At Monday's meeting of North Canton City Council, the minister offering the opening prayer referenced a "tension" that she seemingly felt in the room.
Faith United Methodist Church of North Canton co-pastor Cara Stultz Costello intoned that there "may" be tension in the room.
As an attendee to quite of few North Canton City Council (NCCC, Council) meetings since 2008, the SCPR would use a word stronger than "may."
For some time now (probably going back to the appointment of Tim Fox as law director [September, 2012]), dis-ease seemingly has been the predominant feeling in the relationship between certain key North Canton leaders and the certain community persons seeking redress of their grievances.
As a child attending church, I reall us singing a song entitled: Deep and Wide. (LINK)
But that "deep and wide" song is a reference to a blessed "deep and wide" that all can drink in and go away fulfilled.
The "deep and wide" that exists in the disconnections (for the most part) that exist between North Canton City government and any who question the government's programs, policies and actions is a political darkness that of course is the complete opposite the tenor of the Sunday School song.
At Monday's meeting, Citizen Larry Tripp described his indignation of being treated disrespectfully by Council president Daniel "Jeff" Peters not only one-on-one but in standing by and allowing Fox to treat him in what Tripp deems to have been highly disrespectful. (abbreviated version of video)
For readers on want more background on what prompted Tripp's remarks, here is the content of information provided by Mr. Tripp in response to a SCPR e-mail follow up:
Probably the best description of my recent encounters with North Canton government officials is to direct you to minutes of NC council meeting of June 6, 2016.
This is where I spoke of the Ward 2 and 3 at Dogwood Park which was to be an informational meeting of CRA Program and Dogwood pool.
It also included remarks of a near confrontation with NC law director after meeting when he approached Mr Covey and myself in a non -professional manner.
After meeting of 6/6/2016, I was approached by Councilman Fonte and asked "why don't you like Jeff"?
That question caught my attention!
I responded to Mr Fonte's question with remarks on June 13, 2016.
My remarks can be viewed on video as supplied by Mr osborne's e-mail of 6/15/16, ...
I answered Mr.Fonte's question in a manner I thought appropriate.
It apparently caught the attention of Councilman Peters based on his remarks to me right after I spoke.and can be viewed on the video.
Thus my remarks of June 27, 2016.
LarryThe SCPR has long contended that Director Fox is the "be all and end of all" in terms of North Canton government.
And that he has assumed that role as the expectation of at least of majority of Council members.
So they own the problem of acerbic North Canton government/community relations.
A problem if a citizen dare seek redress of a grievance.
A citizen coming "to praise Caesar" is received with arms wide open.
That is how insecure Peters and his ilk on Council are.
A number of North Canton citizens land on Fox for his arrogance and the SCPR understands why the do so.
But to repeat, Fox operates at the sufferance of a majority of North Canton City Council members.
One North Canton resident speculates that Fox is now hard a work writing up a legal justification for the the way in which North Canton has handled its Community Reinvestment Areas (CRA) ordinance.
Former Council member, president and mayor Daryl Revoldt says he thinks North Canton's CRA has been administered illegally and has cost North Canton's schools thousands upon thousands of dollars.
Back in November, 2012 a huge majority of North Canton voters (78%) voted for an referendum which was designed to deny part time council members who had other coverage available from receiving city paid for healthcare coverage.
Fox wrote a legal opinion that was subsequently validated by the courts that the vote was illegal and therefore participating in North Canton council members in city provided health care benefits were entitled to continue doing so.
North Canton voters were denied a look at that opinion for over a year.
Only intervention by North Canton mayor David Held got the opinion released to the North Canton public.
Eventually, the Council member benefit recipients (Peters, Kiesling, Werren and Snyder) saw the handwriting on the wall in terms of the obvious voter dissatisfaction (re: November, 2016 vote) on continuing to receive healthcare coverage at North Canton taxpayer expense and dropped coverage and returned the monetary value of the premiums paid by the cit.
Fast forward to the CRA matter.
Is Fox up to a repeat of his healthcare justification opinion?
Here is a repeat publication of the demand letter that North Canton recapture what is alleged to have been illegal reduction of property tax bills.
Is there any doubt that Fox is working feverishly to placate the expectations of his majority support on North Canton City Council?
Unfortunately, the expression Deep and Wide has application in the context of North Canton government and its citizenry in the negative sense of there being a very large rift between a majority of Council and questioning North Canton citizens.