Thursday, August 17, 2017


The Stark County Political Report has published a number of blogs over its existence (nearly 10 years now) on the unfairness of Ohio's elections on account of "organized" Republicans and Democrats going back well over 100 years of contorting state legislative and congressional election districts to ensure in varying degrees that incumbents of whichever of either party get re-elected.

Recently, the blogs include:
One of the more interesting and disturbing factors that came to light in the development of this series was Stark Countian (a former vice president of the Stark County GOP) and now Ohio Republican chair Jane Timken's assertion that she does not see redistricting as something she can support, to wit:  (from a Cleveland City Club appearance on July 7, 2017)


"Do you and the Republican Party favor setting up a commission to redraw [congressional] district to provide more equitable division between parties in congressional districts?


"I tend to think elections have consequence and we have a history of being able to draw congressional districts based on our [Ohio's] apportionment board.  I tend to want to keep that system unapologetically.

Catherine Turcer of  Common Cause Ohio (Fair Districts = Fair Elections) which is behind a petition drive effort to make congressional districts fairer had this reaction to the Timken statement:
Catherine Turcer <>  Today at 9:37 AM
To:  Martin Olson 
Mr. Olson, 
Good morning!  I am surprised by Jane Timken's statement.  The state legislature is responsible for drawing the congressional districts, rather than the Apportionment Board.  In 2015, more than 71% of voters supported creating the bipartisan Ohio Redistricting Commission to draw state legislative district lines.  Issue 1 of 2015 was supported by both the Ohio Republican Party and the Ohio Democratic Party.   
I do agree that elections have consequences but I also believe that districts should not be artificially manipulated to favor one political party over the other.   Fair elections are the cornerstone of a robust democracy.  Computers have made gerrymandering or mapmaking for partisan advantage much easier and have created truly uncompetitive elections. 
We deserve more compact districts that keep communities together and more robust elections. Because -- as Ms. Timken's said-- elections have consequences.  These consequences should not be determined by mapmakers but by the voters. 
It appears that Timken is out there somewhere all on her lonesome.

Witness, the outcomes of an election held in 2015 in which Ohio/Stark Countians voted overwhelmingly to require redistricting on a fairer basis than is currently in place.

Most encouraging that a congressional district version of the 2015 passed state legislative districts mandate for fairer districts is the work that the Cleveland Plain Dealer and (a work of Advance Ohio) through numbers analyst/reporter Rich Exner is doing so that Ohio can get a very clear picture of the monstrously unfair congressional districts Ohio currently has.

Readers who care about fairness in our elections should follow Exner's effort very closely.  Here are two links to recent (August 16th and August 17th) article published on

Exner's work is outstanding and the SCPR urges readers to keep in touch with the continuing coverage of the need for fairer redistricting in Ohio.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017




UPDATED:  1:30 p.m.

Many of The Stark County Political Report's blogs have a tinge of political sarcasm scattered among its letters, words and headlines.

A little over a week ago, the SCPR honored The Repository's executive editor Rich Desrosiers with the first of The Report's full-blown satirical piece.

Here is a refresher of the definitions of satire/sarcasm for those who do not often run into such material.

But sarcasm is a little harsh, and, it gets missed by readers all too often.

I decided I needed to change my ways and go to a milder form of getting my point of view across in my blogs.

A master of satire is The New Yorker's Andy Borowitz.

He is my inspiration for doing political satire on local political and public figures.

So brace yourself Stark County elected officials and public figures.

You are about to become the stars of Stark County's only political satire outlet.

Here is a LINK to the first SCPR satirical blog>

Today, the cheer/LEADER(S) of/for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Village Project (HOFVP) with a very, very, very special nod to executive director—America's greatest visionary EVER—C. David Baker.

That descriptor came from our Make America Great Again—Greatest President EVER—Donald J. Trump.

His visit to the HOFVP on September 14, 2016 as presidential candidate Donald Trump was an omen that things were only going to get greater for the HOFVP, Canton and all of Stark County.

The Donald was absolutely thrilled to hear from the SCPR of this "in-the-works" blog (note:  a imaginary conversation).

He says he believes that the HOFVP is the greatest infrastructure ever undertaken in the land of "from sea to shining sea," bar none.

Might Trump borrow the HOFVP model as a model for his promised U.S. infrastructure rebuild?

Has to be tempting to him, one has to think.

However, there are those locals who say that pro football is in decline and heading for marginal existence, long term and the HOFVP will one day stand as a dinosaur skeletal remains.

The truth?  BIG, BIG time FAKE NEWS!

Professional football is "the cat's meow" for America's "hooked" on entertainment' devotees.  Pro football fascination continues to grow while professional baseball is fading.

The smasher/basher tackling, the slashing running, the artisan quarterbacking command the attention of thrill seeking Americans glued to the tube.

In the former glory days of American dominance, the heart and soul of the nation was industrial might which Canton and Stark County was part of.

But in this day and age folks, ENTERTAINMENT is the way to go. Every U.S. town needs a P.T. Barnum-esque character to distract us from our "real" everyday life cares, concerns and troubles, no?

The  visionary C. David Baker was brought in by local leadership seers to keep professional football in a growing mode.

So what if he has a troubled past.

That's what his detractors point to.

My God! folks, give it up!!!  That was some 30 years ago.

There is atonement, there is forgiveness, there is redemption and the Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village "refuge" is the place of restoration for C. David Baker.

C. David Baker:  definitely an example of being "born again," no?

Pro football "alone" will do the job that yesteryear local captains of industry could not sustain of Canton and Stark County having a economic bulwark.

Industry has no sex appeal.

Entertainment at its base is glitzy, glitzy, glitzy in sex appeal and therefore is in a "the sky is the limit" mode in sustainability.

And a Entertainment economic base is cheap to staff.

High return on investment (ROI) on the backs of low-paid service workers?  What a terrific financial model, no?

And think of it, right here in the most deserving place sited in a nation that has welcomed hordes of immigrants who in turn made Canton, Ohio and the USA the greatest industrial juggernaut EVER.

