Wednesday, August 31, 2016


UPDATED:  09:00 AM

The "high water mark" of the Stark County "organized" Democratic Party over the last 15 years occurred under the leadership of Massillon clerk of courts Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.

By the time Maier, Jr. was through as Dems' chair (2009), the Dems held all non-judicial countywide elective offices.

The "low water mark" of the Stark county "organized" Democratic Party appears to have set in with "the upon us" 2016 countywide elections under the chairmanship of Canton clerk of courts Phil Giavasis, to wit:  (Note: all graphics on elective office are extract screen captures from the Stark Board of Elections website, highlighting added)

To boot, contrasted to the end of the Maier, Jr. era (2003-2009) when the Dems dominated countywide government, today under the successive stints of Randy Gonzalez (former Canton chief deputy of the Canton clerk of courts and current Jackson Township fiscal officer) and Phil Giavasis (current Canton clerk of courts), the Dems are holding on for dear life as the dominate countywide political party.

Republicans now hold the auditor's office, the treasurer's office and, likely, on January 1, 2017 all three county commissioner slots.  Republican Janet Creighton (elected in 2010) will likely be joined by incumbent Republican commissioner Richard Regula and Canton Township trustee Bill Smith.

And, they might also capture the Stark County prosecutor's office.  Republican Jeff Jakmides is financing his own campaign and has united all of Stark County's leading Republicans (including but certainly not limited to Janet Creighton, Alan Harold, former North Canton mayor Daryl Revoldt) in a passionate effort put Dems' Maier, Jr. predecessor chairman John Ferrero on the sidelines.

Some think that with Donald J. Trump at the head of the Republican ticket, there might be a down ticket problem for local candidates.

If so, the SCPR thinks it will come not from Republicans voting for the Democratic candidate along for their dissenting on Trump (currently trailing Clinton "on average" 3.8% in Ohio) vote in favor of Democrat Hillary Clinton or one of the third party candidates; but, rather, in substantial numbers of Republicans not showing up to vote at all.

An indicator of the foregoing (i.e. Trump being a drag on Republicans down ticket), are polls showing incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Rob Portman with an average 7.5% lead over former Democratic governor Ted Strickland. (ironically, in the sense of being "a canary in the coal mine; a Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. favorite)

The most important task for Jakmides' chances to defeat Ferrero is for himself and the likes of Creighton, Harold and Revoldt is to GO"R"TV (get out the Republican vote).

There is, in the estimate of the SCPR, absolutely no chance of the replacement for Horner (Debbie Cain, a member of the Lake Board of Education and former president of the Ohio Board of Education) unseating Republican Alex Zumbar (originally appointed to the position by the Dems under Gonzalez).

Maier, Jr. got out just in time as chairman.

For on April 1, 2009, "all Hell broke loose" for Stark Dems' and then new chairman Randy Gonzalez.

As it turn out, upwards of $3 million was missing from the Stark County treasury having been stolen by then chief deputy Vince Frustaci.

By October 31, 2011, Zeigler retired/resigned and the Dems' under the prodding of Gonzalez (note: Democrats Allen Schulman and William J. Healy, II were resisting) appointed Republican Zumbar to replace Democrat Gary D. Zeigler as Stark County treasurer.

The SCPR thinks that Schulman and Healy could see clearer than Gonzalez that Zumbar's appointment by the Dems foreclosed any chance that the Stark County treasury would be under the control of Democrats in the foreseeable future.

Many think that Democrat county auditor Kim Perez (who defeated Republican Brant Luther [appointed when Janet Creighton became mayor of Canton in 2003]) who had political close to Zeigler was a casualty of the political turmoil that ensued with the revelations of April 1, 2009.

Democrats are highly likely to retain the countywide offices of sheriff, county recorder, clerk of courts, coroner and engineer, but the halcyon days of Maier, Jr led dominance are over.

While the county recorder, clerk of courts, coroner and engineer offices are certainly important offices, in the minds of Stark's Democrat and Republican politicos they are not at the level of county auditor, prosecutor, sheriff and treasurer.

The SCPR thinks that come January 1, 2017, the Dems will only control the sheriff's office held by a man named Maier (George T., Johnnie's brother) and that only after a life and death political struggle with the Republicans fielding a candidate (Hartville police chief Larry Dordea [former Alliance police chief] who was nowhere near a match for what the SCPR has termed the Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. Massillon-based political machine.

Dordea should have won in 2014 when John Kasich was re-elected in epic proportions over the Democratic candidate for governor.

When the SCPR learned that Janet Creighton was lukewarm at best on the Dordea candidacy, it really look dire for Dordea.

Although Dordea lost by a relatively narrow margin, he ran far, far, far below Kasich and the governor who now says he is focusing on local races did not make one appearance for Dordea focusing on the Dordea candidacy.

And who was Kasich's northeast Ohio lead campaign person?

Republican commissioner Janet Weir Creighton.

Creighton makes "a really big deal" out of being a loyal Republican except, it seems, when Larry Dordea is the candidate for sheriff.

Creighton has told The Report that she meets periodically with former Democratic commissioner Gayle Jackson who is a political devotee of Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.

Jackson was the very first Stark County Democrat of note (then a Perry Township trustee) to support Maier when good fortune in the form of then 56th Ohio House state Representative Charles "Red" Ash (Canton Township) ran into legal difficulties.

One has to wonder whether or not the Maiers were able to persuade Creighton not to be all out for Dordea, no?

And, of course, it is well known in Stark County political circles that Republican commissioner Richard Regula has a strong association with Maier, Jr.

Though he hasn't been chairman for seven years now, what clout and strength that Democrats have in Stark County politics is still owing to one Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.

