Monday, May 31, 2010


One of the SCPR's favorite legislators:  W. Scott Oelslager. 

A man who has been in the Legislature for a quarter of a century with very little to show for it.  A good part of his time in the Ohio General Assembly has been as a member of the majority and for a time a supermajority.  Also, for the most part (except for Strickland), the governor has been a Republican.

He and fellow Republican Kirk Schuring (about 16 years in the Ohio General Assembly) have this little game going on between them called "musical chairs." However, there is one important difference from the classical game we all played as kids.  In the Oelslager/Schuring version, they both get a seat. Just a different seat.  A Senate seat or a House seat, but still a seat.

In this way they are both thumbing their noses at the voters by defeating the spirit of term limits

Oelslager is term limited out of the Ohio House this election year as Schuring is in the Ohio Senate.  Solution?  Oelslager is running to get back in the Senate a second time whereas Schuring is looking to get back to the House for a second time (the 51st).

The graphic above in this report #2 in a series which will, over time, account for the entire Oelslager record in the 128th Ohio General Assembly that ends on December 31, 2010.

Among Oelslager co-sponsored bills which haven't become law or at least passed the House include the following:

HB 52
Primary Sponsor(s):  Okey & Stebelton
Subject:  Ohio Beekeepers Task Force

Primary Sponsor(s):  Dodd 
Subject:  Ohio Nature Preserves license plates

Sunday, May 30, 2010


School board members by law run as nonpartisans.  But does that mean they are nonpolitical in their decision making?


Oh, not Republican/Democrat political.  However, many of those who run for this office do have a political agenda.

In the 2009 election cycle, the SCPR received a telephone call from a prominent Stark County official within a few days of the  Perry Board of Education race "alerting" The Report to the official's belief that two of the candidates were running with an agenda to team up with a sitting board member (Brenner) out of dissatisfaction about how a certain personnel matter was being handled by Superintendent John Richard.

Apparently, the "informing" official (a Jim Casey supporter) thought the SCPR was going to run with this story so close to the election.  Not a chance!

But, after the election, the SCPR did contact the two named by the official (Deitz and Schnabel - who were victorious in the election). Both denied that the official's report had any truth to it.

Obviously, if there was something to the official's yarn; the SCPR is not so naive to think that the newly elected board members were going to fess up.

So what one does is to watch the decisions being made, who is making them and what are the articulated reasons and do they make sense in the context of merit.

What is the biblical expression:  "By their fruits ye shall know them."

And it is not even that media type like yours truly is likely to make an outright assertion that - such and such - was political.  However, there is the "if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it must be a ? (duck)," -  people will make certain conclusions.

In our democracy, the folks who make judgments on whether or not something is impermissibly political, is with the voters.

Now to the Whetstone matter.  According to a Repository article ('Whetstone's Army' protests teachers reassignment in Perry, Benjamin Duer, May 27, 2010), there are more than a few in Perry who are NOT buying Superintendent John Richard's account that a middle school instructional deficiency requires reassigning superlative Perry junior year English teacher Cindy Whetstone to the middle school.

It just so happens that Whetstone's teaching includes a controversial topic in much of America:  the Vietnam War.

Richard says that reassigning teachers is routine and has nothing to do with her teaching content while acknowledging that the Perry School system has received a complaint about Whetstone and her Vietnam subject matter.


Sounds like part of the story to the SCPR.

Yours truly has had a up close look at many Stark County education venues over nearly 30 years of being civically engaged.  Yes, reassignments are not uncommon.  However, The Report believes that they are generally done with the acquiescence of the teachers being reassigned and their union representatives.

What is not reported of Richard having said (likely because it didn't occur) in the Rep piece is that the reassignment had the approval of Whetstone and the Perry Education Association.

So the SCPR believes that Richard is being disingenuous in the Whetstone matter on describing it as a ho-hum, routine matter.

A complaint having been filed, it is simply incredible to the SCPR for Richard to say that the Whetstone reassignment is routine and that he surprised at the outcry in light of the fact that he had to know that she is highly popular with her students.


Why is Superintendent Richard soft-toeing around this issue?

A SCPR source says that Richard, these days, (having been chastened by the Riggs matter), administrates to the tune of the Perry Local Board of Education.

What the Duer article does not touch upon is what discussions, if any,  have taken place between Richard and any of the Perry Board of Education (PBOE) relative to the complaint and relative to the reassignment. Apparently, none, right?  After all, it is a routine reassignment.  What is there to talk about?

But who believes the Richard attribution?

The Report is told that a Perry teacher when learning of the Perry Board's plan to go along with the Richard recommendation on Whetstone said to the effect:  "they can kiss my a**!"

There is a lot going on in the Perry schools these days from the administrative/board level.  And some of it is not passing the "smell test" to many Perry residents.

What is amazing to the SCPR is that these school districts don't get it that episodes like the Whetstone matter get stored up in the voters' minds and the next time a levy comes up - watch out!

The voters will weigh-in, they will be heard notwithstanding the effort from the very top to spin a version of events to serve the public relations needs of the administration and the PBOE.

With all the other problems that school districts throughout Ohio and Stark County are experiencing (e.g. a 30% cut in state funding likely is coming), administrations and boards of education should not be into becoming their own worst enemy.

This is what seems to be going on in Perry!!!

Saturday, May 29, 2010


As readers will note, very little of what is introduced in the Ohio House of Representatives gets passed by the House much less passed by the Senate and signed into law by Governor Strickland.

Along the way, legislators such as Stephen Slesnick (Democrat - Canton) attach their names as sponsors and co-sponsors of bill which have no chance of passage and many of which are a waste of legislative resources.

The SCPR believes that Representative Slesnick is a classical example of an legislator who is not a leader but is a follower.  He appears to have a nose for getting his name attached to bills that get passed by the Ohio House at a minimum and a significant number end up getting enacted into law.

But to what end for the benefit for of Ohioans?

Here is a report of the two bills which are merely introduced.

Primary Sponsor(s):  Fende 
Subject:  Public offices-bulk data requests-limit number-charge for costs/redactions

 HB 52
Primary Sponsor(s):  Okey & Stebelton
Subject:  Ohio Beekeepers Task Force

Friday, May 28, 2010


Alarm bells are starting to go off in the 2nd floor of the Stark County Office Building.  At Wednesday's regular meeting, commissioners spent about an half an hour talking about the impending financial crisis that Stark faces beginning next year (2012).

