Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Should Issue #29 fail, Stark County commissioners and other elected officials say they will have to lay off Canton-sited county employees.  And co-chairman of the Yes for Safety: Issue #29 Dan McMasters said in remarks yesterday (see video below) that the city of Canton stands to lose $400,000 in sales tax revenue as a consequence of the laid off employees.

Stark's elected officials and county employees gathered yesterday at the Stark County District Library (Canton branch) in a public political campaign meeting (public because two or more Stark County commissioners were present) to finalize plans for gaining passage of the tax.

If it still existed, the short-lived Stark County Mayors Association (the brainchild of Canton Mayor William J. Healy, II) could be a handy organization to help Stark County pass its sorely needed 0.5% sales tax on November 8th.

But it doesn't.  Because of Mayor Healy's insistence on being "the man in charge," the organization, announced as being formed on December 29th, 2008, quickly fell apart and was officially pronounced dead by the SCPR on May 15, 2009; less than six months after its formation.

One key campaign official intoned to The Report (paraphrase):  "Why is Mayor Healy among the missing and silent as this campaign get underway?"

Short answer:  If Healy is not running an activity from top to bottom, forget him being a part of anything.

That's why his promising idea of a Stark County Mayors Association fell apart quickly.

Longer answer:  Mayor Healy REALLY DOES NOT LIKE Stark Commissioners Tom Bernabei and Janet Creighton and is not real fond of the commissioner that everybody else in Stark County officialdom absolutely loves (Pete Ferguson).

Democrat Healy ran against and defeated Republican Creighton in November, 2007 in a bitterly fought campaign.  After the election, Healy trashed Creighton has having left him a mess to clean up.

To clean up the mess, Healy brought in fellow Democrat and for Canton Law Director Tom Bernabei into the  TeamHealy administration as one of his very top officials.  But lo and behold, Healy found out that Bernabei has a mind of his own and was not reluctant to criticize Healy's fanciful ideas of how to fix what Healy termed as being the Creighton train wreck that he says the former mayor left behind.

Ferguson?  Well, he had this idea that it might be a "good idea" for Stark County's villages, cities and townships to merger whatever functions they could (building departments, health departments, informational technology departments, et cetera).  However, the "fatal flaw" in Ferguson's approach was that Canton would not be in charge of the newly merged functions.  Result:  Healy telephoned Ferguson and read him the riot act on putting together mergers and

The campaign official went on to ask:  "Where is the mayor of Massillon, the mayor of Louisville, mayor of Alliance?"  He should have included township officials, too.

While these political subdivisions do not stand to lose much, if any, tax revenue as a consequence of an Issue 29 failure, they will lose the ability to take people at all hours of the day and night to be booked at the Stark County Sheriff's department and, moreover, even when they are booked they will be put out on the streets pronto because the Stark County Jail will be cut down to 122 beds.  And these beds will be set aside for murders, rapists and the like and not the day-in, day-out type of offenses that most village, city and township police departments arrest for.

None of Stark's political facilities have jail facilities of their own to house the folks they arrest.

An obvious campaign strategy of the Yes for Safety Issue 29 campaigners is to wake up the sleeping giant of political subdivision officials and employees who are scattered across every nook and cranny of Stark County.

Former Commissioner Todd Bosley's idea, when he joined the then Commissioners Tom Harmon and Jane Vignos is "imposing" a 1/2% sales tax (December, 2008) for rehabbing Stark's broken 9-1-1 emergency service system and for additional county general fund revenues, was to give Stark's political subdivisions a stake in the revenues generated by promising "free" 9-1-1 call receiving and dispatching services.

It was a grand plan that Bosley hatched, but he was never able to get village, city and township officials on board in a unified way.  Consequently, a committee of ordinary citizens (Vote No Increased Taxes) mounted a drive that resulted in the imposed tax being overturned in an overwhelming fahion in November, 2009.

In an ironical sense, 9-1-1's rehab is still not completely done despite the fact that over $2 million sits in the county budget set aside for the project.

Why is 9-1-1 not yet complete?

The SCPR believes "the failure to complete" is owing to Mayor Healy and his insistence that Canton be in charge at the end of the day when a revamped 9-1-1 is up and running.

When the general public sees the self-serving shenanigans of the likes of Healy, they develop a jaded attitude towards government in general and efforts like Yes for Public Safety Issue 29 get caught up in the public's dismay.

The question of success or failure for Yes for Safety Issue 29 may well be whether or not they can mobilize their natural allies fanned out across Stark County?

A key question:  Will the mayoral likes of Healy (Canton), Cicchinelli (Massillon), Held (North Canton) and Middleton (Alliance) be sitting this one out? If they do and the issue fails, what are they going to tell their constituents when they see that those charged with serious crimes are walking the streets of their respective communities?

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