-doo" with Ohio EPA et al than it was already was.

So when the SCPR received a telephone call from Mayor Held, it was a "big deal!"

What did Held have to say?

To put it in a nutsehell, Held said that North Canton was merely doing what many other political subdivisions and government agencies throughout Stark County and, indeed, Ohio have been doing for years and had the misfortune of being turned in to the O-EPA.

 Mayor Held gave the SCPR an interesting example.  He said that material picked up by a street sweeper is "solid waste" whereas if it is sucked up by mechanism with a hose, the material is defined by Ohio EPA rules to be "yard waste" which makes all the difference in the world in terms of how one may dispose of the material.

According to Held, the former has to go into a landfill while the latter can be used as back-fill as North Canton was doing.

Held went on to say that North Canton had not yet put together a remediation program, but that when it did that the cost of remediating could be $100,000 taxpayer dollars.  Moreover, Held emphasized that now that North Canton knows that its "back-filling" is not allowable by O-EPA regulations, the city will now be placing its street sweepings in an approved land-fill at about $200 per load.

Held told the SCPR that he plans to be in touch with Ohio EPA officials and ask for a clarification of standards so that political subdivisions have clear guidance as to what is and what is not solid waste.  He cited numerous other examples of arbitrary distinctions made by the Ohio EPA that put the very same activity into the solid waste or hazardous waste category depending on the source of the waste.

At the end of the day, the SCPR agrees with Held that it is a nightmare for anyone to have to deal with the likes of the Ohio EPA and that Ohio EPA Director Chris Korleski needs to review the "double" standards that Held refers to and clear away the distinctions without a difference.

On the topic of muzzling Osborne, Held told The Report that he welcomed the opportunity to hear from Osborne and answer his question at the November 23rd Council meeting and "thank you - Councilman Revoldt - but I don't need anyone to protect me from myself" (a SCPR paraphrase).

One remaining question the SCPR has is this:  Will North Canton be fined by the Ohio EPA?

Answer:  it's anybody's guess.

But if a fine is in the cards, it will be North Canton taxpayers who suffer even more than they will suffer with remediation costs and the on-going into perpetuity expense of paying for landfill disposal of street sweeper debris.

Situations like the North Canton one, is an example why many citizens roll their eyes at the mere mention of agencies of government such as the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

In other North Canton news, Held acknowledged that some North Canton council members are unhappy with city administrator Earle Wise, Jr.

The unhappiness, according to Held, is grounded in the handling of the street sweeper debris disposition.  The mayor went on to say that he is pleased with Wise's performance as city administrator and it is his call (not Council's - according to North Canton's Charter) who is city administrator and the duration of a particular administrator's service.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS FIGHT SET OFF BY NORTH CANTON COUNCIL PRESIDENT DARYL REVOLDT?



North Canton citizen activist and former North Canton councilman Chuck Osborne was fuming mad at Council president Dayrl Revoldt after last night's Council meeting.

Why?

Because Revoldt prohibited Osborne from exercising his "public speaks" right at the meeting.

Osborne had prepared a statement to read at "Public Speakes" (a North Canton City Council agenda item) pertaining to  recent revelation that North Canton was doing illegal dumping at a site next to the city's water treatment plant

Osborne called the SCPR immediately after the council meeting saying that he was furious and was trying to locate his lawyer.

Locate his lawyer?

Hmm?

Could Osborne be looking at a civil law suit against the city for infringement of his First Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution?

Whether or not North Canton and Revoldt gets sued by Osborne, the SCPR believes that Revoldt made a poor decision.  Yours truly has talked with Revoldt frequently since the SCPR was started and on the basis of these conversations would not figure to take the action he took last night.

Government officials amaze The Report in how often they do politically unwise, if not illegal things, within the scope of their public duties.

All Chuck Olsborne wanted to do last night was to comment on a story that appeared in The Canton Repository on November 17th


 In addition to unacceptably toying with First Amendment rights, Revoldt's muzzling of Osborne is downright silly.

Osborne's main message is this:  how could Held and Wise, the top administrators, not know of the illegal dumping, and if they want to say they did not know; how could this be?

Today, Osborne informed the SCPR that Councilman Davies is telling him that Revoldt's action against his speaking was designed to keep Mayor David Held from making statements in response to Osborne's probing that might "dig a deeper hole" for North Canton government.

Expect a lot of re-shuffling within the North Canton city administration over the next week or two.

The SCPR has learned that law director Randy McFarren is being non-renewed and that North Canton officials are taking a serious look at trying to remove Earle Wise as city administrator.

The Report complained about Held not having any opposition in the recently concluded election.

