BUT NO MAYOR HEALY OR AN ADMINISTRATION REPRESENTATIVE - WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO THE "NEIGHBORHOODS" & "EDUCATION" PILLARS OF HIS FOUR PILLARS TO REBUILDING CANTON?
UPDATED: 10:00 AM
CANTON CITY SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT
K-8 GRADE GROUPING,
BULLYING IN CANTON CITY SCHOOLS (CCS)
DRUGS & GANGS IN CCS
WARD 5 SWIFT MEMBERS
JAMES McNAMER, JR
KEVIN FISHER AS COUNCILMAN
And, he "seemingly" takes action.
Note, of course, the word seemingly is in quote marks indicating that the use of the word merits deeper examination.
He does get some things done. But relatively few. Mostly, he is a talker; not a doer.
The SCPR believes that there is no better example of the disconnect between Healy's words and deeds than on the issue of recovering Canton's once proud neighborhoods.
And, he apparently thinks he can do it on his own, to wit:
- He holds meetings in the neighborhoods without the knowledge of or participation of the Ward councilperson,
- He has even been known to get out into one neighborhood in a police-esque mode as a sort of superman figure who is going to solve the neighborhood's problem,
- He creates a 17 member Neighborhood Commission (NC) in the run up to his 2011 reelection campaign and then lets it fall into a "hit and miss" proposition ever since, and,
- Note: A source tells the SCPR that the NC appears to be a "top down" type organization in the sense that various city officials come to generally poorly attended (when the meeting is not canceled altogether) in which information is fed to a commission member, only five of whom represent neighborhood associations.
- At last count, Canton has 55 neighborhood associations. So ordinary Cantonians only get 5 seats on the NC?
Of the 17 members, there are way too many Canton officials in the list.
The SCPR thinks that Councilwoman Smith is a solid neighborhood person, the say does not go for Councilman Cole and Councilman Dougherty.
Fortunately, Cole will be gone as of January 1st.
There are folks in Canton's neighborhoods who do more than "talk the talk," they "walk the walk."
A couple of leading figures in Canton government that qualify as "talk the talk AND walk the walk" personages are Councilman Kevin Fisher (Democrat - Ward 5) and Councilman Frank Morris (Democrat - Ward 9).
Also showing promise on the neighborhood matter are Councilman John Mariol (Democrat - Ward 7) and Edmond Mack (Democrat - Ward 9).
But Fisher and Morris stand out because they have monthly meetings wherein they meet regularly with their constituents. And each has active "neighborhood associations" within their wards.
Moreover, in Fisher's case, he has led the way along with Citizen Norma Mills to make banks and others who own vacant properties keep them maintained.
Mack and Mariol did participate with Fisher and Morris in a combined Ward 9, 8, 7 and 5 meeting at the Canton City Council chambers on December 5, 2012. Of course, the SCPR was there in force with video camera in hand so that Cantonians have access to the meeting even now.
On Wednesday night the SCPR was in Fisher's ward in southwest Canton the former Souers Middle School which is now part of Canton schools early college program.
Fisher was holding a "Town Hall" meeting (his 7th or 8th) that he regularly facilitates in terms of bringing guests in so that his constituents have the opportunity to get answers to their questions that affect the quality of life in Ward 5.
Other CCS in Ward 5 include McGregor and Deuber elementaries.
On September 25th, The Report was in Morris' ward and, with a lot of videotape on hand, is embarked on a series of blogs on that particular meeting.
Today's blog is to focus on Fisher's meeting on Wednesday.
Rings a bell!
Oh yes, "education" (second on the list only behind "safety") is another of Mayor Healy's "four pillars" on which to restore Canton to her former greatness, to wit:
Pillar Two - Education.
The education system and in creased graduation rates in Canton City Schools as well as Plain Local Schools continue to build a strong community.
In spite of the economic struggles and reductions infunding from the state, improvements continue to be shown.
The Mayor’s Scholarship Program has consistently proven to be successful by making scholarships available to any and all Canton residents who graduate from our public schools and have recently added the University of Akron and Stark State College to the program in 2012.And yet, no Mayor Healy or a designated administration representative at Wednesday Ward 5 neighborhood meeting.
Hmm? A pillar of his administration?
The star attraction at Councilman Fisher's meeting newly appointed Canton City Schools (CCS) superintendent Adrian Allison.
Also present were CCS board member Ryan Brahler and former member and board candidate John Rinaldi. Didn't see Rinaldi challenger Eric Resnick (also a former board member).
Members of the South West Investment For Tomorrow (SWIFT) also known as the South West Neighborhood Association were there in force and did they give Superintendent Allison his due.
This activist group is not shy. They are known to show up at city council meetings and make their views known to the the collective membership of council.
Here is a composite video of the exchange between Ward 5 constituents (including, of course, the SWIFT contingent).
After the meeting the SCPR caught up with two members of the SWIFT neighborhood group.
Whether or not Canton will ever be a great city as it once was - depends - in large part - on the leaders of Canton's government to be able to marshal citizen activists (i.e. those citizens who will roll up the sleeves and get to work) from all of the Hall of Fame city's neighborhoods in a united effort to turn Canton around.
The Healy "top-down" model will not work.
However, the Fisher, Morris, Mack and Mariol model of engaging and involving their constituents will work.
But they need help.
All of Canton's councilpersons need to be engaging the residents of the city's neighborhoods in the fashion of the dynamic foursome who the SCPR has dubbed being "the four young turks."
It appears that help is on the way.
Former Councilman Bill Smuckler will be joining the four as will likely newcomer Roland K. Burns, III.
With the results of the upcoming November election there should be as of January 1, 2014 a force of seven councilmen (Burns, Fisher, Hawk, Mack, Mariol, Morris and Smuckler) to unite on key issues in their endeavor to bring life back to the city of Canton.
A key move by this "group of seven" has to be reaching out to the neighborhoods with the intensity that Fisher and Morris have demonstrated.
It is only with large number of actively involved day-in, day-out citizens that Canton stands any chance at all of reclaiming its proud past.