The Stark County Political Report is known for its critical analysis of public officials in the performance of their duties throughout the past year.
At Thanksgiving, The Report publishes a "special" blog that highlights the positives that various elected Stark County public officials have brought to bear on local government from Thanksgiving to Thanksgiving
This year's recipients of the SCPR Annual Thanksgiving Day "thank you" for a job well done:
A career policeman in the non-political sense of being a Stark County-based law enforcement official, Alliance resident Larry Dordea has been not only in the past year but for an entire career but has been exemplary model for all of Stark County's policewomen and policemen.
Dordea had an outstanding career as police chief in Alliance. He is credited for making Alliance a very bad place for criminal drug dealers to try to ply their trade.
After he retired from the Alliance Police Department, he was called upon by Hartville to bring policing stability to the village on the heels of law enforcement leadership problems in this Lake Township community.
In 2008, he decided that Stark County as a whole needed an upgrade in law enforcement and decided as a Republican to take on law time Stark county sheriff and Democrat Tim Swanson.
Unsuccessful in 2012, he took up the cause once again in running against Democrat Mike McDonald.
Unfortunately, McDonald came down with what proved to be a terminal illness and though elected over Dordea in a relatively close election he was unable to take office on January 7, 2013 and the fight was on to see who Stark Countians would ultimately elect as sheriff.
In the evaluation of the SCPR, there couldn't be a starker contrast in character between Dordea and his Democratic opponent George T. Maier as the two vied with one another in the election just concluded to fill out McDonald's term which ends in two years.
Anyone who has run in a political campaign knows what a difficult and tortured process doing so can be.
Because he is of such high moral character and therefore not nearly political as many who run for political office, it is the SCPR assessment that Dordea was thereby disadvantaged in the hurly-burly, rough and tumble and in some instances "downright dirty" world of elective politics.
The SCPR thinks that Dordea faced "all-of-the-above" in the 2014 campaign. Being the classy person he is, Dordea kept his dignity and honor in tact and in doing so set an example of electioneering that is a model for anyone seeking political office.
Dordea conducted himself as he should of.
His failure to get elected was not his doing, but is laid at the feet of a few powerful Stark County Republicans "who sat on their hands" and thereby missed an opportunity for Stark Countians countywide to experience highly competent policing administered by a man of the highest character.
The SCPR thanks Larry Dordea for all the sacrifices he made in running for Stark County sheriff.
Judge-elect Chryssa Hartnett's contribution to the Stark County public good is that she is a symbol of "merit" over "politics as usual" reigning supreme in Stark County government and politics.
When Republican judges Charles Brown and V. Lee Sinclair (both exemplary judges) retired, it was up to Republican governor John Kasich to appoint a successor until the next election to fill out the unexpired term.
While the SCPR thinks well of both Brown and Sinclair, The Report did not appreciate them leaving early in their terms and thereby making who was going to be their respective replacement a matter who has the larger political clout with the governor.
To the degree that government is "unduly" and "unnecessarily" politicized, it sets up a cynicism among the electorate as to the second place "merit" too often takes in who is selected for appointment to a vacant office and over time erodes the quality of our democratic-republican.
Accordingly, the SCPR is the only Stark County media who names names (even those The Report thinks well of "in general) of those who participate in the damaging in our system of government.
Chryssa Hartnett is a name that should long be remember by Stark Countians as a high quality applicant for both the Brown and Sinclair vacancy appointment.
She's a Democrat!
Never mind that she is likely the very best prosecutor that Stark County prosecutor John Ferrero has had on his staff and has a track record extolled by attorneys and judges irrespective of political alignment.
Her peers in the Stark County Bar Association ranked her as "highly" recommended whereas her Republican opponent Curt Werren (Kasich appointee on the Sinclair vacancy) in the election concluded on November 4th was ranked as "recommended."
One really doesn't want to hear John Kasich rallying Ohioans to any particular "above politics" cause he may have going forward in his second term as governor inasmuch as he can't even do the rather obvious and simple act of appointing a person of merit over a politically connected to a "fair and impartial" judgeship.
What a hypocrite the governor is!
But Chryssa Hartnett was not intimidated.
She tried twice for the appointment.
Having failed, she took her case to the people and won by a razor thin margin on November 4th.
Kasich won over his absolutely pathetic Democratic opponent by over 37,000 votes in Stark County.
And Curt Werren (as contrasted with Dordea) had the vigorous and undiminished support of key Stark County Republican elected officials and stalwart party supporters despite his not having practiced law in several years.
Moreover, Hartnett had a couple of herculean problems:
- How to raise enough campaign dollars to get her message of "merit" over "politics" to Stark Countians,
- How to get political foot soldiers to go door-to-door spreading the message,
She found a way; she pulled it off!
And on this November 27, 2014, The Stark County Political Report commends and thanks Chryssa Hartnett for setting an democratic-republican enhancing example in advancing "merit" over "politics."
ED LEWIS, IV
Massillonians should be especially thankful this Thanksgiving to Republican Ed Lewis on Massillon City Council.
Lewis is young man with the energy and intelligence "to fight the good fight" in the name of and for the benefit of government achieving for the general welfare of the people as contrasted to those in Massillon government who seem intent on feathering their own nest(s).
