Wednesday, December 24, 2014




























JANUARY, 2014  (note:  click on date to get to blog on underlying story)


Commissioner Richard Regula question to Stark Board of Elections director Jeff Matthews:  Are positions open to the general public at the Stark County Board of Elections?

You have to be kidding Stark County, Commissioner Richard Regula, no?

Be sure to click on "January, 2014" above to see the SCPR video showing Regula asking this incredibly naive question of Jeff Matthews.



Because it is generally known that one "need not apply" for a taxpayer supported position the SCPR nominates the Stark County Board of Elections for the GRAND "LUMP OF COAL" 2014 AWARD winner.

That political connections are needed to get a taxpayer-paid-for-job is both a case of satirical humor and an indictment of our political parties in how they use taxpayer money for the advantage of Republican and Democratic Party interests.


The SCPR thinks that Canton Ward 2 councilman Thomas West is "one smooth operator."

He often presents a tone of being "magnanimous."

On style points, no Stark County politician/officeholder approaches being the equal of Councilman West.

He is clearly superb and masterful in this regard.

However, beneath that political/social polish is - in the opinion of the SCPR - a politically calculating, self-advancing person.

Moreover, the SCPR thinks his self-interest style in functioning as a councilman has been damaging to Canton public's perception of the legislative body being about the public interest over self-interest.

Nowhere was that more evident than his fostering and persisting well into 2014 his effort to become majority leader on council or alternatively force a compromise whereby Ward 4 councilwoman Chris Smith would become majority leader.

Anybody but Frank Morris, III, it appears.

In the process challenging Morris, West made Law Director Joe Martuccio look like a vacillating, indecisive and therefore - on this one matter - ineffective council legal counselor. 

The SCPR thinks it was all "one big political bluff" by Councilman West to see if he could leverage sensitivity to minority representation/participation in government into a big political coup for himself and/or Smith.

As a ten year councilman, West certainly deserved consideration.  But it was clear that he did not have the votes.  And council does run by majority rule.

In the process of getting to a decision on leadership, West threatened to litigate over the issue which - if carried through on - the SCPR thinks would have put Canton government in a constitutional crisis of sorts.

Again, the SCPR thinks it was "on big bluff" and as such was highly irresponsible.

Later on in the year he was pushing the "Rooney Rule" which is a rule that before a National Football League owner can hire a coach, he/she must interview and consider an African-American.

This is a standard he insisted upon and perhaps continues to think should be incorporated into city of Canton hirings.

Sort of entitlement thinking, no?

Because of West's actions as a councilman (in the regard as described in herein), the SCPR perceives such to be a case of pushing personal political interests over the public interest which earns Councilman Thomas West a nomination as the February, 2014 candidate for for the GRAND "LUMP OF COAL" 2014 AWARD winner.

MARCH, 2014

On one hand, most readers of the SCPR probably say "Amen!" to the notion that Canton Councilman Thomas West (a liberal Democrat) is representative of an "entitlement" attitude.

On the other, most would not think that the Republicans who control Marlboro Township government (i.e. the trustees) as being infected with "the entitlement bug."

But the SCPR thinks they are and even worse they are political hypocrites in that they decry entitlement for others while they themselves had no problem whatsoever in moaning about the federal government not picking up the entire tab on a multi-million dollars sewer rebuild project.

Republican trustee Ken Eddleman was the voice but the SCPR sees fellow Republican trustee John P. Hagan (a former state representative, the 50th), his daughter Christina (current state representative, the 50th) also a Republican as being right in his corner in wanting the government (at any level, including Stark County taxpayers) to pick up a good part of if not the entire $2 million plus due bill on the sewer rebuild and thereby spare Marlboro property owners the expense.

It makes no sense to the SCPR why one of Stark County's poorest townships with very little industry and commerce would be a bastion of Republican Party support and its underlying "we pull ourselves up by the bootstraps" political philosophy.

But it is.

The hypocrisy earns Trustee Eddleman as the spokesperson for the Marlboro's entitlement-esque cry as the March, 2014 nominee for the GRAND "LUMP OF COAL" 2014 AWARD winner.

APRIL, 2014

As far as the SCPR is concerned, one of Stark County's least able local government executives is Kathy Catazaro-Perry as mayor of Massillon.

Before she was elected, The Report forecasted that she would only be the de jure mayor and that the de facto mayor would be her political benefactor, sponsor and coach Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.

Nothing she has done as mayor has dispelled the SCPR's premonition.

It is one thing when her beholdeness to Maier, Jr. does not appear to affect ordinary Massillonians.

But it is quite another when it does so appear.

A case in point was the inability of Massillon police officer Thomas Rogers to get an what ultimately turned out to be "as matter of law" promotion as sergeant through competitive civil service exams in light of one of the competitors being Johnnie A. Maier, Jr's nephew (also George T. Maier's son [Massillon safety director at the time]); namely, Michael Maier.

Catazaro-Perry could lay it all on the Massillon Civil Service Commissioner at the initial level.

But when her administration directed an adversarial response to Rogers' appeal at the Stark County Court of Common Pleas level and further yet (having lost at that level) to the Fifth District Court of Appeals, Catazaro-Perry; she - as far as the SCPR is concerned - owned the commission's action.

A second legal contest is in progress (re: Tim Anderson) on the issue of whether or not he (Anderson) was illegally deprived by the Catazaro-Perry administration to get a sergeant's slot available because of the retirement of another sergeant.

As the SCPR understands the process, Michael Maier was segued into the "retiring sergeant's slot" as a consequence of the Rogers decision and his holding that slot is being challenged by Anderson.

In short, the legal challenge is whether or not the exam on which Maier was promoted was still valid at the time of his being slid into the retiring sergeant's slot.

Legal counsel for Anderson tells the SCPR that he is confident that the administration will fail once again to protect the promotion of Michael Maier.

Because it appears to the SCPR that Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry and her administration is adversely impacting just ordinary cops to the benefit of a politically connected cop, the mayor is the April, 2014 nominee for being the GRAND "LUMP OF COAL" 2014 AWARD winner.

MAY, 2014

May of 2014 was "one tough month for North Canton government" and The Stark County Political Report thinks that the "tough times" are all of the mayor's and a majority of city council's own making, to wit: the failure to control Law Director Tim Fox.

