Saturday, April 30, 2016

BIG NEWS FOR STARK COUNTY? SCHURING BECOMES GOP CONTROLLED OHIO HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER!



Yours truly has known Republican state Representative J. Kirk Schuring for some 15 years.

The hope has been that Schuring would prove to be more for the public good than for his personal political good.

But any chance that the public interest and specifically the Stark County public interest would trump his personal political ambitions were finally laid to rest on Tuesday, April 26th.

Get this!


Yep!  Schuring as the Republican Ohio House Caucus Majority Leader.

For those readers who are not all that familiar with functions of a majority leader, here is a LINK (though descriptive of the U.S. House of Representatives) that provides a pretty good look at some of the responsibilities Schuring will be taking on.

Here is the essence of the announcement (highlight added) with a SCPR question superimposed:


Schuring is probably the most affable of all the folks we Stark Countians send to Columbus.

Consequently, one hears very little in terms of criticism of Schuring as state representative and/or state senator.

Oh! the SCPR does recall Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. in the days he was Stark County Democratic Party chairman and his sidekick and Stark County Democratic Party political director R. Shane Jackson trading in ugly asides about Schuring which yours truly thinks to be incredible.

Undoubtedly, face-to-face these two have been "peaches and cream" with Schuring.

Such (i.e. hypocrisy)  is how many politicians are especially across political party lines.

In addition to his affability, seemingly,  at least up until Tuesday, to repeat, his ostensible "not all that partisan stance,"  if one believes the image that Schuring has been trying to project in all of his days as a member of the Ohio General Assembly, has worked for him.

In fact, a number of years ago he was punished by his Republican Party caucus when he differed with the leadership on an issue for which he disciplined by the Republican caucus in place at the time.

Looking back, he has to be thinking that his diversion from "the party line" was a big mistake.

For if he had not offended party leaders, 
  • being Ohio General Assembly fixture compared to many fellow legislators:
    • in working out a deal with fellow legislator Scott Oelslager for the two of them to avoid the consequences of the Republican Party sponsored (1992) term limits initiative (limiting terms to 8 consecutive years)
      • which Ohioans passed
    • in playing "musical chairs" with Stark's senate district and the overlapping Plain/Jackson house district in switching between the two seats as they were to be put on the outside looking in because of the looming 8 year limit,
it likely would not have taken him 21 years to rise to the top of the Republican leadership in the Ohio General Assembly. 

By way of comparison, the current Speaker of the Ohio House has only been in the House for about 5 years, to wit:


The SCPR has always suspected that "not being a 'cookie cutter'" Republican (which Schuring claims as being his imprimatur) was more a mirage propagated by Schuring himself than his real record indicates.

"The cat is now out of the bag" as to his being "all-in" in his personal commitment to the Ohio Republican Party.

Apparently, he and other Republican and for that matter Democratic "organized" political party types have not gotten the message from the Trump and Sanders presidential campaigns.

Normally, the naming of a "person of the year," would come at the end of the year as Time Magazine does annually.

But Schuring's political accomplishment is so monumental that the SCPR could not bear to hold off until December.

For it could mean really big things for Stark County in terms of Schuring "bringing home the bacon" to Stark.

It has always been a premise of the SCPR that though Schuring (and Olelsager) obviously have gotten some good things done for Stark County, given their combined over 50 years in the Ohio General Assembly; in these times of term limits 50+ years should put them in the order of former Democratic Party Speaker of the House and iron-fisted leader Vern Riffe, Jr. (an icon to Maier, Jr.) in effectiveness.  (LINK)

But the SCPR is highly skeptical that Schuring's new political perch will mean much if anything of added value for Stark County.

On the Einstein scale of relativity, at least in the SCPR's view, he is the best of the bunch even with the revelation of his reaching the political stratosphere of the Ohio Republican Party.

The Report ranks Stark's delegation—in terms of overall quality— to the Ohio General Assembly as follows:
  1. Schuring (Republican, Jackson Township, Ohio House, the 48th),
  2. Oelslager (Republican, Plain Township, Ohio Senate, the 29th),
  3. Christina Hagan (Republican, Marlboro Township, Ohio House, the 50th), and
  4. Stephen Slesnick, Democrat, Canton, the 49th)
As a sidenote, having referred to her in the above-listing,  one has the figure that Christina Hagan may have gotten herself into a whole lot of legal trouble with former Stark County treasurer Gary D. Zeigler with a factually incorrect statement about Zeigler published in the April 29,2016 edition of The Hartville News (HN).

The primary point of the column was for Hagan to self-servingly tell Hartville/Lake residents what a terrific representative she has been over her five years in the Ohio House.

However, her braggradocios must be accurate or it might well lead one to believe that there may be other inaccuracies in her self-aggrandizement.

Undoubtedly, if doesn't already know, with this blog Zeigler or one of his friends will happen upon the incorrect Hagan statement about him.

Being a Lake Township resident, yours truly has subscribed to the HN for most if not all of the 41 years that the Olsons have lived in Uniontown.

Of late, it seems as if Christina who his seeking re-election to the 50th Ohio House seat has been a featured attraction in the weekly periodical.

The SCPR's impression is that nearly every Stark County Republican elected official frequents the pages of the HN whereas one only sees a Democrat occasionally.

Hagan's Democratic opponent is Plain Township resident John Juergensen.

Haven't see a word about Juergensen in the HN.

But he might want to use The Hartville News as an "opposition research" tool to check out what Hagan is saying about herself.

Moreover, could it be that GOP Majority Leader Kirk Schuring now has a problem on his hands to deal with?

Did Representative Hagan write the article herself?

Or, was it written by a  taxpayer supported Ohio House employee?

Somebody not adequately schooled on matter on all the material included in the article?

Who fact checked the Hagan column prior to publication?

Congratulations Majority Leader J. Kirk Schuring on being named the SCPR "Person of the Year!"

Thursday, April 28, 2016

"A SHOT IN THE ARM!" FOR IMPROVEMENT OF CANTON'S NEIGHBORHOODS?

UPDATED:  2:17 PM


VIDEOS

KING'S LANDING
PRESENTATION
TO
STARK CO. COMMISSIONERS

===================================

CIVIC ACTIVIST BRUCE NORDMAN
&
KL PARTNERS (LESAK)
ON
FUTURE PLANS FOR KING'S LANDING

Very quietly a real estate transaction closed whereby what was formerly known as Ridgewood-Castle Apartments whereby the 170 unit apartment complex was purchased by an from-outside-Canton real estate partnership, to wit:


According, the some Cantonians who live in the vicinity of the complex—now known as King's Landing—the purchase offers the promise of eliminating the complex as being a policing and fire servicing nightmare into a first rate supplement (i.e. compacted living space) to one of Canton's historically stable neighborhoods known as Vassar Park.

The transaction appears to have been "under-the-radar" insofar as city officials being aware of it and its potential to transform the Vassar Park neighborhood to some semblance of the neighborhood being perhaps Canton's finest middle class/upper middle class neighborhood.

