Monday, September 30, 2013


Make no mistake about it, the Stark County Political Report thinks that Stark County has not seen a more skilled political operator than Canton mayor William J. Healy, II "in many, many of a moon" if not ever.

However, substantively, I think he presents a much different story.  And it is a story that is not good for Canton nor for Stark County.  After all, Canton is the county seat and the largest city in Stark.

And the difference between the two (i.e. his political skill versus the subtance of governance) could not have been more clearly contrasted than his one-on-one with residents with Councilman Frank Morris' constituents in a two hour meeting held at the north branch of the Stark County District Library on September 25th.

I was present at the meeting with what some readers like to call the "SCPR trusty videocam" recording nearly every word that the mayor exchanged with Ward 9 residents present.

The impetus for the meeting was a facebook exchange between the mayor and the residents on Councilman Morris' page on May 21, 2013.

An outgrowth of the back and forth was last Wednesday's meeting.

I think that the September 25th meeting presents Healy in terms of his quintessential self.

"One smooth (political) operator!"

However, unfortunately for him was that political reality and accountability was also in place in the form of Ward 9 residents well prepared to deal with his:
  • self-serving blandishments, 
  • his excuse making and 
  • his failure to be a good listener.
But just don't take the SCPR's word for it, just watch/listen to the mayor in SCPR videos over the next several weeks that I will presenting so at the end of the series Cantonians who want a more detailed look at Healy have had it:  "in his own words."  Nealy two hours worth.

For starters, Councilman Morris pretty much let the mayor have free reign.

Only here and there did Morris chime in.

It was gratifying to me (only kidding, of course) when the ontset of his remarks Mayor Healy acknowledged that the SCPR is the pre-eminent authority "on everything Canton and Stark County" from a political insider standpoint.

But the shot on me does indicate a glimmer into how Healy smarts from any critique of him as mayor and his conduct of the administration of the city of Canton.

Over his years of being mayor he has been in verbal fisticuffs with the likes of council president Allen Schulman, fomer service director and chief of staff Tom Bernabei, Councilman Morris, former Councilman Bill Smuckler, Ward 9 resident Bruce Nordman, former safety chief Tom Nesbitt and former service, safety, annexation director and chief of staff Warren Price, to name - not all his antagonists, but to present the foregoing sampling as clear evidence of his being a "conflict-ladened" and embattled mayor.

In this "Volume 1 blog," Healy starts off with his excuse making.

He does start off on a positive and strong note by bringing up his "four pillars of governance" that has been a mark of his administration for a number of years now if not back to the very beginning, to wit:

However, it is not long until he brings out his crutch of "blaming others."

He says "make no mistake about it, Canton has been going backwards for decades now" (04:11 mark of the video) in the face of his administration having been in place for 5-1/2 years.

At least the ragging on prior administrations now extends beyond his immediate predecessor and Republican Janet Creighton.  Such used to be his focus.  Apparently, he has realized that to lay everything at her feet just "was not playing in Peoria."

Neither do I think extending the playing field plays.

Right, wrong or indifferent, what is past is past and all Cantonians and Stark Countians care about is what results is his administration is producing today and tomorrow that makes the city and county a desirable place to live in.

Were he to abandon his excuse making mode and truly and fully embrace a "we are up to the challenge" and "we are producing results," then he might actually be convincing.

But his words "road bumps along the way" language seems to me to be a reverison to the safe harber of "I have an excuse for not achieving more."  For example, he cites the county financial problems and the curtailing of available county jail bed spaces from a maximum of 501 beds to 200 as being a reason why Canton's crime level has not been on a steady trek downwards.

I do not accept that nor do I believe most Cantonians.

Then there is his "rules and regulations" which limit what the administration can and cannot do.

Excuse making again, pure simple.

"I don't want to sound like we're trying to hide things from the public (video:  06.42)."


Who would ever accuse the Healy administration of that?

What a laugh.

William J. Healy, II has a replendent track record of wanting councilpersons to come to the eighth floor to discuss their concerns and not to bring them out during council meeting "to the embarrassment of" the administration.

But his actual track record on the "details" of his governance style, do not keep him from repeating the nonsense "I don't want to sound like we're trying to hide things from the public."

One has to wonder how Councilman Morris restrained himself from interjecting at this point.

A resident did (09:57 of the video).

Katherine Brunoni-Angelo of Harrisburg Road, NE asks:  "Why is this being address just now?"

Answer:   (to paraphrase) "You are ignornant of all the many things we have been doing during the 5-1/2 years of my administration."

Only one problem for the mayor.  Ms. Brunoni-Angelo is not buying that as an answer.  She and Ward 9 residents live in Ward 9 and they know that whatever the Healy administration has been doing in not working.

So at the end of the first video, we have a mayor who makes one generalized assertion after another, but when he is forced into the details the residents of finding that though he is "one smooth operator" on the glittering generalities level but when one gets to the details it is indeed a clear case of:  "the devil being in the details" of insufferable neighborhood life in the city of Canton.

Volume 1 video of Healy on location in Ward 9.

Friday, September 27, 2013



On July 23, 2010, the-now-former-governor of Ohio Ted Strickland (a Democrat) came to Stark County for a campaign event at the posh Mill Ridge Path home of then-councilwoman (Ward 3 - Massillon) Kathy Catazaro-Perry.

ln what the SCPR said at the time was a huge mistake, he allowed Catazaro-Perry to NOT invite sitting Massillon mayor Chicchinelli to the event.

While I cannot make the case that the Catzaro-Perry Cicchinelli snub cost Strickland the election, it certainly did not help him over a 5,000 plus vote deficit in Stark and 77,000 plus vote deficit across Ohio to have folks like Maier, Jackson and Catazaro-Perry involved in his campaign.