The month of May did not "bring May flowers" in The Dogwood City.

Instead it brought disharmony galore.  One casualty of Council's inability or unwillingness to control Fox was long term North Canton's superlative clerk of council Gail Kalpac.

In the nearly seven years that the SCPR has been covering Stark County local government, 2014's North Canton government has demonstrated itself to be the very worst in all of Stark County in terms of being citizen unfriendly.

Here is a short list of anti-democracy actions by North Canton government:
  • the legality of legislation passed by a nearly 80% to 20% on the vote of North Canton's voters,
  • the interpretation of Ohio's Open Records law as contrasted to that of Ohio's attorney general, and
  • contending with the State of Ohio Auditor on the proper legal foundation for comp. time policy change and implementation
Because of North Canton's hostility to its "activist" citizenry" best exemplified by the highly credible Concerned Citizens of North Canton, North Canton government (i.e. Mayor David Held, Law Director Tim Fox and at least a majority of North Canton City Council members) constitutes itself as the May, 2014 nominee as a potential GRAND "LUMP OF COAL" 2014 AWARD winner.

JUNE, 2014

Of all the blogs (including the many series blogs) that the SCPR has done, the series on Gender Equity is the one that The Report is proudest of.

And probably more that any other blog or series the Gender Equity one has drawn the most comment and reaction.

It is a blight on Stark County and county subdivision government that women in general have been treated with so much disparity in terms of getting top level paying taxpayer supported jobs.

As a journalist who has sat in on many, many Stark County commissioner meeting, a agency of Stark County government that comes to mind which The Report thinks is "really" run by the women who make up the staff of the agency is Stark County Regional Planning (SCPR).

With few exceptions, the SCPR situation is pretty typical of how poorly Stark's female government workers are treated in terms of equal pay and equal promotion opportunity.

Accordingly, those elected Stark County officials (including county political subdivision, e.g. Jackson Township and Plain Township) who the SCPR database shows have abided this unfairness have earned for June, 2014 the dubious distinction of being in line to collectively and individually of perhaps qualifying for being the GRAND "LUMP OF COAL" 2014 AWARD winner.

JULY, 2014

An essential component of our democratic-republican system of government is the citizenry participating in the vote.

In the May, 2014 primary election only 13.7% of "registered to vote Stark Countians" (about 284,000 out of a total population of approximately 380,000) voted.

In Canton Councilwoman Chris Smith's Ward 4, one precinct voted at a rate of 2.03%

More ominous to the vitality of our democracy is the example set by public officials.

In July, the SCPR got around to compiling a list of those public officials who did not vote in the May primary election.

Alarmingly, in that primary election only about 80% of "elected" officials voted.

Should be about 99% (allowing for illness and the like), no?

Here are some who did not.  For more, click on July, 2014 link to the underlying blog above.

Those elected Stark County political subdivision officials who did not vote in May, 2014 have set a poor example and therefore for July, 2014 (the month of the SCPR analysis) are candidates (collectively) to be the SCPR GRAND "LUMP OF COAL" 2014 AWARD winner.

AUGUST, 2014

After several years of mulling over using "left-over" money from a 1/2 cent "imposed" sales tax (former commissioners Bosley, Harmon and Vignos - December, 2008), the current board (Bernabei, Creighton and Regula) decided to spend its nearly $2 million "left over" money for a state-of-the-art Computer Aided Dispatch upgrade.

After digesting the proposals available to the commissioners, it appears to the SCPR that the commissioners overpaid by about $1 million of taxpayer money.

The SCPR understands that the vendor on the lower cost system did not submit a timely bid, but when the commissioners are spending "our" money they should not "stand on ceremony and/or technicalities" and shut out examining the suitability of the lower cost system.

"Standing on ceremony and/or technicality" is exactly what the SCPR thinks the commissioners on the advice of a 9-1-1 task force guided Project Manager Joe Concatto did.

The commissioners should have handled this decision as if they were spending their personal funds.

Accordingly, they and Director Concatto selected from the SCPR blogs for the month of August, 2014 are in line to be considered the SCPR GRAND "LUMP OF COAL" 2014 AWARD winner.


It took a while, but the SCPR picked up on a September 22, 2014  decision made by the Fifth District Court of Appeals on August 18, 2014 that Judge Dixie Park (in September, 2013) of the Stark County Probate Court
  • had abused her discretion as a judge in finding "unconstitutionally" 
  • an everyday Stark Countian guilty of contempt of court, and 
  • jailing her in the Stark County jail for about ten days.
Be sure to read the underlying story by reading clicking the September, 2014 link above.

For her acting unconstitutionally and the SCRP adds "shockingly" for placing a ordinary Stark County citizen in jail in violation of due process of law standards, the SCPR as the September, 2014 nominee places Judge Park in a prominent position to be selected as the SCPR GRAND "LUMP OF COAL" 2014 AWARD winner.

The SCPR knows that politics is not for the timid.

But the way George T. Maier worked over an American war hero (Afghanistan and Iraq) who had the audacity to exercise his freedom of political association in supporting Louis Darrow for sheriff over Maier when Stark Democrats in February, 2013 and again in December, 2013 was a revolting thing to learn about.
SCPR Note:   Maier had been removed as the Stark County Dems appointed sheriff on November 6, 2013 by the Ohio Supreme Court.
The Report has never had much regard for Maier and his treatment Altieri - a man who put his life on the line in defense of treasured American freedoms - did nothing but add to this blog's disenchantment with Stark County's top cop.

For his mishandling of Altieri's request for Stark County reserve deputy status, the SCPR places George T. Maier in this year's list to possibly be named the SCPR GRAND "LUMP OF COAL" 2014 AWARD winner.

November, 2014

For The Repository being a newsprint monopoly in Stark County, the SCPR thinks that its handing of the heated 2014 Stark County sheriff's race (Dordea v. Maier) was demonstration of journalistic irresponsibility on steriods.

In the blog linked to above, The Report listed  point-by-point The Rep's disservice to Stark County voters in its failure to provide thorough coverage on the issues/positions between the two as Stark Countians endeavored to determine who was the best choice for providing law enforcement to county residents, to wit:
On Maier, the SCPR wrote a number blogs which provided citations to:
as well has other tangential conduct such as
which the SCPR believes are matters that The Repository, the countywide monopoly it is, had a duty - for the benefit of a 'better informed' Stark County voting public - to deal with.
The SCPR is not surprised at The Rep's failure.

