If the Ohio Supreme Court confirms former Healy administration service director/chief of staff (January, 2008 - January, 2009; fired by the mayor) Thomas M. Bernabei (now Stark County commissioner [elected as a Democrat] as an "independent" candidate for mayor of Canton against Democratic incumbent William J. Healy, II; "all 'political' Hell will break loose" in Stark County.
Bernabei getting the go ahead from The Supremes is a matter of political life or death to Healy.
With the unleashing of an unprecedented nasty, ugly campaign on Healy's part as a matter of political survival, it is likely that a Bernabei/Healy matchup will be competitive.
However, with Republicans and Republican leaning registered "non-partisans," (there are not that many of them in Canton, but they do vote in high numbers), it is hard to see how Healy wins.
But The Report cautions, this guy is a survivor and it appears that he will do nearly anything to keep that political heartbeat pumping.
Healy has gone pretty much incognito in terms of controversy since this outburst with The Stark County Political Report on May 12, 2015.
The occasion was a post May 11, 2015 council meeting Q&A on Bernabei having filed to run as an "independent" against him with the Stark County Board of Elections on May 4th.
As the video shows, Healy was not happy with yours truly.
And as the mayor says. He's totally frustrated in his attempts to "manage" The Report.
He has run "hot and cold" with the SCPR.
Intially as mayor, he was delighted to go on camera with yours truly.
With this blogger being the very first Stark County political observer to severely critique him way back in 2008; he quickly turned "a cold shoulder" to The Report's questions.
After a while, being the master manipulative politician he is (yours truly thinks: Stark County's very best); Healy all of a sudden turned the charm on and became consummately accessible to this blogger.
On May 11, 2015, it was back to "the cold shoulder" at the very least and, perhaps, as the above video shows aggressively attacking The Report.
It is always a delight to yours truly when someone like Healy (and there are a number of Stark County public officials and public figures who play the same game) realizes that the SCPR is about as independent and unmanageable as media types get.
The Report's take on Healy is that if he spent half the time he expends on cultivating his political manipulation skills on being an authentic government leader, Canton after eight years of his being mayor would not be in the depressed state it is currently in.
Earlier this week, The Report had an extended discussion with a member of Canton City Council whom yours truly thinks is "the leading edge" of a Healy inspired political attack on Bernabei as an indication of what is to come if the Ohio Supreme Court affirms Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted's tie-breaking vote certifying at the BOE level Bernabei being qualified to run as an "independent" against Healy.
The decision could come any day now.
All the filings are in.
That's how yours truly took it.
The charge at Bernabei seemed to primarily be two-pronged:
- How could the SCPR designate Councilman Jimmy Babcock as #6 (ranked #10 through #1, with #1 being the worst) on its quarterly series on the "Bottom 10 List" of worst Stark County Political Subdivision Elected Officials as compared to Bernabei being The Report's "Top 10 List," when in the opinion of the councilperson neither one has demonstrated offering/establishing substantive programs/policies or other forms of leadership, and
- Given that seven of Canton council's twelve councilpersons (West, Smith, Fisher, Dougherty, Mariol, Mack and Morris, all Democrats all of whom will be part of the 2016-2017 council makeup) are part of the lawsuit challenging Bernabei's right to run as an "independent," how could a Mayor Bernabei possibly govern effectively.
- SCPR Note: In a future blog, yours truly will deal with the absurd Bernabei/Babcock comparison.
- It is quite the insult to Bernabei, but an indication of what is to come if a Healy/Bernabei contest materializes
Note: Stark Dems withdrew as party
But remember, he has no political equal in Stark County politics.
He is after all the envy of the proverbial cat with nine lives in his having survived scrape, after political/governmental scrape, after scrape, after scrape over his nearly eight years as mayor.
And make no mistake about it, the challenge is the work of Mayor Healy based upon his ability to tap into what The Report thinks is "'organized' political party interests" (e.g. "I might need to party's support to run let's say county commissioner) inuring to the benefit of political ambitions of his seven council supporters.
Healy has had and perhaps still has his differences with Fisher, Dougherty, Mariol, Mack and Morris.
But the "organized" Democrat Party thing (i.e. "we either hang together or we hang separately") seems to be the magic formula for Healy to have rallied "the seven" to his support.