Catzaro-Perry's chief political adviser, Johnnie A. Maier, Jr., was the first Stark County Democratic Party chairman to endorse Strickland when he first ran in 2006.

Maier likes to imply (and Strickland plays along) that his endorsement was a critical factor in Strickland obtaining the Democratic Party nomination.

I think Maier overplays the significance of his move, but what would one expect from the politically self-aggrandizing Maier.

More pertinent to this blog discussion is that Catazaro-Perry being snubbed on this past Saturday night when she was thought to be the most appropriate person (i.e. female mayor of Massillon) to introduce Ohio Democratic treasurer candidate Connie Pillich.

The occasion was the annual clambake of the Western Stark Democratic Club which is held on the 3rd Saturday of September.

This event was started by former Massillon councilman Glenn Gamber 18 years ago.  Its purpose was and remains raising campaign funds for Massillon city Democratic candidates/Democratic officeholders who participate in the event by selling tickets.

Net proceeds are distributed according to a formula in proportion to numbers of tickets sold by candidate/officeholder participants.

According to Gamber, this year only two candidates did not participate:  Mayor Catazaro-Perry and council president Tony Townsend.

Gamber tells me that the event has raised tens of thousands of dollars over its 18 year life.

Another source told me that Mayor Catazaro-Perry was recommended as Stark County Democratic Party chairman Randy Gonzalez's choice to introduce Pillich.

Gonzalez had been invited to emcee the event but could not do so because he was on vacation.  Gamber then turned to Stark County prosecutor John Ferrero confidant John Kurtzman (president of the Western Dems organization) who deferred in favor of Prosecutor Ferrereo.

Catazaro-Perry is reported to have had another obligation (a wedding to attend) for the evening.

However, she must have thought, for such an honor she could carve out a smidgen of time.

So she shows up expecting to do the honors but not to stay as participant in the evening long event.

I am told that Ferrero (who is a former Stark County Democratic Party chairman and whose political base is in Massillon where he served as the city's law director) took charge and began making introductions of prominent Stark County Democrats in attendance.

On the completion of the local dignitaries intros, it was expected by Gamber (as he had made it clear that she was there for that role) that Ferrero would yield the floor to Catazaro-Perry for the Pillich introduction.

But that did not happen.

In what had to be an intentional snub of the mayor, Ferrero, to the horror of Gamber, proceeded to introduce Pillich.

It is thought that Ferrero's "humiliating to Catazaro-Perry act" was done on purpose on the background of political discord between him and the mayor over various Massillon issues including, for an example,  her persistence in insisting that Massillon City Council reduce the income tax credit that folks like Ferrero, though he lives in Massillon, works in Canton and pays the Canton city income tax offset by a full credit on his Massillon city income taxes.

If her presence at the event had been a balloon version of herself rather than being in-person; one would think, on Ferrero usurping the Pillich introduction, the noise and ferocity of the deflating balloon would have been spellbinding/dominating for those attending.

But a balloon representation was not the form of her presence, Mayor Kathy herself "live and in person" was at the event.

And as soon has she could manage an exit, she did so, I am told, with an unmistakable "I am pissed off" flourish.

Gamber tells me that she is mad at him.

What an injustice that is.

Gamber described to me in detail all the care that he took to ensure that Chairman Gonzalez's request was honored.

I am convinced that "the snub" was all the work of John Ferrero.

And, as SCPR blog readers know, I have written frequently that Ferrero is more than capable of doing what he appears he did to Mayor Kathy.

While former mayor Frank Cicchinelli had nothing to do with the Ferrero snub, he had to take a great satisfaction in this political humiliation of Mayor Kathy.

As folks who read this blog know there are three Democratic political factions in Massillon:  former Mayor Cichinelli's (who Catazaro-Perry defeated in the May, 2011 Democratic Primary), John Ferrero's and the Johnnie A. Maier, Jr./Shane Jackson,s one.

A bit of qualification about the Cicchinelli and Ferrero factions and their relationship is in order.

Though each has his own set of political loyalists, they are not adversaries and should Cicchinelli decide to run for the Democratic nomination for mayor in 2015 (and he is thinking about it), expects Ferrero to support him.

While most people do not like to see the type of humiliation that Catazaro-Perry most certainly had to feel Saturday night; the same could be said about Frank Cicchinelli on his being snubbed by Mayor Kathy when the-then Governor Strickland came to town.

As the Stark County Political Report sees it, her experience is clearly a case of being:

Turnabout is fair play!

Thursday, September 26, 2013


In mid 2012 during the 16 District congressional campaign (the 16th contains parts of northern Stark County) between Jim Renacci (Republican - Wadsworth) and Betty Sutton (Democrat - Copley), Sutton started making noises about campaign contributions being received by Renacci from various employees (and, in some instances, their spouses) of a company owned by Stark County businessman Benjamin Suarez.

Since the SCPR wrote about the story on May 22, 2012, the Renacci campaign, a spokesman says, not because the Renacci folks did anything wrong but only out of a sense of abundant caution, returned the questioned contributions.

In a Toledo Blade report, the Josh Mandel U.S. Senate campaign also returned contributions made by Suarez connected persons.

Yesterday, a federal grand jury handed down indictments on Suarez and a business associate on eight counts alleging a conspiracy to violate federal campaign finance laws, obstruction of justice and witness tampering.

However, the indictments did not specify that either the Renacci nor Manel campaign contributions as being the bases for the indictments.

Suarez has been prominent in Stark County business and political circles for years.

Back in the early 2000s he got into a dispute with Stark County Prosecutor John Ferrero on Ferrero's handling of some legal matters.