After all, it is not every community that can call itself home to a past president who has had one America's great mountain named after him (even before he actually became president)  obviously as an attestation of him being one of our truly great leader destined to become one of our greatest presidents inasmuch as McKinley (err Denali/2015; renamed by Obama administration executive action—Go Figure, no?) is the HIGHEST mountain peak in the Greatest Nation ever to don the face of the earth.

"When they go low, we go high," to turn the Michelle Obama quote upside down in topic application.

Who can forget the gallantly successful effort of recently passed Stark County native Congressman Ralph Regula in 1975 staving off the re-naming of McKinley to Denali.
 Koyukon Athabaskans who inhabit the area around the mountain have for centuries referred to the peak as Dinale or Denali. The name is based on a Koyukon word for "high" or "tall"  (Source on history of Denali/McKinley:  Wikipedia article on Denali/McKinley
For the SCPR, that mountain will forever be Mount McKinley no matter Obama and his politically correct ways and compatriot leftist leaning activists.

Indeed, GREATNESS is undoubtedly in the genetic make up of Canton, Ohio.

And, therefore, it should surprise nobody that Baker should be brought to the Hall of Fame city which is on life support to do a Lazarus-esque resurrection on a very, very, very special type of infrastructure development.

Just what America needs, just what Ohio needs and for sure just what Canton and Stark County needs.

A gigantic entertainment complex that Baker, with his keen sense of appropriateness, likens to Disney World.

What a perspicacious human being!  Without parallel, no?

Sorry for the big word, but Baker is literally a big man and more importantly a man of really BIG ideas and drive all wrapped up in a humble spirit that can only be described a the GREATEST paradox of all time.

Yes, when Stark Countians scatter across the nation on vacation, visiting family and friends, on a business trip or whatever; when asked about their hometown, they are at the ready.

"CANTON, OHIO is where I'm from!  We have the MOST FABULOUS high school football stadium in the land."  Who else can brag about having a $150 million high school football stadium?

A true measure of greatness, no?

Canton/Stark County is the home of "the memories"of the famous and great.

McKinley (Stark's esteemed president), Brown (the greatest NFLer of all time) to name just a couple.

And one day in the wild blue yonder, our streets will be paved in gold.  A city foursquare that challenges Heaven itself.   What a joyous day that will be. We have David Baker to thank and thank him we will.  For locals will no longer refer to Canton by its official name.  Like the locals in the vicinity of that GREAT mountain in Alaska, we will call our home Bakerville.

"One more thing.  We owe all to the 'Bakerville Times' (err The Canton Repository) which locked arm-in-arm with Baker et al promoting the development of the HOFVP as "the official newspaper of the Pro Football Hall of Fame."

Just think about it.

Canton and Stark County saved from oblivion by the intense development of a mere 100 plus acres (about 1/2 square mile), more or less, in a town of about 25.5 square miles and a county of about 575 square miles

Its a miracle!

And it only cost $800 to 1 billion dollars in largely private sector funds.

A true testament to American Enterprise!

Leveraging at its best, no?

Monday, August 14, 2017




In this day and age, it is not unusual for city governments to compete with one another especially on economic development matters.

A few years ago, North Canton lured a Massillon company to what used to be officially known as "The Dogwood Tree" city by advancing $400,000 (more or less) of upfront money to buy a crane for the company.

Insofar as the SCPR knows, there is no such history between North Canton and Alliance.

However, it does appear that Alliance and North Canton are vying with one another in a race to the bottom in disrespecting its citizenry's right to know, to be heard and to participate fully as a critically important factor in how we Americans govern ourselves.

At least since September, 2012 and the hiring (by North Canton City Council) of Tim Fox as law director, North Canton appears to The Stark County Political Report (SCPR) to surge to the lead among Stark County's political subdivisions in a dubious category:  a marked decline in respect for and implementation of fundamental democratic-republican values.

Under Fox's reign, North Canton has had problems"
  • being transparent, 
  • providing requested public records, 
  • complying with its own charter requirements, 
  • councilmembers' attendance (Stephanie Werren, a primary offender) at public meetings, and 
  • respecting the will of North Canton voters as expressed at the ballot box.
And there are a number of  other things concerning the undermining of core democratic values that one could cite North Canton government for.

Some think that the Alliance parallel to North Canton's Fox is Safety-Service Director Mike Dreger.

Dreger was appointed by current Alliance mayor Alan Andreani in September, 2014.

A number of Carnation City residents think that Alliance has not been the same in terms of basic democratic-republican values (e.g. first and foremost, administrative transparency).

A big brouhaha broke out into the open at the Alliance City Council on August 7 when Councilwoman Julie Jakmides took it on herself to walk out of council when she was worked over by council president Arthur Garnes for discharging a prime legislative function of questioning Andreani's safety-service director (Dreger) and the independently elected law director (Jennifer Arnold) and various and sundry questions on policing, administrative oversight issues and spending volume for legal services.

Nobody should be surprised by the anti-democratic actions of Alliance government which took place on August 7th.

In April of this year, at the request of Alliance citizen Leslie Young,  Attorney Steve Okey (a former Alliance councilman, a former council president and a past candidate [against Andreani] for mayor of Alliance) filed a lawsuit against Alliance government alleging that the Andreani administration violated Ohio's open meetings law in not complying with Ohio law (on legal advice provided by Arnold) with regard to a proper "in accordance with law" motion to go into executive session as presented to council which ultimately passed:  4 votes to 3.

Here is a copy the suit:

Kudos to the citizen and Okey for standing front and center for Ohio's open records law.

Here is Alliance's answer:

Trial is set for February 12, 2018.

Back in 2014, Okey filed in his own name a lawsuit against certain members of Alliance City Council with Larry Dordea as the lead-named and pleading referenced defendant which the SCPR said at the time appeared motivated to embarrass Dordea, who, at the time was in the midst of Stark County sheriff campaign seeking to unseat Okey political ally George T. Maier.

Okey said that it was unconnected with the Dordea/Maier matchup and the litigation was filed because of Okey's devotion to Ohio's Sunshine Laws.

This Stark County Political Report was not buying Okey's protestation that the 2014 litigation was all about Ohio's Sunshine Laws.

The SCPR wrote a number of blogs castigating Okey for having filed the case on account of what appeared to be obvious political implications of Councilman Dordea running against Okey political friend George T. Maier.

