Friday, February 7, 2014



Some really "bizarre" things are happening in Stark County these days.

And one the prime sites of such is Canton City Council.

A main instigator of the strange happenings in the opinion of the SCPR is Canton Ward 4 councilman Thomas West.

The SCPR has had a number of says on the West caper and was prepared to move on.  But it came to light yesterday that Councilman West et al went through with their Special Meeting (January 31st) called for on January 30th and so, accordingly, The Report feels compelled to address West's antics one more time.

The Special Meeting was so much "over the top" that the SCPR hereby dubs Thomas West as "Councilman Ridiculous."

It needs to be added, though, that The Report thinks Canton mayor William J. Healy, II lurks in the background.  Under the former council, he could have his council majority engage raw political power.  With the change in the power quotient, he has go more "cloak and dagger."

Back in December (if not before) West initiated a drive to succeed David Dougherty as vice president when it became clear to him that Dougherty was not going to be acceptable to a majority of the Democrats on council (there is only one non-Democrat of the 12 in the new council).

As early as December 17th, it had to be abundantly clear to West that there was no way he would become majority leader.  Nevertheless, he showed that he was willing to "bog down council" by his persistent parliamentary maneuvering (done very poorly, if not ineptly, The Report thinks) to keep the fight going.

Here are a number of blogs for those readers of the SCPR to click on and read who are not up-to-date on all of West's shenanigans.
On Monday evening, West finally "gave up the ghost" on the fight when it finally dawned on him that there was no way for him to prevail.

A convincer to West had to be and to do with a "let it be known" and a "word to the wise" that he was going to be blasted in public by a highly influential Canton public figure if the 2nd Ward representative continued his ridiculous nonsense.

In any event, "Hell was going to freeze over," before West (or his stand in Chris Smith) became vice president/majority leader of council.

West "huffed and puffed" as if he was going to blow the Canton City Council house in.

And, oddly enough, he seemed to be getting "aid and comfort" from Canton law director Joe Martuccio in that the "Joe that everybody likes" was dilly-dallying around with issuing a forthright opinion on the issue that West was pushing.

Let's say West wasn't "huffing and puffing" and had actually filed (or talked the law director into filing) a lawsuit.

Let's go even further and say that a court comes down with a ruling validating West.  (Of course, there is a distinct possibility that the plurality vote [6 to 5] of January 9th [with Councilman Hart abstaining] might have proved to be a loser)

So where does that leave things?

If the West position wins?

The court remands the matter to council for a re-vote.

If the West position loses?



Everybody on council simply forgets what he has put the body and the City of Canton through and council goes on as if the West generated disturbance never happened?

Even if the West position wins, what does he "really" gain?

If Hart votes in a re-vote (Hart already announced as supporting West) rather than abstaining again, there is a 6 to 6 tie.  President of Council Allen Schulman (again, already announced) breaks the tie for Frank Morris.

If Hart continues to abstain, (in a speculated re-vote) eventually either Babcock, Griffin (the most likely in the thinking of The Report) or Dougherty votes for Morris.

Such an eventuality was there to be seen when West lost 8 to 4 on his motion to have council reconsider the 6 to 5 vote.

In the interim (while the fight goes on) anything that Canton City Council does in terms of passing legislation "during the uncertainty" has somewhat - perhaps - of a legal cloud over it in the event someone adversely affected by a city ordinance elects to challenge the composition of council in passing any such legislation.

How is that good for Canton?

West, if he is all about "what is best for Canton" as he says he is, once he saw there was no pathway to his or Chris Smith becoming vice president/majority leader he should have been willing - in order spare Canton the agony of a stalemate -  to vote for Morris.

Result:  7 to 4 for Morris.  Problem solved, no?

Early on in the consideration of the "who will be vice president/majority leader" such a West move would have been what?

Magnanimous, no question about it.

But West could not find it within him to be magnanimous.

So is pursuing the absurd is one of the two reasons the SCPR will think of him henceforth as being "Councilman Ridiculous."

It was simply ridiculous to continue a fight he could not - ultimately - win.

And the effective functioning of Canton City Council goes into limbo while "the for the sake of West's ego" his political power fight goes on.

Although The Report was thinking West as being ridiculous in terms of his handle on "realpolitik" in the vice president/majority leader thing before "it" occurred, if there was any doubt about the applicability of the "ridiculous" moniker to West, all doubts were removed with the SCPR in the conduct of the Special Meeting of Council (the "it" referred to in the preceding clause) that he, Babcock, Dougherty, Hart and Smith called for January 31, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. in Canton City Council chambers.

It is worth reviewing the Special Meeting proceedings in detail for all to see how patently ridiculous West got on "who is to be majority leader" issue.

Here is an extracted version of last Friday's meeting:
Note:  highlighting was added and the structure was changed by the SCPR to fit the capability of the blog format to present in a readable fashion)
Keep an eye out for the observation (highlighted in green and blue underlining) by West on the matter of possibly compelling his fellow councilpersons to come in and be part of the January 31st meeting.

How ridiculous, no?

"[D]o a call of the house?"

"[H]ave the Members picked up by the Police and brought here?"

Over his fight to have himself or Chris Smith voted in as majority leader?

West tries to make it a case of principle over personal/power politics.

Trouble is:  very few were buying West's line.

To their credit, his core loyalists in Councilpersons Smith, Hart, Dougherty and Babcock were not going from what they might at one time thought to have to have been a "sublime" argument to a "ridiculous" "... we could actually do a call of the house and have the Members absent picked up by the Police and brought here ... "

"Let it be written, let it be said!"

Ridiculous, simply ridiculous, Councilman Ridiculous!!!

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