A number of Stark County politicos think that Suarez took on a significant campaign finance role in the campaign of Republican and prominent Stark County criminal defense attorney Jeff Jakimedes (Republican - Alliance) because of his (i.e. Suarez) differences with Ferrero.

But there have never been any suggestion that the contributions were not completely compliant with the law.

Other Stark Countians have been recipients of Suarez political contributions over the last ten years or so as shown by available Ohio secretary of state office online campaign finance reports.

While there have been direct contributions to Judge Stephen Belden (a Republican) of the Canton Municipal Court, Judge William B. Hoffman and Judge W. Scott Gwin of the 5th District Court of Appeals and former 50th District state Representative Todd Snitchler (R - Lake; now chairman [appointed by Governor Kasich] of the PUCO), there have also been contributions to the the Ohio House Republican Organizational Committee (OHROC) and to the Ohio Republican Senate Campaign Committee (RSCC) which may mean that indirectly Stark County state representatives Kirk Schuring (R - Jackson), Christina Hagan (R - Marlboro) and state Senator Scot Oelslager (R - Plain, and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee) may have benefited from Suzaez contributions.

Again, there is no indication that the aforesaid contributions where fully compliant with law.

It is not all that long until Renacci has to stand for reelection.

Though there is no suggestion that the Renacci campaign did anything wrong, it will be interesting to see whether or not his 2014 opponent tries to make anything of the apparent failure of the Renacci campaign to ask questions about some very large and co-incidental (in terms of common associations) factors about the contributions.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Canton service director William L. Bartos (only very recently appointed) told Canton City Council on Monday night that Stark County commissioner Thomas Bernabei (former Canton law director) was insisting that the Columbus-based law firm of Bricker and Eckler be hired as a condition of the county joining Canton and North Canton in doing a nearly $100 upgrade on Canton's "water reclamation facility" (WRF).

While Bartos did also refer to "needed expertise" as a factor, my prime takeaway on his presentation was that the county was firm on the Bricker and Eckler law firm being hired.

And knowing Commissioner Bernabei as well as I do, I knew I needed to check Bartos' statement out.

On June 2nd of this year Canton, North Canton and the Stark County commissioners (acting on behalf of the Stark County Sewer District) reached an agreement on the upgrade.

Here is a graphic of a typical water reclamation facility.

The WRF is described on Canton website thusly:
The Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) of the City of Canton, Ohio is responsible for treating all sanitary sewage that flows to the facility from a variety of sources throughout the greater Stark County area.
Between Stark County, Canton and North Canton, some 46,270 Stark County-sited households use Canton's facility.

In the past, the facility has received numerous awards.  However, none in the last three years

According to an Ohio construction and business news website:
The project came about after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a mandate stating that the plant must have lower phosphorus levels come year 2018. The EPA is also expected to require the plan to lower nitrogen levels soon.
The same publication broke down Stark County's, Canton's and North Canton's participation this way:
  • Canton City will provide for 51 percent, or $45.2 million;
  • Stark County will pay for 47 percent, or $41.7 million, and 
  • North Canton City will take care of the remaining 2 percent, or $1.7 million.
So where is the controversy in this matter?

Answer:  the purchasing of out-of-town legal services in the putting together of the construction contracts necessary to bid out the upgrade.

Anyone can appreciate that when one is dealing with upwards of $100 million in contracts, the legal fees for analyzing the project's legal needs in terms of materials, labor and guarantees on the quality/accountability provided by contracting companies, will be considerable.

Certainly, to the tune of many thousands of dollars.

And, of course, with the hiring of a Columbus-based law firm; these are Stark County user fee dollars (those 46,270 households using the WRF) of which my household is a part of, which will be going to the capital city to be recirculated for for goods, services and whatnot in the Franklin County vicinity which is some 100 miles away from Stark County.

Ward 8 city councilman Edmond Mack (himself a lawyer with the law firm Tzangas Plakas Mannos Ltd) raised the issue of "buying local" in council's work session and again right prior to the vote on the proposed ordinance authorizing Canton enter into the joint agreement.

Others raising concerns included Councilman Greg Hawk (who joined Mack in voting "no" in what turned out to be a 10 - 2 (ayes prevailing) vote.

Inasmuch as I have sat through many a Stark County commissioners meeting since the SCPR began in 2008 and, having heard the various boards of commissioners that have served during the ensuing time span emphasize buying Stark County-based goods and services,  I was taken aback (to repeat myself) with Bartos' assertion that Commissioner Bernabei (or, if you will, Stark County) was adamant about having Bricker and Eckler be awarded the WRF legal services contract.

Inasmuch as I was at the commissioners' work session meeting of yesterday, I made a point of cornering Bernabei and quizzing him about Bartos' assertion that the county was fixed on having Bricker and Eckler.

To get to the end of it, it appears that there must have been a communications problem between Bartos and the county folks because it turns out that there was no mandate from the county that Bricker and Eckler be hired.

County officials were clear to me that if local law firms could be shown to have the requisite expertise, then - by all means - hire locally.

The closest that the county came to an expression that could be remotely construed to be a county condition that Bricker and Eckler be the law firm to provide legal service was a off-hand statement by county legal counsel David Bridenstine that Bricker and Eckler as "an example" of a firm, in Bridenstine's opinion, which is up to providing the expertise needed to deal with the complexities and ensuring protection of users/local government units interests going forward.

Bridenstine did say that he believes that no Stark County law firm is in a position to provide a level of legal expertise needed in formulating the WRF construction contracts.

Well, Mack disagrees with him.

