Saturday, October 21, 2017

SCPR ELECTION SERIES: DOMINIC FONTE, INCUMBENT. NCCC—WARD 4



It not very often that The Stark County Political Report (SCPR) focuses on a Stark County political subdvision Ward race.

However, in North Canton this election cycle, it is possible that through the ultimate American government accountability device (an "election") that there will be a dramatic shift in the manner in which North Canton government is run.

There may be as many as three "new" (in the sense of "different," meaning perhaps only one "new-new" councilperson) councilpersons-elect on November 8th.

The SCPR thinks it is pretty certain that combined 25 years of service former mayor, councilman and council president Daryl Revoldt will be one of the "three to be elected" council-at-large positions—to be elected— thereby leaving either incumbent Mark Cerreta, Marcia Kiesling or Dan Griffith on the outside, looking in.

Another vulnerable incumbent is Stephanie Werren of Ward 3.

She is being contested by former councilman Jon Snyder.

He has 16 years of service as councilperson (Ward 4, interesting enough) having also served as council president.

The SCPR thinks that it more likely than not that Snyder will take Ward 3.

In Ward 4, it appears to The Report that Dominic Fonte is likely to retain his seat as councilman.

However, if he does, he will have to fend off a household name in North Canton government and politics in his opponent B.J. Boyjian.

B.J. is a political newcomer in her own presence; however, her grandfather served years ago as a North Canton councilman and as a North Canton chief administrator most notably during the mayoralty of Daryl Revoldt.

Today's blog focus is on a SCPR video interview of Ward 4 councilman Dominic Fonte recorded on October 18th.

Tomorrow, The Report shifts to Fonte's opponent (Boyajian) who also was interviewed on the 18th.

FONTE INTRODUCTION

Fonte introduces himself via video:



GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT AS A COUNCILMAN

Fonte says that his most outstanding achievement in his 3-1/2 years as a councilman has been making the input (adopted by council as a whole) in improving communications with the North Canton public.



Here are links to technology centered improvements that Fonte cites as a consequence of his work as a city councilman in improving communications between the city and North Cantonians:
As he points out, North Canton council chamber acoustics are horrible and it is hard to believe that during his term and before, council has not rectified this critical problem in the sense of one attending being able to understand what went on at the meeting.

It can be virutally useless to attend a North Canton City Council (NCCC) meeting because it is a trying, frustrating experience for one to fully make out what is said among the city's councilpersons, between council members and administration members and any dialogue from the dais of council chambers to/from attendees.

To be charitable to Fonte, one might take his word that he, too, is disappointed that North Canton government acts slowly in remedying its audio problems.

But the question remains:  3-1/2 years? What has taken so long for Fonte to prevail upon his fellow council members dealing a highly fixable (i.e. acoustics) problem?

The SCPR suspects (not necssarily including Fonte) that a number of NCCC council members, in general, are not enthusiastic, as a matter of it being a high priority, that the council chamber sound system get fixed.

Hopefully, Fonte, if re-elected, will persist in holding council as a whole feet to the fire and see to it that anyone attending a NCCC meeting can readily hear what is being considered.

In general, Fonte's greatest disappointment with North Canton government is how long it can take to solve basic city service problems which leads to charges of incompetence (et cetera) allegations being levied against the existing council membership.

Here is Fonte in his own words:



In the Fonte interview, the SCPR turned the above generalized achievement/disappointment question specific to Ward 4.

Fonte addresses:  (in Part 1 of this segment of his videotaped interview)
  • getting more bang for North Canton government's buck in street and road resurfacing/repairs (also infusing more capital budget monies), and
  • the aesthetics of allowing cell towers in his ward
Fonte's answers (in the form of proposals he has made to all of council) shows that he does his homework as one would expect of a sitting councilperson.  It is apparent that some of North Canton's sitting councilpersons do not work as creatively and effectively as Fonte.



In Part 2 of the video, watch/listen as Fonte shares his work (note: the SCPR thinks Fonte's response qualifies as being breaking news) in connecting with Hoover Project developer Stu Lichter pressing him to get on with fixing the "eyesore" that many North Cantonians think exists in the Main Street side (directly across from city hall) of the facility.



DOMINIC FONTE'S ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROJECT

"Flexibility" that is what Fonte's objective is as he pushes to get North Cantons "Main Street Busness District" (MSBD) up and running.

Fonte points out specific problems North Canton has had with regard to economic development which problems he is leading the charge on changing.

Watch/listen to Fonte has he talks about his wanting the MSBD to focus on attracting Millenials to downtown North Canton.

FIELDCREST:  DOES NORTH CANTON NEED A PROFESSIONAL CITY PLANNER ON PROJECTS SUCH AS FIELDCREST?  Fonte answer?  No!



ON COUNCIL/CITIZEN INTERACTIVE COMMUNICATION



The SCPR as a matter of interview technique does not much get into challenging the points that a interviewee wants to make in answering questions.

As readers of The Report know, if the SCPR pushes hard for anything; it is public officials answering citizens questions "on-the-public-record" on a timely timetable.

The Report's interpretation of this blogger's exchange with Fonte is that he mirrors an obvious overall North Canton City Council antagonism towards "on-the-record" citizen inquiry/opinion on the part of council members and administration officials.

He apparently thinks that public relations-esque newsletters and YouTube videos and the like are—in accord with democratic-republican values —substitutes for on-the-record, quickly responded to Q&As.

Fonte's articulated opposition to expanded, responsive (at the moment of the question/opinion or soon thereafter on-the-public-record)
  • make no mistake about it, the SCPR does not support "yelling out" [as sometimes Citizen Chuck Osborne does at council meetings] 
councilperson/citizen exchanges should be disturbing to North Canton voters to the point that his opposition to any change going forward might be a key reason why a Ward 4 voter might not vote for him.

The SCPR grades him as deserving a failing grade in this category notwithstanding his YouTube and out-of-public-view constituent contacts; which, by the way, the SCPR thinks is a plus about him.

ON LAW DIRECTOR TIM FOX'S RELATIONSHIP WITH COUNCIL



Another minus about Fonte as far as the SCPR is concerned is his take on Law Director Tim Fox.

Fox clearly overreaches into the substantive decisions of North Canton council.

Fonte's evaluation of Fox is indication that he and most of council have abdicated their oversight role of how the law director behaves during North Canton government meetings.

ON THE MAYOR'S ROLE VIS-A-VIS COUNCIL



Overall, it appears to the SCPR that Dominic Fonte has his:
  • pluses 
    • getting answers from Lichter on the Hoover Complex aesthetics problem,
    • being creative in finding ways to expand North Canton's ability to do more street/roadway repair, and
    • his YouTube, newsletter and other inform the public effort
  • so-sos (his sound system work to-date), and 
  • several minuses
    • thinking that there is adequate council member/citizen direct dialogue on the public record,
    • his not dealing well with council being critiqued, and
    • his pollyanish take on the law director and mayor
In his wrap up, Fonte lays down the criteria up which North Cantonians should consider voting for him.




