Thursday, June 29, 2017


UPDATED:  10:05 AM

It appears that Stark County is "well-wired" should Ohio attorney general Mike DeWine be elected governor of our Buckeye State come November, 2018.

DeWine is the second of a group of  four prominent Ohio Republicans to announce his candidacy which he did on June 25th at an annual DeWine family ice cream social.

Stark County-connected Jim Renacci (representing the 16th congressional district including north-northeast Stark County and a spur through the middle of the county down to the Timken Company complex into the heart of Canton) announced on March 20th.

Expected to join the race soon are Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor (who resides in the City of Green located in abutting Summit County) and former Ohio secretary of state Jon Husted.

In Renacci and DeWine you have (currently) the lowest polling candidate (Renacci) and the highest polling candidate (DeWine).

On Monday of this week (June 26th), DeWine was in Youngstown campaigning at GLI Pool Products.

And who from Stark County showed up in support of the DeWine candidacy but Stark County commissioner Janet Creighton (the regional chairperson of the campaign), Stark County treasurer Alex Zumbar (chairman of the Stark County branch of the Creighton "responsible for" region, North Canton mayor David Held and Alliance manor Alan Andreani.

The region includes: Columbiana, Carroll, Harrison, Holmes, Jefferson, Mahoning, Stark, Tuscarawas and Wayne counties.  Each county has a county specific chairperson.

Also present in Youngstown on Monday was former North Canton mayor and state representative Dave Johnson who was telling Creighton, Zumbar, Held and Andreani that he is now 80 perhaps suggesting that his days as a firebrand Republican campaigner are over.

But his colleagues at the DeWine event were not buying that line.

Creighton says that her connection to DeWine goes back to 1990 Republican gubernatorial race between George Voinovich and his running mate as lieutenant governor Mike DeWine.

As Creighton tells it, Bob Taft was the darling of the Ohio Republican Party establishment in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Voinovich was clearly the underdog in that race.

Creighton, then as Stark County recorder, herself having to fight the local Republican Party establishment in her quest to get elected recorder, was asked by the Voinovich/DeWine team to join their uphill—turned successful—fight to defeat Taft and his party insider allies.

That campaign, Creighton says, cemented her relationship with DeWine which, of course, continues to this very day.  "Loyalty" is the key for Creighton for agreeing to be a key figure in the DeWine campaign.

Creighton, who I think is the most powerful vote-getting-Republican in all of Stark County, says, she has been coveted (my word, not hers) by the Renacci, Husted and Taylor campaigns.

Consequently,  The Stark County Political Report believes that Stark County could be a Republican Party civil/political war-esque battleground as the ensuing campaigns march toward the May 8, 2018 primary election.

However, it likely will be an "underground" war inasmuch as the primary players, for public consumption, say glowing things about each other.  In the background, a political sophisticate has to believe that if it looks like Renacci has emerged as the main competitor to DeWine by early January, February, 2018, then things will get dicey in a hurry.

But the players will try to play the "let's be nice to each other" in public.

Creighton told me yesterday that she has confidence that Stark GOP chairman Jeff Matthews and Ohio GOP Jane Timken will not use their powerful party positions to advantage Renacci, whom the duo have strong, strong, strong ties to.

The Report expects Renacci's campaign to pick up momentum and be positioned come early next year to be the major challenger to the current DeWine lead.

Why would I have that expectation?

Despite Creighton's (and Zumbar's, too) confidence that the state and local party apparatus/structure will not be tilted to Renacci's advantage, I do not agree.

Again, Matthews and Timken will play a rhetorical game of fairness and impartiality.

And I do think the support will be clandestine and responsive to pressure from "on high."

Renacci undoubtedly will be the favorite of Republican president Donald J. Trump given:
Consequently, "Donald being Donald" it would be naive to think he will not "pull out all the stops" in support of the Renacci candidacy including:
  • bringing the resources of the National Republican Committee (NRC) and his own personal intervention to the aid of candidate Renacci,
    •  including putting enormous pressure on Ohio GOP chair Jane Timken to tilt Renacci's way even if doing so would violate a pledge Creighton says she has made to remain neutral,
      • Always remember this:  Jane Timken would not be the chairperson of the Ohio Republican party BUT FOR the intervention in the party election in January, 2016
Think the president would like to have an all out loyal to Trump governor sitting in Columbus in 2020?

Trump is already thinking about 2020?

It was unprecedented  being less than six months into his first term that, last night (press camera excluded at the last hour) he held a fundraiser specifically to raise funds for his 2020 run.

The Renacci "aces in the hole" is the financial support of the Timken family (and, presumably, Ohio Republican Party chairperson Jane Timken, formerly vice president of the Stark Co. GOP) and likely Stark County GOP chair Jeff Matthews (also director of the Stark County Board of Elections) whose wife Heidi has worked in the congressional office of Renacci for a number of years.

A basic principle of political analysis in terms of whom "really" supports whom for office is "Follow the Money."

Here are the Federal Election Commission (FEC) political contribution listings for:
  • Jane Timken going back to 2009/2010 when Renacci first came on the scene as a congressional candidate to challenge incumbent Democrat John Boccieri, and
  • for the Timken Company (2016 only)

Other FEC records show "in toto" that numerous immediate to Jane Timken family members have contributed:
  • tens of thousands of dollars,  perhaps,
  • totaling up to hundreds of thousands of dollars when coupled with Timken corporate contributions going back to 2009/2010, 
to Renacci's congressional campaigns.

Renacci and the Timkens have a very tight relationship, indeed!

Readers will recall how Renacci threw a snit with those Republicans in charge of redistricting based on the 2010 U.S. census to get the Timken Company complex in the heart of Canton included in the reconstituted 16th congressional district.

To say again, Jane Timken became chairperson of the Ohio GOP because of the intervention President-elect Donald J. Trump as Ohio Republican Party central committee members convened in early January to choose a chairperson going forward.

Readers will recall that current governor John Kasich was during the campaign and ever since has been one of the few Republicans of political/office holding stature not to fall in with Trump.

The breach between Kasich and Trump provided the opening to Jane Timken(a former vice president of the Stark County Republican Party) to challenge Kasich ally and incumbent Ohio GOP chairperson Matt Borges.