Here is what Mack told the SCPR in an email dated September 24th:


I am in no position to disagree with the legal counsel provided by Attorney David Bridenstine to his client, the Stark County Commissioners.  Attorney Bridenstine has a good reputation as an experienced lawyer, and it would certainly be inadvisable for the Stark County Commissioners to disregard the legal advice of their attorney under any circumstances.

I further do not dispute that the Columbus based-law firm of Bricker & Eckler would be sufficiently competent to serve as counsel relating to the Water Reclamation Project.  Bricker & Eckler is a good law firm with experience advising clients in sophisticated construction matters with environmental considerations.

However, I do not agree with the notion that the legal work associated with the WRP is beyond the capability of our own Stark County law firms.  For example:

Krugliak Wilkins, a firm with 50 lawyers located in Jackson Township, has vast experience representing commercial and municipal entities in a wide range of construction related assignments.  Krugliak also has a significant environmental practice.

Day Ketterer, a firm of over 40 lawyers located in Downtown Canton services both public and private clients in a wide range of construction and environmental related issues.  Its list of clients includes not only municipalities, but also several fortune 500 companies

Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, LLP, a firm of over 60 lawyers with an office located in Jackson Township, has significant experience in both construction and environmental law, navigating sophisticated projects and disputes on behalf of both large companies and municipalities.

Black McCuskey, a firm located in Downtown Canton with 28 lawyers, has significant experience advising clients in sophisticated matters where environmental considerations are prevalent.  A summary of this experience can be found here:

Although I am a member of a local law firm that is likewise qualified, so as not to distract from the point, I will not list my firm with the above examples.

As a litigation attorney, I often encounter situations where adverse local businesses believe their interests are better served by attorneys from Columbus or Cleveland.  Presumably, their thinking is that, if the firm is located in a bigger city, the quality of the legal representation must be better.  Many times this comes at greater cost.  It is not until after judgment is rendered do they realize that this is not true, and that our attorneys in Stark County are very equipped to handle the most sophisticated legal matters.  More often than not, at greater value to the client.

Many of our local municipalities, such as Jackson Township and Plain Township, utilize the services of our local Stark County attorneys in a wide range of legal matters.  I hope it becomes the standard that, no matter the perceived complexity of a project, all of our political agencies first contact our local law firms.  If the matter is indeed too sophisticated for a particular firm, all attorneys have an ethical obligation to decline the assignment.  However, I do not believe our local attorneys should be “skipped over” in favor of out-of-town lawyers based upon the perceived notion that it is beyond our skill set.  When this happens we are missing out on an opportunity to re-invest our tax dollars back into our local economy.  This should be avoided at all costs.

In sum, our political subdivisions request that our local law firms support their operations, which is done through paying taxes.  Our political subdivisions should in turn support our local law firms by hiring our local attorneys when services are needed.  We all support the hiring of local labor in connection with public projects because it re-invests in our local economy.  Hiring local law firms is no different.


To me, there was not enough "due diligence" done by city and county officials in determining whether or not Stark County has law firms that have the competence and experience (and specifically, litigation experience, for the eventuality that could there be a contract enforcement problem) to qualify for the WRF business.

It is unacceptable to me as Stark County Sewer District customer and as a media person who closely watches the processes of government, to see this apparent "goof up" on "due diligence" in determining who is correct (Bridenstine or Mack) as to whether or not the business could have been awarded locally.

The county and city both need to adopt a more formal way of evaluating local capabilities and avoid what Mack was faced with Monday night:  a piece of emergency legislation that needed more work to determine whether or not Bartos' assessment was correct.

In this instance, because the WRF is Canton's facility, the burden was on the Healy administration and, in terms of thorough oversight, Canton city council.

Only members Mack, Hawk, Cirelli and Schulman raised questions/concerns or made comments.

Where was the rest of council?

With Canton and Stark County struggling to cope with currently stressed economic/financial conditions, we citizens cannot abide "stumbling, bumbling local governments."

And such is what I have seen in all too many times coming out of the Mayor William J. Healy, II administration!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


UPDATED:  07:35 AM

On September 13, 2013, the Stark County Political Report started a blog series (Link:  the commissioners' office report) devoted to analyzing how well the Stark County commissioners are doing in controlling the infusion of some $22 million in new revenues into county government.

 As stated in that report:
One of the major headaches in being a Stark County commissioner is getting Stark County departments of governments to "hold the line" and not "rush out" to spend the "newly available" money provided as a consequence of Stark Countians having voted in a 0.5% sales tax increase in November, 2011.

The SCPR grade for the commissioners themselves?

While the commissioners did hold themselves to their own standard that there should be no pay increases beyond 2%, they did (unnecessarily, in the view of The Report) have an office expense increase for additional employees of 22% over their 2012 budget.

The Report questions the commissioners having hired (on a contract basis, capped at $65,000) former prosecutor David Bridenstine to assist them in contract negotiations.

As I see it, this service should be provided by Stark County prosecutor John Ferrero.

Apparently, the commissioners feel that there is no one on Ferrero's legal staff that can handle the work that Bridenstine did for them (prior to his recent retirement).

So they let Ferrero apply Bridenstine's salary for "other" purposes?  Meaning "other than the commissioners" purposes. 

While it is clear to the SCPR that the commissioners did need and were justified in bringing on additional administrative employees, The Report thinks they did not need to bring on a high-wage-level-positon (i.e. Chris Nichols ultimately at $70,000 per year).

When they hired Brant Luther as Mike Hanke's replacement as chief county administrator; they brought him on at $85,000 (after his probationary period) which is a $7,000 increase over Hanke or a 9% annual increase.

If the commissioners get a C- with a note that the SCPR does not think garnering a C- they are leading by example, just take a look at what Stark County recorder Rick Campbell is doing in 2013 compared to 2012 in terms of an increase.

