Friday, July 29, 2016



These are absolutely critical times for the Canton City Schools (CCS).

In a little over two weeks,  the students who live in Stark County's county seat will be filing into the buildings of the CCS questing for "a brighter tomorrow."

The question:  Is there "a brighter tomorrow" for the CCS or is it all "doom and gloom?"

The SCPR has seen the answer as being "doom and gloom.

Witness  a November, 2013 blog on the Rinaldi/Resnick face-off (LINK) and this chart from the Ohio Department of Education in a recent SCPR blogs LINK).

That is until the SCPR learned that once bitter political enemies and Canton City Schools Board of Education (CCS-BOE, BOE, District) J.R. Rinaldi and Eric Resnick have more or less reconciled their differences and have agreed to set them aside in their joint mission to provide the essential leadership to reverse CCS slide into an academic abyss.

The Report has learned that CCS officials have in hand a similar chart that, while currently in preliminary stages, it is said to show a continuing dire situation in the quality of education in the CCS top to bottom.

Moreover, there are reports that there have been protracted and tense negotiations between the Canton Professional Educators Association and the CCS on a new contract for the teaching staff with the school system.  An unconfirmed (with CPEA/school officials) report has the CPEA voting on a new contract today.

The Report is told that the CPEA has a particularly bitter take on Superintendent Adrian Allison and want him gone.

Because of Resnick and Rinaldi's "we are together" leadership model,  it appears that the CPEA is prepared to put its opposition on the back burner and agree to a new contract.

School starts in a little over two weeks.

Unless he decides otherwise, Allison will be continuing with the CCS for School Year 2016/2017.

Take a look at his current contract:

Allison has been on the job since January 1, 2013 and by contract has a right to continue as CCS superintendent until July 31, 2013 which in essence means one more school year after this school year.

The Report believes that might well be a move initiated perhaps as early as  February, 2017 to explore the feasibility of Allison agreeing to a termination of his relationship with CCS prior to the beginning of the 2017/2018 school year.

One unhappiness with Allison reportedly is that he keeps bringing forth models of education that will not work in an urban school such as the CCS.

In addition to the reported CPEA dissatisfaction with Allison, the inadequacy of a workable educational model for Canton's schools, he has a historically poor relationship with BOE member Resnick (likely beginning with the Timken/McKinley merger flap [LINK] and The Report thinks that it might be in Resnick's mind that the best thing going forward is for Allison to move on.

The Report has not talked with Resnick and the foregoing is conjecture by the SCPR based on past animosities that Resnick has directed at Allison.

A CCS connected person in a position to know says that the chief reason for hope for the system going forward is a rebuilding of the CCS education infrastructure beginning in the primary grades (a process said to be already underway).

Cantonians ought to hoping and praying that the Resnick/Rinaldi coming together and the "rebuilding the basics of fundamentally sound education" is the "real deal" in Canton, for if it is not, there could be a absolutely horrible immediate future for Canton's schools.

And the consequences to Canton in general without a viable plan to dramatically improve Canton schools will be far reaching.

Canton has elected a new mayor (politically independent Thomas M. Bernabei) who is already making dramatic improvements in the fundamental financial base of Canton government.

Moreover, he is working through the city's building department (principally Rinaldi) to reconstruct those neighborhoods of Canton that can be turned positive and be an attraction to younger families as being a desirable place to nurture family life.

But all this work will lilely be for naught if the Canton schools are not improved dramatically over the next ten years.

One reader of the SCPR thinks that Canton might be in for an immediate future (meaning one more year to turn things around) akin to the Cleveland, Lorain and Youngstown schools wherein the Canton schools become mired in what is nominated as being the Academic Distress Commission, to wit:

Is it possible that the Canton City Schools will suffer the same fate as the Youngstown School District and be placed under state supervision soon? 

The latest data will be released soon and the numbers for Canton City Schools do not look good.  In fact Canton is in about as bad shape as the Cleveland City School District and other distressed school districts like Lorain City Schools.

You may recall that the State of Ohio passed legislation (HB 70) which allowed the state to takeover the Youngstown Schools.  HB70 provides for the state superintendent to make three appointments, the mayor of the city to make one appointment, and the president of the school board to make the last appointment.  The all powerful position of Chief Executive Officer is appointment by the Academic Distress Commission.

You may also recall that this legislation was past quickly and without much fanfare and passed as an effort to "rescue" the Youngstown Schools.

As an overview, here is how the process works.

The Academic Distress Commission is a joint school district and state panel that steps in to try to fix the schools.

The determination of which school is taken over is as follows: Previous state law called for state takeover of districts rated in "academic emergency," the equivalent of an overall F grade on state report cards for three years in a row, and who miss a few other standards under the federal No Child Left Behind law.

Because the state's not giving districts overall grades right now, three years of F grades on the Performance Index measurement of student achievement and a grade of D or F for the value-added measure of student academic progress would also trigger state takeover.   The new bill makes only slight adjustments to these rules.

Districts Currently Affected:  Both the Lorain and Youngstown school districts have Academic Distress Commissions running their schools, but only Youngstown was affected by HB 70 - for 2015 to 2016 school year.

If Lorain's grades do not improve, a new Academic Distress Commission with new powers could be created for the 2017-18 school year.

Any new districts declared as failing will be handled under the new rules.

Bill changes panel membership: Before this bill, the state superintendent would appoint three people to this five-member panel. The local school board president would appoint two.

HB 70 would still let the state superintendent approve three members, but requires one of them to be from the district's county. The school board president appoints one member, who must be a teacher and the mayor appoints the fifth.

New CEO would take most of the control: The panel and the school board already in place in the district would give most of its power to a new CEO to be paid between $150,000 and $200,000 a year by the state.

