Friday, August 30, 2013

(VIDEOS) WILL NEW STARK CO. HIRED DOG WARDEN MOVE FACILITIES & OPERATIONS TO A HIGHER LEVEL?



VIDEOS

STARK COMMISSIONERS
HIRE
FORMER PORTAGE COUNTY OFFICIAL
AS
DOG WARDEN
---------------------------------------------
SEE ENTIRE PRESS CONFERENCE
WITH
STARK COUNTY DOG WARDEN
JON BARBER
----------------------------------------------

"Not even close," Stark County Commissioner Tom Bernabei told the SCPR when asked about comparing the newly hired Jon Barber to the other six applicants for the position of Stark County dog warden.

Not only as compared to the six others, but when the field was whittled down to two.  Still, Bernabei said, Barber was the obvious choice.

This evaluation even though Barber was summarily dismissed about several months ago as director of the Portage County Emergency Management and Homeland Security Department.

As readers of the SCPR will note from the press conference video posted below, Barber addressed his dismissal as his not having a clue as to why he was dismissed.

The suggested implication (from what Bernabei told The Report; not Barber) is that his dismissal may have been politically motivated.

Here is a LINK to another Record-Courier piece (PORTAGE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS NAME INTERIM EMA LEADER, Mike Sever, May 29, 2013) regarding the Barber dismissal which has an interesting comment at the bottom made by a Sydney Harrison of Kent, Ohio.

Bernabei also alluded to prior employment difficulty (a number of years ago) that he says Barber has had but assured yours truly commissioners have vetted him on such.

Moreover,  Stark County's new warden handled the matter to the commissioners' satisfaction and that they are confident that he is indeed "the best hire"

Watch as Commissioners Bernabei and Regula consider and pass the resolution hiring Barber and remarks by Barber himself.




After the commissioners' action, the SCPR and other area media folks (Kelli Young of The Repository, Laurie Huffman of the Alliance Review and Nancy Molnar of Beacon Journal did a press conference with the new dog warden.

In the video (which is posted at the end of this blog), Barber answered a bevy of questions regarding his:

  • Impressions of the Stark County Dog Pound on first visiting the facility,
  • Immediate prior employment with Portage County,
  • Total employment history,
  • Plans to commute daily from Edinburg Township,
  • Stint as president of the Ohio Dog Wardens Association,
  • Involvement with the Happy Trails Animal Sanctuary located in Ravenna,
  • Becoming aware of the opening for a Stark County dog warden,
  • Working with unions (non-management employees of the SCDP are Teamster union members),
  • Surprise to note the longevity of a goodly number of Pound employees,
  • Specific experience of having been Portage County dog warden in 1995,
  • Take on the "hot button issues" in Pound (he prefers to think of dog pounds as being kennels/shelters) concerning the operations,
  • Awareness of historical problems specific to the Stark County Dog Pound,
  • Interaction with and take on Pound volunteers (e.g. Friends of the Pound),
  • Interest in pursuing a "spay and neutering" program at the SCDP,
  • Look at handling difficulties between the unionized workers at the Pound and the volunteers,
  • Belief in transparency in government ("I work for the citizens of Stark County,"
  • Commitment to the public that dogs which go through the SCDP to get "the best in care,"
  • Plans regarding the SCDP working with animal rescue operations and finding other opportunities to place dogs for adoption,
  • Thoughts on euthanasia policy, and
  • Securing compliance with dog licensing requirements.
The Stark County commissioners seem to be on a roll in terms of making quality hires for county operations under their control.

But as Commissioner Bernabei is fond of reminding new hires of, each and every one of them are on probation for a period of time.

And the SCPR gets the impression that the new hires are looked at very closely during the probation period inasmuch as the commissioners appear to want to avoid making a mistake.

Indications are that the commissioners have been satisfied with the job recently resigned (August 9th) Reagan Tetreault did for the county.  However, she was not this set of commissioners' hire.

Accordingly, they have much more at stake in terms of assessing whether or not they demonstrate good judgment in hiring this new warden.

Only time will tell.

Here is the full Jon Barber interview.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

BREAKING NEWS: ANDREA PERRY SWORN-IN AS WARREN PRICE REPLACEMENT AS SAFETY DIRECTOR



UPDATE:  6:00 PM

The Stark County Political Report has learned that at a gathering today at Canton City Hall, that was supposed to be a "going away party" for departing Canton Safety Director Warren Price, additionally, as reported by yours truly in an August 9th blog that she would be,  Andrea Perry was sworn-in by Mayor William J. Healy, II as Price's replacement.

Here is the text of an e-mail sent out announcing today's get together:
We would like to invite you to a goodbye lunch for Warren Price on Thursday, August 29th at 11:30am on the 8th floor. There will be plenty of food and beverages for all.  Please feel free to stop by to mingle, eat, drink and be merry and wish Warren well as he enters into a new adventure.
Hmm?

At 11:30 a.m. on the taxpayer's dime?

And The Report is told that nearly all, if not all, department heads were there to "mingle, eat, drink and be merry ... "

As an interesting sidelight, it is said that Price was a "no show" for his own party.

However, yours truly understands that another "going away" event is scheduled for Friday at the Conestoga Grill which the SCPR is told Price will be attending.

Healy is said to have sung the praises of Price at today's fete.  As well he should.  He now joins the list of very able administrators who could no longer abide the mayor.

As to Perry, The Report's original source indicated that the plan was for Perry to serve as safety director until such time as former Healy administration manager Corey Minor-Smith might become available.

Such seems to be no longer the case.  Perry, apparently, is in for the long haul.

It will be interesting to see whether or not, as inexperienced as she is, she can deal with the complex and difficult issues in relation to the police and fire unions.

(VIDEOS) HEALY & NORDMAN CONTINUE TO "DUKE IT OUT" OVER CANTON SAFETY FORCES: A TEST OF WILLS?



VIDEOS

HEALY/NORDMAN "BLOW-OUT"
JUNE 17, 2013
(AN ENCORE PRESENTATION)
------------------------------------------
NORDMAN (PUBLIC SPEAKS)
AUGUST 26, 2013
SAYS CITY RANKS 62 OF 100 WORSE CRIME CITIES

NORDMAN (SCPR INTERVIEW)
AUGUST 26, 2013
REVIEWS PROGRESS TOWARDS GETTING TO 175"
REACTS TO COUNCILMAN WEST 
ON 
"STAY OUT OF WARD 2"
-------------------------------------------
ADDRESSES SHERIFF MAIER'S
FAILURE TO GET
STARK COUNTY JAIL TO
501 BEDS
---------------------------------------

Canton mayor William J. Healy, II "may have met his match" in his face-off with Canton citizen extraordinaire Bruce Nordman of the Vassar Park area of Canton.

Face-off?

Indeed!

For those who haven't seen it, it is an absolute must to see the SCPR video on Nordman and Healy screaming at one another over the issue.



