UPDATE (CORRECTION): In this blog the SCPR attributed the start of the Canton Connection magazine to Canton mayor William J. Healy, II. The Report is informed that a predecessor similar publication was started by the Janet Creighton administration under another name).
Apparently, Massillon mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry has decided to become a CHEER-leader rather than THE leader of Massillon city government.
On March 5, 2012 (at a regular meeting of the Massillon City Council, she announced her publicity drive of promoting Massillon as being the "City of Champions."
In her words:
What I would like to tell you is that what we’ve done is we’ve rebranded the city to be the City of Champions. We’ve done that for several reasons 1, yes, of course our sports team, but secondly for people like our heroes that we had in the police and fire department and in our community members. We rebranded the city for our wonderful businesses that have been here for a 100 years, 75 years, 50 years our residents and our employees.
In late August, the mayor announced that Massillon city government is starting a new magazine (to be financed through advertising): City of Champions Today. It is to begin publication on October 23rd and be published quarterly thereafter. It is to serve, according to a local newspaper report, to highlight:
- activities within city government, including:
- its parks,
- Massillon arts,
- education, and
- Massillon lifestyle,
- features on:
- city employees, and
- local businesses
Yours truly is told that Mayor Kathy has been meeting with Healy on a more or less regular basis in order to garner from him "best practices" on being the mayor of a city.
Interestingly enough, The Canton Connection and the City of Champions Today are to be published by the Canton Repository and the Massillon Independent, respectively.
Though both newspapers deny that the commercial relationship will have anything whatsoever to do with the quality of its reporting and editorializing; it is certainly a factor, in the opinion of the SCPR, that Canton and Massillon readers ought always to have in mind on reading Canton government and Massillon government stories in either The Rep or The Inde.
Okay we have Massillon rebranded by the Catazaro-Perry administration as the City of Champions and the initiation of the glossy magazine, is there anything left to do in the CHEER-leading front.
Indeed, there is.
About a week ago, the mayor announced that she and community development director Ted Herncane will be hosting a quarterly or bimonthly television program (courtesy of Massillon Cable TV [public access channels 21 and 22] entitled Massillon Today.
A local newspaper report indicates that the program will pretty much be a mirror of the magazine.
All of this is well and good, but it is unquestionably fluff which hardly gets to the pressing problems that Massillon in facing day-in, day-out.
As we all know from life experience, one can cheer until she is "blue in the face," but the cheering does not change the quality of the thing being cheered about.
Before she took office, the mayor was writing the state of Ohio auditor (December, 2011) asking him to conduct an audit of Massillon finances.
He refused, saying that "on the face it," Massillon's finances were not such as to merit an audit.
Despite her "let's put a good face on it" approach to governing, the mayor was not giving up on an audit.
In May of this year she pressed again for an audit, to wit:
The state of Ohio agrees to audit Massillon's books to determine whether or not the city is to be put in "fiscal watch" or "fiscal emergency."
Now that's something to cheer about, no?
Any day now, the SCPR, Ohio Auditor Yost will be issuing his report.
It is very likely, to one degree or another, Massillon will lose control of its finances.
Now that's something to cheer about, no?
There is no doubt that historically Massillon has been one of Ohio's grandest cities.
But those days are now past and it is now up to the likes of Catzaro-Perry to provide "real" leadership in a quest to restore this proud town to its former greatness.
And no amount of cheerleading is going to get the job done.
So far, it appears to the SCPR that the well-intentioned Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry (nor her "Kitchen Cabinet of Johnnie A. Maier, Jr., Shane Jackson and Judge Eddie Elum) are up to the task.
As noted above, cheerleading is okay for what it will do. It does make one feel better. But it also can be, and the SCPR believes is - in the case of Massillon - an exercise in kidding one's self.
The SCPR is not impressed with the mayor, her administration or her advisers.
But there is heart to be taken by Massillonians in that Massillon City Council seems to be first-rate in focusing in getting on to "real solutions" for this hardscrabble city.
With the new council coming on board in January, 2014, the SCPR believes that it will be composed of folks who understand reality, can grapple with reality and devise solutions which square up with reality.
It is probably a good thing that Catazaro-Perry is enamored with the insubstantial CHEER-leading she is into.
For her being preoccupied with conducting City of Champions award ceremonies, getting material together for the glossy magazine and co-hosting a television program will likely keep her so utterly busy doing what she does best in that such will keep her "out-of-the-way" Massillon City Council so that council can provide the sorely needed "substantive" leadership that Massillon desperately needs.