Tuesday, April 10, 2012


UPDATE:  4:00 PM

The Report has learned that the Buckeye Forest Council is working with state Rep. Robert Hagan (D - Youngstown) to introduce a bill to reverse the shifting of local control of oil and gas exploration to the state of Ohio.


Plain Township Trustee Giavasis had an opportunity to take on Republican Party (50th House District) appointee Christina Hagan (March 2, 2011) come the November, 2012 election.

Hagan was appointed by the House Republican Caucus to replace Todd Snitchler (Republican Lake - now chairman of the PUCO)

But he said no to the Ohio Democratic House Caucus.


Well, Giavasis has been one of the few Stark County elected officials to take as stance against proceeding with fracking (the process to force natural gas and oil out of Utica shale depositions underlying much of Stark County) without assurance that the process is safe.


Yes,  in terms of the water we drink, the air we breath, the roads we drive on, just name a few among from long list of fracking consequences concerns held by folks like the Plain Township trustee.

News surfaced today (updated) in a Cleveland Plain Dealer report by reporter Aaron Marshall (Ohio's oil and gas industry emerging as a big player in the political process) showing that Christina Hagan, who is on record as being very supportive of going "full speed ahead" with fracking, has been rewarded with campaign funding by one of the biggest players (Chesapeake Energy) in extracting oil and gas from subterranean Stark County.

From the Marshall article:
While the added lobbying muscle of Ohio's oil and gas industry is still emerging, campaign finance reports show five of the major oil and gas industry PACs poured nearly $600,000 into politician coffers since 2010, including nearly $100,000 since last March to state lawmakers from Chesapeake Energy.
Hagan is high on the list.  She is third from the top of the list of 19 Ohio House members who received from Chesapeake (or its lobbyists) for the period March, 2011 (when she was appointed) through January of this year.  

This is to a woman who has never been elected to anything and has only been in in the Ohio House of Representatives as a political appointee for a little more than one year.

It is interesting to note that the leader on the list (David Hall) along with state Rep Ron Amstutz of nearby Wooster (received $1,000) was in Stark County (Louisville) last May as mentor/minder figures for Hagan when she did a town hall meeting.

It appears that Hagan is getting expert and effective advice on how to raise campaign cash which is "the mother's milk of politics."

As it turns out, had Giavasis taken on the challenge; when asked, Stark County would be witnessing a head-to-head confrontation between Hagan, an oil and gas industry apologist, and Stark County's leading critic on the "rush to frack" on the part of the oil and gas industry.

Beyond the fracking issue,  there are other issues to be exploited against Hagan.

She supported the anti-teacher, fire fighter and policemen (and other public employees) Senate Bill 5 which was soundly rejected by Ohio/Stark County voters (as State Issue 2) in November, 2011.

Moreover, it is hard to see how she shows her face at local government meetings inasmuch as she supported massive Ohio budget cuts in local government funding including the termination (effective January 1, 2013) of the Ohio Estate Tax which provided funds for unbudgeted local government projects.

However, with Giavasis having opted out of taking her on, it seems to the SCPR that she will be elected.

The Report believes that Giavasis is the only talked about potential candidate that posed a serious threat to Hagan's continuance in office.

He has run many tough campaigns as a candidate for Plain trustee and has proved to be a political survivor.

Indications are that he would have been an formidable candidate.

Actual Democratic nominee Sue Ryan (a councilwoman-at-large in Alliance) seems to be no threat whatsoever.  Could we be in for a surprise?

All of which goes to a point that the SCPR has made repeatedly to the likes of Chris Borello (Stark County Concerned Citizens), to wit:

She and those who agree with her (i.e. Giavasis) appear to lack the political sophistication and savvy needed to be effective against the likes of Chesapeake Energy and their political handmaidens such as Hagan.

Giavasis has been Plain Township trustee for about 20 years which takes one back to about 1992.

One would think as a quintessential local government leader he would have been keeping his "ear to the ground" on matters such as legislative efforts to gut local control over oil and gas drilling.

So where were he and prime supporters Borello et al (who got started in the early 1980s trying to get a clean up of the hazardous materials in the Uniontown Industrial Excess Landfill) when it came to legislation being passed in Ohio in 2004 and 2010 that effectively took away any ability of local communities to control fracking?

From a January 16, 2012 SCPR blog (Will the 2012 election be accountability time for the Schuring & Slesnick against local control [fracking])?
Schuring [and Oelslager] (HB 278 [2004], SB 165 [2010]) and Slesnick voted for SB 165 and thereby took away what little say local governments has about oil and gas extraction processes (including fracking operations).
Why weren't Giavasis and friends making the local control case against local legislators running for re-election in 2004 and thereafter?

Now they complain?

Maybe they should take a page out of the playbook of Tuscarawas Township residents who were outraged when former Massillon Mayor Francis Cicchinelli, Jr. tried to annex the Tuslaw High School complex.

The Tuscarawas folks marshaled their forces and put together an effective and focused door-to-door campaign in Massillon which some political observers believe to have been the difference maker in Cicchinelli's loss.

Could a Giavasis for state representative versus Hagan campaign have motivated anti-frackers to support him with purse and on-the-ground campaign worker power?

The Report thinks such might well have been the case.

But since he chose not to run in that his heart was not in it, all one can say is that he missed an opportunity to make a real difference. 

Giavasis could have been, if elected, another voice in addition to that of Youngstown area state Rep. Bob Hagan (Democrat) and a few others in the Ohio General Assembly to bring caution to the "rush to frack" and to retrieve some local control over fracking.

Chesapeake and friends are politically sophisticated, farsighted, organized and focused.  By virtue of these attributes, they are winning the local control of fracking argument.

The anti-frackers, by contrast, appear to be politically discombobulated.

If these folks want to reverse their fortunes, they going to have to develop political techniques, strategies and determination and candidates for office that can match up against Chesapeake et al.

But the leadership element within the anti-fracking movement is so lacking that their getting their political act together does not appear to be in the offing.

Consequently, in November, 2012 it appears that there will be no political accountability for legislative candidates Hagan (R-Marlboro), Schuring (R-Jackson) and Slesnick (D-Canton)!

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