Months ago in an appearance at Canton City Council (Council) and using the Public Speaks forum provided for on Council's agenda, Nordman started demanding that Canton officials beef up police force strength to 175 officers.

He came armed with data he collected from Canton records showing a correlation between the number of arrests and the number of police officers on the CPD staff.


Nordman pointed out that the "Zero Tolerance" mayor of Canton had let police strength slip since his taking office on January 1, 2008 and strongly implied that rather than solve the crime problem in Canton, the mayor's inattention to the slippage of law enforcers on the streets of Canton is part of the rampant crime problem that currently besieges the Hall of Fame city.

After an absence of a couple of Council meetings, perhaps, some thought that Nordman had given up his fight with William J. Healy, II.

Nordman had, "after all was said and done," gotten Council to agree to pass a non-binding resolution committing the city to apply current general fund monies (a little over $1 million) spent on Canton's parks to beefing up Canton's safety forces (mainly police) if Canton voters pass a proposed four mill levy dedicated to the parks on November's ballot.


It might be reasonable to think that for what can be done right now, Nordman is at "Mission Accomplished," no?

To think that Nordman would go away on such a modest achievement is not to know Bruce Nordman.

He was "back with a vengeance" at Council this past Monday.

Here he addresses Council (at the Public Speaks portion of the meeting) with his primary point being that Canton ranks #62 of the top 100 crime ridden city in all of America.  Of course, he attributes the ranking to the dropoff in numbers of police officers patrolling Canton's streets.



A major, major point that Nordman makes that the Healy administration has never debunked (in the SCPR's assessment) is that because of the Canton Police Department's (CPD) staffing problems, a large part of the Canton crime goes unreported simply due to the fact that the department cannot physically deal with the volume of actual crime.

The "unreported factor" makes official reports (emanating from the FBI or wherever) suspect.

One such report probably is closer to the truth than claimed either by the city administration or its critics.  It shows that the crime rate - overall - has not changed much.  This report shows a "slight" tick downwards, but which is likely not statistically signifcant.


By any measure, Canton's crime rate is way above the Ohio average and the U.S. level and therefore by definition is totally unacceptable.

The question becomes:  What is Canton doing wrong in controlling crime?

The answer, according to Nordman and his Group 175 :  Too few police officers staffing the CPD.

Group 175 under Nordman's leadership is determined to get Canton police force up from its 150 officers to 175.

Healy apparently feels Canton crime is at "tolerable" levels (undoubtedly, he wishes that Canton was crime free) and therefore does not want to put more money into safety force personnel increases.

Nordman did do somewhat of a shift at Monday's meeting in his bring the staffing of the Canton Fire Department into the equation for remedying the total deficiency in safety force involvement in Canton which means not only police but also the fire department and EMS operations.

Some Cantonians believe that the Healy administration was to force Canton out of the ambulance business and compel those in need to use private ambulance service.

Still others believe that Healy has made a political football out of the Canton Fire Department because the union which represents firefighters (IAFF [249]) endorsed his opponent (Republican Chip Conde) in 2011 and did not endorse Healy political favorites Kim Perez (certain to be Canton's next treasurer) and Councilman Joe Cole (who lost in a record breaking, in terms of campaign monies spent, effort to unseat fellow Democrat Frank Morris in Ward 9.

A number of Healy detractors insist that Healy plays political games with the safety of Cantonians in the staffing of Canton's fire stations.

Healy, of course, outright denies that such is the case.

The question of staffing Canton's law enforcement and emergency forces, the SCPR thinks, comes down to which as among Mayor William J. Healy, II and citizen Bruce Nordman has the greater will power.

While The Report believes that Healy has an ego that surpasses most politicians, it may well be that in "simply a citizen" Bruce Nordman, Healy has "met his match" and more.

The Report did an interview with Nordman after Monday night's Council meeting.

Readers should watch this video in order to get an full and unfettered appreciation of Nordman's determination to force the mayor to do his group's will in beefing up Canton's police and fire departments.



There are not too many Stark Countians (mostly public officials) that engage Mayor Healy that The Report thinks can out-maneuver, out-finesse, and out-power Canton's Master of Manipulation.

While Nordman is not a finesser, he is quite skilled in political maneuvering and certainly demonstrates (see the Healy/Nordman confrontation of June 17, 2013 above) that he has a personal power side to him that is very much the equal of Healy.

The SCPR's experience with Healy is that:
  • He first tries to sweet talk one to accepting his spin. 
  • If that doesn't work he gives the cold shoulder. 
  • His final approach is to start yelling and screaming and getting downright ugly.
Nordman is a "what you see is what you get" type of guy.

If yours truly were a betting man, the bet would be on Bruce Nordman on whether or not Canton gets to the 175 CPD force level.

Undoubtedly, in the eyes of the polished New York University Stern School of Business MBA guy, to get bested by the brusque Bruce Nordman will be taken as the ultimate in humiliation.

It should quite apparent to anyone who has any sort of handle on him, that William J. Healy, II:
  • Really does think that he is smarter that the rest of the world.
  • Thinks he can stay one step ahead of the rest of us (by whatever means).
  • Is supremely confident that In the end the result is always going to be:  William J. Healy, II: "thy will be done."
It is impressive to the SCPR that Bruce Nordman and his compatriot Group 175ers are persisting in putting "the test of wills" question in doubt.

A "test of wills" that the SCPR believes Nordman et al will eventually prevail on.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO 16TH DISTRICT CONGRESSMAN JIM RENACCI'S "BIPARTISAN" BREAKFAST CLUB?




Serving who?

By the looks of things from an Associated Press report, second term Congressman Jim Renacci (Republican - Ohio's 16th congressional district [which includes north, northwest Stark County and a spike down into Canton {Democrat Canton Councilman's Kevin Fishers ward} to capture The Timken Company]), is serving partisan interests over and above the interests of his entire constituency be the voters Republicans, Democrats, independents or non-partisans.

Clearly, his "you" has to be a reference to staunchly Republican partisans.


So?

He's a Republican, isn't he?

Indeed, he is and notwithstanding the big ballyhoo he made last October - when the national civic group Jefferson Action made of his race against sitting Democratic congresswoman Betty Sutton (the old 13th congressional district) decided to focus on the race - about his "apparent" involvement in a bipartisan effort on his part to bring "a spirit of seeking common ground" to congressional decision making, the SCPR was skeptical of the authenticity of his claim.

Now that he triumphed over Sutton in what was thought to be at the time "an up for grabs - could go either way" seat, it appears that his feint towards reaching out to the Democrats in Congress is at an end.

For reminders of his dissembling move towards bipartisanship in the interest of the well being of the nation, here is an MSNBC link that served as a forum for Renacci's posturing.



Not only did Renacci make the MSNBC appearance, he also postured bipartisanship at the Jefferson Action forum (confirming:  see Jefferson Action video at the 17:00 minute mark)

As recently as April of this year the Plain Dealer was empowering/enabling Renacci's dessembling with a piece published on April 3, 2013.

But that was then.

