Thursday, December 31, 2015


There were tears galore in the hearts of many of those attending Stark County commissioner Thomas M. Bernabei's last day as a commissioner.

In this photo provided by a friend of the SCPR (yours truly was unable to attend in order to get visiting daughter Heidi to the airport for a return to Oklahoma), Bernabei looks on as his successor David M. Bridenstine is sworn-in yesterday.

When the clock strikes midnight tonight, Bernabei will have morphed into being the mayor of Canton.

The SCPR agrees with the inscription on the cake:  "Lucky Canton."

Bernabei along with Janet Creighton turned Stark County around from the dark days of 2009.

While the task of redirecting Canton is much more foreboding, Bernabei - as The Stark Political County Report's #1 Stark County political subdivision elected official - yours truly is confident that four years down the road from today he will have provided a quality of leadership which will have Canton on the mend.

On Tuesday, The Report sat down with Commissioner/Canton-mayor-elect Thomas M. Bernabei for this interview.

Today at noon, Bernabei will be sworn in as the mayor of Canton in Canton council chambers.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015






There was a potential for there to be a controversy as to who would appoint Stark County commissioner Thomas Bernabei's replacement on his resignation as a commissioner effective December 31, 2015 at 11:59 p.m.

Some local politicos thought that the law provided for the Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee to make the selection since Commissioner Bernabei was a Democrat when elected (2010) and re-elected (2014).

The SCPR has always:
  • based on the dicta in the Ohio Supreme Court decision wherein Bernabei's Stark County Board of  Elections/Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted certification as a "independent" candidate for purposes of running for mayor of Canton on November 3, 2015,
held the view that the Ohio Revised Code Section 305.02(D) would prevail if tested in the courts.

Here is a summary of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's opinion that supports the SCPR's opinion.  (Also, a LINK to the full opinion)

This blog is focused on a timeline presentation put together by the 305.02(D) committee comprised of Commissioner Janet Creighton (Republican), Commissioner Richard Regula (Republican) and Prosecutor John Ferrero (Democrat).





The last thing that Stark County needs is another political brouhaha that ends up in the Ohio Supreme Court.

Since October, 2010 with the filing of, by then Stark County treasurer Gary D. Zeigler, a successful Quo Warranto challenge (LINK to Supreme Court news review of the case) of his removal from office (August 23, 2010) by then Stark Commissioners Todd Bosley, Steven Meeks and Pete Ferguson, there have been a series of Stark County political fights which have been before the high court.

The fights have included:
  • the Zeigler matter,
  • the fight over whether or not George T. Maier was properly appointed by the Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee to succeed Mike McDonald as Stark County sheriff,  (multiple Supreme Court actions)
  • the challenge to Maier's qualification to be on the ballot as a candidate for Stark County sheriff, and
  • the contesting of Thomas M. Bernabei and Frank Cicchinelli right to run as "independents" for mayor of Canton and Massillon, respectively,
Yesterday in appointing former assistant prosecutor David Bridenstine (a nominal Democrat) to replace Canton mayor-elect and political independent Thomas M. Bernabei (resigned as commissioner, effective 11:59 p.m. December 31, 2015), Stark Dems' in answered The Stark County Political Report posed question to Stark County Democratic Party chairman Phil Giavasis as to:

whether or not the Dems would be challenging the appointment, to wit:

Within 32 seconds in the aftermath of the Bridenstine appointment being announced by appointing commission chairperson Janet Creighton and outgoing Commissioner Bernabei jesting that "I will not leave without a fight;" Stark County's "organized" Democratic Party chairman Phil Giavasis answered the SCPR's question with a "there will not!" to the relief of all in attendance as evidenced by the outbreak of applause.

This blog is the first in a number of blogs that The Report will be posting throughout today and perhaps tomorrow featuring Bridenstine related proceedings/video-interview, to wit:
  • the pre-decision proceeding,
  • the selection,
  • the press conference in the aftermath,
  • one-on-one interviews with
    • Commissioner Janet Creighton,
    • Commissioner Richard Regula, and
    • Commission Thomas Bernabei
Be sure to check back throughout the day to take in Stark County's most complete coverage of this very important event.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015





Taking in Canton City Council's work session certainly took a lot of "reading between the lines."

The Stark County Political Report, of course, is known to go where "angels fear to tread," but it appears to The Report that it was "touch and go" for Canton government to get money in place to meet it final payroll for 2015.

City officials are putting on a "stiff upper lip" these days so not to as to appear to be alarmist in talking about Canton finances these days.

Underneath appearances, it seems to the SCPR that there is a lot of nervousness among Canton officials as the city grapples with a projected $4.2 million 2016 budget deficit.

Take a look at this video of Finance Director Joe DiRuzza explaining transfers to meet the final payroll.

Think maybe - just maybe - things financial for Canton government are more than tad tight these days?

The other "elephant in the room" in Canton City Council chambers last night was the 2016 budget.

For public consumption, the line was that as a matter of a "temporary six month" budget, council passed a resolution putting in place 7.5% "across the board" cuts on nearly all general fund supported functions of Canton government.
  • SCPR Note:  In reality, the budget is potentially through March 28, 2016:  the last council meeting before the end of March by which state law mandates a budget be in place),
Again, Director DiRuzza on video:

In records obtained by the SCPR from the clerk of council, it appears that the following document in a realistic picture at what the 2016 "final" budget may look like:

(LINK, large pdf view)

Interesting, no?

"These may be times that try" the souls of Canton councilpersons and incoming mayor Thomas M. Bernabei, no?

Monday, December 28, 2015



UPDATE:  07:45 AM
From:  Karen Kirsch
Today at 7:39 AM
Good news for the animals! Thanks for sharing this information and bringing to public attention the plight helpless animals also face if/when disaster hits.

(Central Ohio Kennel Club)
Stark & Adjoining Counties



Stark County getting its very own (sort of, actually it is to be shared with nearby counties) Pet Disaster Relief Trailer is an example of local government(s) working together to wit:
  • county to county, 
  • county emergency management director in relation to the county dog warden to the county commissioners,
  • county commissioners vis-a-vis non-government entities (i.e. AKC and its affiliates), and
  • the like,
The prime mover for Stark County getting in on the ground floor to have the county as the home base for a newly donated Pet Disaster Relief Trailer was Stark County Emergency Management director Tim Warstler.

According to Stark County chief administrator Brant Luther, Tim became aware of a first of its kind project for Delaware County (May, 2015) to find a way to rescue pets from a disaster situation.

The impetus was a Congress enacted piece of legislation in 2013 the cost of implementing was laid on state and/or local governments.

Tim's pick up on the significance of having a disaster pet rescue facility was akin to that of a professional colleague (in the sense of being a county emergency management [EMA] director) for Delaware County; namely, Sean Miller who proved to be the impetus for Central Ohio Kennel Club official Jon Green (also a delegate to the American Kennel Club) being heard in Ohio in terms of getting the ball rolling to raise funds to have a trailer in Ohio.  (LINK to newspaper report).