So it is a touch more than ironic that Dordea was among three councilpersons (Jakmides and Edwards also voting NO)  on presented motion for council and certain Andreani administration officials and Law Director Arnold to go into executive session which prompted the Leslie Young lawsuit.

What should disturb the citizens of Alliance is that under the Andreani administration lead, seemingly based, in large part, upon the legal counsel of Jennifer Arnold (Alliance's independently elected law director); it appears that Alliance is heading in the same direction as North Canton in curtailing compliance with core democratic-republican values and perhaps in the process violating Ohio law.

However, as the SCPR sees the matter, it is likely that Okey/Citizen Young will, if the lawsuit goes to trial, prevail.

Of course, it is possible that the Andreani administration on counsel by Arnold will drop defending the suit and implement the asked for remedies.

Either way, there might be these Alliance taxpayer costs, either agreed to or ordered by the court:
  • up to $1,000 in damages,
  • court costs and plaintiff's attorney fees, and 
  • legal fees paid by Alliance government for outside legal counsel
Shouldn't there be a "moral obligation" for those who participated in the manner in which the executive session was presented for an up or down vote to reimburse the city treasury?

Perhaps the Young lawsuit will prove to be curative of the Andreani administration's flirtation with its seeming unlawful manner of going into executive session.

One more thing.

An important point that Okey raises in the lawsuit is that governments MAY but is not required to go into executive session for reasons enumerated in the underlying Ohio statute cited in the Young lawsuit.

The SCPR's take on executive session use among Stark County local governments is that elected officials are all too quick and prone to invoke the permissive right to go into private session without considering adequately the necessity of doing so.

The taxpaying public has a right to know to the greatest degree as is practical and feasible to have discussions which serve as the basis for decisions made in public, be "public" themselves.

Government propensity to overuse is to deny, via out-of-view executive sessions, public access to the deliberations constitute the foundation upon which decisions are made in public session.

Such is a key ingredient among a number of others as why citizen trust of government grows by the day.

 In terms of the taxpaying public having confidence in the integrity of government, the processes of governing can be more important than the substantive decisions themselves.

Alliance council members Dordea, Jakmides and Edwards as well as Leslie Young and his attorney have courageously stepped forward to bolster democratic-republican values.

In North Canton, it appears there is no elected official on the inside at city hall (except perhaps a fleeting moment here and there by Councilman Foltz) who has the moxie to stand up for core government democratic enhancing process values.

All the city's councilpersons and the mayor seem to be good at is patting one another on the back in self-congratulation while they foster North Canton's democratic processes decline.

Accordingly, it  appears that the only North Canton cure is that its voters will take matters in hand in the November general election and place in office council members and a mayor who respect citizens' fundamental democratic-republican values.

Friday, August 11, 2017

JULIE JAKMIDES: Stark County's Premier "transparency in government" Advocate

UPDATED:  3:49 p.m.

It appears that there are those in Alliance city government who are trying their darndest to place a cloud over, if not totally obscure, "transparency-in-government" in the operations of Stark County's Carnation City.

Try as they may, The Stark County Political Report is betting on Councilwoman-at-Large Julie Jakmides to defeat the obscuring ways of the mayor (Andreani), the law director (Arnold), the safety-services director (Dreger)  and, perhaps, too, the president of Alliance City Council (Garnes).

Acrimony between Jakmides and her core supporters on council (Dordea and Edwards) and peripheral (i.e. here and there) supporters (King and Cherry, but NEVER Rhome) on the issue of administrative obfuscation came to a head at last Monday's regular council meeting.

The administration's thwarting of  Councilwoman Jakmides' incisive questioning prompted her walk out of council proceedings in protest to the administration-inspired attempts to shut her down in questioning various actions of the administration with regard to Alliance policing and irresponsibly spending Alliance taxpayer monies.

Julie Jakmides is a SCPR type of political party partisan.

Her demonstrated, time and again,  track record is "community interest(s)" over political party interest(s) is a model for all Stark County elected officials.

And the SCPR, really, really, really likes that quality in any Stark County politician.

Political parties are just fine as long as their interests take a backseat to the public interest.

Unfortunately, the Jakmides of Stark County political life are few and far between.

The Stark County "organized" Democratic Party effort to shut down the "independent" candidacy of Thomas Bernabei is a prime example of political parties gone wrong.

As specifically demonstrated about two years ago, Jakmides, a thoroughgoing Republican, opposed Alliance law director and Republican Jennifer Arnold in her quest to become the elected law director of Alliance over Democratic candidate Mark Whitaker.

Jakmides was unsuccessful in her 2015 effort, but she has continued to press her case against Arnold as being an "undesirable' law director based in large-part on inappropropriate for any public official, much less a law director," Facebook series of entries.

The SCPR thinks the Whitaker loss by a mere 46 votes out of over 4600 cast shows the political clout that Jakmides has in Alliance.

She, likely, was the primary factor in Democrat Whitaker almost pulling off a stunning defeat of the political party appointed law director.

Beyond Arnold's 2015 inappropriate Facebook behavior, it appears she continues to show that she is not up to—public official performance-wise— rendering acceptable standards of transparency in government.

Accordingly, Councilwoman Jakmides continues her quest to hold the law director and her Andreani administration cohorts accountable.

Asked whether or not the name Julie Jakmides might appear on a Republican Party primary election ballot as an Arnold opponent, Jakmides left open the possibility that such could be the case but as of August 11, 2017 she has no such plan.  Jakmides has graduated for The University of Akron School of Law and is awaiting her bar results.

And get this.

Asked further whether or not she plans to oppose Mayor Alan Andreani when his term is up in 2019, she had a thoughtful response:
  • Maybe he will not be running again,
  • Perhaps he will not have an opponent, and
  • (by implication), he could change his ways in terms of transparency within the next two years and thereby redeem himself
But if he doesn't change and he does run again, she made it clear that she would have no problem whatsoever as a Republican supporting the right kind of Democrat or perhaps, even another Republican in the 2019 primary to deny Andreani another term as mayor.

Jakmides, despite her youth, appears to the SCPR to one of Stark County's most thoughtful and mature public officials.