Thursday, October 19, 2017

SCPR ELECTION SERIES: NORTH CANTON COUNCIL—DAN GRIFFITH, COUNCIL AT LARGE


WILL GRIFFITH BE THE "INCUMBENT" COUNCILPERSON-AT-LARGE TO LOOSE?


As The Stark County Political Report (SCPR) sees the 2017 North Canton City Council (NCCC) "council-at-large" race, this contest will produce at least one change in the make up of North Canton's legislative body.

It is difficult to see how 25 year veteran (on and off) of North Canton government Daryl Revoldt does not get elected to one of three seats in the "at-large" category up for selection on November 7th.

If the SCPR is correct, the the question becomes:  Whom among the three incumbent council-at-large members (Cerreta, Griffith, Kiesling) becomes the "odd-person-out" come the revelation of election results in the evening of November 7th.

One person whom it should not be, in the estimate of the SCPR, is Councilman Dan Griffith.

The Report has to dig no deeper in recommending to North Canton voters that Griffith be one of two of the three incumbents to return for another term as councilperson than to note the—he alone—among the incumbents was willing to sit down with the SCPR for an accounting of his years on council.

If one follows the numbers of previous council-at-large elections, Griffith seems the most vulnerable among the three of not being re-elected in that in each of his runs he came in third of the three "at-large" positions to be elected.


But please do notice that in each election cycle Griffith has increased his percentage of the vote to the point that he is only some 175 votes behind "long-time" Councilwoman (since the early 2000s but with one loss in during the period) Marcia Kiesling.

So, the 2017 election, could be the year that he bests Kiesling and with Revoldt in the race Kiesling becomes the "odd-person-out" in returning to council for a new term.

Reasons that North Canton voters should consider not making Marcia Kiesling one of their three choices include:
  • her failure to provide the C-LWV with a response for bio information and an answer to the League's question,
  • her refusal to do a SCPR in-depth interview which is a slam/slight on North Canton voters, and
    • Note:  a number of years ago, Kiesling made a face-to-face point of dissing the SCPR effort (respected by most Stark County officialdom) to inform North Cantonians/Stark Countians about their respective governments/officials while adding to her commentary to The Report of how tough she is.
      • Tough?  
      • She has to be kidding.  She can't even handle an accountable-to-the-North Canton-public interview with the SCPR!
        • Of course, it is not the SCPR she is slighting, it is the North Canton voters who are denied an opportunity to see her have to defend her work as a councilperson via incisive questioning.
  • her "worst attendance" record in recent years among North Canton's councilpersons,
It is likely that the top spot will be between Revoldt and Cerreta.

The real fight, the SCPR thinks, is between who stays and who goes as between candidates Kiesling and Griffith.

An interesting sidenote about Cerreta.

In the 2015 election cycle Cerreta had a flap with the Stark County Board of Elections over whether or not he procedurally qualified to be on the ballot. Cerreta had to appeal (an administrative appeal) to the Stark County Court of Common Pleas in order to gain ballot access.

Judge Kristin Farmer did the right thing in overruling the Stark County BOE and placing Cerreta on the ballot.

After the fact of the hearing,  Cerreta at a council meeting came up to The Report and opined that from his side's perspective, the SCPR's coverage of his judicial challenge (including the hearing itself) was the reason why Farmer found in his favor.

Of course, the SCPR disagrees with such an analysis and is confident that Judge Farmer ruled as she did as a matter of being based on the law of Ohio.

The point of the SCPR sharing the foregoing with readers is:
  • given the thinking that the SCPR camera was a key factor of his prevailing with the court pre-2015 election, and, 
  • then, two years later, he refuses to do an in-depth interview with The Report that North Canton voters could be aided in having the best information available on whether or not he should be re-elected is a slam not on the SCPR but his commitment to be accountable to the North Canton voting public.
Interesting, no?

There is little doubt to the SCPR that Cerreta will be re-elected.  But he ought to be ashamed of himself for not participating in the thoroughgoing work of the SCPR in providing North Canton voters information on which to base their vote in the council-at-large race.

What is Cerreta afraid of?

Didn't want to answer SCPR in-depth questions about the ethics violation (conflict in interest as a councilperson) found by the Ohio Ethics Commission several years ago?

Getting back to the primary focus of this blog:  Councilperson Dan Griffith.

Griffith is a "steady-eddie" type councilperson who is thoughtful and thorough in his work as a councilperson.

In the first SCPR video segment of yesterday's interview with Griffith, he gives and excellent example of his not being an egotistical elected public official who is willing to do essential non-glamourous legislative work.

Now to the interview of yesterday.

First, his bio (from his Canton League Women Voters [C-LWV] bio)


Next, let's get to the video interview of Griffith by topic of question format.

COUNCILPERSON GRIFFITH ON: (4:19)
  • HIS STYLE AS A LEGISLATOR, and
  • HIS MOST GRATIFYING WORK 


ON HIS BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT (1:48)



His acknowledgment of North Canton government having a communication problem is right on.

However, his focus in more on public relations-esque work rather than on what the SCPR thinks is a more serious problem.  That being that all too many of his colleagues are not communicating transparently with North Canton citizens who have differences with council's agenda.

ON THE LAW DIRECTOR (3:37)



Obviously, any of North Canton's legislators will, as Griffith does in the video, be supportive of the Fox as  they (except for Fonte) selected him as law director in the first place.

To say that Fox is "not perfect" is a gigantic understatement to the SCPR.

One North Cantonian noted to the SCPR in recent days that it appears that Fox is toning it down in terms of being way to much of a factor (i.e. weighing-in as if he were a councilperson on substantive policy, practice and programs).

The SCPR can see glimmers of that observation as an indication that council/Fox may be getting the message that there needs to be a major adjustment in their relationship.

If Revoldt and one or two others unseat incumbents, the SCPR thinks that Law Director Fox is in for quite a change in the relationship going forward.

COUNCIL'S RELATIONSHIP WITH THE MAYOR'S OFFICE (3:08)



Held bringing his "his" people, in the sense of his having a personal connection to them, as North Canton government employees has been a prolific complaint about Held for the nearly ten years that the SCPR has been in existence.

One has to like hearing Griffith's "push back" on the current mayor (David Held) not posting administrative positions.

Posting of public employment positions provide opportunities for non-politically-connected everyday citizens to gain employment with Stark County taxpayer supported political subdivision.

"Inside jobs" (no pun intended) are rampant across Stark County government as being a local government version of a political "swamp."

THE FIELDCREST RE-ZONE REQUEST (5:34)



COMMUNICATION COUNCIL/CITIZENS (6:01)




The SCPR thinks Griffith makes some good points about citizen input during North Canton council work sessions.

As long as citizens have a full and fair opportunity to influence council to possibly change what comes out of a work session, then, he makes a persuasive case not to congest a work session with citizen input.

ON NORTH RIDGE PLACE (1:10)



Its reassuring to hear that should a Community Reinvestment Area ordinance come into play again in North Canton (likely), then Dan Griffith should he be re-elected is committed to ensuring that a North Ridge Place-esque abatement meted out by an unelected North Canton official will never happen again.