Political competition is the "mother's milk of government accountability."  Held knows he is unaccountable and for Council president Revoldt to assume the role of protecting Held from himself by keeping citizen activist Osborne from asking questions is totally unacceptable however understandable it might be.

It is too high of a price to pay for our democratic processes to shut down a Public Speaks to protect government officials from themselves.

Council president Revoldt needs to apologize to the rest of Council, citizen Osborne and the North Canton public for shutting down First Amendment processes for any reason and certainly not to protect Mayor Held from himself!

WILL STARK STATE SENATOR BE ABLE TO PREVENT SENATE PRESIDENT BILL HARRIS FROM FORCING A 10% CUT IN STARK PUBLIC EDUCATION FUNDING?




Ohio Senate president and Republican Bill Harris is not making friends with Senator Kirk Schuring (Republican - Jackson - 29th District) these days.

First, Schuring says he condemns Harris for the attributed quote: “come Dec. 31, the education governor [Strickland] gets to cut public schools by 10 percent.”

Schuring told the SCPR in a telephone interview yesterday that educators throughout Ohio are extremely sensitive to the prospects of future cuts to elementary and secondary education and that he [Schuring] will not support any budget bill that forces the governor to make any such education cuts.

There has been an effort in the Republican controlled senate to pass a modified HB 318 (which includes delaying the scheduled 4,2% Ohio income tax for tax year 2009 [Governor Strickland's proposal]). Media reports throughout Ohio indicate that there is a "gang of 5" Republican state senators who are poised to join with the minority Democrats to pass the modified bill.

Schuring tells The Report that he is not one of the five.

In fact, Schuring believes that there are constitutional/legal problems in the offing, if the Senate ultimately decides to go with the Strickland plan to plug a nearly 900 million dollar gap in the 2010 state budget. Schuring is for cobbling together a plan that does not include the delayed tax cut approach.

Interesting enough, Schuring says that there is a proposal which met his [Schuring's] criteria that is one vote shy of passage. 

Interesting in what way?

Interesting in that Bill Harris himself could provide the vote for passage, but refuses.

It is beginning to look to the SCPR that the Republican leadership [Harris and former Republican Speaker of the Ohio House - Jon Husted) is playing gubernatorial election year politics.

Stark Countians and all Ohioans should be upset with Republicans (like Senate president Harris) who are willing to damage the already fragile state of financing public education for a perceived political advantage come November, 2010.


Stark County Republicans Schuring, Snitchler and Oelslager need to be all over Harris and Husted in a very public way.

Monday, November 23, 2009

2010 ELECTION SERIES - STARK COUNTY COMMISSIONER: "THE BOSLEY SEAT," IS FORMER MARINE STEVE CURTICIAN A VIABLE OPPONENT TO JACKSON TRUSTEE JAMIE WALTERS? OR DONNIE PETERS, JR?



As a veteran (USAF) and as the father/father-in-law to two majors (USAF) and a lieutenant colonel (USAF), yours truly deeply respects military service.

But a good military person does not a politician make - necessarily.

The SCPR early take on former U.S. Marine Steve Curtician, who is running against Jackson trustee Jamie Walters and, perhaps, Massillon councilman Donnie Peters, Jr, for the right to be the Republican nominee to run against sitting commissioner Todd Bosley (Democrat - Marlboro), is that he is "a bit over the top."



First, when the SCPR learned that Curtician was thinking about running to be the Republican nominee for what the SCPR will call - for easy reference - "the Bosley seat," yours truly called to obtain basic information about him.

No answer?

A bit strange.

Someone who is only known by his family, passes up an opportunity to get some free press?

Second, he writes the SCPR an email on November 18th chastising yours truly for not recognizing him at the November 4th Stark County commissioners meeting.

Mind you, Curtician did not step up and introduce himself.

Another weirdness?

Third, he emails the SCPR today primarily to pass on a testimonial of Curticians attributes and abilities by a former U.S. Marines major.

Not exactly the way an initiated politician comes out of the political gate.

Testimonials usually come from well known political figures that the voters identify with, nor former Marines officers.

Another oddity?

So to say the least, the SCPR is not impressed with Curtician.  Maybe over time, the impression will change.  If so, it will take a lot of political maturing by Curtician.

Another thing.

The Report is not big on political figures with larger-that-life egos (a la Canton Mayor William J. Healy, II).  Curtician just might be just such a person.