Monday, August 29, 2016






In the body of this blog, the SCPR shares a point made by former council president (representing—at the time—Ward 4) Jon Snyder, to wit:
  • Acknowledged that he knew about the North Ridge matter but that his understanding is that Lemmon did not seek the abatement at his initiative but was approached by Bowles first and that he would not be so stupid as to advocate that Snyder friend Bill Lemmon benefit from a CRA abatement,
However, the minutes of the Housing Council of March 16th indicates a different account of whom asked whom about an abatement, to wit: (an extract)

Mr. Flechtner asked Mr. Bowles to  review the one multi-family residential project located at 1303/1305 North Main Street. 

 Mr.  Bowles introduced the North Ridge Place LTD. Project to  the Housing Council explaining that it  now  inhabits  the fonner mobile home park.  He explained that the mobile home park owner were selling some of their holdings and decided to  put the mobile home park up for auction.  The property initially sold to  someone at auction that planned on keeping the mobile home park.  However, the financing  for  the purchase  was  not  approved by  the  purchaser's  bank  and it was  put back up for auction.  The property was then sold to  North Ridge Place LTD with the  intention of building forty ( 40) apartment units.  Further, after the  purchase, the owners paid relocation expenses for  the  residents  that were living in the Mobile Home Park.  

The ownership of the property (Mr. Bill Lemmon) approached the Housing Officer after approval of the site plan at the March 27, 2012 Planning Commission Meeting and inquired about making application for a CRA Real Property Tax Incentive for the property.  

North Ridge Place,  LTD.,  after reviewing the program, made application for CRA Residential Tax Exemption.  After checking and  verifying the location of the  property and  qualifications,  the Housing Officer Determined that the project met the requirements in the City's CRA Ordinance and State of Ohio Statutes and  certified the project to the County Auditor after November 26, 2012 for twelve years at 100% exemption.


One of the primary points that North Canton law director Tim Fox made in last Monday's North Canton City Council (NCCC, Council) meeting was that the decision to grant a company (North Ridge Place, LTD, January 24, 2012), owned at least in part by developer William Lemmon, an upwards of $1 million tax abatement was the solitary, sole and singular act of North Canton economic development director and, more particularly, housing director Eric Bowles.  (color and type size emphasis added)

Just take a listen of Fox.

And watch/listen to North Canton mayor David Held express both:
  • outrage at Bowles' ministerial-esque act (if you believe the Held, Fox and Council president Daniel "Jeff" Peters interpretation of the act) and in the very next breath tell one and all
  • in the next breath tell one and all what a great economic development director/housing director Bowles had been during his tenue with North Canton government.

To the SCPR, Held's rhetoric was tantamount to a virtual "driving the North Canton government bus" over Bowles in response to receiving a petition signed by 178 North Cantonians in opposition to the effect of Bowles' act of depriving North Canton schools (NCCS) of several hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenues without the North Canton City Schools Board of Education having a say in the matter and without NCCC weighing in on the abatement.

The official version: Bowles retired from North Canton government on Friday, August 19, 2016 after having come into office about the same time David Held became mayor of North Canton.

But there are those North Cantonians who do not think that Bowles act of resignation was voluntary at all.

In fact, one of them called outright for Bowles firing.

Despite what Held, Fox and Peters say, the SCPR believes that while in the technical legal sense in terms of being assigned the function of making the official decision by Ohio law Bowles did make the North Ridge Place abatement decision, it is too much to believe that others did not weigh-in in the context of "advice, council and being sounding boards" on Bowles ultimate decision.

The SCPR talked yesterday with former North Canton Council president (having been elected from Ward 4) Jon Snyder (resigned in June, 2014) about the North Ridge Place abatement process.

And these are the SCPR take-aways from that conversation.
  • now a resident of Ward 3 who misses being in North Canton government,
  • believes that some of his former fellow council members blame him for the political fallout on the health insurance premium paid for by North Canton government for uninsured council members in the face of the will of the voters of North Canton ("Insurancegate—Citizen Melanie Roll),
  • Council members Peters and Cerreta's meeting with him seeking his resignation as council president was not the reason he resigned but that he did realize as a spin off from the Peteres Cerreta approach that he had lost the confidence of Council and therefore decided to resign,
  • He had no input on Eric Bowles decision to grant North Ridge Place's application for a Community Reinvestment Area abatement,
  • Admitted he has a long term social and professional relationship with Bill Lemmon,
  • Reiterated that he did not have anything to do with Bowles as North Canton housing director granting the North Ridge Place LTD application for abatement of the $3.1 million apartment development project,
  • Agrees with the SCPR position that it is not reasonable to believe that Bowles made the decision to grant the abatement without discussing the matter in an "advice and counsel" setting before Bowles did the official act of granting it but he again pointedly said "I had nothing to do with Bowles' decision," 
  • He has a great deal of respect for Bowles—who Snyder thinks is totally on top of Ohio's real estate/tax abatement law—in his performance as a North Canton government official and that he did have and continued to have a close relationship with Bowles after he (Snyder) left office in June, 2014,
  • Cited instances (e.g.  discussions about The Sanctuary CRA abatement proposal, Valley View [Reed Funeral Home] and others) in which he did have discussions with Bowles,
  • Acknowledged that he knew about the North Ridge matter but that his understanding is that Lemmon did not seek the abatement at his initiative but was approached by Bowles first and that he would not be so stupid as to advocate that Snyder friend Bill Lemmon benefit from a CRA abatement,
  • Thinks it is likely that he had conversation(s) with Bowles about CRA status for the property sited where North Ridge Place currently sits in the context of needing to get some development going on a site that had been, in Snyder's opinion, blighted property in that it had been a site on which a mobile home park was located but not specific to granting North Ridge Place, LTD an abatement,
  • Has an understanding that North Canton government cannot refuse to grant qualifying residential CRA applications citing that longstanding critic of the North Ridge Place abatement himself received a CRA abatement for his residential property,
  • Doesn't think Bowles would do anything illegal but it was "funny that the transaction "did not have any light shining on it," that how the abatement was handled by North Canton government is not in the spirit of openness and the whole debacle has become and public relations problem,
  • Consequently, the powers that be in North Canton government are now running for cover,
  • A solution might be for government officials to contact Lemmon and see if something cannot be worked out on mitigating the loss of tax revenues for North Canton schools,
  • Is surprised that Bowles resigned even though he (Bowles) had shared with Snyder that he was experiencing some health problems,
  • The abatement North Ridge Place process likely is legally solid as he thought the health care premium payment for council members by North Canton was but not politically smart,
    • SCPR Note:  All participating council members (including Snyder) disenrolled from North Canton's health care coverage and reimbursed the city for premiums paid by the city during the enrollment period
For now the debate rages on as to who did what in terms of influencing or not influencing the Bowles' decision to grant North Ridge Place LTD a nearly $1 million tax abatement that over the term of the abatement takes revenue away from North Canton schools, from North Canton emergency services and from North Canton street improvement/repairs.