At today's prices, the trailers cost $23,000 each to put together which is funded by AKC affiliated clubs.  A local AKC club is the McKinley Kennel Club (LINK) which does not have the financial resources (reference:  Jon Green in video below) to provide money but nonetheless is a supporter of making the trailers available across Ohio and, of course, right here in Stark County.

Also playing a critical Stark County role in securing a rescue trailer (delivered in mid-November, 2015) for Stark has been Stark County dog warden John Barber who was hired in August, 2013.   (LINK to SCPR blog on Barber's hire)

Before Barber, at least in most of the decade before him, if not longer; the Stark County Dog Pound (SCDP, Pound) was plagued with administrative oversight and effective administration problems.

In a November 6, 2015 Stephanie Ujhelyi of The Alliance Review did a review (LINK) of the overall history of the Pound.

Recently, Barber retired.

The Stark County commissioners are on record with a policy of not rehiring retiring county officials.

However, there was an outcry by many knowledgeable about the history of operations at the facility that the commissioners make an exception to their policy.

Though the SCPR has received complaints about Barber which seem to focus on the retire/rehire thing, yours truly thinks that a rehire of Barber was warranted conditioned however on his training a successor who can take over in a seamless qualitative transition to younger generation leadership.

For Barber, it had to be music to the ears to know that the newly acquired trailer can handle up to 65 dogs on an emergency basis.

Here is how the story unfolded as told by Stark County chief administrator Brant Luther (see above re: Warstler) and Green.

Two years ago Green was at the American Kennel Club annual dog show where he got wind of the trailer project and the fact that no such trailers existed in Ohio.

Green agreed to be sort of a liaison to secure a foothold for getting the disaster rescue trailers into Ohio in volume.

(LINK to AKC Website Page)

As the SCPR understands Green, he tried to interest State of Ohio disaster relief officials in the trailer but they were not all that interested because they had/have higher priorities.

Here is where Delaware County's EMA Director Sean Miller played a hugely import role in getting the project started in Ohio.

An example of bottom up as contrasted to top down government.  Refreshing, no?

And, as it turns out, Stark County's very own EMA director Warstler in a key person in terms of expansion of the first effort which undoubtedly will result in additional units being placed across Ohio.

Although, according to Green, and as is pointed out above, there is now federal law on the books that requires the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide for pets during a disaster; he makes the compelling point in terms of overall animal welfare that many disasters in which animals could be victims if not looked after are not what he called "FEMA recognized."

Accordingly, many local disasters could result in animals not being attended to but for the American Kennel Club (AKC) and affiliates (e.g. Central Ohio Kennel Club) effort in getting pet disaster relief capability into Ohio's counties as a part of the AKC et al overall national program.

Here is a video of Jon Green explaining the history of the evolvement of the pet disaster rescue operation/facility.

Be sure not to miss the highly humorous remark of Commissioner Janet Creighton to the effect that availability of more trailer units in a good thing for Commissioner Bernabei.

And here is a video of public officials taking a close up view of the Stark County Disaster Relief trailer.

Thursday, December 24, 2015


When the SCPR received this e-mail last week, yours truly found that Eddie Elum is facing his second disciplinary complaint hard to believe.

Of course, as The Stark County Political Report is often in a position to do because of The Report's outstanding sources, this: (LINK)

And, once Elum defended himself to local mainstream media, this:  (LINK)

(SCPR Note:  Of course, Elum wouldn't dare talk to The Stark County Political Report for yours truly would only talk to him on the condition that he answer "all" the questions that the SCPR has to ask on topic and he would be foolhardy to agree to that, no?)

One of the more interesting things written about Elum's latest ethical blunder is by a friend of his in the Massillon mainstream media, to wit:

In general, I am a fan of Judge Elum and would say he has been an asset to the court and community; however, I have definitely lost some respect for him. In Friday’s Independent article, Judge Elum admitted that his calls and conversation with the landlord were a mistake and improper under Ohio Ethics Codes. He then is quoted as saying, “I did nothing wrong.” He’s talking out of both sides of his mouth. Simply man up, admit you were wrong, apologize and learn from your mistakes.  ...

Judge Elum needs to start acting in a more respectful and professional manner. He was fortunate his 2012 law license suspension was stayed. His admission that his calls and conversation with the landlord were a mistake comes across as insincere when he then says I did nothing wrong. Then he uses God as his excuse for acting like he did. He is starting to sound like the two-time DUI offenders he sees in his courtroom. 

(Source citation:  Massillon Independent, Speak Your Mind, December 23, 2015)

And then the writer goes on the cite that Judge Elum is known for his good works in the Massillon community and in his courtroom.

Which predictably for a person who up front says:  "In general, I am a fan of Judge Elum ..." is a prelude for the writer to conclude:

"He is a good man ... give him a break."

The SCPR could not disagree more with the "give him a break" part of the conclusion.

In the total sense of the person, he may or may not be a good man. And if he is a good man it obviously is in a field other than the legal/judiciary arena.

By the SCPR's count, this is Elum's third publicly known ethical problem.

One back in 1992 when he as in the Ohio attorney general's office.

In 2012 in relationship to former Chief of Police Rob Williams and in his treatment of a party to a case before him.

And now this complaint involving allegations that he acted improperly in dealing with a friend's landlady.

The SCPR believes that there are likely many other incidents in which formal complaints were not filed on Elum.

Moreover, The Report thinks that the folks running the Massillon Independent have known over the 20 years Elum has been judge about such incidents and chose not to publish them.

Accordingly, the plea to "give him [Elum] a break" falls on death ears with the SCPR.

Judge Edward J. Elum far and away deserves  the SCPR 2015 "Lump of Coal" Award!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015



Canton Councilman
John Mariol
Surprise Candidacy
Stark Commissioner

Like a "Jack-In-The-Box," out pops Canton councilman John Mariol (Democrat, Ward 7) at virtually the last minute on December 16th to file with the Stark County Board of Elections as a candidate for Stark County commissioner.

The SCPR was convinced that Regula (commissioner from 2003 through 2006) and then again 2013 through 2016 and perhaps beyond was going to get to the beyond with no opposition.,

Not directed Regula, but for The Report it is a political anathema in our democratic-republican system of government for candidates to run unopposed.

That's something that happens only in dictatorial systems of government, no?

Unfortunately, no.

For right here in Stark County there are many, many, many offices for which there is no political competition.

Lack of competition, of course, can lead to elected official non-accountability and to arrogance and, too often, to scandal and corruption.

It is highly unlikely that Commissioner Richard Regula would turn out to be such as an elected official should he have had the good fortune (from his perspective) to run.

Nevertheless, it was healthy for the Stark County electorate that Mariol stepped forward.

