Wednesday, November 9, 2016


Stark County came within 552 votes (unofficial vote tally) of getting a non-political prosecutor in office yesterday.

It will be interesting to comb through precinct results and determine where Republican Jeff Jakmides of Alliance came up short.

With Stark having 288 precincts, he needed two more votes on average per precinct to come out a winner.

While Jakmides individually lost, the bigger loser was the Stark County public.

Stark County is not dealing effectively with crime as indicated on crime statistics on Canton, the Stark's county seat, to wit:


The Stark County Political Report believes that Prosecutor John Ferrero is more focused on the politics of retaining office than he is on effective and lasting (in the sense of being sparing on plea bargaining) prosecution of criminals "as charged" and thereby keep criminals out of our neighborhoods for longer period of time.

When you couple Ferrero and his "quick to plea bargain" approach to plea bargaining with Sheriff George T. Maier who the SCPR thinks has made his office a haven of appointees whose first duty appears to be personal political loyalty and effective law enforcement a secondary priority,  Stark Countians ought to be feeling less secure in their persons today than yesterday.

Maier too was on the ballot yesterday as an unopposed candidate.

In the 2014 elections, Stark Countians blew it in electing Maier over his Republican opponent Larry Dordea currently the police chief in Hartville and formerly the chief in Alliance.

In Alliance, Dordea is credited with having cleaned up a illegal drug problem.

And, Dordea tells the SCPR he was committed to doing the same for all of Stark County.

Maier makes a big show about cleaning up a current epidemic level heroin supply/use and overdose problem, but the problem continues to grow.

A Jakmides/Dordea law enforcement team would have made Canton and all of Stark County as much more crime free/illegal drug free community.

Elections do matter and The Report thinks that we Stark Countians are about to experience lax prosecution and law enforcement at an unprecedented level with Ferrero and Maier in place.



Stark County did avoid another election results disaster yesterday in Canton Township trustee Bill Smith's resounding victory over Democrat Stephen Slesnick.

Slesnick, in the opinion of the SCPR, was a do-nothing state representative for eight years which likely had he been elected Stark County commissioner yesterday.

Hopefully, Canton/Stark County has seen the last of Slesnick as a candidate for elective office.


Plain Township's Claude Shriver in lambasting former Plain Township trustee Louis G. Giavasis (who is the brother of Stark Co. Dems chair Phil Giavasis) for political cronyism apparently was on to something that resonated with a number of Stark County voters.

Giavasis bears watching very closely in his administration of the clerk of courts office in terms of his employment practices.


Democrat Rick Campbell is another countywide official who the SCPR thinks is way too political in how/who (i.e. the politically connected) he has hired into his office.  And besides that, there are those who think he is pretty much an absentee recorder.

Republican John Arnold (a Lake Township trustee) gave Campbell a big time "wake-up" call in yesterday's election.

Campbell could be ripe for the political plucking in the 2020 elections.


Of all of yesterday's candidates, the most qualitative was Republican Stark County treasurer Alex Zumbar.

In the past, Zumbar has had some relatively close races notwithstanding the excellent job he has done in restoring public confidence in the treasurer's office post-theft-of-upwards of $3 million by former Chief Deputy Vince Frustaci (found out in April, 2009).

His 24% victory over Lake Board of Education member (former president of the state board of education under Democratic governor Ted Strickland) Debbie Cain is well deserved.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


UPDATED:  10:44 PM 


Post 11:  (10:45)  88% of precincts have been reported.

Post 10:  (10:39)  Jakmides pulling even closer.  Only 649 votes behind with perhaps as many as 20,000 votes to count.  Could we be saying Prosecutor-elect Jakmides within the hour?

Post 9:  (10:25)  Jakmides pulling closer.  Less than 2,000 votes behind.  Are there enough votes out in the county for him to defeat incumbent prosecutor Ferrero?

Post 8:  (10:17)  With as many as perhaps 50,000 or more votes to count, it is looking likely that Republican Jeff Jakmides will overcome incumbent Democrat prosecutor John Ferrero and become Stark County's next prosecutor, to wit:

Post 7:  (5:40 p.m.)  From The Upshot (LINK, NYTimes) prediction of presidential winner.

Post 6:  (5:12 p.m.)  From Stark County commissioner candidate Bill Smith:

Hi Martin, voted this morning at 8 ,no line but the voting booths were all being used. Thanks to all who supported my campaign and helped in so many ways. If elected,. I will work hard to maintain their trust in me. 

Post 5:  (1:21 p.m.)  From Stark County commissioner candidate Richard Regula:

Just voted, took 5 min they said turnout has been good in Bethlehem Township.

Post 4:  (12:38 p.m.)  From Stark County commissioner candidate John Mariol:  

Hi Martin, Kallie and I both voted early so I do not have any information about the waiting time. 

Hope all is well!!

Post 3:  (12:29 p.m.) The best source for "live" coverage  (LINK) of the presidential election:

Post 2:  (12:17 p.m.)

Post 1:  (11:20 a.m.)

Wife and I showed up to Lake, Precinct 13 polling station at about 6:45 a.m.  About 12 voters ahead of us.  Line wait to complete voting about 30 minutes.  What a wonderful opportunity we in America have to participate in the selection of our leadership.

You be sure to vote today!


Links to SCPR Recommendations  (contested races wholly within Stark County)
Sample Ballot for SCPR's Martin Olson
(Source:  Stark Co BOE)

Monday, November 7, 2016










Links to prior blogs on 2016 races:

2016 is the first year in the nearly nine year history of The Stark County Political Report for The Report to make candidate recommendations.

Although previous to this blog the SCPR has not made recommendations, it is not hard to tell from the tone of SCPR coverage of Stark's political landscape whom The Report thinks "well of" as contrasted with "not so well of."

As with the SCPR Stark County Political Subdivision Top 10 "Elected" Official List, to earn a SCPR recommendation as being thought "well of" is tough to come by.

