One of the surprises of last Thursday's candidates forum put on by Massillon Cable TV at the Lincoln-Lions theater was an incident wherein Cicchinelli supporter (including a financial contribution as evidenced above) Tom Rivera is alleged to have assaulted council president candidate Scott Graber in the May 3rd Democratic Primary.
The SCPR conversed via email with Graber and here is his description of and response to the incident:
... I was standing out front of the Lincoln theater having a smoke and talking to Dave Jennings when Mr Rivera came out of the theater with who I assume was his wife, I said "Hi Tommy"to him and said "Looking good!" and he responded as he was walking away, stopped, returned and engaged me, while his wife continued walking. I was actually somewhat surprised and honored that he even recognized me by name. I had no expectation that he would even stop to talk to me, as he was apparently leaving, and his wife continued walking.I don't know what it was that I said that angered him, but he did become very angry and insulting, and ended up striking me on the left ear. Subsequent conversations I have had with people who have known him since High School indicate that he has a history of tending to want to settle his differences with people with physical confrontations, which I was not aware of myself, and that he has engaged other people in a similar fashion regarding this election, also, which I was unaware of.I was surprised, shocked, stunned, and disappointed that he became angry and lost his temper so completely, as I had always looked up to him. I did not call the police: the sole witness, a Dave Jennings did. ...
Graber, who is running against Massillon City Council (Council) President Glenn Gamber is mostly concerned that the incident not distract voter attention from his campaign.I have no feelings about Mr. Rivera, other than to hope he gets help for his apparent anger management problem, and my best wishes to him in his future endeavors.
Obviously, Cicchinelli has to be aghast at the occurrence of the incident.
A few days ago, the SCPR published part one of a two-part blog on the Cicchinelli campaign finance report for the pre-primary period. In the first publication the focus was on who contributed to him. In this edition, the focus on who the mayor is supporting.
In prior campaigns Cicchinelli is known to have supported Council candidates who are running against his political enemies. Yesterday, The Report published a video of opponent Catazaro-Perry telling "the rest of the story" about how after she was elected in 2003 and sent a letter to her constituents not to the liking of the mayor that he became actively engaged in her 2005 opponent's campaign. And The Report has heard various other stories of Cicchinelli soliciting candidates to run against recalcitrant council members and/or supporting their opponents.
There is once such example in his current finance report, to wit:
A $100 donation to "Jackie Carter for Council." As campaign contributions to council candidates go, $100 is huge. Wow!
But not a surprise. As the SCPR sees it, fourth ward Councilman Tony Townsend is one of Kathy Catazaro-Perry's most loyal supporters on Council (somewhat rivaled by Gary Anderson - Ward 2).
Moreover, Townsend has battled with the Cicchinelli administration over various issues coming before Council most notably and recently a number of votes on the administration's budget proposal for 2011 (he voted for Councilman Larry Slagle's "compromise?" final budget proposal) and Townsend's proposal for the renaming of Shriver Park for the late T. Roy Roberson. The latter battle was fought out between Cicchinelli's proxies on Council and the Catazaro-Perry, Anderson and Townsend alliance.
As an incumbent, Francis Cicchinelli, Jr has a significant advantage over challenger Catazaro-Perry. He has the duty to hire for the city of Massillon to ensure that Massillon can deliver services to the Massillon taxpaying public.
Many of those folks, of their own will - as required by Ohio law - want to help Cicchinelli remain mayor. Campaign finance law requires that such contributors be reported in their own category. The list follows at the end of this blog.
As the campaign winds down, The Report thinks it is difficult to predict who might win. And yours truly will not even try.
Suffice it to say, whomever wins will have a herculean task of bringing healing processes to bear on Massillon government. While there is a Republican opponent for the general election to be held in November, the odds are that the Democratic nominee will be the next mayor of Massillon.
The question is: will the winner be able to bring the Massillon Democratic Party be able:
- To bring the party together enough to withstand the Republican challenge, and
- If she/he can, will the survivor be able to govern?