KL Partners' manager (Josh Lesak) was brought to the Stark County commissioners' weekly meeting yesterday by Vassar Park neighborhood civic activist Bruce Nordman.

Here is a video of Nordman and Lesak making presentations to the commissioners.



And, as The Stark County Political Report often does, here is a one-on-one video with yours truly doing an "in depth" follow up with Nordman and Lesak.



Much has to be done to restore Canton to her former greatness as one of Ohio's premier urban centers that has produced a president of the United States.

Recently, Canton City Council adopted a comprehensive plan to set about step-by-step to rehab Canton so that one day within the foreseeable future the Hall of Fame City will be featured in major U.S. media as a "Come Back City Extraordinaire."


The National Football Hall of Fame Village has the promise of being a key cog in the wheel of progress in bring Canton back to urban premier status.



As does Councilman John Mariol's (Ward 7) Market Square Project (LINK).


Another important cog in Canton "wheel of progress" in rehabbing the city is the merger of the Canton Parks Commissioner and the Canton Joint Recreation District which on March 15th gained voter approval of 5 mill financing beginning on January 1, 2017 and is in process in determining who will manage Canton's Parks and Recreation as director going forward.

Had the financing issue failed, Cantonians would have been looking at a scenario suggested by this SCPR graphic used in describing the critical nature of the March 15th vote.


Though the leadership of current director Derek Gordon, Canton City Schools vice president J.R. Rinaldi and Canton Park Commission member Sam Sliman, Canton's parks and recreation facilities promise to be an asset as more and more visitors are drawn to the city.

There  is a what the the SCPR thinks a healthy competition going on as to who will lead the new entity as director going forward.

The Report's take is that many think current director Derek Gordon has done a fine job.

However, government at all levels ought to be seeking the best possible leadership and leadership evaluation always need to be in a "work in progress" mode.

Thomas M. Bernabei has been mayor of Canton for four months now.

With the assets that this blog focuses upon and others not dealt with in this blog, he appears to have building blocks in place to do—over the span of time—what a short time ago seemed impossible.

But everything cannot be government initiative.

The private sector needs to step forward responsibly and productively to help bring Canton back to being an attractive community to live in.

One of the primary and repetitive points that Manager Lesak made yesterday was that KL Partners are about cleaning things up at King's Landing.

The SCPR did a search of Stark County's Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) for a listing of legal initiatives as confirming evidence of Lesak's point, to wit:


It appears that KL Partners is embarked on pathway that may well prove to be a model for other private sector enterprises to help Canton make a come back to being one Ohio's top desirable urban destinations.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

THE NUMBERS INDICATE THAT "ORGANIZED" REPUBLICANS? DEMOCRATS? CONTROL STARK CO. COUNTYWIDE ELECTIONS

UPDATED TODAY (04/28/2016) 06:30 AM - NEW MATERIAL ADDED


Answer?

It depends on your perspective.

LOOKING STRICTLY AT THE REGISTRATION NUMBERS



As between registered Republicans and Democrats, the Republicans have it by nearly a two to one margin.

Election results tend to undermine the on-the-face-of-it reading of those numbers and not being truly independent minded voters.

And, as far as the "non-partisan" vote is concerned,  the SCPR looks at those numbers no as if these folks by and large are truly independent minded voters.

Depending on where they reside, their actual voting practice in terms of partisan alliance pretty much mirrors the registration propensity of their overall community.

For example, a "non-partisan" Cantonian is highly likely to vote Democratic.

MEASURING POLITICAL DOMINANCE BY RESULTS

In all of the Stark County-based Ohio political subdivisions there are 364 (more or less) elective offices.

Looking at the following spreadsheet, it appears that the Stark County Republican Party should be deemed to be in control.

PARTY I.D. OF THOSE HOLDING STARK COUNTY OFFICE



Republicans hold 197 offices fanning through boards of education, villages, cities and countywide (beyond in the case of the Court of Appeals) in Stark County.

The Democrats:  138

Non-partisans (in terms of not voting in partisan primaries over the past three years) hold 23 of Stark political subdivision offices.

So chalk one up for Stark GOP chairman (also director of the Stark County Board of Elections) Jeff Matthews.

OUTCOME OF LAST TWO PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS

From a presidential election standpoint, the Dems and Chairman Phil Giavasis win.

Democrat Barack Obama carried Stark in 2008 and 2012.



STARK:  COUNTYWIDE ONLY

A virtual tie.


In fact, if you believe the Board of Elections it is a tie because the BOE shows Commissioner David Bridenstine to be a Republican.

Undoubtedly, the Republican tint is assigned Bridenstine because he voted in a Republican primary election within the past three years.

And yet his historical employment record has been in the office of former Stark County Democratic Party chairman John Ferrero, Jr.

John D. Ferrero, Jr does not strike yours truly as somebody willing to abide a markedly Republican staff person.

In an interview with the SCPR when he was appointed to replace former Democrat turned "independent" Thomas M. Bernabei (currently the mayor of Canton) as commissioner, Bridenstine indicated that he considered himself to be a Democrat.

If it hadn't been for what local attorney and civic activist Craig T. Conley terms as having been "Zeiglergate"  (April, 2009 through October, 2011), the SCPR believes that the Democrats would hold a clear majority of "countywide only-offices" with the county auditor and county treasury being held by Democrats Kim Perez and, of course, Gary Ziegler.

Moreover, Stark County might also have Democrats Steve Meeks (Jackson Township) and Peter Ferguson as commissioners.

The Report thinks there would be at least one Republican commissioner because there is no way—had he chosen to run for re-election—that former Democratic commissioner Todd Bosley (now a Nimishillen Township trustee) would have been election.

That Republican likely would have been Jackson Township trustee James N. (Jamie) Walters.

Even with a third candidate in the race, there SCPR thinks there is no way Bosley could have won re-election as commissioner.


He cooked his political goose in future Stark County wide elections for joining fellow Democratic commissioner Tom Harmon (now a Canton city councilman-at-large) and Republican commissioner Jane Vignos in "imposing!" a 1/2 cent sales tax on Stark Countians.

Craig T. Conley surfaces again in the Stark County political mix as being the person who spearheaded the repeal of the Bosley/Harmon/Vignos imposed sales tax in November, 2009.

BUT FOR Zeiglergate and the "imposed" sales tax, The Report computes that Democrats would likely today hold 14 of 20 countywide offices.

Court of Appeals judicial offices are not included because the 5th District Court of Appeals covers 15 counties and includes judges who are not Stark Countians.

So the "virtual tie" is a product of fortuitous circumstances (another way of saying "the Democrats self-destructed). 

No. Jeff Matthews did not get up off is rump (look at Canton city government which is a 12 - 0 Democratic unitary government) and energetic devise a plan to reinvigorate a once healthy (under former chairman Charles Brown) Stark County Republican Party.

SO OLSON, WHICH IS IT:  A REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRATIC COUNTY?

The SCPR comes down on the side of Stark County being by a small margin a Democratic county EXCEPT if the Democrat who is running is believe out-in-the-county to be a Canton Democrat.


