Wednesday, July 30, 2014




“Our country is falling apart and that is why I keep harping on this loss of federal and state money.”

Monday night's Canton City Council meeting was chocked full of happenings.

One that was somewhat surprising to The Stark County Political Report was that Republican Congressman Bob Gibbs (who hails from "very rural" Holmes County [Lakeville]) sent his Canton-based constituent services representative Jennifer Kiko to Canton City Council with a simple point:

"We are here to help; How can we help?"

That the congressman himself did not appear, puts the sincerity of the Kiko's entreaty in question, no?

Even if Gibbs himself had shown up, the problem is:  Who would believe he has much interest helping Canton?

As Canton City Council president Allen Schulman says in a post-meeting SCPR video interview that appears later in this blog, "the proof [will be] in the pudding" of Gibbs representation.

The SCPR daresays that very few in the room (mostly moderate to liberal Democrats) really believed that the congressman who is:
    • who is outranked in conservativeness on "social issues" by only 14% of Congress meaning only 60 or so other out of 435 congresspersons are more conservative than Gibbs
is interested in helping out "down-and-out, struggling" Canton, Ohio.

It could be that Canton is facing its trying times of staying afloat since The Great Depression of the 1930s.

Kiko's appearance made for good political window dressing.

Not that Gibbs needs it.

A place that Canton mayor William J. Healy, II and Canton Council president Allen Schulman did not point to on Monday as perhaps why Canton has an "unsympathetic to 'urban' area problems congressman" was to former Stark County Democratic Party chairman Randy Gonzalez who, as the then-chairman of the largest area (population wise) of the 7th District (i.e. Canton and surrounds), allowed Gibbs "a free ride back into Congress come this November.

Moreover, Gonzalez stood by and watched as Republican J. Kirk Schuring (a Republican member of the Stark County delegation to the Ohio General Assembly; the 48th Ohio House District) also got "a free ride" back to Columbus.

About a month ago or so Canton city treasurer Kim Perez (a former Stark County auditor and Canton city councilman) was blowing off about how Schuring et al  (i.e. Oelslager and Christina Hagan) were hurting Canton with their support of the the loss of some $5 million in local government funding at the hands of the Republicans in Columbus.

However, when questioned by the SCPR about what "action" he was going to provide to hold Schuring, Oelslager and Hagan accountable, he demurred.


He back off his criticisms?


Canton had made a miscalculation of the cost (city officials blamed the Ohio Department of Transportation) of the 12th Street NW Corridor roadway project and had a multi-million-dollar shortfall.

Canton officials went to Kirk Schuring and he was instrumental in finding $2 million to help with the shortfall.

So get it?

End of Schuring criticism from Canton officials?

Never mind that Canton and many local governments have ongoing, severe financial problems that are in dire need of a restoration of state funding to fix; after all, Schuring solved the Canton/ODOT? miscalculation problem, didn't he?

As The Report thought, Perez's posturing and pontificating was just that!

Moreover, it appears to the SCPR that the only thing that Gonzalez and his fellow leadership Dems care about these days is electing George T. Maier sheriff.

In the face of the coming statewide Republican landslide in Stark County and across Ohio (so the SCPR thinks), it will take a political miracle for Maier to have been anything other than the Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee "appointed" sheriff.

Even if Maier is elected, how does that help Canton with its severe financial and economic development problems?

An elected Connie Rubin (Republican Scott Oelslager's [Ohio 29th Senate District] Democratic opponent in November), a return of Democrat Stephen Slesnick to the Ohio General Assembly (the 49th House District) and the election of Democrat Debbie Cain in the 50th House District might actually be a help to Canton in fending off a new round of local government cuts expected with the all but certain reelection of Republican John Kasich as governor.

So as far as the SCPR is concerned, the Jennifer Kiko thing was "a dog and pony show" for a congressman of a gerrymandered congressional district
  • which is designed to more or less guarantee that a Democrat cannot win (especially when they do not even try as is the case with Gonzalez and Stark's "organized" Democrats)
to feign interest in urbanized Canton.