NON-RESIDENT PURCHASE OF NORTH CANTON WATER (2:00)





It will be interesting to see whether or not council in the march toward passing the above-resolution hears concerns about the fear on the part of some North Canton citizens that built into this legislative piece is a structure whereby an "unelected" official (a la North Ridge Place) makes a decision that is not acted upon by council.

There is an additional concern that the legislation is designed for one specific entity without the need to annex, which, the SCPR is told, is built into North Canton's ordinances.

Griffith, as readers can see, denies that the ordinance is being put in place to benefit any particular party.

These are matters that need to be put up for public scrutiny and input and, perhaps, modification of the ordinance on the basis of merited citizen input.

GRIFFITH WRAP-UP



To repeat, should former councilperson/council president/mayor Daryl Revoldt displace one of North Canton's incumbent councilpersons, the replaced incumbent should not be Dan Griffith.

In order of preference, the SCPR singles out Marcia Kiesling first and Mark Cerreta second.

Dan Griffith is clearly an asset to North Canton City Council.



Tuesday, October 17, 2017

HAGAN FOR THE 16TH (GOP): THROWING OUT A LIFELINE TO THE TRUMPS?


FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION REPORTS AS OF 10/15/

HAGAN $161,800
GONZALEZ $626,774
CONTRIBUTORS INCLUDE:

PEYTON MANNING
JIMMY HASLAM

PATTON $278,351


When President Donald J. Trump was in Stark County on August 8, 2016 on a fundraising barnstorming trip, local media (except The Stark County Political Report) ballyhooed a connection between Christina Hagan (Republican state representative, 50th Ohio House District) and Trump daughter Ivanka, who, along with husband Jarold Kushner are, in addition to being immediate family, key Trump campaign and White House advisors.

Trump sensing a goldmine of support among Stark County's blue collar crowd, returned in September for a campaign rally.

At the September event,  local elected Republicans including Christina Hagan, appeared front and center on dais behind him—which was in effect—was a "for the nation to see" photo op of their support for the now beleaguered president.

Now is the time if ever there was for Hagan to "call in the chips" for her "before elected" support of Donald J. Trump.

Apparently, buoyed her newfound political connection and local stardom announced this Spring that she was abandoning her 50th Ohio House seat (for which she was eligible to one more time to run for before being term limited out) to take advantage of an opportunity presented by current Ohio16th District U.S. Congressman Jim Renacci's decision (also a "hook, line and sinker' supporter of Trump) to run for governor of Ohio.

Hagan absolutely did the smart political thing.

She jumped into the race in March, 2017 and thereby got the early "earned media" advantage and EMILY money (EMILY=Early Money is Like Yeast) on any other Republican who had aspirations to replace Renacci.

Hagan also understands that the ability to raise campaign funds is the lifeblood of any political office seeking endeavor.

Consequently, she was "off and running."


Yes, $1.5 million is what Hagan was telling local Republicans that she would be raising in her run for the 16th.

If you think $1.5 was "off-the-charts-of-normal-expectation," perhaps, in seemingly adopting the president's braggadocio style, the SCPR is told that for the November, 2018 general election she plans on raising $15/16 million.

Well, it appears that the Hagan ambition is a case of "the best laid plans of mice and men" going awry," no?

Look at this graphic from yesterday's Federal Election Commission (FEC) fundraising through September 30, 2017:


Despite getting out in front in announcing, Hagan can do no better than third in the field (so far) of five Republicans who have declared with the FEC.

In the most recent quarter, Hagan raised less than $35,000.

It is pretty obvious that former Ohio State Buckeye football star and professional football player Anthony Gonzalez is likely on track to become the GOP nominee 16th District congressional candidate come May 9, 2018.

A Cleveland.com report shows an impressive list of contributors to Gonzalez in terms of the contributors notoriety/celebrity status, to wit:

  • Richard Smucker, CEO of J.M. Smucker Co., $5,400
  • Invacare Chairman Mal Mixon and his wife, Barbara, $5,400 each
  • Frank Sullivan, chairman of RPM International, and his wife, Barbara, each giving $5,000
  • Matthew Crawford, president of Park Ohio, $5,400
  • Peyton Manning, $5,400
  • Kirk Barton, an OSU offensive lineman who went on to join the Chicago Bears, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers, Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions and Denver Broncos, $3,000
  • Bobby Carpenter, an OSU linebacker who went on to play for the Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots,  $1,000. 
  • Jimmy Haslam, owner of the Cleveland Browns, and his wife, Dee, $2,700 each.
  • A.J. Hawk, a two-time All-American at OSU who went on to play for the Green Bay Packers, $1,000. 
  • Gene Smith, the OSU athletic director, $2,500.
  • LeCharles Bentley, a Pro Bowl center who played for OSU and the New England Patriots $1,000 (emphasis added)

State Representative Thomas F. Patton makes much more sense in running for the 16th District seat because he is term limited out of the Ohio House of Representatives come January 2, 2018

And so far, Patton has pretty much doubled Hagan's fundraising.

Should there be something in Gonzalez's past that the public does not know about and ultimately he fails as a candidate for the Republican nomination, it is much more likely that Patton is a viable second option than Stark Countian but-lives-outside-the district Christina Hagan capturing the GOP nomination.

For the SCPR's money, it appears to be Gonzalez "hands down" to become the GOP nominee and next likely the likely congressperson for the the 16th District.

The district includes parts of Stark County with a special spur down to the Timken complex in the heart of Canton.

Now is political gut check time for the Hagan campaign.

If she truly has an in with the Trumps, it is time to "call in the chips."

For one more quarter of a Gonzalez/Hagan fundraising gap is likely going to be "game over" for Christina Hagan.

Monday, October 16, 2017

SCPR ELECTION SERES: WARD 3, NORTH CANTON CITY COUNCIL. SNYDER CHALLENGES WERREN


FROM WARD 3, CAN JON SNYDER HELP REDIRECT NCCC?



The 2017 North Canton city council election is pivotal in whether or not North Canton government can get its act together to serve the North Canton public in an overall effective and communicative manner.

As The Stark County Political Report (SCPR) sees the condition of North Canton government, since council appointed Tim Fox as law director in 2012, it has been a spiral downward in terms of there being a negative quality in council's relationship with the citizens of North Canton.

Council's seeming "the public be damned" attitude is especially pronounced if a citizen dare question council/the law director on matters of policy, practice and programs.

To repeat for sake of emphasis, there has been since 2012 an underlying tone of hostility emanating from council towards any who would exercise his/her fundamental American democratic-republican value of seeking "redress of grievance" in interacting with North Canton government.

It is interesting to note that incumbent Ward 3 councilwoman Stephanie Werren is the person who was selected by council—when Tim Fox, the extremely-short lived Ward 3 councilman—resigned to take the law director position.

At the time, Werren was director of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce (CRCC) government leadership academy.

A perfect match, no?

No!

