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.

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