Citizen activist Chuck Osborne thinks the abatement was probably illegal and is likely on a timing of his choosing file a lawsuit to have the courts weigh-in on the matter.

And Osborne if does file litigation, it likely such will be the vehicle through which we learn who did what, if anything, in terms of leaning on Bowles to make the decision that he did.

For any testimony in the context of litigation will be under oath.

Under oath leave very little, if any, room for political spin.

Which—political spin, this is— it appears to the SCPR is what we are getting a whole lot of presently.

A casualty of the politics of the situation may have been one Eric Bowles getting thrown under the North Canton government bus, no?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


UPDATE:  Friday, August 26, 2016 at 1:10 p.m. 


On Thursday, the SCPR received a response to this blog from North Canton Council president Daniel "Jeffrey" Peters.

The SCPR's general policy is to allow subjects of blogs SCPR space to respond so long as responses are germane and responsive to the points made in the blog and the subjects themselves have a history of being open to and responsive to media (SCPR)/citizen inquiry.

In the main, The Report deems Peters' response to be non-germane and non-responsive to the points made in the blog.

Moreover, President Peters has ignored SCPR inquiries on at least two occasions during his term as president but also has a history of engaging inquiries.

Accordingly, the SCPR is updating this blog with material that The Report meets the criteria set forth above.

Peters did make two points that meet the criteria for SCPR publication, to wit:
  • He offered (see the second video in the original blog) to sit down with the North Canton activists who complained to council on Monday night about the abatement which is the subject matter of this blog.  Peters says that the activists have texted him and refused to meet with him.
  • He believes that his and fellow council members being re-elected in November, 2015 was a post-Insurancegate (activist Melanie Roll's characterization) vote of confidence in the quality of leadership being provided by North Canton City Council.
Original Blog

Ever since former mayor, councilman and council president Daryl Revoldt left North Canton City Council (NCCS, Council) to go work for Governor John Kasich in 2012 as an economic development expert, Council has been a chaotic mess and, moreover,  growingly hostile to its motivated "to make an impact on local government" citizen base.

Revoldt's (he left North Canton government in May, 2011) successor, Jon Snyder (former Ward 4 councilman, resigned May 31, 2014), until what North Cantonian Melanie Roll has coined as being "Insurancegate," more or less keep a lid on growing disenchantment with North Canton's council.

Snyder clearly was no Daryl Revoldt.

Nor is current Council president Daniel "Jeff" Peters.

The SCPR thinks Council president Daniel "Jeff" Peters is about as deficient as one can be as a legislative leader.

For instance, at Monday night's meeting, he both chastised North Canton civic activists (for following a "misinformed" take on North Canton's CRA legislation) and appeared to reach out to them in a "let's reason together" on this matter.

First, the dissing.

Here, "let's come together on this."

Which way is it President Peters?

It is interesting that Peters was the "bash Revoldt" leader (joined in impliedly by Law Director Fox) at Council's Monday meeting.

Oh! he didn't nor did the other Revoldt detractors name Revoldt by name.

Mayor Held did mention Revoldt in his comments but not in a pejorative fashion.

But it was unmistakeable that in Revoldt's appearance at Council on June 6, 2016 as a citizen in which, during the public speaks part of the meeting, he took the position that the granting in 2012 of an $800,000 plus tax abatement (a revenue loss to North Canton schools and North Canton emergency services and street improvements) for the North Ridge Place, LTD 39 unit apartment complex was illegal.

Here is a video link to Revoldt's statement (at the 18 minute mark of the video).

It appears to the SCPR that Revoldt was inaccurate on his "illegality" claim.

However, he did tap into North Canton sentiment that it was an unintended use of North Canton CRA ordinances that in the construction phase 39 unit apartments receive city tax abatements.

Mayor David Held could not have been clearer about that he agreed with Revoldt and North Canton civic activists on that very point at this past Monday's meeting, with this video clip of his statement:

The North Ridge abatement happened in 2012.  So how is it that the will of the people of North Canton was thrust aside with the granting of the upwards of $1 million abatement?

While Held implies that it was just one of those things that happens in the mix of government administration and that his administration will get to the bottom of the matter, who is going to believe that?

North Canton does not as a matter of government administrative routine give away over $800,000 in school/city revenue without somebody in North Canton city government knowing about it, no?

What North Cantonians are entitled to know are the nitty-gritty details of the how the North Ridge abatement came into being.

But will those details ever see the "light of day?"

Surely, Economic Development/Housing Director Eric Bowles (retired as of Friday, having been part of North Canton administration some 11 years) discussed the application for the abatement with others within North Canton government.

Who believes that Mayor Held (the hiring authority for economic development/housing director) wasn't in on discussions about whether or not to grant the North Ridge abatement?

Who believes that Law Director Tim Fox wasn't in on discussions about whether or not to grant the North Ridge abatement?

