Wednesday, December 24, 2014




























JANUARY, 2014  (note:  click on date to get to blog on underlying story)


Commissioner Richard Regula question to Stark Board of Elections director Jeff Matthews:  Are positions open to the general public at the Stark County Board of Elections?

You have to be kidding Stark County, Commissioner Richard Regula, no?

Be sure to click on "January, 2014" above to see the SCPR video showing Regula asking this incredibly naive question of Jeff Matthews.



Because it is generally known that one "need not apply" for a taxpayer supported position the SCPR nominates the Stark County Board of Elections for the GRAND "LUMP OF COAL" 2014 AWARD winner.

That political connections are needed to get a taxpayer-paid-for-job is both a case of satirical humor and an indictment of our political parties in how they use taxpayer money for the advantage of Republican and Democratic Party interests.


The SCPR thinks that Canton Ward 2 councilman Thomas West is "one smooth operator."

He often presents a tone of being "magnanimous."

On style points, no Stark County politician/officeholder approaches being the equal of Councilman West.

He is clearly superb and masterful in this regard.

However, beneath that political/social polish is - in the opinion of the SCPR - a politically calculating, self-advancing person.

Moreover, the SCPR thinks his self-interest style in functioning as a councilman has been damaging to Canton public's perception of the legislative body being about the public interest over self-interest.

Nowhere was that more evident than his fostering and persisting well into 2014 his effort to become majority leader on council or alternatively force a compromise whereby Ward 4 councilwoman Chris Smith would become majority leader.

Anybody but Frank Morris, III, it appears.

In the process challenging Morris, West made Law Director Joe Martuccio look like a vacillating, indecisive and therefore - on this one matter - ineffective council legal counselor. 

The SCPR thinks it was all "one big political bluff" by Councilman West to see if he could leverage sensitivity to minority representation/participation in government into a big political coup for himself and/or Smith.

As a ten year councilman, West certainly deserved consideration.  But it was clear that he did not have the votes.  And council does run by majority rule.

In the process of getting to a decision on leadership, West threatened to litigate over the issue which - if carried through on - the SCPR thinks would have put Canton government in a constitutional crisis of sorts.

Again, the SCPR thinks it was "on big bluff" and as such was highly irresponsible.

Later on in the year he was pushing the "Rooney Rule" which is a rule that before a National Football League owner can hire a coach, he/she must interview and consider an African-American.

This is a standard he insisted upon and perhaps continues to think should be incorporated into city of Canton hirings.

Sort of entitlement thinking, no?

Because of West's actions as a councilman (in the regard as described in herein), the SCPR perceives such to be a case of pushing personal political interests over the public interest which earns Councilman Thomas West a nomination as the February, 2014 candidate for for the GRAND "LUMP OF COAL" 2014 AWARD winner.

MARCH, 2014

On one hand, most readers of the SCPR probably say "Amen!" to the notion that Canton Councilman Thomas West (a liberal Democrat) is representative of an "entitlement" attitude.

On the other, most would not think that the Republicans who control Marlboro Township government (i.e. the trustees) as being infected with "the entitlement bug."

But the SCPR thinks they are and even worse they are political hypocrites in that they decry entitlement for others while they themselves had no problem whatsoever in moaning about the federal government not picking up the entire tab on a multi-million dollars sewer rebuild project.

Republican trustee Ken Eddleman was the voice but the SCPR sees fellow Republican trustee John P. Hagan (a former state representative, the 50th), his daughter Christina (current state representative, the 50th) also a Republican as being right in his corner in wanting the government (at any level, including Stark County taxpayers) to pick up a good part of if not the entire $2 million plus due bill on the sewer rebuild and thereby spare Marlboro property owners the expense.

It makes no sense to the SCPR why one of Stark County's poorest townships with very little industry and commerce would be a bastion of Republican Party support and its underlying "we pull ourselves up by the bootstraps" political philosophy.

But it is.

The hypocrisy earns Trustee Eddleman as the spokesperson for the Marlboro's entitlement-esque cry as the March, 2014 nominee for the GRAND "LUMP OF COAL" 2014 AWARD winner.

APRIL, 2014

As far as the SCPR is concerned, one of Stark County's least able local government executives is Kathy Catazaro-Perry as mayor of Massillon.

Before she was elected, The Report forecasted that she would only be the de jure mayor and that the de facto mayor would be her political benefactor, sponsor and coach Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.

Nothing she has done as mayor has dispelled the SCPR's premonition.

It is one thing when her beholdeness to Maier, Jr. does not appear to affect ordinary Massillonians.

But it is quite another when it does so appear.

A case in point was the inability of Massillon police officer Thomas Rogers to get an what ultimately turned out to be "as matter of law" promotion as sergeant through competitive civil service exams in light of one of the competitors being Johnnie A. Maier, Jr's nephew (also George T. Maier's son [Massillon safety director at the time]); namely, Michael Maier.