Duties would include, as described by the the legislature's non-partisan research arm:

(1) Replacing school administrators and central office staff;
(2) Assigning employees to schools and approving transfers;
(3) Hiring new employees;
(4) Defining employee responsibilities and job descriptions;
(5) Establishing employee compensation;
(6) Allocating teacher class loads;
(7) Conducting employee evaluations;
(8) Making reductions in staff;
(9) Setting the school calendar;
(10) Creating a budget for the district;
(11) Contracting for services for the district;
(12) Modifying policies and procedures established by the district board;
(13) Establishing grade configurations of schools;
(14) Determining the school curriculum;
(15) Selecting instructional materials and assessments;
(16) Setting class sizes; and
(17) Providing for staff professional development.

CEO can close struggling schools: By year two of the Commission being named, the CEO can close struggling schools, impose a turnaround plan or convert the school to a charter school.

CEO can change union contracts: By year three, the CEO can change or suspend any rules in place in union contracts, so long as they do not lower the pay and benefits of employees.

School board appointed by mayor, not elected: By year five, school board members will be appointed by the mayor, not elected. There will be no vote by the community to make this change, as occurred in Cleveland when it shifted to a mayorally-appointed board.

The community will have a vote to return to election its school board once the district is no longer considered as "failing."

Panel and CEO will also add more charter schools: The bill calls for adding more "high quality" school choices in the district for families and creating a panel to act as a "high quality school accelerator" to improve schools and add more choices faster.

The legislative comments state: "The accelerator's role is to promote "high-quality" schools in the district, lead improvement efforts for underperforming schools not operated by the district, recruit "high-quality" sponsors for community school, attract new "high-quality" schools to the district, and increase the overall capacity of schools to deliver a "high-quality" education for students."

CEO will create a community advisory panel: The CEO must create a panel of community advisors to help create a new plan for the district.

The commentary to the legislation further states: "The purpose of the group is to develop expectations for academic improvement in the district and to assist the district in building relationships with organizations in the community that can provide needed services to students. The members of the group must include at least educators, civic and business leaders, and representatives of institutions of higher education and government service agencies."

State Funding: The state can give the district up to $1.5 million as a one-time payment to enact its plan.

With regard to the Youngstown Schools, the 2015 results of this state takeover of the Youngstown Schools will be apparent once the data for last year is presented in the forthcoming weeks.  At that time we will also know if Canton Schools will be on to a "Brighter Tomorrow" or to State Supervision.

The SCPR for one hopes that the apparent "coming together" of former BOE rivals Resnick and Rinaldi for the sake of the well-being of the  Canton schools will be effective to stave off what may be in the offing for Canton schools (i.e. Academic Distress Commission supervision).

Such a development would certainly impede Canton's municipal government in its effort to get the city healthy again.

Many area citizens and Stark County political subdivision (elected and appointed) officials think that the Pro Football Hall of Fame Village Project (HOFVP)—if it materializes—will be "the salvation of Canton."

While all should hope and pray that the HOFVP becomes a reality, it will not be a panacea solution to the decades in the making problem of the eighth largest city of Ohio.

It will be the work of Canton's strong neighborhood association network, responsible landlords (e.g. Kings Landing LINK)  coordinating with the schools and the Bernabei administration that will "tell the tale" of the future of a town that is the birthplace of a president of the United States.

Thursday, July 28, 2016




AUGUST 22, 2016

The Stark County Political Report has learned from a source that Canton Ward 5 Councilman Kevin Fisher has been the subject of talk about his resigning his seat, moving to Colonial Heights and, perhaps, being the replacement for Cody Horner as a Democratic candidate for Stark County treasurer Alex Zumbar.

Fisher denies to the SCPR that he plans to replace Horner as the Democratic candidate for county treasurer.

He initially in an e-mail to the SCPR failed to respond to the report that the SCPR has with respect to his reported resignation effective August 1st.

However, The Report just talked with Fisher moments ago and he says that it could be that he resigns from his position on council prior to the end of his current term as of December 31, 2017 inasmuch as he has purchased a property located in Canton but out of Ward 5.

At the outside limit, Fisher says he does not "plan" to run for re-election for council from Ward 5.

Reading into the nuances of the Fisher/SCPR discussion about his reported impending resignation, the SCPR thinks that while the reported August 1st date appears to be premature, it will be much sooner than later.

It will be interesting to see how this story unfolds.

The Report's source is certainly in a position to know "the inside baseball" talk about this thing or that thing insofar as Canton government and Canton/Stark County Democratic Party politics is concerned.

As far as his future political plans are concerned, he took the position in the conversation that he "would never say never" about resuming a political career once he is no longer a Canton councilman.

Fisher says he does not know who might become Zumbar's opponent if anybody steps forward.

The Report is told that Horner told Stark County Democratic Party chairman Phil Giavasis to shove it on the treasurer's race for the lack of support he has received from the hierarchy of the party in acquiring the resources anybody would need to oppose Zumbar.

Zumbar has the unique distinction of having been a Republican appointed to office by the Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee on October 31, 2011 (LINK).

With the names that are being bandied about, it appears to The Report that Zumbar may be in for a "free ride" once again compliments of the Stark County Democratic Party notwithstanding former chairman Randy Gonzalez promise at the 2011 meeting that Zumbar would be a target for unseating by a viable Democratic candidate.

So far, it appears that Gonzalez's promise has a hollow ring to it, no?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016



October 31, 2011 is likely viewed by Stark County Democrats such as Canton City Council president Alan Schulman as a "day of infamy" in  Stark County Democratic Party annals.,

On October 19th, then-Democratic Stark County treasurer resigned from office after having been restored to office in August, 2011 having been illegally removed according to the Supreme Court of Ohio by then Stark County commissioners Bosley, Meeks and Ferguson (all Democrats).

It had been revealed on April 1, 2009 that then-Chief Deputy Treasurer Vince Frustaci had stolen what turned out to be in the vicinity of $3 million from the county treasury, a crime for which he is currently serving a 10 year federal prison sentence.