It seems that Congressman Renacci has had "a change of heart."

Witness  a Associated Press piece (published locally in the Akron Beacon Journal) covering a Renacci August 15th in Wadsworth.

To underscore his obvious turn away from a supposed bipartisan inclination to out-and-out partisan Republican politics, take a look at these quotes out of the AP article:
It’s not the easiest thing when you only control one-third of the federal government,” said Renacci, R-Wadsworth, faulting the Democrats who control the Senate and the White House for the stalemate as he flipped through a series of PowerPoint slides intended to send a message that Republicans are focused on “Making Washington Work.
And:
This summer at the behest of their [political party] leaders, House Republicans like Renacci are fanning out across the nation to press this anti-Washington, blame-Democrats pitch at town hall-style meetings. They’re trying to counter claims that they are responsible for a “do nothing” House and feed on the public’s antipathy for anyone linked to Washington. (emphasis added)
Do ya think that the congressman is reaching out in a bipartisan fashion?

It is indeed disappointing that Renacci has proved not to be "the real deal" in searching for authentic bipartisanship solutions to pressing national problems in response to voter-desired action that Congress as a whole do just that.

Should the Democrats field a strong candidate against him next year when he is up for reelection, you can expect Renacci to do another feint towards bipartisanship.

For the SCPR, Jim Renacci is no different than folks he has criticized (e.g. Democrats John Boccieri and Betty Sutton) who, as he pointed out, were captives of their political caucus.

It is this sort of thing - triffling with the public's trust in candidate/office holders actually being what they say the are - that jaundices and jades those of us who do not buy into the partisan panaceas as workable solutions.

For most of us could care less about a Republican agenda or a Democratic agenda.

What we want is a reach out to the other in a "come let us reason together" fashion as a workable context to solving the very real problems of our nation, state and local communities.

In playing with our sentiments, hopes and dreams, Congressman Renacci has contributed to the increase in citizen cynicism that seems to abounding these days.

Congratulations Congessman Renacci in furthering his personal and political party agenda at the expense of the interests of the nation.

Hope that makes him feel a sense of achievement.

How he can ever utter the "bipartisan" word ever again is hard to see.

But as most American have come to expect, it would be surprising to see him not to have the effrontery to do exactly that.

That he and many, if not most, other politicians toy with us is "par for the [political] course."

In doing so, they undermine the public's trust that they say they so earnestly desire.

Trust has to be earned.

Renacci et al are no where near earning the trust of anyone but the most ardently partisan voters.

The rest of us vote "the lesser of two evils."

Swell, just swell, no?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

(VIDEOS) SHOULD CANTON CITY COUNCIL PUT SOMEONE ELSE IN THE "PRESIDENT'S CHAIR" OTHER THAN DAVID DOUGHERTY WHEN ALLEN SCHULMAN CAN''T MAKE IT TO COUNCIL?



VIDEOS

CITIZEN PRESTON
TAKES ON
MAJORITY LEADER DAVID DOUGHERTY
ON
CIVILITY ISSUE
(SCHULMAN DEFENDS DOUGHERTY)

-----------------------------------------------

DOUGHERTY HAS HIS SAY;
PRESTON GETS THE LAST WORD IN

On February 7, 2012 the SCPR is of the opinion that Majority Leader David Dougherty bordered on being "uncivil" in his discharge of the president of council duties during Public Speaks segment of a regular meeting of Canton's city council (Council) in the absence of the elected president Allen Schulman.

In a blog of February 8th, this is what The Report had this to say about the majority leader's conduct of the Public Speaks portion of the meeting:
Understanding time considerations (about 18 people on the list to speak) Dougherty himself last night was in the view of the SCPR unnecessarily brusque and caustic with citizens appearing before Council (not just on the feral animal issue) who spoke more than the 3 minutes allowed by Council rules. 
Dougherty was sitting on the timer as if he was timing the finish of a highly competitive 100 yard dash.   
Hmm? 
The Report has been at a number of Council meetings in recent years and is well taken with how Council President Allen Schulman handles the exact same situation with diplomacy and classy treatment of offenders. 
Dougherty would do well to take lessons from Schulman or defer to another councilmember (when Schulman is absent) who has better skills in interacting with citizens addressing Council.
Yours truly, unfortunately, was not at Council's meeting of a couple of weeks ago when Mr. Harold Smith of Massillon who owns rental property in Canton appeared before Canton's legislative body in the agenda item entitled "Public Speaks."

Smith needed another minute (beyond the allotted three minutes) to finish up.

And Council's rules impliedly provide for the presiding officer at the meeting to allow extra time up to six minutes (Reference:  Rule 15H)


But no way with David Dougherty.

Undoubtedly, the guy is a "the rules are the rules" man and he was sitting all over Smith at the three minute mark to cut him off, to wit:


Apparently, Canton citizen Henry Preston, who also availed himself of the opportunity to speak to Council during the Public Speaks portion of the meeting, was offended at how Dougherty conducted the "Public Speaks" portion of the August 12th meeting.

Last night he came ready to lecture Dougherty on how to conduct a "civil" meeting.



Allen Schulman was back last night and he showed once again how one should run a meeting balancing the opportunity for citizens to get their essential points made while moving the meeting along efficiently and in a civil, respectful manner.

As the above video, Schulman being the diplomat that he is and Dougherty clearly is not, was quick to jump to Dougherty's defense.

It is a credit to Schulman that he did so.  It is a discredit to Dougherty that was a need for him to have to do so.

Of course, no one can be sure whether or not Schulman would have granted Smith an extra minute. But it is clear to the SCPR that he would have handled the dialogue much more skillfully that Dougherty did.

So how did Dougherty receive Preston's admonishment?

Not well.

Take a look at both his "in your face-esque" response and then Preston's rejoinder.



One does have to agree with Dougherty, he is no Allen Schulman.

However, he would do well by himself and in engendering mutual respect if he were to put off his "bulldog" attitude and take on a more attentive and respective demeanor in the manner of Schulman and most other members of Council.

One has to wonder whether or not a Dougherty and his attitude is not a product of one-party-rule in Canton and the fact that he has had no opposition whatsoever going back through the 2007 Canton City Council elections.

And in 2005, he had a walk-in-the-park over Republican, Bill Glenn.

The SCPR would not go so far as to accuse Dougherty of being uncivil in his handling of the August 12th meeting, but yours truly thinks he was rude and brusque in manner vis-a-vis the Public Speaks folks thereby does a disservice to Canton City Council and to the Canton Public.

The kicker was in his videotaped comments he in essence said (paraphrase) "I am the way I am and I ain't about to change."

Dougherty, by his own words, is not about to take lessons from Schulman or anybody else.

After all, "He is the man!"

Just a terrific example of mature leadership, no?

We all should hope that the composition of Council will change as a consequence of November's election results and that Dougherty will no longer be majority leader and therefore not in a position to be the first substitute when President Schulman cannot be present.