Though he is way behind right now, nobody should count Renacci out.

He is one of the richest members of Congress and undoubtedly will have the financial resources to match DeWine's campaign finance warchest said to be in vicinity of $2.5 million as he opens his campaign.

Insofar as I can determine, all the Stark County players in a likely Renacci/DeWine square off as the leaders going into the May, 2018 Republican primary are supporters of the president.

Given the rocky, rocky, rocky start that Trump has had not yet six months a president, some of the players might be distancing themselves from the president as the next ten months unfold.

While DeWine is likely to be supportive of Trump, if the president runs into deeper political trouble if his polling slips significantly (let's say to about 30% of likely voters), The Report can see DeWine as the better position to separate from Trump.

For Renacci, he better hope that Trump heads in a positive polling direction and gets up in the 50% or better range nationally; for if he does not, it is hard to see how a Trump connection helps him overtake Mike DeWine.  If Trump's number continue on a southward trek, the connection could doom Renacci's run for governor.

The SCPR does not see that over the long haul that Jon Husted and Mary Taylor will be viable candidates for the Republican nomination given that she seems to be preoccupied with pressing family problems, to wit:

Husted has taken on the Hillary Clinton designation of being a Trump deplorable.  But it hard to see how he can out-Trump Jim Renacci.

Even 10 months out from the nominating election, it is easy to see that there is likely to be a battle royale between the Stark County Republican Party officialdom supporters of Mike DeWine and Jim Renacci.

One of the things that DeWine supporters will have to be wary of is "complacency" in light of one year out polls which show DeWine with a big lead.

Stark County DeWine for Governor chair Alex Zumbar (also Stark County treasurer) said that North Canton mayor David Held and former North Canton mayor Dave Johnson will be important to bring Stark in on the DeWine column in May, 2018.  However, he would not "at this time" name other DeWine supporters who will be involved in the grassroots aspect of the campaign.

I did check DeWine's Ohio secretary of state 2016 campaign finance reports to get a sense of his Stark County level of support.


Not very impressive.

One contributor from Canal Fulton, two from North Canton and a half-a-dozen, more or less, from Canton.

Which means that Creighton, Zumbar, Held and Johnson really have their work cut out for them if DeWine is to win in Stark and Creighton's area of responsibility.

If the victor (assuming it will either be DeWine or Renacci) can go on to defeat the Democratic Party nominee, Stark County wins either way the Republican Primary election turns out.

Creighton says "win or lose" she will be supporting whomever the Republican nominee for governor is coming out of the May 8, 2018 Republican Party primary election.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


UPDATED:  10:40 AM






Slide Show of Who Attended


There were at last night's North Canton City Council meeting quite a number of items dealt with by council and the Mayor David Held administration.

There was North Canton civic activist Chuck Osborne getting kicked out of council meeting for exercising his First Amendment right of "free speech" in putting up a sign "Silence Law Director Tim Fox" towards the end of the meeting.

Here is a SCPR video of Osborne being "thrown out" via police escort of last night's meeting (1:07 in length).

Let me say this about Osborne.

At last night's meeting he shouted out from the audience several times in disruption of the meeting.

He had had his opportunity to address council and the administration during the "Recognition of Visitors" part of the meeting agenda.

That he chose to demonstrate a lack of self-control in the verbal outbursts is inexcusable.

He may or may not have a point on his First Amendment rights being trampled upon by the meeting's leadership.  I for one hope he does bring a court case on his being expelled from council for the sign he posted on his camera easel.

As much as Tim Fox seems to think he is "judge, jury and executioner" on North Canton questions of law, there are those of us who have not hesitation whatsoever to challenge his take.

On North Canton council appears to buy-in to the Fox perpetuated notion that he is "the Great Lawgiver!"

For me, I trust the courts of Ohio and this nation to get to constitutional determinations; not a law director no matter what the city but especially not North Canton law director Tim Fox.

Moving on.

There was the consideration by council to approve agreements with the North Canton City Schools and North Ridge Place, LLC in settlement of a dispute between the schools, North Ridge and the city on a "thought by some" to have been an illegal 100% abatement of real estate property taxes (70% of which goes to the schools) over 12 years BUT which could not be "once and for all passed" BECAUSE two members of council (Dan Peters, Ward 2, president of council) and Marcia Kiesling (at-large) were absent.  Absences on the part of North Canton council members seem to me to be excessive.

There was a Councilman Dominic Fonte over-the-top laudation of  how (impliedly) North Canton government is "making North Canton great again."

Let me say, that Dominic Fonte as a person seems to be an impeccable individual.

However, his "pollyannish" take on the "overall" working of North Canton government is very self-serving and took on a "Dear Leader" tone of a recent presidential cabinet meeting in which the president was fawned over by adult men and women except for Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

Of course, North Canton stand-in president of council Doug Foltz and the rest of council soaked the self-love like they were sponges extraordinaire.

While the SCPR thinks that there are good things happening in North Canton at the city's governors, respect for its critiquing citizens is not one of them.  Note in the following video how Fonte sort of apologizes to his peers for agreeing with North Canton's civic activist in his previous three years as a councilman.  Originally, he was appointed by those he sits alongside of today.

And pick up on Fonte's use of the word "Hell."  Square that up with the Foltz/Fox failure to censure Fonte on the use of a swear word, with Fox's admonition of Citizen Osborne for use of the very same word several weeks ago during a council meeting.

Maybe just a little bit of a double standard?

It is well known that Fox and Osborne do not like one another.

This disparity in treatment, I think,  is one manifestation of quite a number over his nearly five years as law director that evidences what I think amounts to Fox singling Osborne out for "special" treatment.

For council and the mayor not to put an end of what I see as Fox hostility to any North Canton citizen is not an example of "good government" no matter what Dominic Fonte says.

The Fonte video (3:35)

There was council approval of changes in the North Canton charter which does not seem to be "citizen" friendly.

There was the passage of legislation to put a tax issue on a "special" August ballot at an estimated cost of $14,300.  (Source: Stark County's most knowledgeable official at the Stark County Board of Elections):

Travis E. Secrest <>  Today at 10:18 AM
To:  Martin Olson

The calculated estimate cost to run a Special Election in Stark County is $1,100 per precinct. The City of North Canton has 13 precincts which results in an estimate cost of $14,300. 