The Report has contacted Held to go over his involvement in the decision, but has not heard from Held prior to the publication of this blog.

Whether or not they will admit it to themselves, Council spiraled downward in terms of public confidence with the onset of the above-reference "Insurancegate."

Rather than go over the sordid details of "Insurancegate," readers who want a fuller sense of the arrogance of North Canton City Council vis-a-vis any citizen who questions it in the context of contemporary times (more or less since Tim Fox was appointed [September, 2012] law director by the present membership except Ward 4 councilman Dominic Fonte), the SCPR lists a number of blogs which contain the ugly details of Council's dissing of any citizen who persists in holding Council accountable.
The main point to be gleaned from the listed SCPR blogs is how tortured it was for the-then Council to come to the point of respecting and doing the  overwhelming will of the North Canton electorate that part-time council members with alternative sources for healthcare insurance not receive North Canton taxpayer paid-for coverage.

Last night's meeting focused on the controversy surrounding North Canton's Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) legislation.

Citizen Melanie Roll spearheaded the effort which included she and fellow North Canton civic activist circulating this petition in which some 178 signatures were gathered.

Here is Melanie Roll in here presentation of the petitions to Held and council members:

For their part, it appears that Roll and Miriam Baughman (the two primary activists in this matter) will be carrying on.

Baughman tells the SCPR that she and Ms. Roll will be appearing at the September 3, 2016 meeting of the North Canton Board of Education to present the board with a copy of the petitions.

The SCPR's take is that Revoldt "hoodwinked" nobody.

In terms of the original intent of the CRA legislation, who would ever envisage that a 39 unit apartment complex being newly constructed would qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax abatement?

Held and Council have some digging to do.

Held and Council have some revealing of details to the North Canton citizenry to do, no?

The SCPR doubts the either will follow through in the "no holds barred" fashion that Held implied in his comments will materialize.

Monday, August 22, 2016



TUESDAY UPDATE:  (LINK to Dispatch article)


When he ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008 against Democrat John Boccieri (who won the race), Republican state Representative J. Kirk Schuring said this at a campaign rally in Ashland, Ohio:

"We could never have a rally like this in the center of Canton.  If we did, we might be shot at."

And, as the SCPR recalls the incident, he also referred to Cantonians as being "those people."

"Those people?"  Well, it is well known that the Canton electorate is overwhelmingly Democratic.  Is that what he meant in speaking from predominantly Republican Ashland, Ohio?

Does Schuring see himself as primarily representing those like him?

Later on in this blog, data (obtained from the Ohio Department of Education) as published by KnowYourCharter  (a joint venture of the Innovation Ohio and the Ohio Education Association) as interpreted by the SCPR makes the case that Schuring's ties to the private enterprise charter school industry continues to insult and, worse yet, injure "those people" in failing to stop a nearly $9 million annual drain off of state taxpayer money to the benefit of the industry.


And as the chart above shows, it is not only city of Canton schools and "those people" that make up urban Canton that are being hurt.

However, is there any doubt that it is much more politically sustainable for Schuring for the damage done to Stark County public school funding to be a relatively low per student amount (e.g. $69 in Jackson) compared to Stark's more urban areas epitomized by Canton at $969 per student, more or less.

Schuring is now a Republican state representative representing the 48th Ohio House.

So the harm being done not only to "those people" in the Schuring impliedly described bad city of Canton, but also directly impact his constituents attending North Canton schools, Fairless schools, Canton Local (Canton South) schools, Perry Local schools, Plain Local (Glenoak) and the schools in his home base of Jackson Township.

Moreover, his and his Republican fellows charter schools campaign finance ties impact eleven other Stark County school districts.

It is a mystery to the SCPR that Schuring when he makes a public appearance in local school districts is treated like some kind of celebrity.

While he should be treated civilly, he ought to be put on the griddle publicly about his participation in the financial drain off of the charter school phenomenon upon Stark County school districts.

Moreover, being a state of Ohio official, his owes a fiduciary duty to look out for all of Ohio public school district's financial security.

He is up for re-election this November, to wit:

It would be terrific if he were to have a candidate opposing him that had more than "a snowball's chance surviving in Hell" of defeating him.

But it does not appear he has anything to worry about.

The Report has not been able to find anything on the Internet indicating that Ms. Bigham is running an active campaign.

The telephone number listed for her on Stark County Board of Elections records goes unanswered as having been changed, disconnected or no longer in service as shows up as being a Verizon number out Millersburg, Ohio which of course is located in Holmes County.

So there is no doubt he will remain in the Ohio Legislature doing harm to the public school financing infrastructure of Ohio.

Schuring, as of April 26th, he has moved into the Republican leadership team running the supermajority controlled Ohio House as majority leader.

As majority leader, he is the captive of Speaker of the House Cliff Rosenberger who appears to be firmly committed to undermining Ohio's public school system in his support of the charter school forces.

Over his years in the Ohio General Assembly (OGA, Assembly) going back to 1995, he and Republican state Senator Scott Oelslager have played a version of musical chairs in which gets to keep a seat in the Assembly but just a different seat:  the 29th in the Senate, the 48th in the House and its predecessor "the 51st" and before that "the 55th" formerly held by North Canton's David Johnson who did not run for re-election in 1994.

All of which is designed to defeat the intent of Ohio's voters that OGA members serving eight consecutive years step aside under the concept of term limits passed in 1992 in a referendum vote supported by the-then minority Republican Party.

Other than his loss to Boccieri, the SCPR does not recall having had any difficulty whatsoever getting elected to public office.

And Stark Democratic Party past chairmen Johnnie A. Maier, Jr., John Ferrero, Randy Gonzalez and current chairman Phil Giavasis have not been able to field a viable candidate against Schuring.

