Thursday, March 31, 2016








For several weeks The Stark County Political Report has been hearing that Derek Gordon may be on his way out as Canton Parks & Recreation director.

And the reports have come from as many as three sources.

While whom serves as director is at the say of the newly formed and—independent of the mayor of Canton— Canton Parks and Recreation District (CP&RD) which is a combination of the former Canton Park Commission and the Canton Joint Recreation District; it would be politically naive to think Mayor Thomas M. Bernabei had nothing to do with the coming opening up of the question of who will be director going forward.

The Report hears that in its April 15, 2016 meeting, the Canton Parks and Recreation Board of Commissioners will open up the question of whom will serve as that body's director going forward and will invite applications for the position with Gordon being welcome to reapply.

It was startling to say the least in viewing the results of the November, 2015 general election to see funding for the combined entity to down to defeat.

In the same election, Bernabei, a political independent, defeated two-term incumbent Democratic mayor William J. Healy, II.

Without specifically knowing the thinking of the mayor-elect on the heels of the levy defeat, his moves in replacing two of the commissioners on the parks commission with Mike Hanke (former Stark County commissioners' chief administrator and former Repository editor) and Sam Sliman provide a clue to the politically discerning.

Replaced were last serving commissioners Wuyanbu Zutali and Terry Prater.

Accordingly, the SCPR speculates that Gordon is likely on his way out as director as being the the focal point of blame for the November 3rd levy failure.

But The Report has reason to believe that there is still a glimmer of hope for Gordon that he will be retained.

Word is that there is daily input being made that there are those in the greater Canton community who think Gordon has done a superlative job as director and ought to be retained.

However, the bad news for Gordon is that there appears to be an equal number who have lost confidence in his leadership abilities and skills and want him replaced.

It appears to yours truly that the "decider-in-chief" will be commission member Sam Sliman.

Not that fellow commissioner members Andy Black (a long time figure commissioner) and Mike Hanke will not be part of the process.  But The Report thinks Sliman and his vast experience with personnel matters will be the key component of the decision making process.

And Gordon could not ask for a more fair determiner than Sliman working with the equally fair-minded Black and Hanke.

Sliman currently is Canton's:
  • civil service chief,
  • coordinator of annexation, and
  • Equal Employment Opportunity compliance official,
Sliman in the days in which Canton was aggressively pursuing annexation (LINK) once appeared at a Stark County Board of County Commissioners' meeting and billed himself as "the townships' Darth Vader."

Most importantly for Sliman is that he has civil service protection and therefore is not subject to the whims of mayors past, present or future who may want to replace him.

Sliman began his service with the Republican Richard Watkins administration, survived the Democratic Healy administration is already making his mark as a key figure in the administration of "independent" mayor Thomas M. Bernabei.

It has to be "a breath of fresh air" for Sliman and other Healy holdover officials to be working for a mayor who does not create problems for them in terms of all too often having to be in a "CYA" mode in order to protect the mayor as The Report hears was the case with William J. Healy, II.

The SCPR thinks the key architect of the passage of the parks and recreation levy on March 15th was J.R. Rinaldi.

Sliman, Black and Gordon worked with him,  witness this video (posted below photos) of a recognition of them at Monday's Canton City Council regular meeting.  But there is no doubt that Rinaldi was the driving force behind the successful effort.

Recognition presenter, Council Majority Leader Frank Morris, III (Ward 9), was himself once a Canton Parks commissioner.

The video:

(Note:  Sliman commends Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce president Denny Saunier for the chamber's help in getting the levy passed)

Rinaldi is vice president of the Canton City Schools Board of Education anidd long time union ironworker who has a close relationship with Mayor Bernabei.

The turnaround in results from November, 2015 to March, 2016 was absolutely stunning!

And, to repeat, the 20 percentage point reversal is owing to the leadership of J.R. Rinaldi.

All of which brings up an interesting question.

If Gordon is not retained, will J.R. Rinaldi be his successor?

The Report has it on impeccable information that Rinaldi will make a pitch to become director.

Interesting, no?

On the recreation side of Canton Parks and Recreation, Rinaldi has very strong credentials (LINK).

For years he managed equipment and clubhouse functions for Major League Baseball's Milwaukee Brewers (LINK).

And he is not afraid of controversy, to wit:

Should Rinaldi become Canton Parks & Recreation director, there has to be a heavy ironic twist to that occurring to fellow Canton City Schools board member Eric Resnick whom Rinaldi defeated in 2013 in their bitter, bitter electoral face off in 2013.

Resnick was president of the Canton Joint Recreation District (CJRD, interesting enough, Rinaldi was on that same board mostly in opposition to Resnick) and was the leading opposition figure to the merger of the CJRD and the Canton Parks Commission.

An argument can be made that Resnick's opposition played a significant role in Issue 37's defeat in November, 2015.

For one has to believe had Issue 37 passed, there would be no thought of replacing Gordon.

Had Resnick known that Rinaldi might some day be a beneficiary Issue 37 being defeated, think maybe that he might be reassessing and realizing that he may have outfoxed himself on the matter and contributed to the unleashing dynamics contra political interests?