Here is the testimonial that Curtician offers up:


First, Curtician speaking for himself:

"I have made a name for myself in the USMC as well as the manufacturing world ... "

Next, the testimonial:
“Mr. Steve Curtician has one of the most prolific minds I have run across in my entire life; his cognitive capacity is unlimited. He dissects complex problems and situations into manageable and understandable components rapidly and meticulously. He weaves a thread of common sense into everything he undertakes. Steve has always been able to find the delicate balance between the firmness and resolve required to accomplish his assigned tasks to the highest standard, while continuously looking out for the welfare of the personnel he in charge of at the time. Steve possesses the intensity and stamina most people dream they had. These collective leadership traits and principles make Mr. Steve Curtician an exceptional candidate for any position.” August 11, 2009
Ken Knarr, Sergeant of the Guard and Orientation Instructor, Marine Corps Security Forces Company, Yorktown, VA worked directly with Steve at SGS Tool Co.
Yours truly is always more than a tad skeptical of  excessive "self-promoters."  When people tout themselves as being "more religious than God," "more statesman like that Winston Churchill," and the like, watch out!

Steve Curtician seems more likely to being a candidate for Marine Commandant than a candidate for Stark County commissioner.

Why in the world did Steve Curtician ever leave the Marines?

ARE THE EDITORS AT THE REPOSITORY "FINALLY" CATCHING ON TO MAYOR HEALY? AFTER HE HAS RUINED THE CITY OF CANTON



It is always nice when someone geta religion, but most of us are on our guard about such persons in the future ad infinitum.

It appears that "maybe, just maybe" the editors at The Repository are starting to figure out Mayor Healy.

In a recent editorial, the editors mused as to why Mayor William J. Healy, II was stonewalling on the reality that his administration is about to announce massive layoffs in city government.

The answer:  Healy's ego will not allow him to face stark reality.  He is a man who is in utterly complete denial and will not address discomforting questions.

Healy, forever, has not been willing to talk with the SCPR.

Why?

Because he knows he cannot finesse the SCPR and he only talks with those he can "snow" with his NYU Stern School of Business credentials.

That he has been willing to talk with The Rep editors means that in his own mind he thinks he can smooze and "fast talk" his way through an "apparent - let's get to the bottom of things pow-wow."

Healy's take, that he is the intellectual superior of the editors, emboldens him to call them and ask for a sit-down.

If the editors persist in asking questions in print which Healy does not want to answer, then look for The Repository/Healy administration to "ice-over."

Another note on The Repository.

Can you believe it?  Canton's only countywide newspaper is into printing "rumors?" 



The SCPR pretty much knows the source of the rumor.

So, thanks Ed for the tip, the SCPR will vet the source and do better than The Rep in giving an assessment of the credibility of the rumor.  And this is where The Repository has a horrible problem.  The Rep folks are so into a relationship with the subjects of a rumor (e.g. Healy/Creighton) that they are apt to take "denials" at face value.

The SCPR does not develop these kinds of relationships and because The Report often is willing to believe the sources over the subject (after checking a number of other sources), some of the subjects - realizing they cannot "spin" the SCPR, choose not to talk with yours truly.


It's okay that The Rep folks check-in with subjects, but the reporters and editorial writers should consider who the "self-serving" source is!!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

HE ALMOST BEAT JANE VIGNOS IN 2004, BUT HE CAN'T GET A SMELL FROM THE STARK COUNTY DEMOCRATIC HEIRARCHY!


He?

Michael Stevens, Lawrence Township trustee, that is "he" is.



The SCPR ascribes him as being the "Rodney DangerfieldP of the Stark County Democratic Party now headed up by Randy Gonzalez.

How's that?

Nowadays Stevens gets "no respect" from the leadership of the Stark County Democratic Party.

Stevens would like to get the appointment to succeed Commissioner Tom Harmon when he resigns December 1st.

Well, he can forget it.

The Stark County Democratic Party leadership (Gonzalez and Maier, in the main) have decided that former Jackson trustee Steve Meeks is to get the appointment.  Meeks is close to Chairman Gonzalez (who is fiscal officer in Jackson).

Stevens is troublesome to Gonzalez and Maier because he does have the respect of  many people in the "unorganized" part of the Stark County Democrats.

Next to Congressman John Boccieri, Stevens is the darling of Stark County's organized labor.  In fact, his support among union members is likely the reason he got the party's appointment to succeed Johnnie A. Maier, Jr., when Maier quit the Legislature early to run for Massillon clerk of courts in the face of being term-limited out of the Ohio General Assembly.

So why did party matters go sour for Stevens?

Maier, who served as party chairman from 2003 through 2009, blames Stevens from running a "lackluster" campaign in 2000 against Republican John Hagan in the old 56th Ohio House district.

The SCPR thinks that is a bum rap.


Stevens ran a very competitive race losing by 1,023 in a total of over 50,000 votes cast.

Maier got lucky making it into the Legislature in the first place due to Republican "Red" Ash (a long term fixture representing the 56th - even though it was predominantly Democratic) falling out of favor with voters because of legal difficulties. 

