The Stark County Political Report used to think North Canton Ward 2 councilman (now council president) Dan "Jeff" Peters was one a few (perhaps Cerreta, Foltz and maybe even Fonte) of North Canton's seven councilpersons who the SCPR thinks have democratic-republican qualities in them.
But with the e-mail he sent out on or about October 24th, you can strike him from the list, to wit:
Well, someone is taking to heart the venomous talk directed toward our law director...
Law Director Tim Fox had the misfortune to have a problem with the rear window of his car about that time.
It is not unheard of for an overzealous citizen to get out-of-hand when things do not go their way in their dealings with government officials.
And it is easy to see that Fox and his imperial ways would be the target of such ire.
But to presume that such is what happened to Fox is totally irresponsible, especially from the leader of North Canton City Council.
The SCPR suspects that there is more to this story.
And the "more" might be that Fox himself prompted the Peters unwarranted snap judgement.
In sending out the raw emotion-based cellphone e-mail, Peters demonstrated to The Report that he is unprepared to be council president in that he lacks the political maturity and studied thinking needed by a leader in handling the give and take of critical citizen input.
With Peters at the helm, North Cantonians can expect a continuation of the rancor that has plagued North Canton City Council in an uncontrolled fashion since Daryl Revoldt left to take a Kasich administration job several years ago.
Revoldt had his run-ins with the likes of Citizen Chuck Osborne during his latest stint as council president but he managed to be in control and to provide some semblance of directed leadership that was democratic-republican government processes friendly.
Peters seems to have a "come let us reason together" quality about him, but the SCPR is thinking more and more that this apparent demeanor is not who Jeff Peters really is as a local government leader.
Remember the intemperate, "jump to conclusions" Peters' comment above and then take a look at this North Canton Police Department report about the incident:
FOX TIMOTHY L - Criminal Damaging/Endangering 10/23/2014 13 : 30
Tim Fox report s that on Thursday , October 23rd, 2014 he was at City Hall , and he parked his vehicle in the southwest portion of the parking lot at approximately 1330 hours.
Tim Fox further stated that when he left the building at 1839 hours he noticed that the window looked foggy while driving to his
residence but he did not think anything of it.
Tim Fox said that he parked his vehicle in his garage overnight, and when he went to leave for work this morning, the window was in the same condition.
Tim Fox said upon checking the rear window, the window was shattered but still intact.
Tim Fox believes the damage may have occurred while parked in the parking lot at City Hall. This writer checked the rear window, and it could not be determined how the damage occurred.
This writer took six digital photos of the window.
I then spoke with the dispatchers in the police department, and reviewed the security video specifically on on Thursday , October 23rd, 2014 from the hours of 1330 to 1845.
The video depicts Mr. Tim Fox's vehicle parked in the last parking space on the southwest portion in the parking lot.
During those specific hours, the video showed no one near or around his vehicle , except for a parked vehicle to the left of Tim Fox's vehicle. It appears that the window was clear at the time it was parked in the lot.
At 1839 hours the video did show Mr. Fox walking to his vehicle, then driving away.
It is unknown at this time when and where the damage occurred at.
The Report of the 23rd clearly indicates to the SCPR that the unfortunate damage to Fox's window may well have been a freak thing not done by any human act.
Yet Peters' (council president) who had to have access to the report and likely to the investigating officer himself fires off the inflammatory and implied derogatory comments towards activist North Canton citizens.
The SCPR cannot recall any such publicly transmitted communication by a Stark County local government leader during the nearly seven years of publication of this blog.
That Peters would do such a thing is disappointing to say the least.
But it is not surprising given the obvious hostility that exists between council in general and a group of activists North Cantonians who want North Canton local government to engaging its citizenry in a civil and constructive way.
It appears that Peters' was primed to jump on the slightest thing a draw unwarranted conclusions because of what appears to the SCPR to be an underlying hostility to the activist citizens.
In hindsight, the SCPR now is starting to think that Peters may be a primary inciting factor in the seeming "deteriorating by the day" relationship between North Canton City Council as a whole and any citizen who takes exception to council's governance.
Peters, as the SCPR recalls, was a leading proponent of hiring Fox as North Canton's law director.
The Report believes that Peters sold council on the notion that Fox was a tough guy who could rein in citizens questioning of controversial actions by council.
There has been (to mention a few):
- the whole health care insurance fiasco and council and Fox's apparent contempt for the nearly 80% of North Cantonians who voted to end council members participation (in most cases) in city paid health care insurance,
- the question of whether or not North Canton should have a full time mayor,
- the campaign ethics flap between a number of citizen activists and council member Kiesling and former councilman and council president Jon Snyder on a pay raise issue,
- the departure of long time council clerk Gail Kalpac because - the SCPR thinks - she could not abide the arbitrary ways of Law Director Fox,
- the inability or unwillingness of council to protect the aesthetics/trees of the neighborhoods near to the "being re-developed" Hoover plant complex,
- the developing of a "comp. time" procedure without "official" council action on the advice of Law Director Fox contrary to the thinking of the Ohio State of Auditor's office,
- the ongoing battle that citizens "with a point to make" about this or that action of council or the law director and their seeking documentary evidence (i.e. "public records request") supporting their point which all too often has been late in coming or "deep sixed" altogether, presumably on the arbitrary decision of the law director who apparently has a "blank check" issued him by council as a whole
As long as council is into an underlying belligerence vis-a-vis North Canton's activist citizenry and refuses to rein-in Fox, troubled times are in the offing for North Canton city government for the foreseeable future.
As this blog is written, Fox/council is refusing to provide documented evidence that council authorized the hiring of a local law firm to negotiate collective bargaining agreements.
A citizen requested that the Ohio attorney general office mediate with North Canton government and the requester.
North Canton's law director's response?
From the attorney general's office:
From: Jeff Clark [mailto:Jeffery.Clark@ohioattorneygeneral.gov]
Sent: Wednesday, November 19, 2014 10:00 AM
To: Chuck Osborne
Subject: RE: Mediation Request #14-056
Dear Mr. Osborne,
Mr. Fox has advised that the council is declining the invitation to mediate. Since mediation is purely voluntary and requires the agreement of both parties to go forward, we must close this file at this time.
Thank you for considering the Attorney General’s Public Records Mediation Program, and please keep it in mind in the future.
Assistant Attorney General
As far as the SCPR knows, there is no council action wherein council directed Fox to decline the mediation offer.
Even if there were, for council to authorize a refusal to talk about how we can bridge our differences is very telling on the hostility of council towards any citizen who criticizes what council does.
Leader Daniel "Jeff" Peters is showing the SCPR that he is a leader in title only.
And at that, he appears to be part of if not the lead in foisting acrimony between council and those citizens who want their voices heard in local government.
At the very least Peters should be apologizing for sending out the cellphone e-mail jumping to unwarranted "implied" conclusions obviously directed at certain citizens.
If he "really" has the political maturity the SCPR once thought he had, he would step up to the plate and endeavor to repair the fractured relationship between council and citizens seeking redress.
The SCPR thinks that in being all-out-in-support of whatever Law Director Fox does, council and Peters have painted themselves in a corner and that nothing short of change in the make up of council will solve the problem.
Should North Cantonians choose to return the sitting council members Peters, Keisling, Werren and Griffith back to council next November; then turmoil will continue to plague the councils of North Canton government.