Friday, October 30, 2015







The Guardado/Werren for Canton Municipal Court judge match up may be the hardest race to call in all of the Stark County political subdivision campaigns in this election cycle.

The outcome in this election "depends on" a number of factors materializing or not materializing.

And there are plenty of political ironies at play at this race.

For example, one of Guardado's key supporters is Stark County commissioner Thomas M. Bernabei who is, as any politically "aware" Stark Countian knows, is running as an "independent" (as of May 4, 2015) against Democratic incumbent mayor William J. Healy, II who is seeking a third term.

Healy, II supported Angela Alexander in the Democratic primary in May whereas Bernabei (not yet switched from being a long time Democratic elected to office many times as a Democrat to being a political "independent") supported Guardado and was up until a few days before May 4th.

If Guardado is to win in the Canton Municipal Court District:

She will have do to exceptionally well in Canton itself.

Otherwise, she loses.

One of the problems with Guardado doing exceptionally well in Canton is that a good part of "independent" Bernabei's support is coming from Republicans who have no candidate in next Tuesday's face off.

The Report figures Bernabei to win with relative ease because he likely will take about one-half the Democratic vote (especially in Wards 7, 8 and 9) and will get nearly every Republican vote.

And, of course, it is common political knowledge that Republicans do and likely will in the Healy/Bernabei race vote in significantly higher percentages than do Democrats.

However, there will be no coattails advantage for Guardado in having a close association with her former campaign treasurer.

Republicans, to the degree the turnout to vote, will switch from Bernabei to Republican Werren in a nano-second.

The strategy that each Guardado and Werren are playing out is assuming that their respective loyal political party voters will turn out in greater numbers that the opponent's.


That partisan political party politics is playing such key role in a judicial race should be dismaying to voters in the Canton Municipal Court District.

After all, the official line is that judges are above politics in their administration of justice.

But with the campaign flyers that each side put out within the past few days emphasizing their respective political party ties, one has to question whether or not Guardado and Werren could administer justice should one of the listed politicos in their respective flyers run afoul of the Stark County system of justice and end up appearing before a Judge Guardado (in the case of the Democratic politicos) or Judge Werren (in the case of the Republican politicos).

Of course, the obvious answer is that such a scenario would not unfold because either would recuse her/himself and have another judge hear the case.

Even it there is a workaround, it is alarming the degree to which judicial candidates immerse themselves in partisan politics in terms of it undermining the general public's confidence in the integrity of our system of justice and not just off somewhere else but right hear in Stark County, Ohio.


In that vein of interest, the SCPR dissects the flyers referred to above.

Note:  At the end of the blog the entire flyer of each candidate is to be seen.

There are two notable "political" happenings in the 2015 cycle political history of both candidates.


Werren for the second time got a political appointment from Republican governor John Kasich (see LINK for the history).  He did have a competitor (who even went so far as to take out Board of Elections petitions for the May 5, 2015 Republican primary) for the appointment, but as the SCPR looks back it is apparent that it was Werren all the way with the governor.

A SCPR blog from the June, 2013 first appointment:

So is it surprising that in the flyer mailed out in support of his second candidacy for The Report, in analyzing it, to see this?

Of course, not.

The word is that Werren did do a credible job in his first appointment as a Stark County Court of Common Pleas judge, but not good enough in the judgement of Stark County voters to be retained as a judge.

Upstart Democrat (upstart in terms of taking on a incumbent judge) Chryssa Hartnett convinced voters that her time in the Stark County criminal justice system as a county prosecutor was more impressive than a man who up until he was appointed judge was most recently the president of the Canton chapter of the American Red Cross and not a practicing attorney.

Such fits perfectly with the SCPR's theme that Werren would not be a person ever heard of - but for - his Republican Party political connections through his father John Werren.

Kasich:  "I work hard to appoint the best possible Judges."


Well,  Democrat Hartnett asked Kasich to appoint her.

Of course, her's was a pipe dream.  But in appying she showed that the governor is all about politics, no matter his "the best possible" rhetoric.

It took the Stark County voting public to override what was clearly a Kasich political loyalist decision.

After all, as Werren's wife Stephanie (a Ward 3 North Canton councilwoman) was heard to say in apparent bitterness after husband Curt lost to Hartnett:  (paraphrase)  "But she already has a job, it's not fair."


What's fair about somebody getting a political appointment based on a pedigree of political party loyalty?


Guardado is pretty much a creature of politics, too.  Only not to the degree Werren is in The Report's opinion.

Guardado faced a stiff primary election challenge in May against Stark County native Angela Alexander who, unfortunately, for purposes of that election had to rely on having had most of her distinguished career in Summit County.

Man oh man! did the bigs (e.g. the Giavasis brothers and former chairman Randy Gonzalez and his son Kody) in the "organized" Stark County Democratic Party work Alexander over.

They had assured Alexander that the official Dems would stay out of the primary and she would have an opportunity to run on her merits.

That did not happen.

For the SCPR's money, Alexander is vastly superior in terms of legal experience which would have parlayed into her being a much better judge than wither Guardado or Werren.


As the SCPR has been saying for years, quality of candidates appears to be happenstance with both mainline political parties.

One need look no further than Stark County Court of Common Pleas, Probate Division judge Dixie Park to understand the legal mayhem unsuspecting day-in, day-out Stark Countians may suffer at the hands of a person who got her job as a judge by the hand of the Ohio Republican Party and then Republican governor Bob Taft.

One consequence of her going unconstitutional (LINK) was that a everyday Stark Countian unjustly spent over one week in the Stark County jail.

