Wednesday, February 22, 2012


The Stark County Political Report thinks newly sworn-in Massillon Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry deserves a chance to show what she can do in turning Massillon around.

But it increasingly appears - even early in her administration - that politics may dog her all the days of her political life as mayor of Massillon and she may endure one political struggle after another to keep Massillon's financial head above water for the duration.

She has two major political problems:
  • the political comeuppance of the supporters of the man she defeated in November:  Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr., and
  • the Republican majority that captured control of council in November.
Massillon is a deeply troubled city that has struggled to make financial ends meet for some time.

It is desperately in need of a revenue infusion if it is to continue as presently constituted.

But as reported by Matt Rink of The Massillon Independent last night in his account of council meeting (Majority on Massillon Council say they won't back a tax credit reduction), it appears that Republican are not about to work with the new mayor on her terms.

As a matter of political philosophy, the Republicans are for cutting government and reducing taxes.  Moreover, in Massillon's case, they have to already be looking down the road to the 2015 mayoralty election and are mindful of what they do now and over the next three years or so will play into whether or not they can elected a Republican mayor of Massillon then.

Former Mayor Cicchinelli played the magician especially in his last term to keep Massillon afloat.  One of his main devices towards the end of his reign was through annexation.

But talk about getting bit in the butt, it likely was his attempt to annex the income tax revenue rich Tuslaw schools that proved to be the deciding factor in his losing to Catazaro-Perry.  Not only did he get tons of bad political publicity when he made the Tuslaw move not long after he picked off income tax revenues from the staff at the R.G. Drage vocational school in Perry, but he incurred the ire a many Tuslaw citizens who showed up in force to campaign for Catazaro-Perry.

Of course Catazaro-Perry and her chief political mentors (Massillon Clerk of Courts Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. and his sidekick, chief deputy and Stark County Dems Political Director Shane Jackson) jumped all over the Tuslaw schools thing to her political advantage.

The Tuslaw schools thing was just one of many, many political skirmishes that have be waged by Catazaro-Perry and her consorts against Cicchinelli et al over the years.

Now it's payback time for the Cicchnelli forces, and when co-joined with resurgent Massillon Republicans, they present an overwhelming political force that likely will bend Mayor Catazaro-Perry to their will.

It will be a tough pill for the once politically powerful Maier, Jackson and their cohorts to swallow.  But in steamrolling Cicchinelli et al they have set in motion a true "what goes around, comes around" life for their political darling.

Catazaro-Perry has to be thinking:  "with friends like these, who needs any enemies!"

So the best thing Catazaro-Perry can do if she is to be an effective mayor:
  • is to mend fences with the Cicchinelli forces and thereby consolidate support on the Democratic side of the isle so that she has a chance close votes  on council (by peeling off one Republican vote; the control council 5 to 4) where she and the Republicans cannot come together, even better,
  • is to reach out to the Republicans for dialogue as to how they can create a common ground of initiatives that over the longer term will reconfigure Massillon's economic/financial picture in the best interest of Massillonians; Republican or Democrat
It seems to The Report that those council persons who like Democrat Councilman Paul Manson's plan to increase Massillon's income tax to a full 2% (from its present 1.8%) are on to something.  But it needs to be on the vote of the people.

To get Massillonians to vote for the increase, doesn't it go without saying that the voters will have to be convinced that the administration working with council has made cuts to the bone?

The SCPR would like to see Kathy Catazaro-Perry succeed as mayor of Massillon.  However, for her to do so she is going to have to create some distance between herself and those largely perceived to be her political handlers.  Enough so, that those who deal with her are convinced she speaks for herself.  Moreover, he needs to do so in order to open up lines of dialogue with her Democratic political opponents and her Republican political opponents.

The Report has written frequently that to elect Catazaro-Perry was the same as making Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. the de facto mayor of Massillon.

The question:  Is she made of the right stuff to make moves to make the SCPR's assessment a miscalculation?

If she isn't, then she will be caught up in a political vortex of one cycle after another of:  "What goes around, comes around!"

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