County Administrator Mike Hanke is serving as the prime county alarmist.  However, all three commissioners joined in the alarm bell ringing.

Hanke went into quite a bit of detail about the fact that the county is experiencing a huge downturn of revenues.

The more subtle (but still highly significant) of two slides in revenue described by Hanke involves a decrease across the timeline 2005 through 2009 of revenue of the 2003 voted-in 0.250 sales tax increase.  See a synopsis of the drop below the 0.250 levy results graphic.

This levy will expire in June, 2011 unless renewed by Stark Countians.

The second is the expiration of collections from the December, 2008 imposition of a 0.50 sales tax by then Commissions Bosley, Vignos and Harmon.

It seems to the SCPR that these alarms are being sounded because Hanke and the commissioners are frustrated at apparent unconcern of county departments of governments about the looming crisis.

It appears to the SCPR (from The Report's take on Stark County departments of government)  that Hanke, Bosley, Meeks  and Ferguson can talk until they are blue in the face and nothing is going to change until real revenue numbers dictate change!

Below are videos of Hanke, Bosley (president of the Stark County Board of Commissioners, and members Meeks and Ferguson, in that order, speaking about the dire cuts coming.

First, County Administrator Hanke

Next, Commissioner Todd Bosley Next Commissioner
Last in terms of seniority, Commissioner Meeks

Thursday, May 27, 2010


It has been almost two years ago now that the SCPR first learned from the lips of Massillon Mayor Frank Cicchinelli that a Massillon government official was comparing Hizzoner to the Devil.

Well, that official may have company. 

Who might that be?

While not naming the Mayor, Trustee Craig Chessler (Democrat - Perry Township), does refer to the Massillon attempt to annex the Perry Township located R.G. Drage Technical Career Center as being "diabolical."  (see video below for Chessler's actual description of the Massillon annexation initiative)

Chessler had just sat through a highly contentious Stark County commissioners meeting in which a "hearing" (if that is what you want to call it) was held on Massillon's petition to annex Drage into Tigerland.

It was obvious that commissioners are looking for a way to deny the petition.

So why don't they just deny it?

Because legal counsel Debbie Dawson (assistant to the chief of the Civil Division of the Stark County Prosecutor's office) told them that they would be violation annexation law if they did.

Not a good situation.  Public officials who are sworn to uphold the law defying the "advice of counsel" and put themselves in the position of having to defend themselves in court on what their lawyer thinks is an indefensible position.

The SCPR believes that the commissioners will in fact follow the advice of counsel next Wednesday and vote to approve the annexation.

If they don't, they probably are going to have to go out and hire alternative counsel.

Why?  In the opinion of The Report, Dawson is committed to the advice she is giving and would likely ask the commissioners to find alternative counsel if they elect not to follow her advice. 

Of course, given the County's financial crisis, how can the commissioners afford to do that?  

One thing that yesterday's hearing established is that the Ohio General Assembly bungled the re-work of annexation laws when it took on the task about five years ago.

The Report will show video in later reports on yesterday's meeting which manifests the commissioners' complete frustration with the process (or in the opinion of the SCPR - lack of process) of considering the annexation petition. 

As Prosecutor Dawson repeatedly pointed out to commissioners, once the seven criteria as provided in Ohio Revised Code Section 709.023 have been met (as confirmed by county administration officials and Dawson herself - which was done in yesterday's hearing) all the commissioners can do is vote yes in approving the petition.

As mentioned above, the SCPR will be presenting addition video of the annexation aspect of yesterday's commissioners' meeting to show the Stark County public how "undemocratic" the annexation process in Ohio is.

Stark Countians who believe in the right of citizens and even governments themselves (i.e. political subdivisions - e.g Townships) to due process of law (notice and the opportunity to be heard) should be contacting members of the Stark County delegation to the Legislature (Oelslager, Okey, Schiavoni, Schuring, Slesnick and Snitchler) with demands that the undemocratic structure of annexation processes be changed.

It seems clear to the SCPR that the Ohio Municipal League held far too much sway with the Legislature when the recent changes to annexation law were made.

Here is the video of Trustee Craig Chessler speaking about yesterday's "hearing" and annexation law in general.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


It was sort of a kickoff of Democrat John Boccieri's campaign to succeed Republican Ralph Regula as congressman for the 16th Congressional District against Kirk Schuring (then in mid-term as a state senator - the 29th).

Rahm Emanuel (now President Obama's chief of staff) was to be at the event, but got hung up in Chicago.

But local Republican hecklers did show up.  What was their heckle?

"Drill, baby, drill."  Gasoline prices were sky high and the hecklers were working Boccieri over.  Boccieri stood his ground condemning the oil companies for their record profits and urged that Americans develop alternative "green" energy.

Who were some of the local Republicans who badgered Boccieri?

One was Alan Harold who is now running for Stark County auditor against Democrat Kim Perez.  Another was Tina Hagan, daughter of former state Rep. John Hagan who had failed in her effort in the March, 2008 primary to follow in her father's footsteps.  The SCPR also remembers prominent Republicans Jan Kishman (a Minerva school board member) and her husband being there.

The Report's question is this.  If Boccieri were to repeat his July 1, 2008 event on July 1, 2010 (as sort of a kickoff of his campaign against Republic Jim Renacci) focusing, perhaps, on "green energy" - in the light of the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico; would the throng of "Drill, baby. drill" local Republicans screamers of July, 2008 show up?


Tuesday, May 25, 2010


As readers will note, very little of what is introduced in the Ohio House of Representatives gets passed by the House much less passed by the Senate and signed into law by Governor Strickland.

Along the way, legislators such as Todd Snitchler (Republican - Lake) attach their names as sponsors and co-sponsors of bill which have no chance of passage and many of which are a waste of legislative resources.

From the graphic above, only four of the ten covered in this Part 2 of Representative Snitchler's work in the Ohio General Assembly have seen the light of day in any way, shape or form.

