Monday, July 31, 2017


The purpose of this blog is not to weigh-in on the merits/demerits of congressional efforts to repeal/replace Obamacare.

The focus IS on the demonstration of political courage that Republican senators John McCain (Arizona), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine) exemplified in taking down the latest effort of the Republican Senate leadership encouraged by the House leadership and ,via bluster and bullying, the president of the United States to repeal and replace.

One of the "bad" things about political parties is that the seek to re-make the character of adherents in to something they were not when they first start out as being politically involved.

But a few of us, courageously resist the pressure to conform to political party needs and come out as still being able to be who we really are.

Here are a few examples from the national political scene:

John McCain is one of the most courageous politicians ever to grace the American national political scene.

In one capacity or another he has served America from 1958 to the current day.

Draft dodging Donald Trump during the presidential campaign tabbed McCain as not being a courageous/heroic person in getting shot down over Vietnam flying a A4-E Skyhawk (1967) through a phalanx of hostile, deadly ammo fire.  He was freed in 1973 but having refused to be repatriated earlier on account of his being the son of a four-star admiral.

And, recently, he was diagnosed with a highly malignant form of brain cancer.

Once again, he is in fight for his life.

Who can forget his "Straight Talk Express" as he embarked on his 2000 presidential campaign.  As politicians go, McCain fills the bill of "straight talking" more than any other national political figure.

On July 28, 2017, he resisted a concerted and full-press effort by the likes of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a number of his Senate colleagues and the president in casting a NO vote on the "skinny" repeal and replace version vote.

Akin to what the president has said about McCain (not a war hero, "he got shot down"), Trump over-the-top supporter Roger Stone over the weekend described McCain as being "a piece of sh** because of his steadfastness  to vote his conscience in the line of bombastic political fire.

Once again, this American "profile in courage" is disparaged by the cowardly.

Nevertheless, more than any other American politician John McCain has been who John McCain really is.  Something that organized political parties try to force out a person.

Lisa Murkowski did not start off her national political career under the most auspicious circumstances.

It appears that she needed an exercise of nepotism to become an U.S. Senator in 2002.  Her father, Frank, had been elected governor and exercised his then-authority (since changed) to appoint Lisa as his successor.

Hardly an exercise in courage, no?

Her need for an "inside 'raw' political power" boost to get started almost cost her in 2010.

A Sarah Palin (former governor of Alaska and Republican U.S. vice president candidate under, interesting enough, John McCain) candidate (Joe Miller) defeated Murkowski in the Republican primary of 2010.

Here is where she started to show that she had the beginnings of political courage.

In the wake of her narrow defeat to Miller, she launched a "write-in" campaign in the 2010 general election.

"I know, you know, and everybody knows" that to run as a "write-in" is certain political death.

But not with the spunky Murkowski.

She with political icon Senator Strom Thurmond stand alone as having pulled of such a feat.

For the most part, Murkowski has been a reliable "Main Street Republican" during her time in the Senate.

So it was large surprise, when she bucked a Republican Party seven year quest to repeal and replace Obamacare along with McCain and the lady from the State of Maine (Susan Collins).

It appears likely that a heavy-handed political effort of a Trump administration official in an obvious attempt to sway, Murkowski's vote in suggesting that were she to vote no on the "skinny" version of the Republican effort, Alaska might be denied federal financial assistance as the state moves forward on various economic development projects.

On the procedural vote on whether or not to take up "skinny" measure, she voted NO.

Here is what President Trump had to say about her:

She was on the losing side of that vote but nonetheless was subjected to the scorn of a number of her fellow congressional Republicans.

But she stood her ground and voted NO on the substantive "skinny" under a barrage of Republican Party and presidential pressure.

It could be that Lisa Murkowski in maturing as a politician and can be counted on in the future of her political party to make her into something she is not.

If she never does another courageous act like her NO vote on the "skinny," she will have exemplified in that one act of achieving what most other national politicians never achieve.

It appears, though, that she will continue to make waves going forward for those who advocate political party interests over the quest of some political party identified elected officials "to be who they really are" on any particular matter.

Susan Collins on August 8, 2016 said publicly that she would not be voting for Donald Trump for president of the United States.

Her distancing from Trump occurred well after Trump became the standard bearer (July, 2016; the Republican Convention in Cleveland) for the Republican Party.

That she would reject Trump and his hyperbolic, out-of-control ego should not be a surprise to anyone who knows of Collins' historically steady political profile, to wit:

  • A "Main Street Republican Partner,"  (akin to Stark County's Ralph Regula)
  • The most bipartisan Senator in the U.S. Senate in the 114th Congress,
    • Source:  The Lugar Center, LINK
  • In 2013, rated by the National Journal as being 55% conservative, 45% liberal in her overall Senate voting record,
It appears that Susan Collins is the personification of being "her own person."

Though not to the degree that McCain and Murkowski have been attacked for their courageous anti-"skinny" votes, Collins to has been subject to reactive political bombast, to wit:

All the foregoing brings us to the point of naming names of those Stark County officials who demonstrate a political action/candor which bespeaks a "courageous" ability to "be who they 'really' are" in terms of having the moxie to put the public interest over political party interest.

Number 1 - Canton Mayor Thomas M. Bernabei

Susan Collins of Maine, as independent minded she often is, has a terrific colleague in the officially "independent" Senator Angus King.

Our country does have a rich history at the national level of having political figures who "march to the tune of a different drummer."

However, at the local level; not so much.

Here is a sampling:

It was a stunning development last May, when long-time Democrat Thomas M. Bernabei announced in May, 2015 he was abandoning his Democratic political party affiliation to become a political independent so that Cantonians would have in the general election an alternative to the highly political incumbent mayor William J. Healy, II.

Bernabei was fought "tooth and nail" by the local "organized" Democratic Party in his quest to attain ballot status as an independent.

There has been quite a bit of maligning/challenging of Bernabei by certain Democratic elected officials to this very day.

One such person is Stark County clerk of courts Louis Giavasis.