Many of the "within Stark County 'only'" races listed in this blog, quite a number are "pick-em" listings.

"Pick-em" is a term The Report uses to say that neither candidate possesses qualities that earn a SCPR recommendation.

The Report has already weighed in on what Ohio House seats wholly within Stark County that exist and the two county commissioner races.

Today, The Report deals with the remainder of "competitive, wholly within Stark County election contests."  (All races as listed on the Stark County Board of Elections website)

Recommendation: Pick-em

Democrat Louis P. Giavasis (a former long time Plain Township trustee) may be Stark County's foremost political cronyism public officials.  

Giavasis' current status is that he is the appointee as clerk of courts of the Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee.  His brother Phil is chairman of the Stark County Democratic Party and a former Stark County clerk of courts himself.

The SCPR has written quite a few blogs citing chapter and verse on the Giavasises political "wheelin and dealin."

Seems like the Giavasis want "to keep it all in the family, no?"

Kudos to Republican challenger Claude W. Shriver, for having the fortitude to step forward at an October, 2016 League of Women Voters candidates forum and say so.

While Shriver does have 17 years under his belt as a Plain Township trustee, he is an unknown quantity in terms of his qualification to be the county clerk of courts.

He might be fine.  But the SCPR does not know enough about his governance abilities to recommend him to Stark County voters.

The clerk of courts office is in the process of completing implementation of electronic filing.  It could be that Shriver might be able to step in without missing a beat.

Giavasis, despite his highly politicized character, has, when he sticks to his duties has done a workmanlike job as a county official, and likely has nursemaided the electronic filing project from when it first was conceived as a thing for Stark County to bring on board as an "efficiency in government" factor.

Readers of the SCPR know how utterly The Report detests the political cronyism of the likes of Louis Giavasis.

But there is a argument to be made why Giavasis should continue in office.

Not being willing (Giavasis) or able due to lack of knowledge (Shriver), the SCRP assigns this particular contest as being a PICK 'EM choice for Stark County voters.

Recommendation: Murthy

P.S. Murthy, M.D. has been Stark County coroner since 2004.

And, as far as the SCPR knows, has gotten the job done in terms of competently discharging the duties of county coroner.

The Report did have some communication difficulties with Murthy's office within the past 30 days regarding the retrieving information on overdose drug deaths since 2013 in Stark County.

To his credit, Murthy did resolve the difficulties quickly when the matter was brought to his attention.

At the October LWV forum, Murthy Republican opponent Brian Briggs offered that he would be a "part-time" coroner.

Unless Murthy had shown over his 12 years as coroner that he was not up to doing a workmanlike job, why would Stark Countians want to take a chance on an unknown quantity who from the get-go says he only wants to be part-time.

Accordingly, the SCPR recommends P.S. Murthy for re-election.

Recommendation: Reese

The Stark County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division (Family Court) has long been a bastion of Republican lawyers becoming judges.

The SCPR goes back to the days of John R. Milligan and W. Don Reader.

While underlying political philosophy should play no role in the administration of justice to Stark's troubled families, the reality is and there is no question about it with The Report that many Republicans (including, of course, those who become judges) have a different perspective as to what constitutes appropriate family lifestyles.

For The Report, given the differences in underlying philosophy on what is and what is not societal defined acceptable family lifestyle, it is important to have variant perspectives on and understanding of family lifestyle realities

A for instance can be found in the judicial conduct for former Republican Stark County Family Court judge David Stucki in this LINK.

For 16 years, Democrat Jason Reese has actually practiced Family Court law from a day-in, day-out citizen perspective.

Republican opponent David Nist has been a Family Court magistrate since 1997.

Two different perspectives, no?

The SCPR thinks it would be value added to the court to have the Reese perspective added to the administration of Family Court justice.

Accordingly, the SCPR recommends Jason Reese for election to judge of the Stark County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division.

Recommendation: Jakmides

The SCPR has written numerous blogs on this race.

To cut to the chase and in a few words state why The Report is recommending Republican Jeffrey Jakmides for election as Stark County prosecutor is the SCPR thinks he has indulged in political considerations in the prosecutor's part of the administration of justice in Stark County.

To cite a number of eamples of a political factor being present in the prosecutor's office:
  • the Devies case, (LINK)
  • his fight with George T. Maier over Maier's qualification to be Stark County sheriff, 
  • having a staff member, who a number of county officials and lawyers tell the SCPR, seems to have very little to do but take care of the politics factor in John Ferrero retaining the office of prosecutor, 
  • using his taxpayer supported place in the Stark County justice system in a manner to enhance the politics of his remaining prosecutor,
  • taking political contributions from staff members who, of course, worry about preserving their jobs,
  • taking political contributions from lawyers with a criminal law practice in the Stark County Court of Common Pleas which, of course, makes his office susceptible to suspicion of doing excessive plea bargaining down of serious criminal law 
Beyond the political factor, John Ferrero is nothing more than a super administrator and is open to question how much he functions in this capacity.

A few years ago, during the Stark County budget crisis, the SCPR Ferrero tried to bully and intimidate the Stark County commissioners into providing him a disproportionate share of county finances.

There is talk that he might retire if re-elected tomorrow before the end of 2016 and then take office anew on January 1, 2017.

Ferrero is definitely under political pressure not to do so, but the SCPR thinks that John Ferrero is all about John Ferrero and would not be surprised in the slightest, should he be re-elected, were he do take a political hit and do what is most remunerative for John Ferrero.

Ferrero likes to advertise that his office has a 97% conviction rate on criminal charges his office prosecutes as some sort of distinguishing factor on his being prosecutor.

The fact of the matter is most prosecutors throughout Ohio and the nation have similar if not better convictions rates.