Jakmides and the SCPR have had our differences in the interplay of public official/public figure and the media.  Nevertheless, she has continued to be accessible for Q&As.  Another sign of political maturity that quite a few of Stark County's political subdivision elected officials lack.

Accordingly, The Report rates Jakmides as one of Stark County's very best public officials in terms of her political maturity and has shown that she is committed to working for continuing/enhancing fundamental democratic-republican values over her political party ties.

Projecting forward, Jakmides, perhaps, has the makings of a Robert Mueller-esque government service lawyer  in terms of her personal integrity, independent-mindedness and devotion to wherever the facts take her as she moves through her public life.

The SCPR's focus in this blog has been on democratic-republican processes inherent in the substantive dispute between Jakmides et al and the Alliance city administration as she defines "administration" (i.e. the mayor, the law director and the safety-service director)  in the sense of being a problem that currently preoccupies all things government in Alliance.

For those readers who want to augment the SCPR's tact in this blog with a detailed exploration of the substantive elements of the disputes among Alliance city officials, the best source is Jakmides Facebook page (LINK).

Alternatively, readers can go to Stephanie Ujhelyi's excellent reportorial work to get a solid background on the matter at the following links:
One Alliance resident who is not part of the current flap has offered to the SCPR that a removal of Safety-Service Director Michael Dreger might go a long way to abating the discord among the various elements of Alliance government.  Jakmides did not disagree with that observation when presented to her.  Nor did another source intimately familiar with Alliance city government operations.

The SCPR has learned that Jakmides' ally and Ward 3 councilman Larry Dordea has taken the lead in dealing with Dreger.

A position that has surfaced in discussion with SCPR sources is that Dreger did at least a presentable job as water department superintendent, but is thought to have taken on an arbitrary/tyrannical bent as safety-service director and thereby is not, in the opinion of a number of folks, of a suitable temperament to be an effective safety-service director.

Former Democratic councilwoman Sue Ryan once reported to having thought that Dreger was a good choice by Mayor Andreani for safety-service director in September, 2014 based on his service in  Alliance's water and distribution/utility services going back to 1979.

Ryan says she has changed her mind on Dreger and further says her change is based on a shared perception that he has taken on a arbitrary/tyrannical manner about himself in his current position.

Ryan as councilwoman demonstrated many of the pro democratic-republican values characteristics that Jakmides does.

In the spring of 2014, she fought fellow Democrat Steve Okey to be named president of council when John Benincasa died.

And she called him out when a controversy broke out between him and Alliance Council when he took over as council president.

Jakmides, being a fair minded person, points out that she thinks that Alliance auditor Kevin Knowles is NO part of a conspiratorial-esque appearing  (my phrase, not hers) administrative alliance that appears hellbent on destroying trust that Alliance's citizens have had in overall Alliance governmental operations before Arnold.

In an interesting aside, when asked to compare council president Garnes (to former council president Steve Okey, she left the SCPR with the impression that of late Garnes is not impressing her.

Initially, he did.  But no more.

Jakmides was at the forefront of an effort of council to censor Okey during his stint as president for his highhanded way in dealing with council.

One has to wonder whether or not Garnes might also be faced with a council censure should he continue shutting down Jakmides in her endeavor to ask telling questions that might dig out embarrassing responses by the likes of Andreani.

Such is speculation on the part of the SCPR and was not indicated as a potential plan of action by Councilwoman Jakmides as an outgrowth of the interview.

Alliance's citizens/voters should rally behind Jakmides if they care about transparency in government.

There is none better in Stark County political subdivision government on this score than Alliance councilwoman-at-large Julie Jakmides!

Thursday, August 10, 2017



In a March, 2016 interview with ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), state Representative Christina Hagan said she wants "to do something great for our community ... ."

She currently represents the 50th Ohio House District.

In early April, she announced she is giving up her seat in the Ohio House (she can run for one more term before being term limited out) to run for the 16th Congressional District  U.S. House seat of Jim Renacci, who is running for governor.

Maybe The Stark County Political Report (SCPR) has missed something, but nothing comes to mind as Christina Hagan having done something great for the 50th let alone the state of Ohio, if that is how she wishes to define community.

To be in a position to show how great she is as a financially adept politician, the SCPR has learned that Hagan is likely telling Republican Party bigwigs that she WILL raise $1.5 million in her quest to gain the Republican nomination to be the party's candidate for the 16th,  come May 8, 2018 and next year's Republican primary election.

Impressive, no?

But that ain't nothing.

Hagan goes on to say that if she is successful in getting the GOP nomination, she will raise $16 million for the general election to be held in November, 2018.

By my book, raising that kind of money pretty much makes her a shoe-in to be the successor to Renacci.

One has to be highly skeptical that Hagan can come anywhere near raising that kind of money.

The passage of time will tell the tale.

With this blog, the SCPR begins tracking Hagan's fundraising efforts.

The Federal Election Commission reports that as of her July15, 2017 reporting of contributions received as June 30th she has raised $127,265.

The next reporting period is through September 30th and should be published shortly after the next reporting date of October 15th.

During the current reporting period Hagan shows only about 39 different contributors (e.g. Walton Armour with two contributions counts for one unique contributor; John/Tina Hagan [her parents] with four contributions count as one unique contributor).  There are a total of 68 contributions.

Many of the contributors are "locals" meaning residents of Alliance, Louisville, Canton and the like.

Having  raised $127,265 is not bad for a start.  But it is a long way $1.5 million.

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer (i.e., two other Cleveland area Republicans have declared or expressed interest in running for the 16th District opening.

In terms of fundraising, that the two, Anthony Gonzalez of Westlake and state Rep. Tom Patton of Strongsville throwing their hast into the ring likely means that prospective donors will not be that easy to come by for Hagan, especially in view of the fact that she does not live in the 16th as Gonzalez and Patton do.

Names on Hagan's list that Stark Countians should be familiar with include Sarah Brown (wife of retired Court of Common Pleas judge Charles Brown), Stephen Coon of Coon Restoration & Sealants and her parents.  Father John served in the Ohio House from 2000 through 2008.

