Tuesday, December 2, 2014




As a meeting like a Canton City Council unfolds, The Stark County Political Report sits back and thinks about the goings-on and pictures the significance of what has just transpired.

More times than not an image comes to mind to capture the essence of the message The Report puts into blog form.

Last night's council meeting and the few moments that Mayor William J. Healy, II spoke instantly burst into the phrase "it's a miracle" akin to Jesus turning "water into wine" in the imagination of yours truly.

In answer to a citizen critic's complaint that Canton was taking (so far, only on the word of the mayor, council still has to put its stamp of approval on it) $5 million of the city's precious few dollars and putting it into the enhancement of Fawcett Stadium and adjacent Pro Football Hall of Fame facilities.

Take a look at this two minute video.

So there you have it.

Citizen DiGiacomo saying that the $5 million ought to be put to work to improve the fast deteriorating infrastructure of Canton.

Quite a telling criticism of the use of taxpayer dollars, no?

That is if you live in any ward of Canton, except perhaps, the 8th Ward (37th Street to 55th Street where the mayor lives [52nd Street]), no?

Though Mayor Healy is quick to moan and groan about how the city can't afford to:
  • hire additional police,
  • hire additional fire,
  • hire additional paramedics,
  • pave more roads,
  • repair sidewalks,
  • fill pot holes in the Spring,
  • tear down vacant and abandoned houses,
and, on and on goes the list; he apparently agreed to put $5 million into the Hall of Fame complex without a second thought.

DiGiacomo spoke during the Public Speaks portion of the last night's meeting.

The mayor's response, if any, would not come until the end of the meeting.

So yours truly is sitting there and thinking: How is Hizzhonor going to handle this one.

The most likely thing that came to mind was that he would simply ignore DiGiacomo.  Yes!  Blow him off!!  As the mayor not infrequently does when criticized.

The Report should have known better.

After the fact of his response, it is obvious that the mayor - if it would not have seemed "unseemly," would have bounced out of his chair and ran to the lectern and gave a big "I love you Citizen DiGiacomo" hug.



Just hold tight until you see the SCPR video of the mayor's performance err response.

It was a virtuoso politically astute performance!

As readers of the SCPR know, though over the nearly seven years of this blog The Report has been a big time critic of the mayor, yours truly has given him his due as being a premier politician.

Mayor William J. Healy, II may be one of the most accomplished politician that Canton and Stark County has ever seen.

Now that's quite a statement.

Let's see.

In Canton's history, there is William McKinley who just happened to become president of the United States of America.

While not quite at the McKinley level, there was (thank you "Massillon Review") Canton's seeming "mayor for life" Stanley Cmich.

And Canton and Stark County old timers reading this blog will reminisce in their memories of others who knew how to perform political jujitsu with the best of politicians who have graced this part of northeast Ohio.

But the SCPR thinks Healy is the master.

He has been in one scrape after another scrape but has always come out relatively unscathed or perhaps even enhanced in the perception of some.

Long time Councilman Bill Smuckler (Democrat at Large) should be taking a bow about now.

Smuckler is the only politician in Canton who can present this picture for public consumption.

You've got it.  Only Bill Smuckler has the distinction of have bested William J. Healy, II.

While the SCPR likes Bill Smuckler and thinks he is one of the best politicians in all of Stark County in terms of holding his peers accountable and promoting programs and policies to bring people together, he is - say this kindly, Martin - not the most charismatic politician in Stark County.  Consequently, he lost to Republican Janet Creighton in 2003.  Really?  Yes, in a 9 to 1 Democratic registration advantage city in which he has had great success running for council.

It must be the lack of charisma thing, no?

So it has to be a real sore point to Healy that the one blemish on his success as a candidate is to Bill Smuckler.

Here is Healy in all his glory last night.

Healy unfolded a miracle last night in seemingly doing a biblical "turning water ($5 million) into wine" (mega millions to be sprouted from "mustard seed?")

In the immediate term, Healy claims credit that the $5 million of taxpayer money by his administration has turned into $32 million, to wit:

  • $5 million, Canton, ("seed money")
    • $5 million Stark County government
    • $10 million State of Ohio
    • $2.5 million Stark County foundations
      • $22.5 million subtotal
      • (enough to repair/replace stadium)
    • $11 million:  Benson
      • (New Orleans Saints owner)
      • $33.5 million subtotal* (more or less)
        •  * (By the SCPR's computation)
    • Hundreds of millions more to come????
        • (Phase I and II combined
        • (Cannot talk about)
          • NEW TOTAL: ????????????? "SKY IS THE LIMIT!"
  • Fawcett Stadium gets repaired, replaced and renamed and Pro Football Hall of Fame annual game "saved" for Canton,
  • A Pro Football Hall of Fame Complex comes into being:
    • Jobs for Cantonians/Stark Countians,
    • Tax revenues flow into Canton,
      • Money for:
        • more police?
        • more fire?
        • more ems?
        • more paved streets?
        • more abandoned houses get torn down?
        • ???????????????????
The SCPR thinks that he took a real thrashing "for the moment" with the critique of his administration by Citizen DiGiacomo.

But at the end of last night, Healy in the hearts of minds of most of those assembled, the SCPR thinks, convinced them that the promised $5 million to the Hall of Fame Village project is a good and productive use of Canton's scarce general fund dollars.

And coupled with his forthcoming "Canton Citywide Comprehensive Plan" (right before next May's primary election), his out-and-out support (using taxpayer money) of the Pro Football Hall of Fame project makes him - in the opinion of SCPR - a shoe-in to be elected mayor next November.

Kim Perez and anybody else who thinks they are up to taking this mayor on in this election cycle is dreaming.

Unless, of course, the mayor self-destructs.

Over the past several years, it appeared that Healy was self-destructing before our very eyes.

But his expected demise was an illusion.

William J. Healy, II is one swift politician who deserves the title of being the "master of illusion" in his hometown of Canton, Ohio.

On the merits of the question ("the best and highest use of the $5 million), the SCPR thinks DiGiacomo is right.

While Healy implies that the mega millions Hall of Fame project would not be going forward without Canton's "seed" money, the SCPR thinks that such is nonsense.

About the only thing that the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce (COC) has going for it in terms of economic development for the greater Canton/Stark County area is the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Even without Canton's $5 million, the COC would have found a way to cobble together the mega millions needed to save the Pro Football Hall of Fame for Canton.

And that is what the SCPR thinks the Hall of Fame/Fawcett Stadium project is all about.

None of Stark County's leadership has put it in those terms.

But the SCPR thinks that keeping the HOF in Canton is probably what the current hype is all about.

For some Cantonians/Stark Countians, Canton $5 million "investment" makes sense.

There are businesses, business organizations, non-profits, foundations and labor unions who will benefit.

It also makes sense for the National Football League.

And, these factors should proceed "full speed ahead" in footing the bill.

But does it make sense for a city that is crumbling before our very eyes to ante up $5 million?

The SCPR sees Citizen DiGiacomo as a heroic civic figure who has the temerity to go up against  a miracle worker.

The final question is whether or not Healy, the political magician he is, can produce real wine for Cantonians?

Will his gambit with $5 million taxpayer dollars turn out to be a miracle or a mirage?

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