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Sunday, January 31, 2010

TUSCARAWAS TOWNSHIP ON-THE-MEND?

 

When Celeste DeHoff decided not run for Tuscarawas Township trustee, it was a good thing for township residents.

When Tuscarawas Township voters opted not to return Dean Green to office, it was a good thing for township residents.

Under DeHoff, Green and Speicher, Tuscarawas Township found itself in one fight after another, after another.

Tuscarawas Township now appears to be settling down.  According to several reports by the Massillon Independent's Gregg Kohntopp (January 13th and 29th) the new board with newly elected trustees Hemperly and Hollinger and holdover Speicher are on their way to restoring Tuscarawas Township government to civility and stability.

One of the festering sores has been the way the former board handled the volatile "disagreement" between Teamster Union workers William Faber and Jerry Knerr back in the fall of 2006.  The old board fired the two and the pair's fight for redress has gone on for well over three years now with the old board fighting them each step of the way.

Now the township seems to be on the verge of settling with the two which could result in their returning to work at the township.

The wife of Wiliam Faber had this to say about the state of affairs in Tuscarawas these days in an email to the SCPR:
We are finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  After 3 1/2 years we are in the process of negotiating a settlement.  This new trustee board has had their hands full putting out the fires the previous board made.  Meetings are truly enjoyable to attend and the atmosphere is totally different.
Tuscarawas joins Marlboro Township (which also had a turnover of 2 of the 3 trustees) to extricate themselves from turbulence and turmoil.

The SCPR applauds the good folks in Tuscarawas and Marlboro for getting their respective houses in order.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

IF TOM MARCELLI FOLLOWS THROUGH ON FILING HIS PETITION TO RUN AGAINST COUNTY AUDITOR KIM PEREZ, HE WILL ENSURE PEREZ'S RE-ELECTION.

Alan Harold, the putative Republican nominee; if he actually runs against county auditor and Democrat Kim Perez, will have no chance at all to defeat Perez if Bethlehem Township political gadfly Thomas Marcelli makes good on filing his petition to run, also.

Why does the SCPR make this observation?

Because any votes that Marcelli gets would be from the right wing of Stark County Republicans and from Democrats and non-partisans who fancy themselves as political teabaggers a la the Canton Tea Party.

None of these votes would ever, ever go to Kim Perez.  Only possible other person they might otherwise (other than Marcelli)?  Indeed, Alan Harold.

The SCPR does not believe that Marcelli understands political lineups and therefore has miscalculated if he thinks his being in the auditor race is going to be a significant factor.

Unless Kim Perez does something incredibly stupd - which is certainly plausible - between now and November 4th, the SCPR is calling this race for Perez on January 30, 2010; especially if Marcelli is in the race.  If not, then Harold has a outside shot.

One further point:  Is Alan Harold going to do a "deja vu, all over again" and pull out of the race like he did when he feigned running against Gary Zeigler for county treasurer in 2008?

The SCPR has been told and has asked Harold to confirm or deny (he refused to comment) that pressure was put on Harold's employer - Huntington Bank - to suggest to Harold that he not run against Zeigler.  


And Harold did not run.

He did run for a slot on the Stark County Educational Service Center (SCESC)and came pretty close to winning one of the two seats that were up for grabs.


The SCPR takes the SCESC run as an exercise in building up countywide I.D.

However, it will take a lot more than running in a "non-partisan" race to take out a powerful Stark County political figure like Kim Perez.

Friday, January 29, 2010

GO OR NO GO ON LEVY ISSUE IN CANTON? FIRST TEST FOR NEW BOARD MEMBER ERIC RESNICK?

 

 REVISED:  01/29/2010 AT 11:45 AM


The SCPR was struck with the vigor that newly elected Canton City Schools Board of Education (CCS - BOE) member Eric Resnick came out for a levy - in the campaign - for an expired seat on the CCS - BOE.


Usually, candidates run from any talk about putting a tax issue on a ballot.

Watch Resnick at a campaign appearance tout a new tax:





Eric Resnick is the exception to the rule in just about everything he does in the context of public dialogue.


So now that Resnick is on the CCS - BOE,  discussion have begun on whether or not to put an issue on the May, 2010  ballot.


A source to the SCPR is projecting that there are three votes for not putting an issue on the primary ballot and two for placing it before CCS voters.


A renewed discussion is in the offing for the CCS - BOE as an agenda item for the Board's February 8th meeting.


The SCPR believes a tax issue is a particularly hard sell because of the recent revelation that the Canton City Schools failed to apply for a Race to the Top  grant from the federal government through the Ohio Department of Education (ODE).  Race to the Top is a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act federal stimulus money infusion into the U.S. economy.


You can bet that Resnick is working furiously behind the scenes to line up the necessary minimum three votes (minimum) to get a tax issue before Canton City Schools voters.  It is known, of course, that Resnick is aggressively for a tax whereas board member and former president Richard Milligan is opposed.


That leaves McIllwain (president), Carman, Jr, and Keaton for Resnick to lobby for at least two of the three total votes needed.


If Resnick is successful in rounding up the necessary three votes, then he faces the prospect that the vote will have a side factor of being a referendum on whether or not he made the correct call for his personal political future.


A landslide defeat for a tax issue would not bode well for his chance to get re-elected for a full term come November, 2011.  On the other hand, if a tax issue passes, then he will be in a good position to be elected to a full term.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

FORMER CANTON MUNICIPAL COURT CLERK AND FORMER STARK COUNTY COMMISSIONER TOM HARMON IS BACK?



 REVISED:  01/28/2010 AT 10:30 AM

Harmon retired from being Canton Municipal Court clerk of courts several years ago, only to be appointed county commissioner by Stark Democrats (succeeding newly appointed Ohio Lottery official Gayle Jackson).  He got retained by voters in November, 2008, only to resign on December 1, 2009.

Well, former clerk of courts/commissioner Harmon is back once again according to The Report's source.

This time it is not in an official capacity, but rather to head up local attorney  Elizabeth Burick's proposed Canton-Stark County Agricultural & Livestock Expo Arena.