One of Stark County's most able Democrats (unlike his cousin Stephen Slesnick currently a state representative in the Democratic "safe" 49th Ohio House District and who is seeking a county commissioner seat) Bill Smuckler (currently a Canton councilman-at-large), despite years as a Canton elected official with all the ink in The Repository he benefited from could not defeat Richard Regula for county commissioner in 2014.

We all know that the name Regula is powerful in Stark County.

But Richard has managed to muck that advantage up twice.

Gary Zeigler of all people defeated him in 2000 in the very first election Zeigler ran for county treasurer.


And, believe it or not, Todd Bosley (not now nor then exactly a Stark County well known political name) defeated Regula in his bid for re-election as an incumbent county commissioner in 2006.

One other bit of the Canton exception evidence.

Alluded to above in this blog in the discussion about Jackson trustee James N. Walters possibly being a Stark County commissioner.

Had there not been a third party candidate (who The Report thinks shared Walters' Republican-esque, conservative, if not right wing politics) drawing votes from Walters, Walters would have been elected over Canton Democrat (in terms of history of holding elective office) Thomas M. Bernabei.


 THE RAMIFICATIONS OF STARK BEING DEMOCRATIC-LEANING

Look for Hillary Clinton to win Stark County in her match up with any Republican (except perhaps John Kasich) in the presidential race.

If either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz is the Republican nominee, look for Rob Portman to lose Stark to former Democratic governor Ted Strickland (quite down those cheers Maier, Jr, [a case of The Report being funny]) and locally God Forbid! Stephen Slesnick might slip by Canton Township trustee Bill Smith for county commissioner.

Could Regula lose to Canton Democrat John Mariol (currently Democratic Ward 7 councilman)?

Not likely.

But Regula has shown he can lose to a relatively unknown candidate.

COULD REPUBLICAN GAIN AN UPPER HAND IN STARK CO BASED ELECTIONS - COUNTYWIDE?

Of course!

But not with Jeff Matthews as chairman.

Is there a "political" reincarnation of Charles Brown out there somewhere?

Monday, April 25, 2016

HOLDING STARK COUNTY DEPARTMENTS OF GOV'T ACCOUNTABLE



On March 2, 2016, the Stark County Commissioners passed the 2016 Fiscal Year county budget.

While the commissioners themselves were key in exercising "due diligence" in the putting of the county budget "sausage" together, undoubtedly, each one of them would acknowledge that the June 26, 2013 hire Chris Nichols is "really" the key to making it all come together into something everybody in the county—including the tax paying Stark County public—can live with, if not enjoy.


Nichols coming out of as "a Jack in the Box?"

Yes.  A case of the SCPR being funny!

When Nichols was hired back in June, 2013 The Report wrote a blog (LINK) in which Nichols "pops out" of as the "Jack" as in 'Jack in the Box' as having been chosen as Stark County budget director from among a pool of candidates for Stark County chief administrator which of course produce Brant Luther.

The SCPR has maintained all along that it was a huge advantage for Luther and Nichols in getting hired by the county that they both are prominent Stark County Republicans.

The Report thinks that the driving force behind—especially the Luther hiring (LINK)—was Commissioner Janet Creighton.

Luther had been her chief administrator when she was Stark County auditor.

It could be that had Luther not had that kind of connection to Creighton, the chief administrator today would be Chris Nichols.

While The Report thinks Luther is up to the job and has done an effective job as chief administrator, Nichols has be superlative as the county's budget director.

Accordingly, in this blog Nichols gets re-billed from being a "Jack-in-the-Box" to a "Jack of All Trades 'Financial'" as far as his performance as county budget director is concerned.

And, by the way, Chris a a long standing Canton Township trustee (LINK).

Going over budget numbers is not exactly "prime-time" material for a blogger.

However, unless a citizen can get to commissioners' meetings, the only way for the taxpaying public to know how their money is being spent is for the likes of The Stark County Political Report to step back and do a non-salacious blog.

The Report does plenty of expose type of blogs.  However, this blog also does some of the most in depth analysis of the unsexy, unglitzy "in the bowels of Stark County political subdivision government" as is published by all the media that covers Stark County government and politics.

Hence today, the SCPR presents Chris Nichols 60 slide (presented to county workers on March 1, 2016) on the Stark County budget.

The presentation last seven minutes if not paused.

Yours truly encourages to hit the pause button for those slides that catch a viewer's eye.


Here is the slide presentation.



As important as the budget itself is, the vastly more important factor for Stark County taxpayers (who approved a Justice System Sales Tax of 1/2 cent in November, 2011 which is to run through 2019), is the accounting for "actual" receipts/expenditures made from taxpayer provided funding.

There is always some sort of internal monitoring (auditing) for and department of government, but the commissioners are not content to know within the inner sanctum of the their county office abode on the second floor of the Stark County office building that "all is well" in the fiscal world of county finances.

They, working with Nichols, who the SCPR thinks came up with the idea have published this first quarterly accounting.



Every quarter hereafter, The Report will be publishing a blog on the Nichols produced quarterly accounting.

A SCPR "Hats Off!" to the commissioners and Nichols for keeping the Stark County public informed.

With the advent of Thomas M. Bernabei (now mayor of Canton) and Janet Creighton as commissioners in the election of November, 2010; Stark County government has become much more accessible, accountable, open, transparent and communicative—all prime democratic-republican values—than any other Stark County political subdivision government.

North Canton government officials ought to use the commissioners' office as a model of how political subdivision government should be.

What would really be impressive as a product of the commissioners' budget work would be for yours truly to learn from the commissioners and/or Nichols that some "committed to the public good citizen" have:
  • actually examined the appropriations budget in detail, 
  • compared those numbers with the quarterly reports, and
  • questioned the commissioners and Nichols on the numbers in an analytic vein
provided feedback as to how the budgeting process might be improved.

Such an exchange would be an expression of our democratic-republican form of government "at its finest!!!"

Friday, April 22, 2016

ARE TRANSGENDER ACCOMODATING RESTROOMS COMING TO STARK COUNTY SCHOOLS?




The Stark County Political Report has learned that there is at least one transgender student enrolled in each of Stark County's public school districts.

For anybody who is alive and aware, it is apparent that transgender legal rights have taken a front and center place in the American political landscape.

Yesterday, the New York Times reported (LINK) in this way:


And this from a CBS News report (LINK) on Trump presidential opponent Ted Cruz:
Asked if he would let Caitlyn Jenner, the former "Keeping With the Kardashians" star, use whichever bathroom she chooses at Trump Tower, Trump said yes. "That is correct," he said.
At a rally in Frederick, Md., Cruz blasted Trump for his comments on the issue, asking if the country had gone "stark raving nuts."
On March 23, 2016 the North Carolina Legislature passed a bill (the governor signed it almost immediately) curtailing the effect of a city of Charlotte ordinance which among other things allowed citizens to either male/female designated restrooms based on how a citizen identifies him/herself currently not necessarily the gender describing the person on  the person's birth certificate.