Who leads Canton Parks and Recreation going forward is vitally important inasmuch as going forward the CP&RD is embarked on implementing a Master Plan.

It could well boil down to a Gordon/Rinaldi decision.

If so, the overriding question on the ultimate decision will inevitably be:  Is it based on merit or primarily on political factors.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


UPDATED:  09:40 AM

This SCPR blog series will run from the first blog (LINK, March 28th) through the November election.

In each successive blog, The Report will list and bulleted index of "links" for readers to click on to catch up on Ferrero/Jakmides campaign developments.

By staying in touch with the SCPR on a weekly basis, those Stark Countians who want to be fully informed before casting a general election ballot for either Republican Jeff Jakmides or Democrat John Ferrero, can be.

The stakes could not be higher for Stark's organized Democrats and Republicans.

The annual payroll for the Stark County prosecutor's offices as of March 15, 2016 is $3.2MM and the average salary is $48,294 (not included the elected prosecutor himself).

Think there aren't some anxious staff members who believe they might be out of a job if there is a change in leadership.

Their fears could be unwarranted.

But then again one would think that if the Republicans gain control of this office, those who work for Candidate Jakmides might just have expectations—if otherwise qualified—of landing a job with the new prosecutor.

Undoubtedly, there would not be a wholesale changeover on January 1, 2017.

But how about over time?

For those of us who are unaffiliated with either political party, the stakes of a different order.

We could care less if the prosecutor is a Republican or a Democrat.

We want the best damn prosecutor pure and simple!

The fact of the matter is that in the case of the prosecutor's office, it appears important for an employee to be an Democrat.  Especially if one is to be a prosecutor.

I could only find one "registered Republican" prosecutor on John Ferrero's staff among the departments 67 employees (included elected prosecutor Ferrero).  There are a few "non-partisans," which only means they do not vote in partisan primary elections.  One has to suspect that most if not all of them are really Democrats.

Ferrero's staff is 56% "registered Democratic", 9% "registered Republican," 23% non-partisan and—it appears— get this (shockingly!): 12% not registered to vote at all!!!

So the reality is that the politics of the elected leader of Stark County departments of government (when there is only one such elected leader) appears to set the tone for who gets taxpayer paid for jobs and who does not.
A sidenote:  The examination of the prosecutor's office political affiliation factor piqued the interest of the SCPR to do a similar study of other Stark County offices headed by a single elected official.  So readers can expect a SCPR analysis "the politics factor as it affects taxpayer paid for employment opportunities" in each of those office in upcoming blogs.
Undoubtedly, Jeff Jakmides will say pre-election that if elected political affiliation will have absolutely nothing to do with whom gets jobs in his office.  And he might even pledge not to dismiss currently "registered Democrat" prosecutors for that mere fact if he gets elected.

The SCPR thinks that voters should take all that with a grain of salt.

All of which brings me back to my original point:  The prospect of losing one's jobs will get the attention of Ferrero's staff and so in addition to the obvious bad blood between Jakmides and Ferrero the job loss fear factor will intensify the political fight over who will Stark County's next prosecutor.

On Monday, the SCPR published written statements of Candidates Jakmides and Ferrero.

Today, The Report publishes an audio that Jeff Jakmides left on my cellphone after he had read Monday's blog.

Take a listen.

Here it is late March (seven plus months before the election) and Jakmides is going for the political jugular of Prosecutor Ferrero.

Hypocrite!!! He screams out!


Yes, Jakmides' "really BIG issue" in his attempt to unseat Ferrero is his allegation that Stark's prosecutor is costing  Stark County political subdivisions hugely in not—over his 12 years in office—implementing/pushing for a Direct Indictment program.

Now, he asserts, Prosecutor Ferrero has staff working on doing just that in response to Jakmides' pressure while at the same time defending past practice.

Jakmides called again yesterday promising additional documentation of his reasons why John Ferrero should not be elected prosecutor.

Think John Ferrero is going to take that (Hypocrite!) and other personal digs lying down.

No, he is not.

He has promised me that he will have a response within a few days to the Jakmides audio statement.

Not to add fuel to the fire.  Of course, the SCPR never, ever would do that but look at this and what Ferrero said about Jakmides on his Facebook page:

For those readers who actually listened to the less than five minute Jakmides audio recording above; you know what Jakmides thinks of Ferrero's Facebook blurb.

Stay tuned folks to The Stark County Political Report for the finest, most thorough, comprehensive coverage of this and all of Stark County's important political races in the upcoming November election.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016



A $350,000 



Canton City Council
Comprehensive Plan
Including Remarks 
Chris Smith (Ward 4)
Kevin Fisher (Ward 5)
Edmond Mack (Ward 8)
President Allen Schulman 


Mayor Thomas M. Bernabei
Hiring of Planner
Implementation of Plan

On March 1st, the SCPR published Part 1 in this series (LINK).