By the time Stevens ran, the district had been gerrymandered by supermajority controlling Republicans (the Ohio General Assembly, governorship and all statewide offices) to be a largely rural conservative Republican district.

Maier had been able to survive for two reasons.  First, he is about as conservative as any Republican you might find (although in the opinion of the SCPR, he has no political philosophy; he's purely a party operative) and it is very difficult to defeat an incumbent; no matter what the voter registration is.

The SCPR believes that Maier has always held it against Stevens for losing "the Maier seat."

The first indications to Stevens that he was not a Maier "favorite," should have come with Stevens' running for county commissioner in 2004.

Initially, some disaffected  Democrats put Frank Ferraro of Perry Township up against Maier "best friend" and now former county commissioner Gayle Jackson.

Did Maier and Jackson scream about the Ferraro candidacy?  You betcha!

Result?

Under Maier/Jackson pressure, he switches races and runs against Mike Stevens.


It is a credible that Maier and Jackson cajoling Ferraro over to the Stevens race was the difference in Stevens general election race against incumbent Republican commissioner Jane Vignos.




Another factor in the 2004 race, as Stevens tells it, was current Stark County Party chairman Randy Gonzalez furor at Stevens running for commissioner in the first place because this was to be Steve Meeks (then a Jackson trustee) race.

Is 2009 "get even" time for Gonzalez now that Harmon is vacating his commissioner seat?

Seems so.

There are more goodies involving Stevens and his abrasive relationship with the insider Democrat leadership.

In 2005 Plain Township trustees arranged with township Mark Cozy (now Canal Fulton city manager) for an "amicable" parting of the ways.

Stevens tells the SCPR he was surprised to get a telephone call  from Plain trustee Lou Giavasis asking him whether or not he was interested in the post.

Stevens was and interviewed with the trustees.  In the interview, the trustees asked Stevens if he intended to remain trustee if he was selected as administrator.  Stevens said he did.

This is where the story gets dicey.

Giavasis told yours truly a few months ago that Stevens was not selected because he refused to give up being trustee.

Stevens says he was never asked.

The SCPR believes Stevens because The Report thinks that interviewing Stevens was a charade.

What was really happening is that Stark County Democratic Party chairman (at the time) - according to Stevens - called Trustees Giavasis, Leno and Bossart to "ensure" that Stark County recorder Rick Campbell's wife-to-be (Lisa "Jackson"  [daughter of then Commissioner Gayle Jackson]) got a fair chance at being selected as administrator.

What a laugh!

Also, apparently, part of the ploy was the fact that Recorder Campbell called Louis Giavasis (as told to yours truly by Giavasis) and wondered if Lisa would be permitted to apply for the Plain administrator job.

Lias had started out working in the recorder's office and Ohio Ethics law prohibited her continue do so when she marries Campbell.

Another ho! ho! ho! is in order on the Campbell call, folks!

Can she apply?  Harumph, harumph, harumph!

As readers of the SCPR know, The Report has had positive things to say about Giavasis and his role in running what is probably the best fiscally run township in all of Stark County.

But this little story stinks to high heavens and Louis Giavasis is up to his eyeballs in it.

Giavasis likes to complain how Mayor Healy treated him when he applied for various positions in the Healy administration.

Hmm?

Hey, Louis.  Ever heard of "what goes around, comes around?"

There is one more Stevens story that shows the disrespect and outrage that the Democratic Party kingmakers have for any one (not just Stevens) who would upset the "best laid plans of mice and men."

Phil Giavasis (Louis' brother) decided he wanted to switch over from being clerk of courts of the Stark County Court of Common Pleas to being the Canton Municipal Court clerk of courts when Tom Harmon (seems like a familiar name?) retired.

Why?

Likely for the higher salary and concomitant retirement benefits at the Canton Municipal Court post.

Kind of sounds like the Oelslager/Schuring "musical chairs" game in the back and forth between the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives?

Giavasis to Harmon's position.  Harmon gets appointed county commissioner.

So Phil runs for the office and wins.

Well, Phil's win left the Stark County clerk of courts post vacant?

Not really.

Phil had determined that his protege Nancy Reinbold at the clerk's office and - lo and behold - wife of Stark County Court of Common Pleas judge Richard Reinbold (at the time) would be his heir.

Kind of sounds sort of like Steve Meeks wanting his wife Patty to be his successor as Jackson trustee when he went to "serve" Governor Strickland.

So Mike Stevens - who had not been clued in on the "set aside" for Nancy - goes and asks Phil about the opening.

The normally affable Phil turned red and expressed outrage that Stevens would want to get in the way of Nancy.  And, by the way, guess who is Nancy's current second-in-command?