To my surprise, Campbell did limit - for the most part - pay increases from 2012 to 2013 to the commissioners' recommended 2% except for employee Dave Irwin who Campbell shifted from being a deputy recorder to the microfilming division of the office.

Campbell is on record as believing that the employees should have been given a 3% raise.  It is a credit to him that he heeded the commissioners' plea that department heads limit themselves to giving 2% increases "across-the-board" as "a show of good faith" with Stark County voters and taxpayers.

However, it is obvious that Irwin did get a promotion from being a deputy recorder at $27,851 to being an assistant supervisor in the microfilming section of the recorders office at $33,500 which is a whopping 17% increase.

Irwin by the way is running for Massillon City Council in Ward 2 against incumbent Republican Nancy Halter.

He is thought to be a Johnnie A. Maier, Jr man (Maier, a former Stark County Democratic Party chairman and now Massillon clerk of courts) in the battle between warring Massillon political groups (including the three Democratic Party factions [Cicchinelli, Ferrero and Maier]) for control of Massllon's council.

Why would Irwin be thought to be a Maier-man?

Likely because of his connection to Campbell.

Campbell is a long time political associate of Maier.

Maier's chief deputy is Shane Jackson who is the brother of Campbell's wife Lisa who formerly worked for Campbell (before they married) and now works as the chief administrator for Plain Township. 

Shane is the political director for the Stark County Democratic Party and Maier's chief deputy in the Massillon clerk of courts office.

Irwin's promotion with its attendant 17% increase is really the minor story in the Campbell 2013 budget scenario.

The really BIG story with Campbell is his mammoth 44% increase in total budget in 2013 over 2012.

By my count based on information and data provided to me by Stark County auditor Alan Harold, Campbell added eight, folks that's EIGHT in capital letters additional employees for an additional expenditure of some $170,000 over and above 2012.

That is huge, no?

The SCPR agrees with the commissioners' and Campbell that his office sorely needed additional employees.  His office took a devastating hit in 2010/2011 when the county was in the grips of wrenching financial crisis.

But eight additional employees?

From a total of nine (in addition to Campbell himself) in 2012 to seventeen in 2013?


As can be seen from a listing of the new positions in the chart provided in this blog, most of them are additions to the microfilming sections of Campbell's operations.

I was present at the budget hearings when Campbell and his chief deputy Kody Gonazalez (son of Stark County Democratic Party chairman Randy Gonzalez) appeared before the Stark County commissioners.

And they did make a compelling case that in order to keep up with and make inroads into the large and continuing microfilming demand on the part of the general run of Stark County departments of government, the recorder's office was going to need a pronounced stepup in numbers of microfilming employees.

Notwithstanding Campbell having made a case for increased numbers of employees, for him to have added two additionals to his recorder's staff and six to the microfilming section is hardly a show of great restraint.

The SCPR thinks that Campbell should have been slower to add employees to ensure that the demand of the volume of work to be performed precisely and exactly matched the demand.

The Report suspects that he built in some slack in terms of ratio of work to be performed and the number of total recorder office employees.

Campbell's SCPR grade?

Monday, September 23, 2013


UPDATE:  09:00 AM

For Stark County political director Shane Jackson to go into histrionics and hysterics  is nothing new to experience for those who are around him in political venues.

I have first hand witnessed him take off on various Stark County political personages over the years I have known him.  And when he does so, it is in florid and base language.  He appears to take political differences "very personally." 

Recently, I became the object of a Shane Jackson tirade.

Last Wednesday, I wrote a blog that was primarily about former Massillon city schools superintendent Al Hennon signing on as safety-service director of the Catazaro-Perry administration.

What was so politically newsworthy about the Hennon appointment, is that, up to the Saturday before the Tuesday announcement of the political coup-d'etat, he (Hennon [the Republican candidate for president of Massillon City Council on November's ballot]) was telling his closest Republican allies that he "full steam ahead" as a candidate.

In the blog, the SCPR reported that it appears former Stark County Party chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. (now Massillon clerk of courts) was "up to his eyeballs" in effecting the coup and that it seems to have been in the works for some time.

At 08:11 a.m. that Wednesday morning Stark County Democratic Party political director Shane Jackson (also chief deputy for Massillon clerk of courts Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.) fired off an email to me entitled "you have gone over the line."

See the entire "unedited e-mail" at the end of this blog.  

What was Shane so upset about?

Was he challenging the particulars pertaining to Hennon described in the blog?

Curiously enough, no.

According to him,  I had attacked the memory of Mike McDonald.  Which, of course, is not so.

McDonald won office in November, 2012 over Republican Larry Dordea.

However, tragically and certainly sadly for all Stark Countians, whether one had voted for him or not, he could not take office on January 7, 2013 because of a illness that  cost him his life on February 22nd.

Jackson's point of upset?

SCPR blog(s) observations that there are Stark Countians who think that Stark County Democratic officials had prevailed upon McDonald to stay in the race notwithstanding health issues McDonald had gone public with.

Of course, the assertion that such thinking (at least in terms of my own - and others among Stark County officialdom and the general citizenry [whom I have spoken with] - entertaining the possibility that Stark County Democratic officials may have prevailed on him to carry on) was a reflection on Mike is utter nonsense.

It is a Jackson/Johnnie A. Maier, Jr red-herring designed to deflect attention away from themselves and their political cohorts as to any possible involvement they may or may not have had with regard to the matter.

In my view and and others the Jackson e-mail reeks of the Shakespearian "thou doth protest too much, me thinks."

Well, why was The Report analogizing the Hennon situation to the McDonald situation in the first place?