The theme of the March 1st blog was that Canton finds itself in a 460MM hole in having an up-to-date city in terms of its infrastructure and there are names to be named going back decades in the context of Canton legislative (city council) and executive (the mayor) functions.

Before last night's meeting, I spoke with Majority Leader Frank Morris, III; one of my favorite councilpersons in terms of him being a curmudgeonly political/government leader.

The topic?

Who is to blame for the hole Canton finds itself in.

It seemed to me that he was focusing on past mayors in "the blame game" talk.

"Well," I said "do you think Council has any part of the blame?"

Begrudgingly, he agreed that Councils have been partially to blame.

But only about 40% (the converse of my recollection that he put 60% of the blame on past city mayors).

The Stark County Political Report believes and blogs prolifically that the public should remember the names and deeds of those in the public sector have failed us.

So The Report compiled this list of former council members going back to about 1968.

There have been some 100 councilpersons who have served in Canton City Council going back for nearly 40 years.

Obviously, one cannot included Council-at-Large Thomas Harmon and Ward 3 councilman Jason Scaglione (both newly elected in November, 2015) as being part of the the problem.

But the list does include names of councilpersons still on council and a number of former mayors as well as the current mayor (Bernabei) and Deputy Mayor Fonda Williams.

Moreover, it includes the father of recently defeated mayor William J. Healy, II who himself aspired to be mayor but lost to Richard Watkins in 1999.

 And here is list of mayors going back to 1964.

These lists clearly constitute a "We Have Met the Enemy and He/She is Us," accounting to the Canton general public, no?

It seems that Morris' demarcation is not valid separation of categories of who is to blame.

The lesson of past failures of Canton legislators/mayors to protect/enhance the infrastructure of the city is that with the adoption of the comprehensive plan by a unanimous vote of council, Cantonians should require periodic accountings of taxpayer funds invested in plan and what the investment yielded in terms of quantifiable results.

(Councilpersons Speaking in Favor of Comprehensive Plan)

Mayor Bernabei has a very dicey problem on his hands in seeing to it that accountable structures of implementation of the plan are created.

In the past the mayor has endorsed the plan which endorsement he reiterated last night as seen in the foregoing video.

The SCPR thinks that the Canton public should look to him to ensure that things are done correctly in the sense that the structures of administration are productively functional and that the results are reported in an official "for the general public" accountability session on a minimum annual basis.

It is all well and good for Mayor Bernabei to include council members and other factors in the construction of the mechanisms implementing and administrating general fund taxpayer dollars invested in to the plan, but be it himself or a successor mayor, the "buck must stop" at the mayor's office.

Ward 5 councilman Kevin Fisher said last night that his vote was his most important in his time as a councilperson as seen in the video posted above.

And, it may be.  But he has a lot of undoing of harm to do before he can be satisfied that he is a net positive factor on council.

As far as the SCPR, he is digging himself out of a political hole of having played (LINK) political games with a few other councilpersons in trying to implant a poison pill in the ability a persons to run for and Cantonians to vote on the creation of a Canton Charter Commission.

He bears primary responsibility along with his union business agent friend David Kirven of Pipefitters and Plumbers Local #94 and the use of Jefferson-Jackson Democratic funds ($500) to help defeat the charter issue.

Fisher had better hope that more positive things come along for him to support as a councilman so that he can undo the damage that The Report thinks he and Kirven orchestrated in denying future councils and administrations the flexibility needed to adjust to the constantly changing need to provide effective governance.

Kudos to Councilwoman Chris Smith on her turnabout on the comprehensive plan.

All Cantonians have heard so far is talk.

It is now time for action AND accountability in the context of meaningful investment over a reasonable, sustainable period of time.

Monday, March 28, 2016


UPDATED:  08:35 AM

It was a surprise and then again it really wasn't a surprise when well-know Stark County criminal defense attorney Jeff Jakmides decided after the filing deadline for political party selection as a candidate for office in the November general election (i.e. the primary election) to file as a write-in candidate.  (LINK)

In November, 2004 Jakmides fought Ferrero in a bitterly contested campaign in which some speculated that he was put up to the 2004 race by Jackson Township businessman Ben Suarez who, unrelated to the 2004 situation, has had his difficulties with the law of late.  (LINK)

As The Report recalls, Suarez was unhappy with Ferrero because he felt that Ferrero was not pursuing appropriate legal measures in his capacity of being prosecutor in relation to a business transaction that Suarez was involved with with respect to an out-of-Ohio party.

Just days before the 2004 election, Suarez filed a lawsuit against Ferrero. (LINK)

A Ferrero political flyer apparently prompted Suarez with local attorney Craig T. Conley as legal counsel to file the complain, to wit:

 Here is the election result:

 As The Report recalls, Jeff Jakmides seemingly went wall-to-wall with giant billboards across Stark County.

About six months later the suit was dropped, to wit:

One might surmise that Jakmides has been looking for a rematch eversince.

And it will be interesting to see whether or not Suarez attorney Craig Conley surfaces in support of Jakmides.