At one time in the SCPR's coverage of local politicians, I thought that Giavasis had some independent spunk about him.

But, no more!

The Report now assigns Giavasis to the Stark County political swamp of partisan and personal advantaging politics over the public good.

Bernabei has many outstanding qualities in his leadership profile and consequently he stands atop The Stark County Political Report's "Top 10 Stark County-based Elected officials."

It took a huge amount of courage (which included considerable personal expense and inconvenience) for Bernabei to challenge and triumph over "organized" Democrats who control all 12 seats and the presidency of Canton City Council while unseating a "drag Canton to the bottom" mayor.

Number 2 - Stark Co Commissioner Janet Creighton

The SCPR's  take on Commissioner Janet Creighton and her political courage index goes all the way back to her days of her becoming Stark County recorder.

From a June 22, 2016 blog:
As a Republican woman, Creighton at the onset of her political career (her run for and election as Stark County recorder) experienced political rough housing at the hands of some Stark's leading Republicans seemingly because she was a woman making her way in what to this very day is deemed by all too many to still be primarily a man's world.
Creighton is passionately on record as being "in your face" to those county officials who want to return to the "old days" of doing business in Stark County pre-2010, 2011 and 2012 fiscal crisis in Stark County government.

An example as one among quite a few Creighton quotes on the topic:

No doubt about it, Creighton is a "dedicated to the party cause(s)" of "organized" Republicans.

However, she seems to have a capacity rise to the occasion and set aside her partisanship predisposition and become the champion of the public interest over and beyond Republican Party interests.

The more consistent she becomes in this regard, the more likely it is that she will be remembered as a Stark County commissioner who put her community first and her political affinity down the list of priorities.

Number 3 - Stark Co Auditor Alan Harold

The high-water-mark of Harold's elective office tenure has been his steadfast manner in which he stood up to Democrat Stark County treasurer Gary D. Zeigler effort to re-establish himself as county treasurer after being restored to office in 2011 by the Ohio Supreme Court.

Zeigler had been "unconstitutionally" been removed from office in 2010 by a Democratic Party set of county commissioners (Bosley, Harmon and Meeks) in light of a scathing report by Republican Ohio State of Auditor Mary Taylor asserting that Zeigler had not had structures, policies, practices and procedures in place as chief administrator of the office so as to have prevented then-Chief Deputy Treasurer Vince Frustaci from stealing upwards of $3 million in Stark County taxpayer funds.

Harold insisted that Zeigler not have access to taxpayer provided treasury office supporting resources unless and until a bond was secured on his behalf.

Though understandable, Harold did not demonstrate such mettle in the face of resistance to his running for treasurer in 2008.

From a April 30, 2009 SCPR blog:
Republicans offer the excuse that Harold was the victim of Democrat incumbent treasurer Gary Zeigler putting pressure on Huntington through then Ohio treasurer Richard Cordray (Democrat) to ask Harold to stand aside.
Zeigler began as treasurer as the political appointee of the "organized" Stark County Democrats in 1999.

Since the Zeigler days (he retired/resigned from office in October 2011 in a deal he struck with Stark County commissioners), Harold has been a stickler with other elected county officials (even fellow Republicans) that they strictly comply with State of Ohio fiscal standards as spelled out in Ohio law.

Undoubtedly, in being a stickler for detail and compliance, he encounters blow back.

The SCPR sees in Harold a character make up enabling him, at the end of the day, to demonstrate a political spine and a concomitant willingness to tap into his resources of personal courage to act in the public interest over his political party affiliation interests.

While Bernabei, Creighton and Harold have the best track records on serving the public interest over personal and political-party-ties interests, there are a number of Stark County-based elected official the SCPR sees as growing in the courage factor to become consistent examples of looking first to the public interest rather than looking out profane political interests.

Not in any particular order:
  • Canton law director, Joe Martuccio, (a Democrat)
  • Stark County treasurer Alex Zumbar, (a Republican)
  • Canton City councilman Edmond Mack, (a Democrat)
  • Massillon councilman Milan Chovan, (a Republican)
  • Alliance councilwoman Julie Jakmides, (a Republican)
  • Former Alliance councilwoman Sue Ryan, (a Democrat)
  • Stark County commissioner Bill Smith, (a Republican)
  • Perry Township trustee Craig Chessler, (a Democrat)
  • Canton board of education member Richard Milligan (a Republican)
  • Stark Co Ct of Common Pleas judge Chryssa Hartnett (a Democrat)
Anyone who reads The Stark County Political Report knows that I am not a big fan of political parties.

But political reality is that political parties by whatever name they known by are always going to be with us.

The test is electing candidates who show signs—pre-election—of having the capacity and inclination to always put political party affiliation down the list of the priorities they have in life.

First and foremost, having a deeply embedded character trait of looking out for the other and not so much for the self is a prized quality for those who run for office.

Unfortunately, our top example of an elected official offers a model of consuming self-interest over the public interest.

Such is the birthing ground of The Swamp which, of course, the self-centered have hugely diminished ability to correctly identify.

Sunday, July 30, 2017




Ralph Regula
Demonstrating Civility/Graciousness

There has been a lot written about Stark County's Ralph Regula since his death at age 92 on July 19th.

Perhaps the most meaningful to those who believe in centrist, moderate, integrity-driven politics and independence of mind when it comes to the welfare of the American nation is expressed succinctly in this except:

A concrete example of Republican Congressman Regula's political civility and graciousness, here is a C-SPAN video except of him welcoming newly elected Democrat congresswoman Marcia Fudge (Cleveland area) to the U.S. House as a member of the Ohio delegation to the Congress.

During a good part of his time in Congress (36 years), Regula was a member of a partnership of congresspersons known as being  the "Main Street Republicans."

Now there's only a number of about 70 out 293 Republican congresspersons own up to political moderation; a miniscule 24%, more or less.

There was a day of many, many, many moderate Republican congresspersons especially in the 1940s, 1950s and even into the 1960s.

But no more.