Here is a report of the six bills co-sponsored by Snitchler which languish in committee:

HB 120
Primary Sponsor(s):  Batchelder 
Subject:  Legislative Budget Committee/Legislative Budget Office of LSC-establish
HB 123
Primary Sponsor(s):  Goyal & Mandel
Subject:  Income tax credit-degrees in science/ technology/engineering/math-based

Primary Sponsor(s):  Adams J 
Subject:  Concealed carry handgun law-revise

Primary Sponsor(s):  Grossman 
Subject:  Income tax credit-100%-have baccalaureate degree and reside in Ohio

Primary Sponsor(s):  Sayre 
Subject:  Special Olympics license plates-create

Primary Sponsor(s):  Koziura 
Subject:  Education appropriations-enact separately from and before other appropriations

Two of Snitchler's co-sponsored bills merit special mention.

HB 129 (Concealed Carry)

A sister piece of legislation being voted upon in committee in the Ohio Senate tomorrow (May 26) is described this way by the Ohio Concealed Carry website:
... [W]ould eliminate the current confusing standards of carrying a firearm in a motor vehicle.  In addition, the proposal would also allow permit holders to carry a firearm for self-defense in a restaurant that serves alcohol, provided they are not consuming, thus eliminating another “victim zone” in Ohio.

Current law specifies that a firearm must be either be: 

1.) In a holster secured on the person.
2.) In a closed case, bag, box, or other container that is in plain sight and that has a lid, a cover, or a closing mechanism with a zipper, snap, or buckle, which must be opened for a person to gain access to the handgun. 

3.) The loaded handgun is securely encased by being stored in a closed glove compartment or center console, or in a case that is locked. A locked case does not need to be in plain sight (an unlocked case does).
HB 160 (Educational Appropriations)

This bill appears to be a rework of the perennial effort by Kirk Schuiring (Republican - 29th - Senate) to give public education first funding status.

Monday, May 24, 2010


Pictured above are Stark County clerk of courts Nancy Reinbold and Stark County recorder Rick Campbell.

Why put the two together?

Because they both are traveling at taxpayer expense (although Reinbold in paying for her own gasoline) to a continuing education event in mid-June to an Ohio resort location:  Campbell to Put-in-Bay resort and Reinbold to Kings Island resort.

So what is the point?

First, The Report digresses a little to pick up a point well made to yours truly by local attorney and community activist Craig T. Conley.

What point?

That working in the public sector is the best employment deal going in America, Ohio and Stark County.

It used to be that "public service" was done at a sacrifice to what one could earn in the private sector. But that is not the case much anymore.

For most government workers, the SCPR agrees with Conley's point.  The best jobs in the $35,000 to $150,000 range in Stark County, Ohio and in the U.S. of A (as Archie Bunker used to say) are in government.

When one considers the salary AND the benefits (heath care, retirement et cetera), there are few in the private sector who outdo their counterparts in the public sector.  Many, many private sector employees have jobs which pay a pittance (considering the total package) of what most in the public sector get.  And yet, it is the private sector which pays the lions' share of taxes to support the better paid public employee.

Here is where the SCPR gets to the nub of the matter with Reinbold and Campbell and their traveling to resort locations for continuing education.

For the Ohio Recorders Association, the Ohio Clerk of Courts Association and the like to schedule continuing education events at resort locations is a perk which underscores Conley's point.  Who wouldn't want a government job?

Educating and sort of vacationing at the same time is a bonus for the publicly employed.  At least for chief deputies, directors and title bureau czars.  Of course, these "special" trips don't go to the ordinary government worker.

So, what if upper level county employees get a "little" special treatment?

Here is the so what if.

What is about to happen to government, especially at the local level, is that the voting public is going to escalate refusing to vote in additional taxes to support the comparatively "puff" - "money-making" jobs that exist in too many numbers in the public sector.

Apparently, the days are lost past when one used to go into public work with "public service" as being a powerful motivator of doing so.

Take school teachers.  It used to be than everyone knew they were underpaid.  However, no one questioned their dedication and their affect/effect on the lives of all of us.  Who doesn't have a number of teachers who left and indelible, positive mark on our lives?

But there is less and less of that coming from teachers this day and age.  More and more it seems that teachers and administrators (most of who came out of the teaching ranks) are doing it for the money.

The retire/rehire phenomenon, it appears to the SCPR, is a big thing within the education community.  Moreover, it has a large place on other public sector employment venues.  And it is beginning to bring out a huge public reaction.


Retire/rehire is seen as a money-making proposition;  not about public service nor what is necessarily good for the public interest.

Take the Northwest schools.  The district's superintendent - William Stetler -  made $108,000 from Northwest in 2009.  Moreover, Stetler retired from Lake a number of years ago as was his right to do.  Of course, the SCPR can only conjecture as to what Stetler makes in retirement income, but it is likely at least in the $75,000 per year plus realm. 

So let's take what the SCPR believes to be a conservative $183,000 number in estimating Stetler's total income as a public official and public employment retiree.

How many taxpaying citizens of the Northwest school district or in an Stark County school district take in anywhere near $183,000 per year?  Not many!

Some believe that Stetler was brought to Northwest specifically to pass a levy which had not passed a new tax issue in about a decade.

There appears to have been some effort in Northwest (by Northwest's Board of Education) that Stetler not be seen as a front and center proponent that Northwest voters increase the taxes they pay (the 1% earned income passed in November)?

If so, the effort failed.  His footprints are all over it.  He was a $1,000 contributor to the Save Tomorrow committee.  No surprise, here.

It is a credit to Northwest voters that they were not put off by the Stetler publicly derived income numbers.

They are sacrificing in paying more of their declining income for the public good.  Many are without hope of retire/rehire or getting a job promotion or in getting a pay increase.  All too many are looking at givebacks or will get laid off from their jobs and within a short time will have "no or substantially reduced earned income" on which to pay taxes "for the public good."

It will be interesting to see how the revenues will be parceled out in Northwest from the May, 2010-passed 1% tax.  Financing of the tax issue campaign largely came from school employees.

Of course, we all are cognizant of our Stark County Sheriff Tim Swanson and his multiple retirements while collecting a salary as Stark County's elected sheriff amid questions of how energetically he is working as sheriff. Moreover, he demonstrates contempt for the Stark County public in saying to the Stark County commissioners words to the effect of "poop on the public," when the matter of his retire/rehire came up.