Conley has been both a vexation to Ferrero (re:  Ferrero's handling of recovering funds stolen from the Stark County treasury by then Stark County treasury chief deputy Vince Frustaci) and in praise of Ferrero for his standing with former Sheriff Tim Swanson as they fought George T. Maier becoming Stark County sheriff as being unqualified under Ohio law at the time when November, 2012 sheriff-elect Mike McDonald could not take office in January, 2013 because of an illness which claimed his life in February of that year.

Conley is a Republican as is, of course, Jakmides.

In late February or early March I happened upon Jakmides as I was on my way to cover the weekly Stark County commissioners meeting.

In the ensuing conversation, Jakmides laid out allegations that Prosecutor Ferrero was costing Stark County taxpayers money in the way his office was handling the bringing of criminal charges.

I said "Okay, Jeff send me some written material.  I"ll take a look at it."

He did and it was a doozy.

Of course readers of the SCPR know that I am committed to presenting all sides of a story in excruciating detail no matter where I ultimately land in my take of the issue(s).

So I contacted John Ferrero and provided him with a copy of the Jakmides press release and invited him to respond.

To repeat.  It was a doozy, too!

One only need to turn to the candidates' respective Facebook campaign websites to see the animosity that appears to permeate the relationship:

In this series which will run from today through general election in November, the SCPR will provide exhaustive coverage of this all important countywide race inasmuch as it concerns a matter which is likely the top priority of Stark Countians:  the quality of law enforcement in Stark County.

The SCPR in this blog publishs the entire Jakmides press release and the complete Ferrero response as the basic blog to which I will link up as I write new volumes on this all important race.

I implore readers who care anything at all about the quality of law enforcement in Stark County to read each statement attentively.



The Ferrero/Jakmides match up promises to be the headliner insofar as Stark countywide races go this year.

It is likely that leading Stark County "organized" Democrats like former chairmen Randy Gonzalez and Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. think Ferrero (a former chairman himself) committed an political "unpardonable sin" in opposing Maier, Jr. brother George T. Maier for sheriff.

However, the Stark County Democratic Party is bleeding losses of countywide offices to the point that it may be that Gonzalez, the Maier brothers and like thinking Democrats will have to swallow their pride and come out full guns for Ferrero.

For if the Dems lose the prosecutor's office, it will mean that three of the most significant offices (auditor, treasury and prosecutorial) in the Stark County government scheme of government will be in the hands of Republican leaders.

And that is not all.

The SCPR figures Bill Smith is a likely victor in his contest with state Representative Stephen Slesnick and incumbent Richard Regula over Canton councilman John Mariol which will—if this scenario unfolds—will place the commissioners' office 100% with Republican leadership.

Quite a change from pre-2010 (auditor/treasury turned from Democrat to Republican in 2010 likely due to the crisis in the county treasurer's office) during which all non-judicial countywide office were held by Democrats.

From the insults that have already been traded between the two and the Dems/GOP control of local government warfare, it could be a Stark County version of what appears on March 28,2016 to be, in terms of vitriol, a Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton clone election, no?

Stay tuned to The Stark County Political Report!

Friday, March 25, 2016


How well a government, business, non-profit, a family does is all about effective leadership.

As The Stark County Political Report sees it, Canton has it and Massillon does not!

A taletell sign that these two once great industrial centers are doing in terms of effective government leadership is embodied in two levy efforts voted upon by their respective citizenry on March 15th.


On November 15, 2015 as Cantonians voted incumbent two term Democratic mayor William J. Healy, II out of office, they also decided not to provide funding for the merger in process city parks and recreation operations.

But that picture changed in Canton with the election of politically  "independent" mayor Thomas M. Bernabei.

Quite a turnaround, no?

About 20%.

Under Healy, at least in November, 2015, the viability of Canton's parks and recreation facilities had to be the thing on his mind as he was fighting for his political life.

And it showed.

Healy, the control person he is, allowed a "take for granted" campaign for Issue #37 to be waged and consequently stunningly the issue went down to defeat.

Canton City Council will now (with Monday's council meeting) be mulling over whether or not to implement a $350,000 Canton taxpayer paid for study on ways and means to over time rebuild Canton infrastructure which has been estimated to take some $460MM.

The SCPR thinks that newly elected Canton mayor Thomas M. Bernabei is the prime architect of reversing the results on the parks and recreation issue.

He went out a got proven Stark County leaders Mike Hanke (former county administrator and Repository editor) and Sam Sliman (a long time Canton [both Republican and Democratic administrations] to put together the effective campaign that achieve a dramatic change in results.

The Report sees the reversal of fortunes on the parks and recreation funding issue as a example of the unseen hand of Mayor Thomas Bernabei exercising his considerable leadership skills seemingly working magic with the very same employees and administrators that worked for Canton and derivative for Mayor William J. Healy, II.

Healy left Bernabei with a $5.1MM in deficit for Fiscal Year 2016.

Healy the same person who complained to the SCPR in early 2008 that his Republican predecessor (Janet Creighton) had left Canton in a financial mess.   What he did not say was that she left him with a $3MM plus in carryover.