Monday, August 26, 2013

STARK COUNTY'S DELEGATION TO THE OHIO GENERAL ASSEMBLY LIVING BY THE PRESS RELEASE?



Recently, Tom Suddes of the Plain Deal wrote:
On average, only about 20 percent of all the bills introduced during a two-year General Assembly session become law. Most bills are like beads thrown at Mardi Gras: Cheap, but visible. In fact, the last time Democrats ran Ohio's House, in 2009-10, under then-Speaker Armond Budish of Beachwood, the proportion of Ohio House bills that reached then-Gov. Ted Strickland's desk was just 5 percent.
But in getting to the 20%, the 5% or whatever, the reading public is subjected to press release after press release after press release touting how much your state legislator is getting done for you in the Ohio General Assembly.

A Stark County Political Report examination of legislation offered by the members of the Stark County delegation to the Ohio General Assembly shows that most of the legislation offered is going nowhere and a good part of that which does not accomplish much for Stark Countians.

However, local media is awash in publicity seeking press releases when either state Senator W. Scott Oelslager (R-Plain), state Reps. Kirk Schuring (R-Jackson), Christina Hagan (R-Marlboro) and Stephen Slesnick introduce a bill in the Ohio Legislature.


The most productive members of the Stark County delegation are first Scott Oelslager and second Kirk Schuring.

Christina Hagan and Stephen Slesnick are proving to be virtually worthless in being productive while working the press releases.

Hagan takes the prize so far as the SCPR is concerned when it comes to working the press releases in the face of being unproductive in getting prime sponsored legislation to passage.

And, mind you, this is 2013 a "non-up-for-reelection year."

Just wait until next year when they are all up for reelection.  Local newspapers will be filled with self-congratulatory material.

Yours truly recalls years ago in a conversation with the editors of the Akron Beacon Journal of bringing the point that Oelslager claimed credit for "such and such" legislation.

They all let out one big belly laugh.

And they added, Scott Oelslager has never seen a piece of successfully passed legislation he did not want to take some credit for.

Anyhow, let's take a look at what (in order of significance in the view of the SCPR of their respective efforts.

OELSLAGER (the 29th Senate District)

His Senate Bill 4 takes the prize of being legislation offered this year that likely will have the greatest impact on the lives of Stark Coutians.


The added cost for requiring all Ohio hospitals to screen for critical congenital heart defects using "pulse oximetry" is minimal at $150,000 for inital setup and perhaps $30,000 annually to maintain the monitoring system.


Although his SB 99 appears to be going nowhere, it is a worthy offering.

  • Prohibits insurers from providing less favorable coverage for orally administered cancer medication than for intravenously or injected cancer medications. 
  • Prohibits insurers from reducing coverage for either orally administered or intravenously administered cancer medications to levels lower than those in place on the effective date of the bill. 
  • Enables the Superintendent of Insurance to impose disciplinary actions on insurers who violate the prohibition. 
  • Enables a court to impose civil penalties on insurers that violate the prohibition: up to $35,000 in total for violations occurring in a six-month period and up to $10,000 for each violation of a cease and desist order issued by the Superintendent.  (Source:  Ohio LSC)
SCHURING (the 48th House District)

While Kirk Schuring has had the most success of any member of Stark County delegation, it does not appear to the SCPR that his efforts have all that much significance to Stark Countians.

His HB 67 (became law on March 6, 2013) which had to do with "delaying determinations of eligibility for PERS (Public Employment Retirement System)" will impact future Stark County participating public employees but from their perspective likely in a negative way, it can be argued that Schuring's work on this legislation ensure the long term viability of retirement benefits.

Schuring's prime sponsored HB 108 got swallowed up in the political controversy surrounding providing taxpayer dollars for Planned Parenthood.

This is what one blog had to say about the fate of this legislation:
The Senate also added the language from HB 108 to the Budget. This bill, initially intended to create the Rape Crisis Trust Fund and provide additional funding to Rape Crisis Centers, was amended to include language which would prohibit Rape Crisis Centers from referring patients to entities that provide abortions.  [passed as amended, in the Ohio General Assembly 2014/2015 budget bill]
His HB 110 is inconsequential in the SCPR's view in that its objective is to create authority for the issuance of Massillon Tiger license plates as well as similar vanity-esque plates for other organizations.

Unfortunately, this legislation is typical of what legislators offer for the purpose endearing themselves to the few who care about such matters.

HB 112 (passed with an effectivity date of October 11, 2013) has a worthy purpose to it, to wit:
  • Creates an income tax refund contribution check-off for the benefit of the Breast and Cervical Cancer Project.
  • Discontinues an income tax refund check-off category if contributions to that category do not exceed $150,000 in each of two consecutive years.  (Source:  LSC)
 We should all wish that the check-off produces.

After Canton City Council president Allen Schulman raised a stink with the Stark County delegation to the Ohio General Assembly about the savaging that state of Ohio funding of local government funding took in the 2012/2013 biennium budget bill during a March session of Canton City Council, Schuring cobbled together his HB 115.


Now this is legislation that could help some Stark County local governments.  In particular, Alliance (facing a vote on a raise to a 2.5% [highest in Stark County] income tax rate in November.  Also, Massillon which is facing being named by the state of Ohio Auditor as being under "fiscal watch" or perhaps even "fiscal emergency" any day now.

But will it pass?

After much publicity and fanfare for Schuring in local media on its introduction, not likely in the judgment of the SCPR.

Schuring is credited with even caring about the financial crisis that many it not most Ohio and, of course, Stark County local governments are facing.

One has to wonder why Hagan and Slesnick has not joined Schuring as a sponsor of HB 115?

As for the rest of Schuring's "prime sponsorship" legislation, it looks pretty inconsequential to The Report.


HAGAN (the 50th House District)

Christina Hagan has sponsored four bills so far in 2013 according to the Ohio House website:


However, none of them have even gotten a committee hearing.

And one of them, HB 248 - "the detectable heartbeat bill" is likely to be highly controversial if the leadership of the House Republican Caucus allow it to move forward at all.

Representative Hagan seems to the SCPR to be developing quite a skill at introducing legislation and getting a lot of ink in the process but having very little hope of getting it through the Legislature.

There are 16 months left in this legislative cycle, so we shall see.

But note that nothing so far deals much with the "bread and butter" issues that Stark Countians care about.

SLESNICK (the 49th House District)

Poor Stephen Slesnick.  A Democrat in a Legislature that is supermajority Republican.

What's the expression?

"As useless as 'ti*s' on a boar hog?"

The SCPR thinks that is what he would be as a legislator even if the Democrats were in power.

For what its worth, (the SCPR thinks virtually nothing, here is what he is offering up so far as a prime sponsor in 2013:


Hum?

Eliminating the need for a front license plate and looking out for the interests of pawnbrokers.

Wow!

Slesnick's constituents in the 49th have to be "really" impressed, no?

But the license plate thing has gotten him some PR.

Mission accomplished.

Such seems to be much of what all the members of the Stark County delegation to the Ohio General Assembly seem to be about.