As far as the SCPR is concerned, Werren as an "where the rubber meets the road 'ideal'" candidate (by virtue of her CRCC Role) to be a member of a local government somewhere in Stark County has been a major, major, major disappointment.

She misses the mark as a model of  "practicing what she preaches" to those Stark Countians who have participated in the CRCC government leadership academy on at least three counts, to wit:
  • her inability to function as a "check and balance" councilperson on the high handedness of North Canton's law director,
  • her lack of accessibility to those (critique-focused media [refuses to be interviewed by the SCPR for this election coverage series] and questioning citizens) who have policy/procedures questions regarding local government, 
  • spotty attendance record at council and board of zoning appeals meetings, and
  • that her ethics in terms of conflict in interest as a councilperson are questioned by some (reference:  the Fieldcrest rezoning issue),
    • Note:  The SCPR is told that Werren has checked with the Ohio Ethics Commission and has an opinion from the commission that she has no conflict in interest on the Fieldcrest Zoning issue,
      • However, one North Canton civic activist tells The Report that a challenge to the opinion is in process
While Werren is no longer specifically assigned to the CRCC government academy operation, she having been promoted to the directorship of the CRCC overall leadership program;  the SCPR thinks she is a poor example of having the requisite leadership qualities to justify her heading up the CRCC—cultivating leadership qualities of Stark Countians—effort.

The Werrens (her husband is a Canton Municipal Court judge) are high powered Stark County Republicans who perhaps more than any other politically engaged Stark County Republicans appear to make their "organized" political party connections work for them better than any other Republican.

The Werrens seem to the SCPR to be the Stark County Republican Party corollary to a few Democrats who have very skillfully used "organized" political party connections to enhance themselves and their families, which, in some cases, is tantamount to denying more qualified Stark Countians an opportunity.

BUT in this election THE BIG QUESTION is WHETHER or not Werren's opponent Jon Snyder (Republican and a former Ward 4  North Canton councilman and council president) IS ANY BETTER SUITED to be  North Canton Ward 3 councilperson going forward.

No doubt about it, Snyder has his own checkered political history in North Canton council government that likely will make Ward 3 voters to think long and hard about who as between the two to vote for.

In a quest to help North Cantonians decide the question, the SCPR has set about interviewing candidates for elective office in North Canton this election cycle.

Jon Snyder agree to and submitted to a 45 minute, more or less, interview.  Stephanie Werren has not.

The Report is pleased to report that Councilman at Large "incumbent" candidate Dan Griffith has agreed to a SCPR interview as has "incumbent" Ward 4 councilman Dominic Fonte and "incumbent" mayor David Held.

The Snyder/Werren Canton League of Women Voters bios:


THE SNYDER INTERVIEW 

INTRO (1:58)



ON OPPONENT WERREN (4:34)

In an ironical sense, when it comes to what he has to say about Werren, Ward 3 voters may question Snyder's judgment skills.

He says she surfaced from his perspective as the leading candidate back in October, 2012 because of her seeming passion and zeal for being a councilperson.

While the SCPR agrees with Snyder that Werren's "passion" to serve is certainly is in question given her "absent/inaccessible" (council meetings/Board of Zoning Appeals) propensity, it is puzzling that Snyder being the veteran he is in gauging people would fail to effectively evaluate whether or  not the interview "passion" was genuine.

Werren's attendance at council meetings is better than fellow councilperson Marcia Kiesling (R, at-large) but the SCPR is told that she very rarely if ever attends North Canton's Zoning Board of Appeals as a representative from council.

As noted by Snyder, Werren who lives in North Canton's highest priced neighborhood (North Canton Ward 3C) which abuts a former Hoover family property holding (Fieldcrest),  has come out of hibernation (its election time, folks!) and  is all of a sudden taking "the bull by the horn" on the Fieldcrest re-zoning issue now before council.

Here is Snyder on Warren.



Candidate Snyder touched on the Fieldcrest issue in the video in which he appraises effective work or lack thereof as councilperson, as the case may be,  on the part of Werren.

Of course, the Fieldcrest issue deserves more than the passing reference in the video above which issue is more fully developed a couple of video clips down from this place in today's blog.

HIGLIGHT/LOWLIGHT OF SNYDER'S FORMER STINT ON COUNCIL



CHAPTER & VERSE ON FIELDCREST (SNYDER; 5:04)  

In following video segment, he goes much more into detail about the issue and specifically questions on ethical grounds the propriety of Werren dealing with the issue.  Moreover, he offers his own solution on how North Canton should handle the issue.

An interesting aspect of Snyder's criticism of Werren (teamed up with fellow councilperson Marcia Kiesling) is the "naive" (the SCPR's word; not Snyder's) belief that council can properly (in the interest of the Ward 3 neighborhood affect, and, of course, the overall interest of North Cantonians) handle the re-zoning request WITHOUT GETTING THE HELP OF PROFESSIONAL PLANNERS.

Snyder believes that the Fieldcrest issue could well be THE ISSUE which determines the outcome of the Ward 3 election on November 7th.

The video.



SNYDER ON "NORTH RIDGE PLACE, LLC" ABATEMENT PROCESS

One of the festering sores with many North Cantonians is the "out-of-public-view/accountability" of a nearly $1 million Community Reinvestment Area (CRA, since repealed by council) abatement to North Ridge Place, LLC. (NRPA)

Note:  abatement was reduced and the loss to North Canton City Schools [NCCS] proportionally reduced to somewhere in the neighborhood of $500,000) Moreover, NCCC has repealed North Canton's CRA going forward.

In the North Ridge question part of the interview, several statements by Snyder are particularly noteworthy:
  • That somebody in North Canton government knew "by the end of the day" on which the abatement was granted,
  • The he knew about the NRPA (from the developers) within 30 days of the decision, 
  • He accepts some of the responsibility as the city council president of not being on top of the NRPA abatement process, and
  • That the NRPA was "a failure in North Canton government,"
Going forward, Snyder pledges that if elected as Ward 3 councilman he will do his part to ensure that there is never a North Ridge Place, LLC (in the sense of lack of oversight) event ever again.

Of course, his opponent Stephanie Werren (appointed Ward 3 councilperson in October, 2012) was part of a supposedly "unknowing" council.

Question:

Could Werren handle SCPR questioning about her role or lack of a role in the abatement happening outside-the-public/NCCS-view?

Here is Snyder, in his own words on North Ridge: (8:20)



ON CONDITION OF NEIGHBORHOOD/CITY INFRASTRUCTURE/SERVICES

Next up Snyder takes SCPR questions on the quality of neighborhoods both in substance (infrastructure) and services (e.g. EMS is getting too costly).




ON COUNCIL'S FAILURE TO REIN-IN LAW DIRECTOR FOX

Snyder says that if he is elected as Ward 3 councilman he will be pushing for a restructuring of council's relationship with the law director.

Though Candidate Snyder was president of North Canton City Council when Tim Fox was selected as law director, he says that he thinks that his role in North Canton government and specifically in relation to council has gotten out of hand.

Of particular concern to Snyder are antagonistic exchanges that Fox engages in from time to time with members of the public attending council meetings.