He came into office in November, 2011 while the Johinnie A. Maier, Jr "Massillon Political Machine" was focusing on Democratic Party infighting in deposing 24 year mayor Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr in the Democratic primary of 2011.
A strange thing happened on the way to the coronation of Maier beholder Kathy Catazaro-Perry as mayor: Massillon Republicans captured control of Massillon City Council.
While the Dems won control back in 2013, only two of them are dependable Maier Democrats (Townsend and Stinson), and though in a minority, the Republicans have worked with Maier-dissenting Democrats to protect Massillonians as best they can from the "screw-the-taxpayers" political cronyism of the Maier crowd.
A key in the effort has been Ed Lewis.
He is chairman of the powerful Finance Committee of the Massillon legislature and as such has lead the way in alerting the Massillon public to one scheme after another after another by Catazaro-Perry advance partisan and political faction interests over the interests of Massillon taxpayers.
Lewis, a minister, has the ability to turn mayoral insults (e.g. he and other councilpersons are racists because they oppose what appears to be a political boondoggle) into what they are: "an attempt to intimidate.
Intimidation, the SCPR thinks, is the calling card of the Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. crowd.
Lewis keeps his composure, stays focused and, in the end, frustrates the Maier loyalists.
Had they known what a force Ed Lewis would one day become, the Maier political operatives would have undoubtedly focused and intensified efforts to keep him off Massillon City Council.
That he is on council and may be a viable Republican candidate to deny Catazaro-Perry a second term, should be comforting to everyday Massillonians who do not care about the Democratic/Republican thing, but just want "the trains to run on time."
For bringing some semblance of fiscal integrity, executive branch accountability and compelling a measure of executive branch transparency, the SCPR is and Massillonians should be thankful this November 27, 2014 that Ed Lewis is a leader on Massillon City Council.
If Canton is going to rebuild itself into any semblance of a viable Ohio city that it once was, it will be at the hand of the likes of Edmond Mack (Democrat, Ward 8).
Like Ed Lewis, Mack is a member of the "Class of 2011." It could be that though of different party identity these two have the political maturity and the interests of the people at heart to trump politics with "the interests of the taxpaying public."
Mack is making quite an impact on Canton City Council.
And he is doing it on measures that takes leadership to bring the citizenry along to agree with him.
One example is his work to bring the question of whether or not Canton should elect a charter commission to the ballot. That issue will be on the ballot sometime in 2015 alongside Mack himself being up for reelection.
Potentially putting his own political fate on the line is something that Mack does not avoid.
Recently, he proposed the development of a Canton Park on land owned by St; Marks Episcopal Church in Ward 8.
A firestorm (at Canton City Council "Public Speaks" and at an October community meeting at St. Mark's itself) of opposition developed with some of the opponents promising to shepherd a drive to "unelect" Mack as councilman.
That will not happen because Mack, though young and a political neophyte, had the good sense to listen to Ward 8 residents and abandon the idea.
The SCPR has written a separate blog praising Mack for his unparalleled work (e.g. the St. Mark's October community meeting) in providing substance to the notion that our democratic-republican system of government is one in which elected officials hear citizens.
Mack is a vigorous proponent of the Healy administration Canton Citywide Comprehensive Plan.
But Mack will not be a cheerleader for the plan.
Though not as acerbic a critic and fellow councilman Frank Morris, III (who opposes the unfolding of the plan as it now stands); Mack has a first rate mind who has no problem whatsoever critiquing the specifics of that which he supports in-general.
Times have been bleak for Canton during most of the Healy Democratic administration years and even leaking back into the Creighton and Watkins Republican administrations.
On this Thanksgiving Day in 2014, Cantonians in Councilman Edmond Mack have a representative who has:
- demonstrated a high level of capability for leadership, and
- thereby offers hope that Canton has a promise of "a better day" in its future.
Notice that the title of this group political activist group is highlighted in purple, the color of the "non-partisan."
It doesn't get any better in our democratic-republican form of government than day-in, day-out citizens working for community betterment:
- irrespective of political party identification they may or may not have, and
- irrespective of political party identification of those government officials they hold accountable,
And that is the forte of this group of North Canton everydays.
While there is a group which goes by the name: Concerned Citizens of North Canton Political Action Committee, to wit: (at last count)
- Jamie McCleaster, president
- Miriam Baughman,
- Jeff Davies (former Ward 3 councilman), and
- Rod Covey, and
- possibly others
However, it has been the effort of the Concerned Citizens of North Canton to try to rein in what the SCPR deems to be the anti-democratic conduct of North Canton law director Tim Fox in his seeming arbitrary and capricious interpretation of law that impacts negatively on citizens and their attempts to invoke our institutionalized sacred American tradition of dialogue between the governed and the governors.
Whether or not North Canton council members will admit it publicly or not, you can bet that the heat being applied to Fox is putting pressure on them to rein him in.
Thank you Concerned Citizens of North Canton on this 27th day of November, 2014 for going beyond what most citizens are willing to do in terms of being a "check and balance" on North Canton Council and Law Director Tim Fox.