Here is Hagan's current FEC reported campaign finance contributions:

Wednesday, August 9, 2017


Nearly everybody is for funding emergency medical services aren't they?

Some 7.61% of North Cantonian "registered" voters overwhelmingly (81.74%) said so in yesterday's "special" election that likely will end up costing North Canton taxpayers in the neighborhood of $14,000 because North Canton City Council could not "timely" get its act together to get Issue 1 on November's general election ballot.

Council had to know that the turnout for a "special" election was going to be sparsely participated in.

But, then again, North Canton council is not exactly a venue in which democratic-republican values seem to be highly prized.

In yesterday's blog, The Stark County Political Report published an e-mail sent out by North Canton activist Chuck Osborne saying he was voting "no" and thereby urging his fellow North Cantons to follow suit.

Today, Osborne has to be questioning his judgment in taking his all-consuming fight about nearly everything anti-North Canton Council and North Canton mayor into an anti-public-safety issue.
Note:  Osborne has written me to the effect that he disagrees with my characterization of him having an "all-consuming fight about nearly everything anti-North Canton Council and North Canton mayor" even to the extent of opposing the public safety Issue 1.
No surprise there to me, who expected anything else?   Apparently, he thinks he always makes the right call?
He tried to make Issue 1 into a fiscally-irresponsible-council issue, but North Canton's voters were not buying that tactic.

He scored a success back in the November, 2012 general election when some 78% of North Canton 75% of registered voters voting agreed with him that North Canton's part-time council members with alternative sources for health care coverage should not be provided such by North Canton taxpayers.

North Canton council showed very poor judgment for ignoring the "will of the people" on this vote.

Eventually, council members did see the light and wipe political egg off their collective faces in implementing legislation mirroring the "will of the people."

As pointed out in yesterday's blog, it appears that some if not all of North Canton's elective government positions (plus some of its un-elected [e.g. Law Director Tim Fox]) like nothing better than to smear the highly active Osborne and to question his credibility.

And he plays right into their hands on a "for the public safety issue?"


Tuesday, August 8, 2017



As elections go, "special" elections in terms of voting percentage can vary by quite a bit.

However, a Stark County Political Report analysis of "special election" (i.e. elections not held in the context of regularly scheduled "primary" and "general" election cycles) shows that on average 30.87% of eligible voters in a given voting district vote in "special" elections.

And, "special" election issues are more likely to fail than pass.

But what about emergency services issues?

Would a voter really be willing to risk a diminished capacity of my local government's ability to respond to me, my neighbor over a few dollars a year in extra taxes?

There is precedent for that in "special" elections here in Stark County.

Nimishillen Township put on an EMS issue in 2007 and look at the result:

Stunningly! no?

It was surprising to get an e-mail from North Canton civic activist Chuck Osborne this morning, to wit:


On August 8, 2017, citizens of North Canton will be presented with a ballot issue asking voters to approve a renewal of an EMS Levy.

Here are a few things to consider before you cast your vote to continue to provide tax dollars to City officials.


The vote to renew the EMS levy could have been presented to North Canton voters at two previous elections at NO cost to citizens.

City officials could have and should have presented this ballot issue to voters in the November 2016 General Election or in the 2017 Spring Primary Election at NO COST to the City.

Who was asleep at the wheel and failed to act?

Council President Jeff Peters?
Council's Chairman of Finance and Property Dan Griffith?
Mayor David Held?
City Administrator Mike Grimes?
Finance Director Laura Brown?
Clerk of Council Mary Beth Bailey?
Law Director Tim Fox?

I would say ALL of the above.

North Canton has renewed its EMS levy at five-year intervals for decades.

This failure on the part of City officials is now going to be expensive as the August Special Election will cost taxpayers approximately $15,000.

City officials could just wait until the November 2017 General Election and place the ballot issue on the ballot at NO cost but they have no trust in the voters of North Canton and want a second opportunity to present the issue to voters should it fail tomorrow.

Well, until there is a change in leadership at City Hall, I refuse to provide more tax dollars for City officials to fritter away.

I have NO faith in the elected and appointed officials at City Hall.

I will vote NO on North Canton ISSUE 1.

          Another example of City officials being asleep at the wheel and causing a huge loss of tax revenue for the community is an illegal tax abatement given to North Ridge Place, LLC.

          I am referring to a tax abatement that was given to investors for a 40-unit apartment complex called North Ridge Place, LLC.

          The exemption of property taxes has saved Developers Bill Lemmon and Bob DeHoff and other investors, nearly $60,000 per year.

          Multiplied by twelve years, and with estimated property appreciation increasing the annual tax savings, the investors in North Ridge are getting a total tax abatement approaching ONE MILLION dollars.

          Not one City official admits being aware of the abatement that was given in November of 2012.

          The largest tax abatement ever given in the City of North Canton was kept secret for nearly three and one half years.

          Whether ISSUE 1 passes or not, Bill Lemmon, Bob DeHoff and the investors in North Ridge Place, LLC. will not be burdened with a tax assessment on their 40-unit apartment complex.

          I should add that four citizens of North Canton have alleged that the abatement was illegal in that it violated City ordinances and Ohio statutes.

          Prominent in alleging the illegality of the abatement is former Mayor Daryl Revoldt.

          City business at North Canton City Hall is NOT well.

          I urge everyone to consider whether current officials should be trusted with more tax dollars.

Thank you,

Chuck Osborne

It could be that North Canton city officials are glad to see Osborne come out against the issue.

Because he so often comes out "I agin' it" on various North Canton government actions, programs, policies and practices, a number of those officials appear to use Osborne's propensity toward negativity as a smear on his civic activism apparently in hopes of generating a "whatever Osborne is against or God-forbid, for— I am the opposite."

So it will be interesting to see how this particular "special" election turns out.

Will it end up being a referendum on Osborne's points-of-view?

Or, will the vote be to follow the Nimshillen 2007 example on an obvious basis of "no or very little confidence in North Canton government" so pervasive that it sinks something that we all care very, very much about:  emergency services?

Monday, August 7, 2017


Many of The Stark County Political Report's blogs have a tinge of political sarcasm scattered among its letters, words and headlines.

But sarcasm is a little harsh, and, it gets missed by readers all too often.