As shown above only 24% of congressional Republican own up to being moderates.

An even lesser number (21%) constitutes the membership of the Tuesday group of congresspersons.

During Regula's time in Congress, he saw Congresses' rating soar to as high as 84% (2002) and as low as 9% (2013).

For the most part, during the Regula years the rating ranged from 40% to 50%; far above the current years averages at about 20%.

Regula-esque congresspersons were clearly a civilizing factor in the "for the good of the nation" debates which take place as part of our prized, hallowed "come let us reason together" that many of us wish to see as a at least "a most of the time" model for congressional deliberations.

Undoubtedly, things get heated up here and there.

The Regula years in Congress were days when ALL of Stark County was within the district.

All that changed in the 2011 Republican heightened gerrymandering of Ohio congressional districts so that Stark County ended up being in three different districts; the 16th (northwest Stark), the 17th (most of Stark) and the 13th (north-northeast Stark County).

On August 12th, Mount Union University will be the site of a memorial to Regula (a Mount Union alum).

Stark County is blessed in having had a civil, respectful and thoughtful congressman.

Ralph S. Regula leaves a legacy of honorable service to the people of Stark County, the 16th congressional district, Ohio and the United States of America.

Thursday, July 27, 2017





Yesterday as a preface to the regular meeting of the Stark County Board of Commissioners meeting, the commissioners hosted the swearing-in of newly Stark County Democratic Party precinct committeepersons selected successor coroner to P.S. Murthy(first elected in 2004 at age 69)  who resigned in May, effective July 28th.

On the surface, it appears long-time Stark County-based Dr. Anthony P. Bertin's (a urologist) selection seems to be without political controversy.

Here is the video of Bertin's swearing-in.

As evidence of the non-controversial nature of registered Democrat Bertin's selection, here is Republican commissioner Janet Creighton in her comments post-swearing-in of Bertin:

In today's national political climate, Creighton's comments are a refreshing departure from the coarse expression of you are "either for me, or against me" (my political party or me personally) that is coming out of the highest office of the land on nearly a daily basis on social media.

Creighton and fellow Republican Bill Smith were all "class" at the swearing-in.

But The Stark County Political Report notes that not all Stark Countians are pleased with the manner in which the Bertin selection went down including myself.

My disapproval is with the process and has nothing to do with the qualities that Dr. Bertin brings to the job.

It has everything to do with the short-circuiting of democratic processes by both Stark County political parties.

Self-servingness of political parties over the national, state and local "public" interest is a "detrimental to democracy" maneuver which appears to be the top priority of both organized political parties.

Shame on them!

The Repository editorial board (and the SCPR agrees with the editors) in an editorial of May 16th in which it by the SCPR interpretations implies that his resignation was a "political play" on Murthy part in concert with "organized" Stark County Democrats.

The timing of Murthy's departure from office (only five months [the announcement, that is] on being re-elected) so that the Democrats will "have a leg up" in the elections of November, 2018 when voters will make a "democratic" (note small letter 'd') decision as who will be the "real" successor in terms of the will of Stark County's day-in, day-out citizens as contrasted with the politicos who run the Stark County Democratic party.

Moreover, the editors said this:
We take Murthy at his word, but his resignation, unfortunately, fits what has become a pattern in Stark County: Incumbent, elected officials run for re-election only to resign at some point into their terms so that their respective political party can appoint their successors.
What the editors did not do but should have done in the editorial was to detail instances over the past five years in which "organized" Stark County Republicans and Democrats have sought to "game our political system" to place a political party loyalist in office to advantage the party favorite come having to face the people in an election and moreover thereby providing the political party a political patronage venue in which party workers get an inside track for local government jobs to the exclusion of everyday Stark County taxpaying citizens.

These Canton-based editors have been selective and highly inconsistent in challenging the "pattern" they cite in their May 16th editorial.

To underscore The Rep editor's suspicion, Bertin told The Stark County Political Report yesterday that his succeeding Murthy has been under discussion for about two years.  Accordingly, his statement is confirmation of a "fact" that the welfare of the Stark County "organized" Democratic Party was prime in Bertin's selection.

And, as an ironic twist to the swearing-in yesterday, Stark County Court of Common Please judge Chryssa Hartnett administered the oath of office.


Indeed.  For Hartnett courageously stepped up several years ago (2013/2014) when Judge Lee Sinclair retired before the end of his term and challenged the Republican Party's selection of Republican Curt Werren as a successor to Sinclair.

Though a registered Democrat, she applied for the appointment of the Sinclair successor at the hand of Republican governor John Kasich.

Few Stark County jurists doubted that Hartnett was much more qualified to be appointed judge (and for that matter,  so were other Republicans who wanted the appointment more qualified) than Werren.

But none of that mattered.  Kasich went with the Werren (Snow) family Stark County political legacy and not "on the merits" in selecting Werren.  Curtis Werren had not practice law for two years prior to his selection as he was president of the Canton branch of the American Red Cross.

For Murthy to tell the editors that at age 82 he planned to serve out a full four year term was disingenuous at the very least and probably an outright dissembling in his seeking the newspaper's pre-election endorsement for re-election.

It was all "hugs and kisses" for the departing Murthy at yesterday's swearing-in ceremony but the reality is that the commissioners last December tamped down on Murthy's request for a 27% increase in his 2017 coroner's office budget by, in the end, agreeing to a 9% (more or less) increase.

And in the discussion, there were pointed commissioner criticisms of how Murthy was running the office (at least in December, 2016) in terms of doing from out-of-Stark-County-pathology-work at a rate less than what he should have been charging.

The commissioners' position:  "Make Stark County First," in your priorities Coroner Murthy and let other counties take care of themselves.

And the SCPR agrees.

The December budgetary discussion should not be lost on Dr. Bertin.

Bertin did speak with the SCPR about the future of the coroner's office in a post-swearing-in interview, to wit:

Coroner Bertin is highly familiar with operations at the coroner's office in having done work there on and off since 1988.

He certainly is equipped to improve the efficiency of operations at the office.

