Friday, March 15, 2013


The SCPR was at Canton's Babe Stern Center located in the heart of Councilman Kevin Fisher's (a Democrat) 5th Ward last night.

The purpose?

To cover Democratic mayor Willam J. Healy's (the second) State of the City message.

And The Report did videotape the entire presentation as yours truly is wont to do of Stark County's major governmental/political events.

Over ensuing days and weeks, The Report will cover the mayor's presentation in depth with incisive political analysis.

However, for today's blog yours truly cannot resist sharing with Cantonians and Stark Countians the "war of words" this week exchanged between the current mayor and former Canton mayor (2008 - 2011) and now Stark County commissioner Janet Creighton (Republican) over the matter of safety of Cantonians.

In this blog, The Report does bring in a small part of Healy's presentation and his answers to SCPR questions asked following the State of the City report. 

First up is Commissioner Creighton.

For the first two weekly meetings of the commissioners in March (the 6th and the 13th), Commissioner Creighton has listened intently to residents of Canton's Vassar Park neighborhood as they presented their case that if only the Stark County commissioners would press the Stark County sheriff to fill the county jail beds to capacity (501 beds), the Vassar neighborhood would be safer.

Only on Wednesday did it dawn on yours truly that Creighton couldn't disagree more that the problem with safety of neighborhoods in Canton had to do with filling the jail's beds (though she totally supports same).

Rather she thinks that the real cause of Canton's crime problem is the gutting of the Canton Police Department by Mayor Healy.

And she got in the face (in a nice way) of a Vassar Park resident with a message to carry back to Healy.

Watch and listen Commissioner Creighton's charge at Healy.


Next up is Mayor Healy.

Creighton's passion compelled The Report to carry the message to Healy direct inasmuch as yours truly had the opportunity post-State of City.

The topic was not forced at all in that one of the mayor's four pillars for the building up of the future of Canton presented in the State of the City address is guess what?  You've got it:  Safety!

A major announcement by the mayor last night was that Canton is hiring fourteen new policemen which will raise the number of policemen to 156 officers.

Watch and listen as Mayor Healy responds to the Creighton charge.


While the mayor has recognized that Canton has needed more policeman, he has previously said that  it has not been economically feasible for him to hire more policemen because he thinks that doing so would not be sustainable over the longer term.

Now he says that Canton has the finances to sustain 14 new hires.

Commissioner Creighton's take on Healy's defending himself on a recent increase in crime in Canton is to spread among the likes of the Vassar Park residents the canard (not Creighton's exact word but the SCPR's interpretation) that if only the Stark County jail had been filled to capacity during the uptick in Canton crime during his administration, the uptick would not have happened.

It boils Creighton's blood to no end that Healy has been able to convince the Vassar Park residents that his theory of the cause of the rise Canton's crime rate is plausible.

So the saga goes on between the two.  And the SCPR looks for it to continue for as long as they remain on the Stark County political scene.

Of course, lurking in the background is Commissioner Tom Bernabei who served as Healy's first service director and chief of staff (2008) until the mayor could no longer abide being repetitively taken to the woodshed by the former service director who function more like being the de facto mayor.

It is hard to believe that anybody reading this blog would not know the political history of Creighton and Healy.

But for the animosity between the two to make sense, a SCPR provided refresher is in order.

Healy swept onto the Canton political scene in the early 2000s.  In 2003 he and then-long term Democratic councilman Bill Smuckler faced off against one another for the Democratic nomination to run for mayor of Canton.

Smuckler won but subsequently lost to Creighton in the November general election.

Healy bided his time until 2007.  Of course, Janet Creighton was incumbent mayor then.  And who would have thunk it?  Healy defeats her.

One of the major components of his campaign was that he would be "Zero Tolerant" of crime in Canton which seemed to resonate with Cantonians which, by the way, has about a 9 to 1 Democratic voter registration majority.

To this day, if one wants to set Creighton off, all that needs to be done is to talk up the mayor's 2007 Zero Tolerance theme. She says it was and remains pure political rhetoric and as such demonstrates in spades that Healy is nothing but an empty suit who is bamboozling Cantonians into thinking he has real solutions for what ails the Hall of Fame City.

The SCPR believes that the Healy's victory was not so much that Cantonians thought the Creighton's policing policies and programs were politically devastating in terms of effectiveness, but rather that  the 9 to 1 Democrat to Republican factor was telling.

Bill Smuckler, though a very able councilman, is not blessed - to say it nicely - with a Dale Carnegie personality.

Neither is Healy.  While he is urbane and smooth, to some he lacks sincerity.

On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the equivalent of approximating Carnegie; Healy is probably at a 7 whereas Smuckler's (at least from voters' standpoint) appears to somewhere around 2.

So to the SCPR, the Carnegie scale mostly explains why Republican Creighton could defeat Democrat Smuckler while losing as an incumbent (imbued with the power of incumbency) to Healy in lopsided Democratic Canton.

Whatever the cause of the Creighton defeat, there is no doubt that bitterness reigns supreme between the two.

Healy did not have it in him to be gracious in victory.

As he stumbled and bumbled his way through learning to be mayor by on-the-job training, he, of course, scapegoated Creighton for everything that was not going well for his neophyte administration.

He is now in second term as mayor (miracles never cease, no?) but he still impliedly blames Creighton for some of Canton's ills which remain.  There was even a sprinkling of such references in last night's State of the City address.

And so the Battle Royale continues and will continue for years to come!

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