Saturday, January 2, 2010
DEMOCRATS HAVE "THE CANTON PROBLEM" (HEALY/SCHULMAN); REPUBLICANS HAVE THE "NORTH CANTON PROBLEM" (HELD/REVOLDT)?
Republican North Canton City Council president Daryl Revoldt likes to look down his nose as the mess going on in Democrat controlled Canton.
From what the SCPR is seeing of North Canton these days, perhaps Revoldt needs to clean up his act first as North Canton's legislative leader before judging Canton. Though Held is not nearly as judgmental of Canton, it would not hurt for him to join Revoldt in putting "first things first."
AN OVERVIEW OF NORTH CANTON PROBLEMS
It appears these days that in North Canton citizens only speak at "Public Speaks" or hear news about North Canton government that is approved by North Canton City Councilman and president Daryl Revoldt and Mayor David Held.
Mayor Held goes on and on in telephone conversations with the SCPR about how transparent he is in his role as mayor of North Canton.
What's the expression yours truly is looking for? "Talk is cheap!"
Yes, that's it. And the expression appears to fit Held to a "t."
And you can add a dash of hypocrisy, too!!
Why is the SCPR being so tough on Revoldt and Held?
FIRST, THE REVOLDT STORY IN MORE DETAIL
The SCPR has taken Revoldt to task for denying citizen Chuck Osborne the right to use the North Canton's "Public Speaks" (November, 2009) to bring to public attention the alleged illegal dumping of street sweepings at a city leased site on Freedom Avenue in Jackson Township. Only about a month later did "Daryl the Great" relent and allow Osborne is First Amendment right of free speech. CLICK HERE to see the details of Revoldt's free speech denial of Olsborne.
Revoldt's rationale for muzzling Osborne?
Protect Mayor David Held from himself and to put up a barrier to the Mayor answering Osborne's allegations with statements that Revoldt feared would subject North Canton to greater fines and other liabilities.
Yes, Revoldt - "paternalism personified!"
North Cantonians used to affectionately call the owner of Hoover sweepers "Boss" Hoover. In those days North Canton had plenty of jobs. The capable Hoover leadership core filtered out into the North Canton community-at-large and provided much of North Canton's community and government leadership. And, the jobs generated enough tax revenue that in some years North Canton government carried over from year-to-year a $9 million surplus.
Unfortunately for North Canton The Hoover Company is no more.
But, apparently, North Cantonians still have a boss around. This boss is no "Boss" Hoover though. Hoover was a benefactor. The SCPR says that the new boss is not the communitarian that Hoover was. Rather he is a censorous boss who is a discussion and news manager extraordinaire.
Who is this new boss?
"Boss" Daryl Revoldt, that's who!!!
"Boss" Revoldt is out to remake the image of North Canton and apparently is not about to let the U.S. Constitution (the First Amendment) and democratic values (i.e. access to government records) get in the way.
Revoldt's line is that "you have to make North Canton attractive so that Hoover replacement business will want to come to "The Dogwood City." And he doesn't take it kindly when folks disagree with him on his definition of what "attractive" means.
The SCPR has already described what The Report now tabs "The Osborne Caper" in which Revoldt denied Canton citizen Chuck Osborne his right to free speech during the Public Speaks forum at North Canton's regular Council meeting in November, 2009.
SECOND, THE REVOLDT PLUS HELD STORY IN MORE DETAIL
There is a new anti-democratic process going on in North Canton that the SCPR believes has Daryl Revoldt's fingerprints all over it.
What is that?
The hiding of the results of an North Canton law director investigation - which Mayor David Held insisted upon - into allegations made by Held and two others in the North Canton city administration about the alleged conduct of Councilman Jeff Davies. Here is the link to that story (CLICK HERE).
The SCPR has learned that the investigation report has been out for some time now and that several media types including yours truly has asked for a copy.
The answer to the request?
No, it has been marked by North Canton's law director as not being for third party view and covered by the attorney/client privilege.
Attorney/client privilege, heh?
Well, it so happens that yours truly is an attorney with some insight into what the legal phenomenon is all about.
Is the privilege for the attorney or the client?
Answer: the client.
Who is the client invoking the privilege?
Daryl Revoldt (Council president), most members of Council (except one who refuses to accept a copy of the law director's report and one who the SCPR is waiving the privilege in revealing at least a summary account of Law Director's Hilges' report to a North Canton citizen), and the "transparent one," Mayor David Held.
