Tuesday, October 14, 2014

TWO GOP PARTISANS (JOHN WERREN & JOHN KASICH) DECIDE ON STARK COUNTY JUDGESHIP?


UPDATED:  2:20 PM

Here is a comment by former North Canton councilman Jeff Davies.

As Mr. Davies knows about the SCPR, The Report does not mind "one iota" that readers disagree with SCPR blogs.

Nor does The Report expect agreement from SCPR readers.

Their critical emails get published too.

Thank you, Mr. Davies for reading the SCPR and for commenting on the Hartnett/Werren blog.

Should Judge Werren and/or Councilwoman Stephanie Werren wish to respond to Davies' comment, The Report will welcome same.

The Davies comment:

 Jeff Davies
 Today at 1:05 PM

To:  tramols@att.net

Although I don't always agree with Mr. Olson this article is right on the money.

I am a registered Republican, but I will be voting for Chryssa Hartnett judge for the Stark County Court of Common Pleas General Division in Canton, Ohio.

As this article states Ms. Hartnett is far more qualified than Werren.

Further, I lost respect for Werren when he and his wife, a North Canton Council person, kept her City paid for family health care after North Canton voters voted overwhelmingly to stop family health care for City Council. Four members of North Canton Council, including Ms. Werren, kept their health care benefits in defiance of a legally passed law.

In fairness, it was the city law director's opinion that the law was invalid. However, law directors don't make or change laws, courts do.

It was not until a law suite was filed by citizens of the city, that North Canton Law Director Fox asked the court for a decision on the matter.

Either Judge Werren does not know the law or does not care.

Vote for Chryssa Hartnett.


ORIGINAL BLOG

VIDEOS

HARTNETT & WERREN
AT
Stark County Foundation
Community Engagement Forum
October 13, 2014

Readers of The Stark County Political Report know that, perhaps, more than any other factor, The Report "loathes" having political insiders decide who should hold public office.

In Ohio, one of the primary routes to getting an appointed office is through the governor's office.

A main subgroup of gubernatorial appointments is getting appointed by the governor as a judge.

Judges retire, judges pass away or they simply decide that they do not want to be judges anymore.

One of the ways that organized Democrats and Republicans ensure that a member of their party (we can all agree, can't we, that one's political party i.d. should be the main criterion of one getting to be a judge?) gets an appointment is:
  • to have a stepping-down judge do so before the "official" end of his or her term,
    • SCPR Note:  Stark County had this happen twice in 2012
      • Judge V. Lee Sinclair, and
      • Judge Charles E. Brown, Jr
While the SCPR thinks that Sinclair and Brown were first-rate judges, The Report was less than enthused to have them play the political party game with the Stark County Republican Party.

The "weak GOP thinkers" out there in reader land will object:  "But the Democrats do it."

Indeed, they do!  

To The Report such is no answer at all.   

In engaging this process, the SCPR thinks the participants undermine the public's confidence in our democratic/republican political system primary value of having the people decide who shall serve in public office.

In a recent article, a local media outlet asked the question of why there is such a low voter turnout, pretty much election-in, election-out, in Stark County, and, implicitly, througout the United States of America?

"The answer my friend, is NOT 'blowing in the wind"' but rather in political party schemes as set forth in this blog.

To name names and to point fingers, The Stark County Political Report thinks that Stark County's voters were victimized twice by the Stark County Republican Party under the leadership of Stark County Board of Elections director Jeff Matthews, an appointee of the Stark County Republican Party himself.

And, of course, for you highly partisan types, the SCPR acknowledges that the organized Stark County Democratic Party has its own appointee (deputy director, and one time director when the Democrats controlled the Ohio secretary of state office, Jeanette Mullane).  

To go further in an analysis of "the effect" of such contrivances; one might conclude that our political system is rigged and that "all too many" of our government jobs are manned by folks whose first loyalty is to a political party or a highly partisan elected official and not - as it should be, if our system is to long endure - loyalty first and foremost to everyday voters and taxpayers.

For those who have read the SCPR over the nearly seven years of this blog, The Report has never been shy about naming the names of Stark County's primary offenders in the undermining of our terrific system (at least in theory) encompassing "our body politic."

In that spirit, the SCPR today focuses on the judicial race between Stark County Republican Party recommended and Republican governor John Kasich appointed judge J. Curtis Werren and Stark County assistant prosecutor Chryssa Hartnett.