There has been a huge uproar in the country from that sector of American society who support non-discrimination as a keystone of their political/social philosophy.

Professional artists have refused to perform, commercially enriching to North Carolinians events have been cancelled and job expansion plans have been withdrawn.

In short, North Carolina's governments stand on the issue has been very costly.

But as suggested in the opening sentence of this blog, the issue may soon be a headliner in Stark County.

The United States Department of Education has policy guidelines in place which require that students may access school bathroom on the basis of how they gender identify themselves rather than upon their biological makeup.

The guidelines exist on the basis of Title IX of the United States of America Code which prohibits schools across the USA which receive any federal funds from discriminating on the basis of gender.

Whether or not Stark County experiences the North Caroline turmoil depends upon how local administrators (i.e. Stark's 17 local school superintendents) handle a transgender student's use or demand to use either restroom facilities not in sync with their biological gender status.

Beyond the superintendents, there is the matter of Stark's Ohio General Assembly delegation which includes Republican Christina Hagan (the 50th), Republican Kirk Schuring (the 48th), Democrat Stephen Slesnick (the 49th) and Republican Scott Oelslager (the 29th Ohio Senate District).

Hagan and Schuring are up for re-election this year.

Will one of them (the SCPR thinks that 50th Ohio House Representative Hagan to be the most likely to want to act) react with North Carolina like proposed legislation should a local superintendent/board of education allow in the words of Donald Trump "use [of] the bathroom they want."

Or will one of the superintendents or a district's board of education  prohibit such use and thereby invite federal litigation .which was won by a Virginia student just days ago in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (LINK, one step below the United States Supreme Court).

Either way, this issue could disrupt the Stark County political scene in certain elections.

Most likely Stark's Ohio House elections this year and perhaps board of education elections next year.

Stay tuned on this one!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

MASSILLON: LIMPING ALONG OR 'ERR LIMPING ALONG WITH OR WITHOUT TAX INCREASE?

UPDATED: 09:00 AM


VIDEOS
APRIL 19, 2016
MASSILLON FINANCIAL PLANNING & SUPERVISION COMMISSION
MEETING
(At End of Blog)

==============================================

COUNCILMAN PAUL MANSON
"TAKE-AWAY"
FROM MFPSC 04.19.2016 SESSION

It is interesting to note how the long, long, long political feud between Massillon's John Ferrero and Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. (well, sort of inasmuch as he lives in Tuscarawas Township but was born and raised in Massillon) permeates so much of Stark County political subdivision government.

Both are former Stark County Democratic Party chairmen.  Maier, Jr. succeeded Ferrero as chair.

Yesterday, (LINK) the SCPR conjectured that the alarming backlog in unenforced arrested warrants for charged misdemeanants and felons roaming the streets and neighborhoods might well be owing to the political blood feud that many think exists between Stark County Prosecutor Ferrero and Massillon Clerk of Courts Maier, Jr. and of course Maier Junior's brother and Stark County Sheriff George T. Maier in that Ferrero and George T. Maier cannot because of the underlying political feud work together as Stark's law enforcement leaders should as the combined recipients of some $25 millions in Justice System Sales Tax money (passed by voters in November, 2011) to devise an all inclusive Stark County-based policing units task force to clean up the delinquent warrants.

Lo and behold! the SCPR was struck again with "the elephants in the room" (Ferrero and the Maiers) that nobody seems to see was apparent in a Massillon Chamber of Commerce meeting room as the Massillon Financial Planning and Supervision Commission (MFPSC) discussed Massillon financial health or lack thereof as a consequence of Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry having insisted in the State of Ohio placing Massillon in fiscal emergency beginning with a effort that started as mayor-elect (November, 2011) culminating in success in October, 2013.


"Elephants in the Room?"

How so?

A fight over the composition of how Massillonians will be approached fourth time (three, if one only counts MFPSC induced efforts) for a tax increase, that's how!

Ferrero has sent his emissary and Stark County prosecutor's office chief legal counsel John Kurtzman to Massillon City Council a number of times to weigh-in (in Massillon "Public Speaks" forum) on whether or not Massillonians working outside of Massillon and paying municipal taxes to other Stark County-based villages and cities will get a full credit on their Massillon income tax returns for the taxes paid outside of Massillon.

At the present time, tax credit Massillon taxpayers get a 75% credit.  The Ferrero-led forces want a 100% credit.

In yesterday's MFPSC meeting, Mayor Kathy (or just plain ole Kathy if you are Bob Gessner of Massillon Cable TV and MFPSC member) showed what a generous person she is in announcing at her own initiative that her administration is willing to discuss with Massillon's council increasing the tax credit to 87.5%.

Where does council stand on the matter?

It appears if one believes council president Claudette Istnick (who Mayor Kathy defeated for a councilperson seat in Massillon's Ward 3 in 2003) and the most senior member of Massillon City Council—Paul Manson, council is likely to reject the Catazaro-Perry overture.

All this Ferrero/Maier political undertow and financial realities indicate to The Report that no matter what happens with the levy, there is no scenario in which—as trumpeted by the mayor—Massillon becomes financially healthy anytime soon.

If council forces Catazaro-Perry hand and compels her to accept a 100% tax credit, then Massillon likely only nets about $600,000 even if there is a streets department specific levy increase of .2% that passes in a contemplated August 2, 2016 election which in and of itself could cost Massillon taxpayers $26,000 or more.

The levy, if passed, will raise revenues by about $1.2M but a 100% tax credit would cost city coffers general fund about $600,000.

Let's say that council gives in and goes along with an increase in the tax credit from 75% to 87.5%.

Result:  Massillon nets about $900,000 in increased revenues in the first Massillon income tax increase since 1977 (except for a .3% 1990s parks and recreation issue).

Let's see now.

Mayor Kathy says that the passage of  a .2%  tax increase makes the city healthy whereas a failure puts the city into "limp along" status.

Take a look at revenue collections from 2014 through March of 2016:



The SCPR believes that all of Mayor Catazaro-Perry's "Massillon can be financial healthy again" talk is "pie-in-the-sky" in her mode of being the cheerleader-in-chief for her adopted "City of Champions" motif.

Why is the mayor being so dogged in her pursuit of at least a .25% retention of a reduced tax credit?

The Report thinks it is owing to the Ferrero/Maier political feud not to mention the feud between Maier, Jr. and former mayor Frank Cicchinelli going back to the days when both were students at Kent State - Stark.

Maier, Jr. who many think was the person who hijacked Kathy Catazaro-Perry to run against and unseat Cicchinelli in the 2011 Massillon Democratic primary.

Normally, Democrat against Democrat would be a political unpardonable sin with former Dems' chairman Maier, Jr. but there are exceptions.  What greater merited exception could there be but the unseating of bitter rival Cicchinelli?

Doesn't it seem that anything that Maier, Jr. touches becomes mired in controversy, discord and/or political vendetta if things don't go his way?

Between Maier, Jr., Ferrero, and Cicchinelli and their political jockeying, Massillon has become a veritable Hell-hole of politics and the consequences have been devastating to this once proud city.