Again, this is an estimated cost. Since there is also an election taking place in the Louisville Public Library District some of the costs for administering the election will be split between the two districts resulting in the possibility of a lower total cost for both districts.


There was the swearing in of new North Canton Chief of Police Lt. John Minock before an overflow crowd of area police and fire officials.

First, a slideshow of who attended and candid shots of key persons:

Next, the video of the "actual" swearing in with comments by Mayor Held, former chiefs Grimes and Weldon and the current fire chief.

But that's not all of it.  (see "Back to meeting," below)

As an aside:

You talk about "fodder of media overload" at a single meeting of a Stark County local government, it was present "in Spades" at last night's meeting.  Unfortunately, much of it will not be printed by The Canton Repository, Stark's "only" countywide newspaper.

A publication people have to pay for.  If I were a subscriber, I'd likely think I was being short-changed.

Time and time again, I am told by Stark Countians that if were not for the SCPR much of the highly significant happenings of Stark County political subdivisions regarding the welfare of everyday Stark Countians would go unnoticed.

Back to the meeting.

Finally, there was the bombshell of a Mayor David Held report on pending action (any day now) of the Ohio General Assembly perhaps doing big harm to city government finances across Ohio.

As far as The Stark County Political Report is concerned, Held's presentation was a sound thrashing issued by Republican mayor David Held of the Ohio General Assembly including area representatives Scott Oelslager (the Senate, the 29th) and Kirk Schuring (the House, the 48th), both Republicans of the supermajority Republican General Assembly for the manner in which it is dealing with as aspect of House Bill 49 (the two year biennium budget bill affecting all of Ohio governance) which Held perceives to be wrought with danger for Ohio's cities.

It is curious that Held neglected to include 50th House District Republican Christina Hagan as a legislator to contact.  Hmmm?

Here is Held in his own words:

About three weeks ago (June 5th), I did a blog (LINK) on the oft-violated by Ohio legislators Ohio constitutional mandate that there be only one subject on any given piece of legislation.

Accordingly, the SCPR couldn't agree more with Held.

So there you have it folks, the most entertaining, inspiring and compelling local government meeting certainly in Stark County and likely all of Ohio if not the nation right here in the Hall of Fame county!

Sunday, June 25, 2017



June 12, 2017

During the days that I was a registered for voting purposes as a Democrat and highly active (2002 through early 2008) in the Stark County Democratic Party, I was astonished at the factionalism and infighting that I observed within the officialdom of the party.

There were the Maier/Jackson Democrats, the Perez Democrats, the Healy Democrats, the Ferrero Democrats, the union democrats, the Swanson Democrats and on and on the list of political personality centered Democrat went on—seemingly, unending.

Shifting factional alliances have been the order of the day among "organized" Democrats as a way to elect one of their own to public office countywide and in the political subdivisions in Stark County.

Nonetheless, for most of that span the Dems completely dominated non-judicial countywide office.

But it was a different picture at the state and federal level of elective office.

From 2000 on (earlier at the congressional level and Ralph Regula and Frank T. Bow before him), Stark and Ohio "organized" Democrats have fallen on hard times in terms of parity vis-a-vis Republicans in gaining elective office.

Only in 2006 and a nationwide Democratic year and evidenced in "the man from 'Duck Run'," namely; Ted Strickland did the Dems gain pretty much "across the board" statewide elective office.

Although Summit Countian Barbara Sykes eked out fellow Summit Countians Mary Taylor in Stark, Taylor won statewide.

However, despite the statewide Democratic candidate landslide success, Stark "organized" Democrats were unable to take advantage of the Democratic statewide blowout.  (Note:  Regula won district wide)

Although The Stark County Political Report is committed to getting Ohio's legislative districting schemes configured to competitive (meaning, by the district registered voters makeup,  either the GOP or Dems could win depending on the issues and qualities of the candidates), nobody should think that the lack of competition is necessarily only owing to Republican engineered gerrymandering to their advantage.

I think that lackluster party leadership, internal bickering and factionalism, pedestrian candidates and the like may well be determinative of the Dems poor performance in Stark-connected legislative races than perhaps districting gerrymandering favor the Republican candidate.

On  June 25th, the Cleveland Plain Dealer ( which has been doing superlative coverage of a new redistricting effort aimed at Ohio's congressional districts assesses that even if  (according to an Associated Press analysis), an initiative by civic effort Fair Congressional Districts for Ohio, is approved by voters in November, 2018, Ohio will not over the long haul of implementing the legislation achieve parity, more or less,  between Republican/Democratic legislator representation in Washington and Columbus, to wit:

An interesting finding in light of an April 17th article which suggested that gerrymandering was the overarching reason that today Republicans control 12 of 16 congressional seats and a supermajority in the Ohio House and Senate.

The SCPR sees evidence supporting the notion that in Stark County it is not only gerrymandering being a factor in being causative for the competitive imbalance between Rs and Ds in D.C. and at the statehouse.

Additional reasons include the political ineptness of  (see the graphic above on how "to be non competitive" the Stark Dems have been in legislative races in recent years) and a self-serving nature of the leadership of the Stark County Democratic Party.

I think that one of the best opportunities that Stark Dems had a pretty decent chance of wrestling away of the Republican-held 50th Ohio House seat (since 2000) would have been had then Plain Township trustee since 1992 had Giavasis decided to take on political neophyte and Republican Christina Hagan running to be "retained" as state representative (originally appointed by the Republican House Caucus on March 2, 2011).

Parts of Plain Township in the wake of 2010 U.S. Census reapportionment were placed in the resulting new configuration of Ohio's 50th House District.

Plain is Stark County's largest township with a strong Democratic Party registration.

As pointed out above, Giavasis had been at that time trustee for many years.

Giavasis was not a wallflower trustee as so many of trustees are.

He over his years as trustee had engaged a number of high profile issues like:

Both issues brought him plenty of media ink including numerous blogs by the SCPR.

A truism in politics uttered by many of a politician is something along the lines:  "I don't care what you write (positive or negative), just spell my name right."

