The Stark County Political Report takes a break today from it first quarterly update of the SCPR Stark County Political Subdivision "Top 10" Elected Officials to focus on the political carnage being allowed if not fostered by North Canton City Council on The Dogwood City's core activist citizens at the hand of the city's law director Tim Fox.
The graphic for today's blog is made up in part of excerpts from a web page The Report is told was put up by Law Director Tim Fox within the last week or so and then quickly taken down when a furor erupted from among certain persons from within the North Canton citizenry.
Undoubtedly, Fox has some disingenuous reason for having put the page up, if, in fact, he did so.
The SCPR thinks the page was published in order to make the likes of McCleaster, Baughman and Osborne appear to be trouble makers just for the sake of being trouble makers and therefore not productive of the public good.
Moreover, the reference to Fox's success rate in winning litigation (will outside legal help in some instances) initiated by Chuck Osborne appears to the SCPR to be a public relations-esque effort to make Fox to seem to be some kind of legal juggernaut that somehow establishes that Osborne is out there somewhere in la-la land with his legal challenges.
Osborne has been the butt of such discrediting and disparagement by various North Canton officials efforts ever since he served on council himself in the early 2000s but failed to win reelection.
While the SCPR does not think Osborne has developed the skills to deal effectively with the "let's smear Chuck Osborne" crowd of detractors (many of whom The Report are supposedly politically mature sitting councilpersons), he certainly is the most expert and knowledgeable person on the ins and outs, the ups and downs of North Canton government except perhaps for former mayor and councilperson Daryl Revoldt.
He works far harder than any of the sitting councilpersons to ensure that North Canton government is transparent so that North Cantonians can know the truth of what goes on in the city's local government entrails and thereby be in a position to assess whether or not it is a government that can be trusted to provide for the general welfare of the city's residents.
Fox's alleged city of North Canton webpage effort smacks of as being, perhaps, a case of using taxpayer money to support the candidacies of councilpersons who supported his initial appointment and who continue to support him to be retained as law director.
Ohio's campaign finance officials should conduct an investigation as to whether or not there is a promotion of political candidates in the 2015 councilperson elections and the also the converse of it being directed towards detracting from the filed candidacies of McCleaster and Osborne and perhaps the potential candidacies of others.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted and perhaps Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine should be taking a look at the whys and the wherefores of how the page came into being and concomitantly whether or not any campaign finance laws may have been broken as a consequence of the page being published which of course would necessitate of a finding that taxpayer monies where used inappropriately.
Husted and DeWine need to clear the air on this matter.
Even it is borne out that no campaign finance laws have been violated, the SCPR thinks it is shameful that North Canton government financed by citizens of North Canton (included in part, of course, McCleaster and Osborne) should have countenanced the use of the city's website for obvious to the SCPR dissing of McCleaster, Baughman and Osborne.
Here is a copy of the entire webpage said to contain material developed by Fox and/or his office which appears to have vanished.
Let's turn to the smiling mayor David Held pictured in the pdf file and below as annotated by the SCPR.
As far as the SCPR is concerned there is nothing to smile about in terms of Mayor Held's protecting of Law Director Tim Fox and his obvious antagonism to North Canton citizens and their desire for "a transparent government" so they can get to "the truth of matters governmental" in North Canton a know whether or not North Canton "is worthy of being trusted" by its people.
Let's take another look at the smiling David Held:
Now to get behind the smile.
Focus on the highlights of his message as added by the SCPR.
"[A] local government that offers a climate of:
- teamwork, and
- OPENNESS (emphasis added)
Yours truly has talked with Held literally for hours upon hours over the seven plus years of publishing The Stark County Political Report.
In the course of recent conversations, The Report has asked Held point blank the question of when North Canton is going to get a handle on Law Director Tim Fox and rein him in in his obvious hostility towards any North Cantonian who is not cheerleading for the administration he is part of and for the city council members who hired him from its midst after he served only a few months as Ward 3 councilperson after being elected in November, 2011.
A song and a dance!
Held is a one smooth communicator who says very little if anything of substance about solving the lack of trust that a number of North Cantonians have in North Canton government.
There is no doubt to The Report that Held knows better than what he is promoting and producing in terms of transparency in North Canton government as North Canton's chief executive.
It is clear to the SCPR that for whatever reason Held is completely in sync with at least a majority of North Canton city council members who The Report has believed from the inception of Fox's hiring hired him with the understanding that he would play hardball with the likes of North Canton citizens Jamie McCleaster, Miriam Baughman, Chuck Osborne and others.