Here is a video on his familiarity with coroner office operations and some changes he is contemplating.

SCPR wishes him well.

However, he should be held strictly accountable by the commissioners and the context for them to do so publicly will be the county budget hearings forthcoming in December of this year.

Stark County voters will be weighing-in in November, 2018.

The commissioners upcoming December, 2017 scrutiny will provide voters with information as to whether or not Bertin has improved the efficiency of the coroner office operations.

Such should be a "voice of the people" determination as to whether or not he continues on.

In 2016, the Republicans did challenge Murthy's re-election bid.

Murthy won by 1,451 votes out of some 163,000 votes cast.

Hopefully, Briggs will consider running again and will spend the next 15 months scrutinizing Bertin's performance as coroner and add to the discussion as to whether or not Bertin should be retained.

It is not healthy for our democratic-republican form of government for political party bosses to select public officials.

It is democracy enhancing for a fully informed electorate to do the choosing!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


With all due respect Deputy Cooner/Pathologist Renee Robinson, for The Stark County Political Report's money Treasurer Alex Zumbar is clearly the best value for Stark County taxpayers.

As seen in the graphic above, Zumbar makes a mere $68,275 and sits about #150 among all Stark County's full and part-time employees in terms of how they rank on a "fresh-off-the-presses" listing of the salaries (hourly income) of Stark County employees.

Zumbar who has held office since 2010, more or less, has completely restructured the Stark County treasurer during his time in office.

Restructuring was a critical and immediate need when he took office.

Zumbar's predecessor, Gary Zeigler was cited in 2010 by the Ohio State of Auditor for not having structures, policies, programs and practices in place to have made it more difficult if not impossible for his chief deputy treasurer Vince Frustaci to have stolen what turned out to be upwards of $3 million in Stark County taxpayer funds.

Zumbar not only serves as county treasurer but also as chairman of the Stark County Land Reutilization Corporation (aka "the Land Bank") which was formed in 2012 as a quasi-government entity tasked with dealing with "blighted" properties throughout Stark County.

Another interesting note about the database spreadsheet provided below for readers to search is #4 ranking Stark County employee John Ferrero at $127,560.16 annually is now an official double-dipper inasmuch as he retired immediately before the beginning of his elected narrowly in November, 2016 term that began on or about the first day of January, 2017.

Jeff Jakmides had predicted in the run up to the election that Ferrero would do what he in fact did.

Here is the spreadsheet reference below with the data coming from the Stark County auditor's office as of yesterday (July 25).

  • Note:  The Report eliminated from the list county and other political subdivision employees who received only part of their annual salaries from the Stark County treasury.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017



Canton Finance Director
Canton City Council on City Finances
North Canton Mayor David Held (Encore)
Ohio & City Finances

"Red, red everywhere and plenty of drops to drink!"

Such is an apt description of Hall of Fame city's finances these days.

But I have done my part to help Canton out of its financial troubles.

Yesterday, after having placed two hours on a parking meter next to the building housing the Stark County Regional Planning Commission, I learned I came up short on my estimate of the time I would spend at a Stark County Land Bank meeting and post-meeting activities.

Hence, this:

Knowing that Canton needs every dollar that it can scrum up, the first thing I did on returning home was to send an "electronic' check in to Canton in payment of the ticket.

So I am doing my part!

Watching Canton finance director Mark Crouse update Canton City Council on city finances for 2017 at council's July 17th meeting was painful enough, but his projected for 2018 and 2019 deficits are blood curdling perhaps to the point of producing financial clots of a fiscal viability life threatening nature.

Of course, the question is:  Who is to blame?

The easy answer is William J. Healy, II's eight years as mayor of Canton.

But The Stark County Political Report (SCPR) does not believe that the "easy answer" is the full answer.

For one thing, where was city council in exercising its oversight function?

Healy appears to have massaged city finances "for the moment" to make it seem Canton was on a sustainable track which "seemingness," with only a modicum financial scrutiny by the Finance Committee (personified by the committee chair [Ward 1 Councilman Greg Hawk for most of the Healy years] operating as council's watchdog could have/should have stopped the charade in council's discharging it annual duty of passing a city budget.

For another, the State of Ohio through the Ohio General Assembly budgeting process since the onset of Republican John Kasich becoming governor in 2010 has devastated local government finances in dramatically reducing the state's share of funding local governments.

Only the SCPR as Stark County-based media names names of the perpetrators of the fiscal hard times that Ohio state government has visited on local governments.

For Stark County, those names have been and continue to be Scott Oelslager (R, Ohio Senate District 29), Kirk Schuring (R, Ohio House District 48) and Christina Hagan (R, Ohio House District 50).

Ohio's core cities are bearing the brunt of what seems to be a war by a largely rural/suburban-based Republican supermajority controlling Ohio's legislature.

Recently, North Canton mayor David Held (a Republican) complained at a recent North Canton council meeting about an impending adverse to Ohio cities legislation by the Republican dominated Ohio General Assembly.

Canton's treasurer (Kim Perez) recently sent this letter to Senator Oelslager.

So Ohio's war on cities seems to be continuing unabated.

It seems to the SCPR that notwithstanding Mayor Tom Bernabei's effort to "stop the bleeding," the city's employee compensation factor has gotten out-of-control (not only with Healy, but with mostly Republican administrations going back a number of mayors) that it will take his four full years plus to get Canton onto a financial sustainable path.

Bleak financial conditions do not happen on their own.

Causative factors should be and can be assigned to particular persons making decisions government and voters need to take note of the names and hold these "real" person officials accountable by thinking two, three times about returning them to office.

Monday, July 24, 2017

LOW LIGHTS, highlights of Jane Timken Cleveland City Club Speech of 07/21/2017


On Friday just past, Jane Timken, in her capacity as chairperson of the Ohio Republican Party since January 6, 2017, spoke to the Cleveland City Club on the State of the Ohio Republican Party.