Burick is a well connected Stark County Democrat who is a horse lover who hails from Lake Township.

Yesterday, Steve Paquette, president of the Stark Development Board was at the regular weekly meeting of the commissioners to give the recommendations of the Board for recipients of Recover Zone Economic Development bonds which are part of the provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed recently by Congress to stimulate the American economy.

The connection?  Harmon, Burick, Stark commissioners and the Stark Development Board.

One of Paquette's recommendations was that the Burick initiative get $500,000 in bond backing to aid in the Burick's nonprofit corporation effort to raise $7.5 million to build a horse show expo arena on the Stark County fairgrounds.

Harmon, of course, is a former commissioner (as outlined above) who was pushing the Burick project while he was yet commissioner.  In fact, he represented to yours truly that the expo arena was his idea of Stark County economic development.

But the SCPR is not buying the spin.

No, it appears to The Report that it is a quest for Burick to realize her individual dream with government assistance.  The proposal falls far short of what it ought to be (a la Clarke County) to be a major economic factor for Canton and all of Stark County.

If the "Burick Plan" was scaled up to redo the entire Stark County fairgrounds complex on a grand scale - over time, it could be a "real" boost to Canton's and Stark County's economy and bring many jobs to the area.

Stark County commissioners should establish a working relationship with Clarke County's commissioners and other Clarke County involved folks to reconfigure the Clarke County concept to take advantage of the Stark County agricultural community's unique qualities.

More about Harmon.

According The Report's source, Harmon is to head up the Burick project.  The Report further understands that Harmon's role has the backing of Stark Commissioner Steve Meeks.

Meeks has been meeting with Harmon, among others, on the Burick version of an expo project.

For several years the SCPR has been prodding the Stark commissioners (pre-Meeks) to get something going on economic development.  The Report was encouraged by Harmon's rhetoric on taking office in mid-2007.

While commissioner, Harmon never did deliver on his promise to produce economic development in Stark County.  But he did vote to "impose" a county sales/use tax on Stark Countians.

What about Paquette and the Stark Development Board?

While a number of plans were submitted to the Stark Development Board, only Hercules convention center project and the Burick plan survived the vetting.

The SCPR is skeptical of the "vetting" that Paquette claimed the Stark Development Board did.  The Report came away from the presentation made yesterday with the feeling that there was more to the selection of Hercules and the expo arena than presented by Paquette.

The Report will be digging more into this matter.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

SO YOU THINK YOU'RE SMART ABOUT GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS. TAKE A "CITIZENSHIP" TEST. FIND OUT HOW YOU STACK UP WITH HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS?


 
A reader of the Stark County Political Report sent yours truly an email that links up with a website that administers a "citizenship" test.


The SCPR thanks the contributor.


"Take the Test," see how knowledgeable you really are?


CLICK HERE to get to the test.

SCPR ON "DELUCA IN THE MORNING" Q92 (92.5 ON YOUR FM DIAL). HEAR OLSON'S TAKE ON BOSLEY RUNNING FOR STATE REP AND MANY OTHER STARK COUNTY POLITICAL RACES AND ISSUES



ATTENTION STARK COUNTY PROSECUTOR JOHN FERRERO. MASSILLON LAW DEPARTMENT SHOWS IT KNOWS HOW TO HANDLE "POLITICALLY SENSITIVE" CASES.



On December 7, 2009, the wife of a Massillon government official is alleged to have broken into and entered a Massillon business.

What did the Massillon Law Department do?
The evidence was reviewed by Canton city prosecutors to avoid any potential conflict with Massillon city officials. (emphasis added) (see The Rep, Chief's wife faces felony theft charge, January 25, 2009).

Such is exactly what Stark County prosecutor John Ferrero should have done when a politically connected Marlboro Township trustee turned in a politically connected police chief and his son into county officials (starting with Ferrero's office) for what was nothing more than a internal township administration misunderstanding back in January of 2009.

But he didn't.

No, he didn't.  Ferrero allowed a misunderstanding to turn in to felony charges.  Wow!

The SCPR believes that Ferrero's failure to refer the matter to an out of Stark County prosecutor for review  was utterly irresponsible. 

After Judge Lee Sinclair bounced Ferrero's chief prosecutor out on his flimsy case after he had put on his case (folks, Dennis Barr got "slam dunked), one would have thought Ferrero would have made a public apology for his miscalculations.

But he didn't.

Accordingly, Stark County voters should be biding their time to send Prosecutor Ferrero a message come November, 2012,

What message?

"We are voting you out of office because we don't think you are qualified - in the ethical sense of the job - to be county prosecutor."  That's the message!

Ferrero is likely banking on the notion that all will be forgotten over time.

But it won't be.

The SCPR will continue to bring the Ferrero failure to public attention in relevant contexts.

An unrepentant Prosecutor John Ferrero should not continue to be the county prosecutor.

What he allowed to happened to the chief and son under his watch is fair warning to us that such could happen to any one of us.

Indeed, accountability is in order come November, 2012!!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

FOLLOW UP: ONLY 3 OF 17 STARK COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICTS APPLY FOR SORELY NEEDED FUNDS. DO LOCAL TEACHER UNIONS STAND IN WAY? ONLY ONE STARK COUNTY LOCAL UNION (CANTON LOCAL - AKA CANTON SOUTH) FULLY COOPERATED? HMM?



Back on January 19th, the SCPR published a blog dealing with the Canton Professional Teachers Union (CPEA) being the primary reason that Canton City Schools (CCS) passed on applying for up to $3 million in federal grants (stimulus funds) through a U.S. Department of Education Race to the Top program funneled through state departments of education (ODE - in Ohio).

The SCPR was getting different accounts of the CPEA's refusal to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was required to be filed with the ODE about two weeks ago.

James Carman, who is a board member for the Canton City Schools, pointed the finger at the CPEA and its president Pam Jackson.

Jackson told The Report that Carman has it wrong.  She said the decision not to apply for the grant was a "joint" decision between her (as the representative of the CPEA) and Doctor Michele Evans, superintendent of the Canton City Schools.


