SECOND IN A SERIES: DEMOCRACY TAKES A HIT IN NORTH CANTON
NORTH CANTON COUNCIL PRESIDENT
DAN "JEFF" PETERS
DALE CARNEGIE STYLE
It looks as if North Canton may be looking at a repeat of the November, 2012 vote on Issue 5 which pertained to the fundamental rights of North Cantonians to determine the jots and tittles of government in what once The Dogwood City.
One of the "hot button issues" 'at last Wednesday evening's meeting (the brainchild of Ward 3 councilwoman Stephanie Werren was —pending in North Canton City Council presently—legislation of the expansion of Community Reinvestment Areas (CRA) in the city.
In 2012, more than seven of ten North Canton voters in a presidential election year voted to curtail the right of part-time elected officials (referendum aimed at councilmembers) to have North Canton taxpayers pay for their healthcare.
As we all know, all too often in the United States of America, presidents (e.g. Obama's prolific use of "executive orders," down through city council members and even to the most local of American government—boards of education—"all power in our democratic-republican form of government residing 'in the people' through elections" is nullified by the actions by elected officials.
In Stark County, a prime example of—in your face votes—is North Canton City Council (in a majority sense) led by council president Daniel "Jeff" Peters.
At Wednesday's meeting, this video clip tells it all—in his own words—about Peters' attitude towards the people having a say in what is and what is not part of the mix of the programs, policies and practices of North Canton government.
As seen, Peters appears to be combative with his questioner and his "I still like you" seems more than a bit disingenuous. A comment is used a number of times in the session in the testy back and forth with Ward 2 and Ward 3 residents.
On the ethics point, Peters cites the Ohio Ethics Commission (OEC) and the "be all" of ethical determinations on campaign finance contribution. The Report believes that OEC rulings are "minimum" standards and not anywhere near the highest "avoid the appearance of impropriety" standard that many of us would like to see in the conduct of public officials.
On the vote, Peters, interesting enough, presumes that council will pass the CRA pending legislation and that there will be a repeat of the 2012 Health Care vote which indicates a "closed" Peters and majority of council mind on the CRA matter.
And he never gets around to addressing the citizen's concerned about be burdened by greater taxes because of the impending implementation of the CRA.
Does anybody think that North Canton schools are going to forego new levy initiatives within the next few years in the light of lost revenues at the hand of North Canton City Council.
While officials at the meeting made "it something to crow about" that North Canton has the lowest income tax rate of all municipalities/villages located in Stark County (1.5%), the SCPR predicts that sooner than later this council will be acting the hike that rate.
As Mayor Held pointed out, North Canton is landlocked by other communities and therefore cannot attract large new business and commercial interests.
That's why it probably a mistake for North Canton (David Held led) to have rejected a cooperative economical development agreement about a year or Canton, Jackson Township and Plain Township.
Moreover, this Peters' led council is clearly in a beseiged mentality notwithstanding Wednesday's "informal" give and take, "come let of reason together"session.
It appears to the SCPR it was mostly a "give form on High" and very little take the people seriously and reconsider the wisdom of continuing down the CRA track that Councilwomen Werren and Marcia Kiesling are bound and determined to push through on.
Accordingly, Peters' and most of council (with Doug Foltz [Democrat-Ward 1] and Mark Cerreta [Non-partisan-at large] perhaps being exceptions because they are asking questions and advocating modifications of the CRA legislation) should be viewed as unsympathetic to the people weighing in on the substance of North Canton government as exemplied by the CRA legislative processes.
As one North Cantonian said at a February, 2014 meeting:
Such conduct is part and parcel—grain by grain—of the phenomenon where less and less Americans participate in the forums of U.S. government.
"We have met the enemy of people having a choice/voice and it is us!" Elected officials throughout the land should be saying to themselves.
And President Peters' performance last Wednesday has him selected today by the SCPR as deserving of a SCPR Person of the Year designation for negation of the power of the people to decide the sum and substance of "We the People" government.
Congratulations President Peters!