Having listened to a podcast (also viewing a videocast) of the event, my assessment of her presentation is that it is marked by both the 'low lights' and 'HIGHLIGHTS.'

Timken is of particular interest to many Stark Countians first and foremost because she is a Stark Countian but also she is the wife of our county's most prominent citizens W. J. (Tim) Timken, Jr; chief executive officer and president of Timken Steel.

Timken industrial enterprises have provided a good living for thousands if not tens of thousands of Stark County families.  The "Timken" name is a hallowed name with many, many, many Stark Countians.

Jane Timken herself is a native of Cincinnati.

Recently (January 6, 2017), she was catapulted to the top spot of the Ohio Republican Party as its chairperson.  Hence, her appearance at the Cleveland City Club on Friday.

The pre-eminent highlight recited at the outset by her is that she is the very first female chair in Ohio Republican Party (ORP) history.

A point of emphasis on ORP website these days, is a recitation of other firsts.  It appears that the party is trying to project itself as a sponsor of minorities.  But of course we all know that the proof of such is not in the saying and in singular events but what the track record is for hoi polloi.

There was very little said on Friday to highlight that she was born on third base and accordingly is in no way a model for the masses of American women who who do not have the advantages of Jane Timken.

The "glass ceiling" is largely in place for everyday American women, Republican, Democrat, or independent.

As the father of three professionally accomplished women, I absolutely love it as women achieve one milestone after another milestone after another.  Scores more women having an opportunity to staff American leadership is long overdue.

It damages the nation that we as Americans have been way to slow to embrace more than half our national population thereby making it an untapped resource to build on and "maintain" America's greatness.

Nearly all of Trump's current cabinet posts are occupied by white men.  As is well known from FAKE news reports (sarcasm), the presidential has a highly suspect history with women and whether or not they are to be valued as a prime American resource in our quest to maintain America's greatness.

There is no doubt that we as a nation have many problems to work through.  An essential asset in doing so is to incorporate our women as full-fledged partners in the effort.

Jane Timken's unstated Friday lowlight would be that it took what some people think is a sexist president-elect to put her over-the-top in her stalemate with former chairman and Governor John Kasich confidant Matt Borges as they vied with one another for the chairpersonship in early January of this year.

Kasich before the election, in the runup to the inauguration and continuing to this very day has been a staunch anti-Trump Ohio elected Republican official.

Most of his opposition has been on the issue of medicaid expansion which the president and a sizable block of Congressional Republicans oppose.

Timken on the other hand would not be the first woman chairperson of the Ohio GOP BUT FOR Trump.

So it is evident that she owes Trump.

And his intervention is certainly a high mark for him in his relationship with women leaders.

From time-to-time, he will do cosmetic things to make it appear that he is this or that.  But in the case of his personal history with women over much of his 71 years, the president leaves a lot to be desired.

He has an overwhelming history strongly suggesting that he views women as objects with marginal worth beyond their physical attributes (see this LINK).

Timken spoke for about 15 minutes before Cleveland's civic forum on Friday.  And took audience questions and answers for about 30 minutes.

Some of the impressive parts of her presentation:
  • taught by her parents "to work hard and never back down,"
  • admiration for her tough-minded and purposed mother,
  • high regard for her father (a lawyer) who taught her how "to make [her] case" in the context of disagreeing with him (and, by implication, those she crossed paths with in life),
  • her competitiveness and willingness for what she believes in,

Some of the unimpressive parts of Jane Timken's Cleveland City Club presentation:
  • a downplaying of her privileged status of being a Timken and the doors that opened for her that are not available to most Americans,
  • knocking former President Barrack Obama as a "divisive," leftist political ideologue,
  • blaming former Democrat governor Ted Strickland (elected in 2006) for the lost of some 350,000 jobs most of which occurred as a consequence of "The Great Recession" of 2008" which began during the administration of Republican president George W. Bush,
  • suggesting that as vice president of the Stark County Republican Party in charge of candidate recruitment that she was responsible for Republicans regaining a foothold in Stark County elective office 
    • [note:  the primary reason for the county treasury, the county auditor's office and control of the county commissioners' office flipping Republican was the onset in April, 2009 of a scandal in which many Stark Countians blamed Democrats for having put in office by political appointment in 1999 one Gary D. Zeigler who was cited by the Ohio State of Auditor's Office as having not placed safeguards in place so as to have prevented the theft of upwards of $3 million from the county treasury by Zeigler-appointed chief deputy treasurer Vince Frustaci],
    • [note:  she fails to mention that she as candidate recruitment GOP official, the city of Canton has NO Republican elected officials and only one Republican candidate for county council in this fall's election with no candidates dating back to the the 2013 and 2011 Canton Municipal elections],
  • leaving out that a primary reason Stark County likely ended up with two Republican congresspersons is that the Ohio General Assembly egregiously gerrymandered the county (in violation of the "one person, one vote" of the Constitution) in 2011 by virtue U.S. Constitution mandated reapportionment with every 10 year U.S. Census,
    • (formerly, Stark County as a whole, was the key county in the pre-2011 reapportionment in the 16th Congressional District held for many years by deceased this past week Ralph Regula, a Republican)
  • disturbingly suggesting that Republican right wing/Democratic left wing ideological-based political warfare is the manner in which she intends to lead the Ohio Republican Party,
  • generally attributing everything positive about America/Ohio being Republican/Trump programs, policies and practices whereas everything negative comes from "organized" Democrats,
  • claiming to be "neutral" ["we {Republicans} do not rig our primaries"] in the upcoming May, 2018 Republican Primary for governor,
    • [note:  as noted heretofore, Timken would not be Ohio GOP chair BUT FOR Trump and moreover Timken, the Timken Company have made huge contributions to candidate Jim Renacci; what political realist really believes that Jane Timken as party chair will be neutral?],
    • Does anybody doubt that if President Trump calls Timken with directives on the governor's race that she will step to his tune?
  • blasting Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren as a leftist Democratic political ideologue (which I agree she is) but excusing herself as a Republican right wing ideologue and Trump loyalist to the nth degree,
  • [note:  Warren, I think, is the Democrat's foremost Trump basher],
  • saying that as an attorney that she is for "the rule of law," but suggesting that the special prosecutor investigation should not be happening because it hampers the agenda of "our great president" and characterizing the investigation "impliedly" as mere distraction,
  • making by virtue of the highly partisan nature of her talk and her unfettered endorsement of Trump (which, of course, takes in his FAKE news attribution to major American news outlets), to show the graphic again, this statement credible, to wit:

In the Q&A session, there are two highly significant "exchanges" which tell a lot about Jane Timken as chairperson of the Ohio Republican Party:

First, this on Trump and women:

In essence, Timken gave a non-answer.