In 1997, Ohio began a pilot project with charter schools with a pilot program in Toledo under the auspicious of HB 215.  Charter schools started as Republican Party generated concept promoted as allowing for school choice in those school districts that are deemed to be providing deficient public education.

Many feel (e.g. office holding Democrats and public school officials) that in reality the charter schools program was conceived to line the pockets of Republican entrepreneurs who open up their wallets with campaign contributions to key Republican legislators to obtain enabling legislation and taxpayer money on which to establish not better than if not inferior charter schools operating under lesser accountability standards than public schools.

One such campaign contributor that opponents to charter schools focus upon is one William L. Lager who founded the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow in 2000.

In July, 2015 he made a hefty $12,532 contribution to Schuring as merely one of many, many contributions to Ohio Republican legislators.

In school year 2014/15, Stark County taxpayers were the source of some $2.5 million of ECOT revenues.

Former Ohio Speaker of the  House and Republican Billy Batchelder actually formed a lobbying firm doing work for ECOT when he stepped down from the legislature.

And looking at data obtained from the Ohio secretary of state office, Lager during the 2015 reporting cycle made Schuring's largest campaign contribution as cited above.

While Schuring obviously does not need the money for his own campaign, as majority leader one of his jobs is to help fund Republican causes and candidates across Ohio.

(Extrapolated from Data on Ohio SOS Campaign Finance Website)
(Highlighting Added)

Recently, a controversy has developed over an Ohio Department of Education (ODE) effort to audit attendance of students taking ECOT online courses.  It appears that Schuring is a leading figure in an effort to fend off a thoroughgoing audit.

Here are a number of links for readers to peruse in order to get a full understanding of the fight.  Included in the links is material that shows Schuring to be actively involved ostensibly as a mediator figure but appears to the SCPR be a thinly veiled effort on behalf of ECOT in order to head off a crises for the online behemoth:
How can Schuring credibly present himself as a more or less objective problems solver in light of his having received substantial campaign contributions from Lager?
    As we all learned back in 1972, all one has to do is "Follow the Money" in politics to know whom is beholden to whom.

    There is a time that it appeared that Schuring among all of Stark County's Republicans serving or having served in the Ohio legislature that had some independence about him.

    But now that he is majority leader, any semblance of his doing what is good for a majority of Ohio's citizens and derivatively Stark Countians in stemming the erosion of public school funding as a priority over his political party's agenda has evaporated.

    In his quiet moments, Schuring can now reflect on how he has added to the growing everyday citizen's disenchantment with integrity in government.

    Friday, August 19, 2016


    UPDATED AT 09:40 AM


    Republican Jeff Jakmides wants to be "your Stark County prosecutor."

    And he is going "all out" to make his case to voters of Stark County.

    From what The Stark County Political Report sees there is a vast "on the merits of it" difference between Jakmides and sitting Democratic prosecutor John Ferrero.

    And The Report is always impressed candidates for public office who have shown themselves to be highly accomplished experientially, knowledge-wise, demeanor, temperament with respect to the office they seek.

    Moreover, The Report gauges candidates on basic democratic-republican values such as accessibility, accountability, communicativeness (with everyday citizens), ethics, openness, and transparency.

    The biggy here is that John Ferrero does not prosecute in the sense of being an "in the courtroom" prosecutor.

    And it appears that Ferrero's office doesn't much like taking cases to trial either.

    That is if you take stock in the "opposition research" done by the Jakmides' campaign.

    The campaign has compiled a 1-1/2 inch, more or less, three-ring-binder on the prosecutorial activity of the Ferrero-led Stark County prosecutor's office for the year 2015.

    Some of the "demands answers" Jakmides generated supporting data contained in the binder—in terms of quality of prosecutorial work under being done on Ferrero's watch—is presented in pdf file format included below in this blog.

    SCPR NOTE:  The Report would ask Prosecutor Ferrero to respond to the picture that the 2015 data paints, but he mostly (especially, of late) refuses to respond to questions put to him.

    Ferrero has reportedly said there is an explanation for all the actions of his team of prosecutors in massaging the Grand Jury indictments to be something other than what the grand jurors indicted for.

    The SCPR for one invites Prosecutor to go line by line in the following extracts of the list that the Jakmides campaign team spent considerable time and effort assembling and for the benefit of the voting Stark County public so they can determine whether or not they have been effectively served in their personal safety by the Stark County criminal justice system of which the county prosecutor is a key if not the preeminent factor of.

    Whatever time and space Mr. Ferrero needs including "unlimited" video time or in any other format of his choosing will be made available by the SCPR to him so that he can explain "the chapter and verse" reasons why the Grand Jury's work in large part was nullified in 2015 with his specific approval.

    An important definition on the pdf files inserted in the blog below:








    SCPR Note:  Jakmides says that a number of the remands are on felony domestic violence because the offender has been previously charged.  He adds that the way more speedy "direct indictments" process likely would result in more prosecutions on these charges because, given a considerable lapse of time, victims are more likely to become uncooperative.

    • Five murder indictments, Jakmides says, "nobody was convicted of murder,"
    • On rape cases, Jakmides says, a guy accused of rape of a seven and eleven year old "got two years,
    • Taking gun specifications out of cases,
    • Reduced mandatory sentences in bargaining down major drug cases,
    Jakmides is saying that Ferrero is the worst prosecutor in the history of Stark County and documenting his case in support of that opinion is what the aforementioned binder is all about.

    In the way of contrast, Jakmides points to Jim Unger, who served as a prosecutor in the office from 1963 through 1983 as has the "elected" prosecutor 1977 through 1983, as his model for how a prosecutor should conduct himself.

    Jim Unger was an "above reproach" prosecutor, Jakmides says which is a quality he says is woefully missing from Prosecutor John Ferrero.