To repeat the point made above, his office plea bargains down way too many cases which opens up the possibility if not the probability that these convicted felons will once again traversing the streets, avenues and cul-de-sacs of Stark County neighborhoods before they should have been.

Ferrero's Republican opponent Jeff Jakmides of Alliance has the capacity of being a real prosecutor and not simply a pencil pusher.

Jamides is an energized lawyer who:
  • has vast jury trial experience that equips him be "hands on" as a prosecutor,
  • is self-financing his campaign,
  • says he will leverage illicit drug charges to get to and reduce Stark County drug dealer network, 
  • promises to make the prosecutor's office far less susceptible to political influence on who gets charged or not charged with a crime, who gets reduced charges, and 
  • is likely to implement a full blown direct indictment program and thereby save Stark County taxpayers lots of money to be redirected to financing other criminal justice projects designed to insulate Stark Countians from the ravages of criminal activity
The SCPR thinks that of all of the truly competitive offices up for voter decision tomorrow, this one commands that The Report recommend Jeff Jakmides to Stark's voters,

Recommendation: Pick 'em

The SCPR used to have a very high opinion of Stark County recorder Rick Campbell.  Before Campbell became recorder (2001), the office in the modern era the office was held by a succession of Republicans who were at best "mind the store" types who used the office as a political patronage perch.

Campbell on taking office embarked on a bevy of efficiency moves that saved Stark County taxpayers and users of the recorder's office tons of money and time.

But over a span of time,  Campbell came more and more the resemble his Republican forebearers in terms of using the office as a resting place for political connected Stark County Democrats.

The highlight of his placing a political imprimatur on the office was his hiring of Kody Gonzalez from "out of the blue" (no pun intended) circa 2006.

At the time, Kody's father was chairman of the Stark County Democratic Party who denies that he had anything to do with Campbell hiring his son.

And Randy Gonzalez's contention may be true, but who is going to believe it.

For his part, Campbell claimed to the SCPR that Kody possessed qualities so obvious and clear so as to rise to the level of being a "no brainer" as justification for Campbell to have brought him into county government as chief deputy recorder as his first county government job.

The SCPR's take on Campbell is that nobody has to tell him to do a politically expedient thing; doing so seemingly comes naturally to him.

Kody Gonzalez has since moved on to become the Canton clerk of courts chief deputy (hired by the elected clerk Phil Giavasis who is currently the chairman of the Stark County Democratic Party) to take on where father Randy left off when he retired a year or so ago.

Accordingly, he has taken on tones of being of the shame shades of Democratic blue as Sheriff George T. Maier, Clerk of Courts Louis Giavasis and Prosecutor John Ferrero.

His opponent, Republican John Arnold, a Lake Township trustee (mind you, being a trustee is "non-partisan) probably, if elected, would be equally political in how he staffed the office.

The SCPR thinks that Arnold used his position as Lake trustee to help Canton Municipal Court judge Curtis Werren use the reopening of the Uniontown Police Department event as an opportunity for Werren to get political exposure in Lake which is a large part of the Canton Municipal Court district when he ran against Canton Law Department Democrat and  prosecutor Kristen Guardado.

Arnold is an able person who is part of the 127 year old Arnold Funeral Home business and is up to being county recorder.

However, because of the highly partisan factor with both Arnold and Campbell, this race is definitely a Pick-em for Stark County voters.

There are no distinguishing qualities between Campbell and Arnold in terms of ability to get the job done effectively and efficiently going forward.

Recommendation: Zumbar

You talk about a "no-brainer," the Cain versus Zumbar race is it!

Former state board of education president (currently a member of the Lake Schools Board of Education) Debbie Cain is a markedly unqualified candidate for Stark County treasurer.

She may be okay in education circles.  But she is clearly "a fish out of water" as a candidate for Stark County treasurer.

Cain is a substitute candidate for the original filer who the SCPR is told quit the race because he became convinced that the Stark County Democratic Party would not be adequately supporting him to make taking on Zumbar competitive.

Stark's Democrats have put up some credible candidates to oppose Republican Alex Zumbar since he first took office in 2010.

Zumbar has been in and out of office since his initial appointment and set aside by the Ohio Supreme Court election (November, 2010) because the-then Stark County commissioners (Bosley, Ferguson and Meeks) unconstitutionally removed former Democratic treasurer Gary D. Zeigler.

In April, 2009, it surfaced that Chief Deputy Treasurer Vince Frustaci had been stealing taxpayer dollars which in the end turned out to be upwards of some $3 million.

The State of Ohio Auditor (SOA, under then auditor and Republican Mary Taylor) cited Zeigler for not having had policies, practices, programs, procedures and physically secure facilities in place so as to make it impossible for something like the Frustaci theft to have taken place.

By October 19, 2011 Zeigler cut a deal whereby he agreed to resign/retire and on October 31st, believe it or not the Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee was put in the position (because of the excellent remedial work Zumbar had already done in rectifying the SOA citations) to appoint Republican Zumbar to the position.

In 2012, Zumbar was elected in his own right.

Of all of the offices up for election within Stark County in this election cycle, Alex Zumbar without question is the most accomplished and qualified of all the candidates.

Accordingly, the SCPR enthusiastically recommends Zumbar's re-election.

Sunday, November 6, 2016


There are two countywide commissioner races in our Hall of Fame county this presidential election year.

Being a successful Stark County commissioner is a challenge that few understand.

A challenge?


For the commissioners have little governance power inasmuch as most county offices administering to the Stark County public have heads that are themselves elected and therefore are free to ignore (accountable only to the electorate) much of what the commissioners collectively think is best policy and practice for the county at large.

But they do have the "bully pulpit."

One of the best "preachers" of the current set of commissioners is Republican Janet Creighton.

Creighton and then-Democrat Thomas Bernabei (now a political independent and mayor of Canton) elected in November, 2010 when Stark County was in the midst of a crisis of confidence in county government as an outgrowth of then-Chief Deputy of the Stark County treasury having stolen Stark County taxpayer money which, it turns out, was upwards of $3 million.