In this retire/rehire scenario, there is no room for younger/less experienced persons to advance.  It is extremely important to have an infusion of new thinking and new energy into our public positions.

If board of education members and other determiners of how the public purse is spent had any - let's say - intestinal fortitude, they would only abide retire/rehire at a substantially lower salary (no more than 60% of the pre-retirement salary) and only on a convincing case being made that the rehired retiree has something of substantial value added over a new hire.

Back to Reinbold and Campbell and "the point" of this blog.

What is the moral of the story for them?

Answer:  For them to take action.  Yes, action.

The Report is all in favor of public officials getting more education about their jobs.  So by all means their associations need to continue their continuing education efforts.  However, they need to deliver the education more efficiently.

Reinbold is showing some sensitivity to the public by absorbing the "gas expense/wear and tear on her car" part of going to Kings Island.

The Report sees no corollary sensitivity from Recorder Campbell.

What both Reinbold and Campbell can and should do is to make an issue at their respective mid-June Association meetings as to where future meetings are held, or, if they should be held in physical assembly context at all.

When many taxpayers are struggling to make ends meet, it is not good public relations for public officials to be going to resorts at taxpayer expense.

In fact, maybe the associations should invest on teleconferencing equipment and expertise and thereby save counties lots of travel, hotel and meal money that way.  With the professions, it is getting more and more common for members to do online education or assemble in nearby (to their home locale) room to watch the session by video conference.

Like Campbell, Reinbold is taking two employees with her to Kings Island.  Why?

Can't she find a way to gather the important information for improvement of the operation of the clerk of courts office without the expense of meals and housing for two employees (German and Louis Giavasis)?  Likewise for Campbell.

Both should be keeping in mind that a renewal of a 0.250 sales/use tax is coming up soon.

Shouldn't they be taking action with their associations to nix the "boondoggle" appearance of where association meetings are being held?

If they don't, then they have only themselves to blame when the voting public gets sick and tired of hearing about public employees education/vacation packages and other "the public be damned" expenditures of taxpayer monies and vote NO repetitively on renewals or new tax issues.

If public bodies and officials do not change how they do business, the public will change it for them at the ballot box.

And the change is going to be a painful process for public officials/employess as well as for the public at large.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


From the get-go Stark County's new dog warden Reagan Tetrault is established as a memorable person.

How's that?

Pronouncing her name is proving to be a challenge to county officials.

But those same county officials (Commissioners Bosley, Ferguson and Meeks) are hoping she becomes memorable for other reasons.  They desperately need her to clean up the mess at the Stark County Dog Pound. 

Recently, the commissioners dismissed Evert Gibson as warden because of their dissatisfaction with how he was managing the facility. 

To replace Gibson, the commissioners asked the Stark County Dog Pound Advisory Board (DPAB) to screen through about 127 applications for the position.  They did, but getting the commissioners to appoint one of the persons on their approved list ended up in a swirl of controversy.

What controversy?

First, despite a seeming okay from commissioners that a member of the DPAB could sit in on the interviews evaporated when DPAB member Steve Swank (a Canton policeman) showed up on the first day of two days of interviews.

Second, word leaked out that the commissioners were about to hire someone who what not on the list of five recommended by the DPAB.

The DPAB membership reaction?

The sent a e-mail protesting the implementation of the hiring process by commissioners and they threatened to resign en masse.  Moreover, they showed up at the meeting at which Ms. Tetreault was hired during which Commissioner Bosley and DPAB member Swank had a bitter exchange with Bosley demanding twice that Swank apologize to the applicant that the commissioners supposedly were going to hire other than Tetrault.

Accordingly, this who situation bears watching.

You can be sure that Warden Tetrault (beginning Monday, May 24th) will be under intense scrutiny from all quarters:  the commissioners, the Animal Coalition, the DPAB, the Friends of the Pound as well as all other stakeholders in the care of Stark County dogs.

And Tetrault has precious little time to establish herself as being the best choice of all 127 applicants.  One-hundred-twenty days (four months) may seem like a long time, but given the long term and grievous problems at the pound, it isn't.  It's not that she has to solve these problems within 120 days, however, she will have had to convince all the stakeholders that she is on the right track and is making significant progress.

One of the commissioners has told The Report that if she isn't, she will be let go at the end of the probationary period and the commissioners will reconsider who serves as dog warden.

As promised in the title to this blog, here is a video presentation of Dog Warden Tetreault at the Animial Coalition's quarterly meeting held this past Wednesday.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Other than his failure to mention state Representative Scott Oelslager (Republican - 51st) as a main culprit in getting Ohio to do its fair share of funding local government,  Matt Rink of The Independent did his usual fine job in If justice was a business, funding Massillon Municipal Court would be easier, May 21, 2010.

It is truly amazing how Stark County's Teflon-man escapes getting tagged with being part of the problem. 

Ohio's funding of Stark County schools is in the tank and getting worse.

Ohio's funding of local libraries is in the tank and getting worse.

And now this article.  Ohio's funding of the administration of justice at the city level is in the tank and getting worse.

Undoubtedly, there are many other "partnerships" (local/Ohio - what a laugh) that are in the tank and getting worse.

So why does Rink, Cicchinelli, Centrone, Elum, Maier and Jackson fail to mention STATE REPRESENTATIVE OELSLAGER (the elephant in the room) in talking about an aspect of Ohio's screwing (to put it in the venacular) local government.

Oelslager should be hanging his head low with eyes cast towards the ground every time he set foot in the 51st district.  He has utterly failed the 51st as well as Stark County.  And yet, he thinks he should be sent back to Columbus as state senator.

What is the Oelslager way called in some circles?  Chutzpah?  

No, Oelslager won't vote for a tax increase at the state level so that Ohio can participate fully in the state/local partnership.  But he, in effect, forces local voters to increase local taxes to merely keep the ship afloat.

An excerpt from the Rink piece says it best:
Shane Jackson, deputy clerk of the Massillon Municipal Court, doesn’t buy into the idea that the large population of Jackson or Perry is the culprit either. He points to the state, which continues to change the distribution formula in its favor.
One would think that Oelslager would fight tooth and nail to stop the unfairness.  But he hasn't.  And he goes unscathed in criticism by public officials.

