LAST UPDATED: 10:30 PM
- GONZALEZ OPENS UP MEETING
- THE ARGUMENTS BEGIN SOME CON; SOME PRO APPOINTING ZUMBAR
- GONZALEZ REVEALS THAT HE TALKED TO ZUMBAR AND STARK GOP CHAIR JEFF MATTHEWS
- CANTON CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT ALLEN SCHULMAN AS A LEADER OF THE "ANTI-ZUMBAR" APPOINTMENT ARGUMENTS
- MAYOR WILLIAM J. HEALY, II AS A LEADER OF THE "ANTI-ZUMBAR" APPOINTMENT ARGUMENTS
- THE VOTE
He has denied that such is the case.
While the SCPR finds it hard to believe re: Gonzalez that his "we have a public service family tradition" is a better explanation for Gonzalez family prominence in public sector jobs, he may have - for some - enhanced his stance in leading Stark's organized Democrats yesterday in selecting Republican Alex Zumbar as their appointee to fill the unexpired term of the retired/resigned Gary D. Zeigler as Stark County treasurer.
However, there are those who think that the whole matter of there seemingly being a open question as to what the Dems would do, was, in realpolitik, a "dog and pony" show.
In following Gonzalez's recommendation that they do the civic-minded thing, Stark's Dems likely forfeited the opportunity to regain control of the Stark County treasurer's office for decades to come.
Zumbar is a relatively young man, who the SCPR believes has no higher political aspirations and is likely to hold the office until he retires or is otherwise unable to serve.
So it was intriguing to watch yesterday as the Dems "gave up the ghost" and did the unthinkable from a politician's point of view and appointed a Republican.
It will be interesting to see whether or not Zumbar will be inspired, as a recipient of Stark Dem civic-minded grace, to become a force within the Stark Republican Party (which is sorely missing in the person of Stark GOP Chair Jeff Matthews) for seeing to it that Republicans who get the Stark GOP indicia of approval come by it on the condition that though having a Republican perspective on public policy and programs, et cetera; that they understand that they do not hold office as Republican dogmatics-esque Kool Aid drinking Republicans (a la state Rep. Christina Hagan (R - Marlboro).
Rather it should be that they are made to understand that they - if elected - represent the "body politic" that runs through a long range of citizens from liberal/leftist Democrats through ultra rightist Republicans. And, moreover, that they have a civic obligation to put partisanship second to the public good.
Before getting into the main part of this blog, the SCPR pauses to compliment the Democrats for having the political maturity to allow The Report camera into its meeting yesterday.
It had to be discomforting for the Dems to "let it all hang out" in front of the media including, of course, the SCPR's camera.
Such was in contrast to what the Republicans did earlier this year when they selected the woefully unqualified Christina Hagan as the replacement for Todd Snitchler as state Rep (the 50th House District) when he was appointed chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.
Oh, The Report was allowed in, but without camera.
Apparently, they were worried that there would be a repeat of the Phil Davison episode in which Davison (a Minerva councilman) gave a fiery, passionate speech - to say the least - (video taped by the SCPR) in his endeavor to secure the Stark GOP nod to run as the Republican candidate for treasurer in November, 2010.
The video went viral on YouTube.
The likes of Stark Republican Party Chairman Jeff Matthews and Curt Braden were not happy campers.
Their solution? Cut off the videotaping for future meetings.
Not allowing the SCPR to use a camera, is like allowing a Repository reporter to be present without his/her notepad and a pen.
In the SCPR's experience, Democratic political operatives are much more transparent, accessible and forthcoming than are their Republican counterparts.
But The Report hastens to add that the likes of Republican Stark County Auditor Alan Harold, Stark County Treasurer Alex Zumber and Stark County Commissioner Janet Creighton and a few others demonstrate transparency, accessibility and forthcomingness.
They and committed democratic and politically mature Republicans need to put pressure on Matthews et al to allow the SCPR-esque media full access to otherwise "open to the press" GOP meetings.
The Stark County Political Report provides in depth coverage and political analysis of political happenings that far exceeds anything other media in Stark County have to offer.
THE MEETING ON VIDEO
In the opening video, Gonzalez sets the stage for the ultimate outcome, to wit:
- describes the "take at hand" for Stark Democratic Central Committee (SDCC) members,
- reviews the the chain of events that put the SDCC in the position it was in last evening,
- extols the work done by Democrat Ken Koher for the period he was Stark Co. treasurer before Zumber got elected in November, 2010,
- lists the collateral damage set in motion by Vince Frustaci's theft of taxpayer money from the Stark treasury resulted in:
- Democrat Koher's loss to Zumbar,
- Democrat Kim Perez being defeated by Republican Alan Harold in November, 2010
- the defeat of Democrat county Commissioner Steve Meeks to Republican Janet Creighton,
- the victimhood of:
- the Gary Zeigler - immediate and extended - family,
- the laid off Stark County deputies and the impact on their families as a consequence of the commissioners' inability to as a matter of practical politics to put a renewal levy on the ballot prior to its expiration, and
- the loss of trust in Stark County government.
With the Gonzalez open concluded, the internal Stark County Democratic Party argument began.
