Judge Kristin Farmer was appointed by Governor Kasich to replace Judge Charles E. Brown, Jr not Judge V. Lee Sinclair as previously reported.
The Stark County Political Report wishes each and every reader an abundantly thankful Thanksgiving Day, 2013.
On this day, which was first celebrated in Plymouth colony is 1621 because of a bountiful harvest that year, the SCPR takes a pause to be thankful for the good deeds enhancing our democratic-republican institutions performed by various Stark County elected officials and public figures.
In no particular order of importance, only that each recipient made the coveted SCPR "the top 5 billing," I elaborate on the reasons why each merited making this year's list.
Stark County's prosecutor since 2003, Ferrero, never heretofore a SCPR favorite, outdid himself early this year (January, February) "he did the right thing" in "standing his ground" to the Johnnie A. Maier, Jr Massillon-based political machine and looked his successor "in the eye" and declared by affidavit that brother George was not qualified under Ohio statutory law to be Stark County sheriff.
In so doing, The Report sees Ferrero as having placed himself in "a front and center" for "the rule of law" in this specific situation.
It had to be under great duress that he faced off against the Maiers inasmuch as Ferrero himself is - make no mistake about it - a Stark County Democratic Party insider (SCDP chair from 1996 - 2003) who has benefited greatly from such status as a base and an accelerant to his rise in Stark County elected officialdom.
The SCPR doubts that the challenge to George Maier (manifested by the 84 votes against him) would have gotten to first base BUT FOR Ferrero's courageous act.
You can bet that the Maiers (George and Johnnie) will long remember the year of political Hell that Ferrero initiated for them with his affidavit.
John Ferrero's deed established the base for the quo warranto Ohio Supreme Court challenge to Maier's right to hold office under the Stark Dems appointment.
The Report figures that the Maier forces were figuring on bullying their way through the selection process and that none one who wanted a future in Stark County Democratic Party politics would dare oppose them.
That Ferrero stood in their path was a surprise to the SCPR and likely astounded Stark County Democratic Party chair Randy Gonzalez, Maier and Maier.
Of course, the SCPR does not know the "inside himself motivation" for John Ferrero having "stepped up to the plate," but The Report does know the "effect" of his having done so.
Because of the action of Prosecutor John Dee Ferrero, in Stark's political future, folks like George Maier will think twice about trying to steamroller "the rule of law" in arrogantly asserting: "I guaranty that if I apply, I will be qualified."
All Stark Countians who care about our democratic-republican process should pause for thought in appreciation for Ferrero's "standing in the breach" and giving "the rule of law" a fighting chance.
The SCPR was skeptical that this daughter of one of Stark County's most pre-eminent elected/political officials; namely, Judge Sheila Farmer (Republican), now of the 5th District Court of Appeals would "anytime soon" be up to striking a blow for the proper application of Ohio's election laws in the Stark County context and thereby enhancing and strengthening "the rule of law" in our county.
Appointed by Ohio Republican governor John Kasich in December, 2012 to replace the highly respected Charles E. Brown, Jr, on the Stark County Court of Common Pleas when he retired, I was one who thought that Kristin Farmer (also, of course, a Republican like her mother) was one who traded on her maiden name and heritage to get the appointment.
Not to be naive, I do believe she used the Farmer name to gain the advantage in getting the appointment and like any savvy candidate for elective office will continue to use her "politically powerful," in Stark County, family name.
However, the SCPR remains open-minded, notwithstanding appearances.
Farmer distinguished herself in the case of North Canton councilman-at-large Mark Cerreta of earlier this year in which he was ruled off the ballot in what turned out to having been an "abuse of discretion."
Per a prior blog published by the SCPR, to wit:
But Judge Farmer was able to see that it is in the interest of the North Canton voter base to have a "real" choice and was able - in yesterday's decision - to find legal justification to side with "the spirit of the law" in finding that the BOE "abused its discretion" and "clearly disregarded applicable law" in jumping on a legal technicality to keep North Cantonians from having that freedom loving choice.Unlike her colleague on the Stark County bench (Judge Frank Forchione) in the Stark Dems qualification process in SCDP-CC Ohio Supreme Court ordered re-do of its sheriff appointment as referred to in the Ferrero piece above, in the opinion of the SCPR, her legal decision was a well reasoned decision with cited legal authority.
The Report's take on Forchione's action is that his re-opening of the application process to new applicants was an arbitrary decision that should not be validated by Ohio's "court of last" resort given its opinion in Swanson v. Maier in the consideration of the Swanson/Darrow v. Gonzalez "mandamus" action currently on the court's docket.
To repeat the point of the cited earlier SCPR blog, for a new judge to demonstrate the sound judgment and well-reasoned basis in finding for Councilman Cerreta was "Simply Impressive."
Stark Countians too should be well taken with Judge Kristin Farmer and, what's more, be thankful for her making "a rule of the case" determination that enhances the election process in our democratic-republican system of government.
Democrat Timothy Swanson is a storied person in Stark County politics and government.