Another guy in Massillon who seems to get it is Massillon law director Perry Stergios, (quoting from the Rink article), to wit:

“It’s not the court’s fault and it’s not the city’s fault.  “It’s the  legislature’s way that they’ve set up the statutory funding mechanism.”

No mention of Massillon's state representative:  Scott Oelslager.


Friday, May 21, 2010


UPDATED:  05/21/2010 AT NOON
SCTA June Meeting Update

Friday, May 21, 2010 10:17 AM

"Martin Olson" <>


Good morning.  Here is an update on the SCTA's June meeting.

At the SCTA's May meeting last night (the first meeting since the potential debate arose), I met with the members of our Board.  We discussed the debate/program that was being proposed.  At the end of the discussion, it was a unanimous decision of the Board that the SCTA not host a debate for the 50th House District at our June meeting.

Some of the reasons behind the decision were; we have not previously hosted a political debate, hosting debates at our meetings is not what our organization was chartered to do and some members felt that SCTA monthly business meetings were not a proper forum for political debates.

I announced the decision of the Board to the SCTA members present at last night's meeting and explained the reasons behind it.  After I made the announcement regarding the June meeting, I opened the floor for old and new business/comments and no one spoke up either in favor or against the decision not to host the debate.

Unfortunately, no one from Nimishillen Township was present at our meeting last night, so I had to leave a message about the decision on Trustee Lynch's cell phone last night.  I also spoke with both Todd Bosley and Todd Snitchler regarding our decision.

I still personally feel that the SCTA can be an excellent vehicle for hosting political discussion and debate, especially with officials and candidates that will have a direct impact on issues relating to our members...but these debates should probably take place at a stand alone event and not as part of our normal monthly business meeting of the association.


Chris Nichols
President, SCTA


It is unprecedented!  A debate for an election that is not to occur until November 2nd.

Chris Nichols, who is a Canton Township trustee (a Republican), has confirmed with the SCPR that it looks like the debate is indeed a go:  Here is how Nichols describes the likelihood of the debate going forward:
As things stand now, the Stark County Township Association (SCTA) will be hosting this debate at our June meeting.  
... .
I have spoken with both candidates and Mr. Lynch and will be meeting with Trustee Lynch [of Nimishillen Township] within the next week to discuss moderation, format, location, etc.
As I mentioned in my earlier email, this meeting is being hosted by Nimishillen Township, but it is the meeting and program of the Stark County Township Association and I want to ensure that the format, moderation and presentation represents the Candidates, the SCTA and our members at the highest level of professionalism and fairness.  
... .
The Snitchler/Bosley race is no ordinary political contest.

The Report believes whomever wins this election could determine which political party controls the Ohio House of Representatives come January, 2011.

At least one Stark County Republican, Travis Secrest - Stark County GOP executive director and opponent to Democrat Stephen Slesnick in the 52nd House District, disagrees with The Report.

Secrest predicts that the Republicans will win 10 or more seats than the Democrats in November.  He even says that he will defeat Slesnick in the lopsided Democratic registration plurality 52nd.

If he does, it will be a major political upset, perhaps; the biggest in the entire Buckeye state.

Keep in mind, Secrest is the executive director of the Stark County Republican Party.

The Report has always liked Secrest as an up and coming articulate Young Republican and thinks he could be a improvement over the lackadaisical, inarticulate and uncommunicative (to media who ask tough questions such as the SCPR) Slesnick.

His commissioner campaign against Democrat Tom Harmon was impressive in terms of publishing a detailed agenda spelling out what a Secrest election would mean for Stark Countians.

But maybe not.  Has being executive director of the Stark GOP (about two months now) taken a toll on his reality index?  It would be a shame for such a promising young Republican to get caught up in the Braden/Matthews model of politics.
The Report trusts that Secrest will return to political sanity soon!


After William J. Healy, II was elected mayor of Canton in November, 2007, it came to light that he got significant contributions from out-of-town.

And not just from anybody.  Two of notable contributors were Jimmy Dimora (a Cuyhoga County commissioner) and Frank Russo (Cuyahoga County's auditor) were two names that stood out in post election campaign finance reports. 

The question is this:  Why would Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus and Akron area folks be bolstering a Canton Democrat?

For good government?  

Apparently, they have lost their political affection for Canton's mayor as Dimora and Russo do not appear as contributors in a TeamHealy campaign finance report filed in January 29, 2010.

However, plenty of out-of-towners still do.

The out-of-towners outnumber Stark Countians by a count of 41to 28.  Moreover, by SCPR calculations the out-of-towners contributed 54% ($8,530 of the $15,780)  of the contributions reported on the January 29th filing.

Dimora and Russo did not contribute during 2009 according to Healy's 2009 annual report.

You can bet that Councilman-at-Large William Smuckler with be analyzing Healy's campaign finance reports with a fine toothed comb between now and the May, 2011 primary.  The Report expects Smuckler to run against Healy next year in a rematch of the 2003 primary when the two went up against each other with Smuckler winning.

One would think that one of the Smuckler campaign strategies will to be bring into question whether Healy really has his heart in Canton.

Here is a compilation of the Healy 2009 out-of-town contributors for 2009:

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Ohio state Senator Kirk Schuring has come under a lot of criticism from the SCPR as a legislator who cannot get bills he is the prime sponsor of through the legislative body he is a member of.

In what The Report continues to believe was primarily a campaign ploy by Schuring in preparation for what turned out to be an ill-fated run against Democrat John Boccieri to succeed Ralph Regula in the United States House of Representatives, Senator Schuring offered this resolution in the Ohio Senate in December, 2007:

Needless to say, the resolution went nowhere.  The Report thinks the effort was a political gambit which Schuring had to know had no future.

Had to know?

Yes, had to know!

The Ohio House was and continues to be controlled by the Democrats.  Moreover, the governor was and continues to be the Democrat Ted Strickland.  Besides that, Strickland says that he loves Schuring opponent "as a brother."
So they (the Dems) were going to let Schuring pull off a stunning legislative coup?

