OKEY'S VICTORY "PAVES THE WAY" FOR GEORGE T. MAIER TO ESTABLISH A POLITICAL BASE
IN EASTERN STARK COUNTY?
UPDATE: 8:08 AM
SUE RYAN REACTION TO VOTE
WHO FLIPPED ON HER TO OKEY
"A POST-VICTORY INTERVIEW"
FORMER WARD 2 COUNCILWOMAN
THE SELECTION MEETING
"IN ITS ENTIRETY"
It won't be the case, but it should be highly distressing to Stark Democratic Party chairman Randy Gonzalez that Alliance City Council presidency candidate Sue Ryan commented to the SCPR (post-meeting) that the Stark County Democratic Party process she had gone through in trying to become Alliance's first woman council president in the Carnation City's history is fast turning her - the idealist - into a cynic.
And it was apparent as she scanned the "signed" ballots that she was deeply shaken that two votes (Harold Williams and Jerry Schroeder) she had counted on got flipped to her prime opponent Steve Okey.
It appears that the vote was 8 for Okey, 5 for Ryan and 1 for Avery.
The Stark County Political Report, of course, was right in the middle of things in terms of covering the entire event including getting Ryan's spontaneous reaction to The Report's question as to who did not keep their commitments to her on the vote.
Ryan should have known that the likes of Gonzalez and probably his political "blood brothers" (Brothers Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. and George T. Maier) figured out early on that the first announced candidate for the presidency, one Derrick Loy, could not win over Ryan and went with Plan B in convincing former Alliance councilman Steve Okey to get into the fray.
Loy stepping aside and Okey surfacing was a sure sign that "realpolitik" was going to be the order of the day.
Ryan kept telling the SCPR throughout the process that she thought Gonzalez was going to be hands off in his capacity as chairman.
Of course, it is unlikely the public will ever know the true extent of his involvement, but for anybody to believe that with the ties that he has with Okey and to George T. Maier and derivatively to Derrick Loy that he was going to be neutral is - to be kind - "idealistic" and - to be less kind - is flat out naive about how the likes of Gonzalez and his ilk running the Stark County Democratic Party operate.
The SCPR is on record as thinking that the quality of Alliance city government would much less political and therefore more beneficial to the citizens of Alliance with Ryan at the helm.
Steve Okey said all the right things last night with regard to his relationship with council going forward.
But the SCPR thinks that it will not take long for The Report to ramp up including in this blog's coverage of Stark County's politics and government (given the return of Steve Okey to council): Alliance City Council.
Up until now, Alliance has been the most mellow of all of Stark County's city/village councils in terms of controversies. In fact, more times than not, when the SCPR has blogged about Alliance council matters, guess who was at the center of the brouhaha? You've got it, one Steven Okey.
To say it one more time, with Okey back on the scene, it is likely that The Report will making more trips to Alliance, no?
One source tells the SCPR that Okey's remarks about his relationship with Alliance mayor Alan Andreani are not borne out in his knowledge and observations of the duo's interactions.
One of Sue Ryan's biggest supporters last evening was council clerk Gerard Yost.
He is a Democrat, but he works for Stark County prosecutor John Ferrero and therefore has to be on the Gonzalez, Maier, Loy and Okey "enemies list" because it was Prosecutor Ferrero who upset the apple cart of what the SCPR believes was a plan put in place when they first realized that Sheriff-elect Mike McDonald (November, 2012) was not going to be able to take office as scheduled on January 7, 2013.
Nothing gets Gonzalez, the Maiers (with Stark County political director and Johnnie A. Maier, Jr Massillon Municipal Court chief deputy R. Shane Jackson being their mouthpiece) more upset than hearing suspicions that they knew much earlier than they are willing to admit that McDonald would not be able to take office and are thought to have been planning (much earlier than owned up to) towards making George T. Maier Stark County's next elected sheriff. Now, of course, Maier hold on legitimacy in being sheriff is by virtue of his appointment, as provided by Ohio law, by the Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee (SCDP-CC).
One of the points that Sue Ryan made to The Report last night as she was getting in her car to leave the meeting after her stinging defeat is that Loy has been making a really big deal out of what he alleges to have been his attempt to get Ryan to sign a George T. Maier "loyalty oath" about a year or so ago.
As the SCPR has written in the three blogs leading up to yesterday's selection meeting, it is abundantly clear to The Report that the Stark Dems' leadership pushing Okey (e.g. in yesterday's blog - Gonzalez to Ryan: "I hope that Steve Okey runs for council president.") has to do with having someone in the mix of Alliance/eastern Stark County politics to be a political point person for George T. Maier in the run up to the November election.
Undoubtedly, Gonzalez heard from Loy about Ryan's - let's say - equivocation on signing up as a Maier loyalist.