Of course, that indignity was visited upon an ordinary citizen.

Not the relative, friend or acquaintance of some influential public official.

So the typical answer:  "stuff happens!"

Park who seemingly has unlimited campaign finances at her beck and call, the SCPR thinks, has embarrassed herself in being overturned on Constitutional law abridgments on several occasions within the past several years.

One has to wonder whether or not there isn't a bevy of administration of just shortcomings that have gone publicly unnoticed?

Just on the instances cited in the linked to blog, ne would think that Republicans from Kasich on down to the Stark County Republican Party chairman would want this woman off the bench as being a telling and continuing indictment of the political party appointment process for judicial appointments.  Especially judicial appointments.

Think maybe just maybe the contending for an appointment process ought to have as the main criterion: "I am the least politically connected" rather than the real politik, "I am so and so in the Stark County political world?"

That is if the fair and impartial administration of justice is a real goal and not some kind of legal fiction, no?

One Republican who does deserve credit for quelling Park's appetite to run for a spot on the 5th District Court of Appeals is Republican David Gormley of Delaware County.

Stark County Republican Party connected officials, present and past including judges and attorneys except for Craig Conley and Jeff Jakmides sit by and do nothing to encourage Park to step aside.


The public is getting wiser by the day to "organized" Dems and Republicans and are more apt than ever to opt for anybody but a loyalist Democrat or Republican if given a choice.

Recently, the SCPR checked with John Alexander (Angela's husband).  He tells yours truly that Angela is supporting Guardado but is not taking much of role in the campaign.

And Guardado like Werren is playing to her strength.  Not, in the opinion of the SCPR her magnificent credentials to be a judge.  But, rather, her political connections.

Sorry state of affairs and implications for the quality of the bench in the Canton Municipal Court District insofar as The Report is concerned.

It is interesting that Hartville police chief Larry Dordea is weighing in so prominently for Werren in what the SCPR thinks as being a factor of political party loyalty when he himself was thrown under the Democratic Bus George T. Maier/Johnnie A. Maier, Jr with merely a whimper coming from some of the very same Republicans who are pictured standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Werren in the picture below.

Had the key Stark County officials pictured below (except for Alex Zumbar who was Dordea's treasurer) and Stark County Republican Party officialdom stepped forward much stronger for Dordea, he would be Stark County sheriff today and The Report thinks Stark County's sheriff's department of government be much less politicized than it currently is.

The Report has thought and written Dordea to be several notches above - in character - over Geroge T. Maier.  Moreover, yours truly has written extensively on what appears to be Maier's wholesale politicization (LINK) of the Stark County sheriff's office.

Maybe this is too much of a leap, but it could be that Dordea as evidenced by his endorsement of Werren is as nearly infected with excessive partisanism as are others that The Report writes about?

Dordea's endorsement is in the guise of being a law enforcement official, but is that really the basis of the endorsement?

The Report suspects the Dordea endorsement is more borne of political affiliation than of Werren being the best choice in the interest of having effective Canton Municipal Court District law enforcement.

As such, his involvement in the Werren support group is a major disappointment.


One final point that the SCPR advances in this blog.

It is interesting how in each respective flyer an attempt is made to pass off supporting politicos as being the equivalent of  "our community leaders" and "your Stark County team."  (emphasis added)



You've got to be kidding Werren and Guardado, no?

Readers will note in looking closely at the graphics offered that the SCPR x'd out the "our" and "your" and substituted the proper terminology, to wit:  Guardado's "our" equals loyal Democratic Party elected officials; Werren's "your" equals loyal Republican Party elected officials.

That's the truth of the matter!

Political party first and foremost.

There have to be plenty of lawyers among Stark County's bar that are more qualified to be judge than the politically connected Werren and Guardado, no?

But therein lies the rub.

Generally, one does not get to be a  judge in Stark County unless one is politically connected.

While Stark sitting judges like to present themselves as being the best in terms of mental, legal acuity and temperament; the SCPR thinks the odds are against such actually being the case given the rank degree of politics involved in getting to be a judge in the first place.

And Stark County is particular seems to be a haven for a lack of competition between qualified candidates in both political parties competing on the merits of their experience and inherent wisdom as human beings for judicial posts.

Angela Alexander marveled in a campaign Q&A at the Dems' party headquarters at the lack of competition for judgeships in Stark County as compared to Summit County.

In Summit County, there are many vigorous judicial competitions within the political party structure itself.

But not in Stark County.

For the SCPR, the Canton Municipal Court District voters (one of whom is yours truly) have only be given the choice of picking our poison in terms of one political party connected person as against another.

Doesn't it tempt one to opt out of the election process altogether or have the option a la the following graphic on the Healy/Perez May 5, 2015 Democratic primary race?  (LINK)

The Report thinks Healy and Perez are both shop worn politicos who, if they differ at all, only do so in the degree of how politically manipulative they are.

Actually, opting out is not an option for yours truly.

But there have been quite a few election contests over some 50 years of voting that yours truly has declined to exercise a similitude of a "Hobson's choice."

It's fine for folks including elected officials to be passionate about their political party affiliations.

But not to the point of damaging the institutions of government by the endorsement of and appointment of people whose major qualification being politically connected.

For the SCPR it is satisfying in terms of politics coming back to haunt appointing officials as seemingly was the case recently with Massillon mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry.

Politics is a necessary evil for our system of government, but it can be made less evil and damaging of the public interest if Republcan and Democratic were to develop a finely honed quality called:  DISCERNMENT!




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