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.

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