Friday, February 12, 2016


Readers of The Stark County Political Report know that the journalistic marker for The Report is critical analysis.

However, yours truly is constantly on the outlook for opportunities to say positive things about those institutions of government, elected officials and public figures who have come under critical scrutiny of the SCPR.

Recently, it appeared that North Canton city council under the leadership of its president provided positive fodder for The Report to ruminate upon.

At its meeting of February 1, 2016, North Canton City Council at what appeared to be the prodding of President Peters backed off of legislation which would cut in half the number of meetings that council will hold going forward and which would impose burdensome restrictions who those videotaping council meetings using a tripod.

Since council decided to bring one Tim Fox on as its law director (September 2012), the SCPR has noted a marked deterioration in the relationship of council with any citizen who would:

  • appear before the body at the Public Speaks part of council meetings with one criticism or another on the functioning of North Canton government,
  • ask for copies of probing public records regarding operations of the city,
  • initiate legislation via referendum and initiative to define what council may or may not do, and
  • Heaven Forbid! sue the city for what a citizen might think is a violation of North Canton or state of Ohio law
 Of late, the relationship has deteriorated to the point of being downright hostile.

Before Fox, the SCPR had always thought of Councilman Dan "Jeff Peters" as a moderating factor on council.

So when on February 1, 2016 he announced at the end of the meeting that the anti-democratic-republican values (open/accessible government) ordinance (less meetings and new restrictions on videotaping meetings) was being abandoned, the SCPR took this as a cue that Peters was donning a role of leadership to reverse the seeming "it us against them" attitude of a up-to-now majority of council members.

Accordingly, the SCPR wrote a complimentary blog (LINK) on February 2nd playing off a North Canton sited groundhog on Groundhog Day seeing or not seeing his shadow with an interplay of the breaking out of government openness sunshine in The Dogwood City.

It now appears that what The Report saw may have been a mirage of sorts and Peters might be bending to the will of a couple of councilpersons (Kiesling and Werren) who seemingly are entrenched in their animosity towards any citizen who dares to criticize North Canton government.

There was a renewed effort on this Monday past to pass the new ordinance.

And astonishingly there is real concern that Kiesling and Werren may carry the day.

For now the SCPR is holding fast with the blog complimenting President Daniel "Jeff" Peters for showing democratic-republican value friendly leadership on February 1st.

But it could be that he and one or two other council members will cave into Kiesling and Werren and the SCPR will end up eating crow in "jumping the gun" on thinking Peters is maturing into an effective council president.

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