By pre-arrangement, Steve Reisch (an attorney with the Stark County Public Defenders' office) moves [which was seconded], to wit:
"I make a motion that we follow the wishes of our county commissioners [Democrats Tom Bernabei and Pete Ferguson and Republican Janet Creighton] who and made the temporary appointment and the voters [ref: election of Zumbar in November, 2010] that we appoint Alex Zumbar."Some of the points made in argument pro and con:
- con: delay acting on the appointment (Ohio law allows 45 days) to do a more thorough search to find someone willing to take on the appointment (see video below),
- con: consider taking no action (local attorney and Committeeman Tom Borcoman - [hard to see/hear on camera),
- pro: Republicans are not "b-a-s-t-a-r-d-s" and Zumber was elected; he deserves the appointment, and
- pro: as long as Zumbar/Republicans support the sales tax
GONZALEZ CAUTIONS ZUMBAR/STARK GOP
The Stark County Political Report thinks it was incredibly naive for Gonzalez to have sat down with Zumbar and GOP Chair Matthews to tell them to not take the appointment as a Democratic endorsement of a Republican.
Gonzalez's "we will run somebody against Zumbar," must have brought an inner smile to the Republican duo as a knowing "closing the barn door after the horse is out of the barn" action.
The Dems gesture yesterday was of the healing variety and Stark's citizens should be grateful.
However, anyone who would fill the Gonzalez admonition "we will run somebody against you" - together with Chairman Gonzalez and those who buy into his thinking - has highly questionable political judgment in embracing the strategy as being politically productive.
Zumbar already has a headstart having been elected and serving for six plus months (through June 23, 2011) as treasurer and the Dems' deep thinkers want to add a year to Zumbar's tenure to impress Stark Countians with and think you have any chance whatsoever of defeating him in November, 2012?
Who would run under such circumstances?
Apparently, Gonzalez thinks he can scare up someone over the next 30 days or so (the filing deadline is December 7th) while he couldn't take full advantage of the 45 day window to find someone?
Stark's organized Republicans and Chairman Matthews have to be laughing all the way to the "political office holding bank," no?
Of course, one could take the tack of Stark County Commissioner Tom Bernabei.
He told The Report, before the appointment yesterday, that Democrats had nothing to lose in appointing Zumbar because - even giving a Democrat a year to serve before the election of November, 2012 - Democrats have no chance of defeating him anyway.
Talk about political fatalism.
And, Gonzalez, former Chair Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. and Stark Dem Political Director Shane Jackson apparently are really down in the dumps about the ability of Democrats to rebound countywide.
With this attitude at the top, should Stark Countians look for Republicans to take control of the prosecutor's office, the sheriff's department next November? Hmm?
Of course, there could be another explanation. Some people think the Democrats and Republicans "at the top" are to some degree in cahoots.
For instance, in 2008 the Republicans ran no one against Stark County Zeigler (Alan Harold was forced out by his employer) and Stark County Prosecutor John Ferrero. In 2008, the Dems gave Republican Scott Oelslager "a pass." And there have been many instances of both parties trading opposing/nonopposing on municipal and common pleas judgeship races.
This is a point-of-view that the SCPR does not buy into.
However, The Report believes that the leadership of both parties are unimaginative and quick - in the face of people not knocking down their doors to run - to lose their vim, vigor and vitality in developing a reserve of candidates in the preparation stage and politically maturing mode of running for public office. In this way, both the Dems and Republicans disserve the Stark County public.
THE ESSENCE OF THE DEMOCRATIC DEBATE:
FIRST, GONZALEZ PROXY STEVE REISCH & CANTON CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT ALAN SCHULMAN
They frame the debate thusly:
- Reisch: vote for his motion is not for Zumbar; it is a vote for the democratic process,
- Schulman: vote for Reisch motion (i.e. the Gonzalez, Maier, Bernabei and Jackson position) is a vote for perpetuating Republican Zumbar in office.
SECOND, HEALY AND GONZALEZ DIFFER.
Yours truly has never heard a party chairman worry over making a politician of the opposite party a "martyr." But that is exactly what the following video shows of Chairman Gonzalez.
More typical is Mayor Healy's argument (rhetorical or whatever) that it should be a non-starter that Democrats put into office someone who may not (Healy was being somewhat disingenuous in suggesting "may") share core Democratic interests and viewpoints.
This back and forth between Healy and Gonzalez adds further fuel to a fire suggested to the SCPR about a week ago that there is an emerging Healy/Dave Kirven (business agent for Local 94 - "the pipefitters") Democratic coalition to replace Gonzalez as party chair.
A SCPR source says that once Healy gets re-elected, he will take on putting the final touches on a "dump Gonzalez" movement.
For public consumption, none of the principals in the alleged fight over the future of the Stark County Democratic Party will admit that a political struggle for control of the Democratic Party is underway.
But The Report believes that there is.
It will take awhile as a lot of spade work has to be done at the grassroots (precinct committee person) level. The Gonzalez, Maier, Jackson Stark Democratic Party cabal has closely controlled who gets to be a precinct committeeperson.
If Kirven, Healy et al are to do a political coup d'etat, they will have to fight it out first in the political trenches of precinct-committee-dom.
IN THE MEANTIME - THE VOTE.
An interesting aside in this video segment is Chief Deputy Sheriff Mike McDonald (running in 2012 to succeed Tim Swanson) getting up and excoriating those who invoke a series of parliamentary objections (in what McDonald says is designed to make Gonzalez look like a "horse's ass") in getting to the final vote on the main question.
If there is to be a 2012 challenge to the continued leadership of Gonzalez, McDonald - if he is up to it heath wise - certainly will be in the political trenches trying to save a Gonzalez chairmanship.
What undoubtedly will be a major weapon of any anti-Gonzalez forces will be his presiding over a historic Stark County Party selection of a Republican.
The question is:
Will the Zumbar selection come back to haunt Chairman Gonzalez and his allies in their quest to retain control of the Stark County Democratic Party in 2012?