Perhaps, I could have picked a less sensitive example to my analogizing base and for those who are offended at my selection, I apologize.

However, from a strictly clinical, political-analytical standpoint, I used the example to compare (in a you have do what you have to do from a political operative standpoint) to my conjecture that one of the reasons that Maier may have pressed Hennon hard to take the safety-service job in the context of the timing of the decision was to protect Maier protege Tony Townsend from suffering an "all-but-certain" defeat in November in Townsend's bid to retain the council presidency handed to him by Massillon Democratic precinct committee persons this past January when Glenn Gamber suddenly resigned.

And for the record, let me repeat that I have the highest regard for Mike McDonald.  Moreover, I believe and have written in quite a few blogs to the effect that Mike was a first-rate sheriff candidate for Stark Countians to consider.  And had he lived he would have made an excellent sheriff.

To me, it is an irony for Jackson to label me as being "evil" for having used the analogy in view of my own position that EVEN IF he and other Stark County Democratic officials prevailed upon McDonald to stay in the race (as some Stark Countians believe and which I find believable) for Party and selfish political purposes, I would not attribute a moral quality to such action.

For, as I see it, such is what professional politicians do.  And certainly the likes of Maier and Jackson see themselves as political pros.

This is the side of politics that I and many Americans do not like.

And that is why being a professional politician is not for everybody.

What separates me from the professional politicians is that I think the public interest trumps any possible Party or personal political interest.

I think decisions as to who serves in public office should be determined by the voting public and not by political party professionals.

Among Republican and Democratic operatives, there are no white hats.

Both political parties are equally adept at playing Machiavellian politics.

To reiterate, while some may think Machiavellian politics is evil incarnate, I do not.  Such "cunning and duplicitousness" is simply a human manifestation of the selfish sides of we human beings and our organizations (e.g. political parties).

Of course, no one likes to be thought of being selfish.

That Jackson has gotten so utterly defensive and emotional about the matter, brought to mind, to say it a second time, the Shakespearian Hamlet mantra:  Thou dost protest too much, methinks!

I have written that Stark Democratic officials deny that had any such discussions with McDonald.

To me, Jackson's emotional outpouring in coarse language only serves to boost my suspicion that the denials themselves are highly suspect.

And there is more, I believe, to bolster the thinking that the Stark Democratic Party leadership may have taken on a role in a mulling over of whether or McDonald was going to stay in the race as a consideration of what was good for Party political interests.

The Stark County has a highly credible report that an area police chief was asked by Stark Democratic officials to consider stepping in for McDonald, if need be.

It seems to me the overall political ambience is such when coupled with such a report is ample reason to raise questions of what was going on in the internal operations of the Stark County Democratic Party and how the public interest in having voters determine who is or who is not selected as sheriff of Stark County.

Does anyone really believe that there were no such discussions going on?

The Jackson e-mail which is set forth in full below is not the first time that I have had to abide a Jackson rant.

Here is a LINK to a blog that I did back on October 27, 2008 detailing the Jackson attack on me.

Jackson knows that when someone responds to a SCPR blog, I almost always (except for personal attacks, which Jackson's is) publish the response verbatim.

My first impulse was to ignore Jackson because of its extreme emotive-guttural tone.

But on thinking about it, I decided "no," I will not trash it in the heap of personal attack communications directed at me.

I know the sincerity, diligence and "for the public good" bearing I have embraced in doing the Stark County Political Report blog.

It appears that Jackson, unwittingly, in writing his off-the-wall electro-emotive missive, has provided me with an occasion, an opportunity to show to Stark Countians what anyone who challenges certain types of public officials has to abide.

I will take Jackson's handiwork on point-by-point and, "at the end of this blog," post it - let me get a little sarcastic for a moment -  in its complete entirety (Jackson's words) - for all to see.

If Jackson is dumb enough to think his self-serving communication put me in a bad light, then he can have at it.  It says far more about Shane Jackson at his own hand than one would think he would want to reveal.

I have already addressed the McDonald/Hennon analogy matter which is clearly the major point of his email although the analogy was NOT the primary topic of the blog.

Here is my response to the rest of Jackson's "while I am at it, let me throw in everything but the kitchen sink" outburst.

And, please note, I think he embarrassed himself in front of a self-selected large public audience (i.e. his cc: list).

Firstly, Jackson's "... your hate filled diatribe in my direction ..."

Really? Examples please?

While I have used some descriptive language, which is a characteristic of writers-in-general, to describe his political operations and his close political ties and, of course, wrote about his close ties to Johnnie A. Maier, Jr., and, of course, responded to his Canal Fulton (DeHoff political rally) personal attack on me, I have never written about his person outside the context - to repeat - of his political activities.

For the record, in his personal life and in his personal world, I want to say to one and all that undoubtedly Shane Jackson is one fine human being.

After all, he comes from the same Swedish heritage as do I.

My grandfather, a immigrant from Sweden in the late 1800s settled in Jamestown, NY where the Jacksons have relatives.

In friendlier days, the commonality has been much discussed.

In the political world, he and I part company sharpely.

I see him as having to be in a be in the midst of a political power environment in order to feel secure.

I do not.

I feel secure in and of myself.

In the political world he takes on political activities, political causes and has political relationships that a political blog writer like myself is going to opine on.

And though I have no personal animus towards him, he has no immunity from my scrutiny notwithstanding that formerly we had a close political relationship.

What is the saying?

"If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."

I am not a part of the political cacoon that Jackson has immersed himself in.

Even when I worked with him and Maier, they clearly understood that I am my own person.

Shortly after Ted Strickland was elected governor in November, 2006, I wrote a letter to the editor of The Repository criticizing him on a certain policy path he was embarking on.