You've got it!  None other than Louis Giavasis!!!

So there you have it folks.

Public jobs are not so public.

Party operatives like Maier, Campbell, Gayle Jackson, Shane Jackson, the Giavasis brothers, Prosecutor John Ferrero (a former chairman), Auditor Kim Perez (a wannabe chairman) and Sheriff Tim Swanson (trying to inherit Kim's brother Rick into being his successor as Stark County sheriff) take public jobs and hand them out to party insiders, friends and relatives (indirectly a la the Campbell/Jackson deal) and designted heirs.

Although yours truly believes Stark County is approaching a financial crisis, it is difficult to vote the county more money when you realize how some of the money has been and likely will continue to be used.

Unless and until the politicos make public jobs truly public, the Stark County voting public should be reluctant, indeed,  to vote in tax increases.

By the way, in Lawrence Township Mike Stevens is highly respected by everyday people.

The keep voting him in as trustee.

What do they know about Mike Stevens that Maier et al  don't seem to get?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

IS GOVERNANCE CHIEF TO BLAME FOR THE "BREAK-UP" OF COHERENCE IN REWORK OF 9-1-1 CENTRALIZED DISPATCH?



The SCPR believes that the effort to rework Stark County's 9-1-1 centralized dispatch to one center (with a backup) out of the currently existing 10 centers suffered a grievous blow on Thursday.

How's that?

The resignation of Chief Tom Burgasser (Massillon FD) was not good for the Governance Committee (of the Stark County Council on Governments - SCOG).

At Wednesday's Stark County commissioner's meeting Commissioner Tom Harmon expressed surprise that Burgasser had voted "no" on presenting the refashioned plan formulated by Gonzalez and Project Manager Tom Concatto.

He (Harmon) said "it [the Burgasser vote] was confusing to him."

Well, the SCPR talked with Tom Burgasser today and he told the SCPR that he  the plan presented by the Governance Committee was not the plan he got on board with back in December, 2008.  Burgasser was clear.  Under the original sales/use tax plan, the 9-1-1 project was to get $5.5 million or thereabouts.

What would have kept Burgasser on board, notwithstanding the repeal of the the county imposed sales/use tax of 0.50 of a percent?

Commissioner Harmon keeping his December, 2008 promise to provide the 9-1-1 project about $5.5 million rather than the $2.7 million now projected.

Governance Committee chair Randy Gonzalez puts it this way to the SCPR:  "The funding beyond what we requested  [$2.7 million]  is not about the plan, we were promised what we asked for."

 Hmm?

Burgasser says that he understands the press of budget squeezes.  He has how own to deal with in Massillon.  But Harmon's fudging on the initial understanding was key to Burgasser.

The SCPR take on Burgasser is that he is not a politician.  He is direct and to the point.  Exactly the kind of guy that the Governance Committee needs to have asking pointed questions and getting satisfactory answers, if the 9-1-1 reformation is to happen in a unified sort of way.

The SCPR thinks what happened to fracture the "apparent" harmony is this:

After the repeal of the sales tax, Harmon and Gonzalez had a conversation.   In this conversation, Harmon shared with Gonzalez the critically-dire financial that Stark County will be in come 2011, if Stark voters fail to renew and add to the soon-to-expire 1/4 of a percent sales tax tax exists.

Gonzalez says "okay, how about if we (SCOG) scrap the plan to buy 800 megahertz radios for all and dip into the $6.8 million currently collected to fund paying the centralized dispatchers and then we will publicly say we are satisfied with the $2.7 million that was collected through the first six months of collection on the imposed tax."

To repeat, the foregoing is what the SCPR thinks happened - post repeal of the sales tax.

Obviously, Harmon and Gonzalez will never, ever own up to the SCPR's version.

To the rest of the story.

All who have covered Gonzalez should recognize that Gonzalez is a "might-makes right-type-of-guy."

An example:

Gonzalez got up with Sam "Darth Vader to the Township" Sliman when Jackson Township and Canton worked out a joint economic agreement which was "in-the-face" of North Canton.  So much so, that North Canton has litgation going to undo the deal.

At the Stark County commissioners meeting where the commissioners were asked to approve the Canton/Jackson plan, Gonzalez talked about how Canton and Jackson with their dominant population numbers ("2/3rds of all of Stark County's population")  constituted an irresistible force that would and should control Stark County's economic development.

The Canton/Jackson Township "overwhelming numbers argument" was the first time the SCPR heard it, but certainly was not to be the last.

Another example:

The "overwhelming numbers argument" in the 9-1-1 discussion is this:  fire departments only represent 20% of the calls that dispatchers get countywide, police departments get 80% of the calls.  Therefore, according to "Gonzalez "might-makes-right" logic, the police factor controls and Stark County's fire departments had better sign on or get steamrolled.