CLICK HERE to get up to speed with the prior statements of Carman and Jackson.

Yesterday, the SCPR received a phone call from Dr. Evans giving her version.




Evans' statement in and of itself was no help on clearing up what doubt lingers as to whether or not "the failure to apply" was a "joint" decision or totally the doing of the CPEA.  One has to understand that superintendents MUST maintain good working relationships with their bargaining units in order get anything done in local school districts.  Accordingly, on its face, Evans' statement was as ambiguous as this highly intelligent school administrator could make it.

But yours truly is skilled in "reading between the lines."  So what follows is the SCPR's interpretation of what Dr. Evans was really saying.

In the opinion of yours truly, Superintendent Evans was "ready, willing and able" to sign the MOU as instructed by her board of education.  However, the point became "moot" when discussions with Jackson made it clear to Evans that CPEA president Jackson was not going to sign the MOU.

The tragedy of all this is that the CPEA could have had it both ways.  If the Canton City School system is awarded a grant, and the requirements to implement the standards of Race to the Top proved (when fully known) not compatible with the productive functioning of the CCS, then the collective (the board, the administration and the union) could have said "thanks, but no thanks."

A Ohio Department of Education official told Superintendent Evans and the unions such, but the ODE was not agreeable to having such language put in the required Memorandum of Understanding.

Now the CCS and the union are in the position of hoping that Ohio is not granted participation in the first round of the Race to the Top funding and that there is a second round to get in on come June, 2010.

Another wrinkle to this "tail wagging the dog" scenario cropped up in the Marlington and East Canton school systems.  In those districts, the local unions did sign on, but insisted on inserting the "opt out" right language in the MOU which is a violation of ODE grant submission rules and therefore it is very likely that their applications will be rejected.

Beyond Canton Local, Marlington and East Canton,  fourteen Stark County School districts have rejected altogether applying for the stimulus monies.  Among the fourteen is the Fairless school system which is in a major financial crisis.  Why would Fairless fail to apply?

As an aside:  It will be interesting to track new school board member Charles Snyder - of "Vote No for Increased Taxes" fame on the Stark County commissioner imposed 0.5 percent sales/use tax increase and his actions on the Fairless financial crisis.

Another interesting case is the Northwest Local School District.  If there is such a thing as school district twins - Northwest and Fairless fit the bill.

Northwest is a district that has not had new revenues approved by voters for 10 years.  Last night the Northwest Board of Education voted to put a 5 year, 1% income tax levy on the ballot in May's primary election.  And yet Northwest failed to apply for Race to the Top monies. 

Stetler, the superintendent at Northwest,  tells the SCPR that Northwest chose not to apply because the money the district stood to get was not worth the effort and that getting the funds would subject Northwest to undesirable federal controls.   Moreover, Stetler said that he/the board never got to the point of asking the local teachers union, but that he fully expected that the union would have been troublesome.

An interesting side to this whole discussion is that the Ohio Education Association and the Ohio Federation of Teachers (both statewide union organizations) support applying for Race to the Top grants.

It does, in the final analysis, come down to the reality that changing how we do education in Stark County, Ohio and the nation is - to a large degree - in the hands of local teachers unions.

In the public mind, this kind of power in the hands of local teachers unions is not sustainable.

The SCPR believes that over time, the voting public will tighten and tighten the financial noose around the necks of school districts until local unions let go of their refusal to do meaningful change.

While the local teachers are warring against transformation; this is a battle they cannot win in a tough economy that is going not to rebound to its former glory anytime soon, if ever.  Because in the end the taxpaying public will have their way.

Local teachers unions think they are at war with school boards and superintendents, but they are not.  The general public is sick and tired of the poor results that are coming from public education and the public is fighting back.

This war is between local teachers unions and the tax paying public.

Right now, Stark County's teachers through their unions are choosing to be part of the problem.

If they want to survive long term; they had better get up and running on being a part of the solution!!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

ON STARK COUNTY'S 9-1-1 PLAN: GONZALEZ "OUT SMARTS & OUT MANEUVERS" NIMISHILLEN FIRE CHIEF RICH PETERSON?


UPDATE:  01/26/2010 AT 10:30 AM

Today, the SCPR received an email reponding to The Report's assessment that Randay Gonzalez chairman of the Stark County Council of Governments (SCOG) 9-1-1 had prevailed over Rich Peterson in their battle over which plan was going to be adopted by SCOG.

Here is an excerpted part of Peterson's email to the SCPR which contains the Nimishillen Township fire chief's response:





ORIGINAL BLOG

The battle over 9-1-1 is finished.

The SCPR declares "the Gonzalez Plan - as modified," the winner!!!

To the politically observing Stark County Political Report, Stark County has just witnessed the "Gonzalez Plan" coming back from the dead.  It was two weeks ago or so that the SCPR was told by North Canton fire chief John Bacon that the fire chiefs had gotten behind Niimishillen fire chief Rich Peterson's Plan and would be presenting  the "Peterson Plan" to the Stark County Council of Government's (SCOG) Technical Advisory Committee as an alternative to the "Gonzalez Plan."

CLICK HERE to see more detail on the ephemeral "Peterson Plan" victory.

The official line is that the interested parties have found "a third way" via a - slight - modification of the Gonzalez Plan made by Stark County Emergency Management"s director Tim Warstler.

The gist of the modification?

In the words of a person in a position to know, to wit:
Tim Warstler told me we could do remote hosting instead of primary or secondary PSAP's and the equipment could be assimilated into the new center when it's built.
Moreover, the Gonzalez Modified Plan will go ahead without all users of the system on the 800 megahertz system (which the SCPR thinks is a huge mistake that will cost Stark County's countywide 9-1-1 dearly in tens of thousands of dollars in lost grant opportunities).

The Gonzalez Plan triumph is a testament to the political power wielded by Randy Gonzalez in Stark County.

Rich Peterson (the "Peterson Plan) gave all he hah, but he is no match for Stark County Democratic Party chairman Randy Gonzalez and Stark County commissioner Todd Bosley.