Though justified to lay it all on Healy and his "what's in it for me and my political future" mentality, Bernabei has done no such thing.

He has rolled up his sleeves, doubled down on city employees/administration officials (which, of course, with a $5.1MM deficit there will be less of) in inspiring them to be "all that they can be" and sought the counsel and advice of people he respects in Stark County leadership circles and thereby has gotten to work on achieving the seemingly "impossible" tasks of:

  • stabilizing and then enhancing Canton's financial picture, and
  • finding creative, innovative and empowering ways and means to recover a viable Canton infrastructure under the guise of a Canton Comprehensive Plan with precious few dollars to work with,

And this from a man who is approaching 70 years old.

The SCPR is betting on Mayor Thomas M. Bernabei to achieve the IMpossible and indeed as the graphic at the beginning at this blog indicates show that the IMpossible can become not only POSSIBLE but in fact reality.


Pardon the pun, but there could not be a STARKER contrast between Canton mayor Thomas M. Bernabei and Massillon mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry.

The SCPR has written many, many blogs about Catazaro-Perry not being her own person but owned "lock, stock, and barrel" but the political triumvirate of Clerk of Courts Johnnie A. Maier, Jr, his chief deputy and Stark County Democratic Party political director R. Shane Jackson and Massillon Municipal Court judge Eddie Elum.

Some 20 years the junior of Bernabei, it is readily apparent that Massillon's mayor does not rely on hard work, inspiring Massillon employees/administration officials to be "all that they can be" and seeking out and taking to heart the counsel and advice of Massillon/Stark County leaders who are not in the thrall of Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.

Her forte unfortunately for Massillon is that of being a cheerleader for a losing team.

Indeed Massillon does have a proud heritage of having produced storied football champions going back over many decades.

But all of that is past as is much of the city industrial job producing base.

Cheerleading will not work to produce a win on this evaporating state of the economy in Massillon.

What was her first step on being elected in November, 2011?

Ask the State of Ohio to put Massillon in fiscal emergency.

You've got to be kidding, no?

She persisted, likely arm-in-arm with Maier, Jr., Jackson and Elum, and in 2013 got the State of Ohio to go along.

And then she either rendered negative support,  sat on her hands or lukewarm support as the city's legislative leadership worked valiantly to put Massillon on a better fiscal footing.

The "lukewarm" support came with the March 15 income tax effort.

The results?

As far as the SCPR there is no "brighter tomorrow" for Massillon.

Catazaro-Perry made quite a ballyhoo about having a $1.95MM carryover from 2015 to 2016.

What a canard!

Her safety director (Joel Smith) says he could spend that in a nanosecond in purchasing sorely needed police, fire and street maintenance equipment.

And he citizens of Massillon gave the mayor "a wake up call" in November, 2015.

A true "voter of no-confidence."

Forty percent (40%) of the vote for an incumbent mayor.

Massillonians seem to think that Mayor Catazaro-Perry's  leadership has been ineffective and the SCPR agrees with them.


While Canton mayor Thomas Bernabei embraces the impossible and goes about not only creating a picture that everything is possible but in some instances the "new" reality, Massillon mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry appears to take the possibility that Massillon could right itself and instead leads the city into a despair of seemingly impossiblity.

Indeed, "A Tale of Two Stark County Cities!"

Thursday, March 24, 2016


UPDATED:  08:45 AM

Janet Creighton, currently a sitting Stark County commissioner,  has been working in the trenches of Stark County Republican Party grassroots politics for decades.

Though she has been an elected official for many years (i.e. recorder, auditor, mayor of Canton [also appointed to a stint in the George W. Bush White House] and now commissioner) might therefore think she is exempt from nitty-gritty politics as some elected officials do.

Quite to the contrary.

Creighton has done more than her fair share of telephone banking, door-to-door, fundraising and like grassroots-esque political activities

At long last at this year's 71st Annual McKinley Banquet she was selected as Stark GOP Volunteer of the Year.

There couldn't have been a better year for her to receive this honor inasmuch as the SCPR believes she could as a Governor John Kasich delegate (elected "at-large" on March 15th) to this year's Republican National Convention (RNC, July 17-21) be the personification of the type of delegate who stops Donald Trump from emerging as the RNC selected standard bearer in this year's presidential election.

She told me yesterday that she was committed to supporting whatever John Kasich indicates he wants (if he expresses any desire) in terms of an alternative to Kasich himself if and when he releases delegations from their formal obligation by virtue of being selected as a delegate in the Stark County March 15th Republican primary election.

While Creighton would not absolutely rule out the possibility as a released delegate left to her own devices supporting Trump, I got the distinct impression that those chances are between "Slim and None, with Slim just having left town."

However, this Kasich delegate noted that notwithstanding David Brooks' of New York Times fame definition of a typical Trump supporter, to wit:

that she has been involved in discussion(s) with—unnamed by her— prominent Stark County Republicans (easily recognizable by Stark County political observers) who have been Trump supporters since August, 2015 and remain absolutely committed to Trump being the Republican nominee to and through the March primary election and presumably will be continue to be Trumps supporters going forward.