One of the exciting thing to happen in recent years in Canton politics and government is the emergence of what the SCPR tabs as being a group of relatively young councilmen which The Report has tabbed as being "the four young turks."  (LINK to blog coining the "young turks" expression)

In Canton, the Stark County Republican Party has completely abrogated its responsibility to the Canton voting public to field candidates for mayor and city council.

Before the surfacing of "the four young turks," there was only scattered and diffuse opposition to the some of the hair brained legislative schemes of now lame duck mayor William J. Healy, II.  Accordingly, Healy more or less had his way with council detrimental to the health of Canton city government.

For a while, "the four young turks" were among the few councilpersons of thoroughly vetted Healy administration proposals.

But these four are "died-in-the-wool-Democrats" and therefore they were vulnerable to the master manipulative Stark County politician Healy diverting them from focusing as a loosely knit group on Canton's massive problems and forming a key political support group which enabled Healy to survive a challenge in the May, 2015 Democratic primary from Canton treasurer Kim Perez and nearly survive the challenge of Democrat turned political independent (May, 2015, validated by the Ohio Supreme Court in July, 2015) Thomas M. Bernabei

Bernabei is currently a Stark county commissioner who will be resigning any day now to assume the office of mayor of Canton.

But at the end of the day, the four have changed the political landscape in Canton for the better.

The group is now breaking up.

Kevin Fisher (Democrat, Ward 5) is running for the Bernabei commissioner seat.  If he is not elected commissioner, The Report does not think he will seek reelection in Ward 5 in 2017.

 Edmond Mack (Democrat, Ward 8) has announced that he is likely serving his last term on council due increased responsibilities at the law firm that he was recently named as a partner in.

Only Frank Morris remains and is likely to continue his trek as a iconic curmudgingly Canton political figure for years to come.

Of the for original turks, John Mariol probably has the brightest and most lasting political future on the Stark County political skyline.

It is a tall order for him (only involved in competitive Stark County  politics since the Democratic primary of 2011) to defeat Commissioner Regula.  He did get appointed in May, 2012 by Ward 7 Democratic precinct committee persons to succeed Patrick Barton who took a job with the Healy administration.

But Regula has proved that he can be beaten.

As he son of a long term and highly popular congressman (Ralph Regula; retired at the end of 2008) for Ohio's 16th Congressional District which at the time included all of Stark County, it should be next to impossible to defeat Richard Regula.

Believe it or not, he lost rather convincingly to Gary Zeigler for Stark County treasurer in 2000.

So given the vim, vigor and vitality of John Mariol, one should not count him out.

Mariol could be the harbinger of a new generation of Stark County political subdivison candidates replacing a vanishing old guard.

Mariol's high water mark as a Canton councilman has been his work to revitalize downtown Canton on what is called the Market Square Project.

He may be Canton's foremost zealot for "real" economic development in the city.

And he tells the SCPR that he wants to bring that zeal to Stark County government.

When asked whether or not he thought Thomas Bernabei was a role model for a fledgling commissioner, he said he thought not.

While he admires the work of Bernabei in working with the likes of fellow commissioner Janet Creighton and former commissioners Pete Ferguson to bring Stark County out of its fiscal crisis of 2009 through 2012, he says that getting/maintaining the county's budget in order should not be a matter of concern in terms of being a top priority.

To Mariol, the commissioners need to institute a new top priority that being economic development in the context of building partnerships with other Stark County political subdivisions (i.e. cities, villages and townships) and the private sector.

Undoubtedly, Richard Regula will say that economic development is what he has been about.

He can cite his work on getting U.S. 30 through to Pittsburgh as a key for Stark County to market its products and services to the eastern corridor of the United States.

Moreover, he has embarked on a 1 gigabyte in every Stark County home (more or less) Internet service as an another infrastructure building priority of his that will bring economic prosperity to Stark County.

Another hallmark of Regula's commissionership has been his devotion to dealing with Stark County's pockets of flooding problems.

In the campaign, Mariol will have to advance specific projects as voter eye catching lurements to them to consider replacing Regula with himself.

He expects to have the ardent support of the Stark County Democratic Party.

But there is a catch there.

The election to replace Thomas Bernabei as commissioner.

The Dems leadership will have the allocate party person power and finances between to what may turn out to be highly competitive commissioner face offs.

How the party allocates resources come September will be a tip off of whether or not the party thinks one contest will more competitive than the other.

In terms of  partisan political identity, 2016 will be a pivotal year in the commissioner races.

Republican Janet Creighton is there no matter what happens in the contests for the two remaining seats.

In November, 2016 Stark County may have commissioners that:
  • are all Republican,
  • 2 to 1 Republican, or
  • 2 to 1 Democratic
The SCPR thinks it will be 2 to 1 Republican with John Mariol being the least likely of all the Democratic candidates to be the lone Democratic commissioner.

If he does once again surprise as he did in deciding to take on Regula, then look for the composition of the commissioners' office to be 2 to 1 Democratic.

Here is a SCPR/Mariol interview done on Monday evening:

Tuesday, December 22, 2015




Canton Councilman Frank Morris, III
Possible Relocation of 2016 Hall of Fame Game
Part I
Part II

Canton City Council 
Work Session 12/22/2015
TIF Financing of Hall of Fame Project

It is worth the time and effort to attend a Canton City Council meeting if for no other reason than to possibly see Ward 9 Democratic councilman Frank Morris, III in action at his finest!

Morris, also council's majority leader and vice president, is apt as a matter to spontaneity to utter some zingers.

He is not your typical politician who are generally known to weigh every word said as to whether or not it will put him/her in a good light and serve their ultimate goal of achieving political perpetuity.

While the SCPR thinks Morris is much more honest than and understanding of the complexities of government than Republican leading presidential contender Donald Trump; there is a directness and "not being politically correct" that is refreshing about him.

The Report thinks it is mostly that part (directness, not worrying about being politically correct) of Trump that is appealing to people.  The problem with Trump is that he is an out-and-out demagogue whereas Morris is a "straight from the heart" politician.

While Morris last night didn't say a la Shakespeare (Henry VI) "Kill All The Lawyers," he may as well in remarks in blaming the lawyers for a hold up on legislation which would approve a TIF (Tax Incentive Financing) for the Hall of Fame Village Project (HOFVP) that is underway in its initial stages with the in process rehab of the formerly named Fawcett Stadium (now Benson Stadium).

The price tag for the total project is some $500 million.

The stadium part is reported to cost about $80 million.

The entire project is slated to be completed by 2018.

The stadium part by the time of the annual pro football "opening the exhibition season" game of the National Football League.scheduled for August 7, 2016.  (LINK)

 As Councilman Kevin Fisher (Democrat, Ward 5) noted last night, the weather is certainly cooperating.

 Stark County, indeed all of Ohio, has enjoyed usually warm weather through Fall and the onset of Winter (December 22nd, this year).

And one other thing.  Fisher the consummate friend of organized labor was pleased to hear assurances that all the contracts will contain language implementing a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) for all phases of the project.