However, Snyder assigns as one of the reasons for the Fox overreach is council's loading down of Fox with way more than is appropriate.

But in no way does Snyder excuse Fox for conduct unbecoming of a law director (the SCPR's phrase; not Snyder's) and promises to call Fox out in public meetings if he thinks such is appropriate in the context of things.

A part of a Snyder pushed for reform would be to go back to NCCC committee system as it existed in his former life as a councilperson where council members had to do their homework and be accountable in public sessions for their work product.

Snyder in his own words on the role of law director issue.  (11:04)



ON MAYOR DAVID HELD, HIS APPOINTMENTS/ADMINISTRATION

Generally, Snyder thinks well of how David Held has functioned as mayor.  He is particularly pleased with Held's hire of the finance director and a new administrator.  However, he has misgivings about the role of Gary Fry on housing council/economic development matters.



SNYDER SCPR INTERVIEW WRAP UP

Snyder says:
  • he will stand on his record as a former councilman,
  • "I restore the government back to the people"!




There are those in North Canton who do not want to see Jon Snyder back on council including some of his former fellow council members.

Really?

Compared to Stephanie Werren?

A councilperson who will not allow herself to be held accountable on her NCCC record by SCPR's incisive interviewing as Snyder has subjected himself to.

No doubt, Jon Snyder has made his share of mistakes as a North Canton councilperson.  In the foregoing interview clips, he owns up to them and vows not to make the same mistakes.

The question for Werren is:  what is she afraid of in defending her record as Ward 3 councilperson?

Thursday, October 12, 2017

SCPR ELECTION SERIES: PLAIN TOWNSHIP LWV 10-09-2017 CANDIDATES FORUM


EVALUATING THE CANDIDATES


First of all, plaudits to the Canton Area~Ohio League of Women Voters (LWV) in making available to Plain Township residents a first rate forum of a highly civil nature (contrary to what is going on currently at the national level of American politics) in which participating (John Juergensen has decided not to participate) Plain Township trustee candidates answer written questions posed by audience members and The Repository (co-sponsor of the event).

And by the way, here are LINKS to prior SCPR blogs which deal with the Plain Township trustee race:
Unfortunately, and The Stark County Political Report (speaking, of course, "only" for myself) assigns blame to "the powers that be" at The Repository for only a handful of "unconnected to the candidates" or the LWV Plain Township citizens being on hand to take in this highly informative to "undecided" Plain voters forum.

The SCPR singles out The Rep because its daily printed newspaper is Stark County's only countywide publication that could be, if properly focused, a difference maker in public participation at events like Monday's LWV put together Plain Township trustee candidate forum.

A Wikipedia article says that The Rep has a staff of about 300 and a circulation of 50,000 plus/60,000 plus depending on the day being a weekday or Sunday.  Of course, that number would include non-journalists.  But any way you slice it, The Repository has a journalism staff that numbers way more than the staff of one that the SCPR has.

The point being that The Rep does have the staff to do a much better job than it currently does on local government and politics.

As the self-billed official newspaper of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Village Project (HOFVP), Repository officialdom shows how well it can marshal its journalistic forces to promote this or that project.

A problem that comes along with signing on as "the official newspaper" of the HOFVP project is:  who is left to credibly assess and investigate whether or not the HOFVP is making effective use of public monies and local/state government (including Plain Township efforts) administrative and legislative support of the HOFVP?

The Report shall continue efforts to goad the likes of owner Gateway Media, Inc and local publisher James Porter  and executive editor Rich Desrosiers to accord the same zeal, enthusiasm and energy level for LWV-esque projects as it does for the HOFVP.

While The Rep as a private enterprise entity can do as it wishes in promoting the HOFVP, can "the powers that be" there complain about quite a number of folks within the Stark County newspaper reading public question its ability to be a credible assessor of the use to which the HOFVP puts state of Ohio/Stark County subdivision taxpayer provided for resources.

So far, there has been precious little in The Rep since the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its humongous expansion to the tune of upwards of a $1 billion as to whom the project managers need to be held accountable for effective use of public resources.

Now to get off the soap box and back to the task at hand of evaluating candidate performance at Monday night's LWV/Repository sponsored event of Monday of this week.

The format of this blog is to put up video clips that vary in length of some four to six minutes.

The questions dealt with in this blog are ones which the SCPR deems to be key in the evaluation of Plain Township voters (early voting began on Tuesday, October 10th) as to which of the "participating" candidates to vote for.

QUESTION:  CHANGE GOING FORWARD IN PLAIN TOWNSHIP GOVERNANCE (4:33)



SCPR EVALUATION:  "BEST" ANSWER

Candidate John Sabo shines in his answer in highlighting the financial problems and empowerment deficit that townships including Plain, of course,  have to deal with in improving local government services as a consequence of the work of state of Ohio government in undermining local government viability.

As readers of the SCPR know, The Report has for nearly seven years now, issued journalistic raspberries on the supermajority Republican controlled Ohio General Assembly (OGA) and Republican governor John Kasich (Kasich) for the draconian and continuing work they have implemented in order to balance the budget of Ohio; all on the backs of Ohio local government while state government sits with upwards of $3 billion in "rainy day" funds.

Only president of Canton City Council Allen Schulman has done anything near adequate among Stark County political subdivision officials in condemnation of the OGA, Kasich and core Republican members of the Stark County delegation to the OGA (Scott Oelslager [Senate District 29], Kirk Schuring [House District 48], Christina Hagan [House District 50]) for their being the means by which local government funding cuts have been implemented and thereby putting pressure on local voters to increase village, city, township and school district taxes paid by local residents.

But even Sabo failed to name names.  What kind of accountability is that?

City councilpersons, trustees, mayors and board of education members within county political subdivisions need to develop the capacity to "get in the face" (in a civil manner) of state and federal officials.

The likes of Renacci, Gibbs, Ryan, Brown, Portman, (federal); Kasich, Oelslager, Schuring and Hagan (state of Ohio) love it when they can do their devastating work to local governments in relative anonymity.

QUESTION:  ADVANTAGING PLAIN TOWNSHIP ON HOF VILLAGE PROJECT (5:44)



SCPR EVALUATION:  "BEST" ANSWER

Candidate Haws has the most specific and realistic approach on this question.

Candidate Rich persists in suggesting that somehow current Plain Township trustees Haws, Sabo and Leno with the township's legal counsel somehow failed in working out a collaboration with Canton on the potential development of a hotel at a "before Canton annexation" Plain Township property (I-77 [107A]).

But the fact of the matter is that the current board led by Haws did everything humanly possible to get Canton into a joint agreement.

The fault for the failure for a Plain Township/Canton collaboration is two fold:
  • Canton annexation director Sam Sliman and his governance fetish for annexing everything in sight into Canton despite of the fact that Canton cannot effectively manage its current footprint,
  • Going back to the gigantic local government funding cuts; in Stark County the city of Canton has lost millions of dollars in state funding on account of the cuts, accordingly; Canton and ill-afford in the immediate futures to share any revenue with any other Stark County political unit,
Haws, in focusing on area tourism, takes Plain Township assets (for example, its hotels and shopping areas) and advocates Plain Township developing a promotions expertise to get those who come to visit an enhanced HOFVP to make their way to nearby Plain Township businesses.