Catazaro-Perry could lay it all on the Massillon Civil Service Commissioner at the initial level.

But when her administration directed an adversarial response to Rogers' appeal at the Stark County Court of Common Pleas level and further yet (having lost at that level) to the Fifth District Court of Appeals, Catazaro-Perry; she - as far as the SCPR is concerned - owned the commission's action.

A second legal contest is in progress (re: Tim Anderson) on the issue of whether or not he (Anderson) was illegally deprived by the Catazaro-Perry administration to get a sergeant's slot available because of the retirement of another sergeant.

As the SCPR understands the process, Michael Maier was segued into the "retiring sergeant's slot" as a consequence of the Rogers decision and his holding that slot is being challenged by Anderson.

In short, the legal challenge is whether or not the exam on which Maier was promoted was still valid at the time of his being slid into the retiring sergeant's slot.

Legal counsel for Anderson tells the SCPR that he is confident that the administration will fail once again to protect the promotion of Michael Maier.

Because it appears to the SCPR that Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry and her administration is adversely impacting just ordinary cops to the benefit of a politically connected cop, the mayor is the April, 2014 nominee for being the GRAND "LUMP OF COAL" 2014 AWARD winner.

MAY, 2014

May of 2014 was "one tough month for North Canton government" and The Stark County Political Report thinks that the "tough times" are all of the mayor's and a majority of city council's own making, to wit: the failure to control Law Director Tim Fox.

The month of May did not "bring May flowers" in The Dogwood City.

Instead it brought disharmony galore.  One casualty of Council's inability or unwillingness to control Fox was long term North Canton's superlative clerk of council Gail Kalpac.

In the nearly seven years that the SCPR has been covering Stark County local government, 2014's North Canton government has demonstrated itself to be the very worst in all of Stark County in terms of being citizen unfriendly.

Here is a short list of anti-democracy actions by North Canton government:
  • the legality of legislation passed by a nearly 80% to 20% on the vote of North Canton's voters,
  • the interpretation of Ohio's Open Records law as contrasted to that of Ohio's attorney general, and
  • contending with the State of Ohio Auditor on the proper legal foundation for comp. time policy change and implementation
Because of North Canton's hostility to its "activist" citizenry" best exemplified by the highly credible Concerned Citizens of North Canton, North Canton government (i.e. Mayor David Held, Law Director Tim Fox and at least a majority of North Canton City Council members) constitutes itself as the May, 2014 nominee as a potential GRAND "LUMP OF COAL" 2014 AWARD winner.

JUNE, 2014

Of all the blogs (including the many series blogs) that the SCPR has done, the series on Gender Equity is the one that The Report is proudest of.

And probably more that any other blog or series the Gender Equity one has drawn the most comment and reaction.

It is a blight on Stark County and county subdivision government that women in general have been treated with so much disparity in terms of getting top level paying taxpayer supported jobs.

As a journalist who has sat in on many, many Stark County commissioner meeting, a agency of Stark County government that comes to mind which The Report thinks is "really" run by the women who make up the staff of the agency is Stark County Regional Planning (SCPR).

With few exceptions, the SCPR situation is pretty typical of how poorly Stark's female government workers are treated in terms of equal pay and equal promotion opportunity.

Accordingly, those elected Stark County officials (including county political subdivision, e.g. Jackson Township and Plain Township) who the SCPR database shows have abided this unfairness have earned for June, 2014 the dubious distinction of being in line to collectively and individually of perhaps qualifying for being the GRAND "LUMP OF COAL" 2014 AWARD winner.

JULY, 2014

An essential component of our democratic-republican system of government is the citizenry participating in the vote.

In the May, 2014 primary election only 13.7% of "registered to vote Stark Countians" (about 284,000 out of a total population of approximately 380,000) voted.

In Canton Councilwoman Chris Smith's Ward 4, one precinct voted at a rate of 2.03%

More ominous to the vitality of our democracy is the example set by public officials.

In July, the SCPR got around to compiling a list of those public officials who did not vote in the May primary election.

Alarmingly, in that primary election only about 80% of "elected" officials voted.

Should be about 99% (allowing for illness and the like), no?

Here are some who did not.  For more, click on July, 2014 link to the underlying blog above.

Those elected Stark County political subdivision officials who did not vote in May, 2014 have set a poor example and therefore for July, 2014 (the month of the SCPR analysis) are candidates (collectively) to be the SCPR GRAND "LUMP OF COAL" 2014 AWARD winner.

AUGUST, 2014

After several years of mulling over using "left-over" money from a 1/2 cent "imposed" sales tax (former commissioners Bosley, Harmon and Vignos - December, 2008), the current board (Bernabei, Creighton and Regula) decided to spend its nearly $2 million "left over" money for a state-of-the-art Computer Aided Dispatch upgrade.