THE BACKGROUND

J. CURTIS WERREN:

From Judgepedia:

J. Curtis Werren is a judge on the Stark County Court of Common Pleas General Division in Canton, Ohio. ...  He was appointed to the court by Governor John Kasich in June 2013 to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of former judge Lee Sinclair. Werren assumed the bench on July 8, 2013 and will need to run for election in November 2014 to retain the seat for the remainder of Lee's unexpired term, which ends on January 1, 2017 ... He is running for re-election to the Stark County Court of Common Pleas General Division in 2014. 

An interesting aspect of this face-off between Hartnett and Werren is that "to her credit" (knowing that the Republicans would never, ever abide appointing a Democrat; no matter how qualified not withstanding that Stark's organized Democrats appointed Judge Brown confidant Alex Zumbar as Stark County treasurer on October 31, 2011 to replace the retired/resigned Democrat Gary D. Zeigler), Hartnett applied to be appointed.

Not only when Sinclair quit, did Democrat Chryssa Hartnett apply to the Stark County Republican Party for a recommendation to Republican Governor John Kasich for the appointment to replace him, she also applied when Brown quit in a political process wherein Kristin Farmer (daughter of Stark County 5th District Court of Appeals judge Sheila Farmer) was appointed.

To "add insult to injury," Farmer is running unopposed in this year's election.

Swell, just swell, no?

One more point on the appointment process.

"Republican" Kasich could have ignored the Stark County "Republican Party" recommend list and reached out to Democrats inasmuch as he bills himself as governor of "all" the people.

But he didn't.

And "by their fruits ye shall know them" applies to Kasich.  His deeds show that he knows where his "political bread" is buttered and therefore his individual political interest - at least in the Stark County judge selection case - triumphs.

Shame on Governor Kasich!

Oh! he will win in a landslide and may drag Curt Werren in with him on November 4th.   But that is only because the Democrats completely blew it in selecting Ed FitzGerald as their nominee.

Some political cynics think that the Democratic and Republican organized leadership collude to develop a list wherein they agree to discourage opposition from within their respective party ranks.

The SCPR is not among those so thinking, but can see why some might think so.

But it is clear that Stark County's organized political parties cannot function well enough to ensure political competition within the county.

Another example the obvious reality is that the Stark County Republican Party organization has completely given up on putting up candidates in Canton City Council races.

It is hard to think of a greater disservice by this political party to the citizens of Canton.

Going back to Judgepedia on Werren:


The SCPR highlighted two of the Werren career path items in as a signal as to where the voting Stark County should dwell in assessing whether or not Curt Werren is a person they should want to be on the Stark County bench.

THE GREEN HIGHLIGHTED ITEMS

"2010-2013: Executive Director, American Red Cross, Stark County Chapter."

To the SCPR, for a person to lose "direct" contact with the legal system for three, four years is no little matter.

"1992-2010:  Attorney/Partner/Of Counsel, Day Ketterer, Ltd, Attorneys at Law." (emphasis added)

The Report is told that Werren is making a really big deal about being "of counsel" for his old law firm (Day, Ketterer, Ltd, one of Canton's finest).

For those of us who understand such matters, being "of counsel" is a "lame substitute" being actively and directly engaged in the practice of law.

On that count alone, it was an outrage, the SCPR thinks, that Stark's Republicans and Kasich would consider Werren for an appointment.

Digging a little deeper in to the Day, Ketterer factor, the Stark County Public should know that one of the deans and very best rainmakers within the firm is Werren's father John.

From what the SCPR is being told, it appears that if Curt's last name was not Werren, he would not have landed a job at Day, Ketterer.

And, indications are, is that one of the reasons, if not the chief reason, Curt Werren left for the American Red Cross is a general perception that "he was not cutting it" at Day, Ketterer.

But for Curtis Werren thrusting himself into the process of replacing Sinclair as a Stark County judge (i.e. public official), the SCPR would not be writing about the American Red Cross/Day, Ketterer thing.

Undoubtedly, Werren and his supporters will want to claim foul.

But the SCPR wants to hear none of it.

When the likes of Werren get into the public sector, you can be sure that The Stark County Political Report will bore in and try to make a determination as to whether or not a given person belongs in the position they seek.

The SCPR thinks that Werren does not.

Moreover, John Werren is, in an unofficial sort of way, a very powerful (in terms of influence) Stark County Republican.

The SCPR takes a dim view of those public officials who have excessive political factors in their attaining public office.

One of the responses that Werren gave (see the full video clip of the Werren/Hartnett segments of the forum below) at last night's Stark County Foundation candidate "community engagement" event was that since Kasich appointed him, he bragged, he has processed 1600 cases.

