Monday, May 11, 2015




Commissioner Janet Creighton
Talks About Dancing and Singing
in Response to Bernabei Filing


Bernabei Addresses
Creighton Support

On Sunday, The Stark County Political Report began a multi-part series on the filing on Monday, May 4, 2015 (the day before the Stark County political subdivision primary election) by sitting Stark County Commissioner Thomas Bernabei as an "independent' candidate for mayor of Canton.

Bernabei, had, prior to his making moves over the past week or so to position himself as a political "independent," been a lifelong Democrat.

Back in March, 2014 in an Alliance Review profile of Commissioner Bernabei, Stephanie Ujhelyi wrote in part:
"Yes, I am a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat who serves with two Republicans. I'm not a closet Republican -- although some infer that. However, ultimately (getting the job done) is about hard work, sound management principles and hiring the best people as well as finding the middle ground ... "
Mind you, not just a Democrat.  But a "dyed-in-the-wool Democrat."

Kind of reminds you of Nancy Pelosi, - a "dyed-in-the-wool" kind of Democrat that comes to the mind of many of us, no?

Can you imagine her suddenly announcing she's has had a conversion and has become - not a Republican, but rather an "independent?"

Probably not.

And undoubtedly Democrats who have known Commissioner Bernabei for years and years are disbelieving and therein lies the rub for his pulling off a Stark County Board of Elections (BOE) certification that he has done so lawfully.

It will be interesting to note how the vote goes.

The Republicans to certify; the Democrat not to certify?

Republican secretary of state Jon Husted being a guy who is on record being in favor of "letting the people vote" breaks a tie in favor of a Democrat (err "independent") once again?

Below are links to blogs done by the SCPR on the question of whether or not Bernabei would in fact file as an "independent."
Later on in this series, you will see/hear Bernabei's take on the issues (ditching his political party affiliating/his residency) of his having filed and whether or not he thinks his candidacy "will fly."

Months ago, the SCPR received a tip from a highly reliable source that Bernabei was thinking about running against Canton mayor William J. Healy, II (for whom he had served as service director/chief of staff January, 2008 through January 2009 [unceremoniously fired in January, 2009]) presumably in the 2015 Democratic primary.

On being asked about the speculation by yours truly, Bernabei merely laughed the suggestion off.

And the SCPR thinks that he was not spoofing The Report nor Cantonians in making the denial at the time of the posed question.

Obviously, things have changed.

One who has not masked her enthusiasm on the prospect of a Bernabei candidacy as an "independent" candidate for mayor this coming November has been fellow Republican Commissioner Janet Weir Creighton.

She and several other notable Stark County Republicans were among the 16 circulators circulating petitions (collecting some 267 signatures) on Saturday and Sunday a week ago from this past weekend.

Note the list included former Creighton administration officials:
  • A.R. "Chip" Conde (ran against Healy in 2011 and is currently employed by Stark County Auditor Alan Harold), and
  • Joseph Concatto (currently is [on reduced hours basis] and over he past several years has been StarkCounty's 9-1-1 CAD project manager),
Auditor Alan Harold (a staunch Republican) also circulated a petition for Bernabei.

The Stark County "organized GOP" has no candidate in Canton's November 3, 2015 mayoralty race.

However, with Creighton, Conde, Concatto and Harold being involved in Bernabei's candidacy; some might think of Bernabei as being the de facto Republican candidate?





As cited above (Ujhelyi's article), Bernabei himself understands that with some Democratic leaders (i.e. Healy and company) he looks like a Republican.

His having key Republican leaders circulate his petitions adds credibility to the pro-Healy Dems (and perhaps even other Democrats) likely claim that he is a de facto Republican.

There were two noteworth Democrats who circulated for Bernabei:


The only major Democratic Stark County officeholder known so far to be supporting Bernabei's "independent" run is Stark County Clerk of Courts Nancy Reinbold.

The SCPR thinks that others will surface over the next five months (assuming he overcomes legal challenges) and act as a counter to the likely forthcoming claim that Bernabei is nothing but a Republican hiding under the "independent" label.


Canton Councilman Greg Hawk (Ward 1) that is.

Somewhat of a surprise to The Report inasmuch as this is what yours truly wrote in a recent blog:
Councilman Greg Hawk part of an effort to salvage the mayoralty of William J. Healy, II?
You have to be kidding?
For it was Healy who had to be behind the move that put Hawk out of his treasured chairmanship of council's finance committee in the aftermath of the November, 2011 elections, no?" 
Answer:  You know the adage - "politics makes for strange bedfellows."
And there is more.

