BERNABEI & CICCHINELLI CASES PROVE THAT!
I deduce that the current calls for resignation NOW are really about setting up a court case later to challenge anyone but Dem central committee appointing a new Commissioner, hinging future complaint on Bernabei election to Commissioner post as a Dem and leaving that office before he is elected as an "Independent" thus (in their reasoning) maintaining the Dems "right" to pick the successor Commissioner. It appears to me that the Supremes in their opinion have clearly indicated the Dems will not have a winning argument here.......but as you well know anyone can sue anyone else for anything at anytime - one needs only to find a willing lawyer!
Thanks again for your blog and helping keep eyes open and focussed on the way government works!
"Organized" Democrats and more particularly the Stark County variety love to extol the political virtues of the third president of the United States -Thomas Jefferson - and the seventh president of the United States - Andrew Jackson.
But given what we Stark Countians just went through at the hand of the Stark County Democratic Party leadership and its challenge and the challenge of some of the party's chief operatives to the right of Thomas Bernabei and Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr. to change their political status from "Democrat" to "independent," it hardly fits that we should view the likes of party chairman Phil Giavasis, former chairman Randy Gonzalez and former chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr as small letter "d" [d]emocrats.
It is more than a tad ironic that the local Dems were outed as being anti-democratic by the Republican members of the Stark County Board of Elections; namely, Curt Braden and William S. Cline (pictured below).
By virtue of their name, we know that "organized" Republicans (meaning those who favor "representative government" as opposed to "direct participation of citizens in decision making) are distrustful of everyday people having direct political power.
And yet in a bizarre twist, Braden and Cline led the way for the Constitution of the United States of America to reign supreme in the Dems' challenge to Bernabei and Cicchinelli (both staunch and long time Democrats) and their quest to disassociate with the "organized" Democratic Party and to don the more "for the citizens, and not first and foremost a political party" status of being a political "independent."
Braden and Cline, whether wittingly or not, in voting as BOE members in voting to certify Bernabei (July 6th) and Cicchinelli (July 13th) as aided in breaking a BOE tie vote between them and Democrats Sam Ferruccio, Jr. and William V. Sherer, II by Republican Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted come out of the challenges as the true supporters of American Democracy; not the Democrats.
Today's focus will be on certain parts of the Ohio Supreme Court (by the a 6 to 1 majority Republican) cases decided yesterday validating the Republican Party generated certification of Bernabei and Cicchinelli which highlight why Stark Countians should hold the Stark County Republican Party connected (indeed, appointed) BOE in high regard for having enabled both Canton and Massillon to have meaningful elections on November 3rd.
Though the high court did not reach Constitutional Law questions but rather decided that Secretary of State Jon Husted had not "abused his discretion" in breaking the tie in voting with fellow Republicans Braden and Cline; the SCPR believes had the court found an abuse of discretion it then would have had to address the Constitutional Law questions and both sets of protesters would have lost at that level on the First Amendment's freedom of association provision.
It could be that Braden and Cline were not primarily interested in preserving fundamental democratic-republican right but were merely protecting perceived Republican Party interests.
However, it is indisputable that regardless of their underlying motivation, the net effect of their supporting certification is the enhancement of democratic values.
It is clear that the Stark Democrats were motivated to enforce political party discipline on two of former stalwarts.
Accordingly, Jefferson and Jackson "ought now" with the Ohio Supreme Court decisions of yesterday "to be rolling over in their graves" at the attempt of 2015 organized Democrats to deny basic fundamental Constitutional rights to Bernabei and Cicchinelli.
THE SUPREME COURT ON BERNABEI
(Note: The SCPR does not deal with the residency question inasmuch as it is only tangentially at best related to the primary issue, to wit: "the permanency of political party affiliation." It was however the most powerful part of the protesters argument and the court ended up saying - in effect - that the justices could not get into the mind of Thomas Bernabei and therefore must take his word for it as to his intent to be a resident of Canton)
POINT 1: Political Parties have no claim on government office.
If one is elected to an office as a Democrat but changes parties or becomes an "independent," who appoints the successor?
Note: The following "Supreme Court Answers" are extracts from the full opinion and highlights have been added by the SCPR for emphasis sake.
Supreme Court Answer:
In Bernbei's case, it appears to the SCPR that if he is elected mayor of Canton that his successor will be appointed by remaining commissioners (Republicans) Janet Crieghton and Richard Regula.
A position that The Report has taken from the get-go.
POINT 2: Disaffiliation action does not require:
- that one roll back affiliation action taken BEFORE one has declared disaffiliation,
- that one take action to undo affiliation identification controlled by others,
- that denial of receipt of attempted disaffiliation does not negate the affirmative action taken
What impact does "before" disaffiliation action have on one's ability to disaffiliate?