The real question is the money question. 

In recent confabs (early November)  with multiple parties (i.e. the developers, for example IRG and Stu Lichter) involved in the stadium refurbishing, a point of major of concern of the shakers and movers who conceived and are shepherding the project was Canton City Council doing its part in getting the financing in place to finish the stadium.

Last night Councilman Morris expressed dismay that council is finding it necessary and expedient to delay action because of the dilly dallying around (the SCPR words, not Morris') of the attorneys for the respective interests.

It appears from last night's council discussion (Mayor-elect Thomas M. Bernabei taking it all in) that council will not be rushed into a bad deal for Canton's taxpayers on the chance that Canton doing due diligence could possibly result in the 2016 Enshrinement Week to be relocated elsewhere.

Morris' preemptively put the blame where it will lie if relocation is necessary, to wit:  "the lawyers."

But, of course, relocation would not be a good thing for the Canton/Stark County economy.  Many Canton/Stark County businesses rely on Enshrinement Week as a key ingredient in making a profit for the year.

In an exclusive SCPR video interview (Part 1 - immediately below),  Morris identified IRG as the main culprit.  What likely concerns local government officials is a suspicion that change after change after change in the language of the agreements is evidence of an effort to put Canton, Plain Township and Stark County taxpayers in the position of "holding the bag" should the project come up short on financing.

Within the last six months, the SCPR had long conversations with a Stark County Political Subdivision elected official whose major premise was that the Hall of Fame Village Project (HOFVP)  is a pipedream a that money might not be available to finish the first step in HOFVP undertaking and that either the Canton City Schools and/or the financially strapped Canton government (projecting a $4.2 million 2016 budget deficit) would have to foot the bill to complete the partially rehabbed stadium.

Despite all the hype and fanfare which has many Canton/Stark County officials gaga over the financial/economic benefit that promoters say will flow into the county for the foreseeable future, there are skeptics who say the project will never be completed because the legacy profession football shrine simply is not enough of a draw to produce the benefit to the Stark County number being bandied about, to wit:  13,000 jobs, millions, upon millions, upon millions of dollars in economic return.

It was palpable to the SCPR from the discussion at council's work session that there are those councilpersons who are concerned about the return Canton will get from the project.

Canton government has committed $5 million.

Canton City and Plain schools in approving the TIF are there by contributing 75% of property tax revenues over 30 years to the building/improving of the HOFVP.  While Canton and Plain Township receive relatively little in real property taxes, it still is money that otherwise go to street construct and repair, snowplowing and the like.

Many think that the $5 million and the property tax monies being diverted into the construction of the HOFVP is just the tip of the iceberg of what Stark Countians will be paying in one form or another that will be difficult to identify as being for the HOFVP.

Cantonians and Stark Countians should be vitally interested in seeing the following two videos from last night's Canton City Council meeting.

First, the rest of thel SCPR/Morris interview (Part II).

Second, the entire discussion of Canton City Council with Canton officials on the TIF issue.

One final point.

The SCPR thinks that after Morris' pointed remarks about IRG's lawyers, matters will be in place for council to approve the TIF on December 28th.

With Morris, it is not "Kill The Lawyers,"  but rather "Kick The Lawyers in the Butt!"

The Report is betting that IRG's lawyers will being feeling this morning as if they get as real ass kicking from the foot of Councilman Frank Morris, III last night.

How's that for blunt, risque talk, Frank?

Monday, December 21, 2015




In yours truly's life experience, when people do what Elum is alleged to have done, typically they invoke God has the Justifier-In-Chief of an otherwise unacceptable act.

Here is what Elum is reported to have said about allegations that he improperly overstepped the bounds of ethical propriety in agreeing to help an about to be dispossessed tenant and Elum friend which it is alleged resulted in Elum one-on-one telephone conversations abusing a Massillon landlady in his efforts in the context of her being represented by legal counsel.

For an explicit description of the allegations, see the direct language of the complaint provided at the end of this blog.

“I did what God would want you to do — is to help people. I had a person with money and I didn’t want him to be homeless. I didn’t pull rank. Anybody would do the same thing to try to help somebody.”

Apparently for Elum,  he has God in his hip pocket and God does not care one wit for how the land lady gets treated?

A true "the end justifies the means" example, no?

Edward J. Elum, the moral crusader?

From the transcript of the complaint charging Elum, to wit:
  • Respondent's conduct as alleged in Count I violates the Code of Judicial Conduct: 
    • Rule 1.2 [ a judge shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary, and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety]; 
    • Rule 2.4(B) [a judge shall not permit family, social, political, financial, or other interests or relationships to influence the judge's judicial conduct or judgment J; Rule 2.4( C) [ a judge shall not convey or permit others to convey the impression that any person or organization is in a position to influence the judge];
    • Rule 2.6(B) [a judge shall not act in a manner that coerces any party into settlement];
    • Rule 3.l(C) [a judge shall not participate in activities that would appear to a reasonable person to undermine the judge's independence, integrity, or impartiality]; 
    • Rule 3.l(D) [a judge shall not engage in conduct that would appear to a reasonable person to be coercive]; Rule 3.10 [a judge shall not practice law]; and the Rules of Professional Conduct: 8.4( d) [ a lawyer shall not engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice].
 Really, Judge Elum?

"I did what God would want you to do ... "

More than a tad self-serving, no?

With the clear implication that God stands at the vindicate Elum whatever action he decides to undertake.


And from the looks of things (a previous suspended six month suspension from the practice of law, October 12, 2010), it could be that Elum's days as a Massillon Municipal Court will be coming to an involuntary end.

For if Elum is actually suspended from the practice of law or God Forbid! (to some) disbarred, he cannot be a judge.

For one of Elum's cheerleaders, former Stark Dems' chairman, retired Canton Clerk of Courts chief deputy clerk and current Jackson Township fiscal officers, such would be big loss, to wit:

Judge Elum is one of the best Muni Court Judges in recent history. It is the true Peoles Court and he has tremendous common sense approach to it. I have a great respect for the Judge and person Ed Elum.

And Elum better hope that God sees this matter the same way Gonzalez does.

The Report thinks this second alleged infraction of judicial disciplinary rules in the words of Vice President Joe Biden is a "really big f*c*ing deal."

The Stark County Political Report broke news on the latest Elum alleged transgression on Thursday last (LINK).

But beyond last Last Thursday's blog, way back in March 2010, the SCPR alerted the Massillon public (LINK1, LINK 2)  to the ethical problems yours truly thinks is part and parcel of his make up.

And here is the Elum e-mail to the SCPR the underlying situation of which (i.e. the reference to Chief Rob Williams) which in an ironic twist turned out to be one of the bases on which Elum himself was subject to discipline of the Ohio Supreme Court in October, 2012  (LINK)..