After digesting the proposals available to the commissioners, it appears to the SCPR that the commissioners overpaid by about $1 million of taxpayer money.

The SCPR understands that the vendor on the lower cost system did not submit a timely bid, but when the commissioners are spending "our" money they should not "stand on ceremony and/or technicalities" and shut out examining the suitability of the lower cost system.

"Standing on ceremony and/or technicality" is exactly what the SCPR thinks the commissioners on the advice of a 9-1-1 task force guided Project Manager Joe Concatto did.

The commissioners should have handled this decision as if they were spending their personal funds.

Accordingly, they and Director Concatto selected from the SCPR blogs for the month of August, 2014 are in line to be considered the SCPR GRAND "LUMP OF COAL" 2014 AWARD winner.


It took a while, but the SCPR picked up on a September 22, 2014  decision made by the Fifth District Court of Appeals on August 18, 2014 that Judge Dixie Park (in September, 2013) of the Stark County Probate Court
  • had abused her discretion as a judge in finding "unconstitutionally" 
  • an everyday Stark Countian guilty of contempt of court, and 
  • jailing her in the Stark County jail for about ten days.
Be sure to read the underlying story by reading clicking the September, 2014 link above.

For her acting unconstitutionally and the SCRP adds "shockingly" for placing a ordinary Stark County citizen in jail in violation of due process of law standards, the SCPR as the September, 2014 nominee places Judge Park in a prominent position to be selected as the SCPR GRAND "LUMP OF COAL" 2014 AWARD winner.

The SCPR knows that politics is not for the timid.

But the way George T. Maier worked over an American war hero (Afghanistan and Iraq) who had the audacity to exercise his freedom of political association in supporting Louis Darrow for sheriff over Maier when Stark Democrats in February, 2013 and again in December, 2013 was a revolting thing to learn about.
SCPR Note:   Maier had been removed as the Stark County Dems appointed sheriff on November 6, 2013 by the Ohio Supreme Court.
The Report has never had much regard for Maier and his treatment Altieri - a man who put his life on the line in defense of treasured American freedoms - did nothing but add to this blog's disenchantment with Stark County's top cop.

For his mishandling of Altieri's request for Stark County reserve deputy status, the SCPR places George T. Maier in this year's list to possibly be named the SCPR GRAND "LUMP OF COAL" 2014 AWARD winner.

November, 2014

For The Repository being a newsprint monopoly in Stark County, the SCPR thinks that its handing of the heated 2014 Stark County sheriff's race (Dordea v. Maier) was demonstration of journalistic irresponsibility on steriods.

In the blog linked to above, The Report listed  point-by-point The Rep's disservice to Stark County voters in its failure to provide thorough coverage on the issues/positions between the two as Stark Countians endeavored to determine who was the best choice for providing law enforcement to county residents, to wit:
On Maier, the SCPR wrote a number blogs which provided citations to:
as well has other tangential conduct such as
which the SCPR believes are matters that The Repository, the countywide monopoly it is, had a duty - for the benefit of a 'better informed' Stark County voting public - to deal with.
The SCPR is not surprised at The Rep's failure.

For those of us who know what is really going on in Stark government and politics, MIA (missing in action) has come to be expected for The Repository.  The Dordea/Maier shortfall fell right into line with the newspaper's short comings.

Accordingly, The Rep's editorial hierarchy as the selectee from among November, 2014 SCPR blogs is possibly merits being named he SCPR GRAND "LUMP OF COAL" 2014 AWARD winner.

December, 2014

It was somewhat amusing for the SCPR to take in what appears to been an attempt by freshman Massillon councilman Shaddrick Stinson (Ward 4 Democrat) attempt to bait The Report into getting in to a debate with him on whether or not he as a council member has been locked-in in support of Massillon's Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry administration.

The Report has a tip for Councilman Stinson.

"Get up earlier in the morning Councilman if you think you going to be a step of the SCPR."

Stinson says that he is not a Catazaro-Perry/Maier, Jr. loyalist.

He can say whatever he wants of a self-serving nature and The Report allows space for him to do so as this blog as done for every responding subject of SCPR blogs over the nearly seven past years.

The SCPR's take is that his actions as a councilman belie his words.

So Stinson as the December, 2014 nominee joins the 11 other nominees in the SCPR's top 12 list of potential winners to become THE SCPR GRAND "LUMP OF COAL" 2014 AWARD winner.  

Undoubtedly, many Stark County officials will be disappointed not to be included in the final top 12 list.

The list could include Randy Gonzalez, his son Kody Gonzalez, Canton mayor William J. Healy, II, Jeff Matthews, Alex Zumbar, Phil Giavasis, Stephen Belden, Deametrious St. John, Scott Oelslager and a host of others.  But the list had to be pared down.  Sorry folks.  Maybe next year?

Drum roll, please!

And the winner is?

Tune in Christmas Eve in the evening as Santa makes his rounds with his bag of gifts for the answer! 

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