And these folks hardly fit the Brooks' definition of Trump supporters.

Creighton said that the Trump phenomenon emerged because of the failure of both the Democratic and Republican Parties and their national elected leaders to deal with the frustrations of day-in, day-out citizens.

The Report agrees but in the November election Republican candidates from the U.S. Senate/U.S. House of Representative clear down to the local level (e.g. Stark County) have the most at stake should Trump capture the party's nomination.

His corollary in the Democratic Party has virtually no chance to the Dems' nominee.

As the SCPR sees the Stark County side of November's election, a Donald Trump as the head of the Republican ticket smells of trouble for the likes of:
  • Republicans Jeff Jakmides (running for prosecutor), and 
  • Family Court judge candidate David Nist, as well as 
  • Republican candidates for
    • Stark County treasurer (Alex Zumbar, an incumbent), 
    • Stark County recorder (John Arnold, a Lake Township trustee),
    • Stark County clerk of courts (Claude Shriver, II of Plain Township) and
    • Stark County coroner (Brian Briggs of Louisville)
Moreover, 49th District Ohio House Republican candidate Dan McMasters might get caught up in the unknown effect of Trump as head of the ticket as might incumbent Republican 50th House District incumbent Christina Hagan unlike Kirk Schuring who The Report perceives for his district as being the least affected by a Trump presence.

How so?

While it appears they did not crossover in large numbers to vote Republican on March 15 primary election, The Report sees that in the November 8th general election scores of Democrat who may have sat on the  sidelines in previous elections might well be in the mix in November for Trump.

However, if they vote down ticket, it is hard to imagine that they will vote for the likes of Jakmides, Nist, Zumbar, Arnold, Shriver, McMasters and Hagan.

It could that many of them will not vote down ticket at all as seemed to be the case in the primary election as most local Republican candidates ran way behind the Republican Stark County vote total of some 70,000 votes.

That's the best it seems that the Republican local candidates can hope for in a Donald Trump led ticket with many "new" voting Democrats showing up on November 8th.

In Stark County the stakes could be very high for local candidates as to what Delegate Creighton and the other 65 committed to Kasich delegates do in terms of whom they support in a second, third, ... ballot should Trump fail on the first ballot.

Creighton and her fellow delegates just might find themselves in the role of being kingmakers come July in Cleveland.

And the likes of Jakmides, Nist, Zumbar, Arnold, Shriver, McMasters, and Hagan have to be crossing their fingers Ohio's delegates (perhaps, led by Stark County's Janet Creighton) turn out to be critical factors in stopping Donald Trump, no?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016




It appears that Massillon mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry is in for a rough time.

When Massillon government had a few dollars, Massillonians were unhappy with how the city was keeping up with basic city services.

What do you think it will be like now that Massillon has Zippo when one factors in the many unmet capital needs (e.g. police cars, road equipment and the like) is negative on the financial resources with no help on the horizon?

It is laughable under these circumstances for State of Ohio officials and Massillon officials (Financial Planning and Supervision Committee, "FCPC") to be suggesting that there is a way out of Massillon "now" real financial crises without draconian cuts in fundamental city services:  less police, less fire fighters, less asphalt, less serviceable equipment and the like.

But the eternal optimist —approved by 40% of Massillonians in the November,2015 election—mayor ("We only lost by 739 votes") pretends to be (i.e. her "City of Champions" public relations phrase), is not going to cut it with day-in, day-out Massillonians forward.

One Massillon leader tells the SCPR that in discussion with negative March 15th levy voters they said that there is no way in Hell that they can be persuaded to vote for a levy any time in the near future.

Given the core Massillon voter attitude, there is the reality that a levy—that could not pass in the relatively still waters of a primary election—in terms of voter familiarity with the issues, could be presented again in the November general election with a realistic expectation of passage.

Massillon Stark County sister city Canton is also experiencing hard times with a $5MM plus deficit to solve.

But there is a major, major difference.

Thomas M. Bernabei is mayor and possesses the leadership skills and grip on political realities to over time turn things around in the Hall of Fame City.

He has already started with the Canton Park levy, to wit:

A 20% voter approval turnaround in four months and Bernabei has only been in office three and one-half months as of March 15th.

What happened?

Bernabei put folks in charge of the March effort who he knew that they knew what they (Sliman, Rinaldi, Hanke and Black) were doing in terms of getting the job done.

The SCPR credits Bernabei with being the principal architect in turning Stark County government around from financial disaster to financial health over the space of November, 2010 (shortly after his election) through December 31, 2015.

There was a time that former Canton mayor William J. Healy, II reportedly was mentoring Catazaro-Perry.  And before that David Held of North Canton.
Held was certainly okay, but Catazaro-Perry did not follow through on his main recommendations.
Healy seems to have been a negative influence on the Massillon mayor inasmuch as he left Canton in a $5MM hole when exited the Canton mayoralty on December 31, 2015. 

The only hope for Catazaro-Perry is for her to latch on to Bernabei and hold on for dear life following every recommendation by crossing every "t" and dotting every "i."

