Wednesday, October 21, 2015




One Canton's most effective neighbor association (the Vassar Park Neighborhood Association, VPNA, located in Councilman Frank Morris' Ward 9) put on one terrific civic engagement event last night at the Canton City Schools' Arts Academy@Summit located at 1100 10th Street NW for candidates for the proposed Canton Charter Commission to their particular cases for election to the commission on the premise that Canton voters first vote to form such a commission.

President Tom Phillips and Secretary-Treasurer (pictured above) led the way for the VPNA.

A couple of hundred Cantonians including some 33 candidates themselves gathered at 6:00 p.m. and continued through to approximately 8:00 p.m. in providing a civic forum in which the citizens of Canton who yet are to vote on the issue of whether or not Canton will form a charter commission (Issue 47) and, if so, who will comprise a 15 member commission to be formed contemporaneous with the issue being approved.

Today's SCPR blog will focus on the convening of the meeting by VPNA officials Hershberger, Phillips, Laughlin and Brewer (the official VPNA timer on the candidates' one minute presentations).

Subsequent blogs beginning perhaps later today will focus on:
  • a "difference of opinion" on whether not Canton mayor William J. Healy, II who is locked in a battle with politically "independent" candidate and currently a Stark County commissioner Thomas M. Bernabei for the mayorship of Canton on:
    • whether or not Healy, II (also a candidate for the commission) had before last night's meeting declared he was against the charter being passed,
  • the one minute presentations of the candidates themselves,
  • a SCPR "assessment of the event" interview with leading Canton community activist Lee Cote,
  • SCPR interviews of charter commission initiator and Ward 8 councilman Edmond Mack and his strong supporter on the initiative Councilman John Mariol who represents Ward 7, and
  • SCPR post-presentation interviews with candidates from Wards 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8,
In this series of blogs, the SCPR will be presenting in segments nearly two hours of video for those Cantonians who were unable to attend the VPNA sponsored event to take in the proceedings.



Before posting the video of Councilman Mack's presentation last night, The Report reviews for readers Mack critically important role in bringing Issue 47 to the fore for Cantonians to weigh-in upon in this year's general election.

First, readers should take just a few minutes to read a blog put together by the SCPR way back on July 1, 2014:

  • LINK to the July 1, 2014 blog,
  • Also see update in Mack effort at this LINK to a June 15, 2015 SCPR blog,
Second, readers should take a minute to appreciate specifically what Mack endured in having to sit and watch a majority of his council fellows reject (nothing personal, mind you) his effort to get council itself to place a Issue 47-esque matter on the ballot,

  • LINK to the August 11, 2014 blog.
Third, readers should take a look a blog (LINK) where the SCPR provides:
  • a history (the guts of which was based on Stark County District Library research by Councilman Mack) of charter government failed initiatives in 1913, 1921 and 1962 by virtue of "poison pills" being inserted in the charter provisions formulated by 1913, 1921 and 1962 commission members that ensure the defeat of charter government for Canton,

Fourth, readers should scrutinize this SCPR blog (LINK) in which The Report takes Ward 5 councilman Kevin Fisher "to the political woodshed" for the absurd dramatics that that he and four fellows on council (West, Ward 2; Smith, Ward 4; Morris, Ward 9 and Babcock, at-large) engaged in a "Custer's land stand-esque" legislative maneuver to deny Cantonians the mere right to vote on whether or not Canton should try to put together a charter,

Generally, the SCPR likes Kevin Fisher as councilman, but shame on him for leading this fight.

The foregoing is a rather comprehensive history of the progression of the Canton government initiative in terms of Edmond Mack's involvement.

The Mack video from last night: (5:51)

Next up from last night event, is guest speaker and participant in the VPNA John Laughlin.

Laughlin raises a key point that that the SCPR agrees with.  Elected officials:
  • William J. Healy, mayor of Canton,
  • R.A. Mallon, auditor of Canton,
  • Kim Perez, treasurer of Canton,
  • Joe Martuccio, law director of Canton,
  • Sam Sliman, civil service director of Canton,
have vested interests in maintaining he "status quo," the SCPR thinks, therefore have conflicts-in-interests (Laughlin's point) on the Issue 47 matter and therefore should out-of-hand (not necessarily Laughlin's point of view) be rejected by Cantonians as members of the charter commission.

The Laughlin video from last night:  (4:32)

A sequel to the candidates' formal presentation last night was a "let's move to the cafeteria" shift in proceeding for citizens to engage the candidates in one-on-ones.

The SCPR took advantage of this setting to engage on video a couple of VPNA officials.

First, there is VPNA member and vice president and strong neighborhood community activist Bruce Brewer: (0:33)

Secondly, but certainly not least, The Report caught up with VPNA president Tom Phillips: (1:44)

Again, "a SCR 'tip of the hat' to the VPNA"  for hosting and implementing a sterling presentation on voter information content from the candidates themselves so that voters can make informed decisions whether or not Issue 47 should be passed and, if passed, whom should serve on the commission.

Bravo! VPNA, Bravo!! VPNA, Bravo !!! VPNA.

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