Historically, Catazaro-Perry and Maier, Jr. have been anti-tax as a matter of basic political philosophy.  While the mayor is included in the foregoing sentence on fiscal political philosophy, the SCPR does not believe she thinks deep enough to have a philosophy but merely adopts whatever Maier, Jr. happens to be spouting at the moment.

It appears that Maier, Jr. has been quite willing to use his political influence to put Stark County government (through Gayle Jackson) and Massillon government into to lean if not untenable financial modes.

If only there was a way to bring the fiscal austerity directly and specifically home to Maier,  his relatives and political allies who are on the public payroll in one Stark County political subdivision community or another,  maybe Johnnie wouldn't be so fanatically opposed to properly funding government.

For one thing he clearly understands is political self-interest.

As Ward 3 councilperson, Catazaro-Perry likely at Maier, Jr's prodding, opposed and led the "among council" fight for Massillon to forego an opportunity for Massillon to impose a $5 license plate increase (or lose it to the county engineer).


One source tells the  SCPR that Massillon 12 years later would have had about over $1 million additional in street department dedicated revenue had the increase been enacted by council.

And that was only if a $5 license plate increase had been enacted.

Maybe as much as $2 million, if council had enacted a $10 fee as it could have.

A source says that a main factor in Catazaro-Perry persuading four fellow council members to reject the opportunity to enrich Massillon's street department financial resources was then-Stark County commissioner Gayle Jackson, the mother of Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. protege and Massillon chief deputy clerk of courts R. Shane Jackson who is the political director of the Stark County Democratic Party.

The Report is told that Jackson was telling council members that the county would not step in to take advantage of the opportunity to increase the license plate fee which, of course, the-then engineer Mike Rehfus did not only to the tune of $5 per plate but to the maximum of $10 per plate.

Accordingly, in a financial tragic and heavily ironic twist, BUT FOR the Catazaro-Perry/Maier, Jr. opposition Massillon's streets and roadways as well as streets department equipment and number of maintainers would be the class of Stark County municipalities.

Another interesting twist from yesterday's meeting is the mayor building on her previous statements that unless council members get all-out behind the contemplated August tax issue, it will fail.

How can somebody who was at best lukewarm to at least one if not more of previous levy increase attempts since she became mayor be so hypocritical?

For Mayor Catazaro-Perry; NOT A PROBLEM!

There was another interesting development at yesterday's MFPSC meeting.

Remember the ballyhoo that the Catazaro-Perry administration about a $1.95 million carryover from 2015 to 2016?

Well, after yesterday's meeting and a review of unexpected expenses, guess what the number has be adjusted to?

 No at $883,693, to wit:



At the conclusion of the session, the SCPR asked dean of Massillon City Council Paul Manson (Democrat—at-large) for his take away on the meeting.

He provided some insight on how Massillon could get from about a $3 million deficit in the days that Mayor Catazaro-Perry was insisting that the State of Ohio place Massillon in fiscal emergency (which happened in October, 2013) to an $883,693.



While the mayor wants to take credit or the change, it evidence is that she and Massillon was the recipient of good luck in landing state and federal tax dollar provided grants that may not be forthcoming in future years.

And there is more.

MFPSC member  Gessner voted "no" on including in the MFPSC restoration plan a council passed measure (Monday night) to establish a Stabilization Plan (aka "Rainy Day Fund") whereby $300,000 has been set aside for fiscal emergencies to be added to at the rate of $30,000 annually but which is unavailable unless it meets extraordinary conditions imposed within the legislation.

He said during the meeting that with Massillon having unmet needs it makes no sense at all to tie money up in a hard to reach fund.

One of the "unplanned" expenditures that the SCPR thinks Massillonians through their councilpersons ought to be zeroing in on is Auditor Jayne Ferrero's (John's sister-in-law and spouse of Thomas Ferrero, one of the co-chairs of the March 15th levy effort) request for $50,000 to update Massillon financial software including the hiring of a company to deal with Obamacare ramifications of Massillon having employees.

There is no doubt that the auditor's office needs new software to publish readable/usable Massillon financial information for council and to satisfy public records requests to the Massillon public and the media in  the form of sortable data sheets (i.e. Excel compatible). 
 
And that would cost nowhere near $50,000.

The SCPR believes it is the hiring of the private sector to do the Obamacare work that will hog up most of the $50,000.

It seems to The Report that anytime Jayne Ferrero's office runs into an inconvenience (e.g. the petty cash brouhaha) or a difficulty like the Obamacare thing, then Auditor Ferrero gets cranky.

And, of course, she was a lead opponent to Council Ed Lewis's desire to have council and other Massillon elected officials take a small salary reduction as a show in sharing in the sacrifice that taxpaying Massillonians will be making if they agree to a tax increase.

To sum things up: the SCPR's take on the Massillon financial situation is:
  • the city is nowhere near financial health whether or not a .2% tax increase is approved and will be "on crutches" limping around either way.  Of course, it would be a worse limp without the .2% increase.  Despite what Catazaro-Perry says, a .2% income tax increase will not make Massillon finances healthy again,
    •  Some $4 million to $5 million in street and roadway infrastructure repair is needed,
    •  Keeping the police department and fire department fully staffed appears to be dependent on Massillon receiving grants from year to year which, obviously, IS NOT A SUSTAINABLE way of operating the city's safety forces at full staff,
  • the whole Massillon Financial Planning and Supervision Commission has been a forum of political theater that has been entertaining and good for bloggers but ineffective to solve what truly ails Massillon, 
  • The Report thinks that state officials are totally frustrated with the Catazaro-Perry administration and just want to be done with Massillon and are on a track to gracefully exit without embarrassing anyone,
There are too many self-serving politicians working feverishly with the bowels of  Massillon government for the city to rebound to any semblance of its former glory.

Massillon lost its chance to perhaps have a real shot at recovery when J.D. Ress lost narrowly to Catazaro-Perry in the Dems' 2015 primary and Republican Lee Brunkhart lost in the general election.

Ress tells the SCPR that he is considering a 2019 run.


Both are unsophisticated in the ways of politics, but maybe just maybe political purity and innocence is exactly what Massillon needs?

See a poem entitled Damn the Politicians by Franklin Price (LINK).

The video of the entire entire Massillon Financial Planning and Supervision Commission meeting of April 19, 2016.





Tuesday, April 19, 2016

ROUND 3: JAKMIDES VERSUS FERRERO, NOVEMBER 2016

UPDATED:  07:37 AM



From now through the November general election, The Stark County Political report will be covering the Stark County prosecutor's race in detail.

A goal of the SCPR is to provide the Stark County voting public with thoroughgoing information to base a vote upon in voting for various elective office this coming November.

So far the SCPR has opened up a far ranging consideration of the election for Stark County prosecutor:
  • Blog of March 28 (LINK),
  • Blog of March 30 (LINK),
    And for the Ohio House of Representatives, District 49:
    •   Blog of April 16 (LINK),

    The Report has other competitive Stark County political contest coverage in the planning stage.

