Saturday, September 10, 2011


Traditionally, in America, political campaigns get started with Labor Day.

For challenges to incumbents, Labor Day is far too late to get up and running.  Undoubtedly, Republican A.R. "Chip" Conde has been doing some things on his campaign to unseat Democrat William J. Healy, II as mayor of Canton.

But in the judgment of the SCPR, not nearly enough.

Earlier in the year (May 31, 2011) yours truly wrote a blog prodding Conde to get up and running with a robust campaign:  yesterday.

So far as The Report can detect, a "robust campaign" is not what Conde is demonstrating.

For beginners, the SCPR has examined his website and finds that it has huge gaps for anyone wishing to stay abreast of campaign developments.

On ENDORSEMENTS:  a grand total of three.  Really? 

On EVENTS:  only lists his July 23rd fundraiser.

On PHOTO GALLERY:  no photos.

While the likes of the SCPR seek material from candidates for public office, unless the media senses that a highly contested race is underway - in which cases the media seek out the candidates, only those candidates who are skilled enough to interest reporters/columnists and the like in their message are going to get much press.

And Healy's "zero tolerance" program is a subject matter which interests the SCPR for one.  However, there should have been a steady stream of these kinds of releases going back to the day after primary and Conde's victory over Mister Gerig; his Republican rival for the right to run against the mayor.

Here is what Conde has to say on the matter:

Conde Questions Healy on Murders

September 8, 2011 (Canton, OH) -- Where’s The Mayor’s Zero Tolerance Now? That’s the question asked by many Canton citizens along with mayoral candidate A.R. “Chip” Conde.

“We’ve had an epidemic number of murders in Canton this year and the silence from the Mayor’s office is deafening,” said Conde. “He campaigned using the phrase “zero tolerance” on crime.  He knew then and he knows now that the phrase means nothing.  Violent crime in Canton has skyrocketed in 2011.”

Canton’s Mayor has given his closest staff members huge pay increases, but the general fund is too poor to hire more police officers and firefighters. Just recently, several top-level members of his staff received increases of as much as $15,000 per year.

“I want to know why the Mayor is hiding,” said Conde. “If you recall his campaign advertising from 2007, all he talked about was his tough stance on crime.”

“Statistics can be manipulated and numbers can be arranged to tell any story”, added Conde. “But the fact of the matter is that the Healy administration has stood idly by and watched Canton spiral downward into a very dangerous place”.

FBI statistics show the following murders in the Canton area:

2007 = 8         2008= 8          2009 = 13      2010 = 2         2011 = 11 to date

“Why are fire stations closed? Why did a police officer have to drive a shooting victim to the hospital in his cruiser?” asks Conde. “Why did one citizen recently have to wait 22 minutes for an ambulance to arrive from Akron?” Conde added.

Conde accuses the administration of being too interested in using slick political spin to explain away the crime wave, and more interest in satisfying personal agendas than addressing the needs of the constituents who should be served. 

“I think diverting money that could be used for safety to give pay raises to his upper level staff is a reason for a politician’s retirement,” said Conde. “He can say anything he wants about there being less crime, but when people are getting gunned down right and left, the citizens want more protection.”

According to the FBI, there has been a nationwide trend of less violent crime, but in Canton, Ohio, that trend is not evident.

"Chip" Conde has undertaken a large task indeed in seeking to unseat Healy.  

While Healy has tried to self-destruct (i.e. out-of-town campaign contributions galore; firing and/or encouraging the resignation of the independent minded one time members of his administration [e.g. Tom Bernabei - now Stark County commissioner]; letting safety forces dwindle to dangerous levels and the like), he has proven he is a survivor.  

Moreover, he is running in a city with a 9 to 1 Democrat registration majority and in which he has strong name ID which Conde does not.

The SCPR doubts that there time left for Conde to turn the campaign around.  Unless Healy commits a monstrous political goof, which The Report believes he fully capable of, he should defeat Conde easily. 

But Conde should try.

A.R. "Chip" Conde is a classy candidate who has substance which is probably part of the reason he hasn't gone after Healy more political hardball-esque.  A larger factor may be the lack of campaign finances.

Canton needs to have a thoroughgoing discussion of the policies, practices and substance of the Healy administration.  
Healy is a quintessential "style over substance" mayor.

"Zero tolerance" is a catchphrase style of campaign that Healy used against Conde supporter Janet Creighton (now Stark County commissioner).  And Conde is right to hammer the mayor for using political buzz phrasing when dealing with the safety of Cantonians and all of us who have occasion to grace the streets of Canton.

Unless Conde can pull off a political miracle or Healy self-inflicts, it is looking more and more like Cantonians will be getting more style than substance over the next four years.

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