OMG, did Johnnie A. Maier,Jr flip out!

If he had not figured it out beforehand, the Strickland letter was clear indication that he (Johnnie) was not somebody I check with before doing a political act.

Secondly, Jackson's "I realize you do this in order to create a relevance for yourself, and to take down a few pegs those people you hold responsible for keeping you from your rightful place as an elected leader."
  • With respect to the "create a relevance for yourself" language: 
Let me remind Shane, that it was his and Johnnie's idea that I do a blog.

Of course, "an independent minded, no respecter of persons" blog is not what they had in mind.

I believe that he and Shane eventually put together a Massillon city politics blog entitled the Massillon Review that is not in anyway, shape or form of the quality I have done with my Stark County Political Report.

It was a blog specifically dedicated to the political defeat of Maier's Massillon political power rival Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr.

Interestingly enough, it was last published on the day Johnnie's brother George became the selectee of the Stark Democrats to be Stark County Sheriff as a replacement for interim Sheriff Tim Swanson who had taken over on Mike McDonald's notice that he would be unable to assume office.

Another interesting coincidence may be that once I let it be known that to my reader that the Massillon Review was to read the political playbook of Maier/Jackson, the blog evaporated.

And you talk about a personally disrespectful and pejoratively written blog full of unsupported assertions; the anonymously and hence cowardly written Massillon Review is a crown example.

Returning to the point made above that Maier and Jackson actually deserve credit for planting in my mind the notion of doing a politicfal blog, I remember like it was yesterday when we sat in Johnnie Maier's office as he and Shane endeavored to persuade me to do a Democratic partisan blog as a counter to the then highly partisan Republican blog named Stark Politics (anonymously written).

They were amazed that I was unaware of Stark Politics until they had pointed it out to me.

After telling me how much he personally respected me, Shane and Johnnie then asked me to lend my name to an attack blog against Stark's Republicans.

Oh, not to worry they assured me; they would or have others' do the actual writing.

Really nice guys, these two, no? 

They want to do self-serving and Democratic Party "smash mouth" enhancing political writing but under my name.


I say it again with unmistakable sarcasm:  "and Shane said back in 2008 how much he respected me."

That he disrespects me in 2013, should send me into a tizzy of celebration.

If Shane Jackson respects me, I must ask myself what am I doing wrong, no?

No sooner did I get home, I rushed to tell my wife:  "You are going to believe this, but guess what Shane Jackson and Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. have asked me to be a party to?"

The next day they got abrupt and terse "no" for an answer.

But Jackson is "right on" in saying that I have created a "political relevance" for myself with the Stark County Political Report.  And that I have done so, is the reason for his outburst.

Ironically, he only need look at himself and Johnnie as having provided me with the idea and vision for creating and generating a platform from which I can be and have been a key difference maker in the quality of Stark County government and politics.

From this forum, I have pushed hard on office holding and office seeking Republicans and Democrats for openness, authenticity, selflessness, accountability, forthrightness, tranparency; creating democracy enhancing political mechanisms; and developing programs, policies and practices that advantage the Stark County citizenry.

Readers of the SCPR know that whether or not I personally like/dislike certain Stark County political figures; the like/dislike factor is not in play in my evaluating their political operations, how they run their offices and conduct themselves in the public arena.

Having written some 2,500 blogs on many topics and on the many and varied Stark County politicos that grace the Stark County community, Jackson gives himself and Maier way too much importance as subjects of my concern.

I have said many times that "I am an opinion" guy.

Jackson's "to infer [sic - imply is the grammatically correct term he should have used] in such a way it would appear factual" is a testament to the power of my political writing in the sense that I work hard to develop credible support for my opinions.

And this is what bothers him, Maier and others about whom I write, more than anything else.

Stark County Democratic Party chairman Randy Gonzalez whines and whines and whines about the believability of my opinions.  "But, Martin," he says: "they sound like fact."

That is where my political relevance comes from.

A number of folks have written political blogs touching on Stark politics, but none of the them approach SCPR standards.

And to get just a little cute and irrelevant to my writing a blog; my daughters and my wife (who all are highly accomplished professionals who demonstrate day-in, day-out that they think for themselves) think I am highly relevant.
  •  With respect to the rest of Jackson's:  and to take down a few pegs those people you hold responsible for keeping you from your rightful place as an elected leader."
Actually, I am appreciative of the help I got from Johnnie and Shane when I ran for state representative in 2002 and 2004.

This,  though I am now highly critical in my interpretation how they manipulate and use local government instrumentalities and political entities for what I perceive to be personal or political party selfish interests.

I did not realize it at the time, but the district (the the 56th) was so gerrymandered Republican that it was virtually impossible for a Democratic candidate to win and, of course, Maier and Jackson knew it.

The best opportunity for the Democrats to hold the seat came with Lawrence Township trustee Mike Stevens who was selected by the Ohio House Democratic Caucus to replace Maier when he stepped down.

Both Maier and Jackson were so impressed with the campaign I ran in 2002 that during it they repeatedly told me that had I gotten the appointment (note:  I was not even on the Stark County political radar screen in 1999) and had the opportunity to run as the incumbent, I would have retained the office.

Of course, the Jackson/Maier observation constituted a trashing of Mike Stevens' effort in his very close loss (about 1,000) to winner and Republican John Hagan.

When Stevens lost and when I lost, the 56th was nowhere near what it was when Maier was first elected in terms of Democrats having a fighting chance.  And, Maier got lucky when his Republican opponent got into some legal difficulties.

In hindsight, it probably would not have been a good thing for me to have gotten elected.