    Today, the focus returns to Jakmides versus Ferrero for who will Stark County prosecutor come January 1, 2017.

    In November, 2011 Stark Countians voted in a 1/2 cent sales tax to provide $22 million (more or less, depending on the buying inclinations of shoppers.  In 2016 the tax is expected to bring in $28 million.) annually to the Stark County Justice System.  Hence in discussions about revenues the county commissioners and the county auditor are to heard referring to the tax as the "Justice System Sales Tax" (JSST).  However, the JSST revenues are far short of the approximate $44 million that the commissioners appropriate to Stark's justice system in toto.


    As is to be seen in the above chart, 80% of  the expected revenues go to the Stark County's prosecutor and sheriff department of county government.

    With that infusion of money, Stark Countians expect first rate administration of justice in Stark County.

    And with a little vision, foresight and confidence in their (i.e. the-then commissioners) persuasion powers, we know know that Stark Countians back in 2011 likely would have passed a 3/4th of a cent sales tax increase thereby enveloping the county's justice system with a totally covered funding base.

    Witness this graphic from the 2011 campaign for the 1/2 cent sales tax increase.


    It has to shake the confidence of Stark Countians to learn about the many "unarrested" charged misdemeanants and felons who are roaming Stark County's villages, cities and townships unfettered.  (see discussion below re:  The Repository's recent article).

    From the county perspective that means the county commissioners, the  county prosecutor, the county sheriff and the county judges should be working to make Stark County as crime free as effective law enforcement will allow for.

    Over the weekend, The Repository published an alarming story of how those charged with felonies and misdemeanors go unarrested and in some cases are never prosecuted because the warrants expire.



    While the fault for alleged criminals traversing the streets and neighborhoods of our county does not appear to have anything to do per se with the Stark County prosecutor's office, the SCPR thinks the prosecutor should as one of the county's top most law enforcement officer be looking to find ways and means to enable/empower (through training and motivation) police across the county to serve warrants.

    One critic of Ferrero's says that Ferrero gets 30% of the take of police departments in confiscating property used in perpetuating crimes goes to Ferrero's office.

    The crtiticism is that Ferrero uses most of the money to purchase trinkets to advance a public relations campaign to make it appear that his office is effective in law enforcement, but the reality is that he could far more effectively use those resources to fund such as a metro unit (which once existed in Stark) with specific responsibility of police persons to find and apprehend folks who need to be brought to justice.

    Ditto that for Stark County Sheriff George T. Maier.

    Why wouldn't Sheriff Maier join with Prosecutor Ferrero (both native Massillonians, by the way) to construct an inter-agency task force to "on-the-ground" and hands-on to eliminate the warrant enforcement deficit?

    The Report is told that most warrant processes are initiated by victims of crime and the failure to enforce them is "a slap in the face" of everyday Stark Countians.

    The role of the commissioners should be to monitor more closely and specifically how those JSST dollars are used.  While it is not the role of the commissioners to micro-manage other independently elected offices,  when stories like The Rep's surface why wouldn't they—in the name of the JSST—be asking questions as to why county-based law enforcement (the prosecutor and the sheriff) are not collaborating and taking the lead in reaching out to the localities to solve the free-roaming alleged criminals problem?

    It is widely believed that Ferrero and Maier (including his brother Johnnie A. Maier, Jr., a former Stark Democratic Party chairman and now clerk of courts in Massillon) have a gutteral hatred of one another stemming from many years of political competition for control of Massillon politics.

    And, of course, Democrat Ferrero lead the fight along with former Democrat sheriff Tim Swanson to deny George T. Maier succession as Stark County sheriff to succeed the November, 2012 elected Mike McDonald who was unable to take office on January 7, 2013 due to an illness which claimed his life in February.

    The Ferrero/Maier political "blood" feud is likely the reason they will not work together to take the lead as Stark's leading law enforces to solve the at-large in our Stark County community charged misdemeants and felons.

    Perhaps having no acceptable answer is the reason why John Ferrero has not answered this SCPR e-mail to him early yesterday:

    Martin Olson <tramols@att.net>
    Apr 18 at 9:05 AM
    To:  Ferrero

    John,

    You undoubtedly read The Rep's recent article on the backlog of warrants among various police jurisdictions across Stark County.

    My questions to you:

    Is the Stark County prosecutor's office doing anything in terms of working with these police agencies to abate the backlog and to create ways and means to keep the service of warrants on a no significant backlog status.

    If so, what specifically is being done.

    If   not, why not?

    Thanks,
    Martin/SCPR


    So why single out Ferrero when Sheriff George T. Maier has equal culpability?

    Ferrero has and opponent in this year's election whereas Maier is running opposed.

    Competitive elections is about holding incumbent officeholders accountable for the stewardship of the office they hold.

    Ferrero has been Stark County prosecutor for over ten years.

    And of course he does have in Jeff Jakmides a Republican opponent who is more than willing to weigh-in on lapses of leadership such has Ferrero's on the question of why there are so many unarrested misdemeanants and felons not being brought to justice for their alleged crimes.

    The same subject matter e-mail was sent to Jakmides.

    Late last night after a very full day on the job as one of Stark County's leading criminal defense attorney (who, by the way, has prosecutorial experience in the days that Republican Jim Unger was Stark County prosecutor) Jakmides telephone the SCPR and said absolutely YES, Stark County's prosecutor should be a lead person in bringing "the free to flit to and across Stark County" to justice.

    If elected prosecutor, he says, he will take the lead and work with Sheriff Maier to bring the Stark County policing community together to solve this very solvable problem.

    But the fact of the matter is that John Ferrero is the current Stark County prosecutor and he needs to get it in gear yesterday being a law enforcement leader to the the charged misdemeanants and felons out of our neighborhoods and on the pathway of a determination of whether or not they are guilty as charged!

    Saturday, April 16, 2016

    PART 1 - SERIES ON 49TH HOUSE DISTRICT RACE: CANDIDATE WEST WILL ANSWER QUESTIONS BUT HE WON'T ANSWER QUESTIONS. HMMM?

    UPDATED 04/17/2016 AT 12:32 PM

    WEST OPPONENT
    DAN McMASTERS 
    SAYS HE WILL & ACTUALLY DOES
    ANSWER QUESTIONS


    VIDEO

    Dan McMasters
    on
    Dan McMasters

    AT FIRST, WEST & McMASTERS AGREE TO JOINT DISCUSSION OF ISSUES

    On March 28th Canton councilman Thomas West (Ward 2) agreed to participate in a series of SCPR joint interviews between himself and his Republican opponent running from the middle of April through the end of October conducted on a single matter/issue in two week intervals.

    Why such a long extended time frame?

    The Ohio House of Representatives considers many issues during their two-year terms that might directly affect the lives of each and every one of us as citizens in an Ohio political subdivision (cities, villages, townships, school districts, et cetera) and yet few of us know before electing a representative very much about where a candidate stands on strong sampling of those issues.

    One of the strengths of the likes of The Stark County Political Report is that this blog has the space and time to do in depth and continuing coverage of political campaigns.