And preach she did that "the good old boys" model of county government were over.

Alongside her and the Rock of Gibraltar of "head-knocking" was Bernabei who in steel hand in soft glove fashion provided oomph to the Creighton preachments.

But now Bernabei is gone and off to Canton as its "independent" minded mayor in a quest to solve the decades long in the making severe problems that the Hall of Fame City is experiencing.

David Bridenstine has done a solid job as interim commissioner since January when Bernabei took over as chief executive at Canton City Hall.  But he accepted the appointment with the understanding he would not seek election as commissioner.

So the first order of election business for Stark Countians on Tuesday is whom to replace Benabei with.


Of all the "wholly within Stark County" contested races that The Stark County Political Report is weighing in upon, this election cycle, that Republican Bill Smith is the highest quality candidate of them all in terms of being prepared for the office he seeks is clear to The Report.

The election of term-limited-out as of December 31st state Representative Stephen D. Slesnick would make the job of the other two commissioners much more challenging.

Smith as a 13 year Canton Township trustee with an adult life of being a highly successful businessman.

Slesnick, the other hand, as state representative has amounted to no more than being a place holder in the Ohio General Assembly in a legislative district "rigged" (i.e. gerrymandered) by the supermajority Republicans.

Kirk Schuring (the 48th), Christina Hagan (the 50th ) and Scott Oelslager have conspired with their fellows in the Ohio General Assembly to isolate Democrats into urban districts so that Republicans could and have in fact achieved supermajority control of an Ohio which presidential, governorship and U.S. Senate races more often than not demonstrate that Ohio—given quality candidates—is pretty much a 50/50 state.

But such was the perfect place for the vegetating Slesnick to be.

Stark County does not need a place holding commissioner.

There are still many challenges that future Stark boards of commissioners face and the board needs to be composed of office holders who have demonstrated leadership ability.

Accordingly, Bill Smith gets the SCPR's highest recommendation ranking of all the "wholly within Stark County" candidate races on Tuesday's ballot.


Democrat and Canton councilman (Ward 7) John Mariol is one of the SCPR's favorite Canton councilpersons.

In the early days of being a Canton councilman, Mariol along with Ward 5 councilman Kevin Fisher, Ward 8 councilman Edmond Mack and Ward 9 councilman Frank Morris, III (all Democrats, of course) made up a group of energetic, progressive and independent (of then-mayor William J. Healy, II) which the SCPR termed as being "the four young turks."

But alas their vigor and independence was not to last.

By the 2015 elections all four were firmly committed to the re-election of William J. Healy, II as mayor of Canton.

Almost from the beginning of his political career in Canton, the SCPR assessed Healy to be a self-serving, manipulative politician of the first order.

He proved too skilled at political manipulation for Mariol, Fisher, Mack and Morris to resist being drawn into his web of political support.

Healy achieved his objective by using the overarching concept of political party loyalty as the snare to suck them into being part of his core of support.

It was a profound disappointment to see Mariol, Fisher, Mack and Morris to place political party loyalty over the well being of the county seat of Stark County.

Fisher is now out of Canton government.  Mack has said he is leaving at the end of 2017.  And by virtue of running for commissioner, Mariol is saying he wants out.

Only trouble is with Mariol is that he wants to leave Canton government without having left much of a mark on improving Canton's overall situation.

His Market Square project is promising, but far from realized.

It could be that over time John Mariol will prove to be a worthy leader who is equipped to spread his wings and one of three governors of all of Stark County.

But that day is not November 8, 2016.

Accordingly, he needs to stay the course in Canton government and focus on Mayor Bernabei as a model of what real leadership qualities look like in effective government improvement action.

Incumbent Republican commissioner Richard Regula, on the other hand, has grown into be being a somewhat effective commissioner.

His big thing is improving Stark County's infrastructure (e.g. non-flooding ditches, highways [Route 30 widening], and countywide broadband) and he has had significant impact on improving and expanding upon all of the examples.

One troubling aspect of Regula's tenure in Stark County government is that he continues to live under the shadow of his father Ralph Regula, the long-time congressman of the 16th congressional district who distinguished himself as congressman especially in terms of "bringing home the 'federal' bacon" to Stark County.

It is unreal that as the son of revered congressman that Richard has a track record of having lost two elections.

In 2000, he lost to of all people Gary D. Zeigler (who at the time had run unsuccessfully some eight times) in a race for Stark County treasurer.

Then in 2006, he lost to Democrat Nimishillen trustee Todd Bosley in one of the all time upsets in Stark County political history.

The SCPR senses that Richard is making headway in making his own mark as a Stark County leader.

Up to now, he has been mostly talk on infrastructure improvement and has demonstrated as commissioner that he is apparently content with piecemeal improvements as exemplified by the commissioners spending a million here and a million there on unplugging Stark's drainage ditches.

At the current pace of drainage ditch infrastructure repair,  the problem will not be solve during Richard Regula's political lifetime.

He has not developed a creative financing mechanism for funding the critically needed infrastructure projects he advocates for.

Richard Regula needs to get to work on a viable funding option to provide the financing needed countywide infrastructure development and realization.

In the judgment of the SCPR, he has the political/governance wherewithal to make his own Regula mark on benefiting Stark County.

The SCPR recommends the election of Richard Regula over John Mariol this coming Tuesday.

Saturday, November 5, 2016




UPDATED:  10:37 AM

2016 is the first year in the nearly nine year history of The Stark County Political Report for The Report to make candidate recommendations.

Although previous to this blog the SCPR has not made recommendations, it is not hard to tell from the tone of SCPR coverage of Stark's political landscape whom The Report thinks "well of" as contrasted with "not so well of."

