Monday, December 12, 2011


When it came out in November that through mysterious ways and means the Timken Company headquarters was remaining in the Stark County portion of Congressman Jim Renacci's 16th congressional district, one just had to know that political chicanery was at play.

Yesterday, in a report - Ohio Redistricting Transparency Report/The Elephant in the Room (Transparency Report) published by the Ohio Campaign for Accountable Redistricting (a project of the League of Women Voters of Ohio and Ohio Citizen Action), it became abundantly clear that United States Speaker of the House John Boehner's (Republican - Ohio 8th congressional district) office was "up to its eyeballs" in facilitating an accentuated slicing and dicing of Stark County for the benefit of the Republican Party and particularly for Republican 16th District Congressman Jim Renacci.

Before the transparency report, a spokesperson had denied that Boehner was involved in the political butchering of Stark County which, by the way, Ohio Representative Christina Hagan (Republican - Marlboro Township) thinks is a good thing, to wit:
Having three congressional leaders is an extremely positive thing especially when we have both Republican and Democratic representation.  (Alliance is now in the 13th Congressional District likely to be represented by Democratic Congressman Jim Ryan)
Extreme partisanship like that demonstrated by Boehner and perhaps his colleague and 16th District Congressman Jim Renacci as well as  the Republican controlled Ohio General Assembly (including Stark County's Hagan and state Senator Scott Oelslager [who claimed he had no choice but vote for the slicing up of Stark County] is what is driving public distrust of public officials upward.

The only answer that the Republicans have is that Democrats do it too.  And they do, but that is not an excuse that most of us are buying and we - the citizens - are increasingly saying "a pox on both their houses."

Republicans and Democrats who allow partisan political advantage to trump the public good (which in redistricting is "one person, one vote;" not supervotes for Republicans or Democrats), are working very hard to completely discredit themselves in the public eye and thereby are creating conditions that is increasingly making difficult to govern witness the emergence of the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street.

Disconnects between the governors and the governed are brought on by the out-of-public-view undermining of public trust by government officials who politically advantage themselves and their political parties and political loyalists in secret arrangements and meetings.

When everyday Americans, Ohioans and Stark Countians then take on more and more of a tone of incorrigibility vis-a-vis government, one does not want to hear the complaint of the instigators of the mistrust.

The perpetrators bring on heightened citizen cynicism and apathy and in doing so, find they are developing an increasingly unmanageable populace which benefits nobody in the long run including themselves.

The Transparency Report was built upon records obtained through public records requests but leaves many unanswered questions particularly involving the likes Boehner and Renacci.  From the report:
Because many records have still not been provided even though public record requests were made over two months ago, many things are still not known, including:
  • What lobbying did legislators and congressmen engage in for their districts? 
  • What congressional district plans have been proposed in private negotiations between Democratic and Republican politicians? 
  • How many other district boundaries were manipulated to raise campaign funds? 
  • What else was discussed in the political backrooms?
Back on October 31st, Stark County's Democrats did the right and "nonpartisan" thing in selecting Republican Alex Zumbar to be Stark County treasurer after Gary Zeigler resigned on the 19th of the month.

With the revelations of the Transparency Report, one has to wonder if there is anyone within the Stark County Republican Party or a Republican Stark County elected official who will go on public record in lambasting Republican Speaker of the House Boehner, local legislative Republicans Christina Hagan and Scott Oelslager for violating the public trust.

Don't hold your breath!

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