--- On Sat, 3/13/10, <> wrote:

    From: <>
    Subject: Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct
    Date: Saturday, March 13, 2010, 10:17 PM


 I received some excepts on your blog covering a meeting that I had last week with Chief Rob Williams and Chief Prosecutor John Simpson. 

Our meeting was very constructive and helpful.  Your statements are false and misleading.  You have no conscience, lack professionalism and make no effort to ascertain the facts. 

As a member of the Bar, you are an embarrassment.  You do nothing to promote the high ethical standards of our legal profession.  By publishing your false and derogatory statements about the Court and Clerk of Court, you may have violated Rule IV below.

 If you have a complaint against me as a judge, please feel free to call me to set up a meeting to discuss your complaint.  

I do not recall you ever practicing in the Massillon Municipal Court or having any contact with you for you to have a grievance or issue with the court or me.  

I do not subscribe to your blog but have directed those lawyers who are offended by your groundless and frivolous attacks on the judiciary to file the appropriate complaint(s) with Disciplinary Counsel.


RULE IV. Professional Responsibility.

Section 1. Applicability.

The Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct, effective February 1, 2007, as amended, shall be binding upon all persons admitted to practice law in Ohio. The willful breach of the Rules shall be punished by reprimand, suspension, disbarment, or probation as provided in Gov. Bar R. V.

Section 2. Duty of Lawyers.

It is the duty of the lawyer to maintain a respectful attitude toward the courts, not for the sake of the temporary incumbent of the judicial office, but for the maintenance of its supreme importance. Judges and Justices, not being wholly free to defend themselves, are peculiarly entitled to receive the support of lawyers against unjust criticism and clamor. Whenever there is proper ground for serious complaint of a judicial officer, it is the right and duty of the lawyer to submit a grievance to proper authorities. These charges should be encouraged and the person making them should be protected.

[Effective: February 28, 1972; amended effective July 15, 1974; July 1, 1983; January 1, 1993; February 1, 2007.]

I have attached Ohio's Rules of Professional Conduct 

Here is the SCPR's response:

Martin Olson <>
03/14/10 at 2:36 PM


I wrote the two blogs in question as an opinion journalist exercising  my First Amendment rights on issues that are out in the public domain.    


We know that Judge Elum can write ugly e-mails.

But in the light that he is  person with enormous ethical problems anything he has to say about anybody else (yours truly included) has no credibility whatsoever..

And, of course, he doesn't appear to have a repentant "I need to apologize" bone in his body.

Such is normally the case for quintessentially arrogant people.

A person with Eddie Elum's problem with responsible handling of power should never, ever be a judge.

SCPR thinks that Disciplinary Counsel should expand its investigation to include a look at other allgegations of Elum ethical misconduct, to wit:  (published in area mainstream media)

He intimidated me back in 1997 ...I was in front of him for a dui....when he asked what school I went to I replied mck...then he started treating me like I was nothing...he called me carrot top n many other names....he very much intimidated me...ppl wrote into the independent complaining of the way he treated me...I hope he gets disbarred....finally!!!

 The Report suspects that many incidents such as the one recited above exist in Elum's bench history.  And yours truly has to believe that Massillon-based mainstream media has known about such incidents and has covered for His Honor.

If one digs deep enough, reported problems with alleged Elum ethical problems go all the way back to his days in the Ohio attorney general's office.

Neat for Judge Elum if he can pull it off.

That is to say, appropriate God a vindication for himself.

Most of us think God is the God of everybody including the the landlady and on balance some of us think God may look at Elum in Biblical terms as:  "having been weighed in the balances and found wanting."  (Daniel 5:27)

Perhaps Elum should spare the Ohio Supreme Court having to force him out being a judge.

It appears that his true vocation might be as a full-time mentor at the Family Living Center, to wit:

Judge Elum has proven he can do good work, to wit:At our 2015 Annual Dinner, Judge Eddie Elum regaled us with stories from the history of the Family Living Center.   Judge Elum was a key personality in the founding of the FLC in 1993 and continues to be a strong supporter today.   We are grateful to him beyond words for his invaluable contribution over the years!  (excerpt from edition of AboutStark)

It could be that God is sitting back and letting his devout servant Edward J. Elum of undergoing the humiliation of having ethics charges filed against him in order to give him a hint that he, God Almighty, has a higher calling for His Honor, no?

Why doesn't Judge Elum give God a helping and simply resign?


Allegations in current complaint:

4. On May 11, 2015, Antonio Pettis approached respondent in the courthouse parking lot and requested his assistance with a legal problem Mr. Pettis was having with his landlord, Susan Beatty.

5. Mr. Pettis was a family friend of respondent's, having played on the Massillon High School football team with respondent's son, Paul, and having recently been to the Elum family home at the invitation of respondent's wife, Margaret, for help filling out a Police Academy scholarship application.

6. Mr. Pettis had failed to pay his rent due May 1, 2015. Ms. Beatty had posted the 3-day ·notice to vacate on his door on or about May 4, 2015, but had not yet filed any eviction action in respondent's court.

7. Mr. Pettis described the dispute to respondent and informed him that although Mr. Pettis had not timely paid the rent due on 11,,fay 1, he currently had enough money to pay the rentand wanted respondent's help resolving the matter.

8. Respondent agreed to help Mr. Pettis and took him into the courthouse to respondent's chambers. Once there, respondent telephoned Ms. Beatty on behalf of Mr. Pettis and, during a nine-minute conversation, directed her to accept a resolution of the dispute that was favorable to Mr. Pettis.

9. Respondent identified himself at the outset of the conversation to Ms. Beatty. Respondent knew during the course of the conversation that Ms. Beatty was aware that respondent was a Massillon municipal court judge.

10. Ms. Beatty was taken aback by the call. She was both surprised and intimidated by the substance of respondent' s can, by his authoritative tone and by the fact that he was a judge.

11. In response to inquiries from Relator, and in his October 9, 2015 deposition, respondent stated that he knew his telephone call to Ms. Beatty was wrong, that it was a violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct and that it was a "mistake". Nevertheless, respondent at no time terminated the call because of his awareness that it was improper. Instead, he continued with the substance of the call and the attempt to intimidate Ms. Beatty into complying with Mr. Pettis' wishes.

12. During the course of the conversation, respondent represented the interests of Mr. Pettis as if he were acting as Mr. Pettis' attorney and advocating in a negotiation, albeit on an unequal footing, with Ms. Beatty.

13. Respondent initially instructed Ms. Beatty to accept the late rent payment from Mr. Pettis.

14. Ms. Beatty responded that she did not believe an amicable resolution was possible, that Mr. Pettis was chronically late with his rent payments, was difficult to deal with and sometimes verbally abusive, and that she did not wish to retain Mr. Pettis as a tenant.

15. Respondent then adopted a tone of command and ordered Ms. Beatty to be quiet and listen. When she attempted to respond, the judge interrupted her to clarify that he did not want to hear anything from her, he simply wanted her to understand and do what he was instructing her to do. Respondent informed Ms. Beatty that if she had anything to say, she could have her attorney telephone him later.