A SCPR source says "no way" was Greg Hawk a part of the Mack and Mario effort.

Hawk is said to have wanted to be Canton treasurer when Bob Schirack announced that he was resigning before the end of his term in 2013.  Had he done so, Councilman Hawk, being the solid Democrat he is, stood a good chance to be appointed treasurer over Kim Perez and thereby get a head start on Perez in his quest to get the nomination in May, 2013 in the Democratic primary election.

However, The Report's source says that Mayor Healy intervened to persuade Schirack to stay on until the end of this term (probably because of the Hawk/Healy historic animus) and that consequently Hawk holds a grudge against the mayor.

That could be, but the SCPR has another source saying that as between Perez and Healy (remember the Bernabei candidacy did not get rolling until May 3rd and 4th), Hawk loathed Perez more than Healy.

After all, Kim Perez is the treasurer of Canton.  A position that Hawk once coveted.

Perez had to know that Hawk very much wanted to be Canton's treasurer.  But of course Kim Perez's first priority is Kim Perez.

Why Healy's intervention?

Probably to do Perez a favor in helping him land a position, any position, after losing his county auditor spot to Alan Harold and thereby - hopefully - dissuade him from running for mayor, no?

That's how the SCPR thinks Healy operates.

Perez probably was "all too happy" to let Healy think that being treasurer is all he cared about being.

These two deserve each other.

Hopefully, the people of Canton won't have to have either.


Creighton, who the SCPR considers as being Stark County's foremost and powerful Republican in terms of proven vote-getting ability on the basis of her having been elected/re-elected:
  • as county recorder, 
  • as county auditor, 
  • as mayor of Canton (2004-2007), and 
  • as a Stark County commissioner 
It indeed was somewhat surprising that she lost to William J. Healy, II in November, 2007 as she sought a second term as mayor.

But there is one big reason why it should not have been surprising.

Registered Democrats as part of the body politic of Canton out number Republicans about 9 to 1.

A sign that the Healy defeat (or perhaps any Democratic candidate including a second run by long time hugely successful candidate in Canton proper William Smuckler) was to be seen in the numbers she won by over the non-charismatic Smuckler in November, 2003.

Had she lost to Smuckler in 2003, she would not have liked it, of course, but The Report thinks she respects Smuckler and therefore would not have harbored the bitter feelings the SCPR thinks she still has as a consequence of her lost to him in November, 2007.

The Report believes Creighton does not respect Healy by virtue of his being perceived by herself and many other Cantonians and Stark Countians as being a consummate, oily politician with state-of-the-political-art-skills at spinning this or that screw up on his conduct as mayor individually and in his role as the city's chief executive.

Moreover, for quite a time after Healy took over as mayor, guess who he blamed for "all that ails" Canton?

Of course, the immediate preceding mayor:  Janet Weir Creighton!

Undoubtedly, in the days preceding their both being elected as county commissioners in November, 2010 in a "save Stark County mode" growing out a "crisis of confidence" in Stark County government as a consequence of what local attorney and civic activist Craig T. Conley has termed as being "Zeiglergate" (LINK), Creighton as a local government official interacted from time-to-time with one Thomas Bernabei.

Little did they know in those days that one day they would come to share a common bond of hatred of "all things William J. Healy, II."

But with Bernabei's having worked for Healy as service director and chief of staff and his humiliating firing in January, 2009 and with Creighton reeling from her 2007 polls defeat to Healy;  it was bound to happen that as commissioners, though of different political party identities, they would unite in their disdain for Canton's current mayor.

So it should not be surprising that Creighton as shown in yesterday's blog and repeated in today's blog a SCPR video showing the ebullience she brought to last Wednesday's regular commissioners' meeting as evidenced in her celebrating the Bernabei filing on the prior Monday as an "independent" candidate for mayor.

As one of the circulators and likely a coordinating factor in obtaining other Republicans (as noted above) to participate in circulating Bernabei petitions over last weekend, Janet Creighton is likely to be a major player in asking Cantonians to vote for "independent" candidate Thomas Bernabei for mayor should he survive legal challenges that are sure to come.

And here is a video of what Bernabei had to say in last Wednesday's interview as to Creighton's involvement in his effort.

It appears that Bernabei and Creighton are attempting to do for Canton what they have teamed up to do for Stark County in restoring public confidence in local government processes and substance.

In 2010, it was Stark County government involving both of them running for office.

In 2015, it is Canton government with Tom Bernabei being the point person.

Tomorrow's SCPR blog:  Part III - "How Bernabei came to decide to run and how the 'last minute' effort unfolded."

No comments: