Press Release of July 14, 2014 on Council not interfering with Constitutional process of citizens right to petition.
ORIGINAL BLOG (Amended)
As Ward 5 Councilman Kevin Fisher (a Democrat and an avowed opponent) sees it, the best that fellow councilman Edmond Mack can hope for at tonight's city council meeting is to get a six to six tie on an ordinance proposal to send to the Stark County Board of Elections (BOE) city council certification via the ordinance that all the legalities are in order for Mack's charter government initiative referendum to qualify for the November ballot.
And on Fisher's interpretation of the talk among Canton's councilpersons is that Ward 7 Councilman David Dougherty (a Democrat and the dean of council in terms of continuous service [some 30 years]) who in the past and both voted "yes" and "no" in different time frames to pass a similar matter to the voters "is the key vote" to get to six to six at which juncture council president would presumably break a tie in favor of sending the certification to the BOE.
But as Edmond Mack (a Ward 8 Democrat) himself and Councilman Bill Smuckler (Democrat at-large) see it, council does not have the option to not adopt the ordinance on the merits of ordinance.
Well, that is for Cantonians to decide on November 3rd in the form of whether or not a charter commission shall be formed, and if so, who will be those charter commission members (15 in number).
And if a commission is formed, the voters come back again in about a year to vote on accepting or rejecting the commission's work product.
For Mack has passed the legal (procedural) challenges including a Judge Frank Forchione Stark County Court of Common Pleas ruling validating 26 signatures which had been invalidated by the BOE on July 30th.
Consequently, this August 17th letter from the BOE to Canton auditor Richard Mallonn:
The real deal is what Canton Law Director Joe Martuccio has to say at this evenings council meeting.
Smuckler tells The Report that Martuccio will tell council that it has no choice but to pass Ordinance 5 and send it on to the Board of Elections.
The fight for and against charter government in Canton (one of only of 63 of Ohio's 251 cities without a charter government) has been going on since 1913.
For those of those readers interested in the 1913, the 2021 and 1962 efforts, here are pdf files (provided by Councilman Mack) of those initiatives; all of which failed.
The 1913 effort:
The 1921 effort:
The 1962 effort:
With the current council (more or less), the fight has been going on since 2010 with the man antagonists being Councilman Mack and Councilman Thomas West (Democrat, Ward 2).
Links to several prior SCPR blogs:
- June 14, 2010, (the Cunningham effort)
- July 23, 2013,
- August 21, 2013,
- July 14, 2014,
- July 15, 2014, (the vote)
The SCPR thinks that Bill Smuckler is correct in thinking that the Fisher take on the significance of tonight's vote is "much ado about nothing."
A sentiment that Councilman Mack has repeatedly shared with the SCPR provided he could get the 761 necessary signatures to compel council to place the formation of a charter government commission (15 members) on the ballot.
As noted above, it took litigation for Mack to get his 776 signatures validated.
Points made in past discussions/debates by some of the opposing members of council has been:
- get your signatures,
- show that there are Cantonians who want to vote on the issue once again,
- we won't stand in the way
Fisher tells The Report that he has nothing but the highest regard for the dedication and persistence of Councilman Mack on getting to tonight's vote.
Fisher also tells yours truly that he will oppose Mack's initiative "to the bitter end." (The Report's interpretation of his comments)
The SCPR has high regard for Fisher on most matters, agree or disagree, this one is not one of them.
Mack has crossed his "t"s and dotted his "i"s and the legal requirements have been met.
A "no" vote tonight
- notwithstanding the expectation that Law Director Martuccio will tell council that given the required legal processes have been complied with
Swell, just swell Councilman Fisher et al.
It is interesting the most "leftist" members of Canton City Council (Fisher and West) are leading the way against a democratic process, no?
Go ahead opposition for the sake of opposition members of council: "embarrass yourselves!"