For those of us who know what is really going on in Stark government and politics, MIA (missing in action) has come to be expected for The Repository.  The Dordea/Maier shortfall fell right into line with the newspaper's short comings.

Accordingly, The Rep's editorial hierarchy as the selectee from among November, 2014 SCPR blogs is possibly merits being named he SCPR GRAND "LUMP OF COAL" 2014 AWARD winner.

December, 2014

It was somewhat amusing for the SCPR to take in what appears to been an attempt by freshman Massillon councilman Shaddrick Stinson (Ward 4 Democrat) attempt to bait The Report into getting in to a debate with him on whether or not he as a council member has been locked-in in support of Massillon's Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry administration.

The Report has a tip for Councilman Stinson.

"Get up earlier in the morning Councilman if you think you going to be a step of the SCPR."

Stinson says that he is not a Catazaro-Perry/Maier, Jr. loyalist.

He can say whatever he wants of a self-serving nature and The Report allows space for him to do so as this blog as done for every responding subject of SCPR blogs over the nearly seven past years.

The SCPR's take is that his actions as a councilman belie his words.

So Stinson as the December, 2014 nominee joins the 11 other nominees in the SCPR's top 12 list of potential winners to become THE SCPR GRAND "LUMP OF COAL" 2014 AWARD winner.  

Undoubtedly, many Stark County officials will be disappointed not to be included in the final top 12 list.

The list could include Randy Gonzalez, his son Kody Gonzalez, Canton mayor William J. Healy, II, Jeff Matthews, Alex Zumbar, Phil Giavasis, Stephen Belden, Deametrious St. John, Scott Oelslager and a host of others.  But the list had to be pared down.  Sorry folks.  Maybe next year?

Drum roll, please!

And the winner is?

Tune in Christmas Eve in the evening as Santa makes his rounds with his bag of gifts for the answer! 

Friday, December 19, 2014


UPDATE:  12/22/2014

Over the weekend Massillon Councilman Shaddrick Stinson contacted the SCPR relative to Friday's blog.

As regular readers of the SCPR know, The Report always allows space to subjects this blog to respond.

Stinson's complaint to The Report was "Why not ask me?" about whether or not he is the captive of Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry administration (de facto, Johnnie A. Maier, Jr).

Stinson's point is appropriate to make.

The Report does frequently ask subjects of this blog for their responses to SCPR takes on their public persona.   But not always.

The SCPR is not very much interested in publishing, in the context of "on camera" video questions/interviews that this blog is known for, is self-serving spin.

It idea is that subjects of the SCPR's "on cameras" do not have advanced notice of what the questions might be and, on occasion, viewers actually get candid answers.

However, it is difficult to keep political spin out completely.

One of Stark County's most accomplished politicians at getting his spin in despite the SCPR reluctance to provide a forum for wiggling it in is Canton's Mayor William J. Healy, II.

He is in the judgment of the SCPR Stark County's most skilled politician.

At first thought on The Report being contacted by Councilman Stinson was why doesn't the SCPR do an on camera interview of Stinson at Massillon council's next meeting on December 29th.

The idea was presented to Stinson but his response was such that it was "DOA."

SCPR Note:  Even after Stinson's disclaimer of being the captive of the Catazaro-Perry administration, The Report is not buy. 

As far as the SCPR is concerned his response is "a mere assertion."  Where is the evidence that he has and thereby is capable of taking a stance at odds with the mayor?

Stinson's response:
Mr. Olson I'm willing sit down and talk with you. But I have conditions as well. First, you are on camera as well. Second, you agree to answer my questions as well. What do you think? Lastly, I view the video before you post it to your blog for accuracy. Let me know.
Obviously, Councilman Stinson is not very well acquainted with the SCPR.

Conditions?  You have to be kidding.

As for his "I have conditions as well;" (implying that yours truly had conditions); the SCPR has no idea where that came from because The Report never conditions "on cameras" with anybody on anything.

Quite to the contrary.

The SCRP likes to use "on cameras" to be all encompassing and far ranging.

One never knows what might come out in the spotlight of the camera, no?

So absolutely NOT!  The SCPR accepts "no conditions" from any interviewee and is quite content to pass up opportunities to ask questions or do interviews if a subject is insisting on conditions.

Stinson did make some written input and here it is, that is to say "the back and forth."

Re: Why don't you ask me?

        Shad Stinson
        Dec 21 at 7:51 PM


I behold to no one but the citizens of Massillon and my Ward. I am not in the Johnny /Kathy camp other than by party affiliation. This was my first year on council. I know some of my mistakes or errors were basically not knowing so if he can base my alliance on that then that's totally up to him and that's fine. Hell he didn't even vote for me and I was appointed by the party.  The same one he is "aligned " with.  Anyways. Good luck with your blog and I'm sorry we couldn't have a sit down.  You can learn a lot from people when all your cards are on the table and open conversation.

On Dec 21, 2014 6:51 PM, "Martin Olson" <> wrote:

    Thank you for the partial "on point" response.

    Any additional response to his telling me that he had made a mistake in thinking - based on your presentation to him back in the 2013 election cycle that you would be an "independent" thinking/acting councilperson vis-a-vis the Catazaro-Perry administration, if elected?

    From: Shad Stinson <>
    To: Martin Olson <>
    Sent: Sunday, December 21, 2014 4:57 PM
    Subject: Re: Why don't you ask me?

Just for the record I did seek Frank out to get his vote and endorsement for coucil [sic] just like I did others in the Legends. And he told me that he did not feel comfortable putting my sign in his yard due to Trinor [sic] being his neighbor. I said thank you and reminded him to vote. But yes I did have a sit down with Frank at his request.


As 2014 winds down after having gotten through the election of November 4th, it may seem that politics is on the back burner.

Believe me, political maneuvering is "alive and kicking" even as Christmas is less than a week away.

A hotbed of political activity is the city of Massillon.

Just take a look at the Stark County Board of Elections candidates list for city council as of December 17th:

One of the things that impresses the SCPR is how many "independent" thinking council persons hold office on Massillon City Council.

For many government legislative bodies, it has been the experience of The Report that members line up with this or that interest group or political/government figure and not with the interests of their respective constituents.