Zeigler came under fire from local officials for, in the opinion of the state of Ohio auditor's office, not properly managed the county treasury managed the office in terms of its physical facilities, its procedures, processes, policies and programs so as to having had in place measures to prevent the theft of county taxpayer money.

On Zeigler's resignation, the Stark County Democratic Central Committee was tasked with finding a replacement for him.

Key Democrats (then-chair Randy Gonzalez, Commissioner Tom Bernabei (now a political independent and mayor of Canton and others) advocated the appointment by the Dems of Republican Alex Zumbar, to wit (Gonzalez at the Central Committee meeting) for the stability of Stark County government.

The Democrats did in fact provide opposition to Zumbar in November, 2012 but not with a candidate that offered much of an electoral challenge to him.

Here is a video clip of Schulman's opposing the Stark Democratic Central Committee appointment of Republican Alex Zumbar as treasurer of Stark County back in October, 2011.

Fast forward to 2016.

Zumbar is up for re-election.

Democrat Cody Horner filed as a candidate and was elected by Democrats in the May, 2016 primary to vie with Zumbar in November.

Then this:

Consequently, the Dems are scrambling to find a replacement facing a deadline of August 15th.rn

And by the way, the SCPR did not consider Horner to be much of a threat to Zumbar's continuance in office.  Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump being at the head of the Republican ticket is more of a barrier than anybody the Democrats put up.

The SCPR has an initial report that Canton City Schools Board of Education member Corey Minor Smith (elected last November) had be asked to replace Horner.

On contacting her yesterday, Minor Smith denied the report and said she would not be a candidate.

The Report is told that the Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee will be meeting this week to select a Horner replacement.

It is hard to imagine that the Dems can come up with a viable candidate to oppose Zumbar.

So in effect whatever the Dems do in finding a replacement, it will amount to a sort of "deja vu all over again."

Another way to put it:  Alex Zumbar has more or less received three free rides at the hand of "organized" Democrats since he defeated Ken Koher in a in effect void election in November, 2010.

Koher had the credential to be and was a legitimate cause for concern on the part of Zumbar to his being in the position he is today.

So much for the Gonzalez "hot air" in implying in the 2011 video above that the Dems would vigorously contest the continuance of Republican Alex Zumbar in office.

Monday, July 25, 2016


UPDATED:  11:20 am


(Creative Commons "None of the Above" logo overlaid on SCPR Clinton/Trump Graphic)



In one respect, the country of India is ahead of the greatest democratic-republic in the history of the world.

And in American, Nevada stands out alongside India in offering the opportunity to vote "None of the Above" (NOTA) instead of "the lesser of two evils."

Unfortunately, these votes in both India and in Nevada do not effect the results of a given election. The NOTA votes are merely recorded as a "for the record" dissatisfaction with the candidates presented to the voters.

It could be different.

A Wikipedia article NOTA sets out possible consequences that would make NOTA votes consequential, to wit: (LINK)

When None of the Above is listed on a ballot, there is the possibility of NOTA receiving a majority or plurality of the vote, and so "winning" the election. In such a case, a variety of formal procedures may be invoked, including having the office remain vacant, having the office filled by appointment, re-opening nominations or holding another election (in a body operating under parliamentary procedure), or it may have no effect whatsoever, as in India and the US state of Nevada, where the next highest total wins regardless.

Locally, NOTA could have, if Ohio had an authorizing law, "the winner" in the Perez/Healy race for mayor in the Democratic primary election of May 5, 2015.

The SCPR did a blog on that election which pined for Cantonians to have had that opportunity.

Fortunately, for Cantonians, Thomas M. Bernabei "stepped-up-to-the-plate" changing from a registered Democrat to being a political independent and successively negotiated a mine field of potential legal obstacles and ran against Healy in November, 2015 defeating him in is bid for a third consecutive term.

On the national level, many Americans hoped for a viable opponent to Republican Donald J. Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton would surface so that we (myself included in the word "many") would have clear "on the merits" candidates.

An opponent to Trump hoped for because he is an egotist of extreme proportions who thinks he can cure what ails America single handedly.

An opponent to Clinton hoped for because she has had opportunities nearly two decades to effect real change in this country but, if anything, has been a significant part of the worsening of the USA.

Readers should follow links to Washington Post editorials on both Trump and Clinton.
The foregoing editorials focus on the chapter and verse of the manifold foibles of both.

Both, indeed, are highly flawed candidates.


All of Trump's challengers were second rate with the possible exception of our Ohio governor John Kasich, to wit:

"We want politicians to stand on principle and then whenever they do, if it's not the principle we like, we're not so much into them standing on principle. When you stand on principle, sometimes you're all alone."

And this from a Los Angeles Times article (LINK):

Delegates hadn't even finished unpacking their elephant pins and other pachyderm paraphernalia when Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign chairman, unloaded on Kasich, another former rival of Trump's, hitting him for refusing to endorse the GOP nominee or even set foot inside the convention hall. Kasich was ubiquitous everywhere else in and around Cleveland.

The week-long carping between the Trump and Kasich camps, which included Kasich criticizing Trump's statements about possibly not defending NATO allies — continued into the weekend when Kasich, in an interview with, poor-mouthed Trump's chances of carrying Ohio in November.

A "divider" like Trump will have a hard time winning Ohio, Kasich said. "Ohio's a snapshot of the country. People in Ohio want a positive way forward."

On Sunday's Meet The Press (NBC News) Trump said he probably will form a political action committee to funnel money to a Kasich opponent in order to take him down politically.

At the Thursday concluded Republican National Convention, Kasich took a stand on political principle in not showing up in support of Trump and in refusing to endorse him.

He and the "Never Trump" movement and their ilk appear to be Republicans capable of espousing and acting upon political principle.

Those who fall-in with Trump seem not to have that capability.

For many of them, it is political party interests over having political principles that benefit America as a whole.

It was not that long ago that The Report witnessed one elected Stark County Republican pooh-pooing the notion that Trump could become the Republican nominee. 

At the time, he was certain that Jeb Bush would end up being the nominee.

His real message was that whoever won the Republican nomination is the person he would be supporting.

The SCPR has learned that several Stark County Political Subdivision Republican elected officials are saying within the past week that because of Kasich's stand in not supporting Trump, they will not support Kasich in the future political ventures.

To The Report, such is so much political "hot air" born of the "heat of an 'emotional' moment."

And silly, too.

There is no comparison whatsoever on character factors when assessing John Kasich with Donald J. Trump.

What are these people thinking?

And, of course, that is with the SCPR being quite aware that John Kasich has a rich history of engaging political expediency as a touchstone of his political career.

However, his fuss with Trump shows that he does have a capacity to rise above self-interest and political party interest when a person a flagrant in conduct as Donald J. Trump is.

That capability, if he has ever possessed it, has long been missing from the make up of Trump.


During the Republican presidential primary campaign Trump had savaged him along with most of the other multitude of candidates.  Trump and his people repeated a political assault on Kasich last Monday

It was gratifying to see Jeb Bush lose early and badly in the Republican primary but not because he is a bad person as charged by Trump. 

He, like Clinton, is yesterday's political news of failed politicians of old.  Moreover, he is part of a family that more or less have been a political dynasty which has been part of the run up to the deep, deep dissatisfaction that nests in the being of many, many Americans.

Trump is attractive way to millions of voters merely because he says things that resonate with the frustrations of government ineffectiveness experienced day-in, day-out by nearly all of us from the school house (i.e. local boards of education) all the way to the White House.

What many of us have not realized is that were he to be elected, it is highly likely that Donald J. Trump would prove to have been a "deadly attraction" on the basis of his fear mongering who would accelerate a decline in democratic-republican basic values that we all cherish.

Would it not be terrific to have a NOTA with teeth in it so as to allow for a "do-over" in the event the NOTA vote proved to be the plurality vote?

But no dice.  We are stuck with an absolutely horrific choice in the Clinton/Trump match up.

Trump would likely prove to be a national disaster with his "I am your voice.  I alone can fix itI will restore law and order" Thursday night acceptance speech.

Donald thinks he doesn't need anybody's help except, perhaps, for a $1 million kickstarter at the hand of his father as he started on third base on becoming a wealthy man.

Otherwise, according to him, he's America's Horatio Alger of the 20th and 21st century.


While we might muddle through with Hillary, that's the best we can hope for.

But with the revelations of the e-mail scandal, she showed amazing poor judgment for someone who should known better.

Because of her poor judgment, her obsession with secrecy and her non-stop political calculating modality, it is not hard to see that she will commit a blunder in the political/governance mix that becomes costly to everyday Americans in an "up close and personal sense."

While Bernie Sanders in terms of being qualitative is a step up the Republican candidates taking on Trump, he is too extreme in embracing a clearly socialist agenda for a Sanders presidency.

Sanders deserves the respect of all of us for "more or less" standing on principle.  But his knees did buckle in endorsing Hillary.  Shame on him for that especially in light of the WikiLeaks publication of Democratic National Committee e-mails showing that he was a victim of an "inside job" at the hand of DNC officials.

Had he been elected as a delegate to the DNC Convention in Philadelphia, Democratic state Representative candidate John Juergensen (the 50th, Republican opponent Christina Hagan) was committed to support Sanders.


American are left with a "lesser of two evils" standard.

Already in discussions with locals of varying (Republican/Democrat) basic political persuasion the phenomenon of "rationalizing" as set in as they seek to justifying voting for the respective political party standard bearer, the SCPR notes that they seek to create "a feel good about themselves" justification for their partisan motivated votes.

The USA (as both political camps like to chant as if they personify "what's good for America) consequently will elect electoral majority "lesser of two evils" come November.




Most troubling for Stark Countians should that Stark's foremost Republican; namely, Commissioner Janet Creighton is reported in the local press as having said that she would do what she could to assist the Trump campaign.



Does this mean she buys into the ugliness, distortion of if not fabrication of facts and arrogance of the Republican nominee?

Does she really think with her experience in Stark County government that one person can fix thing?

If so, such is a clear departure for the Janet Creighton that has served Stark County well over her storied political career.

One of her motivations (the SCPR's takeaway from one-on-ones with her) is her political animus towards Hillary Clinton.

Creighton is likely Stark County foremost woman leader in blazing a pathway for women in Stark County government.  And she forged her "woman as capable leader" in the face of much local official Republican Party opposition early in her political career.

So it is strange to hear her land on Clinton in a seeming "over-the-top" manner given the obvious barriers that she and many American women have had to overcome in assuming their rightful place in American government and politics.

To boot, her man Trump is viewed by many to be sexist.


There is a personal political stake for "Commissioner" Janet Creighton.

If Trump does not do well in Stark County which the SCPR thinks is likely, one of the casualties could be her good friend and likely colleague Bill Smith (now a Canton Township trustee) who is running to fill the seat of Canton mayor and former Stark County commissioner Thomas M. Bernabei.

Trump doing well in Stark given the lack of an effective field organization as witness political infighting that has occurred within the volunteer Trump organization post-primary does not seem to be a viable objective.

If such was doable, Bill Smith would win in a walk.

The Report thinks Creighton should focus on the Smith/Slesnick and Jakmides/Ferrero (for Stark County prosecutor) and supporting incumbent Republican county treasurer Alex Zumbar.

These are credible candidates.  Donald J. Trump is not.


If one out of a sort of "party loyalty) needs to impliedly play "I'am lukewarm about Trump" game, the Auditor Alan Harold (the SCPR's #2 Stark County elected official) model might be one to follow.

"I will campaign for all Republicans this fall," he is reported in local media as having said at the RNC.  Avoiding a specific commitment to tout Trump.

And make no mistake about it.  Alan Harold is a devout Republican. 

But the SCPR thinks that the "all" in —"I will campaign for ALL Republicans"— will in reality be a focus on the Smith, Jakmides and Zumbar campaigns and very little for Trump.

The SCPR still carries a Harold picture in mind of him demonstrating with other local Republicans anti-John Boccieri at the Sunoco service station near downtown as Boccieri went up against then-state Senator Kirk Schuring in 2008 for the right to succeed Ralph Regula as congressman for the 16th congressional district which at the time included all of Stark County.

Apparently, contrary to Creighton, Harold is able to discern how utterly flawed Donald J. Trump is as a candidate in terms of personal qualities (without even talking about his yo-yo effect on policy and program federal issues) for the highest office in the land.

Accordingly, as between the two, Stark County Republicans would be better served in terms of electing local candidates to follow the Harold model.


State Representative Kirk Schuring seems to present the very best model (comparing him to Creighton and Harold) for Stark County Republicans to follow in adhering to political principle is one's standard a la Kasich.

The Report has heretofore thought that Commissioner Creighton would be foremost in following  the Kasich lead in his "on principle" stance and action.

But it appears that Kirk Schuring has "trumped" her on standing with Kasich.

Last week he lauded Kasich for his stand on principle and his focus re-electing Rob Portman (as has Kasich. i.e.  "all-out for Portman") to the United States Senate.

Portman himself has embraced Trump which is kind of weird given the "I have your back" of the "all-out for Portman" stance of Kasich.

If Portman loses for being too closely connected to Trump, he will only have himself and, perhaps, the likes of Creighton and Harold to blame; not Kasich and derivatively not Schuring. 

And you might be able to throw Bill Smith and Jeff Jakmides in for extra measure. Jakmides has embraced Trump's commitment to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico as a way keep heroin out of Stark County.

It will be interesting to see how local Republican candidates handle Trump association questions going forward to November.

If Stark County Democratic chairman Phil Giavasis is any measure of what approach Smith, Jakmides and Zumbar and other local Republican candidates might have to endure at the hand of their Democratic opponents trying to connect them to "an unseemly" Trump as head of the Republican ticket, the local Republicans appear to have nothing to worry about.

For Giavasis says that the Stark Dems' leadership is not recommending that local Democratic candidates endeavor to tie local Republican candidates to the outrageous side of Trump.

That's what he says. 

The SCPR doubts that will be the reality.


There is sort of an irony in this mayor of Massillon being a Stark County premier woman elected public official being  "all-in" in supporting a woman for president of the United States.

SCPR thinks Democrat Hillary Clinton is, like her or not, destined to be the first woman to become a president of the United States.

In contrast to Creighton, who fought "tooth and nail" with local Republican "male" leadership to establish herself as a first-rate Stark County elected offiicial, Kathy Catazaro-Perry has been the political puppet of former Stark County Democratic chairman and Massillon clerk of courts Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.

Accordingly, The Report thinks that she comports with Donald Trump's vision of what an ideal female elected official should be like rather than the "feisty," in the context of her relationship with male politicians, Janet Creighton.

Catazaro-Perry has worn a pathway from her office to that of Maier's as she gets her daily marching orders from Maier on the process and substance of governing as a chief executive officer of Massillon.

Massillon's mayor will undoubtedly be in her "seventh Heaven" this coming week as she votes at the Philadelphia sited Democratic National Convention to nominate Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate for president of the United States.

Maier, Jr. will be euphoric also.

When Hillary's husband Bill was president, Maier, Jr. went to his 1992 (yours truly's recollection) inauguration.

This local hardened politician came back to Stark County with "stars in his eyes" notwithstanding Bill Clinton's well known character flaws.

Interesting, no?

Should Clinton be elected, Mayor Kathy will be in "the catbird's seat" as the "be all, the know all" on women in politics as far as much of Stark County media is concerned.

Doesn't seem quite fair in the light of how hard Creighton has had to fight to make a place of women in Stark County government and politics, no?

If Clinton carries Stark County and Ohio, a likely casualty of the Democratic triumph will be former Democratic governor Ted Strickland.

And that would be just fine with Catazaro-Perry and her political "Kitchen-Cabinet" of Maier, Jr., Jackson and Elum.

Maier, Jr., forever became beholden to Maier, Jr when the latter became the very first county Democratic Party chairman to endorse Strickland in his successful run for governor in 2006.

As a consequence, the SCPR believes Maier was able to place a number of his political friends (Jackson) and family (George T. Maier) into state government positions.

Many Americans think it is high time for a woman to be elected as an American president, just not Hillary Clinton.

Nevertheless, Catazaro-Perry will benefit from a likely Clinton victory in November even though it will be on the basis with all too many voters of Clinton being "the lesser of two evils."


Neither Trump or Clinton are candidates "to write home about" in terms of their presidential qualities.

It sure would be step in the right direction of enhanced democratic-republican principles if one of the Stark County delegation to the Ohio General Assembly were to formulate and advance a NOTA.

But don't ever expect that to happen.

American political parties are so saturated with mediocre if not substandard candidates for office that to equip voters with a NOTA choice is simply unthinkable.

The "lesser of two evils" is likely to continue as the conventional standard in selecting local, state and national elected officials.

Friday, July 22, 2016


As service director and chief of staff in the then newly elected Healy administration, Thomas Bernabei wanted to hire J.R. Rinaldi to run Canton's sanitation department.

It probably did not dawn on Bernabei at the time, but Mayor William J. Healy, II set about making Bernabei's druthers in the matter a non-starter.  He offered Rinaldi $40,000 as a salary.

It should have dawned on Bernabei (a maybe it did) that Healy's handling of the desired hiring was an omen that Healy was not about to let Bernabei actually put people in place who could be effective in solving Canton's problems.

It was not long after the Bernabei to Rinaldi overture that Bernabei got fired (January, 2009).

The SCPR has written frequently that Healy's ego is such that there was no way was he going to allow a situation develop that it became apparent to one and all that Bernabei, if given free reign on such matters, would begin a "real" turnaround for Canton.

Had Healy allowed Bernabei to do his thing, William J. Healy would be serving his third term as mayor and would not instead be a Vice President of the Elderly Housing Development & Operations Corporation (EHDOC) located in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

EHDOC has properties in Canton, namely, Mayfield Manors I, II & III.

Of course, we all are familiar with the series of events in which former Democrat Thomas M. Bernabei on May 4, 2015 declared as a political independent and survived a Board of Elections challenge and Ohio Supreme Court challenge to get on the November, 2015 general election ballot and defeat Healy.

It has been apparent to the SCPR for some time that Bernabei thinks well of Rinaldi.

Some will get a smile on their faces and say:  "Well, that's because J.R. is and has been dating (going back some six years) Bernabei's daughter Kim will plans to marry sometime on a unspecified future date."

Here is an excerpt from an e-mail that the SCPR recently received:

Hi Martin, (July 20)

There is a recent new hire at the building and code department for the city of Canton. JR Rinaldi was hired by Bernabei to be the number 2 in charge there.

It seems kind of interesting that he is seeing the mayors daughter and has no experience in building and code.

I don't know much more than that but he started yesterday.

And here is Bernabei's confirmation of the hire:

But the Sanitation job thing was eight years ago seems to undermine such thinking.

The SCPR appreciates tips like the foregoing and set about checking it out whether or not the "daughter" thing was "the reason" that Mayor Bernabei hired J.R. Rinaldi.

Readers of the SCPR know that The Report does not much like it when hires like this one are made without the job being posted and therefore not available to the tax paying public at large.

And in this instance, it seems to the SCPR that Rinaldi is going to have a much more significant role in the Bernabei administration than being #2 in the Canton Building Department.

One of the criticisms of Healy heard by The Report repeatedly over his years in office was that he would stash what were really administration employees in this or that department taking their orders from Mayor Healy.

There is a difference with Bernabei.

He forthrightly says in the above letter to council that he plans on using Rinaldi as a Executive Specialist.

A reason offered up by elected officials for making a selection of someone that the official knows and is well taken with is that the official wants key people in their employ to be a person they know they can rely on.

Such reasoning is perfectly acceptable in the private sector where a company's or an business person's investment is at stake.  Not in the public sector.  If taxpayer monies are involved, then the public official has an obligation to the public to seek the best possible person for the job and if the hiring process is short circuited then it cannot be said that the insider hired was the best possible person.

The SCPR has a very high regard for Mayor Bernabei.

He is Stark's top political subdivision elected official on the SCPR "Top 10" List.

The Report agrees with Bernabei that Rinaldi is a highly capable person.

Recently, he went through a competition with Canton Parks & Recreation director Derek Gordon when at the onset of the Bernabei administration it was announced that with the formation of a new entity (Canton Park Commission merging with the Canton Joint Recreation District pand emerging as the Canton Parks & Recreation Commission), the directorship question was being opened up as to who would lead the new entity.

Rinaldi was one of the finalist for the directorship which went to Gordon.

The Report was impressed that by all accounts Mayor Bernabei did not attempt to intervene with his appointees to the new commission (Mike Hanke and Sam Sliman) on behalf of Rinaldi.

Yours truly knew about the relationship between Rinaldi and Bernabei's daughter and his hands off on the selection process is further evidence that the relationship probably is not a factor in the current hire.

Rinaldi is already at work on a couple of projects in his added role as the mayor's Executive Specialist.  One has to wonder though whether or not Rinaldi's special relationship with the mayor will ruffle the feathers of some top in the top tier of the administration

Having to deal with a $5.2 million deficit this year and perhaps more deficit next year, there is no doubt that Bernabei can use the likes of a John Rinaldi to troubleshoot/fix the many problems that Canton faces.

And there could be more to this story.

Over four years, Bernabei's being mayor will get Canton headed in the right direction.

However, the rehab of Canton is at least eight years in the making,

Mayor Bernabei is not a young man.

Could he be preparing Rinaldi to succeed him as mayor of Canton?

Tuesday, July 19, 2016



"John F. Kennedy." Wind and Fly LTD, 2016. 19 July 2016.

Stark County GOP chieftains Janet Creighton (a Stark County commissioner), Alan Harold (Stark County auditor) and Kirk Schuring (state Rep. 48th Ohio House District) likely may or may not be into heeding the admonition of one of America's leading Democrats of all time.

Creighton and Schuring (Governor John Kasich delegates) and Harold (an alternate) are faced with a dilemma come the November election.

As Republican presidential selection delegates assembled in Cleveland this week go through the process of  validating the clear choice of Republicans nationwide that Donald J. Trump be  the Republican standard bearer in the U.S. presidential election this fall, Creighton, Schuring and Harold are being scrutinized on every word they utter and every action they take or fail to take for assessment by political pundits as a tip off of how enthusiastic they are to be for Trump from now through November.

Schuring for one is quoted by area media as having said:  "Our governor is a person of integrity and his convictions prevent him from endorsing Trump."

This in the light of Trump having trashed Kasich on the opening of the convention yesterday, to wit:

Moreover, national media reports are making much of the fact that the Ohio delegation (which of course includes locals Creighton and Schuring) has been situated by the Trump people at the back of the convention floor.

Even before the convention, in conversations with both Creighton and Harold, the SCPR's takeaway is that both are treading very cautiously in embracing the Trump candidacy.

For, if Trump, like some think he will, goes down in political flames in November because he lacks self-control; he may take with him local Republicans as well as incumbent U.S. Senator Rob Portman.

From a March 24, 2015 SCPR blog (LINK):

Inadvertently omitted from the blog were Stark County Republican commissioner candidate Bill Smith (a Canton Township trustee) and Dan McMasters, Republican candidate for the Ohio House, the 49th District.

They too may suffer from Trump dragging down the ticket in Stark County.

To their credit, if one believes in political party loyalty, Creighton, Stark County Republican officeholders and and non-office-holding staunch Republicans are indulging some tortured rationalizations these days in order to gin up reasons on which to stand by and vote for the Republican standard bearer.

Arnold, Shriver and Briggs are likely to lose just because they are running against established incumbents.  (Note:  Louis Giavasis [clerk of courts candidate] in an Democrat appointee and therefore is not an "elector" incumbent,but is well established in Stark County politics having been a Plain Township trustee for years)

Of course, Schuring will survive in the 48th even if Trump does poorly in Stark.

Given the wide disparity in quality of the candidates for Stark County commissioner in the Smith/Slesnick race both in communicative skills and knowledge, understanding and solutions in relation to county issues, Smith in other election years would be a shoo-in to win.

The one chance that Democrat Stephen Slesnick has is that local leadership Republicans will drag their collective feet in the context of Trump being the GOP presidential candidate and thereby create a political crease for Slesnick to slip into office.

There is some comfort for local Republican running this year in a response to the SCPR from Stark Democratic chair Phil Giavasis that the Stark County Democratic Party is not recommending that local Democratic candidates  endeavor to tie their Republican opponents to Trump.

Make no mistake about it.  Foot dragging or lack of enthusiasm on the part of local Republican leaders like Janet Creighton can make a difference.

Tip O'Neill (the late former Democratic Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives) once said:  "all politics are local:" meaning that tying political to local citizen interests 

The SCPR figures that Republican Larry Dordea lost to Democrat George T. Maier in 2014 because Creighton, who has strong connections to Governor Kasich, failed to take advantage of Kasich's expected and materialized huge win over his Democratic opponent and convince Kasich to focus on creating a coattails effect for Dordea.

Creighton says that the SCPR overstates her effect on local elections.

Nonetheless, The Report stands by the assessment that Creighton could have made Larry Dordea Stark County sheriff.

So the Dordea/Creighton relationship is proof-positive that she in effect took JFK's statement to heart and apparently thought that Maier was significantly more qualified to be sheriff than Democrat Maier.

Who is sheriff of Stark County is vitally important to those of us who live in Stark County (some 380,000 of us, more or less)

Who gets elected president of the USA is just a tad or two more critically important to some 324 million Americans.

So the question is whether or not Creighton, Harold and Schuring can follow Kasich's lead and at least consider putting the welfare of the nation over the immediate fortunes of the National Republican Party?

Monday, July 18, 2016


(at end of blog)



North Canton has one of the weirdest hiring structures in all of Ohio government.

City council hires the law director and the finance director.

Consequently, it is sort of "a no man's land" insofar as supervision of the law director and and finance director in North Canton.

It is the perfect environment, the SCPR thinks, for North Canton's autocratic Tim Fox to run amok in.

It seems like in not being directly accountable to any single North Canton elected official, he has taken it on himself in and of himself to be North Canton government.

Want a public record?

Well, you may or may not get it.

It all depends on the "unelected" Tim Fox as to whether or not you get it.

Only once has Fox been held accountable by any elected official in North Canton government.

Feeling political heat of a controversy, post-November, 2012 election when North Canton voters at a 78% rate agreed with an ordinance referendum to deny part-time councilpersons health care coverage at city expense if they had alternative means of obtaining coverage, Mayor David Held took it upon himself (nearly a year after the fact of the opinion being issued and refused to the public under the guise of attorney/client privilege) to release a Fox's pro-council analysis of the legality of the ordinance.

Otherwise, Fox appears to have had free reign in "ordering the day" of government in North Canton.

All of which, shows how all-important the hiring process in the no-man's land of accountability is in the ridiculous structure of North Canton government administration.

It appears to the SCPR that the hiring of Fox has been devastating to the public confidence in North Canton government.

But, perhaps, with the recent hiring a replacement financial director, the process is improving.

The Report emphasizes "perhaps" because "the jury is still out" in assessing whether or not Finance chair Dan Griffith has taken the process from a seeming dark and obscure "cloak and dagger-esque" model of Councilman Daniel "Jeff" Peters (re: Fox) into light of day.

One needs to remember however that Griffth was on the council committee which selected Fox.


The SCPR thinks and has written frequently that the September, 2012 hiring of Tim Fox as law director has been an absolute disaster in terms of council and the mayor's relationship with any North Canton citizen who dares question the actions of North Canton government.

Fox, from the outset of his hiring,  knowing how forthright, direct and uncompromising the SCPR is in The Report's expectation that public officials treat citizens with regard and respect and welcome their input on the operation of government, adopted a "Cold War" mentality in dealing with this blog.

And the mayor and council has let him get away with being unaccountable to the North Canton public in his obvious hostility to anyone who has not "come to praise Caesar."

Part of the answer is the structure of North Canton government in having the ridiculous "no man's land" as to who controls the likes of Fox.

The present structure worked fine when the last first rate law director of North Canton was serving the citizens of North Canton.

Roy Batista, a top notch "appointed" North Canton official, who passed away last weekend, last served the city on a temporary basis in the summer of 2012 while council selected a successor to Hans Nilges who resigned in July, 2012.

Prior to the temporary service, Batista had been North Canton's law director (then part-time [80 hours per month) from the 1970s through 1980 and again 2000 through 2003.

In the gaps of Batista's service, North Canton had so-so legal counsel.

But that was better than the nose dive that The Report again—in signaling a North Canton Council vis-a-vis inquiring citizens Fox-led  hostility—believes has been the reality with Fox's September, 2012 hire.

Not to exonerate Fox, but The Report's take is that the-then personnel committee chairman Dan "Jeff" Peters (now president of council) led the way for then Ward 3 Councilman Fox to be hired as an "inside job" hiring operation and let it be known to Fox that at least a majority of council wanted him to crack down on any citizen dissent to come before council at its regular meetings.

And Fox has not disappointed at least a majority of North Canton's seven council persons.

He has proved to be a "rules attorney" who is so utterly bound up in a rigidity of interpreting law in an obvious quest to use the law to hamstring and punish any who dare challenge the likes Councilpersons Peters, Kiesling and Werren.

More democratic-republican values friendly Councilpersons Cerreta, Foltz, Fonte and Griffith have stood by and allowed the Fox generated hostility grow.

It seems like he has brought his senior non commissioned officer bearing with him from is days in the United States Air Force.

Fox was not on the original list of applicants to fill the Nilges resignation vacancy.  Sort of duplicated earlier this year when Jeff Wendorf surfaced from out-of-the-blue to become North Canton City Schools superintendent earlier this year.

Must be a uniquely North Canton thing, no?

Here is the list of applicants with no

To say it one more time: out-of-nowhere, Fox, elected as a councilman in Ward 3 in November, 2011, at the behest of Peters, jettisoned to the top the list that he was not originally part of.

In the time before the selection of Fox, the SCPR thought that North Canton Council was among the better councils among Alliance, Canton, Massillon and North Canton being Stark County's major cities.

But the Fox hire presaged a marked change of attitude and approach that now has North Canton being in the assessment of the SCPR the worst Stark County major municipality city council in terms of its relationship with everyday citizens who have the audacity to question North Canton governance.

In North Canton, only those who "come to praise Caesar" are welcome with open arms.


To repeat, because Dan Griffith was part of the committee of council who orchestrated the Fox hire, one had to be just tad nervous that as Finance Committee chair he headed up the hiring of a replacement for retiring finance director Karen Alger.

At first blush, the Laura Brown hiring was done in an environment in which there was "real" competition for the position.

For one thing, Brown actually publicly applied for the position of finance director.

However, there is a reasonable basis to think that maybe the Brown hiring may not be all that different from the Fox hiring.

Reason #1 would be the failure of the Griffith led effort to include Stark County commissioner Budget and Management Director Chris Nichols (eminently qualified as far as the SCPR is concerned by virtue of his outstanding performance on-the-job) as among the three of 19 applicants to get an interview.

Reason #2 would be the fact that Laura Brown had done finance work for North Canton about a year ago and therefore had an insurmountable advantage for landing the job and that the apparent consideration of two others was just that:  "apparent," but not real.

Reason #3 would be Mayor David Held telephoning the SCPR (last week) with a seeming public relations pump on the Brown hiring.

A key difference in comparing the Fox/Brown hirings however was the willingness of Councilman Griffith to talk with the SCPR on Friday for about 20 minutes about the details of the Brown hiring process.

Griffith agreed:
  • that Nichols is a superlative Stark County budget and management director but said that his experience was not in the judgment of the committee screening the finance director hire (Councilpersons Griffith, Peters and Werren along with a Stark County auditor employee [Michael Minor, a CPA] and a former Bruner Cox partner: Ronald Manse now Director of Economic Alliances at Walsh University),
But said that he did not agree with the SCPR insination that Brown's past work gave her an inside track to land the directorship and that the other  two interviewed candidates were merely window dressing for a predetermined hire as The Report thinks was the case in the Fox hire.

A persuasive marker for Griffith's point to counter The Report's suspicions of predetermination is that the committee held a second round of interviews.  Three of the applicants made the first cut.  Brown and Barbara Markland (Tuslaw Schools treasurer) made the final round of the two round interview process.

No such openness has been forthcoming from Peters on the Fox hiring.

Hopefully, Griffith's apparent transparency is a positive omen for more a democratic-republican values consistent evolution on the part of  some North Canton City Council members.  P eters, Kiesling and Werren are not likely to be part of such a trend, if the Griffith interview is at all indicative of a change taking place.

Everybody the SCPR has talked with agrees:  Laura Brown was "top notch" as a candidate.

Moreover, SCPR is familiar with Brown's financial/accounting prowess from her work as a state of Ohio official on the Massillon Financial Planning and Supervision Commission.

Here is a video exceRpt of Brown from one of those meetings.

The SCPR's model is to be skeptical of anyone who is uncritically acclaimed as Brown appears to be.

However, there are a few Stark County political subdivision elected and unelected officials whose performance merits the praise the receive.

Former primer auditor for the city of Canton Gary Young comes to mind.

As do elected officials Thomas Bernabei (mayor of Canton), Alan Harold (Stark County auditor), Alex Zumbar (Stark County treasurer), Edmond Mack (Canton city councilman) and others on the SCPR "Top 10" Stark County Political Subdivision Elected Officials list.

Notwithstanding the aforementioned elected officials excellence, they have from time-to-time been subjects of SCPR critical blogs.

So time will tell with Brown.


A major indicator of her excellence will be how she handles her relationship with Fox.

Undoubtedly, in one fashion or another Fox will try to dominate Brown as "the" key factor in North Canton government.

What the SCPR cannot assess from Brown's work in the Massillon Financial Planning and Supervision Commission is her strength of personality in the face of Fox-like bullying.

Of course, the critical factor in her holding or ground with Fox will be the vibes she gets from council as a whole.

For the betterment of North Canton government/citizen relationship, citizen have to be hoping that she proves to be one person in North Canton administration who is not in thrall to Law Director Tim Fox!