Friday, August 23, 2013

REPUBLICAN THERESA MATTOX WITHDRAWS IN MASSILLON. ANY EFFECT IN THE OUTCOME OF MASSILLON CITY COUNCIL RACES?




Earlier this week the Stark County Political Report learned that Theresa Mattox had announced that she was withdrawing as the Republican candidate in Ward 5 of Massillon City Council.

This development falls on the heels of Democrat Quinessa Hampton having first withdrawn as a candidate for election to the Ward 4 seat she was appointed to in February and recently resigning from council as a consequence of her having (at least from the military's perspective) conflict in being a member of the military and holding a partisan labeled political office.

The fact of Maddox's withdrawal was published yesterday on the Stark County Board of Elections website.

Of course, the pre-eminent question is what effect, if any, will Mattox's withdrawal have on the final numbers from the upcoming November election in terms of who controls council as between the Republicans and Democrats.

The answer?  No effect in and of itself because, as explained below, any hope that the Republicans could retain this ward was for Donnie Peters, Jr. to have sought reelection.

Because Mattox withdrew so late in the election cycle for the reason of her family's planned move out of Massillon into Perry Township, the SCPR is told that the Republicans are not likely to name a replacement candidate to oppose Democrat Megan Starrett who is politically aligned with Stark County prosecutor, Massillon resident and former Massillon prosecutor John D. Ferrero, Jr.

The Report's source says that Mattox will very likely still be a resident of Massillon's fifth ward through election day, but the thinking among Massllon's Republican leadership (and, obvious, that of Mattox herself) is that "the right thing" to do was for her to withdraw.

As indicated above, the SCPR does not think that Mattox was going to win in Ward 5 had she remained a candidate.

It appears that she and the Party's leadership made the same calculation.  So in doing the "high-minded" thing, the Republicans salvage the good will of Massillon voters out of what had to be for the Massillon GOP a disappointment in squaring up with the realization that the Party was not going to be able to hold onto the seat currently held by Party maverick Donnie Peters, Jr.

The real loss for the Republicans occurred when Peters decided not to seek reelection.

Moreover, the SCPR thinks that a major reason he decided against running for another term is that he saw "the handwriting on the wall" in going up against John Ferrero's choice.

Nonetheless, the Ward 5 loss does make the chances of the Republicans holding onto majority status a bit dicey.

For them to do so, they will have to retain Ward 1 (Sarita Cunningham-Hedderly), Ward 2 (Nancy Halter), unseat the Democrats in Ward 4 (Jim Triner), retain Ward 6 (Ed Lewis, IV) coupled with Milan Chovan's sure win (only three candidates running for three seats) in his at-large race.

The real trouble spots for Republican chances are in Ward 1 and Ward 4.

Ward 1 because of the name recognition of Mike Loudiana (a Cicchinelli administration service director and a former councilman).

Ward 4 because this ward is the very most Democratic ward in all the city.

However, The Report is told that in the latest redistricting some Democratic areas were shaved off the ward and placed in Wards 2 and 3 and therefore the GOP thinks that it can win a very narrow election margin win in the ward when one factors in that The Legends part of the ward is predominantly Republican.

But the Republicans are not getting a free ride in Wards 2 and 6.

As reported earlier this week by the SCPR, the Johnnie Maier, Jr. faction of the Massillon Democratic Party are targeting Halter and Lewis in the 2nd and the 6th.

The Report thinks that Halter and Lewis are the strength of council's Republican caucus.  A Maier, Jr success against either or both could severely disrupt the Republican resurgence realized in the 2011 election. They surprised everybody in taking a 5 to 4 majority in council.  Overall, Massillon is a very Democratic city.


The Report is told that Cunningham-Hedderly, Halter and Lewis are running in concert based on some legislative successes they had (as a grouping) during the 2012-2013 Massillon City Council.

One of this Republican-grouping-touted successes is one on which Lewis ran when he unseated Democratic incumbent David McCune in the 2011 election; namely, getting Massillon out of the solid waste collection business.


He made good on his promise on October 15, 2012 when council voted unanimously (with a little foot dragging from Democratic councilmen Slagle and Manson) to get the city out of garbage collection.

Because of the trio-Republicans' leadership (but spearheaded by Lewis), The Report is told, Masillonians (individual citizens/families) will be saving $2 million collectively on their solid waste disposal bill over the five year lifespan of the contract.

Moreover, the private hauler (Kimble) purchased Massillon's equipment for $214,000.

The Kimble deal affects some 4,600 Massillonians.

The Report hears that the Republicans are claiming that they have benefited even more Massillon citizens to the advantage of their pocketbooks because Republic Waste Services which also has customers in Massillon has decided to price match Kimble.

A second premise of the Cunningham-Hedderly, Halter and Lewis campaign is their successful stand against allowing Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. protege and Democratic mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry from raising revenue for the cash-strapped Massillon city government by tinkering with the credit that Massillon residents get for income taxes paid in the villages/cities where they work.

The point of the opposition is that the voters of Massillon would not be heard on the matter if the mayor had her way. The tax increase would have amounted to council "imposing" the increase on Massillon residents working out of town.

Even if the Republicans do not maintain their majority on council, they are likely to maintain a plurality.

The SCPR figures that the GOP will be successful in at least four of the council races; not counting the council presidency contest, which yours truly thinks former Massillon City Schools superintendent Al Hennon will win handlily.

The Cicchinelli wing of the Massillon Democratic Party may win in Ward 1 with Mike Loudiana.  If he does win, he likely has an ally (as in being close to Cicchinelli) in at-large Democratic councilman Paul Manson.

The Report does not see Ward 3 councilwoman and Democrat Andrea Scassa and sure-to-be-elected Democrat council-at-large candidate Michelle Del Reo-Keller being consistently aligned with neither the Cicchinelli group, the Republicans, the Catazaro-Perry (of the Maier Democratic faction) nor the Ferrero wing (sure-to-be-elected Megan Starrett).

Assuming the Republicans do not maintain a majority, the breakdown will likely be:
  • Four Republicans (Halter, Lewis, Triner and Chovan),
  • Two non-committeds (Scassa and Del Rio Keller), 
  • Two, more or less, aligned with the Cicchinelli camp (Loudiana and Manson),
  • One (Starrett) with the John D. Ferrero, Jr Massillon political interests
Even though the Maier, Jr. camp is pursuing three seats (Ward 4 [Stinson - the Democratic appointee to succeed Hampton]), Ward 2 [Irwin] and Ward 6 [Litman]), it seems likely that Maier et al will come up empty.

But we shall see.

Unless the Republicans pull off what appears to be another political miracle a la 2011, there will be a shake up in the make up of and leadership of  Massillon City Council but not because Theresa Mattox has withdrawn her candidacy.

Nevertheless, as during the current term, the project make of council indicates that the councilpersons will have a positive "let's work together" relationship.

But that could all change if the Maier, Jr. faction prevails in Wards 2, 4 and 6.