What's that saying about swamp land in Florida?

So far as the SCPR is concerned Schuring and his sidekick, W. Scott Oelslager, have been pretty much worthless to Stark County in terms of "bringing home the bacon" to the county.  Together they have about 40 years in the Ohio General Assembly.  But to what end for Stark County?

The Schuring/Oelslager duo for some reason (which totally escapes the SCPR)  have been able to endear themselves to Stark County voters and by playing their version of musical chairs (varying from the classical kids game in that each gets a seat - just a different seat:  a House (the 51st) or a Senate (the 29th); depending on the demands of term limits, seem to be guaranteed a place in the Ohio General Assembly for as long as they live.

In this year's game Schuring needs to occupy the 51st and Oelslager the 29th.

The Report's analysis is that neither will have any trouble being re-elected.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


UPDATE 05/19/2010 AT 08:30 AM

Here is the final list of Stark County school districts (public only) which applied for federal stimulus funds (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act - ARRA) tailored to the restructuring of how instruction is delivered.

 UPDATE:  05/14/2010 AT 3:30 P.M.

The SCPR has just learned from a leading Stark County education official that by the end of today Stark County could have up to 11 of Stark County's 17 school districts participating in Race to the Top federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus program specifically tailored to education infrastructure improvement.

The official told The Report that 2 or 3 of the districts are touch and go at this point in discussions, but that 9 total Stark school district participation is pretty certain as of the date and time this update is published.


In January, 2010 Stark County school districts were in a panic to get their applications together to participate in the Obama administration's (Department of Education) - Race to the Top (RttT) competitive funding of worthy programs as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.

Only three districts (Marlington, Canton South and East Canton) were able get their acts together.

Canton City Schools passed up an opportunity to possibly get up to $3 million for this financially strapped school district. 

Why pass up this opportunity? 

Because school officials could not get the Canton Professional Educators' Association (CPEA) on board.  Race to the Top requires that a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) be submitted to the Ohio Department of Education signed by the president of the school board (BOE), the district's superintendent and by the head of the local union.

The CPEA told the SCPR that it was a "mutual" decision not to apply in the first round of competition because too little was understood about the ramifications of getting RttT money.  While the Canton schools administration did not directly dispute the CPEA statement to The Report, the SCPR believes that the Canton BOE and the superintendent was ready, willing and able to go forward but that the CPEA was not. 

The CPEA did tell the SCPR at the time that when a second round came up, it was very likely that the CPEA would be on board. 

Earlier today the SCPR received a call from Canton Public Schools Superintendent Michele Evans telling The Report that the Canton Professional Educators’ Association signed a Memorandum of Understanding along with Superintendent Evans and Nadine McIlwain (president of the Board of Education).

If Ohio is selected as a RttT grantee, Canton stands to realize $2 million plus.  The plus comes in with Ohio’s promise additionally fund Canton’s early childhood program, its early college effort as well as a program to close the educations gap that Canton City schools are experiencing.

Local teacher unions have been seen by many RttT advocates as being the obstacle to school district participation.  Why?  Because they see RttT as a disturber of the comfortable status quo position that they know enjoy.  A kind of "if it's not broke, why fix it" attitude.

Canton schools constituents should be pleased that the CPEA is demonstrating  union members willingness to take a new look at the delivery of public instruction within the guidelines laid out in the RttP grant application process.

CPEA’s cooperation shows that there is a new willingness on the part of local teacher unions to work collaboratively with the policy making and administration branches of school governance to solve problems that schools all across the nation are experiencing in delivering quality education.

All of Stark's districts are feeling financial distress to one degree or another.  Governor Strickland's office has let it be known that school districts across Ohio could be losing up to 30% of their state funding.

While it is true that this federal program mainly benefits urban school district which are heavily involved with federal government Title 1 funding, each Stark County district stands to benefit from participation in this second round on the hope that Ohio will be awarded a grant.

The SCPR believes that taxpayers throughout Stark County will be very displeased with the BOEs and superintendents of Stark school districts that do not apply.

Other Stark County schools who have applied for RttT funding as of early afternoon (May 14th - the deadline for applying) include Canton Local (Soutn), Jackson, Marlington and Northwest.

The SCPR is particularly pleased to see that Northwest applied inasmuch as Superintendent William Stetler had told The Report, post-Round 1, that the RttT was not worth the effort.  Such as position was hard to swallow in light of the Northwest financial problems.

As The Report sees the Northwest situation, the district is far from out of the woods on adequate financing of school operations notwithstanding the recent passage of the 1% earned income tax.

It is a credit to Canton, Canton South, Jackson, Marlington and Northwest that they have elected to participate to RttT.  To The Report, applying is a "no-brainer."

School districts still have time to apply today.  Bit with the close of business at the Ohio Department of Education (unless an extension is asked for and granted), district residents of Stark’s remaining 13 school districts will be justified in believing that those districts are financially well and do not need the RttT funds.

Again, the SCPR asks:  why would any Stark County school district not apply?


One of the SCPR's favorite legislators:  W. Scott Oelslager.  A man who has been in the Legislature for a quarter of a century with very little to show for it.  A good part of his time in the Ohio General Assembly has been as a member of the majority and for a time a supermajority.  Also, for the most part (except for Strickland), the governor has been a Republican.

He and fellow Republican Kirk Schuring (about 16 years in the Ohio General Assembly) have this little game going on between them called "musical chairs." However, there is one important difference from the classical game we all played as kids.  In the Oelslager/Schuring version, they both get a seat. Just a different seat.  A Senate seat or a House seat, but still a seat.

In this way they are both thumbing their noses at the voters by defeating the spirit of term limits

Oelslager is term limited out of the Ohio House this election year as Schuring is in the Ohio Senate.  Solution?  Oelslager is running to get back in the Senate a second time whereas Schuring is looking to get back to the House for a second time (the 51st).

Oelslager's claim to fame as a legislator is his work on open access and open records laws.  But he has achieved little else.  Even his work on openness in government needs work.

Oelslager has the good fortune to be up against a Democrat (former Common Pleas judge Dick Reinbold) who has virtually no chance to unseat Oelslager.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


The SCPR continues this series of analyzing the legislative record of the Stark County delegation to the Ohio General Assembly.