Although I had and continue to have a lot of reservations about Giavasis as a quality public official, in the interest of political balance in the Ohio Legislature, I encouraged him to take on incumbent Christina Hagan in the 2012 election.

"You know, I know, and everybody knows" that the first time out for elective office is the time to try to defeat an incumbent politician.

Apparently, Louis Giavasis didn't know.

Or, he knew:
  • that ultimately, when Nancy Reinbold retired as Stark County clerk of courts (a position I think she "inherited for safekeeping" from Louis' brother Phil [now Stark County Democratic Party chairman]), he had a "sure fire" position awaiting him as a Reinbold successor clerk of courts because of his brother's influence as party chairman and so, 
    • to borrow from two chairmen ago Stark Dems chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr (the real power in the party, to this day), "Why would I do that," that is say:  
      • exchange a chancy thing (e.g. running for the Ohio House against an incumbent) 
      • for a sure thing (being in line for appointment as clerk of courts)
Giavasis was also floated out as a potential candidate for Stark County commissioner in the 2010 elections on the heels of what Stark County civic activist Craig T. Conley has termed as being "Zeiglergate."

Perhaps both of the foregoing considerations amount to what a well known national politician would characterize as being "fake news" done to dissemble on Louis' real objective.

One could think on the basis of the AEP/Ohio Power, the Oakwood square activism and his "first out-the-box" elected public official to flirt with being anti-fracking that Louis might want be "the first" to go up against gerrymandering as a public service in the interest of giving some reality to the basic democratic-republican value of:  one person, one vote.

In hindsight, I think Louis Giavasis is just as self-serving political as brother Phil, Johnnie, Kim, Jamie (Healy),  John and Tim; notwithstanding his flirtations with being a civic minded politician as spelled heretofore in this blog.

Stark County does has its own "political" swamp in emulation of Washington, D.C., which, of course, hasn't change one iota with the election of a Republican president.

While this particular blog focuses on the Democrats, you can bet your bottom dollar that Stark's "organized" Republicans who hold elective office are equally adept at looking a political party interests and personal political interests above the public interest(s).

I think that Louis' flirtations were just that and not to be taken seriously.

Interestingly enough,  the "sure thing" turned out to be not so sure.

In November, 2015 Ohioans passed an amendment to the Ohio Constitution which sets up a new process by which Ohio's legislative districts  (i.e. the Ohio House/Senate) will be configured.

However, there will be no new districts at the very earliest until the 2022 election for the Ohio legislative.

The Democrats current romance with the Fair Congressional Districts for Ohio is grounded in hope against hope that they can use whatever reapportionment formula might come henceforth if Ohioans approve the Fair Congressional District for Ohio measure to recover majority political status across America.

Who thinks that "organized" Democrats down deep in their beings care one bit about being fair in politics?

"I know, you know, and everybody knows" that a sizable number of Americans apparently do not.

Slowly but surely more and more Americans are opting out of participating in our democratic-republican processes as evidenced by the fact that 45% of registered Americans did not vote in the 2016 presidential election.

If our democratic-republic eventually fails, it will be of  death by "a thousand (millions of?) cuts" a large part of which are administered by disingenuous local politicians.

It will not be the politicos who reverse the public skepticism and cynicism.

Reversal and recovery, if it comes, will be at the hand of groups like the Fair Congressional Districts for Ohio!

It appears that for the most party "organized" political parties and many of their candidates (elected and unsuccessful) do not have a "civic" bone in their structure/bodies.

The only "pathway to 'political' salvation" will be with those organizations and citizens who fight for the public interest over the parochial interests.

Thursday, June 22, 2017



Bethlehem Township Resident
Richard Regula
Speaks Out on Navarre Area Spill

Recently, it came to light (discovered by the Ohio EPA on April 13, 2017) that there was a "in the process of construction"  natural gas pipeline (Rover) drilling mud spill in Navarre located in Bethlehem Township, home of Stark County commissioner Richard Regula.

Later on in this blog, I will share Regula's in depth observations (via videotaped interview done yesterday) about the occurrence of the spill, its remediation and how our Ohio and national governments are responding.

However, an aspect of the spill that the commissioner did not know much about, that is to say—the city of Canton government—should be one that Cantonians and indeed

Initially, the company doing the drilling put out a press release saying that nearby wells and other major water supply wells (e.g. Canton's Sugarcreek well field, the Tuscarawas river, et cetera) were not at risk for contamination.

A number of years ago (December, 2010), I recall being at an event put on by Canton City Council president Allen Schulman in which he was touting Canton very large drinking water resources as a major asset in the arsenal of infrastructure with which Canton might lure job producing industry and commerce to come to Canton and Stark County.

Another key component of the-then being established Canton Water Commission (headed up by Schulman) was the "protection" of the water supply.

Why have a mission protecting Canton's drinking water supply?

The meeting occurred about the time that fracking for natural gas first came to Stark County.

Then Plain Township trustee (now Stark County clerk of courts) Louis Giavasis was the very first Stark County public official to note of the arrival of fracking the inherent dangers/problems that some see in fracking if not closely monitored and controlled by all levels of government; especially state and local governments.

Another key player in bringing Stark County-based public attention to the dangers that might affect Stark County is long time Stark County civic activist Chris Borello who now lives in Plain Township but formerly lived in Lake Township from whence she commenced her opposition (in the early 1980s) to the ways and means that the U.S. EPA, the Ohio EPA, Stark County-based legislative officials and other local government officials (specifically, the-then township trustees) were ineffectively dealing with dangers to public health potential posed by the Uniontown industrial landfill.

The landfill was the dumping ground for industrial wastes (some highly toxic) buried at a site about 1/2 mile south of Uniontown on the east side of Cleveland Avenue.

Strangely enough, all the hullabaloo generated by Schulman has faded away in terms of a continuing public highlighting of  marketability/protection of Canton's valuable water resource.


Likely because a consensus of government officials (in a macro view sense) post-2010-onset-alarm developed that Canton government was on-top-of-the-matter and there was very little if anything for the general public to be alarmed about.