    The Report has done many thoroughgoing blogs Stark County-based campaigns, political personalities and issue disputes.

    But never—on political campaigns— in the exhaustive depth as planned for McMasters versus West.

    The SCPR does not endorse candidates for public office.

    However, these blogs make readily apparently (the opinion part) who impresses and who does not impress yours truly.

    Notwithstanding the SCPR assessment, these blogs are designed to encourage readers to think for themselves in agreeing or disagreeing with this writer.

    WEST RENEGES

    Apparently, West, after the first blush of readily agreeing to the extended format, thought better of it.

    The reason?
    • West aspires to succeed Democrat Stephen Slesnick as 49th District representative in a district gerrymandered by the Republicans in supermajority control of the Ohio General Assembly to pack as many registered Democrats in urban districts thereby more less assuring Democratic victories in those districts so that Republicans have a very good chance to dominate the rest of the districts which comprise the Ohio House and the Ohio Senate.
      • With all of Canton and most of Massillon being a part of the 49th, registered Democrats greatly outnumber registered Republicans,
        • So:  Why would Democrat Thomas West provide an opening for Republican Dan McMasters to show qualities that trump West's and thereby do the unthinkable:
          • A Republican defeat a Democrat in a "safe" Democratic district?
    The SCPR understands that political parties and their candidates are all about themselves and therefore will not—in a non-competitive situation—risk exposing themselves, in the context of the voters' interest, to revealing much about where they stand on a host of controversial interests.

    West is far being unique in this regard.

    You can be sure the 48th district long time Republican incumbent Kirk Schuring
    • now in the House, but formerly in the Senate as he and and current 29th District senator Scott Oelslager play a version of "musical chairs," with each ending up with a seat, just a 'different' seat in the Ohio General Assembly in order to get around term limits
    will take exactly the same stance vis-a-vis his Democratic opponent (Bigham) as West as will Republican Christina Hagan (the 50th) in relation to her Democratic opponent (Juergensen)


    Schuring and Hagan will make no bones about it, they will outright refuse to provide their opponents with any opportunity to engage in a forum in which voters will be able to be able to make a side-by-side, on-the-issues and on personal qualities comparison.

    Their primary concerns are their individual political well being as well as that of their political party and not in voters making in formed decisions.

    Schuring and Hagan are, of course, incumbents.

    The 49th is an "open seat."



    Incumbency should not be a shield to having to answer questions especially on issues already voted upon, but there is a case to be made that voters do have in the case of incumbents a track record on which to judge a candidate for reelection or not.

    Nobody should gain access to the Ohio General Assembly just because she/he is a member of a certain political party running in a gerrymandered district.

    Thomas West apparently wants voters of the District 49 to be ignorant of his positions on the issues that he is likely to face if elected to the Ohio House.

    WEST'S OSTENSIBLE REASONS FOR RENEGING

    In setting up the joint interview forum, the SCPR had easy and rapid communication with Candidate McMasters via e-mail.

    The Report sent the original "set-up" e-mail to both.


    On April 5th, the SCPR was present at a Pro Football Hall of Fame meeting designed to update Canton councilpersons on the progress of the building of the HOF Village Project which Canton has invested $5 million in.

    Councilman West was present and on SCPR inquiry promised to get back to yours truly the following day confirming that his schedule allowed for his interview participation on the 13th.

    Not hearing from West, follow up calls were made and only one contact was accomplished and that one did not produce the requested confirmation.

    However, The Report did get an e-mail from West backing off his original promise (March 28th) to participate subject only to the interview schedule being compatible with his availability.


    As can be seen in that e-mail, there are differences between West and yours truly on whether or not West responded as promised to The Report's confirmation inquiries.

    In the above-email it is confusing as to what West did or did not receive in terms of communications from the SCPR.

    But all that is beside the point of whether or not he will contend with McMasters,  as The Report thinks the communications fuzziness is betrayed as being a subterfuge in his landing point in the e-mail being "no, I will not do joint interviews with McMaster" until July or beyond (emphasis added) because of what yours truly thinks are pretextual reasons, to wit:
    • the tone of a SCPR e-mail endeavoring to get a response from West (probably, my statement, after citing all the contacts with West unresponded to:  "I will not be making any more contacts to Mr. West),
    • he wants to give people a break from politics, and
    • he will be spending his time working on legislation for the city of Canton,
    The Report published West's e-mail of rejection in its entirety.

    The reasons for doing so are twofold.

    First, as readers of the SCPR know, it is standard operating procedure for yours truly to post videos, audios, letters, e-mails that convey the point-of-view of SCPR blog subjects,

    Second,  yours truly thinks that:
    • West's e-mail is disingenuous at the very least and was purposefully constructed to cast blame on West backtracking on his original commitment on the SCPR (e.g. "After reading the tone of the e-mail), and 
    • beyond that:
      • to paint himself as a sensitive politician over and above other politicians in that he says he wants to "giv[e] voters a break on campaigns ... " and 
      • to in a sarcastic tone ("enjoy your summer") while I do the serious work of legislating for the good of Canton and the 49th Ohio House District
    Characteristic of manipulative types in the order of former Canton mayor William J. Healy, II whom West supported big time.

     What a laugh:  Thomas West "above politics" and being productive as a Canton legislator.

    Maybe he knows something that the rest of us have missed?


    Maybe he will reveal it in his campaign literature?

    He certainly would not want to answer any on-camera questions about his claimed accomplishments, no?
       WEST'S "REAL" REASON FOR RENEGING

      The SCPR thinks all the foregoing West justifications for not participating in this SCPR series are a smoke screen of his real reason.

      "Beyond" is the operative word in West's e-mail.

      How about "beyond" meaning after November 8, 2016?

      Undoubtedly, West thinks the favorable to a Democrat running in the district index is all he needs to become the next 49th District state representative.

      The Report goes into a detailed analysis of the numbers later on in this blog.

      Yours truly sees a pathway to victory by McMasters and West post-general-election may see himself as on the outside looking in as a Republican wins this safe Democratic seat.

      McMasters says he believes that West has too much explaining to do on his poor record as a Canton councilman going on 13 years now to engage him in a joint discussion of 49th District issues.

      The Report thinks McMasters is right on the mark with his analysis of West's on and off about participating in a "look me in the eye" joint interview.

      West appears to be in a "protect my self-interest" over the public interest in knowing all there is to know about candidates in his defaulting to relying on the heavy 49th District Democratic index.

      THE CANDIDATES BIOGRAPHIES 

      Notwithstanding Candidate West's rejection of the SCPR offer to participate in this "inform the voters" project, The Report will endeavor to present his side to the extent they are available from prior SCPR blogs and other Internet resources.

      The West Biography


      The McMasters Biography


      SCPR ANALYSIS - THE 49TH DISTRICT ELECTION

      Let's take a look at some 2016 primary election data.



      Of the 94 Stark County precincts in the 49th, the combo of West/Healy-Abrams polled a majority in 73 precincts over McMasters; leaving him with a majority in a mere 21 precincts.