    From the get-go in his campaign Jakmides has hammered away at Ferrero's failure to fully implement a "direct indictment" countywide program over the timespan since he took office as a Stark County Dems' appointee (who resigned as chairman of the party just prior to the appointment) to replace Bob Horowitz in 2003 when Horowitz took office as Stark County Probate Court judge.

    It is not a good idea for voters to elect a former political party head to a key law enforcement position.

    Jakmides tells the SCPR that "direct indictments" fell off dramatically after Ferrero took over as prosecutor in 2003.

    By comparison to Summit County which has fully implemented "direct indictment," the task for Stark County is much simpler.  In Summit, the prosecutor, Jakmides says, has to deal with individual attorneys in implementation whereas in Stark where the Stark Public Defender handles about 40% of all criminal cases which per force of volume makes the task much easier.

    Jakmides says he is committed to fully implementing direct indictments in Stark County.

    Other comparisons that Jakmides makes include:
    • John Ferrero accepting campaign contributions and having political connections with Stark County attorneys and others in law enforcement with whom Ferrero's office deals in the processing of criminal and  civil cases,
      • Jakmides' point:  
        • He is "self-financing" his campaign for the very reason that he wants to be free from being leaned upon by contributing attorneys or others  to cut his/her client some slack on a case the prosecutor's office has or may be in the process of investigating or making hires based on somebody having contributed to his campaign,
          • SCPR Note:  A Ferrero case the SCPR has written prolifically about is the prosecution of Marlboro Township police chief Ron Devies and his son Kyle on felony cases (which were dismissed by Judge Lee Sinclair at the end of the prosecutor's case) as perhaps being a case that had a political factor to it as to whether or not what appears to have been a communication problem getting raised to felony status,
            • Of course, the SCPR as contrasted to other Stark County media, raked Ferrero over the coals for not working to settle the matter far short of felony indictments.
            • A number of readers of this blog share The Report's suspicion that a political factor was at play in the Devies prosecution,
            • Ferrero filed an ethics complaint against me (I wrote the blog as a journalist; not a lawyer) which predictably Ohio's Disciplinary Counsel dismissed out-of-hand,
    • John Ferrero not trying cases as a trial prosecutor,
      • Jakmides says he is the most active attorney in Stark County according to data compiled by the Stark County clerk of courts office.
      • Jakmides says he will be an "in the courtroom prosecutor," something, he says, that Ferrero had never done as "the lead attorney" during his time as prosecutor in contrast to Jim Unger during his stint as a Stark's elected prosecutor,
    • John Ferrero not using prosecution of drug offenders as leverage to go after suppliers,
      Speaking of ethics:

      Is this Ferrero Facebook posting akin something that the Donald Trump campaign might put out there?

      In the American system of justice which includes the Constitution of the United States of America, every accused is entitled his day in court in which the likes of Ferrero have to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt with the assistance of "effective" legal counsel.

      Ask any Stark County lawyer who one would rather have representing them if faced with criminal charges:  Jeff Jakmides or John Ferrero?

      In the SCPR's book, its a no contest.

      In competently if not superably representing criminally accused persons, Jakmides represents the finest quality of the American bar.

      For Ferrero to imply in the context of a self-serving political campaign that something is wrong with Jakmides in doing what our system of justice prizes should cause a thinking voter to consider that the person with an ethical problem might just be John Dee Ferrero, no?s

      Of all the lawyer jobs in the American justice system, being a prosecutor is one of the least challenging.

      The overwhelming bulk of our legal system infrastructure is constructed to be an awesome support system for successful prosecutors.  Any lawyer worth his/her salt ought to phenomenally successful as prosecutors.

      With all the plea bargains and dropped cases that Ferrero has countenanced, how can one reasonably say that this guy is worthy of being re-elected?

      Readers of the SCPR have come to know The Report to be the most comprehensive coverage of Stark County politics.

      Who is county prosecutor relates directly to the personal safety of all Stark Countians in terms of who is out there roaming our rural community, our villages, our suburbs and our cities.

      Jakmides "opposition research" makes a compelling case that a John Ferrero-led prosecutor's office has not been up to the task.

      And only the SCPR provides the reading public with the objective data that Jakmides' "opposition research" puts Ferrero on the defensive upon in terms of providing a case by case accounting to the Stark County voting public.

      Here is a list (links provided) to prior SCPR blogs on the Jakmides/Ferrero race.

      Tuesday, August 16, 2016


      On her website (lower half of the graphic above),  Republican state Representative Christina Hagan touts herself as being "a trusted voice for northeast Ohio."

      There is nothing more important to each and everyone of us than our personal health which, of course, when it comes to infectious disease depends on tamping down health problems in the community at-large and especially so in the community of doctors, nurses and other health care providers.

      The Stark County Political Report believes that Hagan, the primary sponsor of HB 170, is on a course that could place every Stark Countian and Ohioan on the front lines of personal health risk if her bill passes.

      Hagan was appointed as a state representative in March, 2011 by the Ohio House Republican Caucus for Ohio's 50th Ohio House district.

      She is running for a third term in the general election coming up on November 8th.

      Her opponent is Democrat John Juergensen.

      Here is a LINK to Hagan's track record as a state representative on key legislation.

      The SCPR considers her to be part of the "extreme" religious right wing of the Ohio Republican Party.

      Moreover, she may be part of the "anti-inoculation" movement that has. been making political noise across the country which appears to have a conspiratorial thinking tone it.

      Readers of this blog would do well by themselves in reading this account of a person who has been on both sides of the issue of the efficacy of innoculations (LINK).

      There has been quite a bit of testimony on Hagan's HB 170.  Check it out for yourself (LINK).

