Monday, June 28, 2010


Republican Jackson Township Trustee James N. Walters (running for the unexpired Stark County commissioner term ending 12/31/2012)  had a terrific opportunity to wow 'em at Navarre on Sunday afternoon, but he did not.

The SCPR gives him a B -.

The good news is that he has time to improve.  And improve he must, if he is to defeat the veteran and crafty Democrat Tom Bernabei who served as law director, city councilman, services director and chief of staff in Canton government over many years.

Here is the SCPR specific analysis of Walters' speech.

His tie-in of the warm weather (90 degrees, 92% humidity) to the joking threat to keep the crowd listening to him for 45/50 minutes was a good ice-breaker.  He put the teabaggers in a good mood to hear his substance.

Walters' testament for democracy in action was also an effective way to connect with those assembled.  They were at the Navarre Tea Party to vent their frustrations with how government is not working for them.  Walters in using this technique, in effect, was impliedly promising to listen to them and to prescribe remedies.

But did he deliver?

The Report says yes and no.

Unimpressive was his first reason for running for county commissioner.  Reason?  "The answer is pretty simple, nobody else was stepping up to do it."

Really?  How about Dean Windham?  How about Janet Creighton.

Initially, Walters was set to run for the full term against sitting Commissioner Todd Bosley.  However, the Ohio Democratic House Caucus discovered (through polling) that Bosley would be a formidable candidate against Republican Todd Snitchler in Ohio's 50th Ohio House district.  Exit Bosley, enter Steve Meeks (who had been appointed to fill out Harmon's term ending 12/31/2012) and then enter Republican Janet Creighton which meant Walters and Windham got shunted off to the unexpired term race.

"Nobody was stepping up to do it."  Hmm?

With his second reason, Walters gets more credible.  "County government is a mess," he says.   The SCPR agrees with Walters.

How so?  The county treasury problem with the Frustaci theft.  The county's financial problem with the failure of the retention of the imposed 0.50 of a percent sales/use tax imposed by Commissioners Bosley, Vignos and Harmon in December, 200i8.

At least one of the sitting commissioners believes that the 0.25 of a percent sales/use tax coming up for renewal in November will certainly fail.

So what does Walters spend all of his time talking about.  The county treasury problem.  And, he doesn't quite get his number correct.  The amount stolen was not $3 millon, but more like $2.5 million.

Why does the SCPR make a deal out of a half a million dollars?

Because on Walters' website he makes a big deal out of restoring trust to county government.  And he is right.  Trust in all levels of government in this country is down to all time lows.  Accordingly, in a understatement/understatement political environment, it is important that a would-be restorer of trust be "right-on-the-money" when citing figures.

It is more impressive to say $3 million.  But $3 million is a incorrect figure.  The SCPR repeats, the pathway to restoring trust is what public officials say (remember Walters is a public official - Jackson Township trustee) is for them to say what they have to say with precision.  No embellishing.

Months ago, Walters' thing was the imposed sales/use tax.

Apparently, since Tom Bernabei (who had no part in the imposition) is his opponent and not Todd Bosley, Walters' has lost his interest in making the point that the only way taxes should be increased at the county level of government ought "always" be by a vote of the people. 

He missed a golden opportunity to make that very important point in Navarre yesterday.

A compelling argument made by Walters yesterday is that the 2010 election does afford voters with the opportunity to make a significant change in the way county government is run.  However, he sidesteps the reality that there will be a significant change in the Walters/Bernabei match up, whomever, is elected.
The SCPR believes that Janet Creighton will be elected to the full term commissioner position.  So either Walters/Creighton or Bernbei/Creighton as the new commissioners will be a significant change.  The SCPR believes the change will be the latter rather than the former.  Obviously, not something Walters wants to touch upon.

Undoubtedly, Alan Harold (the Republican county auditor candidate) appreciates the time Walters spent plugging his candidacy.  But Walters' exclusive focus needs to be on getting whom elected?  Oh yes, James N. Walters.

If Walters wins, it will be a headliner.  His chances of winning diminish to the some degree when he spends his time in an uphill battle off his own race and on other candidates. 

Then Walters goes off the trust track again.  In his straying off course onto the auditor's race, he talks about Republicans and Democrats in suggesting that Stark County Auditor Kim Perez was remiss on the Stark treasury situation because Perez and Zeigler are fellow Democrats.

So The Report asks this question.  Does Walters see Republican officeholders as the good guys and Democrat officeholders as the bad guys?  Is that the message?

In today's we (the voters) do not trust either party political climate, will they trust n candidate who harps on the Republican/Democrat thing?

Having made the Perez/Zeigler/Democrat connection, the SCPR is very suspicious of Walters' statement  that he is a Conservative first and then a Republican.  Did he say that at the Ohio Young Republcans convention breakfast earlier in the day?  Hmm?

Then we get the I'm an lifelong NRA member, a board member for the Right-to-life.  All well and good, but what relevance do these factors have in being Stark County commissioners.  May be that
`Walters is doing a little "demagoging?"  Think maybe?  Let's see demagoging, now that's a trust building political technique, isn't it?

Walters really gets going to the heart of the matter when he talks about being a Jackson trustee and about how they have been doing things in Jackson that ought to be done at the county level.

And he makes the further interesting point that one of the things they have done in Jackson is to make it a more efficient government.  "Saved hundreds of thousands of dollars."  Good!

But bad that he says that the impetus came only when the tough economic times hit.  Shouldn't government be always lean?  Is Walters saying that government efficiency was not important to him until the hard times hit?  Another positive for building trust, no?

The  SCPR believe Walters made a big mistake when he - at the end - identifies with the Tea Party.  Moreover, he compounds his error as he describes the mainstream media as "leftist."  Unbelievable!

Even if one agrees with Walters (as, perhaps, many in the Navarre audience did), what does such point have to do with county government. An example of a little more Walters' demagoging to a friendly crowd?  Isn't that what all politicians do?  Does he want to be in that political basket?

Tom Bernabei is probably already printing his flyers.

Here is a video of the entire Walters speech at the Navarre Tea Party, Sunday, June 27, 2010.

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