As with the SCPR Stark County Political Subdivision Top 10 "Elected" Official List, to earn a SCPR recommendation as being thought "well of" is tough to come by.

Many of the "within Stark County 'only'" races listed in this blog, quite a number are "pick-em" listings.

"Pick-em" is a term The Report uses to say that neither candidate possesses qualities that earn a SCPR recommendation.



For instance, let's take the 49th Ohio House District race as a SCPR "Pick-em" race.

Canton Ward 2 councilman Thomas West (a Democrat) is running in an "open" seat (Democrat Stephen Slesnick  (who the SCPR has a very low opinion of as a public official) having been term-limited out after eight years in the Ohio House) against Republican Dan McMasters.

The 49th district is a seat which has been rigged (actually the proper term is "gerrymandered) by the heavily Republican dominated Ohio General Assembly including the likes of Stark Countian Republicans Christina Hagan (the 50th), Kirk Schuring (the 48th) and Scott Oelslager (the 29th, Ohio Senate) to weight down the 49th with a heavy predominance of voter registered Democrats (e.g. Canton and Massillon residents) so as to make it virtually impossible for a Republican to win.

As we shall see when we get to the Hagan race, she and her fellow Republicans have "rigged" the 50th House District to make it virtually impossible for a Democrat to win.  A couple of months ago, Hagan's Democratic opponent John Juergensen announced he was suspending his campaign because of a personal matter he had to focus on.  It was thought he he actually withdraw, but he has not.  But whether he did or did not, in the view of the SCPR he had no realistic chance to defeat Hagan happily ensconced in her "rigged" Republican 50th.

Samo-samo with Kirk Schuring in the 48th.  This year he has no opponent at all.  He did, but she did and there is no replacement.  Again, as in the 50th, the 48th is "rigged" Republican.

But the SCPR thinks Schuring has qualities as a candidate/legislator that leave Hagan in the dust. Christina Hagan is "a chip off the old block."  The "old block" being father John who represented a somewhat different configured 50th from 2000 through 2008.

The Report sees Hagan as a "religious right" representative who wants to use state government to control the reproductive life of Ohio and Stark County women.

John Hagan, now a Marlboro Township trustee (from whence he came) is a highly marginal guy who was constantly being propped up, during his time in Columbus, by the Ohio and Stark County Republican establishment.

Once John was term limited out of the Ohio House, he decided like Democrat Stephen Slesnick to run for Stark County commissioner.

Despite receiving tons and tons of newspaper ink promoting his very limited accomplishments as a state representative, he lost to political neophyte and Democrat Pete Ferguson who the SCPR sees as having been a lightweight government official in his own right.

In a contest of the politically and/governance inept, Ferguson, (a former Stark County commissioner) believe it or not, came in third in a field four candidates.

The SCPR will have more to say about Slesnick's race against Republican Bill Smith in tomorrow's blog.

It seems to the SCPR that marginal types like  John Hagan and Slesnick once they have sucked on the tit of governance they adopt a feeling of entitlement and seek out some office, any office, to stay on the tit the seemingly need in order to go on.

Christina's marginality dictates that she receives the same kind of "propping up" attention that father John did and has, again, like him,  a "rigged" district to run in.

Schuring has been Stark County's
  • most productive and responsive to the needs from Ohio government to Stark County political subdivisions
    • especially in garnering state money and taxing authority (i.e. tourism district that Stark County alone qualifies for) for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Village Project (HOF-VP),
Ohio General Assembly member.

Of late the SCPR thinks Schuring has turned much more Republican political than he has demonstrated heretofore.  Within the past year he was selected by House Republican as their majority leader and as such has hued the Republican Party line on every issue before the Ohio General Assembly including but not limited to:
  • the undermining of Ohio's public school system by support of the for-profit charter school movement, and  W
  • accomplishing nothing in relieving the financial stress of Stark County cities caused by the Republican dominated legislature (a complicit Republican governor John Kasic) gutting of local government funding while building up a $2 billion surplus in the state's "rainy day" fund.
In West versus McMasters, initially the SCPR thought McMaster might be cut from a different mold than Schuring and Hagan.  But as The Report has gotten to know him, that kind of thinking has evaporated.

McMasters main claimed strength as a candidate is that since the Republican Party hold supermajority edge, it makes sense that the Democrat voter registered majorities would find him an attractive candidate for as representative he would be in a better position to advocate for and perhaps deliver local government funding relief to the likes of Canton and Massillon.

The SCPR thinks that a Representative McMasters would melt like butter on a hot stove top in the face of fellow Stark Countian Republican Schuring who is undoubtedly committed to hueing the party line on making financial life for Ohio's Democratically controlled cities as much as they possibly can.

McMasters presents himself has being an independent minded candidate thereby suggesting that he might be apt to take on "the powers that be" in the Ohio Republican establishment.

A 49th District voter should not believe the McMasters presentment.  The SCPR thinks that the McMasters self portrayal in a political mirage and he would be more of the same of the Schuring /Hagan model.

So is the SCPR bullish of Democrat Thomas West?

Not in the slightest!

He has been a Canton legislator for years and has produced very little for the citizens of Canton in terms of reversing the deterioration (financial, economic development and neighborhoods) of Canton that has occurred  over those years and the years before he became a member of council.

A argument to be made is that West with a majority of his fellow Democratic councilpersons were aiders and abettors with electoral disposed Democratic mayor (for eight years) William J. Healy, II in creating a $5.1 million deficit for Canton for fiscal year 2016 when political independent Thomas Bernabei unseated Healy in November, 2015.

West was one of Healy's main supporters in council and for re-election.

While Ohio's cuts in local government funding clearly hurt both Canton and Massillon, in the case of Canton much of the $5.1 million deficit was owing to irresponsible administration and legislating a the Canton level.

West refused to appear with McMasters in a SCPR interview in which he and McMasters would have to answer the tough questions that would have been forthcoming as suggested by this blog.