      For the SCPR, the most compelling testimony is the June 9, 2015 testimony of Rich Frank, Senior Director Government Affairs, of the Ohio Hospital Association, to wit (an extract):

      The Ohio Hospital Association is very concerned that this legislation is reckless and dangerous

      Our member hospitals highest priority must be to protect patients, our employees and the community, many of whom are exceptionally vulnerable to adverse outcomes from the flu.  Some people, such as older adults, pregnant women and very young children as well as people with certain medical conditions are at high risk of serious complication.  Healthcare personnel have frequent contact with these high risk patents in many settings.  Not just in the patient’s room or in an operating room, but also in places such as elevators and the cafeteria.  These employees can serve as a vehicle to transmit influenza one day before symptoms develop.  In fact, up to 25% of healthcare personnel with the flu may have minimal or no symptoms yet can still transmit infection.  It is important understand that each year, approximately 226,000 people are hospitalized and 36,000 people die due to the flu.  The flu vaccine is the most effective method to prevent influenza.  (large type emphasis added)

      On most issues, Representative Hagan in right in line with the positions of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.

      But not on HB 170, to wit:

      Hagan is for small government except when she wants to impose her religious values on the rest of us including the right of a woman to control her own body.

      Readers of the SCPR know that The Report always provides space for those who speak out for a different point of view.

      Take a look at Hartville resident Anthony DiBiase's testimony:

      Voters in the 50th District need to be asking themselves whether or not state Representative Christina Hagan represents a "clear and present danger" to the health well-being of all of us.

      To the SCPR, her HB 170 does is ample evidence is that she is willing the sacrifice the well being of the many for the misguided notions of a few.

      Monday, August 15, 2016



      Sunday, August 14, 2016


      Yesterday, friends and family of Canton citizen Lee Cote gathered at the Fox and Hound on Everhard Road in Canton to remember the contributions he made to the quality of Canton government over his 15 years of being a resident of the city.

      Here is a photograph collage of the assembly of the many Lee Cote friends and family who came together to honor this "extraordinary" citizen who tireless demonstrated his love of Canton.


      There was not a happier man in all of Canton than 15 year civic activist Lee Cote on January 1, 2016.

      For the first of January was the day that Canton could look forward to reversing a disturbing trend of the continual decline of the Pro Football Hall of Fame city over—at the very least—his fifteen years.

      Actually, the decline has been decades in the making.

      January 1st was a day to celebrate.

      Political "independent" Thomas M. Bernabei had been elected mayor of Canton the preceding November with Cote being at the forefront as a citizen activist on behalf of Bernabei's election.

      January 1st was a date for Cote to celebrate.

      On August 8th, Canton suffered a tremendous loss with the passing of Cote at his northwest Canton home.  (Obituary LINK)

      Matt Rink, Repository editorial page editor (who once covered Canton government as a reporter) The Repository, wrote a fitting tribute to Cote in today's paper.

      Readers of this blog should go to Rink's article (LINK) to get a sense of Cote's work in Canton as a civic-activist.

      The Stark County Report's tribute to Cote is wrapped up in a video in which The Report interviewed an ecstatic Lee Cote on Bernabei being inaugurated as Canton's mayor.

      Thank you Lee Cote for being an exemplary citizen activist and key part of beginning Canton's turnaround!

      Friday, August 12, 2016


      If Donald J. Trump has a chance to become president of the United States of America, it will be at the hand of the likes of freelance (not formally associated with the Trump campaign or with the Republican Party; Stark or otherwise) Stark Countian Ralph Case and his friends of the National Rifle Association (NRA).

      The SCPR has learned that Case has teamed up with NRA officials to form a Stark County campaign unit that might well serve as a model for similar alliances across America.

      New York Times columnist David Brooks described the core of Trump supporters best:

      Operations of the unified Case/NRA political effort got underway last night.

      And it will, Case says, continue picking up to "full steam ahead" through November 8th.

      This is in contrast to "a slow in forming" effort by Stark County "organized" Republicans to put together a formal, regular Republican drive to elect Trump president.

      On Tuesday night, Trump flew into CAK on his emblazoned "TRUMP" painted on the fuselage to attend a $25,000 (top rate) fundraising event at posh Brookside Country Club located in Stark County's richest township.

      A $25,000 (or $15,000, an alternative for the event) contribution would go to the likes of the Republican National Committee (RNC) which, of course, is presently funneling money to the Trump campaign.  However, $2,700 contribution goes direct to the Trump campaign.

      It is interesting that yesterday 75 Republican leaders across the county has asked the RNC to stop directing its financial resources to the election of Trump.

      It appears that very few Republican Stark County-based candidates/elected officials attended the event.

      The Report has talked with Republicans Jakmides, Bill Smith (running for Stark County commissioner), Richard Regula (a commissioner) and Janet Creighton (a commissioner) and they all disclaimed attending the event even at the "minimum" contribution level of $2,700 either because they:
      • had other things to do (Smith campaign with Creighton at his side in Meyers Lake), 
      • could not afford even the $2,700,
      • but if they were to dig deep to spend such an amount of money on anything it would not be to support Donald J. Trump
      Understandable, but the dearth of financial support for Trump from Stark Countians (no Republican candidates, no Republican elected officials according to Federal Election Commission reports through June 30th), it hardly speaks of much enthusiasm for Donald J. Trump as a presidential candidate.

      This is the SCPR's view notwithstanding Commissioner Creighton's protestations to the contrary.

      In a conversation with Creighton earlier this week, she told The Report that she thought SCPR coverage of her Trump stance was unfair.  (See blog in which the matter is discussed)

      In that discussion Creighton said Ralph Case needed to contact her and that she was willing to talk with him about the particulars of a joint effort with him and his followers to elect Donald Trump.

      The Report thinks it is a bit much for Creighton to expect Case to contact her.

      Case is the person who got the ball rolling for Trump in Stark County way back in March at a time that Creighton was running to be a Ohio Republican governor John Kasich delegate from Stark County at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland during the week of July 18 through 21.

      Creighton only became a Trump convert with his nomination in Cleveland.