The core of her response: 

"I've had the pleasure of having met the president on an individual basis.  He's  a wonderful human being who cares a lot about his family.  I have great respect for the him.  And that's all I have to say about that."

Sounds somewhat like the newly appointed White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, during the Trump campaign, called him a political hack.  Now he loves the Donald and finds him to be a good man.

Second, this on redistricting:


"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.

For anybody who wants the well-being of the nation, Ohio and our local communities the best they can be, highly partisan, kool-aid drinking politicos such as the Jane Timkens of our world are an anathema.

Common Cause of Ohio is currently involved with an effort to get Ohio voter approval of establishing a commission to redraw (2021) congressional districts under the name Fair Congressional District Redistricting."

The organization and its many civic-minded Ohio partners, successfully got overwhelming passage of a state legislative redistricting commission in 2015.  That, too, will get implemented in 2021 with the coming and going of the 2020 U.S. Census.

The SCPR asked Common Cause of Ohio to weigh-in on the Timken redistricting comments:

The response:

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. 
Jane Timken is, in fact, the Ohio GOP's first woman chairperson.

But she is not a game changer for those who believe in:
  • the best interests of our country, state and local communities "trumping" the political/personal interests of a single politician and political parties; Republican or Democrat,
She is like any other true believer highly partisan politico who by her own words comes down at the end of the day of being for selfish interests over and above community interests.

No doubt about it.  Timken's Cleveland City Club appearance was more about low-lights and not so much about highlights.

For those readers have an hour to spare, here is a LINK to the entire Timken Cleveland City Club presentation including the Q&A session.

Thursday, July 20, 2017



Commissioner Bill Smith
Auditor Alan Harold
N.L. Construction of Canton

"We Will be Watching!"

At the end of 2015, then Stark County commissioner Thomas M. Bernabei resigned his commissionership in order to take office as mayor of Canton having been elected as a political independent in November.

Bernabei, as the SCPR sees it, was a linchpin of regaining public confidence in the operations of county government,  in working closely with former Canton mayor Janet Creighton, also elected as Stark County commissioner in November, 2010, as the county was in the process of recovering from the theft of upwards of $3 million from the county treasury by former chief deputy treasurer Vince Frustaci (publicly identified by law enforcement authorities on April 1, 2009).

Of course, nobody is irreplaceable.

Nonetheless, I was skeptical that either of the candidates for the Bernabei vacated post were up to filling the void of quality leadership left by Bernabei's departure.

I was sure that former state Representative Stephen Slesnick (Democrat, Ohio House, the 49th for eight years; term limited out as of the end of 2016) was not up to the task.

Slesnick was "Mr. Where-Are-You" as far as I was concerned in gauging the effectiveness of Stark County-based Ohio General Assembly members.  Because he was so utterly ineffective, he seemingly avoided at all cost, any interaction with The Stark County Political Report (SCPR).

Like so many politicians, Slesnick had gotten used to the "public tit" and in order to continue his political/governance addiction focused on the vacated by Bernabei seat to continue his heretofore ineffective public officeholder-self on the Stark County public.

But what about his Republican opponent; namely, Bill Smith of Canton Township.

Could he approximate the first-rate county leadership that Bernabei provided Stark County as commissioner?

The results of the Slesnick/Smith matchup:

A look at his biography suggested that he might be somewhat of an answer.
Bill Smith lives in Canton Township with his wife Diana, to whom he has been married since 1975.  They have two married children who also live in Stark County; Bill and his wife Amy and Jennifer and her husband Jerry.  Together they enjoy nine beautiful grandchildren.  Bill graduated in 1974 from East Canton High School and has been in business at Smith’s Waco Market since 1976. After purchasing the store, he and Diana lived above the store for several years as the business grew. Bill also manages several commercial properties through Smith Properties and owns Mary Ann's Donuts Cafe in Canton South. 
Bill has been a Hot Air Balloon pilot since 1988 and holds a Commercial/Instructor rating in Lighter-than-Air, Hot Air Balloons.  He has served on the Hall of Fame Balloon Classic Committee and is the field announcer for the event.
Bill served as a Canton Township Trustee from 2002 through 2016, and is a past member of the Canton South Jaycees; Canton South Athletic & Band Booster Clubs; and a past Board Member of the Canton South YMCA.  He has served on the Canton Local Long Range Planning Committee as a Levy Chairman, as well as, on a variety of other levy committees.  Bill is an Honorary Board Member of the East Central Ohio Food Dealers Association where he served as Chairman of the Board and on several other association committees. 
Bill enjoys helping people and is honored for the opportunity to assist the people of Stark County as a Commissioner.
At yesterday's regular weekly (Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m.), Smith demonstrated that he has the potential to be a straight talking, "hold'em accountable" commissioner.

The occasion?

Commissioners were considering a Stark County auditor's office awarding of a contract for the remodeling of the office complex housed for the most part in the Stark County Office Building complex located at 110 Central Plaza in downtown Canton, to wit:

After the motion to approve the resolution was presented, moved for adoption the following Smith-initiated discussion took place:

Stark Countians should be thoroughly impressed with just-a-little-over-six-months as commissioner Bill Smith having done his homework and quite willing to go the public record with a message to N.L. Construction that the company will be closely monitored

Unlike prior boards of commissioners (for example: including the likes of Todd Bosley,  Tom Harmon, Jane Vignos ["imposed" a 1/2 cent county sales tax in 2008] and Steve Meeks), from  January 1, 2011 on, the county has had a pretty good quality of commissioners.