I decided I needed to change my ways and go to a milder form of getting my point of view across in my blogs.

A master of satire is The New Yorker's Andy Borowitz.

He is my inspiration for doing political satire on local political and public figures.

So brace yourself Stark County elected officials and public figures.

You are about to become the stars of Stark County's only political satire outlet.

Every once in a while political satire will be the order of the day at the SCPR.

The honor of being my very first object of satire is The Repository's executive editor Rich Desrosiers.

Desrosiers has been on the job for two years, almost to the day.

It is obvious that he is just hitting his stride as executive editor.

God love him.

On July 28th, he wrote about my absolutely favorite grocery store of all time.

Well, sort of.

Until it went "belly up" in November, 2015, A&P was my favorite.  As a boy in the 1950s, mom and I would walk the two and one-half blocks from our home on East Middle Street once a week to smack dab in the middle of Gettysburg, Pa to the A&P located on Baltimore Street, a mere half a block away from where Abraham Lincoln put the finishing touches on his famed "Gettysburg Address."

What a weekly trip for mom and I.  A "special event" time of bonding.

Three pounds of hamburg for $1!

And served up (in the 1950s) Deli style except in G-burg there were no Delis.  But the "behind the meat counter" employee made us feel like we were we were being serviced by a grocery store Deli that likely in those days only graced the skyline of America's really be cities.

La di da di da.

Fatty ground beef:  exactly what a family of eight kids needed to sup on as chili or spaghetti or burgers and the like for the following week.

There was none of this fancy, mancy cellophaned wrapped 90% fat free ground chuck to be had at least for the Olson family.

It was fat-laced and good!  Absolutely delicious to a kid (me) that was about as skinny as one could be and still survive.

In 1964, after four years in the USAF, I relocated to Akron where I met the spellbinding Mary Joy Harless.  And what can I say.  51 years later: we are still at it.

Isn't life great!!!

The second best thing that happened to me on becoming an Akronite was the annual Acme-Zip game (1954-2001.)


Two tickets for a buck.  What a deal!  All courtesy of Fred Albrecht's Acme grocery chain.

A hometown grocery chain that now has 16 stores spread throughout northeast Ohio.

Though second on my list of favorite grocery stores, Acme was definitely number 2 only awaiting the death of A&P (remember, November, 2015) to catapult into being NUMBER ONE.

In 1971 as the Acme sponsored extravaganza, some 43,171 filled the Rubber Bowl to defeat the mighty Butler Bulldogs and ya know what?

I and my cherished bride were there!

Can you believe it?

If we weren't there, instead of 43,171 fans; there would only have been 43,169 fans.

So proud to have been there.  Supporting Acme (the Ellet store our store at the time) and supporting our school:  "the Zips."  Mary graduated in 1966; me 1968 (undergrad), law school in 1973.

So when I saw this editorial on July 22, 2017, was I excited!

BIG TIME  had arrived for the grocery store that (thank you Kathy Bates) I was a NUMBER ONE FAN of.

Whoop de doo!


Awesome!  Simply awesome.

A gigantic space upgrade for a Stark County-based Acme.

You talk about bodacious news, man:  expanding floor space at Acme IS it!

For Mary and I; we shop at Acme in North Canton.  And I have this sneaky hunch that the Desrosiers family does, too.

The Olsons and Desrosiers both live in Lake Township.

The space upgrade at Acme Everhard/Whipple is big time news, but just call Martin and Mary Olson sentimental.

Acme North Canton is OUR store.  Every Wednesday Mary makes her way to OUR Acme to by five ears of corn, a bag of green beans and super delicious fresh tomatoes.

Think maybe there is a lot of joy in the Olson household, Martin and Mary chomping away on those Acme provided groceries.

Eating terrific Acme groceries and remembering those stupendous Acme Zip games.

Life is absolutely wonderful, no?

I used to think The Repository had the worst editorial board of any major Ohio metropolitan area.


Desrosiers certainly showed me that he has his editorial priorities right where they ought to be.

It's not everyday that a major Ohio newspaper devotes editorial space to an expanding grocery store story.

Maybe our hometown newspaper The Hartville News.  But The Repository?

But anyway.

Thanks, Rich!!!

And keep those Acme-esque grocery store stories coming.

Friday, August 4, 2017



It appears that there is a lot of political unrest in the city of North Canton these days.

Less than a week out from the filing deadline for filing (August 9, 2017) to run for elective office in what used to be officially known as "The Dogwood City," there are candidates galore seeking to unseat incumbents sitting on city council and even a seemingly strong candidate challenging 12 year incumbent mayor David Held

The Stark County Political Report  (SCPR) has an ear to the ground on North Canton politics and government and is and will continue to be the place for residents planning on voting in the general election of November 7th to connect online with so that they can be fully informed on the issues presented by challenging candidates in their proposing changes in how North Canton government functions.

One of the more intriguing candidates for council will be B.J. Boyajian.

A native of North Canton schooled in the "art of politics" by her highly respected grandfather John Boyajian when the family lived in Ward 3.   John served on North Canton council many years ago.

B.J. vowed that she one day would take her place in North Canton government by the time she reached 40 years of age.

That time is now and B.J. is on the March.

A number of politically active North Cantonians think that B.J., in the final analysis, will decide to take on incumbent Ward 4 councilman Dominic Fonte.

But in a conversation today with Boyajian, she says that she has not made a final determination.

No doubt that Councilman Fonte is anxiously awaiting her decision which must be made not later than next Wednesday.

However, should she decide to run for council-at-large, then the odds are likely that two of the three incumbents will be defeated in November.

Number one likelihood to finish out-of-the-running is incumbent councilman Dan Griffith. There are reports that Griffith is building connections to Jackson Township, which, if true, might mean he will not be filing petitions by next Wedneday's filing dead line.

Beyond Griffith, another incumbent losing out in the face of Revoldt and Boyajian candidacies will be likely boil down to incumbents Mark Cerreta and council's second longest serving member (Ward 1 councilman Doug Foltz being the longest) Marcia Kiesling.

Another candidate might be Matthew Stroia.

