Monday, June 27, 2016


UPDATE:  06/28/2016


(See video  below)


(At End of Blog)

(Added 06/28/2016)



As I walked in the door of NextChapter Bookstore, I was met by NextChapter owner Chad Minor to tell me that the I was welcome to cover for The Stark County Political Report the evening's debate between state Representative Stephen Slesnick and Canton Township trustee Bill Smith BUT no video was to be permitted (except, of course, NextChapter's own live streaming of the debate).

In order to get Slesnick onsite in the first place, NextChapter had to agree with Slesnick's condition:  NO VIDEOS!

Slesnick let it be known when NextChapter arranged for last night's event that it was either ban the camera or Slesnick would not be appearing.

Either Olson's SCPR be denied the right to videotape or he would not be appearing.

Never mind that NextChapter itself streams the debate live and makes it available online post-debate.

Obviously, Slesnick is being retributive because the SCPR has never been enamored with his work as a public office holder and has blogged frequently with chapter and verse support that viewpoint.

Minor deserves credit for getting Slesnick to participate the the debate notwithstanding that the SCPR was going to the recording the event Slesnick participating or not.

Minor's Next Chapter/Rising Hope Ministry is doing a terrific community service in providing Stark County youth with an opportunity to get up close to Stark County's leaders.

Asking the SCPR to cover a public event without camera in hand is like taking the pen from and plugging the ears of a reported.

It is a compliment to the SCPR that certain Stark County political figures feel the heat by virtue of this blog's thoroughgoing coverage.

Much more in-depth than any other Stark County based media outlet.

But it is a loss to the Stark County public when the likes of:
  • former Canton mayor William J. Healy, II,  
    • (re:  Strickland comes to Canton to support Healy for mayor on last weekend of campaign)
  • Dave Kirven of as president of the Democratic Party's Jefferson Jackson Club (JJC), 
    • (re:  denial of coverage Democrats running for Stark County political subdivision government and appearing at JJC),
      • Note:  Shame on Democratic candidates who abide the banning.
    • Stark Republican Party chairman Jeff Matthews,
      • (re:  no SCPR video coverage of Republican candidate appearing before Stark GOP central/executive committees since the Phil Davison Internet gone viral taping of September, 2010,
    • Stark County Board of Elections (Matthews, the executive director) 
      • (re:  relegating SCPR to secondary status among Stark County media in physical proximity to Bernabei/Cicchinelli in recording witness testimony),
    • Sheriff George T. Maier,
      • (re:  ignoring except in one case, SCPR e-mail requests for information/response to various law enforcement issues that the Stark County public deserves to be privy to)
    deny access or request "turn the camera off" of "open to the public" events.

    The Stark County public should be asking:  What are Slesnick and his ilk afraid of?  What are they hiding?

    Of course no Stark County media outlet provides the space that the SCPR does for the subjects of blogs to respond in.

    The personification of attempted manipulation and control is former Canton mayor William J. Healy, II.

    Take a look at this video of Healy chasing me around Canton council chambers demanding that I turn the camera off.

    The SCPR is undeterred by public officials/figures who cannot "stand the heat in the 'political' kitchen and nearly always a finds way to keep Stark Countians informed about the political/government activities of all who try to get in the way of being held accountable.

    Accountability is a prime democratic-republican system of government value and one can only think that those who deny/demand must have a strong streak of "anti-democratic" blood coursing through their bodies.

    After seeing last night's debate, I understand fully why Stephen Slesnick would not want the voting public seeing him on camera.

    In all the years that I have be covering Stark County political subdivision politics (going on nine [9] now), I have not seen a more pathetic presentation than Slesnick's last night.

    Normally, the SCPR does an analysis of any video recorded public event.

    But last night's clearly speaks for itself.  And all readers of the SCPR (and, for that matter, any November, 2016 prospective voters) need do is to invest 44 minutes in viewing last night's face off to seem for themselves how utterly unprepared Stephen Slesnick is to be a Stark County commissioner.

    Hopefully, all SCPR readers will make that investment of time.