QUESTION:  PLAIN TOWNSHIP FAILURE IN STOPPING "THE VENUE" TIF (6:18)

Background information:

Brant A. Luther <BLuther@starkcountyohio.gov>  Oct 5 at 11:11 AM
To:  Martin Olson

Hello Martin,

The Board did pass (on 12/21/17[correction"16") Resolution pursuant to the ORC to establish a TIF on the property parcel known as “The Venue at Belden”.  Per the statute, it will last for 10 years, beginning in Tax Year 2017.  It directs 75% of the new tax Dollars (which result from any increase in valuation during the 10 year period) to fund public improvements that directly benefit that parcel of land. 

Here is the Engineer’s language from the Resolution regarding the future use of these TIF funds:

Public infrastructure projects made, to be made, or in the process of being made by the county that directly benefit, or that once made will directly benefit, the identified parcel include:

Zimber Ditch and Watershed improvements, including but not limited to, maintenance and repair, storm water management, water quality and flood management; and

Public road improvements, including but not limited to, the Everhard and Whipple Intersection Improvement Project including construction, construction administration and right-of-way phases; improvements to the Stratmoor Circle Traffic Signal on Everhard Road; and roadway improvements in the immediate area of Everhard and Whipple and ancillary roadways including studies, maintenance and repair, traffic signals, access management, and congestion mitigation.

As a point of information, this property sits directly on the Zimber Ditch and experiences, as well as contributes to, flooding on the Zimber.  It is the plan that these funds will be used primarily to assist in helping to alleviate some of the Zimber’s chronic flooding issues, and to a lesser extent assist with the roadway improvements that also benefit the parcel.    

...

Brant A. Luther, Esq.

Stark County Administrator

CANDIDATE VIDEOTAPED RESPONSES TO QUESTION



SCPR EVALUATION:  "BEST" ANSWER

Candidate Anthony Rich was right to chastise sitting township trustees (which includes candidates Haws and Sabo) for not being on top of the consideration of and approval by Stark County commissioners Creighton, Smith and Regula of the Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) of property located at Whipple Avenue NW and Everhard Road known as "The Venue."

A highly credible source tells the SCPR that the fact of the matter is that while Sabo himself may now have known, Plain Township officers absolutely knew well in advance that the Stark County commissioners were going to be proceeding with The Venture TIF before 2016 ended.

Under the TIF, Stark County will redirect taxpayer monies to enhancement/improvements for a period of 10 years.  Plain Township will apparently lose some $400,000 plus in revenues.  The North Canton City Schools will lose about $2.5 million.

For candidate Sabo as a sitting trustee to plead ignorance and deflect blame to others is inexcusable.

Jackson Township and Canton knew about and objected to the effort.  The Report is told that Jackson fiscal officer of Jackson led an effort to enlist Plain Township and Canton in an effort to dissuade commissioners from approving (3 to 0) the TIF.  However, any dissatisfaction with the TIF on the part of Canton and Jackson were completely different in terms of interests than Plain's.

The Stark County Educational Service Center Board legal counsel (Slick) did appear and vehemently on behalf of the North Canton City Schools (NCCS) objected to the diverting away of $2.5 million from from NCCS revenues for the project.

The SCPR is convinced that someone (perhaps not Sabo) knew about and talked with county officials about the impending "The Venture" TIF well before the commissioners' approval in December.

But the reality is that Plain Township officials could have jawboned the commissioners until they were "blue in the face," and the commissioners still would have approved the TIF as they did on December 31st.

QUESTION:  FUTURE DIRECTION OF PLAIN TWP ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (6:12)



SCPR EVALUATION:  "BEST" ANSWER

"Best" shared between candidate Brook Harless and candidate Haws.

Harless for expressing in general the notion of "go bring them (Plain community investors) in."

Haws for providing specific existing models (e.g. Oakwood Square) as a model of how Plain ought to double down for future economic development.

QUESTION:  MITIGATING LOCAL GOVERNMENT FUNDING CUTS (6:23)



SCPR EVALUATION:  "BEST" ANSWER

Again, a shared "best answer" as among candidate Sabo and candidate Haws.

Candidate Sabo for doubling down on providing the framework for local government entities to come together to pressure the state of Ohio to restore some of the lost local government funding.

Ohio to date has taken away about $600 million, more or less, in local government funding.  Ohio has a "rainy day" fund that is now upwards of $3 billion.

There is a weakness in what candidate Sabo says, to wit:  Who is going to bring Stark County local governments together to pressure the likes of Oelslager, Schuring and Hagan?

Will candidate Sabo, if retained, spearhead such an effort?

Candidate Haws for spelling out in chapter and verse ways that Plain Township has instituted more efficiency to make up for the cuts.

QUESTION:  A JEDD OR A TIF FOR "THE VENTURE" (5:58)



SCPR EVALUATION:  "BEST" ANSWER

Actually, in combination, the complementary answers of all the candidates
pretty much fill out for voters the information they need to know to have the correct answer to the question.

A recent SCPR conversation with a "in the know" person on the relative pros/cons on CEDAs, JEDDS and TIFs show that for townships a JEDD provides an avenue for township to gain access to otherwise unavailable nearby city income tax revenues.

Jackson Township has such an arrangement with Canton whereby the township gets 1% of Canton's income tax revenue on an affected property within the township which BUT FOR the JEDD it could not get.  Canton via a JEDD with Jackson gets to obtain via extension income tax revenue from an wholly within Jackson Township property as a consequence Canton and Jackson having a JEDD.

This is the win-win-win situation that candidates Haws and Rich focused on.  Harless' contribution is that Plain must develop a trustee with the capability to persuade the likes of Canton and or a relationship with a limited number of property owners (Sabo's analysis) that it is a winner for the city and Plain to avoid a Fulton Road CEDA failure.

As the SCPR understands JEDD, had Plain been able to persuade the owner of the Fulton Road property to eschew Canton annexation, then Canton would have been left with no alternative other than to do a JEDD with Plain in order to obtain at least 1 % (being a 50/50 split on Canton's rate of taxation) on property wholly inside Plain Township.

Plain's failure to the SCPR seems to be that among its trustee administrative operation, the township does not have a par excellence negotiator to have kept the owner of the Fulton Road property from requesting Canton annexation thereby leaving Canton with no alternative but to do a JEDD.

The Report thinks Haws and Sabo (and former long term trustee Louis Giavasis) are at fault for not having a person of such skills on the payroll in Plain Township.

The forum discussion on this issue ought to be a spur to correct this obvious oversight.

One more point.

The Venture TIF does have significant value for Plain Township.

The Zimber Ditch flooding problem in the the area of The Venture  has, the SCPR is told, has resulted in 10 properties being torn down.  Of course, the tearing down of properties mean greatly reduced tax revenues for the North Canton schools and also for the township.  The TIF, The Report is told, will result in repairs to Zimber that will significantly reduce if not eliminate the further loss of tax generating properties.

