Wednesday, January 9, 2013


For some time now, Canton Service Director Warren Price has been trying to solve Canton's water reclamation sludge generation disposition problem.

But he appears to be getting nowhere fast.

Price, who the SCPR sees as "a pretty cool customer," is obviously getting frustrated with the opposition the city is getting to the proposal.  And as The Report believes the video below shows, he appears to be losing patience with the drawn out process.

The problem?

Stark County's anti-fracking community.

Under the label Concerned Citizens of Stark County (CCSC) and headed by Concerned Citizens of Lake Township (CCLT re:  the Industrial Excess Landfill located about one mile south of Uniontown on the east side of Cleveland Avenue) president Chris Borello who lives in Plain Township, the anti-frackers are causing quite a headache (in the form of lobbying council to vote no on a proposed solution) for Price in terms of disposing of wet sludge to be buried at American Landfill at $17.00 per ton in exchange for accepting up to 100,000 gallons of leachate from the landfill via a 12 mile long pipe into Canton's water treatment facilities.

Price says that the deal will save Canton about $500,000 annually.

It is well known that Canton is in a financial bind.  Mayor Healy told The Report he has to find a way to make up a projected $2.1 million shortfall for 2014.  Well, $500,000 in savings is a start, no?

On Monday, Canton City Council put off a vote, for a second time, on the ordinance, to wit:
Because the leachate contains elements of runoff from fracking waste materials deposited at American Landfill, Borello et al are frantic to stop the city's proposed agreement to accept leachate from American Landfill.

And they have some important allies on council, perhaps enough to stop the agreement from being authorized.

At the end of council's work session and prior to council members going into executive session to discuss contract amendments to Canton's collective bargaining agreement with its policemen, the SCPR asked Ward 5 Councilman Kevin Fisher whether or not the American Landfill agreement was still a "hot" issue.

He said that for him it is, but as far as he knew there was going to be an up or down vote on the issue and that no one had told him that the vote was going to be postponed.

Well, it was put off which is strong evidence to yours truly that it is questionable as to whether or not it could pass council.

Such is a standard Healy administration technique when the votes are not in place.

During public speaks, several speakers, according to Director Price, were just flat out wrong on their arguments.

So the SCPR has compiled a series of videos of speakers on the topic.

First there are those who oppose the agreement and the points they made in opposition (Osborne, Bogue and Lincoln).

Then, The Report has put together videos of responses by Alan Schulman (council president), Service Director Price and Law Director Joe Martuccio.

What is the city to do?

As Allen Schulman says, there are no good choices.

And the CCSC friends and allies present no alternative but for (by implication) to reject the exchange between American Landfill and Canton and to pass the increased cost of $500,000 onto the users of Canton's water treatment plant.

Earlier in the day (Monday), Schulman sent Borello an e-mail, to wit:

Thanks for your response. 

My frustration is that the same anti-environmental state office holders keep being re-elected by those who are being harmed due  to lax enforcement and weak regulations. 

As a result, we in city government ... whose hands are tied by the Ohio legislature, are berated by a public that apparently refuses to acknowledge that our powers have been completely displaced. 

While I share your deep and well founded views, it is very aggravating when we are essentially powerless to respond or act.  I simply wish you and your organizations would be more politically active on the STATE level as you are locally. 

And that means supporting candidates for state office who share your beliefs. 

The Ohio House is on the verge of becoming a "  super majority " since so few Democratic office holders remain. See you tonight. 

Among Stark County's legislative delegation, there has been universal support for HB 278 (2004) and SB 165 (2010)  (LINK to prior SCPR blog) which stripped local government officials of most if not all authority to deal with issues having to do with fracking.

And yet what has Borello and friends done to bring political consequences to the steps of the offending legislators?

One of Borello's allies who works at an environmentalist group out of Columbus said that her organization does not get into the politics of opposing legislators who do things like vote in favor of HB 278 and SB 165.

Isn't that interesting?

But then these organizations do weigh-in on local government officials who have been undermined by the state legislature in their ability to heed the concerns of local citizens.

A strategy that cannot possibly work.

Strange indeed!

It is all well and good for Borello and friends to do what they can with local government officials.  The SCPR has no problem with that at all.  In fact, the SCPR has been at the forefront of Stark County journalism promoting citizen involvement in their local government.  But are they ever going to get it that there is very little to be gained on the fracking issue by hassling local government types?

The bottom line is:  do they want to be effective or do they just want to raise a ruckus with those who have very little, if any, authority to deal with the matter of their concern?

If they want to be effective they must show the likes of Republicans Christina Hagan (did not vote on bills but HB 278 was supported by predecessor Snitchler and her father voted yes on SB 165), Scott Oelslager, Kirk Schuring and Democrat Stephen Slesnick that their future as legislators could be at stake in the face of their support for and/or votes for the bills and other legislation that compel locals to follow certain state mandates.

Oh, yes the anti-frackers can continue the course they are on.

If they do, the SCPR believes that they are demonstrating that they are "their own worst enemies" and seemingly do not have a clue as how to be politically effective.

Defeating an incumbent legislature specifically on the issue of taking away local control of the issue of fracking and fracking related matters would certainly send a loud and powerful message to the Ohio General Assembly.

The SCPR doesn't recall that the CCSC was in any way, shape or form involved - in an organized way - against Hagan, Oelslager, Schuring or Slesnick in the election recently concluded.

Isn't that interesting?

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