Thursday, October 28, 2010


Last night at the League of Women Voters Candidates Forum at the Timken High School auditorium one should have expected some fireworks between candidates Walters and Benabeil

Not long ago, Walters sent out a flyer (pictured above) in which Walters (a Republican and a sitting Jackson Township trustee) accuses Democrat candidate Tom Bernabei of being for "more" county sales tax.

The truth of the matter so far as the SCPR is concerned is that Bernabei (a former official in City of Canton administration of William J. Healy, II; a former Canton councilman and a former Canton law director) is for maintaining the 0.25 sales tax voted in by Stark County Voters in 2003.

Bernabei didn't seem to know that Stark Countians voted in the 0.25 tax in 2003 (rather than 2006/2007 as cited by Bernabei), a fact that Walters corrected him on in a rebuking sort of manner.

Worse yet is that Walters apparently did not read Bernabei's statements in the Akron Beacon Journal candidates profile nor in the League of Women Voters profiles both of which he cited in the ad as pictured above, to wit:

Well, here are the answers which Walters refers to:

First the League of Women Voters.

Second, the Akron Beacon Journal profile.

It is obvious to The Report that Bernabei says he wants to "continue" an existing tax.  Not that he wants to add a tax.

What's more is that in the construction of the ad - "$2.9 Million Stolen," Walters appears to be doing a subliminal-esque thing to somehow tie Bernabei to the mess in the Stark County treasury whereby former Chief Deputy Vince Frustaci stole county money and many believe that former Treasurer Gary Zeigler (a Democrat like Bernabei) did not do enough in implementing safeguarding procedures to protect the treasury funds from Frustaci.

The Stark County Political Report thinks Walters on both counts cited above is swimming in the waters of sleazy politics.

Restoring trust in county government is rightly a huge issue in electing a commissioner to replace the seat vacated by Tom Harmon. 

With his flyer, one has to wonder whether or not Jackson Township Trustee James N. Walters is qualified on the character issue.

In last night's appearance at the League of Women Voters' event, the two sparred over how much county employees pay as the employees' share of healthcare insurance.  Walters represented 8% whereas Bernabei represented 10%.  It turns out that both are correct depending on your timeframe.

In 2010, it is 8%.  But on January 1, 2011, it becomes 10%.

Such quibbling and showmanship is something that voters have very little patience for these days.

Another sparring point was over Walters' saying on the one hand that county employees should have to pay the employees' share of pension contributions to the Ohio Public Employees System (PERS) in the light of only Jackson Township's existing employees being in exactly the same place.

Walters is making a big ballyhoo in taking individual credit (there are three trustees are there not?) that "new" Jackson employees will be picking up the PERS contribution.

Seems like Walters is a cherry picker, doesn't it?

Accompanying this blog are two videos.

First, this one in which the candidates (including independent Stephen Todd) discuss the sales tax and negative political advertising.

Second, this one in which the candidates discuss what it will take for Stark County voters to regain their trust in the commissioners office.

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