Inasmuch as I am a thoroughly independent minded person who cares more about the public good than my own political fortunes, it would have dawned on me early on that neither the Dems in Columbus nor Maier would have tolerated my putting the peoples' interests over my political party's or my sponsor's interests.

Nevertheless, I recognize the help I received from Maier and Jackson and many other Stark County Democrats and union members and remain appreciative.

However, as a blogger, I am determined and have shown that those ties do not factor into my analysis and presentation on the Stark County Political Report.

Nor is it relevant to my blog that the subjects are unfriendly to me and my blog.

I have had unionists (from the trades) come up to me and complain, for instance, of my scrutiny Mayor William J. Healy, II of Canton.  "But, Martin," they say, "we contributed to your campaign when you ran for state representative." 

What's the saying?

"That and $2 will get you a fast food cup of coffee."

Thirdly, Jackson's "... your comments are more than vicious, more than hateful. They are evil.

My opinions are incisive, thorough and to-the-point.

This is what I wrote about Jackson back on October 27, 2008:
Shane Jackson is a relatively young man. If he can get a handle on himself in the face of political disagreement in the public square, he will do just fine. He needs to remember that the American political system is a democracy and people will have different perspectives.

In the end, The Report takes the Jackson outbursts
[at a Celeste DeHoff political rally] as a compliment. The Report is being effective in delivering to the Stark County voting public an "independent" analysis of the candidates and issues that dot the Stark County political landscape. ... .
"Vicious, more than hate filled.  They are evil?"


Nor are they for any topic that the SCPR deals with. 

But, in the vernacular, they are words of "why don't you grow up, Shane?

Jackson is part of a very powerful Stark County political machine.

And many of those who look to him and Maier for guidance and advice run and staff quite a number of Stark County's villages, cities, townships and boards of education government offices.

These are institutions of government that have a direct effect on our everyday lives.

As long as the Stark County Political Report exists, the bellyaching of the likes of Shane Jackson and Randy Gonzalez will continue unabated.

I understand that.

Fortunately, I am positioned to fully answer Jackson and others when their attacks come.

Jackson is not used to people talking back.

He has attached himself to an authoritarian politician (the now deceased Ohio Speaker of the House - Vern Riffe is one of Maier's political heros) who I think, bottom line, expects everybody to bow and scrape to him.

That the Stark County Political Report doesn't, undoubtedly, is especially galling to Maier and Jackson in view of our common political association of yore.

No one in Stark County, other than family or lifelong friends, know Maier and Jackson, from a political perspective, like I do.

To me, they are to be scrutinized just like any other Stark County politician or office holder.

And for the Stark County Political Report, they are and will continue to be.

Fourthly, Jackson's "don't bother responding, I won't read it, and we will not be having a dialogue about this."

Not much I have to say about this one. 

The guy starts an argument and he has the arrogance and audacity to preempt a response.

A dialogue with Shane Jackson, he has to be kidding.

But he didn't ask for my permission to send me the e-mail?   After all, he's entitled, no?

Answer:  one standard for Shane Jackson; a different standard for others.

His unilateral arbitrariness really makes Shane Jackson look good, no?

Even his friends may raise their eyebrows at that one.

Finally, his "and if you repost this, and I would ask you don't, I ask that it be in it's [sic] complete entirety."

Of course, when a person who is the subject matter of a SCPR blog responds, I "nearly" always prints the response and, in-full.

He knows that and so he constructs a "straw man" and "red-herring" issue e-mail and thereby shows how utterly disingenuous he is.

But I can deal with a Shane Jackson any day of the week. 

I haven't had someone be my patron saint who hires me to a government job that pays me more than the mayor because he is a close friend and political ally of a member of my family.

But I do feel comfortable in my own skin.

I don't need to try to drum up support.

I will not be sending a link to this blog to all the people that Shane did.

But chances are good that the word will spread that I have responded to Jackson and they will come to the Stark County Political Report on their own.

I can function on my own.

As a number of folks have responded to me unsolicited on my discussing Jackson's email:

The reaction?

For the third time:

Oh!  A case of "thou doth protest too much, me thinks."

Nonetheless, here is Stark County Democratic Party Political Director Shane Jackson's e-mail
"in its complete entirety" in its phrase's full redundancy!

Note:  Stark County Democratic Party chairman Randy Gonzalez has also written me an e-mail.  Perhaps, in due course, I will respond to his.  I would not want him to feel slighted.

From: Shane Jackson <>
(see blog above for list of persons Jackson copied)

Sent: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 8:10 AM
Subject: Martin Olson, you have crossed the line

I have never before chosen to respond to any of your hate filled diatribe aimed in my direction. I was always able to put them into perspective. I realize you do this to create a relevance for yourself, and to take down a few pegs those people you hold responsible for keeping you from your rightful place as an elected leader. Fine, it's certainly your right.

Until this morning, and I am still shaking. You, the self proclaimed "insider" decided to infer in such a way it would appear factual that I was involved in hatching some scheme that was related to my personal knowledge that Mike McDonald would indeed die from cancer, and utilized this knowledge to help George Maier become sheriff. You are wrong and even you know it.

And don't sling any bullshit about "suspicions" and how this is merely the "opinions of others" and how you were simply restating them. We both know what you intended to infer.

Michael McDonald was a friend of mine. Michael McDonald was a good man, and it broke my heart when he passed.

Additionally, in my own life, my significant other courageously battled cancer, for years, and went through absolute hell in fighting this disease. This is a fight that will mark the rest of her life.

Your comments are more than vicious, more than hateful. They are evil.

I suggest you critically examine your purpose for doing this.

Don't bother responding, I won't read it, and we will not be having a dialogue about this. And if you repost this, and I would ask you don't, I ask that it be in it's complete entirety.

Shane Jackson