And that could happen.

If it does, the SCPR thinks you can forget the relative harmony that currently exists among Massillon council members.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

NORTH CANTON IGNORED WARNINGS ON "OVERUSE" OF EMERGENCY LEGISLATION GOING BACK TO AT LEAST 2003



It is always a jolt when those among us who are democratically elected do things while in office that thwart democracy.

There couldn't be a clearer case of the phenomenon than with North Canton City Council going back at least to 2002.

On August 15, 2003 the-then State of Ohio Auditor Betty Montgomery issued an annual audit report to the mayor and members of North Canton City Council cautioning them on North Canton's overuse of emergency legislation.


One would think that being the responsible types that we all likely assume city council members to be, that the problem to be abated by the 2003 report, no?

Well, think again.

Here is an extract from Betty Montgomery's 2004 report.


Hmm?

Same finding!

Fast forward (apparently, nothing changes over the ensuing ten years) to the 2012 audit report of current State of Ohio Auditor Dave Yost.


Samo, samo.

So much for those who expect all of us to comply with the laws they pass respecting a State of Ohio audit.

It is obvious by the date of this audit that North Canton council members are infected with a strain of political arrogance which is striking.

And as if to underscore this point, take a look at an extract of the latest audit.


Mayor David Held of North Canton (running unopposed for re-election) has been a big proponent of state audits.

If memory serves yours truly correctly, it was Held who initiated a request with North Canton City Council to have the State of Ohio Auditor do an audit at an expense of some $60,000 of North Canton government in 2008 as a consequence of the shutdown of the Hoover plant that had been a mainstay financial of North Canton government going back many, many decades.

North Canton wanted to know how the city could be more efficient in order to deal with the draconian drop in revenues.


His fascination with state audits can be seen in his influence with Massillon mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry (whom he has been know to be an "unofficial adviser" to) as evidenced in her having asked the State of Ohio Auditor to do an audit of Massillon government to determine whether or not Massillon has arrived at a financial state of qualifying to be named to be under "fiscal watch" or alternatively "fiscal emergency."  A report is do out any day now.

And, The Report understands, North Canton has implemented many of the January 6, 2009 recommendations made.

But don't expect North Canton to respect democracy enhancing recommendations apparently made in routine annual audits going back at least a decade.

So the message is that Mayor Held and council pick and choose what audits to heed.

What this seeming exercise of arrogance in derogation of democracy (emergency legislation eliminate the "right of citizen referendum" and dispenses with the three reading requirement of non-emergency legislation) has done for North Canton is to invite the filing of a lawsuit over a specific piece of emergency legislation whereby council raises their annual pay beginning with the 2014/2015 term of council.

Ohio's law as articulated by the Ohio Supreme Court seems to provide cover for North Canton council.

However, the case law is fuzzy enough and "not 'really' on point" enough that maybe just maybe the Ohio Supreme Court will eventually end up with the North Canton case so as to provide a forthright (lawyers call it "black letter law") definition of specific situations in which emergency legislation is appropriate for.

Whether or not the case makes it to the "court of last resort" for Ohio, it should be disturbing to North Cantonians, in particular, and to all of us, in general, to see the blatant demonstration of arrogance in derogation of democratic rights that North Canton Council has been practicing for at least ten years.

By any measure, North Canton overuses emergency legislation.

North Canton Council needs to PAY ATTENTION to the audits and take corrective action NOW!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

(VIDEOS) UNIONS/DIVERSITY CONCERNS AND OTHER TURF INTERESTS DOOM CANTON'S CHARTER GOV'T FLIRTATION?



In order for Canton Ward 8 Councilman Edmond Mack to get the issue of Canton's going to a charter form of government before city voters, it is going to take a dramatic turnaround on the thinking on the part of most Canton City Council members.

A vote on the legislation, which Judiciary Committee chairman Tom West has said he will sign off on (on the condition of Monday night's town hall meeting having been held) in order to get the Canton Law Department to work drafting the legislation, will likely take place between January 6 and March 6, 2014 in order for the question (if council approves the legislation) to make the filing deadline for it to be on the May, 2014 primary election ballot.

By the SCPR's nose count of councilpersons, it appears that Mack has an uphill fight to get council to approve presenting the matter to voters.

Co-sponsor Mary Cirelli will not be around to be one of his "yes" votes inasmuch as she - having opted not to run for re-election to council - will not be around.

Additionally, Cirelli announced Monday that she will not be a candidate for the charter commission should city council place the question on the ballot.

Come January, he will acquire a superb ally to aid him in the cause.  Longtime charter advocate and former councilman Bill Smuckler will be returning to Canton council.

On Monday council minority members West (D - Ward 2) and Chris Smith (D - Ward 4) said flat out that they will not be voting for the legislation.

The SCPR is disappointed in West in that he argues for citizens and fellow council members to be educated on city issues (e.g. Redflex traffic cameras) before forming a position while seemingly, in The Report's estimate, having made up his mind on the charter issue.

In an interview with him Monday night post-meeting, West appears to be open to the possibility of changing his mind.

However, The Report thinks that his seeming hedging on having made up his mind is more a case of wanting to give the impression of openness rather than being genuinely open to changing his mind.

After all, it is a tad hypocritical to decry others for not being informed and then close one's own mind to perhaps mind-changing information - is it not?

Another SCPR criticism of West has to do with what yours truly thinks is unfounded focus on the diversity issue.

Canton now has two African-American council persons out of total of thirteen total councilpersons when one includes the council president.

Okay.

A little math lesson is in order:  2/13 = 15%.

Hmm?

Canton has a 24% black population.

So why is he and why is Chris Smith (D - 4) zealously protecting the status quo?

Are they willing to settle for a mere 15% of black leadership roles in Canton government in the face of African-American composing 24% of Canton's population?

It is hard to see how African-American representation in any proposal that a charter commission might come up with would be less than 15 per cent.

The potential is there for African-American politicians to achieve citywide and countywide offices.

Kelley Zachary ran a very respectable race for Stark County treasurer and Canton treasurer.  West himself ran well against Kirk Schuring a number of years ago for the state Senate in a district that covered about 90% of Stark County.

There is a case to made that BUT FOR Mary Cirelli being a candidate for Canton treasurer that Zachary would have defeated Kim Perez.

But for African-Americans to improve their numbers one would think that a Canton/Stark County African-American needs to step up to the plate having designed a workable plan for electing blacks citywide, even countywide.

Of course, it is not enough to come up with a plan. Someone will have to actually "roll up the sleeves" and do the hard work of selling the plan to the electorate.

Who better than Councilman West?

Being the social worker, politician, businessman and educated man he is, West should have inner characteristics, qualities and resources to get creative and be a pro-active Stark County minority leader that gets results.

To boot, he has been a councilman ten years.  Hardly a novice, no?  But in all fairness one has to ask what does he have to show for it?

While yours truly personally likes Tom West, it seems that he needs to be challenged "to be all that he can be" in terms of making his mark in Canton and Stark County as a leader among leaders.