Before Revoldt got to him, Held was telling the SCPR that he considered Hilges' report to be a public record.
The SCPR believes that it is Daryl Revoldt who is primarily invoking the privilege, but once Held found out that the results of the investigation were unfavorable to his position on the Davies controversy Held generated, he fell in with Revoldt who has control of the rest of Council.
Held fell in with Revoldt?
Yes, in a conversation with Held on December 30th, Held professed to want the report released to the public. By the end of the day of the 31st, according to North Canton's law director, Held had changed his mind and fallen in line with Revoldt et al.
And, Mister Mayor David "I believe in government transparency" Held then sent Hans Hilges to explain his (Held's) hypocrisy to yours truly.
The Stark County Political Report now believes that Held was dissembling The Report from the get-go (i.e. the Deember 30th conversation). Held wants to appear to be - via the "talk is cheap" modality - a transparent mayor. But the SCPR believes that in reality he is a typical multi-dealing politician who speaks with a "forked tongue."
Because a source who had access to a North Canton councilman who had read the report tells yours truly that the investigation in its essence concluded that Councilman Davies had done nothing for which the city could deal with him and that Held should go to Davies and work out their differences on a one-to-one basis.
And The Report thinks that Held knew this at the time of the December 30th conversation.
Don't Revoldt, his fellow councilpersons and Held look silly in light of the talking councilperson?
Even worse, Held looks quintessentially duplicitous to the SCPR in this whole episode.
BACKGROUND OF WHAT THE SCPR TAKES TO BE DAVID HELD DUPLICITY
It appears Held made sure, through back channels, that the SCPR knew about the letters that he and other administration officials had generated on Councilman Davies.
After a Council meeting (in December) which the SCPR attended, yours truly asked Held for copies of the letters. He said he would make them available the next day. But during this post-Council meeting Held told yours truly that he had had it with Davies and that as a matter of principle he was going to see this matter through.
Well, to get to the short of it, the SCPR got copies of the letters, but not from David Held. The Report now believes that Held wanted the SCPR to go with this story on his verbal as to what the letters contained. He likely was as surprised as anyone when the SCPR got copies of the actual letters.
Next, Held had to push and push and push to get an investigation done. The Report is told that the law director was dismissive of the entire situation and was supported by Revoldt in this posture, but that Held would not be denied.
Next, the investigation report does not turn out the way Held had anticipated. Knowing that he had made his pompous "this is a matter of principle to me" proclamation to yours truly, he feels he is in a box.
Again, through back channels, Held makes it known to the SCPR that the investigation report exists. However, he already knew that the report has been marked to the effect "not for third party view - attorney/client privilege."
He tells yours truly, "I want the report out, but I want you to ask others (Revoldt) for it."
Undoubtedly, Held had to know that there was no way Revoldt would budge on the attorney/client thing (as a matter of precedent and, perhaps, in order to protect David Held from himself) and therefore he was protected from the revelation of a report that exonerated Councilman Davies. Moreover, Held comes off as being a man of principle.
In the mind of the SCPR, Mayor David Held is unbelievably duplicitous or stupid.
Neither scenario speaks well for Mayor David Held!
The SCPR does not believe the report qualifies as attorney/client material. And yours truly repeatedly told the North Canton law director (Hans Hilges) such. At the end of our final conversation last Thursday afternoon (the 31st) he asked, "You respect our position, don't you?"
The response: "I disagree with your position."
North Canton city government is looking more and more like what is going on in Canton. Spin, obfuscation, arrogance seem to be taking hold in The Dogwood City.
And they wonder why a 1 mill additional levy for street repairs failed?
If Held, Revoldt et al think that the voting, taxpaying public is going to support these apparent shenanigans, they had better think again.
Yes folks there are lots of problems in River City (err Dogwood City)!
The Osborne Caper and the Davies matters are just two of a number of political vignettes playing out in the inner reaches of North Canton city government.
Examples of others: "the street sweeping issues," "the McFarren release against Held's wishes," "Council's dissatisfaction with city administrator Wise;" to name a few.
The central players?
Daryl Revoldt and David Held.
Political infighting galore!!!
How is that for the city's image Council president Revoldt?
One more thing.
There is a chicken fight going on between legislator Revoldt and administrator Held.
A chicken fight?
Yes, Revoldt (according to Held) is behind an impossible effort to legislate standards for keeping chickens within city confines. Held says it is a foolish use of the city's time and resources.
Yes, Councilman Revoldt - "the chicken fight" - that does a lot for North Canton's image?