A heavy irony plays in this match-up.  It can be argued that Todd Bosley would not be Stark County commissioner without having latched onto the "Peterson Plan" for fixing 9-1-1 when he ran against sitting Republican commissioner Richard Regula.

Gonzalez, being the consummate politician he is, co-opted Bosley and brought on board Gonzalez's countywide plan (Gonzalez in his role as chairman of the 9-1-1 Governance Committee of the Stark County Council of Governments (SCOG).

Gonzalez deserves credit for finessing Bosley into proposing a political career threatening "imposed" 0.5 percent sales/use tax.

How's that?

Bosley probably thinks the imposed tax idea was his.  But the SCPR isn't buying that take.

Gonzalez did not go to Bosley and say:  "this is what I want you to do."

No,  Gonzalez is far too politically sophisticated a politician to do that.  He merely talked and talked and talked about needing money to get the 9-1-1 fix underway.  Bosley seeing fixing 9-1-1 as being the gateway to higher political office jumped on the opportunity to coincidently please Gonzalez and boost his own political career.

Boost his own political career?  How about the "political career threatening" stuff above?

Well, at the time Bosley thought to himself "Eureka! (I've found it)":  the perfect plan to come up with the funding for countywide 9-1-1 and to put booster rockets on my political career.

Bosley did not think that "imposing" the tax was much of a political risk at the time.  He had vetted "to himself" his plan and came out convinced it was a sure winner in every aspect.

Peterson, by now, is astounded that his former political ally had been lured off the Peterson Plan onto the Gonzalez Plan.  But Peterson is a fire chief; he is not a politician.  And that reality has been vexatious to Stark's well meaning, largely non-political fire chiefs.

An outstanding example of a non-political guy who just wants the best for all Stark Countians is Tom Burgasser, chief in Massillon.  Tom wants to get to the bottom of things, get answers to the unanswered questions and move forward in the most efficient and effective way to serve all of Stark County.

Burgasser leaves the politics to the likes of Bosley, Gonzalez and the Nimishillen township trustees (who, by the way are controlled by Nimishillen fire chief Rich Peterson).

On Saturday, yours truly was talking with a highly respected source who has a keen intellect and the subject of Randy Gonzalez came up.

The Report's observation:  "Randy Gonzalez has won the 9-1-1 battle which is a demonstration of his ability to outsmart and outmaneuver his adversaries."

Response:  "If he uses those skills for the public good, it is a good thing."

As readers of the SCPR know, The Report believes that Gonzalez does a lot of self-serving for himself, his relatives, his political allies and loyalists - on the taxpayer's dime.

But on the 9-1-1 issue, the SCPR endorses the Gonzalez Plan as modified.

As an aside, to make the point of how Gonzalez  covered all bases in his maneuvering on 9-1-1, the SCPR takes note of the question that Commissioner Bosley raised with respect to the "promised" 9-1-1 share of "to be collected" imposed tax which expires mid-year this year because Stark County voters rejected retention of the tax this past November.

Ex-commissioner Harmon, before he vacated office on December 1, 2009, teamed up with Commissioner Pete Ferguson to divert all of the "to be collected" revenues into the county general fund.  Bosley portested loud and clear and  asked "what about our promise?"

Enter Steve Meeks. (Harmon replacement appointed by the Stark County Democratic Central Committee - controlled by Randy Gonzalez)

Political insiders understand that Gonzalez and Meeks are indeed joined at the hip.  Gonzalez (who wears many, many "political power" hats) is fiscal officer for Jackson Township and a former Jackson trustee.  Meeks is a former guess what?  You have it.  Yes, a former Jackson Township trustee.

So these two have a poiitical relationship that makes it hard to know who is "really" commissioner; Meeks or Gonzalez.

As a sidenote,  it appears that Meeks in more ensconced in Stark County government than the SCPR had known.  The Report learned recently that Meeks' daughter works for Stark County clerk of courts Nancy Reinbold (the wife of former Common Pleas judge Richard Reinbold).
It appears that Reinbold's office may be a haven for family, friends and loyalists of the Stark County Democratic Party leadership heirarcy.

The connection?  Phil Giavasis, the clerk of courts for Canton Municipal Court - formerly the Common Pleas clerk of courts, who handed that job off to Nancy Reinbold).

So where does Gonzalez come in?

He is Phil Giavasis' chief deputy.

Interesting, no?

Back to Gonzalez and his modified 9-1-1 plan.

Surely Gonzalez would prevail on Meeks to vote with Bosley to reverse the Harmon initiative?

Not at all.

Gonzalez wants Meeks to succeed as county commissioner, above all else.  Meeks is Gonzalez's ticket to continued and extended political power in Stark County like Stark County has not seen in many a year.

Gonzalez knows that Stark County is facing a financial crisis of epic proportions in 2011.  The SCPR has heard the county's administrator make this point ad nauseam in the many county commissioner meetings.

So what is Gonzalez to do?

No doubt, the Gonzalez Modified Plan could use the money.  For one thing, because of the deficiency in revenues, countywide  9-1-1 will not be able to purchase 800 megahertz mobile radio for all emergency forces to be on the same communication system.  Second, in order to fianance basic operations,  countywide 9-1-1 dispatch will be exacting a "user" fee from all of Stark County political subdivisions (villages, cities and townships).

Well, being the bright guy he is, Gonzalez put his pencil to paper and figured it out.

"A 9-1-1 countywide plan which is a marked improvement over what exists, but not quite what it ought to be; can be cobbled together and the Stark County public will be appreciative - with the money we now have."

"Hmm?  Now,  I (Gonzalez) I think I can give Steve Meeks a pass on supporting Bosley's motion to undo Harmon's move and satisfy both of my concerns."

In fact, the SCPR received an email from Gonzalez (sent at 1:33 p.m. on that day's commissioner meeting) responding to The Report's question on this very matter saying that countywide 9-1-1 could proceed to fruition without the $2.75 million.

Before the commissioners meeting, the SCPR is told that Gonzalez's son Kody (chief deputy for Recorder Rick Campbell)  was huddled up with Steve Meeks immediately before the meeting in which Bosley's motion was rejected by Commissioner Pete Ferguson and Steve Meeks.