This is all well and good for the personal political fortunes of Mayor Healy and perhaps for Ward 5 Councilman Kevin Fisher who is seriously considering running for Bernabei's commissioner seat when it expires on December 31st if not before should Bernabei be elected mayor (as the appointee of the Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee).
Mayor William J. Healy, II richly deserves being thought of as one of Stark County's worst leaders because he is primarily a political manipulator who is into "smoke and mirrors" governance.
For more specific background why Healy ranks so high on the SCPR "Bottom 10 List" here is an encore on the initial May, 2015 quarterly listing on the mayor:
Today's honoree is Stark County's top escape artist who over his 7-1/2 years as mayor of Canton has survived one self-inflicted scrape after another, and another seemingly on into infinity; namely, William J. Healy, II.
In order to accomplish his Houdini-esque feats, he has had to be Stark County's slickest politician ever, no?
When one looks at his campaign finance reports, it is interesting to see some of the names that appear on his latest list of contributors, to wit:
And Healy's to them:
The SCPR has a high regard for Councilpersons Mack and Mariol, especially Mack and his power of discernment, and therefore find it interesting that Healy has apparently convinced them that he - the mayor - is the real deal and is on way to solving Canton's many problems.
The Mack and Mariol justifications for having helped Healy defeat Kim Perez in the recently concluded Democratic primary are of the "hope and a prayer" variety to the SCPR.
As the SCPR understands Mack's and Mariol's rationale in connecting with the Healy mayoralty campaign is that they feared that Perez as mayor would undo all the work that Canton City Council has invested in the rebuilding of Canton.
While councilpersons ought to work with the executive branch for the betterment of Canton, making financial contributions to Healy's campaign is tantamount - the SCPR thinks - to an endorsement with the way Healy has been or, if not that but rather going forward, will administer the city.
Sorry guys, I don't see Healy as anything other than being a "smoke and mirrors" mayor as long as he is in office using political manipulation as his preferred tool
Of course, when they threw their lot in with Healy they did not know that Tom Bernabei's "independent" candidacy was coming.
If Bernabei makes it to the ballot, are they going to be sticking with Healy?
Stay tuned on that one.
Another thing to note about Healy's campaign finance reports is the erosion of Stark County Democratic officials and public figures contributions from his 2014 Annual Campaign Finance Report.
Go back and review the 2015 pre-primary list published above.
Now look at the 2014 report:
Quite an erosion, no?
In the 2015 report about 60% of the contributors were from outside Canton and approximately 25% were from outside Ohio.
The SCPR holds the distinction of having totally frustrated Hizzhonor in being unaffected by his "carrot and stick" approach to politics.
Healy has ignored, yelled at and sweet talked yours truly; all to no avail in his quest to influence what appears in these pages about his comings and goings as mayor of the Stark County county seat.
The latest episode in the rocky relationship going back to the beginnings of his administration occurred at Canton City Council meeting of May 11th.
Here's the video. [see above]
The way the SCPR assesses his turning ugly on the 11th has to do with his realization that "the [being mayor] gig is up" if his former service director and chief of staff (his very first one) Tom Bernabei makes it to November's ballot as an "independent."
Who knows, the guy might be back to sweet talking next week?
Rather than bore readers with a recitation of all his self-inflicted political injuries, ... [readers can scan the numerous] blogs the SCPR has done since January, 2007 about the mayor [by Googling "William J. Healy, II, Stark County Political Report].
What's worse for Stark Countians living within the boundary of Canton is that despite his many, many, many "spins" about the good things happening in the Hall of Fame City during his tenure as mayor, it appears to the SCPR that at best is stagnant if not continuing to slide.
There are pockets of Canton which have a poverty rate in the range of 40% which has persisted if not increased during William J. Healy, II's reign as the city's chief executive officer.
The streets and roadways are an absolute mess.
Demolition of abandoned residents lag.
Healy plays with Canton's crime rate numbers as if he were playing volleyball with them.
The mayor loves to take folks aside and say something like this: "I can't tell you the specifics because negotiations are at a sensitive stage, but we are on the cusp of a REALLY BIG economic development job producing deal."
And nothing or very little materializes.
Healy has had nearly eight years to right the Ship of State Canton, but has failed to do so.
Accordingly, he is richly deserving of being ranked #5 on the SCPR 10 Stark County Worst Elected Officials list.