Are not, the SCPR asks, the Canton/Jackson and the 9-1--1 as examples of the Gonzalez overwhelming numbers argument, indicative of a pattern for a man who is now chairman of the Stark County Democratic Party?

The pattern:

The party Gonzalez heads up controls all countywide elected offices except for some judgeships;

Gonzalez  holds multiple government positions within county:  he works for Democratic kingpin Phil and Canton Muny clerk of courts Giavasis as his chief deputy, he is fiscal officer in Jackson Township and  he has has friends and relatives sprinkled throughout Stark County government drawing paychecks from the Stark County public only to deny he has any hand in the hirings?

What Gonzalez is creating for himself and perhaps, unfortunately, a sorely need fix for a "state-of-the-art" 9-1-1 centralized dispatch?

A backlash!

Wise leaders do not bully.

Although - on the surface - Gonzalez seems congenial enough, the SCPR believes he is a political bully who cuts deals in political backrooms and then goes about bulldozing all opposition to the conjured plans.

Gongzalez also fictionalizes.  In the the video that follows, readers/viewers of the SCPR can hear/see talk about "turf wars" being over.

Gonzalez above all, knows better.  And rather than work for plans to bring those with particular interests on board, he fantasizes, papers over and cajoles those with real - not simply turf - concerns.

Yet another instance of an "overwhelming numbers argument" follows:

Gonzalez deals with Rich Peterson (fire chief/Nimishillen) by saying "Nimishillen only dispatches for one police department [Magnolia], the rest are fire departments" and thereby by the "might-is-right" mode of thinking (remember the 80/20 factor) marginalizes Peterson into the inconsequential.

In doing his "might-is-right" schtick, Gonzalez  may take some very worthy causes down with him as he creates conditions for a backlash to take hold.

Burgasser probably would not think of himself in terms of being a harbinger/personification of backlash, but the SCPR sees that Gonzalez may unwittingly be creating conditions for a backlash that is fueled by folks feeling they are being ramrodded.  

Burgasser made a compelling point to yours truly in our conversation today.

Paraphrasing:  "What is this putting up of defectively responded to 9-1-1 calls on the "Vote Yes for Public Safety" website which were all (i.e. 100%) fire/ems calls and then saying that the 80% police factor should prevail over the the 20% fire/ems factor as controlling?"

A great question and Burgasser's ability to "cut-to-the-chase" is a compelling reason why SCOG's Governance Committee should insist that Tom Burgasser get back on the committee.

Gonzalez would like to convince the public that opponents or even questioners of the SCOG plan as being a case of "the tail wagging the dog."  But are they?

The SCPR is not a big fan of Rich Peterson who is fire chief in Nimshillen.  The Report continues to think that his resistance to the countywide centralized dispatch using one center and a backup is more personal than based on critical technical deficiencies in the SCOG Governance Committee plan.  And Peterson may be impossible to deal with.  But the Gonzalez approach engenders more resistance among Stark County's fire chiefs than Rich Peterson.

Nimishillen citizen and community cohesion promoter (who ran for and lost in the Nimishillen trustees race several weeks ago) Ron Derry is shown on the accompanying video asking Stark commissioners (11/18/2009) about the existence of a "Vote No Increased Taxes Committee" plan alternative to the SCOG plan.

The answer:  there is no alternative plan, except for the "discredited" (in the opinion of the SCPR "Peterson Plan."  And the SCPR believes there will be none from the Vote No people.  If one comes, it will be from the Stark County Fire Chiefs Asslociation.

North Canton's Chief Bacon (fire department) is trying to cobble together a plan for the Stark County Fire Chiefs Association.

Will he get the delay he asks for next Tuesday?

If Gonzalez is consistent, the fire chiefs will not.  You have to remember that the determining group is a SCOG group.

Yesterday, this from Chairman Gonzalez:
Police calls are 80% of dispatching in Stark County, as for fire; Canton city, Jackson twp, Plain twp are on board. With all that combined I believe close to 90% of dispatching in Stark County is part of the Governance Brd Plan.

Think they won't have Gonzalez  and his "overwhelming numbers argument" in mind when they make their decision?

The SCPR likes the SCOG Plan, but is not opposed to another concrete plan being presented.  Just like yours truly voted to retain the "imposed" sales/use tax, while decrying the circumventing of our democratic processes.

An alternative plan should not have a Peterson stamp of approval.