Only Pete Ferguson  (a really nice guy) as a commissioner in the Bernabei era seemed to me to be lacking in minimal basic effectiveness as a commissioner.

Smith's comments in terms of his intention to follow the "on-the-job" performance record of N.L. Construction (i.e. will N.L. complete the contract at the $367,601 bid-awarded specs) seem to imply that a completion at the $367,601 will determinative of whether or not commissioners should approve future N.L. "lowest bid" in the event that there are future contract bids in which N.L. comes in as the lowest bid.

Smith is obviously skeptical witness his comments in the video above that N.L. will actually complete the remodeling at its $367,601 bid.

The SCPR was able to come up with one instance in which N.L. was low bidder on a Stark County Metropolitan Housing Authority (SCMHA) "put out to bid" contract and, when, the company was not awarded the business, it sued.

Eventually the SCMHA settled with N.L. for $88,000.

Smith's initiated discussion pre-vote on the resolution observations (e.g. "We will be Watching") based on his research into N.L.'s performance history set the tone for Auditor Alan Harold in promising to assist the commissioners in ensuring that Stark County taxpayers get quality work at the bid price.

The SCPR commends Commissioner Smith for his demonstration of due diligence and his willingness to go "on-the-record" with his reservations about where N.L. Construction will end up in terms of staying within the $367.601 it bid.

Yesterday's action suggests to the SCPR that former long time Canton Township trustee Bill Smith is "made of the right stuff" to be a county commissioner and seems to have the potential to a highly effective commissioner.

And it appears that Stark Countians made "the right choice" in last November's general election.

But it is still too early to tell conclusively.

Stay tuned to the SCPR for your best opportunity to see how Smith and Stark County political subdivision elected officials actually do on the job.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


UPDATED:  11:16 AM


Canton Law Director
Joe Martuccio
Pleads for $50,000 More in His Budget


Finance Chairman John Mariol
to the


Citizen Pete DiGiacomo
Martuccio Request

One can be sure that Canton mayor Thomas Bernabei would like nothing better than to come out full bore in favor of Law Director Joe Martuccio getting $50,000 added to the law department's annual operating budget.

Watch Martuccio's plea at Monday night's (July 17, 2017) council meeting.

For one thing, Martuccio likely is law director today because he received the blessing or former law director Thomas Bernabei some 17 years ago when he gave up the position.

For another thing, Martuccio was among the first high ranking Canton city officials to come out for Bernabei in 2015 when Bernabei announced that he was abandoning the Stark County Democratic Party to become a political "independent" to take on third-term-seeking-Democrat William J. Healy, II for the mayorship of Canton.

But Bernabei sat back and watched on Monday as Martuccio twisted in the political winds of Canton City Council as members were seemingly at a loss as how to accommodate Canton's long time law director in light of the 2017 projected shortfall expenditures over revenues leaving about Three-Thousand-Dollars to carryover to 2018.

In the video Martuccio's main finances-based justification for council to act on his request was his office's highly successful negotiation with utilities proving utility service to Canton government and a resultant claimed by Martuccio savings to Canton of "hundreds of thousand of dollars, if not a million, in utility costs to Canton over the next several years.

There is a problem with this justification.

Finance director Mark Crouse tells the SCPR that it is likely that whatever revenues show up in Canton financial portfolio will likely be deposits into Canton's enterprise fund (users pay) operations and very little if any into Canton's general fund.

Hence the struggle on the part of council to find funding with which to fund the hiring of a new lawyer in the law department.

Director Martuccio points out to the SCPR that his staff provides legal services to several Canton enterprise fund operations and therefore there is justification from his perspective of tapping those funds as a means of financing the $50,000 he has asked for.

The better argument for saving Canton's stressed finances money was his expressed reluctance to hire out to private legal counsel on a project-by-project basis at $200 per hour which—compared at about $50,000 to support an additional in-house hire—would get Canton only 250 hours of legal work contrasted to about 2,080 added capability for an in-house hire.

Watch finance committee chairman John Mariol (Ward 7 Democrat) as he responds to a Stark County Political Report query on Martuccio's request.

I asked the mayor to weigh in on the matter post-council-work-session.

He declined saying that restoring $50,000 of a 2017 law department reduction of $90,000 was a council matter and not an administration matter.

In all due respect to the mayor whom I have cited as being "far and away" Stark County's most capable most disciplined and most future calculating government leader; I believe that the mayor has likely weighed-in "off-the-record."

I can't get anybody to say it, but I think Bernabei has told council leaders privately that restoring the $50,000 would send a message to the rest of general fund funded departments of government that their respective reductions in budget are "elastic" and one can override the fiscal discipline that the mayor has instituted by in effect going over his head and pleading with council as Martuccio did on Monday.

You can bet your bottom dollar that Martuccio absolutely hated to be doing so on Monday especially in light of Bernabei being his mentor and political benefactor.  However, he does say that he thinks the $90,000 or so cut was disproportional to cuts made to other general fund funded departments of Canton government.

It appears that council under Mariol's finance committee chairmanship will find a way to muster up the $50,000 so that the law department can be better positioned to deal with the massive infusion of legal work that has inundated the department over the past year or so.

Yesterday, the SCPR reported in a third blog on a continuing series on the headache that Canton has on its hand with the recent revelation of a Rover pipeline contaminated (with diesel fuel) drilling mud spill near Canton's most vital financial/economic resource that being its abundant water supply and a concern that the contamination could potentially leach into that supply.

The law department is devoting hours and hours of its in-short-supply "time" resources to ensure in a legal monitoring context that Canton is protected by state (OhoEPA) and federal (FERC) regulators and, alternatively, to set Canton up to recover from the perpetrator of the spill losses that Canton might incur as a consequence of the spill.

Beside the Rover pipeline matter, there are other more or less unexpected matters that require large time expenditures in legal analysis.