16. Although respondent was conscious that an attorney is prohibited from contacting a represented party without obtaining informed consent from opposing counsel, and although he repeatedly told Ms. Beatty to have her attorney contact him, respondent failed to ask Ms. Beatty if she was in fact represented by counsel, or for the name of her attorney. Respondent also failed to offer to conference in Ms. Beatty's counsel so that
counsel could participate in the conversation and so she could have the benefit of his legal advice during the "negotiation".

17. Although Ms. Beatty had already voluntarily extended Mr. Pettis' deadline for vacating the property from May 7 to May 10, respondent instructed Ms. Beatty to permit Mr. Pettis to stay until Tuesday, May 12 in order to have additional time to remove his belongings from the unit.

18. During the telephone conversation, respondent openly, and within the hearing of Ms. Beatty, consulted with Mr. Pettis regarding his demands.

19. Following one such consultation, respondent instructed Ms. Beatty to return to Mr. Pettis $900.00, the equivalent of two months' rent, as a refund of his security deposit.  Respondent made this demand despite the fact that Mr. Pettis had only tendered a security deposit of $450.00.

20. At another point in the conversation, Ms. Beatty mistakenly told respondent that she had already had the locks changed on Mr. Pettis' apartment.

21. Respondent threatened Ms. Beatty that she had made a grave error and would be liable to Mr. Pettis for treble damages for prematurely changing the locks without a court order. Respondent told Ms. Beatty that if she did not agree to Mr. Pettis' terms, he would end up owning the entire property and she would never get him out.

22. As a final instruction, respondent forbade Ms. Beatty to charge Mr. Pettis any rent for May 1 through May 12, the unpaid days during which Mr. Pettis retained possession and control of the property.

23. Mr. Pettis moved out of the apartment on May 12, 2015, the day after the telephone call.

24. Upon vacating the unit, Mr. Pettis left trash, personal property and damaged furniture on the front lawn of the apartment. Ms. Beatty subsequently bore the expense of having the furniture, personal property and trash hauled away by a private trash removal company.

25. Ms. Beatty did not ever file an eviction action against Mr. Pettis or any other action for back rent, damage to the apartment, or to recover the expense of the trash removal.

26. On May 14, 2015, respondent again telephoned Ms. Beatty and left a message on her answering service asking her to return his call or to have her attorney call him about the Pettis matter.

27. Ms. Beatty did not return the call from respondent, but did contact her attorney. George Urban, to discuss the matter. She learned from Mr. Urban that it was possible to file a grievance against the judge for his intimidating and unethical conduct.

28. On May 22, 2015, respondent telephoned Ms. Beatty a third time about the Pettis matter and left a message on her answering service requesting that she return his call or have her attorney call him.

29. Ms. Beatty did not return the third call from respondent, but following that call, she obtained a grievance form and filed her grievance with relator.

30. At his October 9, 2015 deposition, respondent admitted that his calls and conversation were improper under Ohio ethics law.

31. At the deposition, respondent also admitted that the disagreement between the parties was more complicated than he understood at the time of the call, and that the complexity was foreseeable and should have been anticipated by respondent. He also admitted that the purpose of the call was to influence the conduct of Ms. Beatty with respect to her legal rights and interests.

32. Also at his deposition, respondent conceded that any comment regarding possible treble damages or other consequences for changing the locks constituted a legal opinion that was intended to influence Ms. Beatty' s conduct. He further acknowledged that he understood how a person in Ms. Beatty's position could feel intimidated by receiving such a call from a judge.

33. Respondent knew at the time of his calls to Ms. Beatty that the matter was not pending in his court, was not appropriate for mediation, and that he was not an appropriate mediator.

Nevertheless, in responding to relator's letters of inquiry, Respondent initially implied that the conversation was part of a new pilot mediation program he had established at the court.

Over the course of the investigation, and in response to specific questions from relator, respondent has changed his position to an acknowledgement, both in writing and at his deposition, that the conversation was not a mediation and was not a part of any mediation program at the court.

Friday, December 18, 2015


Revised/Republished Friday


In The Stark County Political Report's opinion, probably not.

Even though in the latest "partisan-seeking-office-filing" (political independents have more time), the deadline for which was yesterday, on the surface - at least - suggest that The Report is wrong.

Not counting federal office, there are 16 offices up for election in 2016.

Of the 16, five or 20% of all Stark County-based offices up for election are in the "unopposed" category.

(SCPR Note:  source is Stark BOE website)

One Republican (Baldwin) and four Democrats (Bennett, Hartnett, Ferrero and Maier) get a pass in election year 2016.

One caveat, however.

Independent candidates have until August to file a candidacy.

Wouldn't it be a shot in the arm for accountability in the currently uncontested offices that Baldwin, Bennett, Harnett, Ferrero and Maier hold if politically unbeholdened citizens stepped forward to ensure that all Stark County elections are contested in November?

It is a blemish on the leadership qualities of the GOP/Dems' chairmen that any office goes uncontested.

With four Democrats set to go unchallenged; such is a political indictment in outlining a case of ineffectiveness on the part of Stark GOP chairman (and, get this Board of Elections director) Jeff Matthews, no?

Last election year (2015) was even worse for Matthews.

He came up with absolutely nobody to run for any of the 12 Canton Council seats plus the council presidency post or for mayor.

Many think Stark's organized Republicans piggybacked on successful "independent" mayoralty candidate Thomas M. Bernabei.

One has to wonder why the likes of the highly motivated, skilled and politically aware Republican and Stark County auditor Alan Harold puts up with the Matthews disgraceful performance.

Matthews had no problem at all getting motivated to get Jim Renacci in as the Republican candidate for Congress against incumbent Democrat John Boccieri in 2010.

Just call the SCPR cynical but to The Report it was telling that Matthews' wife Heidi ended up on the Renacci's staff on his defeating Boccieri.

In all fairness, The Report does point out that Heidi Matthews had prior experience in having a similar role with the Ralph Regula office when he was 16th District congressman.

Nonetheless, it does seem that there is nothing like a personal factor to get the Stark Republican chairman fired up, no?

Somebody (Harold?) needs to light this guy up again.

No for the sake of the Republican Party, but in hopes that political competition makes for better Stark County government.

The word is "accountability."

His C+ rating in the current election cycle candidate filing is way short of what the Stark County public expects of a political party chairman.

While Phil Giavasis gets an A- rating from the SCPR, he should not be resting on that as being vastly superior to Matthews on the matter of getting viable candidates to run for office.

For starters he has the most incumbents among the 16 contests.

And take a look at the disaster of the North Canton City Council with all Republicans except for Foltz who is about as politically/accountability energetic as a proverbial turtle.

The Report's take is that because Stark's organized Democrats have apparently bought into a mythology that a strong Democratic Party in North Canton that can compete in elections is a non-starter (a corollary to Matthews' take on heavily Democratic Canton); look what is happening to citizens of North Canton as they try to get accessibility and accountability of North Canton officials.