With the April 13 discovered by the Ohio EPA Energy Transfers Partners (ETP) spill in Navarre, the alarm bells are again ringing loudly these days.

Despite the initial ETP assurances that the spill was nothing to be concerned about back in April, the controversy lives on on June 22, 2017.

This past Monday, Canton City Council had its water superintendent Tyler Converse come to council and deal with questions on whether or not Canton/Stark County-based Canton water customers had any reason to be concerned about in terms of whether or not the public could feel comfortable with drinking water from the Sugarcreek water facility.

Converse said that Sugarcreek wellfield was about 1/2 mile away from the spill and that he felt that it was very unlikely that any pollutants borne by migrating contaminated (according to the Ohio EPS) drilling mud would make it to Sugarcreek.

But Converse could not absolutely say that the migration would not take place; only, if it did, it would take six to nine months.

Another cautionary flag that Bethlehem locals (well water users), Cantonians and those of us out in the townships/Massillon (via Aqua Ohio) who pipe in generated water from wells located in the spill area, the fact that Canton has hired a law firm to look out for Canton and its customers' interests with regard to whatever longer term problems might develop with the water supply, should Converse be wrong and the contaminated drill mud does get into the Sugarcreek watershed.

It appears that the Ohio EPA is boring in on and staying intimately involved in monitoring and supervising the clean up.

The intense interest of Canton City Council as demonstrated in having the city's water superintendent stay on top of the matter and reporting to council on a continuing basis is encouraging that members are focused on protecting this critically important asset.

Mostly, these days, Canton is struggling to stay afloat with relatively little to cheer about.

Even the Pro Football Hall of Fame expansion project which Canton has invested $5 million in continues to have its skeptics as to whether or not the project will come anywhere near what Canton needs in terms of a economic development boon on the shoulders of which Canton hopes to pull itself out of financial/economic mire.

Sources tell me that the stadium rebuild project is now at $130 million and that the total project is estimated to cost some $800 million and that it is a puzzlement where the money will come from.

One source said that one of the more disturbing aspects of the project is that some of it is being paid for with borrowed (bond) money.

What Canton can be assured of is the tremendous value of its pristine water supply.  While a Canton asset, it has potential to redound to the benefit all of Stark County.

So its up to Canton/Stark County citizens, Canton government, Stark County government, the Ohio EPA and FERC to go all out in protecting this precious resource.

As indicated earlier in this article, a lead Stark County citizen in monitoring developments in dealing with the spill is Plain Township resident Chris Borello.

Here is the core comment of an e-mail she sent out (copied to a number of Canton city officials including council president Allen Schulman)  on June 2nd:

Sent: Fri, Jun 2, 2017 12:51 pm

Subject: Fwd: Rover Pipeline faces more environmental scrutiny


This is exactly why I urged proper testing of the "spill", including water soluble radium 226, questioning whether the drilling muds could possibly be "recycled" given what all we have ready about the industry re - using various materials, asking if indeed, it could be "crapped up."

Now, citizens need to know what other parameters /chemicals were tested for , including radium, ( and be assured that proper scientific methods are used in the process, ie., gamma spec)....

Hopefully now the local newspapers will also listen to the concerns by those living near the Stark Countywide Landfill concerning the smoldering landfill fire and concerns about the proximity of this same pipeline to the landfill...!

Chris for Stark County Concerned Citizens

For its part, Aqua Ohio says that its on-going monitoring of water quality of its supply shows no contamination.

As indicated above, the SCPR sat down with Richard Regula (mainly in his role as a lifetime Bethlehem Township resident but peripherally as a Stark County commissioner) who has taken a deep interest in the spill having occurred and following up with state officialdom in a quest to see his community interests and the local and countywide water supply being remediated and protected.

Here is that video (16:44)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


UPDATED:  02:11 PM
















 On the surface of it, I agree with North Canton Councilwoman Marcia Kiesling (Republican, at-large), council waiting six days is not going to change the ultimate outcome on council's quest to pass legislation approving the city entering into agreements with the North Canton City Schools (NCCS) and North Ridge Place, LLC (owned by developers William Lemmon, Robert DeHoff and Dan DeHoff) in settlement of an "imperfect" process (per Councilman Doug Folts) in which (2012) North Place Ridge, as part of an Held administration "administrative" process was awarded a 100% property tax abatement on a 40 unit apartment complex on the west side of North Main Street close to the intersection of Main and Applegrove.

But digging deeper, Councilman Doug Foltz's (Democrat, Ward 1) move to put aside the legislation until next Monday night when Councilman-at-Large Mark Cerreta (a Republican) returns to council proceedings inasmuch as the vote on the ordinances is as "an emergency," may, as implicitly warned by Law Director Tim Fox, give the opponents of the legislation time to put together bombshell revelations (my characterization; not Fox's) that might derail North Canton's "best plan of mice and men" to settle a tax revenue dispute among North Canton government, the NCCS and North Ridge Place, LLC.

This blog has heretofore written three installments on this overarching issue consuming North Canton government these days, to wit:



Bombshell revelations?

That's what I am thinking more and more.

I have this sense that some of the opponents that Fox was referring to are looking deep and wide at relationships between North Canton School board members, North Canton council members and others involved in the abatement approving process in an effort to plant in the minds of North Cantonians that the proposed settlement agreements are not the "arms-length" work products that they appear to be on the surface level.

For those listening closely last night, citizen activist Chuck Osborne (a former councilman who has been a council "nemesis extraordinaire" ever since he departed council) brought up—during the "Visitor Comments" portion of council meeting— the "relationships" factor alluded to above, to wit:

Osborne went on to ask council to delay a vote on the abatement measures pending the return of Councilman Cerreta; a plea, it turns out, was picked up upon by Ward 1 councilman Doug Foltz.

Here is a video collage-esque presentation of Foltz in action in persuading his fellow councilpersons to vote 6 - 0 to hold off on vote until next week.

