Tuesday, May 19, 2015



This blog is the fourth 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.

For those readers who are just catching up with the list, here are links to the previous three selectees:
To be sure, there are some pretty bad "un-elected" ones, but the SCPR's focus in this series is of the "elected variety."

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 tramols@att.net 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 SCR - 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 six slots.

Remember, none of them made the top spot.  Sorry guys!

Better luck in the next quarterly report.

Today's honoree is the president of the North Canton City Council; namely, Daniel "Jeff" Peters, both individually as a member of North Canton's council and in the representational sense for the entire council in his capacity as the council leader.

More than any other North Canton Council member, Peters (representing North Canton Ward 2), the SCPR thinks, as the-then personnel committee chair, was the lead councilperson in bringing former Ward 3 councilman (for the briefest period of time) Tim Fox on board as North Canton's "UNelected" law director.

The Report  thinks that Peters and his council fellows hired Fox with the understanding that he would "figuratively" crack the heads of those North Canton citizen activist who highlighted the short comings of council members.

And, The Report, believes that Fox has not disappointed and that accordingly Fox will remain North Canton's law director until such time as the make up of council changes.

Among Stark County city councils (i.e. the major cities, Alliance, Canton, Massillon and North Canton), North Canton's is clearly the belligerent, hostile and anti-democratic/republican in tone vis-a-vis the its constituent public.

Today's selectee as an individual in face-to-face encounters seems not to fit the tone described above.

But as the expression "appearances can be deceiving" suggests, the SCPR thinks Peters rivals the obviously most antagonistic member of North Canton Council in applying a "adversariness" litmus test to each of North Canton's councilpersons.

The unnamed (in this blog) "most antagonistic" councilperson gets a much higher spot (#2) on the SCPR Bottom 10 "Worst" Stark County Political Subdivision list because that person has a trait or two or so more obnoxious to wholesome public service than does Peters.

Below is an example shared with the SCPR by former North Canton councilman Chuck Osborne.

By the way, Osborne has filed as a candidate for the council seat now held by Republican Stephanie Werren, wife of Curtis Werren who, in January, received a second appointment by Republican governor John Kasich as a Stark County political subdivison judge, Werren having lost to Democrat Chryssa Hartnett in November, 2014 on a Common Pleas Court judgeship.

But first let it be said that Peters is likely to object that North Canton's foremost community activist is the personification of the expression:  "these are times that try mens' souls."

And the SCPR has written a blog or two about Osborne's testiness.

To sum it up, it is the SCPR's take that Osborne is more a help than a hindrance in the effort to make North Canton City Council as a whole more hospitable, more responsive and more democratic-republican values friendly than it has demonstrated since former council president and mayor of North Canton Daryl Revoldt left.

Revoldt had the wisdom and the maturity to deal with Osborne.

Peters' et al to their discredit in Osborne's case try to focus on - to some - his irritating manner so as a scapegoat to divert attention from council's manifest inadequacies.

Peters does not possess Revoldt's leadership qualities as witness the following extract from an e-mail copied to the SCPR yesterday:
Chuck Osborne  May 18 at 10:30 PM
... .
Attached you will find changes to the City’s Zoning Code, Chapter 1177 – titled Conditional and Similar Uses Permits that was passed by City Council as Ordinance 34-13 on June 10, 2013. Mayor David Held signed the legislation (He will sign whatever you put in front to him).

I have highlighted the affected areas between the draft version containing the changes and the existing zoning Code at that time.

Clearly, Law Director Tim Fox had zeroed in on this area of the City’s Zoning code.

If you look at the area highlighted, the changes were simply cosmetic. What was then Section 1177.09, was simply carved up to create Section 1179.10 with no changes. Consequently, former Section 1177.10 – Appeal To Council had to be renumbered Section 1177.11.

Was anyone concerned at that time that the section 1177.10 titled, “Appeal To Council” violated the City Charter. Obviously NOT, as it was left in and simply renumbered Section 1177.11.