As Stark County sheriff from 1996 through 2013 (currently as interim sheriff), he has both his admirers and detractors.
You can bet that George T. Maier and his allies who control the leadership of the Stark County Democratic Party are not among his admirers.
The SCPR is impressed with Swanson on two counts.
First, notwithstanding that the SCPR has been a on, off, on-again, off-again critic of his over the nearly six years of existence of The Report (e.g. his ragging on Stark County voters who opposed and rejected [November, 2009] an imposed 0.5% sales tax by the-then commissioners Bosley, Harmon (Democrats) and Republican Jane Vignos), he has remained open and accessible to The Report when I have had questions for him to respond in his capacity as sheriff.
Second, his having "the intestinal fortitude" to stand up for "the rule of law" in the face of (one would presume) intense pressure of the Gonzalez/Maier faction of the Stark County Democratic Party for him "not to challenge" what turned out to be SCDP-CC's illegal appointment of George T. Maier to the Stark County sheriff's office.
Of course, The Report is cognizant that Swanson does have a stake in the outcome of the whole "replacement of the sheriff" scenario. Pure and simple he wants his guy Lou Darrow appointed.
Nevertheless, Tim Swanson is standing tall and will be leaving his long-held sheriff's post in dignity.
And Stark Countians should be among the admirers of and be appreciative of the Swanson's contribution to "the rule of law," especially at this season of thanksgiving.
We all should be appreciative of not only material bountifulness but also of the fruit of doing what is right in support of our precious constitutional way of life.
Swanson could have chosen to disdain (as only one of three officials who have legal standing) challenging the Stark Dems illegal process and walk off into the sun of Florida never to be heard of again in Stark County official circles.
But he did not and we should all be thankful and this sacrifice should be his lingering legacy in Stark County.
CRAIG T. CONLEY
Craig T. Conley is a very outspoken conservative Republican.
However, he demonstrates time again that he is able to set aside his political biases and push Stark County officials and public figures "to do the right thing" by Stark Countians.
Too quite a few Stark County officials he has proven to be the proverbial "pain in the arse."
Whether it has been dealing with former Stark County treasurer Gary D. Zeigler, Prosecutor John Ferrero, Judge Frank Forchione or the Stark County commissioners (Bosley, Harmon and Vignos [2008/2009] all very powerful figures in Stark County government - he has pushed for accountability in behalf of Stark County taxpayers.
Yesterday, he picked up the challenge to go after George T. Maier in order to recover for Stark County taxpayers monies he feels are returnable to taxpayers on account of Maier's appointment being void ab initio to the office of Stark County sheriff on February 5th of this year.
If one wants local government officials to be accountable and transparent and adherent to "the rule of law, then ought to be bullish on Craig T. Conley.
His latest target is Ohio Supreme Court tagged George T. Maier as usurper sheriff from February 11th through November 6, 2013.
While he recognizes that Maier certainly has historical policing credentials and performance indicators to be able to say that Maier was during his time in the Stark County sheriff's office a de facto qualified even in light of the the Supreme Court's determination on the 6th that he was not de jure (as a matter of law) qualified, goes further than the de factor factor to evaluate Maier.
Today the Alliance Review published a letter to the editor written by Conley questioning whether or not Maier has the requisite character (his expression: "character counts") to be sheriff, to wit:
It is clear to the SCPR that one does not want to be in Conley's "line-of-fire."
He is dogged, he is persistent and he is tireless in his utmost devotion to "the rule of law" and concomitant ethics in the discharge of public duties by public officials.
And he follows up with taking on legal causes (many times "free of charge") as an attorney in the way of obtaining public official performance accountability.
At least one detractor has endeavored to tarnish his public repute as a dedicated supporter of the American/Ohio system of justice, but he has been vindicated.
Stark Countians need to reflect on Conley and think back over the years that he has taken on public interest legal enterprises that have benefited the Stark County public.
On this November 28, 2013 the SCPR highlights Conley's contributions to the public good as a recognition of what surely is a deserved public thankfulness for his standing up of the public interest.
On October 4th of this year the SCPR did a blog on Canton Ward 5 councilman Kevin Fisher (Democrat) and his tireless effort to put legislation in place (2012) to give Canton a fighting chance to solve - over the longer haul - its neighborhood blight problems which gets in the way of Canton turning around the city's over downturn and get heading into a better and rehabilitative direction.
His 2012 legislation was just the beginning and he stayed with the effort and 2013 was instrumental in putting the finishing touches on the legislation so that it provides city officials with the legislative and enforcement teeth to stop the blight and thereby stabilize Canton's neighborhoods.
He has worked diligently and tirelessly in the trenches of Ward 5 neighborhood life to become an effective force in neighborhood turn around.
Witness his work with SWIFT (Southwest Investment For Tomorrow) which is ensconced in Ward 5.
Undoubtedly, Fisher has the thankfulness of his constituents on this Thanksgiving Day for his hard work towards reviving and redirecting his neighborhood in a better direction.
A SCPR "Happy Thanksgiving Day Weekend" to the readers of The Report!