Feedback that the SCPR is getting from North Canton political cognoscenti is that Stria is not seen as a serious challenge should he enter the council-at-large fray nor, should he decide instead to run in Ward 1 to incumbent Doug Foltz.  Foltz is the only Democrat serving on council.

It was somewhat of a surprise that former mayor, councilman, and president of council Daryl Revoldt (who worked in the congressional office of recently deceased Ralph Regula) decided that North Canton council is in need of a rework and has filed to run for an at-large seat.

The SCPR sees Revoldt as a "shoe-in."

Boyajian's "learning 'politics' at the knees of grandfather" is likely to put her good position to finish at a minimum of third should she seek a council-at-large.  While the younger set of North Canton voters will not remember Grandfather Boyajian, grandaughter B.J. says she is focusing on younger generations of North Cantonians in working her aggressive "door-to-door" campaign.

Grandfather John who formerly worked for Diebold (located in North Canton) served a number of years as North Canton's chief administrator including Revoldt's stint as mayor of the city.

Revoldt tells the SCPR that he has fond memories of the high quality work that John Boyajian dispensed to the citizens of North Canton.

Another veteran of North Canton government who seeks to re-enter political life in North Canton is former Ward 4 councilman Jon Snyder who has served as president of city council.

He has moved into Ward 3 and he works at tuxedo business on Main Street (he formerly owned a men's clothing retail outlet on Main Street) and believes that a deterioration in the quality of representation for Ward 3 residents on the part incumbent councilwoman Stephanie Werren needs remediation and sees himself as having the political pedigree and experience to improve matters in Ward 3 and, indeed, citywide.

Finally, there is the mayor's race.

David Held has been mayor for twelve years.  He started out as city administrator but was fired by then-mayor Tom Rice.

Held got his revenge on Rice in unseating him in the 2005 election.

In 2017, it seems that Held is on the hot seat in terms of it getting so "hot" in negatives in his performance as mayor that challenger Scott Kelly may be in a position to force him out.

In a conversation with Kelly today, the SCPR talked extensively with Kelly as to the reasons why he decided to take Held on and the level of support he is receiving from those North Cantonians who want to see Held retired from office.

This blog is the first of focus blogs on the North Canton city elections that will run between today and November 7th.

The SCPR, the online source for North Canton voters to be fully informed on the issues that will play into who gets elected in November.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017



Canton Councilman Bill Smuckler
"Whatever Happened to Annexation for Those Wanting Canton Water?"


Canton Council Ponders/Passes Ordinance to Provide Canton Twp Water


Canton Township Trustee Chris Nichols

No Canton Township/Canton Merger


Canton + Canton Township = "New Canton, Ohio?"

After all, Canton Township virtually encircles Canton.

"Not in my lifetime, but perhaps decades down the road," says Canton director of annexation Sam Sliman who appeared at a Stark County commissioners meeting about five years ago or so and proudly attributed to himself as being the "Darth Vader of Annexation."

Probably a couple of decades ago, Canton water for Canton Township became a hot topic as a lone wolf township activist approached Canton officials about the prospect of Canton constructing a pipeline into the township and selling water to its residents.

At that time, there was a great push in Canton that water came at a price.


Indeed:  "ANNEXATION!!!"

Eventually, the whole notion of a Canton/Canton Township nexus on the leverage of "water for all" fell apart.

So what brings the issue of Canton water for Canton Township into view again?

Here's what.  An ordinance on the agenda of Canton City Council:

What's more is this Councilman-at-Large William Smuckler observation during Canton City Council's work session preceding its July 17th council meeting at which the matter was debated and passed by a 9 to 2 margin.  Councilman Smuckler and Ward 5 councilman Fisher voted "no."

Here is Smuckler's work session comments:

During council's regular meeting of the 17th, Canton water superintendent Tyler Converse explained why it was in Canton's interest to take advantage of the economies of doing the design work now so as to be prepared for Canton and its abundant water supplies to work out an agreement with Canton Township residents (short of annexation) to provide water to them.

Note: (regular meeting video picks up after Smuckler "work session" query)

Over the years since Canton Township water acquisition discussion first began under the Dick Watkins administration (1992-2003), the township has edged itself into getting Canton water for about 50% of its residences/businesses all without falling into the clutches of Sam Sliman—the self-described Darth Vader of Annexation vis-a-vis surrounding townships.

But make no mistake about it.

Canton Township has no interest whatsoever in merging into Canton.

Watch this Stark County Political Report interview of township trustee Chris Nichols as he says that while he and former fellow Canton Township trustee Bill Smith (a Stark County commissioner as of January 1, 2017) ran, in part, campaigns for township trustee on a model of inter-governmental cooperation, the answer to Canton Township merging into Canton is absolutely a "no!"

The SCPR does think that Sam Sliman may turn out to have been a seer of  geography of Stark County "decades down the road."

Just think.

There are cooperative agreements all over and among Stark County political subdivisions.

To name a few:
  • Joint Economic Development Districts (JEDD) involving Canton and Jackson Township,
  • JEDD consisting of Canton, Jackson Township and Plain Township,
    • Note:  Landlocked North Canton bowed out in joining this JEDD on the insistence of North Canton mayor David Held,
  • Collaborations among Stark County's 17 school districts, 
  • Canton's recent decision (May, 2017) to join in with the countywide 9-1-1 emergency call receiving and dispatching service,
It is somewhat ironic that Councilman Smuckler raised the spectre of  "annexation as the price for getting Canton water" inasmuch as on other issues he is one of Stark County's foremost advocates for efficiency in government collaboration, cooperation and consolidation among Stark County's cities, villages and townships.

Smuckler now says that he has a somewhat different view on the Canton Township and Canton water.

But, to repeat, he did vote against the design ordinance.

Smuckler excitedly shared with me on this past Monday night that he led the way for Canton to pass an ordinance designed to bring Canton's 9-1-1 into being a full-fledged partner with the existing countywide 9-1-1 effort.

Why the excitement?

Because he has been criticized by some Stark County officials as being "all mouth and no accomplishments" on his "let's come together" advocacy.

Part of his problem, he says, in getting Canton on board before now was former Canton mayor William J. Healy, II insistence that working with the countywide effort was not in the interest of Canton.