Why now has City Council suddenly taken the position that Section 1177.11 - Appeal To Council violated the City Charter. On April 27, 2015, Council voted to remove, in its entirety, Section 1177.11 saying it violated the City Charter. Ordinance 17-2015  was signed into law by Mayor David Held.

After the 3rd reading of Ordinance No. 17-2015, in which council deleted the “Appeal to Council” section, Council President Jeff Peters rushed to catch me as I was quickly leaving the Council Chamber out of utter disdain for North Canton City government . Grinning ear-to-ear and practically thumping his chest, Mr. Peters exclaimed that when I voted on the entire revision of the Zoning code in 2003 as a member of Council, that I had violated the City Charter in doing so. He repeated that statement over and over while just grinning like he had just discovered the Holy Grail.

Since that night, I have gone back and looked over the City’s current Zoning Code. A close examination shows the notation that just two years ago Council amended Chapter 1177 of the Zoning code with the passage of Ordinance No. 34-13 on June 10, 2013.  I realized that if Mr. Peter’s remarks to me were accurate and that section of the Zoning code violates the City Charter (which I do not believe it does), then Mr. Peters and all of Council violated the City Charter when they amended Chapter 1177 just two years ago.

And as for Marcia Kiesling and Doug Foltz, they voted with me in 2003 when the Zoning code was rewritten in its entirety. So does that mean they violated the City Charter on two occasions?

Mr. Jeff Peters thought he was just the smartest man in the world when he ran down the aisle to tell me that I had violated the City Charter.

The law in North Canton is what North Canton elected officials want it to be as interpreted by Law Director Tim Fox. They change the law when is does not suit their needs, or ignore the law and force citizens to go to the courts at great expense to force government to honor the laws they themselves have enacted.

North Canton City Council are not representatives of the citizens of North Canton by any stretch of the word. They are adversaries of the citizens. (emphasis added)

Chuck Osborne
A lot less annoying North Canton citizen activist (a candidate for North Canton Council for an "at-large" position) is Jamie McCleaster.

The Report thinks McCleaster (spokesperson for the Councerned Citizens of North Canton [CCNC]) is a model of decorum which demonstrates that it is a bum wrap on Osborne for North Canton Council to react to him seemingly because he is chronic in his pursuit of council and does not possess the pleasing manner that McCleaster does.

With North Canton Council, one's personality is not the real factor in whether or not a citizen gets its collective ear.

It appears to the SCPR that most, not all, of North Canton's councilpersons cannot handle critical evaluation of its legislative agenda and they get retributive in all too many instances.

McCleaster's e-mail of yesterday to the SCPR summarizes pretty well all that has gone wrong with council over the past few years, to wit:
Jamie McCleaster  May 18 at 7:09 AM
To Martin Olson 
I had initially resisted the temptation to weigh in, but I've seen in all the posts for the "Bottom 10" that you've been asking for input, or who readers think should be the bottom 1... I guess I'll bite. 
I think that North Canton City Council as a whole should get the bottom spot, given the previously reported; fight to get public records (although that has been a little better lately), the disregard of the will of the voters around healthcare (specifically Council President Peters, Kiesling, Werren, and former President/councilman Snyder), the willingness to keep Law Director Fox at his post, and the general "us vs them" antagonistic approach they take towards people who question their authority and view points. 
If I had to narrow it down further, I'd choose Kiesling, Werren, former President/councilman Snyder, and as the now "leader" of the bunch, Council President Peters, simply over the health insurance debacle. Maybe I'm old idealistic, but I think elected officials should represent those they're elected to serve, and not look for technicalities to usurp the people's vote (politics 101). Just my two cents. I'll be on the edge of my seat as you continue your count down! 
Talk to you soon. 
Jamie McCleaster
Among North Canton councilpersons that McCleaster singles out in his e-mail as being deserving (Snyder does not qualify because is not currently an elected official), who will be the SCPR's #2?

We shall know in about a week.

In the meantime, keep checking daily as The Stark County Political Report's countdown to the absolutely worst Stark County Political Subdivision "elected" official continues.

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