Hmm?  Last minute instructions on the vote?

The SCPR takes Bosley at his word that he was sincere about wanting to keep the commissioners' promise made in December, 2008; but as Steve Meeks said: (consistent with Gonzalez to SCPR email) "I was not part of the decision.  I have been told by Randy Gonzalez that 9-1-1 countywide  can get by without the $2.75 million; therefore, I stand behind putting the money in the county general fund (paraphrase)"

Now from the Peterson side.

When Rich Peterson lost Bosley's support for his plan, the "Peterson Plan" for a number of primary and secondary PSAP's was doomed.

He tried to work the "Vote No Increased Tax Committee," and the Stark County fire chiefs to give his plan new life.  And he nearly succeeded.

Peterson's major failure?

He did not figure on Gonzalez having strong ideas about how Stark County should get to countywide 9-1-1.  Peterson refused to dialog with Gonzalez et al.  Moreover, he convinced Nimishillen Township trustees Gress, Lynch and Schafer to refuse engaging SCOG officials (which is another way of saying Gonzalez) on transitioning into a countywide system and the role CenCom (Nimishillen's dispatch center) could be integrated into the countywide plan.

A major, major mistake.

Now Peterson and Nimishillen will take what Gonzalez dishes out.

Knowing Gonzalez to be the highly skilled, intelligent (contrasted to his predecessor Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.) and consummate politician he is, the SCPR believes, that although he won the battle with Peterson; he will be gracious in victory and make the change as painless as possible for the folks in Nimishillen.

So there you have it folks.  A thumbnail sketch of the political ins and outs of getting to a countywide 9-1-1 system.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A SCPR PREDICTION: AT MONDAY'S 10:30 AM PRESS CONFERENCE, STARK COUNTY COMMISSIONER TODD BOSLEY WILL INFORM STARK COUNTIANS THAT HE IS RUNNING AGAINST REPUBLICAN TODD SNITCHLER FOR THE OHIO HOUSE - 50TH DISTRICT SEAT



The SCPR projects that Stark County commissioner Todd Bosley will announce to the Stark County public that he is, indeed, tossing his hat in the ring for the right to be the Democratic Party nominee to run against incumbent Republican Todd Snitchler who currently represents Ohio's 50th House District.

Bosley has called a press conference on Monday morning at 10:30 a.m. at the  AFL-CIO's Golden Lodge located on Harrison in Canton to annouce whether he will seek to be re-elected as Stark County commissioner or opt to take on state Representative Todd Snitchler in Ohio's 50th House district.


 
Bosley does have a potential opponent in the Democratic primary.  However, with the big guns in the Ohio House Democratic Caucus lined up behind Bosley (even though Bosley is not the darling of some of Stark's organized Democratic leadership);  readers can be sure that Ohio House Speaker Armond Budish, Ohio Democratic Party chair Chris Redfern and the like will not tolerate any wandering off the party reservation in this race.

The Ohio Democratic House Caucus is banking on Bosley to take away the Snitchler-held seat and will put more money into this race than they did in Celeste DeHoff's race against Snitchler.  Moreover, if he gets elected, the SCPR believes he will surface to the top of the Ohio House Democratic leadership in quick order.

Snitchler really has his work cut out for him to retain his seat.  Last time he relied heavily on the Young Republicans (YR) to do his on-the-pavement campaigning for him.  With this being a year in which Stark Countians will be electing two commissioners, an auditor, and voting for a number of state offices including the governorship, the SCPR believes that Snitchler will not be able to command the YR support and attention he did in 2008.

Bosley's main problem in this race will be his decision to "impose" the 0.5 of a percent sales/use tax increase.  However, it will not be the concern in this race that it would have been had he opted to run for re-election as commissioner.

Bosley is a master at corralling campaign workers and The Report believes his on-the-street presence will dwarf Snitchler's.  Moreover, Snitchler had better be an exemplary citizen.  If he is not, Bosley will dig it out for all to know.  Just ask Richard Regula.

Snitchler will be on the defensive as Bosley bobs and weaves with him about his inability to get anything done in his two years as a member of the minority in the Ohio House.  Expect Bosley to dog Snitchler about his "Tax Day, Tea Day Party" (April 15, 2009) statement that Ohio should not take federal stimulus money.

While one might agree with Snitchler that relying on stimulus money is not sustainable over the long haul, it is the only game in town.  GOP gubernatorial candidate John Kasich's with his "let's do away with the income tax" (about 40% of Ohio's budget) goody which some experts say will generate a $12 million deficit in Kasich's first year (if elected), won't help Snitchler to get on the offense.

Undoubtedly, Snitchler will try to make Bosley defend Governor Strickland's failed promise to fix Ohio's public education funding problems as well as ofther Strickland administration goofs.

Stark Countians are in for a hot political year.

And the Bosley/Snitchler race will be at the top of their interest.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A BETTER FIT FOR NORTH CANTON MAYOR DAVID HELD?



Mayor David Held has confirmed to the SCPR that he is a possible replacement for Green-resident Mayor Taylor as Ohio auditor.  Taylor decided not to run again "apparently" because John Kasich asked her to be his running mate in his effort to unseat Democrat and Governor Ted Strickland in November.

"Apparently?"

Yes.

Another factor is that Taylor was going to face a re-election race with a "well-moneyed" Democrat (isn't that interesting) come the fall election.

Could that be at least a partial reason that Taylor decided to make the switch?

Held is under consideration by the Ohio Republican Party to be its candidate for the office Taylor is vacating.

Held says the decision of whether or not he is to be the Republican nominee should be made within the next week or so.  He is to meet with Ohio GOP chairman Kevin DeWine and other important Columbus-based Republican politicians soon.

In the opinion of the SCPR, Held is a well-intentioned but largely ineffective mayor of North Canton.   Many of North Canton's council members view him as being a weak mayor who runs off too much at the mouth.

The latest flak flying between Council and Held revolves around several matters:  one being Held's request that North Canton's law director investigate the conduct of Councilman Jeff Davies vis-a-vis certain North Canton officials and employees; Held's statements about the city's dumping of "street sweepings" in apparent violation of Ohio law,  and his defense of certain city administration officials who are out-of-favor with North Canton Council.

