Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Councilman Frank Morris, III, a Ward 9 Democrat, makes his debut on the SCPR Stark County Political Subdivision Elected Officials "Top 10 List"  (List) today.

Morris takes on the spot held by political independent and Canton Councilman at Large Richard Hart in the March 27, 2015 initial listing of #5 on the List.

Hart has not done anything to prompt his de-listing.

Yours truly currently looks at the #5 spot as being one that will float for the time being among Canton's councilpersons other than Edmond Mack.

The SCPR projects Mack to be #1, #2 or #3 going forward because he has demonstrated that he has unique and consistent leadership skills that indicate that on one issue or another he will continue to surfaces as a leading voice on Canton City Council or in Stark County politics and governance (e.g. part of the effort to prevent the candidacy of the SCPR #1 Thomas Bernabei as in "independent" candidate for mayor of Canton) on critically important to Stark County issues of the day.

But Mack is far from the whole show on Canton City Council.

As the SCPR has written for several years now, other councilpersons have and will continue to surface on various and sundry issues which will catapult them into the #5 position.

For the current quarterly evaluation, The Report places Councilman Morris in the #5 slot.

The current "hot-button" issue that prompted yours truly to elevate Morris onto the List is the controversy over the merger of the Canton Joint Recreation District and the Canton Parks Commission.

In April, the SCPR did a blog (LINK) that featured Morris as a principal player in the back and forth on the issue, to wit:

Morris surfaced as the leader of Canton City in January, 2014 with the help of three fellow councilpersons which as a group the SCPR dubbed on August 30, 2013 as being "the four young turks."

While Morris is "the old man in the group," he qualifies the SCPR thinks as being young on account of his willingness to play the role of maverick councilperson and thereby challenging all of council to think "frankly" (no pun intended, meaning honestly) about the impact of council's actions.

Recently, Morris made news in tangling with Canton Joint Recreation District (CJRD) board member Don Peterson, III (a Mayor Healy appointee and a Stark County media person) who the SCPR thinks wants to make "the tail wag to the dog" in his stance that the CJRD be the surviving entity in relation to the Canton Parks Commission.

It is strange to see Peterson at odds with Mayor Healy's desire that the Commission be the surviving entity inasmuch as Peterson took issue with the SCPR a few years back over this blog's largely critical (continuing to this day) take on Healy's executive management (mismanagement from The Report's perspective) of the city.  Peterson is also an appointee of Healy on the Canton Community Improvement Corporation (CCIC).

Peterson was telling yours truly then (2010) what a good guy Healy is and that The Report needed to lighten up on Healy.  At the time The Report was making periodic political commentary appearances on Peterson's Q92 and the Pat DeLuca Show.  It wasn't long after conversation that the yours truly was persona non-grata on the show.  Apparently, Don Peterson, III told DeLuca to take Olson off-the-air.

If so, he didn't realize that being on the radio or any other medium is inconsequential to yours truly inasmuch as doing the SCPR as an independent voice beholden to nobody is THE REASON that The Report exists, having been around for over seven plus years now.

Back in September, 2012 the SCPR's take on Peterson is that he turned out to be "a mealy mouth" on the issue of Healy's claimed inadvertent use of a CCIC credit card for personal expenses which he ended up reimbursing the CIC for.

Shortly thereafter Healy resigned as a member of the CIC.

Could it be that now that Peterson is on the outside of Healy's agenda that he can now see Healy's flaws?

The Report has never had much regard for Peterson's public persona, especially because he is a media connected person, inasmuch as his - at that time - support of Healy seemed to be based upon a personal/sports connection to the Healy family. 

A Morris/Peterson exchange which was described in an area media report thusly:
During a heated discussion peppered with profanity, recreation board member Don Peterson III, who cast the dissenting vote Monday, accused Mayor William J. Healy II and Canton City Council Majority Leader Frank Morris of employing “bullying tactics (and) intimidation” during a closed-door meeting and said he didn’t think any deal had been struck.
The SCPR's point is that Frank Morris is the "frankest" politico to come on the Stark County political and governance scene in many, many a moon and is a refreshingly "what you get is what you see" politico.

Quite of the opposite of William J. Healy, II who is about as "oily" as a politico gets.

But until the  CJRD/Canton Parks Commission thing, the were best of friends?

So it was a delight to the SCPR to see Peterson to have to butt heads with Councilman Morris.

Morris was clearly going to come out on top in that match up.

He doesn't always come out on top, but he is going to make plenty of noise when he disagrees with anybody on a public issue.

The SCPR thinks that is a good thing.

There is a lot more dissension in government and politics than the public ever knows about.

Public discussion and airing out is a productive process in our democratic-republican form of government.

And, to repeat, Morris is effective at getting public discussion going.

A few examples of his doing so include:
  •  The Canton Citywide Plan
  • And, on a number of other matters (in conjunction with fellows Fisher, Mack and Mariol):

There is no doubt that Ward 9 Councilman Frank "Curmudgeon" Morris is a provocateur legislator and as as such is a Canton government "check and balance" factor who is a model for at least one councilperson on each and every city council in Stark's other major cities of Alliance, Massillon and North Canton.

For the foregoing reasons, Councilman Morris qualifies to be this quarter's #5 on the SCPR List of Top 10 Stark County Political Subdivision Elected officials.

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