North Canton City Council is a glaring example in Stark County of having too many robot council members who have taken on a siege mentality in lining up with the administration and each other resulting in their emanating a hostility to citizens who disagree with "the official position."

In  North Canton, it seems as if the whole of government is run by one person; namely, Law Director Tim Fox.  "Whatever Tim thinks" appears to be "the order of the day" on the part of North Canton mayor David Held and at least a majority of North Canton City Council.

Massillon City Council as presently constituted is pretty much as a legislative body ought to be:  independent minded and highly constituent oriented.

And this has to be driving Mayor Catazaro-Perry and her chief benefactor and "power behind the throne - right up the wall" in his apparent quest to control all things Massillon.

Only Tony Townsend (council president) and Ward 4 Democrat Shaddrick Stinson seem to be council persons who - in the words of Tennessee Ernie Ford - "have sold their 'political' souls to the company store" with the company store being in the opinion of the SCPR the Catazaro-Perry administration and her prop-ups constituted by and large by the Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. Loyalty Club.

Townsend, who was Massillon's former Ward 4 councilman, may get the surprise of his short political life as council president with possibly being challenged by current Republican Ward 2 Councilwoman Nancy Halter.

A source tells the SCPR that the idea of Halter challenging Townsend is one of the options being discussed this year by those who want to preserve council's "separation of powers" from Massillon's "my way or the highway" Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry.

It makes sense to the SCPR that Halter might want to challenge Townsend.

She was hopping mad when in 2013 Republican Al Hennon pulled out of running against Townsend after it was too late for Republicans to replace him.  The SCPR thinks this was all part and parcel of a diabolical "political" scheme by Johnnie A. Maier, Jr and his Stark County Dems' political director hanger-on and Chief Deputy Clerk of Courts R. Shane Jackson to keep Townsend on council.

Townsend, had he remained Ward 4 councilman, was likely to lose in 2013 because of a number of publicized troubles he has had in recent years.

The Report thinks Townsend is the epitome example of what Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. will do for anybody that he - Maier - is convinced is willing to be the ultimate loyalist for Maier's political interests.

But for the political shenanigans at play, former Republcan Massillon Ward 6 councilman Donnie Peters, Jr. was set to run for council president which likely would have made Townsend a part of Massillon's political and government history book.

And it is becoming apparent that Tony's Ward 4 successor - Shaddrick Stinson - "is cut from the same cloth - as Townsend.

There is an effort being made to unseat Stinson.

One of the persons that Stinson politically courted in 2013 was former Massillon mayor Frank Cicchinelli.

It was a amazing sight for the SCPR to behold.

The politically hardened, tested and astute Cicchinelli bought Stinson's line that he was not a Maier Loyalty Club member.

With Cicchinelli being politically neutered, Stinson still had to struggle to defeat a less than ideal Republican candidate.

Recently The Report brought this up with Cicchinelli and he admitted, more or less, that he had been hoodwinked by Stinson.

The SCPR is somewhat empathetic with Cicchinelli in that Stark County is "blessed" with some pretty slick political operators and it can be quite an undertaking to smoke them out.

Of course, "the really big question" hovering over Massillon politics is whether or not Catazaro-Perry will have meaningful opposition in the Democratic primary or from a Republican in the general election.

Today, the SCPR thinks probably not.

Which, of course, means that Maier, Jr. and Jackson can go all out to convert perhaps Stark County's very best council to something that resembles North Canton.

One of the more interesting political plays in the making in Massillon's council race jockeyings is that going on between Maier, Jr. loyalist Linda Litman and Councilwoman Michelle Del Rio-Keller.

Del Rio-Keller tells the SCPR that she has no problems whatsoever with any of the warring political factions in Massillon.  She wants to work for the betterment of Massillon and will work with the mayor, the Republicans on council, Johnnie A. Maier, Jr, influential Massillon Democrat John Ferrero or anybody else for the benefit of Massillonians.

However, she will be her own person.

And even if that means that people she differs with from time-to-time (e.g. Mayor Catazaro-Perry) will not talk to her after a given disagreement.

Her independent-mindedness may pit her against Maier, Jr. Democrat Linda Litman who lost narrowly to Republican Ed Lewis, IV in November, 2013 in upcoming 2015 primary election.

Both have taken out petitions to run at-large and in Ward 6.

If Lewis decides to run against Catazaro-Perry, then look for Del Rio-Keller to run in Ward 6 in and Democratic head-to-head clash.

In a sort of ironical twist, Litman having taken out petitions to run in Ward 6 may force Lewis' hand to run for mayor.

The SCPR figures that he has much more to gain than lose if he were to run against the mayor than trying to hold onto his Ward 6 seat.

Lewis in the 2013 general election won by a mere 23 votes.  In a 2015 match up in a scenario in which Catazaro-Perry runs unopposed or with a nominal opponent, the SCPR thinks the Maier, Jr. forces will go "all-out" to put him on the political sidelines.

And, even if he survives; he is only one of ten council persons.  A highly influential one with his Republican and Democratic colleagues, no doubt.  But still just one of ten.

As mayor, which the SCPR figures he has just as good a chance to win as remaining a councilman in the face of a Litman candidacy; he has an opportunity to be much more effective for the welfare of Massillonians.

Lewis has the disposition to be a "come let us reason together" as mayor.  No doubt there will be times he disagrees with a majority of council, but he has the maturity to reach out to them and most of them will have the maturity to reach to him for the good of Massillonians to make Massillon government work for everyday Massillonians.

The SCPR encourages him to run for mayor even if former Democratic mayor of 24 years Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr. decides to take on Mayor Catazaro-Perry in May, 2015.

It is time for Massillon to move on with a younger generation of executive leadership.

Lewis tells the SCPR that he considering whether or not 2015 is the correct timing to run for mayor.

The Report thinks it is.

Not so much that the political environment is that such that "stars are aligned for a Lewis win."

There is no doubt is that he may well win.  But there is a risk that he might not.  An equal of greater risk of his not winning exists, the SCPR thinks, in Ward 6 is present.

All he should ask for is a 50/50 chance of winning and then roll up his sleeves and get to work and get going now.

Certainly that 50/50 ratio if not better exists now.

Run, Ed, run!

