Friday, August 12, 2011


Councilman Tony Townsend (a staunch political ally of Massillon mayoral candidate [as a Democrat] Kathy Catzaro-Perry and Clerk of Courts Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.) won Round 1 of a fight with lame duck Mayor Frank Cicchnelli on whether or not Massillon Council ("Council") would authorize Massillon entering into a "Non-Developmental Oil & Gas Lease" with Ohio Valley Energy Systems Corporation on some 52.51 acres of land owned by Massillon.  Included in the proposal were three locations:  two at Towne Plaza and one in the 300 block of 2nd Street SW (in Councilman Townsend's ward).

But the July 5 "no vote" apparently is not the end of the matter.

The SCPR has learned that Townsend believes that Cicchinelli is coming back to Council on Monday night (August 15) with a new try to get Council to approve the lease.

Here are excerpts from an e-mail (that is circulating among opponents of fracking) that the SCPR received a copy of on the matter:
Tony Townsend, Massillon councilman, wants all of us to attend the city council meeting this Monday Aug 15 ---- 7:30 pm.
Mayor Cicchinelli  will be there. He is going to chastise city council for turning down the well proposel in downtown Massillon. The mayor claims that Massillon lost 500 jobs. The mayor told city council tonight that there was a company that was going to bring 500 jobs to Massillon but changed their mind because they didn't like that council voted no on fracking in Massillon.  
City council [sic] has never heard about any company wanting to locate itself in Massillon like the mayor is claiming. If he knew there were 500 jobs out there, why didn't he tell council.  According to some council members the mayor is probably going to bring another well proposel to council and is going to make those council members that vote no look bad.
It's a scare tactic the mayor is using. He needs 3 more council members to change their vote to yes for fracking downtown.
There is an election this year. Some members on city council are not sure they will be re-elected and don't want to be singeled [sic] out by the mayor as being the reason Massillon lost jobs.
So now a vote on a new ordinance oil and gas proposal would be tied to an argument that voting against drilling would be a vote to pass on new jobs coming to Massillon?

Quite "a different kettle of fish" from the original ordinance (73 B 2011) which was not tied directly to jobs coming to Massillon with Council's approval.  An Ohio Energy Spokeswoman did talk about 14,000 "indirect" jobs that exist in Ohio as a positive attribute of oil and gas drilling activities.


Councilman Townsend, by the way, is running unopposed.

Who might the councilpersons be who do not want to be on record as opposing the 500 jobs that Cicchinelli is said to be referring to?

Start with Councilwoman Kathy Catazaro-Perry, Townsend's political ally, and her run for mayor.

One wouldn't think she in a heavily Democratic city would face much of a challenge from Republican Lee Brunckhart.  Accordingly, and she is not likely to be worried by a possible call-out by Cicchinelli.  However, these are topsy-turvy political times and it is a long time until November 8th and, perhaps, a number of missteps by her could put Brunckhart in play.

Moving on to council-at-large, the most likely worry-wart in this arena is Councilman David Hersher. 

In 2007 and 2009 Hersher came in last among the Democrats running.  So he just might be vulnerable to Republican Milan Chovan's challenge. 

Ward 2.  What a delight it likely would be for the outgoing Frank Cicchinelli to take Gary Anderson with him.  Anderson has been a bitter Cicchinelli foe ever since taking office.  Souces deep inside the Cicchinelli administration tells the SCPR that Republican Nancy Halter has an excellent chance of unseating Anderson.  So one wouldn't think that Anderson would relish a vote no as being tantamount to the equivalent of "a job killing" vote?

Ward 5.  David McCune would be an unhappy consequence of a Cicchinelli initiative to put councilpersons on the spot in terms of voting no in the face of the mayor equating a no vote on drilling to a no vote on new Massillon jobs.  McCune has been supportive of Cicchenlli and therefore an unintended consequence of his ongoing feud with the likes of Catazaro-Perry, Hersher and Anderson.

If Cicchinell is to get to five (5) votes, he will have to add to his Manson and Peters support three more votes.

The Report believes that Councilpersons Slagle and Catazaro-Perry are not viable prospects.

Slagle is likely to be vying with Paul Manson as the highest vote getter in the council-at-large race and therefore unlikely to be under any pressure to switch from supporting Townsend.

There is no way Kathy Catazaro-Perry can be seen as knuckling under to Cicchinelli and moreover she is not about to abandon her political ally Townsend.

Are the remaining councilpersons vulnerable to Cicchinelli arm twisting?

Monday night's council meeting could be interesting indeed!

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