    But, if not, here's an outline of the highlights of the debate:
    • Bill Smith clearly as a 15 years Canton township trustee comes across of being intimately familiar with county commissioner government and how county government connects with other Ohio political subdivisions.
    • As pointed out by Smith, he not only understands being a government official in being a trustee; he also has operated several businesses successfully for several years.
    • Boiled down, Slesnick's reason for running for county commissioner seems to be that he was born and raised in Stark County and has a impulse to continuing to serve in some capacity of government,
      • SCPR note:  Unstated by Slesnick, which is the "real" reason The Report thinks he is running, is that he is as of December 31, 2016 term limited out of the Ohio House of Representatives and therefore needs to new landing place in order to sup at the public trough,
    • Slesnick claims that he has brought millions back to Stark County over the course of his eight (8) years representing the general Canton area (now expanded to include most of Massillon) in the Ohio House of Representatives.
    • He also claims to have brought $5 million back to specifically benefit Canton's Pro Football Hall of Fame Project,
      • SCPR note:  Quite frankly,  SCPR does not believe either claim to be accurate and will over the space of the remaining campaign to investigate Slesnick's claims,
    • A positive thing that Slesnick spoke to was in his response to a question about what needs to be done to make Stark County government better.   He opened a discussion of looking into merging health department operations and building department operations across various Stark County political subdivisions into "one-stop-shop" operations.
      • SCPR Note:  A good idea that needs to be accomplished.  Slesnick's much more capable cousin (Councilman-at-Large Bill Smuckler) ran for commissioner a number of years ago with that agenda as a prime mission.  Had he been elected, The Report thinks Stark County would have achieved some semblance of that goal under his watch.
    • Slesnick repeated a couple theme throughout his presentation Saturday in saying that he accords high priority to Stark County being fiscally responsible and, by implication, that he wants to implement measures stop the brain drain (i.e. work on economic development) that is occurring in Stark County.
      • SCPR Notes:  
        • #1-When Janet Creighton and Thomas Bernabei became commissioners (2010), they took office and immediately instituted measures to tighten Stark's fiscal profile.  Consequently, the Stark County commissioners, who have a prime responsibility of budgeting and appropriating for all Stark County departments of government, have converted a shaky fiscal status into one being top notch in context of available financial resources and monitoring department performance.
          • A main reason for the development of a solid fiscal foundation and operation is fellow Canton Township trustee (to Bill Smith) and Stark County budget director Chris Nichols.  Quarterly, he issues accountability reports which only the SCPR publishes in full.
          • In the SCPR's book, Nichols is Stark County's #1 rated "appointed" public official.
        • #2-A major weakness with the Stark County commissioners is the board's lack of an economic development plan.  The commissioner make an annual contribution to the Stark Development Board (SDB).  As far as the SCPR is concerned relying the SDB is hugely inadequate.  However, Slesnick has to do better than banter that he wants Stark to not be subject to a "brain drain," but rather be into developing ways a means to create conditions whereby Stark experiences a "brain gain."  All Slesnick did was to invoke "glittering generality" language with no specific  proposal being provided as to how he as commissioner would correct this glaring inadequacy of the current and former Stark County Boards of Commissioners.
    • Bill Smith repetitively chided Slesnick about his being present in the Ohio House and yet local governments saw greatly reduced "local government funding" at the hand of the Ohio General Assembly complicit with Governor Kasich.
      • SCPR Note:  Smith's foray into this subject matter was the perfect opportunity for Slesnick to jump all over Smith who is a staunch Republican inasmuch as the drastic cuts to local government funding by Ohio government are owned "lock, stock and barrel" by the Republicans.  But he merely let it pass.  Wow! Who is advising this guy on political strategy?
    A interesting aside.

    During his presentation, Smith referred to Stark County having a new prosecutor.  Apparently this was his expectation that fellow Republican Jeff Jakmides who was in the audience is going to unseat sitting prosecutor (going for his fourth consecutive term in office) come November.

    Interesting no?

    NextChapter's June 25, 2016 debate between state Representative Stephen Slesnick and Trustee Bill Smith (Canton Township) was a  debacle for Slesnick.

    He showed how utterly "unprepared" he is to be Stark County commissioner.

    The Report has been covering the Stark County commissioners for upwards of nine (9) years and cannot recall ever seeing Slesnick at a meeting.

    And his unfamiliarity with commissioner functions showed in the debate.

    For example, he calls the annual commissioner "carryover" a surplus.

    Anyone familiar with commissioner operations know that "unplanned" expenses happen frequently with Stark County government facilities.  Several years ago, the Stark County Board of Elections experienced a major water problem which had to be dealt with today!; not tomorrow.

    Bill Smith, on the other hand, has been a frequent visitor to commissioner meetings since he announced that he was running for commissioner.

    Besides his attending commissioner meetings, Smith likely has been dealing with the commissioners in his capacity of being a Canton township trustee going back some fifteen (15) years.

    The Reports adds "unqualified" as a label that should be attributed to Slesnick.

    Unqualified in the sense that the debate shows that he does not understand the structure of Ohio's form of commissioner governance.

    This from a state Representative of some eight (8) years in Columbus?

    Take a look for yourself.  The entire debate.  A videotaped debate as a SCPR public service that one can understand that Stephen Slesnick has to wishing he had stuck to his guns and never participated in.

    This video in and of itself shows how utterly unprepared and unqualified Stephen Slesnick is to be a Stark County commissioner.

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