When the Republicans took control of council in November, 2011; they took office in a spirit of working with the newly elected mayor in a non-partisan way.

But that was not to be.

For little did the Republicans know (or, for that matter, independent minded Democrats) at the time that the Catazaro-Perry/Maier, Jr. alliance would not allow for compromise, give and take or whatever label one wants to put on different functions of government to be a "check and balance" on one another.

As a consequence of the Catazaro-Perry/Maier, Jr. "my way or the highway" attitude, Massillon finds itself a financial mess with no solution in sight other than deep cuts in Massillon's operating budget which undoubtedly mean that everyday Massillonians will be less-safe and getting less services (e.g. street and highway repair).

Massillon can get on a track in which council and the mayor's office can work collaboratively each through "check and balance" of the function of their respective branches of government to bring effective and efficient government to Massillonians.

The only model that the Catazaro-Perry/Maier, Jr. cabal sees is to elect loyalists to council who pledge to work in a collusive fashion with "those who know best" and thereby give short-shrift to the everyday citizens of Massillon.

The elections of 2015 may be the most important in terms of the future well being of Massillon that the city has ever faced in its entire history.

Voters should use as their guidance as whom to support in May and November in the dawning new year this standard:

the commitment of candidates for mayor and for council who promise to work collaboratively together but ever mindful that they do have different roles in government and to function as a check and balance on each other.

Voters should reject those who are "top-down" types who appear to use politics and government for their personal enhancement and, not as it should be:  which is to say - for "the general welfare" of Massillonians.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


In an election year that featured Republican gubernatorial and incumbent candidate John Kasich set to win by a landslide (he won by plus 37, 000 votes in Stark County), it was hard for the SCPR to fathom Democrat Chryssa Hartnett defeating Kasich Stark County Court of Common Pleas appointee (V. Lee Sinclair's replacement) Curt Werren.

But she did.

It was surprising not only in light of the Kasich shellacking of Democrat governor candidate Ed FitzGerald of Cleveland but also in the face of having a hard time raising money.

The number one priority for the Stark County "organized" Democratic Party was getting George T. Maier elected sheriff.

Even though Hartnett is a political ally of Stark County prosecutor John Ferrero (a man who tried to keep George from becoming sheriff), there is no indication that the Maier Massillon Political Machine held her association with Ferrero against her.

However, there is no doubt that the Maier political cabal had their priorities straight and Chryssa was not it.

It was former, of course, Stark County Party chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr's brother George.

But Chryssa, her mother (Nicholas) and presumably husband Thomas (he is a leading lawyer at Day, Ketterer Law Firm) were able to cobble together the necessary finances to not only give Werren "a run for his money" but, in fact, to defeat him by the scantest of margins (131 votes [after counting provisional ballots and recount; she led by only 29 votes at the end of county on election night).

Though the SCPR was skeptical that she could pull it off, she did and The Report thinks that Stark Countians are better off with a Judge Hartnett than a Judge Werren as a statement by voters that credentials of merit should trump political connections.

Apparently, it was devastating to Werren that he lost.  A highly reliable SCPR source says that after a North Canton City Council meeting Werren spouse Stephanie (Ward 3 councilwoman) was heard to say in a plaintiff manner that "Hartnett has a job (i.e. had she lost inasmuch as she is a lead Stark County prosecutor) but now her husband doesn't."

Isn't that interesting?

So now it appears that hubby Curt is out to rectify his loss to Hartnett in applying for a second appointment from the governor.

Several weeks ago, Canton Municipal Court Judge Stephen Belden abruptly announced he was resigning (which he did on or about November 30th).

It has been revealed that he is under investigation by Ohio Disciplinary Counsel for allegations that he has misused his power as a judge to create a de facto imprisonment for debt which is as a matter of law (i.e. de jure) is outlawed in the nation and, of course, in Ohio.

So the question is whether or not Werren will get "a second bite at the 'appointment' apple."

The SCPR thinks he will.

And here are the reasons why.

First, the SCPR has learned that state Senator Scott Oelslager has told the head of one of Stark County's premier law firms (not Day, Ketterer) that he will not be seeking the appointment.

Oelslager has been in either the Ohio House/Senate for a combined 30 years and is now at the pinnacle of his political power.

So The Report is not surprised that he wouldn't want now to switch careers at about age 63 which means he could only run for reelection one time because of Ohio's limit that once one reaches age 70, one cannot run for judge.

And there is a question that maybe he is not qualified because it does not appear that he has been practicing law for the - by Ohio law - minimum six years.

Yes, he has been a lawyer since 2001, but has he practiced law over the last 13 years?

Second, the only other Republican name mentioned is North Canton law director Tim Fox.

When the SCPR queries local lawyers about him being a possibility in that he is rumored to be interested; all The Report gets are "disbelieving" looks.

Fox's only political success has been as North Canton Ward 3 councilman (which Werren's wife got as an appointee) when Fox stepped aside in less than a year as councilman to take the law director position.

Come to think about it, there must be something in the blood of the Werrens conducive to them getting political appointments, no?

Sounds like to the SCPR that the Werrens despite their high level of financial/economic status might be thought to be of "the entitlement mentality."  That's reserved for welfare recipients, no?

The Report is told that when Stephanie Werren was told that it was rumored that Fox was interested in succeeding Belden, she reportedly was aghast and "not buying."

And she may be right.

In his race against Hartnett, Werren won the Canton Municipal Court District portion of the Stark Countywide vote by a margin of some 1,000 votes.

With Oelslager and Fox out and his proven vote prowess in the Canton Municipal Court District, that leaves Werren as the only viable Republican candidate.  

Accordingly, the SCPR fully expects him to get "a second bite at the apple."

But The Report thinks he may be in for "a second" loss.

And it will not likely come from Earle E. Wise, Jr who the SCPR thinks makes for a very poor candidate by force of his aloof personality.