QUESTION:  CANDIDATE "PUBLIC SAFETY" EXPERIENCE (6:27)



SCPR EVALUATION:  "BEST" ANSWER

If "public safety" candidate experience is a primary criterion for a Plain Township voter, then, without a doubt, John Sabo has to be your top candidate.

His decades of experience in the Plain Township fire department (17 as chief) indicates his superior credentials to the other candidates.

Haws is next in ranking in the SCPR's opinion in terms of his having administrative connections with community safety matters.

The videos presented do not constitute the entire forum but do contain what The Stark County Political Report thinks are the "key" issues the answers to which should weigh heavily with township voters as they determine who to vote for in this year's election which is underway and culminates on November 7th.

APPENDIX - CANDIDACY BIOS AS PUBLISHED BY THE CANTON LWV









Wednesday, October 11, 2017

SCPR ELECTION SERIES 2017: MAYOR OF NORTH CANTON (KELLY)

TEN SHORT VIDEOS FEATURING
  
SCOTT KELLY 

ON THE ISSUES IN NORTH CANTON MAYORALTY RACE


NOTE:  Kelly's opponent, incumbent mayor David J. Held, is scheduled to interview with the SCPR on October 11th.
`And, of course, The Report will be publishing a blog which shares the video with North Canton voters.

It is not often that one gets a contested much less a competitive election for mayor of North Canton.

And since incumbent mayor David J. Held defeated then incumbent mayor Tom Rice in the 2005 North Canton mayoralty election, there has not been a competitive election for mayor of North Canton and it certainly can be argued convincingly that even the Held/Rice race was not competitive.


For the most part, as seen in the graphic above, Held has run unopposed.

The Stark County Political Report has no way of gauging whether or not Scott Kelly's challenge of Held this year will be competitive let alone that a political upset might be in the making.

But Kelly is brimming with confidence that North Cantonians have had enough of Held and North Cantonians are going to wake up on November 8th to surprising news that Kelly is in and Held is out as mayor.

North Canton is an out-and-out Republican city (of the seven council persons, six are registered Republicans) and, if there are going to be truly competitive elections, it will likely be an intraparty fight as in this year's election for three competitive council seats (one-at-large, Ward 3 and Ward 4).

When Held defeated Tom Rice in 2005, the election was a case of a Republican versus a Republican.

Held had been administrator under Rice and the two came to loggerheads during Held's stint as administrator and Rice fired Held.

Those Rice administration days indeed were dark days for David Held as a North Canton public official.

Ever since it has been smooth sailing for Held.

But if Held loses to Kelly on November 7th, it could be deja vu for Held with him being on the wrong side of more bad blood between mayoralty opponents.

Kelly lost his job in North Canton government as a firefighter in 2015 (notwithstanding that he was at the time a firefighter union head) due to what Kelly suggests (the SCPR's takeaway) was a trumped up scenario (impliedly attributed to Mayor Held) in which North Canton embarked on a financial austerity program to save about $700,000 in the city budget by purging his $54,000, more or less, annual salary with (according to Kelly himself) Scott Kelly being the only employee to be let go.

It will be interesting next week, to hear Mayor Held's perspective.

So it seems that the scene is set for a, perhaps caustic, fight between the two of them which may or may not prove to be one of the more tantalizing election contests (in anticipating the outcome) in all of Stark County political subdivision elections this year.

Officially, North Canton elections are set up to be non-partisan.

But the political reality is that the "non-partisan designation is political mythology and it really does make a difference to all to many voters which political party a candidate is registered with.

It may turn out that incumbent mayor David Held (a registered Republican wins over challenger Scott Kelly (a registered Democrat) in a walk because of North Canton's lopsided Republican Party I.D.

The SCPR suspects that Held may be in for more of a fight to retain the mayoralty (12 years now) than many might think.  That is, if North Cantonians buy into Kelly's theory of the election that 12 years of Mayor Held are enough for a majority of 2017 election voting North Cantonians who, Kelly says,  in his read of North Canton voters are thinking that North Canton government under Held has grown stagnant.

Kelly suggests that "change is in the air," and that he will as mayor be a change agent in how the administration of North Canton government is run.

TODAY'S BLOG FOCUS:  

CANDIDACY OF SCOTT KELLY FOR MAYOR OF NORTH CANTON


WHY IS KELLY RUNNING & HIS BACKGROUND  (6:12)



Turning to interview issues identified by Kelly in his October 4th interview with the SCPR:

FIXING THE FORMER HOOVER COMPLEX AESTHETICS PROBLEM (4:35)



THE KELLY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN FOR NORTH CANTON (4:27)




KELLY ON QUALITY OF  CITY'S NEIGHBORHOODS:  CODE ENFORCEMENT V. TAX ABATEMENT INCENTIVES (5:29)




MAYOR'S RESPONSIBILITY TO BE INFORMED AND IN CHARGE AND LEAD THE WAY ON NORTH CANTON GOV'T BEING AN "OPEN BOOK" (2:16)




KELLY ON FIELDCREST ZONING ISSUE (3:32)




LAW DIRECTOR TIM FOX, KELLY'S PERSPECTIVE (2:27)



NORTH CANTON COLLABORATING WITH OTHER STARK CO GOVT UNITS INCLUDING CEDAS AND JEDDS, IS KELLY A PROPONENT OF COLLABORATION? (6:36)



THE KELLY PLAN ON FINANCING NORTH CANTON GOVT GOING FORWARD (6:57)




KELLY WRAP UP OF INTERVIEW (HIS CHOICE OF WHAT TO TALK ABOUT (1:57)
  • Streamlining Permit Process, and
  • Sidewalks/curbs citywide


Scott Kelly, candidate for mayor of North Canton:  "in his own words!"

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

SABO: A CANDIDATE WITH A HEART. HONORS WIFE IN CANTON LWV FORUM

ALSO

SCPR "OVERALL" EVALUATION OF CANDIDATE PRESENTATIONS


First, Canton's branch of the League of Women Voters did a superlative job in hosting last night's forum as an event/place where Plain Township residents could get to "better" know the folks who want to be Plain's political/governmental leadership beginning January 1, 2018 and continuing four years.

But shame on Plain residents!

Soaking wet, attendance could not have been more than 50 or so persons including many League officials, the candidates, their immediate families, a public official and, of course, a few media types including The Stark County Political Report.

A nominal (a SCPR characterization) sponsor, The Repository, deserves very little mention in a positive sense in the opinion of The Report.

Let me make it, clear.  The roasting of The Rep is solely the work of this blogger.  Canton-LWV officials repeatedly throughout the evening acknowledged the participation of The Rep and seemed genuinely appreciative of the event relationship

The SCPR thinks the LWV's expressed appreciation is unwarranted in light of the failure of The Rep to expend barrels of ink in promoting this important to the future of Plain Township civic event.