That is not what The Report is seeing in Tom West of 2013.

West is no different than another other Stark County-based elected official who is not measuring up.

The Report typically prods those Stark County political subdivision "a day late and dollar short" leaders holding public office who are not delivering a quality of leadership that Stark County cities, villages, townships and boards of education so sorely need.

Stark County does have a model of county level of leadership being ratcheted up to a higher level with the election of Tom Bernabei and Janet Creighton in 2010.

Before Bernabei and Creighton, SCPR readers will recall what a mess Stark County government was in.

It is encouraging to see that Canton in Edmond Mack as a person who is willing to take on a "the odds are against me" issue and seek to turn the negative thinking around. Folks, this is leadership.

Not to pit them against one another, but yours truly thinks Councilman Edmond Mack (only now finishing up his first two year term) demonstrates far more in the kind of leadership that the SCPR is looking for than West does.

There is no doubt about it.  Mack seemingly faces insuperable obstacles of bringing charter government to Canton.  But do not tell him that.  He embraces the challenge of adjusting and accommodating to various perspectives in quest of reaching his ultimate goal.

The Report presents via video the entire formal presentation of both from Monday's town hall meeting on the charter government issue.

Edmond Mack.



Thomas West.



The Achilles Heel of Mack's presentation was his failure to tie in creating a charter government to specific benefits to be derived by everyday citizens.

West was far too much into "the fear factor" and resting on the security of the maintaining the "status quo" in appealing to the base instincts of people.

Lastly, yours truly has a special word for Stark County organized labor as personified by Stark County trades union president David Kirven.

Kirven did what he is paid to do which is look out for the interests of unions.

But for elected public officials to factor special interests into their decisions as to what structure of government is best for the public is not a responsible basis for decision making.

While The Report personally favors Project Labor Agreements (PLAs), prevailing wage laws and protecting public workers' pensions, it doesn't follow that maintaining a statutory form of government has anything whatsoever to do with those matters.

To sum it all up, it appears to the SCPR that the private, political and special organization interests of a number of Canton city councilpersons (i.e. turf interests) are playing into the decision on whether or not Cantonians will have the democratic right to determine their own structure of government.

The overall interests of the citizens of Canton appear to be taking a back seat.

The obvious decline of Canton that is underway should be an wake up call to the city's councilpersons.

As one citizen said on Monday night on recounting the dramatic loss of population since 1950, "don't you think we might be doing something wrong" in terms of how we do government in Canton.

And it is noteworthy that Cantonians took a look at fashioning charter government in 1962.  Unfortunately, the 1961/62 set of commissioners came up with an ill-founded plan of electing all of of the commission member at-large.  In doing so, they took away the ability of Cantonians living in clustered neighborhoods (e.g. Vassar Park) to hold individual councilpersons accountable.

Cantonians reacted the way they should have at the ballot box in voting 78% against that proposal.

The beauty of the chartering process is that the voters can always say "no," if out-of-touch charter commissioners loose their heads.

But does anyone think that a new commission would repeat the mistakes of the 60s era group?

Canton council needs to approve letting a new group of 15 give formulating a charter a new try.

Having at the ready flexible tools (whether or not they are ever used) to do a more efficient and effective job for the taxpaying public equips government to more responsive to public demands to fix things gone wrong.

The Report understood Ward 5 councilman Kevin Fisher on Monday night of having talked about getting the Ohio General Assembly to change the formula for the election of charter members to reflect the demographics of a city.

Fisher's idea is a good one that the Canton's representative to the Ohio House (Stephen Slesnick - D/Canton) and Stark County's representative to the Ohio Senate (Scott Oelslager - R/Plain Township) should pick up on.

For Canton, such a change could mean electing a 13 member charter commission:  Nine (one each) from the existing wards plus four at-large members.

But there is no chance that any change in state legislation will be forthcoming over the next six months.

Nevertheless Canton desperately needs a fresh start with as much flex as Ohio law allows for charter cities to structure themselves for the maximum benefit of the citizenry.

Seventy-three percent (73%) of Ohio's cities are charter cities.

If statutory status meets the optimal need of cities, why have 3/4ths of Ohio municipalities opted for the charter form?

As long as Canton is represented by the self-centereds who pretty much flesh out a "public be damned" underlying attitude in pursuit of their perceived special interests, the city will continue its downward spiral.

More and more Cantonians should be asking themselves this.

Is a Detroit scenario really all the far away from Canton's doorstep?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

MASSILLON'S "DIVIDER-IN-CHIEF" WORKING POLITICAL MAYHEM IN MASSILLON CITY COUNCIL?



UPDATED:  10:30 AM

Scott Graber sent in this clarification of his role in Edward Hampton having filed to run in Ward 4, to wit:
Point of Order: 
[Q]u[i]nessa agreed that it was wise to have Ed file as a backup in case the DoDd 1344.10 did apply to her. 
You can see the date of this clarification from Brig Gen Harris came only on May 1, which was 5 days before filing deadline (May 6 Primary election)
Qu[i]nessa and Edward made the decision and I do not claim anything.  I advised them on what they could do. 
[T]hey did it on their own judgement and initiative, and I would appreciate it if you report it that way sir. 
Scott
UPDATED:  09:45 AM

Traditionally, Labor Day is the first day of intense and purposeful political campaigning.

And this year Labor Day is early: September 2nd.

Beyond the beginning of Campaign Season - 2013, the end of it all is a mere 76 days away.

In Stark County, the question is where within the county will "the most raucous" and "the most 'at-stake'" election contests will be taking place?

For the SCPR's part, the answer is:  the ward races in the city of Massillon.

And the hottest spot in Tigerland is Ward 4.  This ward is the Democrats strongest ward in terms of registration majority.

As readers of this blog know, Massillon Democratic Party politics are the personification of humorist Will Rogers statement:  "I belong to no organized political party, I am a Democrat."

You have:
  • the Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr. Wing of the Massillon Democratic Party,
  • the Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. Wing of the Massillon Democratic Party, and
  • the John D. Ferrero, Jr Wing of the Massillon Democratic Party
Must be something about the "Junior" factor, no? (lol)  Or, perhaps, something in the water?

The center of the "faction fight" is within the six wards of Masillon.

Only Ward 3 Democratic councilwoman Andrea Scassa is escaping the political mayhem this time around.

And who is the main actor in perpetuating the "faction fights" this election go around?  

For some Massillonians, the provocateur is Maier, Jr. who serves as the city's clerk of courts.

Hence this blog's title suggesting that he is viewed as a "divider-in-chief" in Massillon politics.

The SCPR would not for a nanosecond argue the point.

Interesting in that he does not live in Massillon.  He has lived in Tuscarawas Township for years.

It is more than likely that Maier, Jr. in concert with his political appendage Shane Jackson (who also serves as his clerk of courts chief deputy making a higher salary than Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry) are engaged in an initiative to produce some support on Massillon City Council for the mayor.

