There has not been any "new life" on the Republican side Canton city government in many a year. So when political neophyte Mark Butterworth pulled off a stunning victory over Democratic political warhorse Karl "Butch" Kraus (a staunch union man) in November, 2009, there was hope that perhaps Butterworth could be the leading edge of a Republican renaissance which would result in Cantonians getting better quality of government through a Republican-initiated "check and balance."
However, as he approaches his bid for re-election this November, the SCPR's take is that Butterworth does not have the gumption to be the leading edge of anything in the political world.
In fact, The Report is beginning to think he may not be re-elected as Canton's only Republican councilperson.
He has drawn a equally young Democratic opponent for his re-election bid. Edmond Mack is an associate with the law firm of Tzangas, Plakas, Manos & Raies, Ltd. Mack impressed The Report with his vigor and acuity at this spring's Neighborhoold Associates Empower Votes (NAVE) primary election event for candidates held at the McKinley Grand. Specifically, he outlined his plan to accelerate dramatically Canton's program of tearing down abandoned properties.
Butterworth: "not enough gumption?"
It occurred to yours truly that such might be the case growing out of an incident of about two weeks ago or so in which Canton City Council President Alan Schulman launched an attack at a council meeting on statehouse Republicans for the severe cuts on local government funding (including eliminating Ohio's estate tax) that is forthcoming after July 1 (this year - fiscal years 2012/13).
In the course of his attack, Schulman "with all due respect" (Hmm?) included Mark Butterworth's name among the Republicans in the sense of a generic "let's include them all while we're at it" type of approach.
At first blush, the SCPR thought the inclusion of Butterworth's name was unfair.
After the event Butterworth contacted yours truly (left a message) saying in effect that he was steamed about being included in Schulman's remarks.
However, The Report was unable to contact Butterworth (left a message on his home phone) in several attempts to afford him the opportunity to respond in these pages to Schulman. Finally, at Monday night's council meeting, The Report was able to ask Butterworth for a response (camera in hand).
But Butterworth declined.
Then, in a short conversation, it surfaced that maybe Schulman's inclusion of Butterworth was not so far off the mark (no pun intended) after all. For Butterworth told yours truly that he supports the local government cuts as austerity (The Report's word) needed to start somewhere.
What a surprise that was!
That got The Report to thinking: Butterworth, when it appeared Schulman was being unfair to him, did not have the moxie to step front and center. Moreover, on further examination, when it seemed it was not unfair, where was Butterworth to step forward to publicly defend the Republican caucuses of the Ohio General Assembly for the draconian cuts in local government funding?
Then yours truly started reflecting on some Butterworth actions (in council - e.g. his charter government initiative), inactions and conversations and is coming to the believe that Butterworth may be a politician who does not have the "courage of this convictions."
As far as the SCPR is concerned, the political luster is off Butterworth. It does not appear to The Report that he has a steely quality about him that he needs to make an impact on the quality of Canton local government that Cantonians receive.
A lamentable turn of events. Canton needs a vigorous Republican presence on council as a check and balance to Democratic politics playing into government and as a check on Healy administration excesses.
With Bill Smuckler leaving council on December 31st, apparently only Mary Cirelli and Greg Hawk will be left to protect Cantonians from Healy and his allies on council.
Even if he is re-elected, Mark Butterworth has shown the SCPR that he is not up to the task!