But the SCPR thinks that politicos like Giavasis (who, interestingly enough is a member of the Stark Co. Dems' Central Committee representing a North Canton precinct) and Matthews are only interested in picking low hanging political fruit.

If it takes hard work, ingenuity and imagination to create competitive political balance in Canton (for Matthews) and North Canton (for Giavasis).  "Work!" as the sitcom character J. Maynard Krebs of yesteryear used to shout out in obvious protest is something one can count Giavasis and Matthews out on.

Both are snug as a bug in a rug and could apparently care less about the quality of government across Stark County's political subdivisions.

Now the SCPR turns to those races in which there is at least nominal competition.

Stark Countians should thank Giavasis and Matthews small favors, no?



You talk about being the proverbial sacrificial lamb.

That's how the SCPR sees of the son of a former Stark County Democratic Party honcho in Earle E. Wise, Jr.

Republican Gormley is a extremely well connected Columbus (Ohio Supreme Court) connected judge with tons of money to spend on a political campaign.

The Report thinks Gormley's clout and potential campaign finance money scared Stark County Probate Court judge Dixie Park out of the race.

Among Stark County Republicans, Park is known for overwhelming any would be opponents to her continuing on as a probate court judge by virtue of her having huge sums of campaign finance dollars at her beck and call.

Had she persisted in her private overtures to local Stark County elected official Republicans for support in her desire to run for a seat on the 5th District Court of Appeals, there was going to be a knock down, drag out political batter between her and Gormley to succeed longtime Stark County Republican judge Sheila Farmer on the bench.

Park, who the SCPR is a thinks (LINK) is an exceedingly poor quality judge, at least was smart enough to know that she was going to get waxed by Gormley in a Republican primary.

Wise is not a skilled political tea leaf reader and therefore likely has no clue that he is about to get the political drubbing of his life.

But nevertheless it is good that he is competing for this judgeship.


This office is Dems' chairman Phil Giavasis only failure to have lined up a competitive Democratic candidate for.

Bingham v. Schuring

Good luck, Jennifer!

The SCPR would like nothing more that see a political upset in the 48th Ohio House District.

Nothing personal, of course, with Kirk Schuring for he is a personable guy but for all the years that he and Scott Oelslager have been in the Ohio General Assembly, they have produced relatively little for Stark County.

And, of course, if one dares to criticize them in their official capacity, neither will answer telephone/e-mail inquires of the SCPR.

That's how arrogant seemingly untouchable political figures get.

There will come a day when Schuring will not be such a sure bet for re-election.

But that day is NOT this election.

DISTRICT 49: Two Democrats, One Republican

Other than the Bernabei-soon-to-be-vacated seat on the Board of Stark County Commissioners contest, this race promises to be on one the most hotly contested in all of Stark County this election cycle.

On the Democratic side, this primary election will be a test of what residual power the name Healy has within Stark County Democratic Party officialdom.

Unlike other primary contests, it is likely that the official Stark County Democratic Party leaders will keep hands off this election.

Canton Ward 2 councilman Thomas West has coveted a spot in the Ohio General Assembly for years.

In 2006 he ran against Schuring when Schuring was in the Ohio Senate (as part of his musical chairs dance with Scott Oleslager in order for both to avoid being term-limited out of the Ohio General Assembly) and put Schuring through his only real test on continuing on in Columbus (LINK).

The Report thinks that he is a better fit for the 49th than is Healy-Abrams.

For the most part, the 49th is a blue-collar district and Healy-Abrams hardly fits such a characterization.

But Republican Dan F. McMasters does.

McMasters might be the SCPR's favorite Republican in all of Stark County's Republican circles.

He is a straight-talking, no-nonsense guy in about the same vein as the SCPR is.

McMasters has a steep hill to climb to win in this highly-indexed-favorable Democratic district.

But if anybody can do it, McMasters is the guy.

As it would be terrific to see Bingham upset Schuring in the highly-Republican-indexed 48th, it would be terrific for the same to happen in the 49th.

It is as if the 49th has not had a state representative in the person of Democrat Stephen Slesnick.  The Report thinks he has sleep-walked through eight years in the Ohio House all the way to being term-limited out.

Slesnick is another one of those politicos who thinks he is unaccountable to his constituents and certain parts of the Stark County media (i.e. the SCPR).

A great testament to term limits, no?

And Slesnick wants to be Stark County commissioner?


This contest is another:  "Good Luck, John!" factor.

Word is that Christina's father John (who represented a someone different composition of the 50th, but still a "safe" Republican seat) was considering a run for Stark County commissioner for the Bernabei vacated seat.

Well, he could and did forget that.

He could not possibly win Stark County wide as he demonstrated in 2008 when Pete Ferguson handed him a resounding loss at the zenith of John Hagan's political name i.d. in Stark County.

Nor could Christina.

She is incubating in the gerrymandered Republican 50th and on being term-limited-out will never be heard again in Stark County political circles.  So he SCPR thinks.

The Report thinks that all Christina really cares about is the abortion issue.

That is all well and good but there is much more to being a state representative for thousands of Stark Countians to be pretty much a single issue candidate.

It will be interesting to see whether or not Juergensan can get that message across and bought into by a majority of 50th District voters.

On the surface, the SCPR thinks that Hagan has nothing to worry about.

But wouldn't it be nice if Juergensen could put that in question with a well financed, high quality campaign?


While SCPR pushed hard for Harnett in her uphill successful run against Republican gubernatorial appointee Curtis Werren as being the obviously better qualified candidate, yours truly does not like for anybody to go unchallenged for election.

This is one of a number of races that Stark County GOP chairman Jeff Matthews has failed Stark County voters in providing them with a choice.


The Report has talked briefly with Jason Reese (an attorney with the Canton Law Department; a Democrat) but does not know enough about the candidates at this time to comment on the race.


Kudos to Matthews for coming up with an opponent for Louis Giavasis.

It took a while but it became apparent to yours truly about a year ago or so that there has been a plan in place to make Louis Giavasis the ultimate successor to Phil Giavasis as Stark County clerk of courts (Phil took an appointment to replace Tom Harmon when Harmon retired in 2007)  with Nancy Reinbold being the designated place holder for Louis while he put a period of time in as the clerk's office car title czar.

Naturally, Louis denies all of SCPR's take with a straight face.

Shriver's candidacy presents an opportunity for Stark Countians to send a message to the Giavasises and other Stark County politicos that these plans are not acceptable for who staffs taxpayer supported government offices.

The Report thinks Chairman Phil was also part of plan to bring Kody Gonzalez into place in the Canton clerk of courts office just in time to succeed retiring his father Randy Gonzalez (chairman of the Stark Dems immediately before Phil Giavasis) as chief deputy clerk of courts.

It is as if Stark County political subdivision government is the private employment agency of these folks, no?