Note:  The SCPR has been in contact with NCCS treasurer Todd Tolson on the spectre offered by Law Director Fox that councils failure to act on the abatement pieces of legislation would likely result in an extended delay in getting the school and North Ridge Place, LLC agreement completed.
Apparently, Fox's analysis was more scare tactic than what he knew or, as it turns out, didn't know.  I think Fox should have "actually" known what the NCCS BOE is likely to do at its meeting tomorrow night rather than speculate as he obviously did with council members last night. 
It is reprehensible for a legal professional who knows better to engage in fear mongering.  
Look at this e-mail exchange between the SCPR and Mr. Tolson 
Tolson, Todd <>  Today at 1:25 PMTo:  Martin Olson
Mr. Olson, 
It is my belief the NC BOE still plans to approve the agreement tomorrow evening with the contingency language, "...contingent upon North Canton City Council's approval of this agreement." 
Todd TolsonTreasurer 
On Tue, Jun 20, 2017 at 12:28 PM, Martin Olson <> wrote: 
Treasurer Tolson, 
In light of North Canton City Council putting off its vote on the subject matter of this e-mail, will NCCS BOE go ahead tomorrow night with approving the agreement from its perspective?If not, when is it likely that the NCCS BOE will take up the matter again. 
Martin OlsonSCPR
While I believe that opponents focusing on "relationships" will not be able to produce revelations which will derail the Law Director Tim Fox crafted settlement agreement, this video collection of Fox's extensive plea to council to vote down Foltz's initiative, I believe the video reveals how utterly unnerved he is of the opponents having another week to re-think, double-down on techniques and strategies to undo his work.

Another aspect of last night's meeting which should be highly interesting are the comments made by various citizens on Mayor David Held's "I'm  against it" ([paraphrase], the North Ridge Place abatement) statement of August, 2016.

The irony of the past Held position, as pointed out by Councilman Foltz, is that the action of abating North Ridge Place was an "administrative" decision; not a legislative one.

The SCPR thinks that council is not off-the-hook because council in putting together the abatement process at its initiative should have provided for council "check and balance" procedures.

After all, North Canton is a strong council form of government.

Here the videos:

First, the citizens:

Secondly, Mayor Held's response:

And finally, here is citizen Larry Tripp making accusations on council president Dan Peters.  (note:  I gave Councilman Peters an opportunity to respond, but he declined which is included at the end of the video]):

All-in-all, Foltz persisting/prevailing with his fellow councilpersons on the vote delay is a "glimmer of HOPE" for North Cantonians that Foltz might be a catalyst going forward for reigning in Fox.

A number of North Cantonians think that council created Fox (a former councilman himself) and his overbearing ways vis-a-vis any citizen who questions him, Mayor Held or council members in some sort of "in a private counsels sort of way" back in September, 2012 when he was hired.

The SCPR subscribes to this point-of-view.

Now it is time for council to put Fox in his proper place as being a legal advisor and retract his de facto status as being a virtual "one-man-rule" of all of North Canton government.

It is fitting and proper for Foltz to assume this role, if, indeed, he has the chutzpah to do so.

For he is the dean of North Canton council having served longer than any other member.

My take on observing/taking with Foltz over my years of coverage of North Canton City Council is that he knows "dysfunctional" city government from the days he worked for the city of Canton.

Is he up to being a "spark of HOPE" that council will rein Tim Fox in and thereby make North Canton government more responsive to, interactive with and embracing of the city's "inquiring" citizens?

Monday, June 19, 2017


On November 25, 2015, I wrote a blog thusly (LINK to the blog):

Mack's response:  (in part)

Mostly true, but not the entire story.  

I began discussions with firm management regarding joining the partnership in January.  

Initially, the discussions were that I would not run for re-election this year in light of my joining the partnership at the end of this year.  As a result, I had discussions with several persons about running for my position this past spring in my place, including Dr. Ferguson.  However, after further discussions, the firm and I both agreed that is best if I stay on council for at least another term.  

Hence, I ran for re-election.  

I do not intend on resigning mid-term. (emphasis added)

But "Lo! and Behold!! look at this.

Interesting, no?

As I am wont to do, I contacted Mack (who, heretofore, has been a Stark County Political Report [SCPR] favorite) for an explanation.

Although no Stark County-based public official is immune from SCPR political/government performance critique, Mack mostly has received accolades from me.  In fact, he holds one of the spots on my Stark County Top 10 Elected Official List.

For examples of SCPR recognition of some of Mack's more distinguished work as a legislator, take a look at these linked blogs.
But Mack did not distinguish himself in coming out "full-bore" for now former mayor William J. Healy, II when he was taken on by former Democrat and now political independent Thomas Bernabei in the November 15, 2015 Canton mayoralty election.

In the linked blog below, on May 6, 2015, I dubbed Councilman as the leader of "the Mack Pack" for Healy.
I do not criticize Mack for being part of the legal team that represent the Stark County Dems to "keep Bernabei off the ballot" effort, as such is in line with ethical American jurisprudence.

However, for Mack to have supported Healy with campaign contributions and advocacy was a serious mistake in judgement on his part by my standards.  And, in evaluating Mack going forward, voters need to take into account his drifting into political partisanship in aligning with Healy rather than focusing on the damage done to Canton future viability from eight years of Healy administration stewardship.

Had Healy been re-elected, it my assessment that Canton government would be in much more dire straits than it is under the Bernabei administration.  I think Healy's eight years as mayor was of such a poor quality of leadership that he put Canton in such a deep hole that a Bernabei administration is not likely to make much progress diigging out of, even over a four year period of time.

Mack's Healy support,  shows that he, like most politicos, has the capacity to put partisan political party interests and, perhaps, perceived personal political interest over the public interest.

In hindsight, Mack now says he is impressed with Mayor Bernabei.

But if he had had his way in November, 2015, Canton government would still be saddled the highly politically manipulative William J. Healy, II who, again, I think put Canton in a deep, deep hole.

The main point of this blog is Edmond Mack changing his mind about running again to retain his seat on Canton City Council.

In and of itself, there is nothing inappropriate of a person including a politician in changing his/her mind.

However, in the case of a politician, the public has a right to know the reason(s) for the change of heart.

So I e-mailed Mack to find out what those reasons are, to wit:

Mack's response:

Edmond J. Mack <>  May 1 at 12:59 AM
To:  Martin Olson


My decision to run for re-election was informed by several considerations, and was something I thought very hard about.  The views of Plakas, Bernabei, and Schulman were all weighed and very influential.  I have time tomorrow evening, so I will put together a more thoughtful email tomorrow evenings that explains. 