The mayor of Massillon and her "Kitchen Cabinet" of Maier, Jr, Jackson and Elum do not have a clue and moreover do not know how to get people in place who do have a clue.

Last Tuesday's defeat of Massillon's Issue 4 apparently drove former Massillon Income Tax levy effort leader Lew Garrett over the edge in frustration.
Garrett had to deal with rumblings in the lead up to the November, 2014 election that Mayor Kathy was displeased with his being the lead on the levy effort because "he had close ties" to Massillonian political power and Stark County prosecutor John Ferrero.
Former Stark County Dems' chairman Ferrero has been a political rival (he opposed Johnnie, Jr's brother George appointment by Stark Dems' Central Committee as sheriff in January, 2013) of Maier in Massillon politics going back years.

Here is Garrett's account of how he came to be chosen:
I was essentially picked by the committee that was initially formed to support the income  tax levy. This was early May of 2014. It was made up of mostly City Council members at the time.….Ed Lewis offered it to me. I thought….well, why not? I can’t be one of those people who complains about how bad things are, yet doesn’t help when asked. Of course, at the time, I had no idea how local politics worked.
Catazaro-Perry's displeasure was rather obvious in sitting on her hands in the levy promotion effort.

Thomas M. Bernabei became mayor for the first time on January 1, 2016.

Kathy Catazaro-Perry became mayor for the second consecutive on January 1, 2016.

Catazaro-Perry is a failed leader.

Bernabei will likely be thought by Cantonians on December 31, 2019 to be a "Great Leader."

Catazaro-Perry likely will be on her way out of office as a "failed leader."

Here is the Garrett letter, which, by the way, The Massillon Independent, Garret says, would not publish on the pretext (the SCPR's assessment; not Garrett's) that it was too long (i.e. 755 words, more or less, over the standard letter to the editor 300 words).

The SCPR suspects that given the tone of the letter, the editor (Veronica Van Dress) relied unduly on the number of words factor as a convenient way out.

The Letter:
Last Tuesday’s defeat of the proposed income tax increase should concern all of Massillon’s citizens.

This latest defeat, with our streets and roads in such deplorable condition, is just the latest non confidence vote by Massillon’s citizens directed at the leader of our city and her administration. Actually, this is the fourth vote against Our Great Leader. 3 income tax increase levies have been defeated, and 60% of the electorate voted for anyone but Our Great Leader in last fall’s Mayoral election.

Which pretty much answers the question:

How’s this been working out for you so far?

When first taking office in 2012, Our Great Leader had a wonderful opportunity to unite our city and put forth a plan that could transform our city. 

Instead, Our Great Leader and the self-anointed “Honorable” Clerk of Courts spent the better part of eighteen months wrangling to have the State of Ohio put our City in ‘Fiscal Emergency.” 

This self-inflicted wound, designed for one purpose only…. future political reelection capital…… was the height of folly……..which has cost the city time and money over the past three years, as well as having every piece of legislation put before our City Council ending with the ignominious phrase….”and declaring an emergency.”

What should have happened in 2012 was for Our Great Leader to take a clean sheet of paper and design a plan and budget for Massillon based only on the city’s needs, with at least 20% of the budget dedicated to capital improvements that our city sorely needed. 

That would have required forward thinking. Instead, we got some minor cuts and have kept departments within the city because “we have always done it that way.” Zero forward thinking.

Clearly, it was and is much more important to Our Great Leader to hire friends, those owed political favors, family members, and political hacks to fill spots in her administration. The hiring of a convicted felon [editors note:  pardoned by Governor Ted Strickland]  is simply the most egregious example. Because, you know, “people need jobs and benefits.”


How’s this working out for you?

The revolving door for Director positions within the administration has been dizzying. 

There have been……. what?.....12, 13, 14, 15….who can keep count?……various Directors who have headed departments within the city since 2012. 

Our current Director of Public Service and Safety, by all accounts a good and decent man, is just the latest example. 

Each morning he goes to work and the ball is put on the dot on his nose and he is expected to perform. The treat is continued employment. But even he must know that when he was hired an expiration date was printed on the back of his neck. That date, known only to Our Great Leader, is when he will have outlived his usefulness….or…..when he simply has had enough.

Then: Number 16….come on down!

You might think at some point Our Great Leader might say, “Maybe it’s me.”

You would think.

How does Our Great Leader change this and regain the trust of the citizens of Massillon?

First…..….tear up the current budget. 

Have a turnaround expert or firm come in who has no allegiance to anyone except the citizens of Massillon. Have them start with a simple premise: Here’s the revenue…….and then only list what is absolutely necessary to run the city……and leave 20% for capital improvements. Everything else must be eliminated. It won’t be easy. It will be very hard. It will take civic minded steely fortitude to do this. Political considerations must be discarded.

It can be done. It should be done. 

It must be done.

Show the people of Massillon that you can be a responsible steward of their money.

Regain their trust.

Once this has been done, then, and only then, put a streets and roads levy on the ballot. Revenue goes only to streets and roads. Period.