If one digs even deeper, a whole array of differences surface as having occurred between Held and Council members and other North Canton administration officials (previous administrations) when Held was the city administrator.

So that led to the SCPR telling Held in yesterday's conversation that, perhaps, being a state official would be a better fit for him.

And he would, if elected, be much more powerful in promulgating and enforcing state auditing standards.  Moreover, he would sit on the state reapportionment board, and, if the Republican control a majority of the board, be in a position to affect how Ohio U.S. congressional seats are drawn (after the 2010 census) as well as Ohio's state House of Represenative and Senate seats would be configured.

Even if Republicans do tap him to run as the GOP candidate for secretary of state, he has a huge obstale to overcome.

On the surface Pepper is no one special.  He is president of the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners and served previously on the Cincinnati City Council.

However, he does have an important pedigree.  He is the son of John E. Pepper, Jr., chairman of the board of Disney and former Procter and Gamble official out of Cincinnati.

What do the Pepper bios mean to David Held if he is selected to be the Republican nominee for Ohio auditor

First, an idenity standpoint, Held will be at some disadvantage because Pepper has been on Cincinnati City Council and is president, now, of the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners which contains a larger population base than Held's geographical base.

But there is not that much of a difference that Held could not overcome with some expert guidance out of the Ohio Republican Party.

The second diaadvantage is huge, however.  Pepper has let it be known that he will spend about $5 million in the race to become Ohio's next auditor.

With an effective campaign, Held could actually turn running against "big money" into an advantage.

Friday, January 22, 2010

STARK COUNTY DOG WARDEN GIVEN ULTIMATUM: RESIGN OR BE FIRED?






 UPDATE:  01/23/2010  9:30 AM



Very sad attempt the volunteers from the pound made to save the Dog wardens job on the Rep. 

They went from sidestepping the woman who got mauled to making fun of peoples spelling and not to mention downing the commissioners for doing there job.


The question is for the commissioners now do you really need this type of organization within the pound anymore?



I find it absolutely disgusting that Mr. Gibson is being treated this way, especially by his "friends".  He has done more for that pound than any Warden in years past.  
 
It is unfortunate for the animals that the staff that actually handles them can do basically anything they want without the threat of being fired because of their Union affiliation.  
 
How many violations does it take to relieve a Deputy of his duties?  All it takes is Evertt (sic) having a "big mouth"?  I am extremely disappointed with our Commissioners. 
 
I hope they remember, what goes around, comes around....sometime around election time. 
 
Jill Kirsch 



UPDATE:  01/22/2010 - 5:30 PM

Two emails received by the SCPR of supporters of Warden Gibson and the operations of the Stark County Dog Pound:

First:



Toy's for the dog's is a good idea but the Deputies are not the ones who take care of the dog's all day it is Mike Evans the Assistant pounds keeper. The towels that I saw in the cages are doing more harm then good by collecting bacteria and disease those cages where made to move waste and urine THROUGH down the drain not hold it. If your going to tell the story please get it right the Deputies clean 1 time in the morning and then they are gone all day and the pound is left to the Assistant pounds keeper and Pounds keeper.

Now I would think the toy's should be in the cages during the day as long as the person who is taking care of them is watching because at night when unsupervised dogs tend to get a bit upset that no one is around and the chance of then chewing and swallowing the toy is greater. My suggestion is if ...  is doing his job then there should be no problem with the dogs.

Again I don't see where this is the Deputies fault,Maybe people don't understand the difference so I will help.

Deputies clean in the morning then leave to do there job on the road.

Pounds Keeper and Assistant Pounds keeper stay in the pound to handle the costumers and take care of the dog's there, The Deputies come back at the end of the day from what I observed.

Observer

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------


Second:

Hi Martin,  

I read today's post about the dog warden situation with dismay.  

Whether a person has a "big mouth" seems to be irrelevant as it concerns the issue of dealing with the number of unwanted animals.  

Dismissing a person from a position that has statistically reduced the euthanasia rate from 50% (under previous warden Wright) to 16% (2009 figure) seems to me more important than a person's poorly chosen remark, if indeed he even said it.



Karen L. Kirsch
Freelance Writer 


 ORIGINAL BLOG


The Stark County Political Report has confirmed with Stark County dog warden Evert Gibson that he has been issued an ultimatum by the Stark County Commissioners (via county administrator Mike Hanke) that he has until January 27, 2010 to resign or be fired.

As readers of the SCPR know, The Report launched an investigation of Gibson handling of the Stark County Dog pound after receiving numerous complaints of how he is managing the operation of the pound.

The Report understands that the commissioners have been working with Gibson for a number of years to resolve his management style deficiencies, but commissioners now have come to the point that they think there is no resolving Gibson's shortcomings at the pound.

One supporter of Gibson has pointed out to the pound that while Gibson may have some management style problems, he has dramatically improved conditions for the dogs housed at and processed through the pound during his administration.

While Gibson did confirm to the SCPR the ultimatum, he would not say what his reaction will be.




Thursday, January 21, 2010

HAVEN'T HEARD FROM SCHULMAN & CANTON CITY COUNCIL ABOUT COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR ADAM HERMAN LATELY? GUESS WHY?



A few weeks back Canton City Council president Alan Schulman grilled Mayor Willaim J. Healy, II for keeping the "useful - to Healy, but not necessary" Communications Director Adam Herman in employment in the light of the administration laying off firefighters.

After the meeting, according to a source who says she witnessed the exchange, additional words of the 4-letter variety flew between Schulman and Healy.

Healy reportedly told Schulman to never, never again embarrass him in public.

Another source tells the SCPR that as insurance that Schulman will never again humiliate him publicly over Herman, Healy let it be known to the council president that should he ever again make Herman an issue that Healy would terminate Herman as communications director but not to leave city employment.

No, Herman would remain as the chief of Canton's Management Information System (MIS) department.

All this makes sense to the SCPR.