After about a week and no follow up on his promise to provide "a more thoughtful" response "that explains," I did follow up on May 9th.

Here it is June 18th and no response.

I did attend the June 5th Canton council meeting, but not a word from Mack.

Obviously, someone has counseled Mack not to provide the "more thoughtful" explanation he committed himself too.

I am somewhat surprised to get stonewalled by Mack.

Perhaps, I will get a "I did respond—but it got lost in the 'e-mail."'

In these days of American, Ohio and local politics, it seems that politicos only respond to media inquires when they think it is going to be good public relations for them.

And they wonder why the general public confidence in government keeps trending downward.

My thinking about the propensity of public officials/figures to only want glorifying publicity and tend to stiff-arm penetrating questioning is that such is a preeminent factor as to why more and more of the general public is holding them in less and less esteem.

As suggested by his partisan stance in supporting Healy's run for re-election as mayor (a stance that I have taken as Mack's history of coming out for "good government" measure more than any other Canton councilperson), nobody including myself should ever doubt the capacity of a politician to put political party/self-interest above the public interest.

Although he is running uncontested and therefore set to be re-elected, he will, undoubtedly, be running for a contested political office probably the not too distant future.

That Mayor Bernabei and Allen Schulman are among his councillors and perhaps even his law office boss Lee Plakas, one who can read the political tea leaves might come to believe something is up and these Canton/Stark County political "powers that be" are not quite ready to share that "something" with the Canton/Stark County public.

Mack, at the very least, having initiated the promise to respond thoughtfully on his own, as a matter of personal accountability should have written back and told me he has changed his mind about becoming forthcoming err  being "thoughtful."

Of course, doing a respectful thing like that might not look good for this Ward 8 councilman.

Naturally a "I changed my mind" comment might just might prompt somebody to raise the question:  What is he hiding?

That question is seemingly stock-in-trade for many of a politician across the American political landscape these days, no?

This past week I have published a number of blogs on North Canton government which seems to be rife with mysterious processes of government and politics.

There seems to me that there may have been something akin to a political dance going on between Mack and former Stark County commissioner Pete Ferguson during the run up to filing petitions for the 2017 primary election.

Ferguson took out petitions in this year's primary election cycle for both a Canton council-at-large slot and for Ward 8 apparently while Mack was deciding what he was going to run for re-election or not.

Had Mack decided not to run again, it appears that Ferguson was being positioned to take over in Ward 8.

As in his bid to return to the Stark County commissioner's office in November, 2016, Ferguson turned out not to be a serious contender for either job.

Former commissioner Ferguson is a tremendously nice guy, but an effective public official he is not.

Canton can ill-afford genial office holders who are not up to the job.

And, believe me, Pete Ferguson is no Edmond J. Mack!

His ascension to Ward 8 councilman would have been a step down in quality of representation/input re: Canton city government.

Nonetheless, Edmond Mack needs, as his political star rises, to understand that a promise made is a promise kept whether to local media or to a constituent.

It could be that Mack is a future mayor of Canton.

There is no better standard for him to emulate than Canton mayor Thomas Bernabei, the SCPR's top rated Stark County elected official.

Friday, June 16, 2017













"You know, I know, everybody knows" that President Donald J. Trump is the greatest deal maker in all of human history.  If you don't believe me, just ask him.  He will confirm what is already obvious to all of us Americans.

Unfortunately, he is so preoccupied these days politically surviving as president of our great nation that he is not available to North Canton government to assist the administration and council in working his wiles as explained in his book The Art of the Deal to get every stakeholder on board as North Canton government endeavors to strike a deal between itself, the North Canton City Schools and North Ridge Place, LLC and four North Canton citizen activists (i.e. the stakeholders) to solve a tax abatement controversy that has flowered out of a Community Reinvestment Area decision by the city in 2012.

A controversy because a core group of  North Canton civic activist are challenging a grant in the year 2012 100% real property tax abatement over 12 years to North Ridge Place, LLC for an apartment complex the limited liability company has constructed on the locale of a former mobile home park.

The contestants allege that the abatement was illegal because:
  • it is framed as a "new" residential abatement for a property that is in a zoned "commercial" part of North Canton, and that
  • the North Canton City Schools (NCCS), when an commercial property abatement exceeds 50%, must be part of the abatement process, which it was not
Yesterday's blog in the words of schools treasurer Todd Tolson set forth the actual/potential detriment the 2012 abatement action has for NCCS, to wit:

Today's blog focuses various parts of video taped presentation by NCCS superintendent Jeff Wendorf on the abatement to North Canton City Council on September 26, 2016.

First, Wendorf's prepared remarks.

Next, Wendorf's  exchange with Councilman Dan Griffith (at large).

Next, Wendorf's dialogue with Councilwoman Marcia Kiesling (at large).

And last, Wendorf's interaction with Councilwoman Stephanie Werren (Ward 3).

It is clear to The Stark County Political Report that Wendorf unequivocally states and restates that North Canton City Schools want and need every available tax dollars that North Cantonians have voted for over the years with "buts, ifs, ands about it."

Seventy percent of all property tax dollars go to the NCCS whereas 12% goes to North Canton government.

Of course, the schools want economic development going forward for North Canton even though there is no direct financial connection on the city doing well with enhanced income tax collections and the schools which rely exclusively on real property taxes for revenues.

Amen!!! Economic development for North Canton, indeed!  But on the city's tax revenue dime; not the schools'.

In the estimate of the SCPR it was comical if not farcical for Councilman Griffith to be asking Wendorf how city was going to do economic development if not at the expense of the schools through tax abatements.

Wendorf was exceedingly respectful in outlining ancillary ways that the schools raise outside-of-tax-dollars revenues.

While "holding bake sales" was not one of Wendorf's examples; some of the items on the list were not that far off "a bake sale" standard for generating additional revenues for the schools.

I can see it now:  Buy Your Pastry Holiday Needs at North Canton City Hall in the weeks leading up to Christmas next December.