Here is some SCPR history on Wise:
  • E. J. Wise is a highly respected Stark County Democratic political figure (who has pedigreed entree into Stark County Democratic circles through his father, former 5th District Court of Appeals judge Earle E. Wise, Sr.): among the most respected in the entire county. 
  • It is well known that he (E.E, Jr.) aspires to be a judge. He, a former prosecutor associated with the Bob Horowitz prosecutorial team, ran against incumbent judge Dixie Park (of the Stark County Probate Court) in 2004 and ran a relatively close race.
  • E.J. did try to get Governor Ted Strickland to appoint him to a general jurisdiction Stark County Common Pleas judgship when Sara Lioi was appointed by President Bush to the federal bench (March, 2007). But he was up against the equally "highly respected" Democrat Canton Law Director Joe Martuccio and the properly "politically credentialed" Taryn Heath. Heath ended up with the appointment.
And here is some other third party source material:

All-in-all, the SCPR does not see Wise as a viable political candidate and should he win the Democratic nomination, Werren, the SCPR thinks, will "win in a walk over" over him.

In short, the SCPR sees Wise as a minimal factor in determining which Democrat (assuming Werren is the Kasich appointee) will face Werren in November.

Wise's candidacy might hurt Kristen Guadado with those Stark County voters who are turned off by Walls-Alexander having most of her legal experience in Summit County.  Perhaps some of the votes that might go to Walls-Alexander, but for her extensive Summit County ties, will, instead go to Wise.  However, the SCPR thinks Guardado will get most of the "I prefer a Stark County centered candidate" vote.

There is, of course, the possiblity that the two women will split the vote and Wise will slip in by a few votes.

Turning now more specifically to the two candidates that the SCPR thinks have the best chance to win the May Democratic primary:
  • Angela Walls-Alexander, a native of Canton (graduated from McKinley in 1992) and now lives in Plain Township with her husband and criminal defense attorney (Summit County) John Alexander,
  • Kristen Guardado, a 1989 graduate of McKinley High School,  also of Plain, who, in addition to being Canton's chief criminal case trial attorney, is a member of the Plain Local Board of Education,
Most of Walls-Alexander's legal experience since graduating from The University of Akron School of Law in 2001 and passing the Ohio Bar examination in the same year has been in Summit County.

But she did work in Masillon for Stark County Prosecutor John Ferrero when he was law director in Massillon in 1999.  However, her running for the Belden seat has not involved Ferrero's input. Walls-Alexander says that the decision to run for the Canton Municipal Court opening was entirely  one made by herself in consultation with her husband.

Her work in Summit County has been impressive.

For starters here is an award given to her for her current boss Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh, to wit:

Angela Walls-Alexander joined the Prosecutor’s Office seven and one-half years ago.  She is an integral part of our Domestic Violence Unit and helped to create the first felony Domestic Violence Court in Ohio.

Her dedication to helping victims of domestic violence was never more apparent than during the capital murder trial against Dawud Spaulding.  Angela worked with Erica Singleton, the mother of Spaulding’s children, for many years.  When Erica finally left Spaulding, he murdered her and another man and paralyzed another.  It was devastating for everyone who had tried to help Erica, especially Angela.  As difficult as the case was, however, she was able to secure a guilty verdict against Dawud Spaulding.  He is scheduled to be executed next year.    

While most employees in the Prosecutor’s Office are fairly vocal and gregarious, Angela is known for her calm, quiet demeanor.  She works equally hard on every case assigned to her, from low-level felony Domestic Violence charges to cases involving Rape and Murder.

Many people may not know that Angela and I have something in common beyond our passion for ensuring justice for victims.  We are both parents to a child with autism.  Being a working mom is tough.  Being a working mom to a child with special needs is even tougher.  You never know what challenges will present themselves with your child.  Yet, no matter what those challenges are, you must set them aside every day while you’re at work.  Only those with a child with special needs can fully grasp what you’re going through, and even then it is merely a guess as to your particular situation.  So I find it impressive and inspirational that, despite the trials and tribulations in her personal life, Angela is still able to successfully manage a heavy caseload without complaint and treat every victim with dignity, respect and compassion.

It is my pleasure to give this High Point Award to Angela Walls-Alexander.
As impressive as the award is, the details of Walls-Alexander's career and her aspirations for abating if not eliminating "domestic violence" from the American family landscape are compelling as well.

Other credentials include:
  • she has worked for the Summit County prosecutor's office for almost 10 years,
  • she has about six years experience working in the Summit County Public Defender's office doing criminal defense work and because she was permitted to have a private practice in that position, other experience includes working,
    • civil cases,
    • juvenile cases,
    • domestic relations cases,
      • across multiple jurisdiction in northeast Ohio
As far as the political side of running for judge are concerned, Walls-Alexander's plan is to run "a grassroots campaign" staffed by family and many Stark County-based friends she says she has.

She has an undergraduate degree in political science and says consequently she understands the political realities of getting elected.

The SCPR notes that she had an entry on Chryssa Hartnett's campaign Facebook page and asked Walls-Alexander whether or not she had a connection with Hartnett's campaign.

She did not.   However, her husband who has a practice in Summit County and who bills himself as "the peoples' lawyer" represented a person connected to the Bobby Cutts murder case (one of Hartnett's prize achievements as a Stark County prosecutor) and that consequently she met Hartnett on several occasions.  But Walls-Alexander has no personal political connection to Hartnett.

The most impressive thing about Walls-Alexander to the SCPR is her plan for bring a Family Violence Court to Canton should she be elected.

It would be modeled after the one that she has been a key figure in instituting in Summit County.

She (as a public defender) worked in the Akron Municipal Court (which has a 13 year old domestic violence specialized docket) representing clients with domestic violence and mental health issues.  For Walls-Alexander, the specialized docket court has a structure that facilitates resolving these very difficult cases.

She says Canton has about 1,200 domestic violence cases a year.  Her idea is to have a specialized docket handling only domestic violence cases.   Her objectives are to have consistency in outcome and treatment options.  In Akron she says, if an offender completes the treatment program, there is a  possibility that the original charges could be amended or dropped.

Walls-Alexander believes that courts need innovative thinking such as hers and that she has seen how an effective family violence court intervention program can change lives.

Right off the bat, one has to say that Guardado has an advantage in a Democratic primary over Alexander due to the fact that all of her legal practice has been in Stark County since graduating from The University of Akron School of Law.