Recently, The Report sent Herman a email question about who (in terms of a name and a phone number) could yours truly talk to in order to get more information about a media report that Perry Township trustees were talking with Canton officials about Canton providing dispatching services to the township.

Here, in part, was Herman's response:


As readers can see, it is a typical Herman "smart a_ _" comment that he apparently learned in Columbus when he was a assistant communications person with the Ohio Democratic House Caucus.

Readers will also recall that Healy was a short time (after having ousted fellow Democrat and now Councilperson Mary Cirelli back in 2004) a state representative.  This connection between Healy and Herman may be the explanation as to why Healy is fanatically loyal to Herman and will never, ever allow Council or Schulman to browbeat him into letting Herman go.

For a little more history on Herman the SCPR did a little googling on him because yours truly was reminded by Pat DeLuca of "Deluca in the Morning" - Q92 that Herman emails had surfaced in the former attorney general Marc Dann brouhaha that resulted in Dann's resignation not long after taking office in January, 2007.

By the way, you can hear yours truly on Deluca's show next Thursday at 9:05 a.m. at 92.5 on your FM dial.

Back to Herman:

It seems that Herman in talking (via email) with some Dann administration folks, thought it would be therapeutic that people swear in the workplace.

Here is part of the email:



Hmm?

Sounds like a fine crowd we have at Canton City Hall, doesn't it!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

STARK GOP EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE REJECTS CHANGE. BRADEN RE-ELECTED TO STARK BOARD OF ELECTIONS



The SCPR has learned that the Stark County Republican Party executive committee has rejected the bid of former Stark County commissioner Jane Vignos to replace Curt Braden as one of two GOP representatives on the Stark County Board of Elections (BOE).

The Report has also learned that last night's session held at the Hampton Inn out in the Belden Village area was packed.

But after the "private" vote (interesting inasmuch as public dollars are paid to the person selected to serve on the BOE), Braden will remain according to a SCPR source.

The Report's source, a person who wanted to see a change, says that going in - proponents of terminating Braden  - knew it was a stacked deck (created by Braden and party chairman Jeff Matthews) in favor of the former Stark GOP chairman. 

The SCPR was told that many Stark County Republicans (most of whom are not on the executive committee) want diversity in the make up of the organized Stark Republicans and that local Republicans are tired of losing countywide.  According to the SCPR's source, many Repubicans blame Braden and Matthews and their uninspired leadership which they believe has lead to the decline of the party.

With Braden of North Canton's second Ward remaining on the board, North Canton Republicans dominate the county Republican organization.  The second member William Cline and party chairman Jeff Matthews are from North Canton.

Vignos' loss probably means the end of a storied political career.  The Report understands that she has long wanted to be a member of the Stark BOE.

Will all the trouble that Stark Democrats are inflicting on themselves these days, they can take comfort that they will likely continue to dominate countywide offices for the foreseeable future given the turn of events at last night's Republican conclave.

The SCPR believes that the Stark County Young Republicans offer the only hope for Stark Republicans that more Republicans will be elected across Stark County in the immediate future.

Todd Snitchler (state representative - the 50th), Mark Butterworth (Canton councilamn - 8th Ward) and Scott Hawes (Plain township trustee) are in office, in large part, because of the efforts of Stark's Young Republicans.

An overarching question remains.

How long will Braden et al  allow the GOP youngsters to flourish?  The YR's make the overall Stark Republican organization look moribund.  Will the Braden and Matthews egos abide being shown up much longer?

The SCPR believes that the Braden victory last night was "a last hurrah" for Braden and his friends remaining in power within the Stark GOP.

The Report projects that younger leadership will take hold soon among Stark Republicans and do a takeover of the Stark GOP.

Then and only then will the Stark Republican Party be competitive countywide once again!

IS THE NORTHWEST BOARD OF EDUCATION "REALLY" LISTENING? SEE VIDEO OF BOARD/CITIZEN INTERACTION.



Last evening the Northwest Local School District held its much ballyhooed public event in which the board of education met with about 380 Canal Fulton, Lawrence Township, North Lawrence and New Franklin residents to get their input on an "action plan" geared to restoring trust in the board which the board wants to parlay into a passage of  issue to bring new revenues into the district.

The structure that Northwest school officials set up for receiving input was effectively done as evidenced by the engaged participation of community persons in the ten to a "roundtable" format.

These groups of ten selected a leader who tallied the preferences of participants on the five highest priorities of each group (about 38 in number) which was then communicated in summary form to the board in a post-table-talk general session.

One of the Northwest School's constituents can be seen on the video at the end of this blog telling the Northwest Board of Education (in the general session at the end of the evening) that since they are "new" (all except Steven Jones), the community needs to give them a chance to show that they are trustworthy.

But will the community heed the admonition?

It might.  However, there could not be a tougher economic/financial climate for even a "new" board to climb that hurdle.

Take a look at the May, 2009 levy election results:



The Stark County portion (the largest) of the election was evenly divided on the levy whereas the vote went down by nearly 300 votes in Summit County (New Franklin).

Assuming the same number of voters in May, 2010 (which it appears will be the date the Northwest Board of Education will pick to put an issue before the voters), the "new" board line appeal will need to attract about 150 votes from the "against" side.

Can this be done?

Remember the financial crisis in the country did not materialize until the fall of 2009.  The SCPR believes whether or not individual Northwest voters were directly affected by the crisis, the crisis set up a "hunker down" mentality on tax increases  and it will be a tough sell to get any new levies passed in Stark County no matter how sorely new revenues are needed, even if  trust improves in a given locality such as Northwest.

And the SCPR does believe that the distrust of the "old" board was the major factor in prior Northwest levy defeats.

The opposite question now is this.  What is the "new" board's track record on the "trust" issue.

As can been seen in the accompanying video, it appears that there is an improvement, if one believes those presented in the video are representative of the Northwest community.

The Report believes the "new" board has done a number of things that suggest they are still trying to manipulate rather than to openly, honestly and transparently connect with consumers of Northwest's educational services.

What things?

First, there is the "community survey" done a number of months ago .  The SCPR's gauge of the survey is that the questions asked were the first cousin of a "political push polling."