Another plus for the Stark GOP leadership in providing competition for each and every countywide office no matter what.



Neither chairman likely had much of if any role in the proliferation of candidates for the commissioner seat being vacated later this month my Canton mayor-elect Thomas M. Bernabei.

The SCPR can say even on December 17, 2015 that former commissioner Peter Ferguson (2009 through 2012) is the odds on favorite to once again become a Stark County commissioner.

However, should either Baylock, Ward 5 Canton councilman Kevin Fisher or term limited out Stephen Slesnick get the appointment (in the event the Stark County get to appoint the successor to political independent Thomas M. Bernabei), winning in March might not be so easy in March.

As this race moves along, the SCPR will have much more to say about the qualities of the respective candidates.

On the Republican side, Canton Township trustee Bill Smith is likely to be the GOP nominee.

And it could be that Smith will get the appointment to succeed Bernabei if the Stark Commissioners (Republicans Creighton and Regula) plus Stark County prosecutor John Ferrero get to make the appoint on the basis of Bernabei being a political independent on his resigning as a commissioner.

The Report is told that Creighton is in Smith corner.

Either way.  Having Janet Creighton for you is a huge plus in the Stark County Republican Party.

Had she gotten full bore behind Larry Dordea, the SCPR thinks he would be Stark County sheriff today.


This one was a real surprise to the SCPR.

Mariol isn't that far into being a Canton councilman (Democrat, Ward 7) and seemed committed to being part of a group of relatively recent elected councilpersons focused on rescuing Canton government from years of decline.

At this point, The Report does not take Mariol's challenge of Regula seriously.

As a Canton Democrat in and of itself he has a tough row to hoe getting elected countywide.

Only Pete Ferguson (running to succeed Bernabei) has what it takes for a Canton-based Democrat to elected.

Bernabei (the Democratic Party Canton political base he had at the time) himself would not have been elected as commissioner in 2010 had it not been for a independent third candidate running.

Jackson trustee and Republican James N. Walters would have been.

And the very able Canton councilman Bill Smuckler could not win countywide against Regula in 2012.  Why?  The SCPR thinks that voters in outlying Stark County political subdivision entities have an aversion to Canton Democratic politicians merely because they are "big city Democrats."

Nevertheless, the SCPR welcomes the Mariol candidacy.

Nobody should get a free pass to election/re-election.


One saving grace for Stark County Republican Party chairman Jeff Matthews on this race is that it takes a person with statutorily mandated credential to run for the office.

There are not many if any such persons in Stark County


The SCPR thinks Rick Campbell has done a decent job as Stark County recorder.

However, he has been far too political as far as yours truly is concerned.

See the account of Kody Gonzalez above in this blog's discussion of the fast track that Gonzalez has enjoyed in getting to be in a position to take over for his father as chief deputy of the Canton Municipal Court.

Guess who was Kody's conduit to be in such a position?

You've got it.

Rick Campbell!

Rather than own up to the obvious, Campbell tried to bully the SCPR into accept his account of how Gonzalez came to be chief deputy recorder in the mid-2000's.

According to Campbell, Kody reeked of such superior qualities to the degree that it was a no-brainer to Campbell to bring Gonzalez into government before he was snapped up by a private concern.

What a laugh and moreover insult to anybody who knows how the likes of Campbell work to ingratiate themselves to the likes of Gonzalez's father.

Randy Gonzalez says that had nothing whatsoever to do with son Kody being taken in by Campbell.

And Randy's disclaimer could be true.

One, who is going to believe it.

Two, even if Randy's account is accurate; folks like Campbell do things like hiring son Kody unasked for he understands better than most that such unsolicited acts can be highly beneficial.

So Campbell can save the denials for folks who are totally naive about Stark County politics.

Having assessed Campbell, the SCPR is not about to declare that Republican John Arnold would be much of an improvement over Campbell in terms of his politicization.

The SCPR thinks he played a game of politics involving an official township government event (the dedication of the new Uniontown Police Department facilities) with Curtis Werren in Lake Township designed to help Werren get elected Canton Municipal Court judge.

This office as all Stark County political subdivision offices need to have competitive elections to enhance the likelihood that the winner is less likely to play politics with office jobs.

For this reason alone, the SCPR appreciates that Republican Lake Township trustee John Arnold has agreed to compete with Rick Campbell.


Republican Alex Zumbar is one of Stark County's very best elected public officials.

But he needs to tone the politics down in terms of political connections seeming to be a significant factor in who gets hired and who gets pay raises.

And he needs to understand that no matter how well he is thought of, he as a public official will be critiqued from time to time.

It pretty clear to the SCPR that he relatively recently made a couple of hires in his office that had something to with Stark County Republican political connections with the net result being that members of the Stark County taxpaying public were denied an opportunity to land these jobs.

Hopefully, Democrat Cody Horner will put together a campaign that puts the heat of Zumbar to do better in the future.



A major failure to field candidates on the part of Chairman Matthews.


Ferrero can be responsive if somebody keeps the heat on him.

In the 2009 prosecution fiasco on the Marlboro Township police chief and his son computer equipment issue, it was the Stark County Political Report who shined the spotlight on Ferrero for his inexcusably and unwarrantly using the power of the prosecutor office power in a situation that should have been resolved way short of prosecutor.

Thankfully, now retired Judge V. Lee Sinclair saw through Ferrero's inadequacies as a prosecutor and acquitted the chief and his son of all charges.

In the 2009 through 2011 Stark County treasury crisis, it was local attorney and civic activist Craig T. Conley who held Ferrero's feet to the fire to ensure that he dealt effectively on behalf of Stark County taxpayers to recover the maximum amount recoverable to offset the upwards of $3M stolen from the county treasury by then chief deputy Vince Frustaci.

So the lesson is that John Ferrero needs someone looking over his shoulder.

If memory serves The Report correctly, in 2008 Ferrer ran unopposed.

After that election Ferrero seems to show the arrogance that comes with thinking one is unvulnerable.


"Katy Bar the Door" on George T. Maier!

Being unopposed will surely induce this guy as Stark County chief law enforcement officer to think he is God Almighty.

And if you think you are going to get anywhere within the hierarchy of the Stark County sheriff's department, you better get a degree in political sciences.

Of all the Stark County officeholders The Report writes about, this sheriff is by far the most blatantly political.

Kind of disturbing for a law enforcement arm of government, no?

He has learned his political lessons well from brother Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. a former head of the Stark County Democratic Party whom many think still controls the party from behind the curtain.

Chairman Jeff Matthews of the Stark County Republican Party in giving Ferrero and Maier a pass has dealt a blow to accountability with respect to these two.

Many of the problems of Stark County political subdivision government in recent can be traced to inadequate on non existent political competition owing to the poor performance of Democratic and Republican party chairmen.

The focus of this blog is on Giavasis and Matthews.

But this phenomenon runs much deeper than the two of them.