Wednesday, February 9, 2011


A master stroke of political genius?

What's that?

Mayor Healy's calling a "civic" meeting of Canton officials and employees to deal with a financial crisis which the crisis is somewhat related to his deficient management of Canton finances and economic development and turning it into an indictment of the state of Ohio.


He comes out smelling like a rose.

That's the SCPR's take on a series of Canton Civic Center meetings that Canton Mayor William Healy's will be holding beginning last night and continuing through at least through to the May primary (i.e. March 8 and April 12 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.).  Healy  faces off against formidable foe and Canton councilman Bill Smuckler in May.

A year ago, most Stark political observers would not have given Healy the proverbial "snowball's chance in Hell"  to survive any kind of election.  But such is no longer the case.  In fact, it is looking more and more like Healy is the odds on favorite to win - at least in May and likely (given the huge Democratic Party registration majority in Canton) in the November general election.

The Republicans are fielding credible candidates and it could be that by November the political winds will have shifted again and this time against Healy.

But for now, Healy is riding high.

Although he is not much of a business/financial person notwithstanding his much heralded (by Healy himself) MBA from the New York University Stern School of Business; he is showing that he may be a master politician.

These meetings have to be more than Bill Smuckler can stomach.  They are clearly a part of Healy's quest to be reelected mayor of Canton.  But how can Smuckler criticize, let alone, not partcipate? After all, the Mayor is marshaling the forces to stave off financial disaster for the city at the hand of the state of Ohio.

Answer:  Smuckler can't!

Canton stands in a "worst case scenario" to lose $1.2 million in estate tax funding, $5.7 million in local government funds, and thousands in additional premiums for fire and police pensions because of Ohio's need to trim about $8 billion from its 2012/13 biennium budget that is required by law to be in place by July, 2011.

You can bet that William J. Healy, II will milk the fears emanating from Columbus for all that they are politically worth.

Healy acts as if that the $8 billion shortfall is a surprise.  But it cannot be.  Only two years ago, the Strickland (Democrat) administration had to plug a $4 billion gap and did so with "one-time-money" from the federal government.  That money is gone and the Republican Kasich administration predictably has to deal with an even greater gaps because the fundamental financials flowing from Ohio's highly deficient economic development, job preservation and expansion infrastructure which he has inherited from the Strickland/Taft/Voinovich years.

Healy had to know that sooner or later that the state level problems were going to hit local governments.  Yet, what has done over three years plus to avert what is now upon Canton and other Stark County localities.

The truth of the matter is that, if the state cuts materialize, and they surely will; what is Healy to do in Canton?

Answer:  He and Canton City Council will have to make politically unpopular cuts into the bone and marrow of Canton city government.

The "and Canton City Council" is the key.  Healy is on a track to immunize himself from political fallout on account of the coming deep cuts in vital city services.   Last night, Healy administration speaker after Healy administration speaker spoke of Canton city government being a "team."

Well, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out where they are going with that line.

To the SCPR's way of thinking, Canton voters have to be incredibly stupid to buy the current Healy line nearly four years into his administration.

Healy was telling the SCPR as soon as he took office about how his predecessor Janet Creighton (Republican) had left the city in a financial and economic development mess.

Now it's Columbus' fault and, moreover, and as outgrowth of the current round of meetings, "we all" own the remedy.  Do not single out Mayor Healy.  That is the message.

So that Cantonians can see/hear for themselves, the SCPR presents videotapes of most of the meetings as the Healy reelection strategy unfolds.

In this first video, Healy outlines the parameters of the meetings.

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