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:
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."
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."Vicious, more than hate filled. They are evil?"
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. ... .
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:
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 <email@example.com>
(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.