      The Democratic candidates out polled Republican McMasters by about 3,000 votes.

      Of those 3,000, some 70% came from Canton City precincts with West/Healy-Abrams outdrawing McMasters in the remaining precincts by 200 or so votes, to wit:
      • Massillon (except precincts in Ward 6), [plus 464 West/Healy-Abrams]
      • Bethlehem Township (except Precinct 1),
      • Canton Township (except Precinct 3),
      • Pike Township (except Precinct 1),
      • Plain Township precincts:
        • 1, 4, 12 and 25,
      • Tuscarawas Township (except Precinct 3)
        • [Note:  In the township vote, McMasters outdrew West/Healy-Abrams by 265 votes]
      DOES McMASTERS HAVE A PATHWAY TO VICTORY IN THE 49TH

       In the 49th, of voters willing to identify either as Democratic or Republican; 76.5% are registered Democrats.

      On the face of this registration number, Republican Dan McMasters would not seem to have "a snow ball's chance in Hell" of  defeating Democrat West in the upcoming general election.

      There are about 59,000 "independent" or "non-partisan" voters.

      However, McMasters should not take much comfort in the "independent" vote as a source to overcome West.  The SCPR thinks that in reality these nominal independents/non-partisans are just that:  nominal.  In reality in the 49th District context they likely lean Democratic to the tune of about 3 out of 4 such registered voters.

      And many if not most of these folks will not vote in November.

      That they do not vote in primary elections going back three years (the true definition of an "independent or non-partisan) and therefore likely not "in reality" highly partisan might offer McMasters some opportunity to make inroads if he can get them to the polls.

      McMasters might want to concentrate on voting precincts in Wards 7, 8 and 9 in Canton, Wards 1, 2, 3 and 5 in Massillon and all of the township precincts.

      One factor that is apparent from the videotapped April 13th "Getting to Know the Candidate McMasters" interview which is posted at the end of this blog is his ability to work with influential elected/appointed Democratic officials.

      While they may not want to come out publicly to endorse/support Republican McMasters, they might be induced to sit on the sidelines with respect to the West campaign.

      McMasters in the video cites the many Stark County civic efforts he has been part of including teaming up with staunch Democrat Billy Sherer, Sr. as co-chairs to gain passage of the Stark County Justice System Sales Tax issue in November, 2011.

      Speaking of the McMasters April 13, 2016 SCPR interview, here is Dan McMaster "in his own words" to the questions posed by the The Stark County Political Report:

      (Note:  On April 27th, the SCPR will interview McMasters on the dramatic slashing by the Ohio General Assembly (starting in 2011) of State of Ohio funding of local government.
       

      Thursday, April 14, 2016

      Part 1 - CANTON PARKS & RECREATION 'DIRECTORSHIP' QUESTION: A CAN OF WORMS?

      UPDATED:  11:05 AM



      VIDEOS

      A Uncomfortable Opening
      of the
      Canton Parks & Recreation Meeting
      of
      April 13, 2016?

      ============================

      Ida Mae Ross-Freeman
      on the
      "Good Ole Boys"
      Selecting 
      the 
      Next Director


      Who would have thought it?

      Canton Parks and Recreation Department (CP&R)  reviewing whether or not to replace its director (presently Healy administration holdover Derek Gordon) would become the proverbial "can of worms."

      Some things are best left unopened.

      For one might find that the upon a thing or matter being opened, it may prove to be infested with worms and of course nobody likes to have deal with worms.

      The CP&R directorship going forward may be one of those matters.

      It had to be awkward yesterday as newly appointed CP&R commissioners Sam Sliman and Mike Hanke (appointed by newly elected—November, 2015, "independent" mayor Thomas M. Bernabei—along with holdover commissioner Andy Black sat down at the meeting table with Director Gordon with the first item of business being:  "Parks and Recreation Director Job Posting Review."


      Look at this segment of the Canton Parks and Recreation Board of Commissioners meeting opening in which Gordon makes the point that he will not be in that he is going to be an applicant to succeed himself be part of the process of the board of commissioners deliberation/consideration of who will be the director of the newly reorganized Canton Parks and Recreation Department.



      Recently, Canton City Council recognized Gordon, Sliman and J.R. Rinaldi (likely to be a candidate to succeed Gordon as director) for their collective successful effort to get funding in place for the merger of the Canton Parks Commission and the Canton Joint Recreation District (CJRD) which obviously take place not later than December 31, 2016 because on that date the independent funding source for the CJRD will expire.


      Rinaldi is a member of and vice president of the Canton City Schools Board of Education (CCS-BOE).

      And, he is very close-in with the Bernabei administration.

      Notwithstanding Canton City Council including Gordon in its recognition of the passage on March 15, 2016 of the funding for the CP&R, the SCPR believes that there are those in key Canton political power positions who blame Gordon's lackluster approach for the defeat of the original issue back in November, 2015.



      But there is recognition that the wording of the ballot language may have been to blame also.

      Though Sliman and Gordon were included in the council recognition, it appears to be widely believed among Canton officialdom that Rinaldi was the heart and soul of the successful November effort on the levy.


      The SCPR thinks that "behind the scenes," there will be a Battle Royale as to who becomes the first director of the newly reorganized Canton Parks and Recreation Department.

      The Report has a very supportive/glowing e-mail from a sitting member of Canton City Council that will be published in a later part of the planned multi-part series.

      Undoubtedly, many, if not most, perhaps all of Canton's councilpersons would be pleased to have Gordon selected.

      Competition between Gordon and Rinaldi might provide an opportunity for a "compromise" candidate being selected as director.

      A local version of the Republican National Committee selection of a presidential candidate?

      Added spice to yesterday's meeting was the presence of the members of the fading CJRD.  The CJRD held a special meeting immediately on the conclusion of the Canton Parks and Recreation Commission meeting.

      In the course the the CP&R commission meeting, various CJRD members participated in a dialogue with CP&R members on various topics.

      One of the more controversial inputs came from Ida Mae Ross-Freeman (a former CCS-BOE member who was defeated for reelection in November, 2015).

      The Report's take on Ross-Freeman as at least insinuating if not outright accusing Black, Hanke and Sliman of acting as elitists in setting up the format for selecting the new CP&R director.

      Take a look for yourself:



      There is much more to come on The Stark County Political Report as the process to select a director gets going and winds down to a conclusion.

      Here are a couple of files provided by the Canton Parks and Recreation Department which outlines what the qualifications are for being director:



      And more details on the expectations of a director and the process:



      The Report will be sharing video in future parts of this multi-part which provides the context to Ross-Freeman's comments as well as revealing input by other CJRD board members.

      The merger of the Canton Parks Department with with Canton Joint Recreation District was conceived and birthed in pain, anguish and controversy and it appears from yesterday's meeting now to be experiencing growing up pains.

      But for opening up a reassessment of who is to be the director of the merged entity going forward, it might not have been open to public consumption the travail that continues.

      The Report thinks that whomever came up with the idea of opening up the directorship question might now be thinking:  "OMG, we opened a can worms!"