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.
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.
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.
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.