      In a way, it is a credit to her and owing to her being a devout Republican and closely tied to Kasich going back years that she has been able to transition to backing Trump.

      It had to hard for her the swallow the trashing of Kasich by the Trump campaign:

      Notwithstanding what she says, The Report think her support is of "the holding of the nose" variety.

      The "real" reason that local Republican candidates/elected officials are sidestepping weighing in the Trump candidacy and/or not "putting money where my mouth is" support for Trump might be the many, many, many "over-the-top" statements he has made over his since June, 2015 started campaign for president.

      The could be sensing that Trump is about to self-destruct and he could bring the "down ticket" candidates down with him in the sense that many "regular" Republicans may sit out this election.

      Bill Smith says he thinks that voters are distinguishing between the candidacies of local Republicans from Trump.

      The SCPR did last night at a Northern Stark County Democratic Club meeting ask 50th Ohio House Democratic candidate John Juergensen (running against Republican incumbent Christina Hagan) and 49th Ohio House Democratic candidate Thomas West about the Trump factor.

      Hagan in a piece by Robert Wang of The Repository earlier this week on the Brookside fundraiser is reported to have said that she (having received a "free" ticket from event sponsor TimkenSteel) only recently decided to vote for Trump.

      Juergensen took a "whatever" attitude to her endorsement.

      Both he and West expressed a belief that Trump could prove to be a drag on local Republican candidates.

      Hagan's decision to support Trump, she says, was in fact made this week at the Trump Brookside event on the basis of having met and talked with Trump daughter Ivanka and Hagan being impressed with Trump having raised a quality child.

      Now how's that for a thorough evaluation of a man who would be president of the United States of America?

      Hagan may have been the only "local, local, local" elected official and/or candidate to be at Brookside.  Congressmen Jim Renacci (16th congressional district) and Bob Gibbs (7th congressional district).  But they do not fit the SCPR definition of local as they, in addition to parts of Stark County, vast area outside of Stark County, which, by the way, Christina Hagan is on record as being a good thing when the Ohio General Assembly reapportioned federal and state legislative bodies in 2010.

      It likely be about September 15th or so with August campaign contribution reports published by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) before we know as a matter of fact which "contributing to Trump or the Republican National Committee" local candidates/elected officials showed up.

      The latest Trump bombast is his allegation that President Barrack Obama and Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton are the founders of the Islamic jihadist Middle East based ISIS.

      This follows on the heels of his having said this in a North Carolina campaign appearance earlier this week:

      “Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish the 2nd Amendment.   By the way, and if she gets to pick if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks. Although the 2nd Amendment people, maybe there is. I don’t know.”

      Although the NRA effort to defeat Clinton was obviously already underway given its May endorsement of Trump, the North Carolina statement undoubtedly added zeal to the effort inasmuch as many interpreted the statement to be suggesting that NRA members or those sympathetic with the NRA stand on guns and the 2nd Amendment might resort to physical violence directed against Clinton.

      The Report first got a hint of the Case/NRA team effort in talking with Republican Stark County prosecutor candidate Jeff Jakmides yesterday as he described his appearance in what seems to have been "an political organizing event" held at Frame's Tavern located in southwest Canton (Bryan Avenue) on Wednesday evening.

      Again, impetus for the formation of this and like coalition apparently stems from the NRA's endorsement of Trump in May (see Trump past on guns issue) of this year and topped off in recent days as Trump by the North Carolina speech statement on guns and the 2nd Amendment.

      For his part (and his view is especially important as seeks to become Stark County top law enforcement official), Jakmides says he thinks the Trump statement was an ill-advised joke.  The SCPR asked the same question of sitting Democratic prosecutor John Ferrero who has not responded.

      Here is a LINK to a Trump campaign site for a response to various reactions to the statement.

      If Trump continues "to shoot from the hip," one has to wonder how many if any Stark County-based Republican candidates will support his candidacy in any way, shape or form.

      After all the local Republican candidates want to be elected.

      In the SCPR's book of the non-incumbent one, only Smith and Jakmides have a realistic chance to be successful.

      The question is:  Will a negative Trump down ticket factor be a deciding factor?

      Wednesday, August 10, 2016


      On Monday evening there was a campaign finance event at the posh Brookside Country Club located in Stark County's richest community; namely, Jackson Township.  (LINK to prior SCPR blog)

      A top contribution of $25,000 per person was being asked for which got a contributor participation in a private dinner with the star of the event.

      Featured at Brookside was embattled Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump.

      Through June 30th, he had only raised $4,128 from Stark County based contributors.

      Originally, on or about June 15, 2015 or shortly thereafter, Trump said he was going to finance his own campaign so that he would be beholden to no one.

      And he has put a lot of his own moola into the campaign.

      Like so many of his positions, Trump has changed positions on the financing of his campaign and is out hot and heavy these days raising money to finance his knock down, drag out battle with Democrat Hillary Clinton.

      In about a month, we will know who attended the Brookside event and how much they contributed to either Trum or the Republican National Committee.

      The Federal Election Commission does a much better job than the state of Ohio in making available to voters relatively close to "as contributions occur" information (ranging from 15 to 45 days in lag) as to whom is supporting various candidates for public office.

      In Ohio because our state legislators do not apparently think it is an important fact for voters to know expeditiously, we only get that information a couple or so weeks before any given election.

      Undoubtedly, Stark County's voters want to know who in Stark over the past year or so have been supporting the candidates for president listed above.

      The SCPR has compiled such a list from data supplied on the FEC website.

      The rankings of contributions per candidate from FEC listed Stark Countian contributions (by zipcode):

      And here is Stark's top 100 list as of June 30, 2016 including former Stark County Court of Common Pleas Court judge Charles Brown ($2,700 Kasich, Brown is a former Stark GOP chairman and Canton City Council president Allen Schulman ($1,000 Clinton):