This blog is the first on state Representative Stephen Slesnick (Democrat - Canton).  More reports will follow in the days leading up to the general election in November.

In the opinion of The Report, Slesnick is far too timid of a legislator for coming from a safe district for a Democrat.  If Slesnick had to run in a more competitive district in Stark, it is very unlikely that he would be electable to the Ohio House.  Slesnick is a big name in Canton on the basis.  Representative Slesnick comes from a family that has been in the scrap metal business in Canton since 1957.  As far as the SCPR is concerned, the family connection (in terms of name identification familiarity) is a major reason Slesnick made it to Columbus.

He seems to The Report to be "ho-hum" about his legislative work.  Moreover, he is not an articulate public presenter and, most importantly, he ignores the likes of the SCPR because he cannot or will not handle the tough questions.

Slesnick does have a significant Republican opponent in Stark County Republican Party executive director Travis Secrest this time around.  However, despite his negatives as a legislator, The Report does not see Slesnick losing to Secrest.

It will be interesting to see what Secrest has to say about Slesnick's legislative record.

From the SCPR perspective, it appears that Slesnick is very much a follower and not much of a leader.


With this blog, the SCPR is initiating an Statehouse series.

We start with state Representative Todd Snitchler (Republican - Lake Township) today.

Snitchler is, in the opinion of the The Report, the political fight of his life.  Ohio Speaker of the House, Democrat Armond Budish, personally recruited Stark County commissioner Todd Bosley to run against Snitchler.

Snitchler is scheduled to debate Bosley on June 17th at a Stark County Township Association sponsored event (hosted by Nimishillen Township trustees).

You can bet that Snitchler's actual legislative record will be a topic that comes up in the debate.

The SCPR has analyzed Snitchler's record by looking at sponsored and co-sponsored bills for the 2009-2010 legislative year.  He has sponsored 10 bills and co-sponsored 81.

None of Snitchler's sponsored bills have seen the light of day.  Snitchler complains about being bottled up by the Democrats who control the Ohio House.  Snitchler's prime sponsored legislation is House Bill 65 which would establish state performance audits for departments of Ohio government to be done by the State of Ohio Auditor phased in over a period of years.  However, he cannot get a smell from the Democrats.  Snitchler points to a Ohio Senate version of his bill that has passed the Senate that performance audits have bi-partisan support.

Today's report on Snitchler is the first in a series that The Report will be doing between now and the run up to November's election on all member of the Stark County legislative delegation.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Back in December, 2008 Stark Countians were "muscled" into paying an additional sales/use tax to take Stark's fragmented 9-1-1 emergency services and convert it into a centralized system.

The SCPR believes that when Stark Commissioners (Bosley, a Democrat, Harmon, s Democrat and Vignos, a Republican) voted to impose the tax, they jaundiced the voting public against any county revenue measures.  As a consequence of the imposition, The Report believes county officials will have a difficult time getting "even" a renewal of a 0.25 of a percent tax which certainly be on the ballot this November. (emphasis added).

And for the record, Commissioner Vignos could have blocked the tax from becoming permanent, by voting no.  But for the successful ballot initiative by the Vote No Increased Taxes Committee, the tax would be an enduring piece of the Stark County revenue scheme of things.

Vignos concurrence in the unanimous commissioner vote makes it impossible (in the name of fair play) for Republican commissioner candidates (Creighton and Walters) from making the issue a partisan one in November.

Voters soon realized (after the December, 2008 imposition) that the 9-1-1 centralization/enhancement was not the only beneficiary of the imposed tax.  Somewhat hidden (let's say de-emphasized) was the fact that one-half of the monies generated were designated to go to the Stark County general fund.

As it turns out only 1/4th of the money collected went to 9-1-1.  The other 3/4ths of the money collected went to Stark's general fund.

While Commissioners Ferguson and Meeks were not in office when the imposed tax was approved, they opposed Commissioner Bosley in his efforts to make the split of revenues a 50/50 proposition.

In all fairness to Ferguson and Meeks, 9-1-1 Governance Committee chair Randy Gonzalez said that 9-1-1 could be transitioned into a centralized operation without the full 50% of the imposed tax revenues.

Now comes word that a northeast Ohio non-profit Efficient Government Now (EFFGOV)is handing out money to northeast Ohio governments who commit to efficiency in their operations.

Here is more about EFFGOV from its website:
EfficientGovNow is presented by the Fund for Our Economic Future  as part of the ANEO Choice Awards.

The EfficientGovNow program is a competitive grant awards program that encourages and accelerates government collaboration, cooperation and efficiency by providing rounds of funding to government collaboration projects as selected by the residents of Northeast Ohio.
The Catch?

It takes a vote of the people to put their community effort (e.g. Stark County 9-1-1 centralization) in the top three of all the northeast Ohio local government contenders for a $100,000 grant.

So Stark Countians can do voluntarily what many (2/3rds of the voters on repeal of the imposed 0.50 of a percent sales/use tax) feels was involuntarily foisted upon them.

And it will not cost any Stark Countian "one red cent."

All anyone has to do is to go to the EFFGOV website and vote for the Stark County proposal.

Here are the steps:


To make it easier for SCPR readers here is a direct link: CLICK HERE.

Simply follow the steps outlined on the EFFGOV "vote page."

See the video below of 9-1-1 Project Manager Joseph Concatto making a plea to Stark County commissioners to support an effort of encouraging Stark Countians to vote.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Consider this video of Commissioner Steve Meeks s,peaking relative to the awarding of a Stark County contract.  Then consider the SCPR take on the bidding process below:

Credit Commissioner Meeks for highlighting the fact that Stark County funded construction contracts are going out of county.


No Stark County companies are bidding on some of these contracts.

Stark County taxpayers should be irate that Stark County business officials are allowing this to happening.

Shouldn't the commissioners themselves be taking action to make sure that Stark County companies are bidding?

Perhaps, but doing so could lead to charges that they have a "conflict-in-interest."  Commissioners have a legal obligation to take the "lowest and best" bid on county contracts.  Obviously, "best" leaves wiggle room.