Yes, Ryan says if such happened (which does not presently recall as having occurred), it was because of the fuss about whether or not Maier was qualified to be sheriff under Ohio's law (i.e. Ohio Revised Code Section 311.01).
It was not a good thing for Ryan in terms of validating "the powers that be" within the Stark County Democratic Party that she is a "less than zealous" George T. Maier supporter that Republican Councilman Larry Dordea to the lead at the last Alliance City Council meeting in naming her president pro tem.
A highly placed Republican in the Alliance scheme of things telephoned the SCPR and vigorously disputed The Report's assessment that the Dordea initiative was not a good thing for Sue Ryan in her quest to gain the SCDP-CC/Alliance appointment.
Who can reasonably doubt that Okey and his operatives played the Dordea/Ryan connection up big in discussions in pre-selection contacts with the likes of Williams and Schroeder.
It could be that the pro tem thing was "the straw that broke the camel's back" in terms of Ryan succeeding in taking on the Stark Democratic Party political machine.
Does anybody think that Chairman Gonzalez was going sit idly by and let the idealistic (remember how she described herself in the video above) Sue Ryan become a key Democratic figure in eastern Stark County politics in the light of the upcoming November election for sheriff: Maier versus Dordea?
The Maier folks in pushing for Okey are bringing the fight with the popular former Alliance police chief and Republican mainstay right to Dordea's front door.
There is no doubt to The Report that Okey as council president will try "to bend over backwards" to avoid open confrontations with organized Alliance Republicans.
But does he have the self-discipline to pull it off?
What if it appears to the Dems' hierarchy that Maier's candidacy is failing?
Do you think with what Okey has invested in providing free legal representation for Maier interests (and, by the way, he currently represents Johnnie A. Maier, Jr in a flap with the Massillon Police Union over the status of George's son and Massillon policeman Michael Maier) in
- defending former Stark County Board of Elections Deametrious St. John (a strong Maier supporter who voted to qualify him for the November election) from what Chairman Gonzalez characterized as being a "Republican attack," and
- defending Gonzalez himself as Dems' chairman and the SCDP-CC in another legal action (the mandamus) involving Maier.
But the SCPR's take on Okey is that he can get fired up in a hurry and if things are turning "south" on the Maier campaign, The Report can foresee Okey becoming highly exercised and his discontent bleeding through into council proceedings in one fashion or another.
Accordingly, The SCPR thinks that Ryan would have been the better choice and the best opportunity to keep partisan political interests out of Alliance City Council business in the context of coming from the president's chair.
- An SCPR Note - The "fact" of the matter is that Chairman Gonzalez's use of the label (of a board of elections challenge to George T. Maier's candidacy for sheriff) as being "a Republican attack" was "in fact" launched by Massillon Democratic precinct woman Cynthia Balas-Bratton. Ohio law requires that any such challenge be by a person of the same political party of the candidate being challenged.
- Hmm? So much for Gonzalez's professed "devotion to the facts."
- Unless, of course, they are Gonzalez invented facts.
- Gonzalez constantly whines to the SCPR when The Report has a different take than he does as to what is and what is not the fact of the matter being blogged upon.
The skepticism indeed became "realpolitik" at about 5:55 p.m. on April 30, 2014 at the Stark Dems' headquarters.
One has to wonder whether or not yet another division within the Stark County Democratic Party will grow and thereby throwing another obstacle in Maier's way in his quest to become Stark's "elected" sheriff?
Also speaking with The Report last night after the selection process was concluded were:
Phyllis Phillips (former Ward 2 councilwoman):
And, candidate Keith Avery:
The final interview was outgoing (as of the primary election of next Tuesday [May 6th]) Alliance precinct committeewoman Kathleen Clunk (precinct 4A).
And she was not a happy camper.
That Clunk thinks that she got caught up in the George T. Maier thing when added to Ryan's point about "the loyalty oath" and Okey emphasis last night of having provided "no charge" legal services for George T. Maier qualification for the ballot interests and Dordea leading the way for Ryan to become president pro tem should make it abundantly clear to readers that yesterday's selection was a litmus test of who was more loyal to the Maier controlled Stark County Democratic Party.
The real winner last night was George T. Maier.
Alliance Republicans are telling the SCPR that they will go all out to defeat Steve Okey in the election of November, 2015.
But as far Maier is concerned, it will not matter (other than a personal concern for Okey) for he will either be or not be the "elected" sheriff of Stark County.
Make no mistake about it, the interests of George T. Maier were "the name of the game" last night.
And idealist Sue Ryan got the "realpolitik" lesson of her life.
There was no way Sue Ryan was going to win the presidency against the ultimate Maier loyalist: Steven Okey!
"Let it be written, let it be said"
And last night it unmistakably was!
Here is a video of the "entire" meeting.