This blog is the fifth in a series of 10 blogs until the tenth one in which The Stark County Political Report will name the absolutely worst Stark County political subdivision "elected" official.
Indeed, we have reached the midpoint of the list most viewed of any series that the SCPR has ever done in the blogs' seven plus years of existence.
To those elected officials who have captured the SCPR's attention enough to have made the list: CONGRATULATIONS!
For those readers who are just catching up with the list, here are links to the previous three selectees:
- #10, Plain trustee Louis Giavasis,
- # 9, Jackson trustee James N. Walters,
- # 8, Canton Local School District BOE president Dave Brothers,
- # 7, North Canton City Council president Daniel "Jeff" Peters,
The Report has asked readers to weigh-in as to whom will achieve the dubious distinction of being Stark County's worst from among the list of county, village, city and board of education officials who have convinced their respective constituents to vote for them.
Interestingly enough, one respondent to yours truly's request that readers send their guess to email@example.com has successfully figured out the name of the official who will be blessed in a few days with the unveiling of the absolutely worst - in the opinion of SCPR - Stark County political subdivision elected official.
For those readers who want to join the elite group of successful guessers, here is a clue.
The "winner" is NOT a member of the Maier Massillon Political Machine (MMPM).
We all just heard a sigh of relief - didn't we? - from Kathy, Johnnie, Jr., Phil, George, and the like.
However, some of those devotees to the MMPM need to keep their fingers crossed in hopes that they will place somewhere in the remaining five slots.
Remember, none of them made the top spot. Sorry guys!
Better luck in the next quarterly report.
Today's honoree is always "dressed to the nines" Canton City councilman; namely, Jimmy Babcock.
All the other SCPR honorees on this list are folks who proactively - in the opinion of The Report - damage Stark County political subdivision government (villages, cities, townships, boards of education or the county itself) either in the entity's procedures or substance of government.
But probably not Councilman Jimmy Babcock.
He is just there. An empty suit. Taking up space. So thinks the SCPR.
Even the staid Repository editors seem to see Babcock that way.
In its April 24, 2015 endorsement editorial, this - in part - is what The Rep editors had to say:
Babcock, an incumbent who’s asking for a third term, believes the city should knock down entire blocks of blighted homes at a time and empower neighborhood associations to play a key role in revitalization, among other good ideas.
Babcock, however, has failed to articulate this vision on the floor of City Council. He can become more effective by taking a more active role in deliberations and offering his ideas through legislation. (color change and underlining for emphasis)If his last name was not Babcock, Jimmy probably would not have graced the rolls of Canton council.
His mother Mary served for 24 years. And his father Charles was a one-time mayor of Canton.
It did take awhile for Jimmy to become an elected official as he failed in a bid to become mayor and state representative.
In 2011 he "caught lightning in a bottle"
What Babcock is really good at is not being an effective city councilman (though he looks the part) but rather getting mad, "really, really, really" mad at the SCPR.
For The Report's part, Babcock is kind of like a gnat that one keeps swatting at to shoo away.
But those darned gnats, one seemingly can never, ever get rid of them.
Back in 2012 (LINK to blog on the matter) he lashed out at The Report for not supporting his "political father" Kim Perez 's candidacy for Canton treasurer.
Babcock worked for Perez from the time he took office on being elected Stark County auditor in 2004 until his defeat by Republican Alan Harold in 2010.
He had to be crushed when Mayor William J. "Turn-the-Camera-off-Martin" Healy, II recently defeated Perez in the May 5, 2015 Democratic election.
Yours truly is waiting for Babcock to come rushing up to The Report's backside with a diatribe on how the SCPR caused Perez's defeat.
As readers know, The Report got on Prosecutor John Ferrero's case big time over his handling of what yours truly thought was nothing but a political fuss and/or mis-communication involving Marlboro police chief Ron Devies and son Kyle and a couple of the-then Marlboro trustees one of whom is the brother of a former "on the staff of John Ferrero" prosecutor.
That is the first item that yours truly recalls Babcock getting supremely agitated with the SCPR. To parapharse: "Why are you all over John Ferrero's case," he protested.
Next up was the Perez for treasurer thing.
And, recently, he took his most aggressive stance in blindsiding yours truly over a SCPR blog assessment that Ward 3 council candidate Ryan Brahler (Babcock's cousin), though ostensibly a Healy supporter in the recently concluded Healy/Perez mayoralty contest, was in reality a Perez supporter.
It is the SCPR's experience that when a public official reacts as vehemently as Babcock did on the Brahler blog, it generally means The Report has hit a sore point of one sort or another.
Babcock as if to ice his point had his "friend for life" Perez e-mail The Report with "word from God Almighty himself" (apparently) that Brahler was not a secret supporter.
And that may have been the case.
But the SCPR doubts that given Jimmy's undying devotion to Perez?
If he gets on yours truly about Perez running for treasury matter, he going to abide cousin Ryan supporting Healy?
Of course, it is likely that neither Perez or Healy wanted to be tied to Brahler given an incident in which Brahler (then, the president of the Canton City Schools Board of Education [CCS-BOE]) verbally went after a basketball official at a McKinley girls basketball game which resulted in Brahler resigning his CCS-BOE position.
Fortunately, Brahler was not elected on May 5th to be the uncontested Democratic Party nominee in November.
Despite retiring Ward 3 councilman Jim "I just love being a councilman" Griffin supporting Brahler, the voters of Ward 3 chose wisely in voting Jason Scaglione in.
As The Report sees it, he would have been a cousin Jimmy clone in terms of how the councilman-at-large conducts himself in the legislative part of his Canton council work.
Jimmy Babcock is the complete opposite of the person who the SCPR thinks may put Babcock on the outside of council looking in.
Yes, "independent" Councilman Richard Hart.
Hart, though political hobbled by virtue of being an "independent" in a sea of Democrats, has and continues to make his mark in council.
This past week he has made a proposal to locate a wildlife zoo in land owned by Canton in Pike Township (East Sparta).
The Report thinks Hart is a bit-over-the-top in his claim that such a project could surpass the Hall of Fame Village project, the point is this: Hart is a proactive councilman whereas Babcock is not.
Some people in defense of Babcock might take the position of "no harm, no foul."
The SCPR's position is that each and every Canton councilperson needs to "step-up-to-the-plate" and offer ideas, concrete legislative proposals and energy to the quest to rescue Canton from its seeming slide into oblivion.
Babcock has not done so and the SCPR sees him as being a hanger-oner going forward and therefore deserving of being #6 on the SCPR list of the county subdivision's worst elected officials.