The tag-team of Councilpersons Marcia Kiesling and Stephanie Werren showed they really do not understand the difference of the dynamics of how schools are financed as contrasted with city government.

The "short-term" versus the "long-term" strategic economic planning motif that Kiesling and Werren went on and on about, sound a bit like national economist Arthur Laffer's "trickle down-supply side" theory of economic development.

Oh yes! Kiesling and Werren (the rock-ribbed Republicans I think they are), the NCCS are excited about giving up "real" tax dollar revenues for some speculative philosophical "pie-in-the-sky" that might or might not add to the North Canton city treasury via income tax, which, of course, will not benefit the North Canton schools even if abatements generate companies locating in/expanding in North Canton which eventually translates into increase income tax revenues.

Some people naively think that national political party philosophy does not filter down to local levels of government.

The national Republican Party political agenda item is to cut taxation to the bare bones (see recent Kansas debacle on an extremist application of "trickle down" public policy) and thereby "grow" your way to increased revenues on the theory that benefitting companies/entrepreneurs will take the tax savings and generate new lines of business or expanded existing lines of business which will replace rollbacks in taxation.

While the North Canton tax abatement is not a "tax-cut" in the strict sense of the expression, it is a 50% tax-cut for the benefit of a single LLC over 12 years for North Canton schools and should be seen as such.

The state of Ohio Republican Party controls a supermajority of the Ohio General Assembly and, of course, the governorship and has for quite a few years and hence we get laws like those directly relevant to the North Canton situation in which local tax dollars intended by voters to be primarily for financing local education being re-directed to economic development.

This is an example of a state political party overall point of view becoming the law of Ohio.

A politics driven economics philosophy has been encoded in the law of Ohio even to the point of overriding the intention of the votes of rank-and-file citizens who had in voting for school initiated levy issues a "direct" intention to support schools.

Names to put with this subversion of the democratic will of local citizens:  Schuring (R, the 48th House District), Oelslager (R, the 29th Senate District) and Hagan (R, the 50th House District).

Are these folks small letter "d" democrats?

One has to wonder, no?

To balance things out (the SCPR being "an equal opportunity critic;" a national Democratic Party political agenda is the drive for an increase in the national minimum wage to $15 per hour.

North Canton government (the mayor and council) number six Republicans and only one Democrat.

Canton government (council) numbers 13 (including Allen Schulman as president of council) are ALL Democrats.

So with North Canton, one gets "trickle down economics" whereas with Canton you get sentiment for legislating at the local level for an increased minimum wage if rock-ribbed left-wing Democrat John Mariol has his way.

There are similar political party aligned philosophical analogies to be made on other practice/policy matters that course through government vertically from national down through the state to local government.

Make no mistake about it.

Accordingly, it is naive to accept the mostly mythology that partisan political points of view do not find their way into local government policy and practice.

I understand the need to have political parties to make the American system of government work.

But when partisan political party doctrines short-circuit the thinking process so that it becomes obvious that "the public good" takes a backseat to a perceived "political party good," a line is crossed which make partisan political party devotion highly damaging to the continued viability of the American system of government.

And there is more ridiculousness from Kiesling and Werren (and even Councilman Foltz (Ward 1) jumped in on this one):  (paraphrase)  "but we got rid of that mobile home park."

It is highly debatable whether or not the income tax based revenues for the  North Canton city treasury outweighs the costs of city services to concentrated apartment residents who in significant numbers do not work in North Canton and therefore contribute little to nothing to city finances.

It seems to the SCPR that most of North Canton council members do not understand Taxation 101 and consequently are well on their way to long-term (to use the Kiesling/Werren expression) drive North Canton into fiscal emergency.

In one exchange between the council members and Superintendent Wendorf, he opined that perhaps he needed to education them on "inside millage" as being the only way schools could increase their revenues without a vote by the people.

I think Wendorf should save himself the effort, nobody on North Canton council seems to me to have the mental sophistication to understand the Byzantine inside millage formula.

The days of The Hoover Company providing North Canton with more money than the city needed to finance city government are long over.  Nearly ten years now.  Kiesling has been on council for double that period of time and apparently has not learned the fundamentals of proven ways to sure up North Canton finances.

If she thinks the North Ridge Place, LLC abatement is a model for North Canton getting a handle on financial viability and if she is representative of the rest of the members of council, I'd say that North Canton as a matter of "long-term" financial planning is in "deep, deep doo-doo."

And, oh yes! while we (i.e. council) is at it; the effect of the 100% alleged to be illegal abatement is tantamount to "let's put the excellent North Canton City Schools in financial jeopardy."

That folks, is an expression of partisan political philosophy being implemented at the local level which damages our most important knowledge/thinking power resource infrastructure; namely, our public school system.

A healthy political party import is one where there is a competition of ideas debated in public forums and the results of which express a well-rounded buy-in to policy/practice legislation; not a doctrinaire political party point-of-view rammed down the throats of us all by supermajority political party zealots.

If and when we lose our democracy it is not likely to be at the hand of a military coup-d'etat but by a steady erosion of public confidence in our ability to be informed, respected, heard and included in the decision making at local levels of government.

As I see it, North Canton government is a contemporary kaleidoscope of the undermining of our democratic-republican system of government happening right before our Stark County eyes.

The real heros of this flap in North Canton are the likes of Daryl Revoldt (former mayor, councilman and president of council), Miriam Baughman, Melanie Roll and Chuck Osborne.

But for above-pictured locking on to the tax abatement debacle of 2012, North Canton schools would have, under the original abatement, lost tens of thousands of sorely needed tax dollar revenues.

These folks are not beholden to a political party point of view, but to what is for the public good.

I am told that Baughman, Roll and Osborne are in this fight for the "long-term."  Revoldt may or may not be.

These folks apparently are not into "let's make a deal" put together by "in-artful" council/mayor deal makers in that they failed to provide "checks and balances" on a bad deal for the NCCS.


Because they believe the original deal was illegal and that therefore North Canton schools should have all the dollars less those already abated to North Ridge Place, LLC.

The unremunerated consistent, persistent, skillful work ethic of the civic minded Baughman, Roll and Osborne far surpases the current crop of taxpayer paid councilpersons serving on North Canton council.

What a sad state of affairs, no?