Because he appears to have too much of a personal interest (i.e. being rejected for 9-1-1 project manager and having sold the Nimishillen trustees a "bill of goods" on the viability of the CenCom Center, Peterson should remove himself as being a factor in the formulation of a "fire chiefs" plan or any other plan that would apply to all of Stark County.  If he does not,  any plan presented with his imprimatur will be suspect in terms of the benefit to be derived by most Stark Countians.

Citizen Derry as well as all Stark Countians are better served when there are options.

But they must be credible options!

Here is the video.

Friday, November 20, 2009

WITH THE REPEAL OF THE 0.50 "IMPOSED" SALES TAX, 201 YEAR OLD STARK COUNTY PELLMELLING TOWARDS FISCAL CRISIS?



The Stark County Political Report has picked up on two alarms which indicate to yours truly that Stark County is rushing towards a financial crisis that is likely to get ugly very soon indeed.

Alarm #1 -  County Administrator Michael Hanke (a pretty cool customer - in the view of the SCPR) openly worries at commissioner meetings about what the year 2011 and beyond hold in store for Stark County if the 0.25 sales tax set to expire in 2011 is not replaced AND added to (at least a 0.25 of a percent).

 Oh yes, the county can and will cut if the a replacement tax is not voted in. But who would want to be a county administrator or county commissioner presiding over the huge cuts that will have to come?

Alarm #2 - Stark County judges (Brown and Sinclair) got into the act of dealing with Stark County's impending financial crisis.

Judge Brown asked Prosecutor John Fererro to convene a meeting of county elected officials.  Ferrero complied and the meeting was held this past Tuesday morning at an area restaurant to consider ways and means to avoid the crisis.

That judges get into this fray should be heeded by Stark Countians as a clear sign that Stark financial matters are grave.

Like it or not, tax issues are political.  Judges, while they are elected and have a political base, are highly sensitive to being involved in political matters.  In fact, they are limited by the Ohio Supreme Court as to what they can and cannot involve themselves in which are of a political nature.

Accordingly, most judges are low-profile when it comes the political.

By the law of Ohio, county courts of general jurisdiction (e.g. Stark County Court of Common Pleas) can mandate that county commissioners fund their budgets as presented. 

However, judges are wise enough to understand the relational difficulties they would engender if they were not sensitive to the overall financial health of the county.   Yours truly's experience of being a member of the Stark County bar for over 35 years, indicate a county judiciary that works with the county commissioners and fellow county officeholders on budgetary matters.

The judges do have courts to run and the speedy and efficient administration of justice is mandatory and they will ensure that the county provides the essential monies to enable them to comply with the state mandate.

The SCPR believes that they understand that very soon now, they may well be in a situation that they have to order the county commissioners to fund their budget as presented.

With the Hanke projected shortfall, beginning with 2011 and beyond; any such order will impact other county general fund functions dramatically.

While other county officeholders will understand, they will be upset and the backbiting will begin.

Being the low-profile men and women they are, the judges' involvement in the revenue generating part of government and politics should be a clear message to the Stark County public that county finances is not a "chicken little - the sky is falling" event.

Indeed, not.

Hanke's ongoing dire assessment and the judges' involvement are credible calls for action.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

WHO IS THE STARK COUNTY DEMOCRAT WHO WILL "GET MANNA FROM HEAVEN" COME DECEMBER 15, 2009?



Go to the bank with it.

Steve Meeks, former Jackson Township trustee and currently Region 9 Director for the Governor Ted Strickland administration (Economic Development), will become recently announced resignee Commissioner Tom Harmon's replacement.

The SCPR spoke with Meeks minutes ago and he has confirmed with The Report that he will be submitting a letter to the Stark County Democratic Party (Randy Gonzalez, chair) to be considered for appointment as Harmon's successor.

Chairman Gonzalez will be convening an assembly of the Stark County Central Committee members who will vote on various candidates that have submitted letters of candidacy on December 15, 2009.

The SCPR has spoken with Trustee and second-in-command at the Stark County Court of Common Pleas clerk of courts Louis Giavasis (Plain) and  Trustee Michael Stevens (Lawrence) who are considering submitting letters.

However, the SCPR believes that it is unlikely that either will submit letters.

Why?

Because they both understand two things.

First, Steve Meeks has talked with the governor and his chief-of-staff John Haseley for their feedback on what Meeks tells the SCPR has been his long term desire to serve as Stark County commissioner.

While Strickland and Haseley expressed sorrow at Northeast Ohio's (and the Strickland's administration)  loss if  the commissionership materializes.  Moroveover, they gave their blessing to his effort.

Pretty powerful support, no?

Second, Steve Meeks is a long term political ally of Stark County Democratic Party chairman Randy Gonzalez.  Gonzalez, as Jackson fiscal officer and former trustee himself, served along side of Meeks while Meeks was trustee in Jackson.