Here is how the show went:

Kiko introduces herself during the Canton City Council Committee of the Whole work session which precedes each and every council meeting.

Of interest to readers will be the questions and requests of various Canton council members.

As seen, Council Bill Smuckler (Democrat, At Large) had an incisive question about a federal "unfunded" mandate (EPA) that will cost Canton "sorely needed for other purposes" dollars.

As seen, Councilman Thomas West (Ward 2) had a question about the possibility that Canton will have to return $1 million to the federal government should its attempt to be a landlord to public housing fail.

Next, President Schulman provided Gibbs Constituent Service Representative Kiko with time (which Schulman used as an opportunity to provide her with "take 'this' message back to Congressman Gibbs) to speak at the "formal" meeting of council which, again, of interest to readers will be the question, requests, points of various Canton council members (Councilman Mariol, Ward 7, in this excerpt) and Mayor Healy.

  • SCRP Note:  
    • In his comments Schulman pointed out:
      • Her coming to council might be an opportunity for a dialogue between local government officials, state officials and federal officials on how to meet the needs of the country's urban areas,
      • Canton is short $7 million in presumably combined federal/state funding of Canton government,
      • Canton has 100 year old water pipes and roads and bridges in urgent need of repair and that Gibbs and Congress needs to get behind a federal infrastructure funding program of local communities across America,
    • In his comments, Mayor Healy opined:
      • That Gibbs is part of the State of Ohio problem in that he was a part of the Ohio House Republican caucus that started Ohio's cutback on local government funding, and
      • That over the past 10 years, there has been a 50% cut in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) monies and asked Kiko to carry a message of the importance of CDBG monies for urban areas,
    • In his comments, Councilman Mariol:
      • focused on the federal minimum wages standard (currently $7.25 per hour) and the need that it get raised so that working Cantonians/Ohioans/Americans can earn "a living wage,"
If Kiko video #2 is not of enough of the polished, urbane and highly articulate Schulman; here he is in a post-meeting interview:

During the meeting, Mayor Healy interrupted (reference:  second Kiko video above) to say that he had information from Senator Oelslager that he wanted to meet with council.

In a post-meeting follow up with Healy, it is apparent to the SCPR that an Oelslager coming to Canton council will not be like Jennifer Kiko showing up and actually taking questions/request "in full public view."

No, Oelslager will do like Mike DeWine and Kirk Schuring did some months ago (which The Report thinks it is an outrage for democratically elected officials to allow).

And what did DeWine and Schuring do?

Met in private!  That's what!!

Some accountable democratic-republic officialdom we have in the City of Canton, Ohio?

But we should not be surprised if the Oelslager meeting is private.

Remember this is a council who voted to go into executive session to discuss who was going to be Democratic majority leader (also vice president of council) in December, 2013?

Gibbs, Oelslager and Canton City Council?

Just terrific models of a thriving democratic-republic, no?

What's more, does anyone really think that Congressman Bob Gibbs who represents a largely rural district and who is very, very socially conservative is going to weigh in on infrastructure money, more CDBG money and a higher minimum wage to benefit urban voters?

    1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    Canton's problems are not a federal problem they are a local problem and the problem lies directly at the doorstep of "Boss" Healy who is an inept mayor that has run the city into the ground. People are fleeing the city because of crime, low housing cost and general mismanagement of the city and the schools. When all the communities around the city of Canton have seen their housing prices increase and yet the city has not it becomes an issue of management. He gives more credence to those that do nothing than those who actually work for a living. Since he has been in office, I have seen the deterioration of many once good neighborhoods such as Harter Heights and Ridgewood. It is no longer safe to go downtown and First Friday's have become a joke - he decimated the police department and yet touts how great the city is doing while crying for state and federal money. When the money dries up instead of being responsible and tightening the city budget and cutting unneeded people and services he and the City COuncil cry tears of anger and say the big bad Congressman doesn't care. Well Boo Hoo - the city was much better when Janet Creighton was mayor and until the people of Canton wake up they have to lie in the bed they made.