Smuckler told me that he has received a call from Randy Gonzalez, the prime architect of Stark County's revamped and highly improved 9-1-1 (modernization began post-2008 and a report that Stark's system was broken) estatically congratulating him on being the lead in bringing Canton onboard.

Moreover, Sheriff George T. Maier contacted him and praised him for his successful effort.

The SCPR agrees with the implication of Director Sliman's forward looking projection.

In 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years, Stark County's political subdivision operating model if not the county geographical map is likely to be quite a bit different than it is now.

And, in the making, the likes of Smuckler, Nichols, Smith and Gonzalez will be remembered as pioneers in bringing Stark County together!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017





Council President Schulman
Draconian State Local Gov't Funding Cuts


Prospect of Federal Gov't Cuts
Community Development Monies


Council President Schulman
Councilman Bill Smuckler
Call to Action

More than four years ago (April, 2013) Canton City Council president Allen Schulman pled with then-Stark County-based members of the Ohio General Assembly (Oelslager, Schuring, Hagan [all Republicans] and Democrat Slesnick) to do something to help Canton avert a fiscal crisis.

By April, 2013, draconian State of Ohio local government funding cuts were in full swing as imposed on local governments across Ohio, including, of course, Stark County, by Republican governor John Kasich working in concert with the supermajority Republican controlled Ohio General Assembly.

At last night's Canton City Council meeting, The Stark County Political Report learned of two new developments that will aggravate Canton's and likely other Ohio municipalities' financial stress.


On June 26 of this year, Canton treasurer Kim Perez wrote Stark County's Scott Oelslager who represents virtually all of Stark County in the Ohio General Assembly asking him from his perch as chair of the powerful Senate Finance Committee to remove "detrimental to city finances" language from the-then pending approval biennial Ohio Budget (HB 49).

Here is a Ohio Municipal League (OML) detailed explanation of the reasons why centralized collection is not a good idea in that its inclusion in HB 49 will cause a further deterioration in city finances across Ohio and erode city's constitutionally provided for Home Rule.

Back in 2013, when Shulman meet with "a small group of legislators," Scott Oelslager was not among them.

He sent word back that he was "too busy."

Apparently, he is still "too busy."  For it appears that he trash-canned Perez's and totally disrespected Canton government in not making any responses whatsoever to Perez's letter.

According to Chief Deputy Treasurer Mike McEnaney (last night), Oelslager has not responded to the Perez plea.

One would think that out of respect for a Stark County local government elected official, Oelslager would have responded with an "I disagree with you and the Ohio Municipal League"  and "here are my reasons why."

To the SCPR, such a show of disrespect and unaccountability is sufficient reason why nary a single Cantonian or voter of any other of Stark County's local government cities and villages affected by the centralized collection legislation would vote for Oelslager should he decide to play yet another version of musical chairs in which he and fellow Republican Kirk Schuring switch seats (from the Senate to the House and vice versa) every eight years in an "in your face" to Ohio's term limits for state legislators.

Oelslager is a "years and years ago" former aide to former, recently deceased (July, 19th), Congressman Ralph Regula.

The word on the street is that Oelslager became persona non grata on the Regula staff because he became too pushy in urging Regula to retire so that he could be in a position to succeed him.

Though he seemingly has a constant "politician's smile," Oelslager appears to be in reality an arrogant guy.

No matter that Oelslager undoubtedly does some good for Stark County, voters should be highly wary of a "I'm too busy" to deal with you type of politician that "comfortable in Columbus, but not in my district" seems to increasingly apply to.


The above graphic is a copy of a caption of legislation passed by Canton City Council last night.

And here is a SCPR videotaped of last night's discussion 

  • featuring:
    • Mayor Bernabei, 
    • Deputy Mayor Williams, 
    • Ward 4 Councilwoman Chris Smith [Community & Economic Development chair],
    • Councilman John Mariol [Finance Committee chair], 
    • Council president Allen Schulman, and
    • Councilman at Large Bill Smuckler) 
between the administration and council members about the prospect that this funding stream for community development is expected to be coming to an end next fiscal year (January 1, 2018—December 31, 2018).

Here is what the National Community Development Association have to say about the impending cuts:


We're hearing the President's FY18 final budget will be released on May 18. OMB Director Mick Mulvaney recently stated that the final budget will include $200 billion for new infrastructure spending. While NCDA has advocated for a portion of any large scale infrastructure package to be funneled through CDBG, we have argued that it can not come at the expense of the regular appropriated funds for CDBG. Trump has zeroed out CDBG in his FY18 budget. A one-time investment in infrastructure can not come at the expense of ongoing CDBG program funding. NCDA and the CDBG Coalition will continue to push for $3.3 billion for CDBG (and $1.2 billion for HOME) in the FY18 HUD spending bill and we urge our members to continue to do the same.

Thanks for all of your outreach to your Congressional Members.

Call Congress on April 26

Join the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF), of which NCDA is a member, on April 26 for a national call-in day to Congress, urging quick passage of the FY17 spending bills and full funding of HUD's programs, including $3.0 for CDBG and $950 million for HOME.

Call the Congressional switchboard toll free at 202-224-3121.


Deputy Mayor Fonda added this in an e-mail response to SCPR follow up questions:

Mr. Olson,

The federal funds that may be cut are CDBG funds, HOME funds, and ESG funds

Programs that could be affected are; Housing rehab,public and social support, summer youth activities,demolition, furnace program, clothing assistance for youth, etc.

Next up is a "call for action" in contacting the likes of Gibbs, Brown and Portman to stop any idea of cutting Canton's community and economic development funds.

So it is not only the state government that has and continues to deliver financial blows to Canton and indeed all of Ohio's urban areas, but, now, it appears, that the federal government is set to follow suit.

As with Oelslager from the State of Ohio perspective, one has to ask whether or not 7th District (which includes Canton) congressman Bob Gibbs (Republican) and Senators Sherrod Brown (Democrat) and Rob Portman (Republican) are going to allow the defunding to actually occur?

As in Ohio, Republicans control the legislative and executive branches of government.

Is Canton and Stark County other urban areas in for a new level of government defunding?

Is there a Republican war on America's and Ohio's cities underway?