West is very out front with his reasons why not.

Why would he provide voters with an opportunity the weigh the relative merits of he and McMasters in a side-by-side forum?

After all, if he does not stumble and bumble, he should win hands down by virtue of Ohio General Assembly Republicans having created a safe district for a Canton/Massillon area Democrat to run it.

Can't be more self-serving than that, no?

To Hell with fundamental democratic-republican constiutional government values!  That seems to be West's attitude.

So the SCPR's conclusion in West/McMasters?


Neither candidate meets the SCPR's high standard for a recommendation.

The same of course for the Juergensen/Hagan 50th District race.

There is no race in the 48th.

Friday, November 4, 2016




Circling of Nist added

Stark County Republican candidates for local office are trying to figure out whether or not it is beneficial to be seen in public with GOP presidential candidate Donald J. Trump.

The SCPR was somewhat surprised to see a goodly number of Stark County-based candidates lining up on the dais behind Trump when he appeared at the Canton Memorial Civic Center in Canton on September 14th.

Of course that was before the Access Hollywood tape showing Trump being over-the-top disrespectful to women surfaced.

Political cognoscenti types are not quite sure of what the Trump effect will be down ticket.

As the SCPR sees it, there are only two Stark County races in which the Trump effect. positive or negative, might be a significant factor as to who wins next Tuesday.

First:  Republican Jeff Jakmides versus Democratic third term Democratic incumbent John Ferrero.

Jakmides has embraced Trump's "build the wall" mantra as benefiting Stark County law enforcement's war on heroin overdose effort.

If, as one local Democratic elected official as observed to the SCPR as likely to happen, Trump wins Stark County, might such be enough for Jakmides to defeat Ferrero?

The battle for Jakmides is to make—he many of Trump's voters likely to be working class Democrats who are all out for Trump—all out for a down ticket Republican while retaining Republican registered voters who show up to the polls next Tuesday.

Second:  Republican David Nist versus Democratic challenger Jason Reese for Family Court judge.

Today, the SCPR was perusing the Akron Beacon Journal (ABJ; online) and happened on an interesting story that may have ramification for the Nist/Reese face off.  (LINK)

In the Summit County instance, Republican Katrina Cook (interesting enough, a candidate for Summit County Family Court judge), according to the ABJ,  is "shown in photographs standing behind Trump holding a “Make America Great Again” sign and wearing a “Judge Cook” sticker."
At issue is whether or not Cook's activity is a violation of Ohio's Code of Judicial Conduct rule prohibiting judges (Nist is a sitting Stark County Family Court magistrate) and judicial candidates from weighing in on the candidacy of another running for public office.

Summit County's "organized" Democrats put the party's request for an advisory opinion from the Ohio Supreme Court Disciplinary Counsel this way:
“While I understand that judges and judicial candidates are allowed to attend political events in a neutral capacity, we are seeking clarity as to when conduct arises to the level of ‘public endorsement,’” attorney Tom Bevan, the Summit County Democratic Party’s second vice chair, wrote in a one-page request to the board. “These are issues that concern many of our judges and judicial candidates and guidance … [and] will be helpful in avoiding any problems going forward.”
While significantly toned down from the Cook activity, is does appear to the SCPR that Nist's presence on September 24th Canton rally behind candidate Trump is tantamount to a Trump endorsement.

General election judicial candidates do not run under partisan labels in Ohio.

So it is hard to tell how the Trump factor will play out in Reese v. Nist.

But it could be that Cook's activity at the Akron Trump rally might make it a no-no for future judges/judicial candidates to be attending 2020 presidential events.

The SCPR did send Nist this e-mail:

Martin Olson <>  Today at 4:49 PM
To:  Dave Nist

Candidate Nist,

In light of today's Akron Beacon Journal article (LINK) on an Akron judge attending a Donald 
Trump rally, I am writing to ask whether you attended the Canton Trump rally as a Trump supporter or as a neutral party.

The appearance of course is that you were there as a Trump supporter.

But I am prepared to hear you out that you were present as a neutral party.

Thank you,

Martin Olson
Stark County Political Report

Candidate Nist's response:

Dave Nist <>  Today at 6:05 AM

To:  Martin Olson

Mr. Olson:

As I am sure you are aware Rule 4.1 of the Ohio Code of Judicial Conduct controls with regard to the political and campaign activities of judges and judicial candidates. Rule 4.1(A) states in relevant part that a judge or judicial candidate shall not do any of the following: (3) Publicly endorse or oppose a candidate for another public office. That same rule later provides in section (B) that a judge or judicial candidate may do any of the following, subject to limitations set forth in the canon; (1) Attend or speak to a political gathering. 

I have always acted in accordance with this rule especially with regard to any political gathering I have attended as well as when I responded to your request to have me comment on past statements made by Donald Trump. 


Dave Nist

Thursday, November 3, 2016


UPDATED & REVISED (re:  SCDL) 11/07/2016 12:52 PM



UPDATE:  SATURDAY, 11/05/2016 AT 3:15 PM

There has been some difficulty in communications between the SCPR and Nicole Nichols who is treasurer of the Lake Local School District.

Ms. Nichols maintains that she has never received to any of the e-mailed Q&A to her and Superintendent Kevin Tobin.

The SCPR has not received as "undeliverable" return e-mails sent to Ms. Nichols and Superintendent Tobin as is standard protocol when a particular e-mail has been misaddressed.

Beyond the e-mail problem, Ms. Nichols cites being occupied with higher priority tasks and not having adequate administrative support personnel as reasons why a return phone call to the SCPR was not made from the Lake treasurer's office to the SCPR indicating when she might get back to The Report to entertain the Star Plus/Star inquiry.