To the SCPR, for him to focus on quantity rather than on the quality disposition of cases is cause for alarm for voters.

Another factor should readers of the SCPR take very seriously is that Werren (a sitting judge, mind you) in an anonymous poll of Stark County Bar Association membership and the Stark County legal community-at-large, Werren was deemed to be "recommended" whereas Hartnett achieved "highly recommended" billing.

Isn't that interesting?

In the video presented below, Werren tries to relate to Canton's neighborhood associations.

Chalk it up to SCPR skepticism, but The Report seriously doubts that the Curtis Warren family lives in a neighborhood that is representative of neighborhoods that most Cantonians/Stark Countians live in.

That little ditty, the SCPR thinks, was a lame attempt for somebody who is likely a full-fledged member of Stark County's pooh-bah class trying to be just an average guy.

Werren should just try to be who he is and jettison the artificial.

There is nothing wrong with being part of the upper crust of Stark County society.

Just cut the artificiality.

Had Werren not impliedly brought the "class difference" in his play to common garden variety neighborhoods, the SCPR would not think such a discussion to be relevant.

The SCPR thinks that the Werren foray into that territory is so demeaning and insulting to the day-in, day-out Stark Countian that it deserves highlighting.

CHALLENGER:  CHRYSSA HARTNETT

Chryssa Hartnett, on the other hand, seems to be the polar opposite of Werren on the political connectedness front.


To The Report, her "objective" legal qualifications far supercede anything in Curt Werren's background.

A prosecutor for the better part of 19 years, Hartnett has been in the heart of many a legal fray prosecuting major Stark County sited criminals.

Here is a list of some of the most noteworthy cases that Assistant Prosecutor Hartnett has been a primary factor in prosecuting:

1.   State v. Bobby Lee Cutts Jr. (a Canton police officer convicted of killing Jessie Marie Davis),

2.   State v. James Mammone III (killed his mother-in-law and his two children),

3.   State v. Chester R. Crank (killed 87 year old veteran Benny Angelo),

4.   State v. Eric Howard  (former star North Canton football player and convicted rapist),

5.   State v. Alan Aeschlimann (killed 2 year old Bri’Sean Gamble),

6.   State v. Jeremy Joseph  (Pizza delivery rapist),

7.   State v. Charles Pore (sentenced 47 years to life for rape),

8.   US v. Vincent Frustaci (appointed as Special US Prosecutor to handle case),

9.   State v. Jeffrey Phillips (killer of former Alliance firefighter James Leeson), and

10.  State v. Marcellus Hudson (killer of postal worker Jennifer Milburn).

Hartnett's credentials are impressive and she appears to be as close as someone who would want to run gets to being an everyday person who can relate to Stark County's grass roots citizenry.

Undoubtedly, Hartnett, who, ironically again, is married to an attorney who works at Day, Ketterer, is in the top 1% of American financial/economic circles.

But to her credit, she did not try to suggest that runs in the same social circles as most of us assembled at the McKinley Grand last night.

The Stark County Political Report is not into doing endorsements per se.

The Report, however, does not mince words about the conduct and history of various folks who want to be our governors and therefore recognizes that it is clear on a run of blogs about as to whom the SCPR see favorably/unfavorably.

The Report's take is just that.

Each and every reader needs to make up his/her own mind as to whether or not the SCPR viewpoint is shared by them.

Each and every Stark County voter as a obligation to the greater Stark County community to be an informed voter who makes her/his own decision and is not ruled by a political party allegiance, or employment and other associations/connections with a given candidate.

Our democratic/republican political system will only thrive when voters vote what they perceive to be in the public interest and not in a political party or political candidate's interest.

Here is the video on the Hartnett/Werren segments of last night's Stark County Foundation community engagement forum.


1 comment:

Jeff Davies said...

Although I don't always agree with Mr. Olson this article is right on the money. I am a registered Republican, but I will be voting for Chryssa Hartnett judge for the Stark County Court of Common Pleas General Division in Canton, Ohio. As this article states Ms. Hartnett is far more qualified than Werren. Further, I lost respect for Werren when he and his wife, a North Canton Council person, kept her City paid for family health care after North Canton voters voted overwhelmingly to stop family health care for City Council. Four members of North Canton Council, including Ms. Werren, kept their health care benefits in defiance of a legally passed law. In fairness, it was the city law director's opinion that the law was invalid. However, law directors don't make or change laws, courts do. It was not until a law suite was filed by citizens of the city, that North Canton Law Director Fox asked the court for a decision on the matter. Either Judge Werren does not know the law or does not care. Vote for Chryssa Hartnett.