Guardado (licensed to practice law in Ohio since 1995) tells the SCPR that yesterday - consonant with her pulling petitions from the Stark County Board of Elections - she did sit down and discuss her plan to run for the Belden seat with Stark County Dems' chairman Phil Giavasis and Kody Gonzalez.
  • SCPR Note:  Kody is the son of the immediate former chairman Randy Gonzalez who succeeded Randy has Giavasis' "second in command" chief deputy clerk of courts who the SCPR thinks is "the chairman in training."
Guardado says that Giavasis and Gonzalez did not commit to support her candidacy in the May, 2015 Democratic primary election but were encouraging of her running.

An interesting thing about Guardado is that one wonders where she finds the time to do everything that she "has on her plate."

She is:
  • Canton chief prosecuting attorney (going back about 20 years as an intern and then a prosecutor),
    • she also serves as head of the domestic violence unit,
      • working 20 hours a week at that job for the past 16 years,
  • has a private practice doing:
    • devoting 40 hours a week and having done so for the past 16 years, doing:
      • civil work,
      • guardian ad litem for children,
      • civil litigation,
      • personnel injury,
      • probate,
      • adoption,
      • corporate work
  • is a Plain Local Board of Education member going back 13 years, and 
  • is actively engaged in several civic activities
Add on top of the foregoing, the numerous hours it takes to operate a "state-of-the-art" political campaign; one has to wonder how she could possibly do justice to the effort needed to be competitive when it seems that she faces an uphill challenge, no?

Make no mistake about it.  Again, assuming Curt Werren is going to get a second Kasich appointment, his running well against a very strong candidate in Chryssa Hartnett winning by some 1,000 votes in the Canton Municipal Court District seems very daunting to the SCPR.

And it should not be forgotten that a second chance for Werren is "a do or die effort" in terms of his even having a job.

Think he and his supporters will not "pull out all the stops" on this opportunity to redeem himself?

Nevertheless, the SCPR thinks that whomever among Guardado and Walls-Alexander survives the Democratic primary (note:  the SCPR does not take Wise to be much of a candidate in terms of viability) does present Werren with a highly competitive scenario.

As with Walls-Alexander, Kristen Guardado has strong credentials in dealing wth day-in, day-out problems faced by central Stark County families.

One of her prime interests pretty much parallels Walls-Alexander in what Guardado calls "a diversion program."
  • that is to say, Canton Municipal Court's "Discretionary Rehabilitation Program,"
  • which can result in an offender having his/her arrest/conviction record expunged
Guardado also is interested in and has talked with court officials about creating a drivers license diversion program to aid participants to maintain driving privileges.

Her focus if elected judge will be to make a person's contact with the Canton Municipal Court be an experience in which lessons were learned with a minimum of consequences.

Guardado says she might apply with the Stark County GOP/Governor John Kasich for the appointment to replace Stephen Belden.

While the SCPR thinks that whomever comes out of the Democratic primary will have a uphill climb to defeat the presumptive Republican nominee Curt Werren, as did Chryssa Hartnett.

As things now stand, one should expect Werren to become Canton's next "new" municipal court judge.

The rallying call for the primary-surviving Democrat ought to be:  "Remember Chryssa Hartnett!"

Monday, December 15, 2014


The Stark County Political Report has never heralded a press release of the sort reported on today as "breaking news."

But for those of us who want a more transparent government and for more and more Stark County citizens to be equipped to acquire the knowhow to make Stark County village, city, township and board of education governments more transparent, today's press release is both "good news" and "breaking news" that Ohio's recently re-elected attorney general is making Ohio Sunshine Law training available with the ease of Internet access.

Here is the entire press release (reconfigured for ease of blog viewing):

December 15, 2014

Dan Tierney: 614-466-3840
Lisa Hackley: 614-466-3840

Attorney General DeWine Announces Sunshine Laws Training Now Online

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced today that his office’s Sunshine Laws Training, traditionally presented in-person at regional sites, is now also available as an online video course. 

The course is available to anyone through the Attorney General’s website at no cost to the user and is approved for three hours of self-study Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit by the Supreme Court of Ohio.

“The public’s access to government is the cornerstone of a vital and participatory democracy, and Ohio’s Sunshine Laws are among the most comprehensive open government laws in the nation,” said Attorney General DeWine.

 “Promoting open and transparent government is a priority of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, and I hope that this new online format will increase convenience and accessibility to our Sunshine Laws Training.”

The Online Sunshine Laws Training breaks down the three-hour live training into thirteen separate lessons.  

  • Each lesson combines a video covering important topics under the Ohio Public Records Act or Ohio Open Meetings Act with a short quiz.  
    • Topics cover the length and breadth of the Ohio Sunshine Laws, from defining a public record to appropriate redactions before release. 
    • To complete the training, users must watch each video lesson in its entirety and correctly answer the quiz questions concerning the material covered.
  • The training lessons can be completed at the user’s own pace, and the entire three-hour training does not need to be completed in a single sitting. Users are able to return to the videos they have completed if a specific topic is of particular interest. The online training is approved for CLE credit, as are live Sunshine Laws trainings, and can be completed at home or in the office.
By statute, every elected official in Ohio must attend public records training once every term of office. 

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office provides this training on the Ohio Sunshine Laws to elected officials across the state, providing elected officials and other public employees with information concerning public records law and compliance to help ensure accountability and transparency in the conduct of public business. 

In the last four years, the Attorney General’s Office has conducted trainings in all corners of the state, drawing more than 5,300 attendees.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office will continue to offer live Sunshine Laws Trainings across the state.

The online training is available online at 

A schedule of in-person regional trainings is available at

This email was sent to using GovDelivery, on behalf of: Ohio Attorney General  30 E. Broad St.  Columbus  OH  43215

The SCPR is highly impressed with DeWine in his having made this training available to the general public AFTER the November, 2014 election in which he was reelected by a comfortable margin.

The Stark County community of North Canton has been particularly troublesome in providing public records to its citizens.

Recently, apparently North Canton Council (though the SCPR knows of no formal action authorizing the act) through its law director Timothy Fox refused a citizen-requested mediation by the Ohio attorney general's office with North Canton officials on the citizen's public records request.

The SCPR has had difficulty with the Canton Joint Recreation Board (misusing, The Report thinks, an attorney/client privilege to deny information that the public should know) and with Massillon financial officials (in providing information not comporting with 21st century software standards).

Generally, Stark County subdivision officialdom has been diligent in complying to SCPR requests for public records.

Hopefully, licensed Stark County attorneys will do the training online for the continuing legal education credit they can earn and consider offering citizens pro bono legal services in obtaining 100% compliance with the law.