And "others" would pretty much including anybody including yours truly who has the audacity to expect transparency in government.
It is only through transparency that we citizens get to the truth of any given matter. It is a constant battle with government at all levels to get the truth out. For citizens to trust government, we must be convinced that transparency is the default standard of government.
Held presents the appearance of transparency but in reality he is a "smoke and mirrors" guy.
Council itself rather flagrantly its majority support (four members or more) of Fox does an "in your face" to any North Cantonian who merely suggests a critical demeanor vis-a-vis North Canton government.
And, of course, Stark County's only countywide newspaper (The Repository) lets Held, council and Fox get away with the trashing of transparency.
For Fox to have included The Repository on his list was a deceptive maneuver, The Report thinks, designed to make it appear that he was not singling out McCleaster, Baughman and Osborne.
Every year the newspaper industry promotes "Sunshine Week."
And The Repository does pro forma, obligatory support of that week.
However, where "the rubber meets the road," the SCPR thinks that The Rep has a incestuous relationship with "the powers that be" in Stark County government and therefore cannot be counted upon to smoke out and condemn anti-citizen attitudes/actions that develop at various political subdivison levels of Stark County government.
The Stark County Political Report salutes the likes of McCleaster, Baughman, Osborne and other community activists sprinkled across Stark County for:
- the time and effort they give their respective communities to keep government sunshine filtering through, and
- the disparagement they sustain at hands of the likes of Tim Fox and certain members of North Canton council
To their extra credit, McCleaster has filed to run for North Canton councilperson-at-large and Osborne has filed to run in Ward 3 (against Stehanie Werren, wife of Canton Municipal Court Stark County Republican Party appointed Judge Curtis Werren).
McCleaster in particular has the skills to insist that Fox be relegated to what the SCPR thinks is a more appropriate role as law director.
Moreover, the wife of former Ward 4 councilman Jon Snyder has filed to run in Ward 4.
The Report does not know where sitting councilman, appointed (by the rest of council), Dominic Fonte stands on reining Fox in, but it is not encouraging that he seemingly just sits by and watches the pillaging of basic democratic-republican values.
Can we expect Kathy Snyder to make an issue of Fonte's silence and inaction?
But so far there are only three council seats under challenge.
It will take four committed to restructuring Fox's role to get the job done (see LINK).
There needs to be candidates in Ward 1 (Foltz) and Ward 2 (Peters).
Peters (currently council president) along with Councilperson Marcia Kiesling, The Report believes, are the strongest proponents of letting the unelected Fox pretty much run North Canton government unchecked
There is still time for others to file for council and PLEASE SOMEBODY FILE TO RUN AGAINST DAVID HELD!
Nobody should get a free ride in our system of government.
Held goes to great lengths to distance himself from what appears to yours truly to be politically inspired shenanigans from some in North Canton government directed at McCleaster, Baughman and Osborne.
But are his protestations believable?
In a couple of recent conversations with Held, he made to borrow from Vice President Joe Biden "a really fu**ing big deal" out of Fox having not been on the losing side of any of Citizen Osborne's litigation against North Canton.
That's why the SCPR questions Held's sincerity in appreciating the activism of McCleaster, Baughman, Osborne et al though he disagrees with much of what they are trying to do (The Report's take).
The Report can see it in the mind's eye.
Fox, Held, Peters, Werren, Kiesling and Griffith high-fiving one another when the 5th District Court of Appeals came down with a decision on the health care insurance coverage case affirming Judge Haas of the Stark Court of Common Pleas declaratory judgment to the effect that the overwhelming vote of North Cantonians was not recognizable under the Constitution of Ohio.
To reiterate, here is what North Canton government (purportedly Law Director Fox) posted recently.
And here is the cause for celebration.
And here is Osborne's rebuttal:
I would like to point out that my purpose in the litigation over the healthcare litigation was to get the court to uphold Ohio's constitutional right of initiative.
I had already won on this issue before the City started the litigation. North Canton's part-time elected officials no longer have taxpayer subsidized cadillac healthcare coverage.
In the two-year cycle of this term of City Council, this has saved taxpayers by my estimate, $500,000. Until this point, it is disappointing to realize that our court care so little about democracy, the Ohio Constitution and the will of the voters.
Further, they totally fail at understanding the meaning and definition of words in the English language. The word "shall" does not convey exclusivity.
I was fighting for principle in court. Sorry the court cannot uphold the principles of democracy.
I accomplished my goals despite Law Director Tim Fox and a City Council members whose priority was to serve themselves above the electorate.
A half-million dollars and counting for taxpayers.