Nearly all of the current council opposes - to one degree or another - Catazaro-Perry on controversial issues that come before council.

If this trend continues with the new council to be elected this fall, it is becoming increasingly obvious that Catazaro-Perry will be a "one term and done" mayor.

A focal point of the Maier faction's effort will be in Ward 4.


Back on May 10th, the SCPR broke a story to the effect that the-then relatively newly appointed (February) Quinessa Hampton might be forced out of the November election because of questions of compatibility on her being in the military and a politically-identified (i.e. a Democrat councilperson) public official.

By all accounts, Quinessa has served effectively in her short stint as councilwoman (she recently resigned) and, most importantly, being her own person.


This is what Councilman Milan Chovan says about Quinessa:
It's a shame [her resigning] because I really like working with her.  She thinks for herself.
In light of Hampton's resignation, the Massillon Ward 4 Democratic Central Committee met on August 8th and selected Shaddrick Stinson to succeed her as the ward's councilperson and, of course, to be the Party's standard-bearer in the November 5th election.

The Report does not know precisely who participated in the August 8th selection conclave, but does know that former Massillon mayor Frank Cicchinelli's wife was not among those assembled.

A source indicates to The Report that Stinson appears be the handpicked candidate of Maier, Jr. et al because those (thought to include at least Greer and Townsend) controlling the vote are politically aligned with Maier.

Although Ward 4 is a bastion of Democratic strength according to a SCPR analysis of Ward 4 voters identifying themselves either as a Republican or Democrat, The Report sees that the "unthinkable" might actually happen in Massillon:  a Republican, Jim Triner - who lives in The Legends residential complex of the 4th which is also home to former Massillon mayor and avowed Catazaro-Perry/Maier, Jr. political enemy Frank Cicchinelli -becoming councilman-elect for the 4th.


Triner's precinct (4D) is decidedly Republican.  Moreover, the SCPR thinks that many Democrats in 4D will vote for him this fall.

Can you imagine, for instance, Frank and Joy Cicchinelli voting for Maier ally Stinson?

They have to be thinking that he is a Maier, Jr. stand-in through and through, no?

In what is evolving into a sort of political irony, The Report has received indication that Hampton seemingly believes that the Cicchinellis (at least tangentially) were somehow involved in the military putting pressure on her to withdraw her candidacy for election Ward 4 councilperson as a follow up to her having been appointed.

The Report says "seemingly" because Hampton was told in an April meeting with the mayor that a person (who Hampton did not name) had told Catazaro-Perry that she could not defeat Republican Triner in November.

The Report thinks that the "person" well could have been either Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. or Shane Jackson.

Yours truly is skeptical of any suggestion, if she making it,  that the Cicchinellis had anything to do with the military getting after Hampton for holding a partisan political position.

It is likely that the Maier group originally supported Hampton's appointment (by the Ward 4 central committee in February) but got nervous about the military question and her continued political viability and got squeamish about continuing to support her.

Hampton rejected the mayor's offer of help to keep her on council.   Such was likely "the straw that broke the camel's back" in terms of the mayor and her political support group staying the course with the councilwoman while she endeavored to convince the military that she should be permitted to remain in the military and remain as councilwoman.

For if she failed in her endeavor, Democrats were left with no choice but to get behind Quinessa's husband Edward running as a nonpartisan against Republican Kriner.

By the way, Massillon political gadfly Scott Graber credits himself with having advised Edward Hampton that he could take out and file petitions when his wife's troubles staying in office surfaced.

Moreover, it appears that Graber has been a confidant and political adviser to Quinessa all along.

Isn't that interesting.

The Report is told that Edward is a political unknown within Ward 4.


For political pros like Maier and Jackson, the prospect of losing in Ward 4 would be unbearable.

Look at those numbers (in the above graph) of declarants in precinct 4D: 410 strong! compared to Ward 4's other precincts.

And these "on the higher end of the economic spectrum" voters vote in much greater numbers than those of lower socioeconomic area that constitutes the rest of the 4th.

The SCPR feels that volume of voters and their commitment to actually vote bodes well for Republican Triner.

The Report believes that Edward Hampton will take enough votes away from Stinson in precincts A, B and C to facilitate a Triner win.

Triner will undoubtedly get all of Ward 4's Republican votes, some Democratic votes (e.g. the Cicchinellis and other 4D Democrats) and likely the lion's share of "independent" voters in 4D in enough volume to make it highly possible he wins overall in the ward.

Massillon's Republicans have a double-pronged incentive: to put a Republican in council from this thought to be sure-fire Democratic ward, and to hang an election defeat on the Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. faction of the Massillon Democratic Party.

What happens in precinct 4D could have a huge impact in the make up of Massillon City Council.

Currently, the GOP has a 5 to 4 majority.  A question is, can they maintain it into the 2014/15 term? Winning in Ward 4 would go a long way with the Republicans continuing to control.

The Report's current analysis is that:
  • They are likely to win in Wards 2 and 6 because of the personal political strength of Nancy Halter (a former councilwoman a number of years ago) and Ed Lewis IV who The Report believes is being groomed by the Republicans to run for mayor in 2015,
    • Note 1:  Yours truly has learned that John Ferrero is supporting Halter for re-election in Ward 2,
    • Note 2:  The Report hears that Lewis is being mentored by Republican Stark County commissioner Janet Creighton.  
    • Note 3:  Although the registration numbers show a 60/40 majority Democratic, Lewis beat Dave McCune.
  • They have a shot at Ward 1 in re-electing Cunningham-Hedderly because the ward has the most voters identified as being Republican of all of Massillon's wards.  
    • Note:  The numbers indicate a 51% to 49% registration edge Democratic which is close enough so as to indicate a competitive race,  
    • Note:  The problem with Republican Cunningham-Hedderly winning is named Mike Loudiana who was Frank Cicchinelli's service director and previously served on council and thereby has proven vote getting ability,
The formula for the Republicans maintaining their control of Massillon council is to win in 1, 2, 4, 6 coupled with the certainty that they retain Milan Chovan's at-large seat.

With Donnie Peters, Jr. not running for re-election and the Democrats holding a 60/40 party declared registered voters edge, it is virtually certain that the John Ferrero, Jr supported Megan Starrett wins in Ward 5.

There is no doubt in the estimate of the SCPR that former Massillon City Schools superintendent Al Henon will win as council president.  However, that only helps the Republicans if there happens to be a tie in a council vote.

In terms of the political stakes to Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry, the upcoming election offers little solace.

Even if her Maier led support base surprises us all and defeats Halter in Ward 2, Lewis in Ward 6 and elects Stinson in Ward 4, she ends up with a grand total of three reliable votes out of nine and still will be unable push her agenda through council.

All the introduction of three solid votes for Catazaro-Perry will prove is that Massillon's relatively harmonious city council is no more.

Moreover, some Massillonians will undoubtedly think that Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. will have succeeded in becoming Massillon's "Divider-in-Chief!"