Friday, November 19, 2010


Recently, an article appeared in The Repository celebratory of the fact that Republican W. Scott Oelslager has had 18 victorious elections without a defeat.

Impressive, indeed - for Oelslager and his ego needs!

But what about Stark County?  What has Oelslager, as legislator, done for ordinary Stark Countians that would cause Stark's citizens to roar a "hip, hip, horray," for Stark's good fortune to have him having been in office for about a quarter of a century?

The SCPR says:  very little.

His claim to fame is his work on Ohio's Sunshine laws (open meetings and public records).  And, we are all appreciative for his efforts and his success.  However, even on this score, Oelslager has much more to do than he has accomplished in his 25 years or so in the Statehouse in terms of providing an avenue to everyday citizens to have an avenue (via the Ohio attorney general or some alternative public vehicle) to gaining enforcement of openness in government laws.

By and large, Oelslager and his "musical chairs pal Kirk Schuring" [in which each of the participants gets a seat - just a different seat between the 29th Senate and 51st House districts] have been mostly about political self-preservation than about getting substantive things done for Stark County that improve the quality of life for Stark Countians.

Despite being in a majority if not a supermajority for a good part of their careers in the Legislature, Oelslager and Schuring have not gotten anywhere near what needs to be done to fix the problems (mostly funding) of public education.  Moreover, what have they brought to Stark County in terms of new infrastructure and infrastructure improvements that have made Stark a prime spot for businesses from outside the county on the move to take a serious look at locating in Stark?  Again, very little.

Democrat Stephen Slesnick is even more worthless.  He doesn't communicate effectively and he apparently has no ideas from the State perspective to help his political pal and predecessor William J. Healy, II (mayor of Canton) get Canton out of the financial and economic doldrums.  Now that he is in the minority in the Ohio House, Stark Countians and 52nd District residents are likely to forget that he is even there (i.e. the Ohio General Assembly).

50th District (Ohio House) state Representative Todd Snitchler may be "a horse of a different color" from Oelslager, Schuring and Slesnick.

The SCPR has been impressed with how hard he worked to get legislation moving that could have some impact on Stark County.  However, he was stymied by being a minority member in his first term.  Now that Ohioans has spoken loudly that the trust the Republicans to get Ohio headed in a productive direction, he should have a lead role within the Republican caucus in the substance and form of that direction.

The scary thing about Snitchler is what The Report believes is a naive faith in everything private enterprise.  He doesn't seem to understand that entrepreneurs are human beings and therefore less than perfect.  Accordingly, he seems to blindly follow a Libertarian view of the role of government in which the restraints of accountability are lifted for those who invoke the magic words of entrepreneurship.

What he needs to adapt is his performance audit mentality (applied to government) to the private sector.  He should jettison his apparent unbridled faith in everything private and replace it with a "trust, but verify" mentality.  He can start with the charter school movement.  Charter schools when done right can be a highly effective way to overcome the failures and shortcomings of public education.  However, right now; charter schools in Ohio are nowhere near being accountable in terms of effectiveness with their use of public dollars.  This is the area that the SCPR will be monitoring Snitchler to determine whether or not he is willing to hold the private sector's "feet to the fire" for being highly efficient and effective with taxpayer dollars.

Last evening, yours truly was at a Stark County Township Association meeting held at Plain Township Diamond Street NE Sports Comples.  President Chris Nichols (Canton Township trustee) - in the video that follows - introduces Snitchler who was at the meeting to speak about his effort to tweak Ohio annexation law to rein in the likes of Massillon Mayor Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr. who seems to be out on a rampage to annex everything in sight, even where annexation is not wanted.

Recently, Massillon annexed the R.G. Drage school in Perry Township and tried to do the same thing with the Tuslaw schools in Tuscarwas Township.  Both cases, in the opinion of the SCPR, was nothing more than a "income tax money" grab by Cicchinelli.  Massillon, like many Ohio cities, is desperate to increase its revenue stream.  Cicchinelli and other Ohio mayors are using Type II annexation proceedings to pick off public entities (i.e. school districts - who by Ohio law have not vote in the annexation attempt) with their teacher, administrator and classified workforces taxable income to enlarge the cities' revenue coffers without much, if any, expense in terms of services to the annexed districts.  Snitchler says this is a violation of the spirit of the revised annexation law (Senate Bill 5 - 2001), but not the letter of the law.

The noteworthy factor with Snitchler effort to change Ohio's Type II annexation law is that he is being responsive to a citizen outcry.  Presumably. Snitchler's attentiveness is an indicator that he hears his constituents and tries to effect a remedy for them.  Time will tell, if this is the case.

It could be that the annexation thing is an aberration and that Snitchler is in reality a doctrinaire politician who will ignore his constituents on matters of his philosophical underpinning and push an agenda that advances the philosophical over the needs and desires of everyday people.

"The Secret of Being Effective" lies in the realization that he and his fellows in the Ohio General Assembly are there for "the good of the people" in general (the general welfare) and not for special interests who mask themselves and their parochial interests under doctrinaire political jargon.

Time will tell if Snitchler can lock onto this secret.  The SCPR will be watching closely.

Here is the video of Snitchler last night.

No comments: