Tuesday, July 12, 2016





TowerCo Legal Counsel Matthews
"Court is Next"
Ward 8 Councilman Edmond Mack
Reflects on Victory
Mack's Reasons for Voting "No"
Fisher and Harmon
The Actual Vote
Montabella Citizens
Reaction to Decision
TowerCo  Attorney Jim Matthews
Main Arguments

Back on December 10, 2015, North Canton's Planning Commission determined that city of Canton residents living in Montabella Estates would have to live with a 140' Verizon Cell Tower in their backyards.

Last night, eleven of Canton's councilpersons (Councilman West was not present) in effect—for now, at least— determined that it would deny TowerCo (representing the interests of Verizon) an easement over its land to run necessary cabling to power the tower.

"For  now?"  Yes.  Legal counsel for TowerCo  (Jim Matthews) said last night that "the next step" is court thereby clearing indicating that this fight is going to go on.

And here is a video on his legal arguments in favor of granting TowerCo it request for an easement.

Canton has and is likely to grant other companies utility easements over its land and therefore seems to have provided TowerCo with a competitive argument as to why a court should overrule council.

Accordingly, this battle is far from over.

North Canton's December action (and TowerCo's persistence/insistence on the tower) makes no sense given the fact that a sufficiently high up city of Canton water tower lies within "a stone's throw" north of the proposed site., located on property owned by First Friends Church at .55th Street NW and Market Avenue, North.

It seems that the "water tower" site is the answer to get to a win/win/win for the residents of Monatbella and TowerCo's client Verizon and for that matter (assuming that Verizon is correct in saying that a tower presence is needed in the area to prevent "dropped calls") for Verizon's customers.

On July 1st TowerCo became financially obligated to pay First Friends $144,000 for the right to erect the Verizon accommodating tower.   A tower that First Friends is now saying it does not want even at the prospect of being in line to receive the $144,000.

The SCPR has learned that Canton had approached TowerCo through its legal counsel to work out an arrangement for the Verizon signal enhancement to be placed on the city's water tower.

But for some inexplicable reason, it appears that TowerCo is not interested.

This despite its website showing that it offers co-location services.

Moreover, a pervasive concept of legal resolution across the legal spectrum is to find resolution to disputes in "the least restrictive alternative" available.

Perhaps, TowerCo's seeming disinterest in pursuing a win/win/win strategy involving Canton's water tower will come back to bite it in court litigation.

It will be interesting to see.

As stated in December, 2015 in a blog on the North Canton Planning Commission hearing process, the SCPR has "no dog in this fight."

However, the contrast between the North Canton proceeding (SCPR blog LINK)  and Canton's last night on the matter of government processes alone is striking.

Council president Allen Schulman (Stark County very best council president in terms of communicating "citizen" friendliness) struck the right chord with his intro to the "public speaks" portion of last night's meeting in assuring Montabella residents opposing the tower that they would have a fair opportunity to present views.

Schulman is respectful and and non-confrontational.

This video (which includes post-decision citizen comments) is clear evidence of the dignified treatment that Schulman accords everyday citizens:

North Canton's president of council Dan Peters gets in the face of public speaks participants seemingly at "the drop of a hat" should a of them be critical of North Canton government.

Government democratic-republican value friendly government is a top priority with The Stark County Political Report.

As regular readers know, the SCPR thinks that North Canton government processes under the obvious influence of Law Director Tim Fox all seem to have a citizen unfriendly, anti-democratic/republican values tint to them which at times blooms into bold color.

One area observer has described the December North Canton hearing to be in the order of being a "Kangaroo Court."

But last night in Canton, it was "all on the merits" in an effort led by Ward 8 councilman Edmond Mack.  Ward 8 is the area within which the proposed tower would be placed if TowerCo was to be granted a utility easement by Canton government.

Here is the video which includes:
  • Mack making his well thought out and therefore reasonable objections to council granting TowerCo an easement,
  • Councilman Fisher and Harmon weighing in on the matter, and, of course,
  • the vote itself (11 - 0) to deny Tohttp://starkpoliticalreport.blogspot.com/2014/07/videos-ward-8s-edmund-mack-pushers-for.htmlwerCo's request,

Mack from the get-go has been in the top rungs of the SCPR Top 10 Stark County Political Subdivision Elected Officials list.

He has the grace to accept rejection of an idea (i.e. creating a city park at St. Marks) having according his constituents a full and complete opportunity to voice and be heard on their objections.

And he is dogged in seeking to improve the structure and elasticity of Canton government with his work to get Cantonians to consider approving Canton adopting a charter form of government.

As the SCPR sees it, it was the effort of Stark County trade union movement headed by Plumbers and Pipefitters busness agent David Kirven that resulted in the electoral defeat of the measure.

It appears to The Report that Kirven was willing to put selfish union interests ahead of the public good.

But Mack is to be commended for the effort.

In narrowing down elected official evaluation down to legislative bodies, Mack is the SCPR's number one (#1) rated elected "legislative" official.

Here is Mack's reaction to his smashing victory last night.

Following this initial rendition of today's blog, the SCPR will be posting video of the entire proceeding including the arguments of counsel for TowerCo, for Montabella residents, Edmond Mack's presentation as well as those of Councilpersons Fisher and Harmon.

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