As Stark County's only countywide print media (folks, that's called a "monopoly"), The Rep persistently and chronically "drops the ball" on coverage of Stark County political subdivision political and governmental happenings.

A terrific opportunity for the SCPR for going on ten years now, but a downer for the citizens of Stark County in terms of getting the material on which to assess the quality of Stark County governance.

The Repository bills itself as  "the official newspaper" of the Pro Football Hall of Fame (HOFVP) which billing has to make Stark Countians wonder about the objectiveness and the investigative willingness of its reporting and editorializing on the Hall of Fame Village Project.

Not that The Rep's seeming disinterest in promoting last night's event is any excuse for the Plain Township public to latch on to;  but, for having "billing" as a sponsor, it is unbelieveable that the likes of executive editor Rich Desrosiers and his team of editors, columnists and reporters do not pull out all the stops in the lead up promoting of civic events such as last night's Plain Township candidates forum at Edgewood Community Center.

Second, to the "best moment of the night" and candidate Sabo's heart-touching tribute to his wife.

But the SCPR pauses here in this blog to let readers know the format going forward that The Report will present the video material recorded last evening.

Recognizing that many in the reading public have a limited attention span, the SCPR is taking the footage gathered and presenting them in a "memorable/significant moments" format.

Today's blog (Sabo:  A Candidate With a Heart,  Honors Wife in Canton LWV Forum) is a example of what SCPR can expect as The Report takes the footage and putting it into digestible and interest context.

Now to that "best moment of the night."

Be sure to take the less than two (2) minutes to take in this video of candidate John Sabo honoring his wife.



Noteworthy in the Sabo closing comments was his articulation of democrat-republican values that every candidate at every level of politics and governance should live.  He describes them as being "soft skills."  The SCPR would describe them as being "foundational, solid as a rock" leadership qualities which are essential in terms of being embodied by public officials.

The are:
  • trust
  • honesty, 
  • communication,
  • teamwork,
  • patience,
  • flexibility
  • sacrifice,
  • ability to take criticism, and
    • learn from it
Add 25 seconds, to see her response.



To The Report, in an overall evaluation of the candidates' presentations, Sabo stood out as having a superior grasp on all things Plain Township.

A high priority with voters on candidates is assessing "the heart" of a given candidate.

The afore-published video provides a glimpse into the soul of a candidate that the voting public rarely sees.

In addition to having "a quality heart," Sabo in terms of Plain Township (short of being a trustee) government experience, likely has no match in all of Plain Township (Stark's largest township).

Take a look at the bio of candidate Sabo as published by the Canton-LWV in the League's annual election edition of Stark County connected candidates for political office (also, ballot issues).


For those who want to "really" get to know Sabo, go to this SCPR blog (LINK, more in depth on Sabo's long time Plain Township connection) in which he is tested by The Report on critical issues in Plain Township.


The only weakness of the Canton LWV sponsored forums is that the organization makes it crystal clear in the conduct of an event (enforced by moderator Dick Kuhn) that questions he deems "out-of-bounds" will not see the "light of day."

And, the "vanilla" approach of the forums could be one of a number of reasons why they are so poorly attended.

If any of the candidates understand Plain Township through and through, that person is John Sabo.

The SCPR thinks Sabo is more dyed-in-the-wool Plain Township than former long term trustee Louis Giavasis (a thorough going Democrat), who interesting enough (recently political party appointed/retained by voters as Stark County clerk of courts) has moved out of Plain in what some see as the first step to run for mayor of Canton against political independent Thomas Bernabei in the elections of 2019

Can anybody feature Sabo moving out of Plain Township for political advantage and ambition?

After Sabo, incumbent trustee Scott Haws impressed the SCPR of being totally cognizant of all things Plain Township and ably explained/justified his work as a Plain Township going back a number of years.


The Report will be focusing on Haws' in the next blog on the Canton-LWV forum.

Next up?

Pick-em! as between Anthony Rich and Brook Harless

The SCPR's uneasiness with Rich was not quelled with the material he presented last night.


In prior blogs, the SCPR alone has focused on a June 25, 2017 incident in which at Bud's Corner Bar (located in Nimishillen Township) in which Rich (a civil side prosecutor with the Stark County prosecutor's office) pulled his prosecutor's badge in an apparent attempt to deal with a fracas that erupted while Rich was in attendance at a wedding celebration event.

Of course, a question of his conduct at the event was out-of-the-question at a Kuhn moderated Canton LWV forum.

But there was a question regarding "public safety" which Rich could have on his own brought up the issue of his conduct (raised by the SCPR as being relevant to whether or not he has the "temperament" one would expect of a public official) and thereby could have explained/justified his conduct at Bud's Corner Bar.

That he did not take advantage of his opportunity to do so at the forum, suggests to the SCPR that he understands that he was highly inappropriate in doing so and his failure to publicly acknowledge his faux pas should signal to Plain Township voters that he does not possess the ability to own up to his mistakes and move forward in a more mature fashion.

Moreover, The Report thinks Rich might be taking license with his using his Canton Law Department and Stark County Prosecutor Office experience as being the equivalent of having direct Plain Township governance participation.  And, in publishing that he has lived in the "area" all of his lifetime, a fuzzy way of skirting whether or not "area" means within Plain Township.

A SCPR interview would tease out these matters.  It appears that Rich knows this and therefore wants no part of a SCPR videotaped interview.

Perhaps closest to Sabo in "purity of heart" is Brook Harless.  However, she utterly lacks actual local government experience that Sabo and Haws have "in spades."


She has in a prior telephone conversation with the SCPR billed herself as being "a community centered" candidate.

Translation?

No local government experience as such as thereby would be a risky choice by Plain Township voters.

By her own self-assessment, lacking in hands on governance skills.

Harless, as a parent should be, appears to be totally focused on parenting.  She couldn't keep a commitment to do an in depth SCPR videotaped interview because of scheduling problems in meeting a parenting obligation.

Totally, understandable, no?

But she never followed up to reschedule,  That she didn't, is indication that she has been forewarned that SCPR questions might be too pointed for her to feel comfortable with.

While she impliedly ascribes to herself as being a "stay-at-home-mom" the ability to be a "full time trustee," it appears to the SCPR that she is way too short on actual governance experience to be seriously considered by Plain Township voters.

Sabo, clearly is in the same boat (time-wise) and Haws has over years as trustee has demonstrated he can handle both being a trustee and having a full time private sector job, that any advantage Harless thinks she has in the regard shows she is weak in coming up with reasons why Plain Township voters might want to place Harless in the bottom tier of the four viable candidates running for township trustee.

Just a word on John Juergensen whom the SCPR bills a being "a phantom candidate" as he proved to be when he filed as the Democratic candidate to oppose Republican incumbent Christina Hagan in the Stark County-based 50th Ohio House district in 2016.


That's it!  Wow!

No further comment needed by the SCPR or anybody else about the seriousness of Juergensen as a candidate, no?

Remember, this blog is but the very first of blogs on last night forum that Plain Township voters will be able to access in their making a determination as to whom among the four candidates will be 2/3rds of township leadership going forward.