One such major item is the complexity of working with Pro Football Hall of Fame officials in working out financial (i.e. special sales tax district) and property matters for the $700/$800 million dollars "Village" project that was announced a couple of years ago.

And then there are items like the desire of council to weigh in on the president's announced intention to withdraw America from the Paris Climate Accords.

Martuccio says that because of the influx of work generally he has had putting together a legally appropriate resolution/ordinance on the backburner.

It appears that council will at its July 31st meeting come up with a way to finance a new lawyer position in the Canton law department.

Sometimes citizens do not see the ramifications of deficit budgets in concrete terms.

Here is a video of Citizen Pete DiGiacomo at Monday's meeting.

He seems to think that it is relatively easy for Mariol et al to find a mere $50,000 out of a $50,000 million plus annual budget.

But it isn't

Lurking in the background of this is the stir caused by Stark County clerk of courts Louis Giavasis in a recent Facebook post that he has been encouraged by dozens of Cantonians to challenge Bernabei's continuation beyond 2019, should he decide to run.

While I think Giavasis is doing a Donald Trump in terms of engaging excessive, braggadocio talk, Cantonians who care about the long term welfare of Canton government should take the Giavasis threat seriously.

Ward 9 councilman Frank Morris (majority leader [only Democrats hold council positions in Canton]) has come out of the political closet to endorse Giavasis more than two years before the election.

Giavasis said he would provide the SCPR other names.

To-date, nothing.  Hmmm?  Why is Giavais hiding those names?

Just as it appears that Trump is plunging America into the dark ages of politics and government, I think Louis Giavasis as mayor would be a complete reversal of all the very, very,very difficult fiscal discipline and responsibility work that Mayor Bernabei has instituted.

Louis Giavasis as mayor of Canton would be a return to the days of William J. Healy, II, if not worse.

Of course, it was on Phil Giavasis watch as Dems' Stark County chair that Bernabei bolted to "independent" status in order to take on Healy.

Maybe a little revenge factor at play with Louis' threat to run against Bernabei?

Maybe, just maybe, no?

One of the touchstones of effective fiscal work is sustainability of whatever financial obligations a government takes on.

"Sustainability, " in a word, is the most significant factor of John Mariol's uttered words in the above-presented video.

The SCPR applauds Canton council under Mariol's leadership in vetting the continuing financial viability of granting Law Director Martuccio's work.

When council acts to approve Martuccio's request, members should make it clear that council fully support the Bernabei instituted fiscal austerity and that the law department deviation is merited by an infusion of unforeseen legal work into the law department's operations.

This blog is the first in a series in which the SCPR will be taking a detailed look at Canton's financial picture.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017











On April 13th of this year, there was a spill of what turned out to be diesel fuel contaminated drilling mud being used in the installation of the Rover natural gas carrying pipeline.

The accidental spill occurred in the process of boring a passageway for the pipeline under the Tuscarawas River near Canton's Sugarcreek well field and near water sources used by Aqua Ohio to service homes and businesses of a number of Stark County's townships.

The contractor installing the pipeline placed the accidently spilled—contaminated with diesel fuel drilling mud—in two quarries:  one near Beach City and Sugarcreek; one near Massillon near Aqua Ohio wells.

There are concerns that notwithstanding Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) and Federal Energy and Regulatory Commission (FERC) finding and demands made on Rover Pipeline LLC ("Rover," Houston, TX) that Rover is not acting quickly enough to remove the contaminated mud from the vicinity of well fields that service the homes and businesses of Canton and highly populated areas of Stark County.

Canton's water superintendent Tyler Converse updated Canton City Council at last night's regular council meeting on the issue of the potential pollution of Canton's Sugarcreek well field water resource that is the source for water supplied to Canton-based homes and businesses.

In the foregoing video, Converse says that his Canton city enterprise department is continuing to monitor the location of the contaminated mud.

Council members last night were front and center in expressing concerns that Canton government would simply sit back and let Rover dictate the timetable for dealing with the problem.

There was talk that Rover might resist moving on to remediation in appealing an Ohio EPA directive (see entire OEPA finding/remediating directive report at the end of this blog) issued about one week ago.

Converse reassured council that such is not and would not be the case.

Canton has retained a consultant and law firm to assist in dealing with getting a satisfactory solution to the spill induced threat.

Superintendent Converse says that each day that the contaminated drilling mud stays in place is another day that the mud might migrate towards the Canton owned well field.

A resource which council president Allen Schulman says is Canton's most valuable financial/economic asset.

Even more important than Canton's approved investment of $5 million in the $700/$800 million Pro Football Hall of Fame Village Project

Stark County stakeholders who should be paying close attention to remediation efforts include residents of:
  • Jackson Township,
  • Hills & Dales,
  • Lake Township,
  • Lawrence Township,
  • Massillon,
  • North Canton,
  • Perry Township,
  • Plain Township, and
  • Tuscarawas Township,
The SCPR has published two prior blogs on this highly important issue which has the "potential" to threaten the well-being of Cantonians/Stark Countians, to wit:
  • Blog of June 22, 2017 featuring a video of Stark County commissioner Richard Regula who lives in the general area in which the contaminated drilling mud is located,
  • Blog of July 10, 2017 which has a copy of the OEPA findings of contamination and corollary demand for clean up action to be taken,
As reported in the July 10th blog, the SCPR has learned that initially Rover officials told the OEPA that the company was only going to deal with FERC on the matter as it deemed the OEPA not to have jurisdiction over its operations.

However, as can be seen in the FERC document below, the federal agency is having none of it in terms of playing a federal agency off against a state agency and has in the document fully embraced the Ohio EPA findings and demanded action.

Area media reports indicate that Aqua Ohio is also monitoring the situation on a continuing basis and so far is not detecting any problem with its wells water quality.

Recently, the Stark County Water District on its website published a report on Aqua Ohio water quality as of December 31, 2016, to wit:

Here are the two base documents from FERC and the Ohio EPA.