Our Great Leader should want to do this. 

Absent of this you can expect more of the same for our City: Tax levies that fail, more vapor shops, consignment stores, gag gift stores, gun ranges, dive bars… know the list of current and soon to fail shops in downtown Massillon… continue to litter the landscape….yet be praised as “economic growth” by Our Great Leader.

If none of this occurs, citizens can take heart that we have only 3 years, 8 months and 9 days left for Our Great Leader to occupy the highest position in the city.

And that should sound exactly like what it is for the Citizens of Massillon:

A sentence.

Monday, March 21, 2016


UPDATED/REPUBLISHED 03/21/2016 (originally published 3/19/2016 at 12:01 PM)
New Material Added


Where are they in Stark County?


Who are you talking about Olson?

These people, if one accepts David Brooks' definition:

With Brooks definition in mind, The Stark County Political Report went about locating folks in the statistical sense of "locating" from the context of last Tuesday's Ohio Republican primary vote in Stark County.

Here is a graphic of what The Report found.

(Note:  data comparison in this blog ONLY includes votes cast for either Kasich or Trump; other candidate vote totals are not included; numbers are an "unofficial" tally)

Among absentee voters, here are some interesting numbers provided  the the SCPR by the Board of Elections:

Switch from Republican to Non-Partisan – 10
Switch from Non-Partisan to Republican – 4,002
Switch from Democrat to Republican – 392
Switch from Non-Partisan to Democrat – 2,318
Switch from Republican to Democrat – 38
Switch from Democrat to Non-Partisan – 29

Hard to tell what may have been going on with these numbers.

What would be meaningful is to see the same numbers for  categories for the 30% of Stark County's registered voters who turned out Tuesday, no?

But the absentee numbers might have a clue that in the non-absentee voters as a whole general category the dearth of the number of Democrats taking Republican ballots might account for Trump not doing as well as expected.

There was a theory that disaffected Democrats among the groups Brooks identified in his statement would cross over to the Republican side and vote for Donald Trump.

Apparently, that did not happen in any meaningful numbers and accounts in part why among Republican ballot takers who voted for either Kasich or Trump, Kasich came away with a 56% to 44% margin which is on the edge of being a Kasich slap-down over Trump in Stark County.

Moreover, it could be that the large number of "Switch from Non-Partisan to Republican" vote was the front edge of a "let's rally around" Kasich by Republicans who generally do not vote in primary elections (which over time causes one to loss partisan identity) heeding the call from Kasich to join the resistance to Trump getting the Republican nomination in Cleveland at the Republican Convention during the period of July 17th through July 21st.

It would be impressive if the Stark BOE could have provided the same data (i.e. the absentee vote) for the election overall numbers.

Perhaps over time as Auditor Alan Harold's crack team of IT people work with the BOE to improve the quantity and quality of voter information made available to analysts in easily massaged format like Excel.

One can see from the face put on last Tuesdays data, that progress is being made.



The least populated Trump-friendly land is in North Canton.

Among Stark's urban areas, North Canton is the bastion of "mainline Republicanism."

But as seen from the numbers of 56% to 44% Kasich over Trump in the summary above, it is no surprised to see those numbers fleshed out in the North Canton's wards thusly:

 The precincts of elected Republicans:
  • Mayor David Held, 2-A,
  • Council president Dan "Jeff" Peters, 2-B
  • Councilwoman Stephanie Werren, 3-C
  • Councilman, Dominic Fonte, Jr., 4-B
  • Councilwoman at Large, Macia Kiesling, 4-B
  • Councilman at Large, Mark Cerreta, 4-B
  • Councilman at Large, Dan Griffith, 1-C

Now turning to Stark's most "friendly to Trump" urban area:  Massillon, a predominately Democratic city.

The precincts of elected Republicans:
  • Councilwoman Sarita Cunningham-Hedderly, 1-E
  • Councilman at Large Milan Chovan, Jr., 1-A
  • Councilman at Large Ed Lewis, IV, 6-D


An intriguing question to the SCPR is how Trump fared in the precincts of two of his main supporters in Stark.

Plain 19?

Hmmm.  However, Trump did win a few precincts in Plain Township.

Better for Trump, no?  But Trump won no precincts in Lake nor in Jackson.

Were it not for the effort of the likes of Case and Greer, Kasich might have bested Trump at near a 60/40 clip.

TRUMP:  Highest Percentage to Lowest

Slide bar at bottom of graph to the right to see percentages

TRUMP:  Highest Number of Votes to Lowest

As in the Trump analysis, the SCPR checked as to how Kasich did in the precincts of two of his ardent Stark County supporters.

Not bad. 

Creighton's precinct bested the overall Kasich percentage (solely counting the votes of  Kasich and Trump) of 56% to 44%.

Impressive, no?  Harold gets credit for 67% to 33% win for his man Kasich.

KASICH:  Highest Percentage to Lowest

Slide bar at bottom of graph to the right to see percentages.


Kasich:  Highest Number of Votes to Lowest