But in an e-mail received to today in which she says that the first she knew of the SCPR Star Plus/Star allocation questions on the part of the Lake School District from reading this blog, she did respond to the inquiry in the following fashion, to wit:

I evaluate the balances in accounts compared to interest rates overall on a monthly basis. I check all accounts at least weekly to manage the cash balances for district needs. Lake had in fact inquired with the Ohio Treasurer’s Office back in August/September, and based on their response, made an initial move of the majority balance. Following a Market Update seminar I attended as part of  the Ohio Treasurer’s CPIM Academy on October 26, I transferred the remaining balance of our Star Plus account, less interest earned, to our Star Ohio account. I am in the process of evaluating all of our cash and investment balances as well as where we hold those accounts, from our local checking account, to Star, to investments. Lake Local has made major strides in the past year or two in interest earnings and in bank fees paid to result in a net positive to the district. This is something we will continue to focus on going forward.  


On October 17th, The Stark County Political Report spied an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer (online version [], to wit:

As the SCPR always does when one of Ohio's quality mainstream newspapers does an Ohio-wide investigative journalism that could relate to Stark County government, The Report examines the impact/import of the work to Stark County political subdivisions.

Accordingly, on October 20th, The Report was in a position to report to the Stark County public the ramifications of the above-headline to the revenues of various Stark County govenment entities including Stark major college (Stark State), local boards of education, libraries, townships, cities, and, indeed to county government itself.

As it turns out, Stark County treasurer Alex Zumbar, being the forthright public official he is, at his own initiative, estimated to the SCPR that because he did not pick up on the significant shift in return on Ohio treasurer Josh Mandel's formulated Star Plus/Star Funds, Stark County missed out on approximately $32,500 in additional revenues as a leverage on taxpayer dollars.

Since the 20th, the SCPR has contacted many fiscal officers serving the entities on the list below and believes that a consequence of doing so The Report was the impetus for these officers to rethink and in quite a number case reorder their investment of taxpayer dollars from the lower paying (beginning months ago) Star Plus to the Star fund.

The Star fund currently produces about 1/4 cent higher daily return than the Star Plus fund.

The Report thinks that this blog investigative effort has led to—going forward—Stark County taxpayers' money being enhanced to the tune of thousands of dollars.

There is an alarming side to the SCPR's investigation.

While Zumbar was completely cooperative with The Report's survey of local governments; not all fiscal officers were..

Here is a typical template for the inquiry (e.g. questions sent to Lake Schools treasurer Nicole Nichols who earns about $122,000 annually (April 18, 2016) as Lake treasurer; way more than most Stark political subdivision financial officials) that the SCPR made of Stark's local entities involved with the Star accounts:

While the chart above show that Lake has dramatically reduced the Star Plus allocation from $4.24 million to $1,209.95, no response as of the date of the publication of this blog has been received of Ms. Nichols.

NOTE:  On Saturday, Treasurer Nichols did respond, see her response at the beginning of this blog

Ms. Nichols says that she never received the SCPR e-mail asking the above questions when sent on October 27th.

At first The Report thought there was some basis for that claim.  But on re-examining e-mail records the SCPR is skeptical of Treasurer Nichols' disclaimer and now believes that she is typical of other fiscal officials who The Report thinks tried to "deep six" The Report's inquiry not know how utterly persistent The Stark County Political Report is.

As of the date of this blog, (changed as of Saturday, November 5th; see above) Treasurer Nichols has not answered the foregoing questions notwithstanding The Report having sent the inquiry two times after the 27th (once to Superintendent Kevin Tobin).

The SCPR is particularly sensitive to the Lake School District inasmuch Lake Township has been the home of the Olson family for 41 years.  The three Olson daughters graduated from Lake and wife Mary served on the Lake Board.

So, media inquiry aside, for a Lake school district official not to—at a minimum—to make a return phone call to a current and long term community resident (or have her administrative assistant do so) to the effect of:  "I'm involved with a high priority task, I will get back to by (e.g. Thursday)," is not acceptable.

In 2015, Nichols (a Lake resident/graduate herself) was out with then-superintendent Jeff Wendorf seeking to a Lake trustee meeting support for passage of a before then election challenged bond issue.

The Olsons supported that issue each and every time it came up on the ballot until it passed.

And not taking phones calls [or responding as to when she will call back] and answering the questions posed is the kind of thanks we get?

Such is a precise example of how governments at all levels lose the respect of and support of the government financial issue in their respective constituencies.

The Report thinks Ms. Nichols as other Stark County fiscal officials are embarrassed at not having kept track of the differences between Star Plus/Star fund returns which can be accessed online in about 15 seconds.  Moreover, transfers are a mouse click away.

Many of us use electronic banking and know from that experience alone how utterly easy it is to keep tabs on our accounts and transact whenever we think it is desirable/prudent to do so.

Plain Township's Tom Wolf (recently elected Plain fiscal officer) who is also a CPA working in a local private firm says that he checks rates daily which he admitted was probably not necessary in terms of frequency but that a "due diligence" fair standar of "once a week" would be a reasonable standard.

Wolf said that he figures that Plain lost about $1,500 in interest income because of Plain's $3.2 million being in the Star Plus rather than the Star fund.

The SCPR thinks that Wolf is not to blame for the lost time.  If anybody is, it is former fiscal officer Anthony Flex who Wolf defeated in November, 2015 and who now works for former Plain Township trustee and now Stark Dems Central Committee appointee Stark County Clerk of Courts Louis Giavasis.

Flex should have been aware of the Star Plus/Star differential and in the transfer of responsibilities should have given Wolf the heads up on the Star Plus/Star differences.

Wolf  (having been in office nearly a year now) has told the SCPR that he only recently learned of the differences and as the chart above indicates.

Note that Wolf has left some Plain Township funds in Star Plus.

There are justifications for doing so.

However, Fiscal Officer Wolf did say that he is totally comfortable with the safety of the Star fund notwithstand that this fund is not Federal Insurance Deposit Corporation (FDIC) protected.