The SCPR is told that Gonzalez was very upset when Michael Stevens ran against Republican Jane Vignos four years ago.  Gonzalez (not party chairman at the time) was pushing hard for Meeks to be the candidate.

Both Stevens and Giavasis are politically astute enough to understand that a candidacy for the Harmon vacancy is not "really" an open process.  They understand that former Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. hand picked most of the members of the Democratic Central Committee and that his loyalists vote as Maier recommends to them.

You can bet that Gonzalez and Maier will be working the phones for Meeks.
 
Neither Giavasis nor Stevens are gluttons for punishment.   The aforementioned political realities will likely keep them for submitting letters to be considered.

Mike Stevens, for one, is looking at making the Democratic primary on May 4th to be a contested one.  He says he has been getting calls encouraging him to run.  Look for other Democrats to climb into this race.

One of them will not be Councilwoman Mary Cirelli.  She tells the SCPR that she's been there and done that and, moreover, she has a political adviser who has persuasively made the case to her that she should not run.

You can look for the same on the Republican side in terms of candidates lining up to run for the Harmon seat.

Next year will be exciting times for statewide races and countywide races in Stark County!

A GOOD WAY TO DEAL WITH THE INEPT LEADERSHIP IN NIMISHILLEN TOWNSHIP: MERGE CITY OF LOUISVILLE AND NIMISHILLEN TOWNSHIP?



The SCPR is appalled at the state of  leadership and governance in Nimishillen Township.

Yours truly has watched Trustees Lisa Shafer and Mike Lynch (recently re-elected) for some time now.  The Report believes that these two are way in over there heads.  The third trustee Allen Gress is a world ahead of Shafer and Lynch.

Nimishillen Township residents missed out on an opportunity to elect a highly competent trustee in the November 3rd election:  Ron Derry.

The SCPR endorsed Derry and Goffus in the election, but is queasy about Goffus.

Goffus and former trustee (now county commissioner) Todd Bosley were in a pitched battle over allegations that Bosley made about Goffus.  Perhaps Goffus lerned from the experience and would be a better trustee a second time around.

This talk about Derry and Goffus is irrelevant because Shafer and Lynch are back for four more years.  The SCPR sends condolences to the residents of Nimishillen because The Report believes that that these tow will take the township to new depths of troubles, difficulties and floundering.

The core of the Shafer/Lynch misfeasance is their allowing Nimishillen Township fire chief Rich Peterson to be the tail wagging the dog on the 9-1-1 countywide centralized dispatch effort.

A case can be made that Peterson runs Nimishillen Township rather than Shafer, Lynch and Gress.

With Marlboro Township getting rid of Tim Wise and Dave Wolf  (decided against running again) and Tuscarawas ridding itself of Trustees DeHoff (decided not to run again) and Dean Green, the re-election of Shafer and Lynch in Nimishillen makes Nimishillen (in the opinion of the SCPR) the worst governed township in all of Stark County.

But maybe there is a "ray of light" on the horizon.

Today Laurie Huffman of The Alliance Review did a story on a community-based group (which, by the way, includes Ron Derry) consideration of the pluses and minues of a merger between Louisville and Nimishillen Township.

For the SCPR, the unarticulated reason in the Huffman report is the "not-up-to-it" skill level of Shafer and Lynch as trustee.

The SCPR election analysis is that Shafer and Lynch rode the Peterson stoked 9-1-1 centralization controversy to re--election.

Over time, township residents witll come to regret having re-elected this pair.

WALTERS SAYS BOSLEY CALLS HIM A TERRORIST. REALLY?




UPDATE:  11/19/2009 AT 01:20 PM

The reference in Trustee Walter's email below is a referenece to this statement from a Repository editorial posted online last night, to wit:

No more idiotic comments like Commissioner Todd Bosley’s crack Tuesday, after he met with leaders of the repeal effort, that “You might (have to) take the philosophy that you can’t negotiate with a terrorist. ...”
Commissioner Bosley has told the SCPR that the quote was taken out of context and that he did not call Walters or any of the "Vote No" folks terrorists.
  
Bosley says had The Rep editorial writers talked with Repository reporter Kelli Young (who was at the elected officials meeting) they would have clearly understood the context of Bosley's "entire" statement (which The Rep editorial writers did not print).


Bosley says he will be asking The Rep for space to respond to their representation of his statement.


UPDATE:  11/19/2009 AT 08:30 AM



ORIGINAL BLOG POST

He hasn't gotten through the Republican primary yet, Jackson trustee James Walters is firing away at Stark County commission Todd Bosley anyway. 

Here is an email sent to the SCPR last night:



Hmm?

It will be interesting to see the Bosley response.

Stay turned!