Supreme Court Answer:
The clear implication of the Supreme Court's opinion is that partisan connection before disaffiliation is virtually worthless.
THE SUPREME COURT OF CICCHINELLI
In Cicchinelli, protester attorney Steve Okey seemed aghast (objecting to the question as The Report recalls) as Cicchinelli attorney Craig T. Conley's questioned Cicchinelli (paraphrase) "So you did take a 'blood oath' to stay a Democrat forever and ever when you became a Democrat?"
The Ohio Supreme Court on Wednesday answered that question with a resounding no.
The "Only" Point
As a matter of technical Ohio law, there is no way to show concretely that one is a political "independent" or non-partisan other than no voting in a partisan primary election
Did Frank Cicchinelli in his testimony (as claimed by Okey in the protest hearing of July 13th) that he became an "independent" in voting a non-partisan ballot on May 5, 2015 admit as a matter of law that when he filed his "independent" candidacy petitions on May 4, 2015 he was not then an "independent?"
The Supreme Court Answer:
It is interesting to note that the court in a kind way scolded protesters' attorney Okey for not asking a precise enough question.
Why didn't Okey dig deeper as the court said he should have?
The SCPR thinks he undoubtedly understood that Cicchineilli was trying to be "legally correct" with his answer and if he pressed Cicchinelli in questioning when he (not in the technical, legal context) had converted - in his own mind - from being a Democrat to being an "independent," Cicchinelli's answer would have been much earlier than May 5, 2015.
Okey, the SCPR believes, thought that he had a Frank Cicchinelli who had unwittingly - to the undiscerning - trapped himself into an answer that could be - and The Report thinks Okey did attempt to portray - taken as being something that it was not.
Shortly after the Cicchinelli "legalistic" testimony, Okey in his closing statement made the argument (let the SCPR add in highly dramatic fashion - i.e. "I can't believe what I just heard") that it was "a case closed situation" in that Cicchinelli himself had betrayed his "independent" status.
Well, The Ohio Supreme Court is made up of justices who do have the power of discernment and understood Cicchinelli's testimony for what it was and went further in chiding Okey for not having pressed the line of question further.
Not a good day for Attorney Steven Okey before Ohio's "court of last resort" nor for his protester clients and certainly not a good day for Massillon mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry who many of us think was Okey's "real" client.
"But all is well that ends well" for the people of Canton, Massillon, Stark County and indeed all of Ohio.
In Bernabei and Cicchinelli, the law of Ohio favoring the ability of previously partisan Democrats and Republicans to discard their affiliations has been strengthened.
Neither political party is a a bulwark for democracy.
But in Stark County, whether intentionally or not, the Stark County Republican Party through its appointed Board of Elections members created the conditions for future candidates to do exactly what Martin Olson did in 2008 and took measures to disassociate from either political party having been a member of both (Republican 1963 - 1975; Democratic 1976 - 2008) and in the process to come to understand that by and large political parties are about self-perpetuation and exist chiefly for the personal political benefit of the likes of Phil Giavasis, Johnnie A. Maier, Jr, Randy Gonzalez, Jeff Matthews, Curt Braden and their ilk.
The SCPR has written specifically about Dems' chairman Phil Giavasis of how he thinks he owns the Stark County clerk of courts office.
He more or less bequeathed the office to Nancy Reinbold when she took over. Now with the coronation of brother Louis in that office (last night) has taken place, "the circle IS unbroken" and it appears to yours truly as being a concrete example of the privatization of public office by Democrats in terms of who will be considered for it.
Kudos to Cicchinelli spouse Joy for being the sole "no" vote on what to have been a case of a political party loyalist extraordinaire being rewarded for being well connected and a front line soldier in the fight to maintain political party interests over the public interest.
That nobody other than Joy Cicchinelli challenged Louis or voted against the obvious "inside" job, does not speak well for the other 73 precinct committeepersons who showed up and voted the party line.
As the public grows in disgust with "organized" Republicans and Democrats (e.g. Trump and Sanders) and their structures disintegrate primarily because they are abused for personal political advantage; the leaders of these organizations have nobody to blame but themselves as their credibility is spiraling downward.
Both mainline political parties produce way too many mediocre or worse public officials whose first loyalty seem to be to the party chieftains who use well meaning but naive day-in, day-out partisans for the party leaders' selfish purposes.
There has to be a better way to run a democracy than through the "organized" Democratic and Republican political parties, no?
Stark Countians owe Thomas Bernabei and Frank Cicchinelli a debt of gratitude for having stepped forward as politicians who at their base their own persons.
Such is not what "organized" political parties are good at.
Clearly, to the SCPR, the Bernabei and Cicchinelli cases show the Stark County Democratic Party (as the leadership is presently constituted) to be "anti-[d]emocratic" to the core.
Let's hope there are more Thomas Bernabeis and Frank Cicchinellis out there!