The Massillon Public Library gives as a reason for its staying with the Star Plus is to maintain a diversity of location of investment dollars.

One of the more disturbing responses from those fiscal officials who did take the survey call from The Report came from North Canton financial director Laura Brown.

Brown is recognized by local officials as a top notch financial person.

She played a major role in helping Massillon get its financial matters in order in her participation as a state of Ohio official on the Massillon Planning and Supervision Commission.

When The Report talked with Ms. Brown last week,  she said that yes she was aware of the Star Plus/Star differential but that tending to it would have to wait as she is heavily engaged in working on North Canton's 2017 budget.

North Canton's exposure to the lower Star Plus return on investment (ROI) is not that great—some $602,000—but insofar as the SCPR is concerned her, in the perception of The Report "flip" attitude," was troubling.

The Report did bring the matter up with North Canton mayor David Held and seemingly he agreed with yours truly and said he was going to take the matter up with Ms. Brown.

If there was a major investment in time for finance director Brown to attend to the Star Plus/Star differences, that would be a compelling reason for her to defer to after the budget is completed.

But as point out earlier in this discussion, she could easily do the process in a matter of minutes.

No doubt, she and other Stark County fiscal officials spend more time than that chit-chatting with colleagues about the day's weatther.

Accordingly, her reason for not acting comes off more about hubris than a meaningful justification for putting the Star Plus/Star North Canton investment off until after the 2017 budget is completed.

Louisville finance director Jina Turowski is another Stark County political subdivision who failed to return the SCPR's survey call.  The Report did get in touch with city manager Tom Ault who deferred to Turowski.

It is obvious from the chart above that the SCPR call to Ault was productive for Louisville taxpayer notwithstanding the apparent refusal of Turowski to answer The Report's specific questions.

Alliance treasurer Denny Clunck also failed to return the SCPR's call.

The most complete answer to the SCPR's inquiry came from Stark State College comptroller Scott Andreani.

Initially, he failed to respond to the SCPR's questions.  The reason?  The Report's e-mail ended up in Andreani's "spam" file, he says.

Sorry, but the SCPR is skeptical of this excuses too as in the case of Lake's Nichole Nichols

An e-mail to Stark State president Para Jones (which interestingly enough did not end up in her "spam" folder) solved the SCPR/Andreani communication problem as did Stark County District Library (SCDL) Tena Wilson in the case of one unreturned telephone call from the SCDL's financial person.  However, the the SCDL official did telephone The Report at Director Wilson's promoting and a fruitful conversaton ensured.

The Stark County Political Report position is that elected/appointed Stark County officials have no right to ignore public (mostly through the media) inquiry as still collect a salary provided by the taxpayers of the Stark County political subdivision for whom they work.

Here is Andreani's response:

Mr. Olson  (sent on November 1st)

Thank you for your contacting Stark State College with questions concerning the Star Plus and Star Ohio investments. 

The investment committee met to discuss your questions and the resulting answers are in response to those submitted in your original email.

How often as fiscal officer for Stark State do you check the Star/Star Plus accounts in the context of evaluating where Stark State taxpayer money should be held? [SCPR question]

Our investment committee meets quarterly to discuss short term cash flow, changes in enrollment (revenue) and market changes.  Most of our reserves are not invested in either Star or Star Plus.

Does Stark State plan to continue holding the nearly $5 million in the Star Plus account?  If so, what is the rational for doing so? [SCPR question]

 A portion of the money in Star Plus will remain.  We are evaluating the amount right now based on our updated cash flow projections.  We already keep our long term investments protected by the full faith and credit of the federal government. We plan to keep 10% of total cash and investments under FDIC protection as part our focus on safety, liquidity and yield as required by our policies and state law.

If Stark State now plans to transfer said funds from Star Plus to Star, when will the transfer take place and how much of the $5 million will be transferred? 

We are reviewing options for our interim funds which do not involve Star Ohio or Star Plus.  We currently have over half of our portfolio invested in federal government securities, yielding three times more than Star Ohio.

Finally, how much money has been lost to the Stark State College as a consequence of the $5 million remaining in the Star Plus account?      

There is a qualitative difference between Star Plus and Star Ohio.  Star Plus is fully insured.  Star Ohio is currently receiving a better rate than Star Plus because they are heavily invested in commercial paper and corporate debt (52%).  

Please see Ohio Revised Code Sec. 135 for the limitations and details about how commercial paper can be used in an investment portfolio by political subdivisions.

The difference between the Star Ohio and Star Plus rates were around 1/10th% or less up until the last couple months.  If we had made a decision to move all Star Plus funds to Star Ohio back in January, when the spread was very small, we could have earned $4,364 more than we did. 

However, the difference in rates did not jump until the last few months.  

This is when the State Treasurer decided to invest more heavily in commercial debt.  We take a more conservative approach with our investments.  Commercial paper and corporate debt introduced additional risk into Star Ohio.  We are uncomfortable with investing 52% in commercial paper and corporate debt, and we would be prohibited by law from making an investment in commercial paper at these percentages if done on our own outside Star Ohio.  If a bank fails, our investment through Star Plus is guaranteed. If commercial paper goes bad, we would lose principal, not just the interest.

We appreciate your interest in Stark State College and hope you have a great day!

Scott Andreani

While $4,363.84 is not a lot of money for Stark State (and Ohio's taxpayers) to have lost, in the words of one of our founding fathers Benjamin Franklin:  "a penny saved is a penny earned."

Currently, Stark State and the Lake School systems are involved in multi-million dollar building projects.

So it is doubly important for their respective financial officers to see to it that Stark State and Lake scare up every penny in saving that the possibly can.

Beyond Stark State and Lake, the admonition also applies.

For these financial folks have a fiduciary obligation to their respective taxpayer to wring every cent out of every tax dollar no matter how inconvenient "due diligence" might be.