One of The Stark County Political Report's favorite sayings is:  getting hoisted by one's own petard.

A number of years ago, yours truly used the expression in a Lake Rotary Club meeting in describing the comeuppance visited on the perpetrator of act as a recipient of the effect of his own action.

A table mate burst out:  "Martin, do you know what that expression means?"

"Ya gotta be kidding," I said.

But maybe he was asking the question to the wrong person?

Perhaps the questioner ought to have been around in the inner circles of the Ohio House/Senate Caucuses when they teamed up being behind the effort of putting the 1992 proposed legislation as an Ohio constitutional amendment on that year's ballot.

Used in tandem with control of the redistricting process gained by the Ohio Republican Party in the 1990 statewide elections, the Republican beginning in 1995 a control (except for the Ohio House in the first two years [2007 and 2008] of Democratic governor Ted Strickland's term in office); Republicans have had a virtual stranglehold control over Ohio government ever since.

In Stark County, Republicans Scott Oelslager (the 29th Ohio Senate District) and J. Kirk Schuring (the Ohio House, the 48th) have traded off Stark County's senate seat and the Jackson Township House seat (the number and configuration of both have changed slightly) in a game of musical chairs except in this game each get a chair to sit in; only its a different chair as a way to defeat the effect of term limits.

For being the Ohio General Assembly for a combined 50 years and much of it with Republican control (or in a supermajority), Oelslager and Schuring have produced relatively little for Stark County.

Their time in the legislature appears to more about their personal longevity as elected officials (reference:  "the musical chairs thing") and not much about taking care of the needs of Stark County.

In the 2014 election, Republicans increased their control in the Ohio House.

But the problem is that the veto-proof Ohio General Assembly Republican  majority could prove to be like "a drunken sailor at the helm of 'the ship of state.'"

The Ohio House in particular is dominated by right wing extremists (e.g. Christina Hagan of Marlboro Township) who in recent years have been tamped down "somewhat" by one William Batchelder who has been 101st Ohio Speaker of the House beginning in 2011.

Batchelder's significance to keeping the political wackos from gaining control of the asylum was noted in yesterday's Cleveland Plain Dealer, to wit:
Years of experience are walking out the Statehouse door on Dec. 31 when the 130th Ohio General Assembly expires, and with it the terms of term-limited state legislators.

First and foremost is the loss of House Speaker William Batchelder, a Medina Republican who was conservative before many Ohioans even knew what the word meant.

Term limits will retire Batchelder, one of the smartest and most adroit legislators the Statehouse has ever seen. The irony is that term limits, which Ohio voters approved in 1992, were directed first and foremost at Democrats' 22-year control of the Ohio House, and the 20-year speakership of Democrat Vern Riffe, not at Republicans, and certainly not at Bill Batchelder.
 Beatchelder, being a House member in 1992 (having initially become a member in 1969), undoubtedly voted for term limits.

Generally, one-party-control is bad for the people and good for the political party.

However, the one-term-limit aspect of the Ohio GOP gaining supermajority status might prove to be bad for the people of Ohio and Stark County it could also end up being bad for the Ohio Republican Party.

Without the thoroughly conservative but stable Batchelder being at the helm, it could be that especially in the Ohio House that redistricting power and term limits will put the "inmates in control of the asylum."

Only Governor John Kasich, not exactly a "flaming political liberal" and a few conservative and politically stable Republican Ohio senators stand in the way of the extremists.

To the SCPR, term limits with the ouster of Batchelder is clearly a case of the Ohio Republican Party being set up - at its own hand - to be a prime example of "one being hoisted by one's own petard."

Just desserts for them, no?

But how about everyday Ohioans?

Friday, December 12, 2014


On August 13, 2013 Stark County's Christina Hagan (Republican - Ohio House District 50) of Marlboro Township introduced House Bill 248 which is known as "the Heartbeat Bill."

A co-sponsor was fellow Stark County Republican Kirk Schuring (Ohio House District 48) of Jackson Township.

It appears that unlike Arkansas and North Dakota which have passed similar legislation and which, predictably, are in the process of challenge in the federal court system, Hagan's bill in Ohio has about the same chance as the proverbial "snowball in Hell."

The bill would prevent medical doctors from aborting fetuses at about six weeks into a pregnancy which is the point about which a heartbeat can be detected.

While the life of a mother is an exception to the provision; pregnancy due to rape and incest is not.

But this legislative week has not been without some success for Hagan.

She did gain passage of her House Bill (HB) 10 with the support of all three of her fellow Stark County legislators.

HB 10 is legislation designed to prevent a repeat of the April, 2009 discovered theft of some $3 million from the Stark County treasury by former Chief Deputy Treasurer Vince Frustaci.  He is now serving time in federal prison for the theft.

While Hagan's work on HB 10 was significant for Stark Countians in light of the Frustaci matter, it did not get the near the notoriety that HB 248 got her.

As the SCPR sees it, Hagan's fixation on the heartbeat legislation could have either of two effects:
  • it could doom any future political aspirations she has, or
  • it could, especially in a federal office context, catapult in a limelight that might someday be the equivalent of:
    •  Christine O'Donnell of Delaware fame for her extreme right wing Republican politics, or alternatively
    • Michele Bachmann of Minnesota

That's how right-wing the SCPR thinks Hagan is.

For Hagan the key is whether or not she can avoid the tag of being "way out there somewhere" in the minds of more circumspect voters than the core right wingers who support her no matter what.

She did get a plurality for HB 248 in the Ohio House, but a majority is needed.

However, political observers who know Statehouse politics doubt she can get it through the Ohio Senate and, even if she does, through a gubernatorial veto.

Recently re-elected Governor John Kasich has presidential aspirations and he certainly does not want to be identified with the extreme right wing of the Republican Party.

A show of divisiveness even within the Ohio Republican Party is the fact that 11 of Hagan's fellow House Republican voted against her heartbeat bill.

Stark County's lone Democrat; namely, Stephen Slesnick of Canton, took the coward's way out and did not vote on the final voted upon version of the bill.

It will be interesting for Stark Countians to track Hagan's political future.

It could be that Stark County and Ohio's 50th House District could be in the national news, wanted or unwanted.

Stay tuned!