A push poll is where questions are formed to elicit a desired response.

The problem with push polling is that it often is an exercise in fooling one's self.

When the "real" election occurs, believers of the push poll are stunned when the actual election produces a different result.

Second, there is the New Franklin factor.

Obviously,  in voting 2 to 1 against the May, 2009 Northwest levy try, Summit County constituents of the Northwest schools demonstrate that they are less than thrilled with the school system.

Could it be that the distrust is because there is no Summit County member of the board?

While the board was considering new members for vacancies that occurred over the last year or so, why wasn't a priority of the Jones-led board getting an eligible Summit County member on board (no pun intended)?  Think maybe the folks in the Summit County side of the the district might feel just a little bit disconnected?

Third, there is the seeming manipulations of the calendar on the schools/community interaction set up by the Northwest board by resolution on December 15, 2009.

It appeared to the SCPR that maybe the board wanted to downplay the committee meetings (committees working on formulating actions plans) held on January 11th.  The official explanation is that the "on," then "off," and then "back-on" again calendar scenario was inadvertent.  But was it?

Could be that the volleyball-esque calendar miscue was inadvertent, but given the history of distrust in the Northwest district, such incidents are bound to fuel suspicions that manipulations are still the preferred way of doing business in Northwest. 

Fourth, there  were disclaimers published in the general news media stating that the meetings of the 11th and 18th had nothing to do with a levy.  Moreover, it was touted that Superintendent Stetler was an "incidental," at most,  player in the "action plan" process.

Viewers of the video included with this blog will see that the "levy" was on everybody's mind at last night's meeting.  And Stetler was more than incidentally involved.

This "you don't see what your eyes and mind tell you that you are seeing" routine is insulting and is a ominous sign that with a "new" board; perhaps, very little, if anything has changed in terms fostering trust.

Other worrisome signs include:  the Board's failure to solicit applicants for vacant board seats, in an open-to-all, transparent way and the board's shifting of millage (no vote of the people, please) to satisfy the district's mandatory share of the Ohio's Schools Facilities Commission funding of school construction.

The foregoing are troublesome, but not necessarily fatal to restoring trust.  But the Board have further adjustments to make.

There appear to be three members of the "new" board that are more "trust" engendering than others.

Look at the numbers below of the November, 2009 vote whereby all five members were up for election.  It took a "perfect  storm" of events for this election phenomenon to occur.  Such is a rarity, indeed.



Notice that Nicole Metzger is the most trusted person on the Board.  Next is Rita Gearhart and then Jim Gindlesberger.  Hmm?

Who is at the low end of the "trust" spectrum?

Carryover "old" board member Steven Jones and Bruce Beadle who has a history of home schooling his children.

It is obvious that Jones and Beadle should be shuttled to the background during any levy try and Nicole Metzger advanced to be the lead Board person.

Yours truly listened to Metzger at the candidates night in October, 2009 and noted that she, by force of  her personality, engenders trust.  However, she doesn't appear to be all that comfortable in being front and center.

Hmm?

Lack of ego?

A refreshing change.

Metzger could be the answer as the person to put in the public eye if Northwest is to have a "new beginning" in restoring trust among the constituents of the Northwest Local School District.

Here is the video of participants in the Northwest community input night giving their and their groups' view of what Northwest needs to do to achieve a restoration of community trust.


 

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

THE CANTON PROFESSIONAL EDUCATORS' ASSOCIATION IS COSTING CANTON CITY SCHOOLS AS MUCH AS $3 MILLION?

 UPDATE:  01/20/2010

The SCPR spoke with CPEA president Pam Jackson yesterday afternoon.

President Jackson takes exception to Canton City Schools (CCS) Board of Education member Carman.

She says she met with CCS superintendent Michele Evans on January 8, 2010 and that the two mutually concluded that there was not enough known about the requirements of Race to the Top that they felt comfortable applying for a grant.

Jackson said that if Ohio as a state does not qualify for funding in the first go around (applications just concluded), then Ohio (as well as CCS) will have another opportunity in June to reapply.  However, she said, if Ohio does qualify (to be known in April), then CCS will not have a second opportunity.

The SCPR has yet to make contact with Superintendent Evans.

ORIGINAL POST

Two sources are telling the SCPR that the Canton Professional Educators' Association (CPEA, teachers' union) is the roadblock to Canton City Schools getting up to $3 million in a grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Race to the Top school excellence financial assistance program.

The SCPR has one source from the teachers' side saying that "No, it is not a unilateral teachers' decision, but that it is a joint enterprise of the president of the CPEA (Pam Jackson) and the superintendent of Canton City Schools.

Here is a copy of an email sent by The Report to Canton City Schools Board of Education member James Carman:


 And, here is Carman's response:


Why would the CPEA not cooperate?

According to an Akron Beacon Journal editorial of Sunday:
[Race to the Top grants] "might require changes in how teachers are evaluated, compensated or assigned to buildings and classes in relation to student performance."
The Report received a copy of an article detailing a fight brewing in New York over whether or not to apply for up to $700 million in Race to the Top grants.

The basis of the fight?

The Race to the Top grant might require New York to allow more charter schools and create a structure of merit pay.  (January 19, 2010,  Wall Street Journal, New York Fights over Schools ... , Jacob Gershman and Barbara Martinez)

This Wall Street Journal piece describes the Race to the Top program this way:
[President] Obama's embrace of school choice and higher teacher standards has won him rare praise from conservatives and reflects a broader shift among Democrats nationally in the face of increased frustration among educators and parents with public-school performance.
Well, you can count the SCPR as among those frustrated with public school performance.
 
And, it is not only urban schools.  In Stark County, Stark's premier districts Jackon, Lake and North Canton are experiencing college remediation rates of 35% and higher.
 
Back to the CPEA.
 
Here is Canton Professional Educators' Association statement of its mission on its website:
MISSION STATEMENT


The Canton Professional Educators' Association initiates and supports positive changes in the public school system, promotes the educational profession, and actively serves as an advocate for its members. (emphasis added).
 Hmm?


What's the saying?


Talk is cheap?