Commissioners' primary obligation, as the SCPR sees it, is to get "the best bang for the Stark County taxpayer buck."  Such would seem to put the focus on "the lowest" and assume that it is also the best unless some unreal jumps out on them (e.g. bidding company has a known  reputation for doing shoddy work).

Moreover, commissioners going out a soliciting Stark County bids could give contractors the idea that campaign contributions could grease the skids for them in getting commissioners to accept a bid that was not the lowest but is the "best" in a subjective evaluation.

Let's say Contractor "A" does make a political contribution to at least two of the commissioners.  Adding to this, that one or more of the commissioners had "encouraged" the bid in the first place; would not set to well with Stark County tax paying public if a bid gets awarded to a Stark County company; not because it was the lowest, but because it was the subjectively based "best."

So it does appear to the SCPR to encourage commissioners to be out promoting Stark County companies to bid on county contracts is a good idea.

But there are Stark County-based business promoting and trade groups who could and should be doing this.

To The Report, the fact that there are unbid by Stark County companies contracts being awarded by Stark commissioners is indication that "private" business and trade organizations are not getting the job done for Stark County companies who presumably hire of majority of Stark County workers.

Over ensuing weeks, the SCPR will be digging more into this phenomenon and envisions publishing a series of blogs on this topic.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Back on December 15, 2009, the SCPR wrote (CLICK HERE TO SEE THE BLOG) how Uniontown citizen Chris Borello (president of the Concerned Citizens of Lake Township - CCLT) was hopeful to get United States Senator Sherrod Brown and Congressman John Boccieri (both Democrats and Boccieri representing Stark County in the U.S. House) to take up her cause of getting the Industrial Excess Landfill cleaned up (or, at least neutralized).

The SCPR's impression is that Borello has completely given up on Boccieri.  But she has been holding out hope that Senator Sherrod Brown would help her group out.

For Brown is a "bleeding heart liberal," if there ever was one.  He shows shades of Congressman Dennis Kucinich (a populist/left-wing Democrat from Cleveland).   Accordingly, Brown tries to portray himself as a huge supporter of environmental stewardship.

Here is a list of Brown office press releases which show his leftist/populist tendencies:

Here is Brown on the national political talk show "Hardball" in response to a Chris Matthews question as to whom should pay for the oil spill occurring now in the Gulf of Mexico, to wit:
I think the issue is the law has to compel this company, which made a mistake and which has a history of violating OSHA rules—we can talk about that in a second, what happened in Texas City, Texas, five years ago and what hasn‘t happened since with OSHA rules and environmental rules.

And it was—you know, the last decade, Chris, as you know, has been a question of the oil industry and Wall Street and others staying a step ahead of the sheriff.  And the sheriff hasn‘t really been on the beat with the Bush administration on environment or on worker safety rules.  That‘s why this is a different day, and we‘ve got to make sure that they do what they are supposed to do under the law.
But, it may be, that Borello is beginning to realize that Uniontown and the IEL is not a big enough political fish for Senator Brown.

Yes, Brown is a "green" senator, but only when the public relations is high grade.

Is Hardball or any other national political speak show about to have Brown on talking about the IEL and getting an Environmental Protection Agency clean up of the Uniontown site?

Of course not!

So Borello can forget Brown doing anything for CCLT on what is known also as being the "Uniontown Dump."

In fact, Borello tells the SCPR that a Brown staffer is telling her that they (Brown staffers) cannot even get the EPA to converse with them on the IEL issue.

So what is Brown's office going to do about the EPA's incommunicado on the IEL matter?

Apparently, nothing.

The staffer leaves it at "EPA will not answer us!"

To repeat:  It is obvious that to the SCPR that Senator Brown is not interested in the Uniontown IEL and Chris Borello and her CCLT fellow members can forget getting any attention to their cause for the time being.

Perhaps, in two years he will listen and maybe push the EPA to at least address the Borello group concerns one more time.

Why in two years?

Well, Brown will be up for reelection.

For a guy like Brown, who obviously basks in the national spotlight, the only hope for locals like Borello to get an ear is the periodic (every six years in the case of the U.S. Senate) need to finesse local voters into reelecting them.

Otherwise, Brown has more important fish to fry, no?

Friday, May 14, 2010


It is old news that Canton Democrats (Smuckler and his many friends on Canton City Council; Healy and his "few" friends on Council) are lining up to determine who will be the next mayor of Canton.

Healy has alienated all but about two or so Canton councilpersons in his bid to be reelected mayor.  However, he has developed an alternative strategy to remain mayor.

The SCPR believes the odds of Healy returning are not looking good.

The "new" news is that North Canton is looking like it is going to have a mayoralty contest come May, 2011.  And, like Canton, because a lopsided Republican registration factor in the Dogwood City, the primary will determine who is to be North Canton's new mayor.

Who are the likely foes in North Canton?

Councilman Jeff Davies and current Mayor David Held.

There has been bad blood between these two for some time now.  Moreover, there has brewing dissatisfaction on many Council members' part with the Held administration, to wit:  Held, himself and City Administrator Earle Wise, Jr. but not so much other members of the administration leadership mix.

Davies and Held do not get along.

Davies thinks Held is a weak mayor.  Held thinks Davies is brash and uncouth.

Held and a number of others in North Canton government has complained about Davies.  However, the complains were dismissed by North Canton's law director as not being actionable. 

Held and Davies are North Canton's mix of oil and water; just like Cantonians Smuckler and Healy.  Even though they are of the same political party; partisan ties are not enough to keep them together.

North Canton Council is different than Canton's.  Of the seven councilpersons, four are announced Republicans (Canton:  all but one are Demcrats). 

How will North Canton Council wade in on a Held/Davies match up?

It's hard to say.

What they will be doing in the opinion of the SCPR is weighing the lesser of two political evils.

Davies' perceived temper and brashness versus Held's perceived inability to lead North Canton with strength and purpose.

Both will be lobbying Council for support over the next year and who wins that battle could have a leg up on next year's primary.

The SCPR believes the likelihood of a Davies/Held contest is good for North Canton in the sense that political competition will clarify the issues and characteristics between the two from which to make a choice.

In 2009, Held ran unopposed.

North Cantonians should be urging Davies and others to run for mayor next year.  The more candidates, the better for North Canton!