Wednesday, September 6, 2017





Candidate Scott Haws
Plain Township Trustee

Haws Background
Haws Accomplishments as Trustee
Haws Frustrations as Trustee
(the failure of the Plain/Canton CEDA)

Political Fallout in Plain Over CEDA Failure?
Haws Comments on Opponent Anthony Rich 
Former Trustee Louis Giavasis
Haw's Wrap-up Comments

Traditionally, there is a window within which the day-in, day-out voter pays heightened attention to political candidates and their messages or lack thereof.

Outside of this window, most of us only pay scant attention to political activity.

Of course, President Donald J. Trump is violating all the norms of out-and-out campaigning in that he is already campaigning for re-election in 2020 notwithstanding that he has little in terms of accomplishments to tout.

The period of time for focused campaigning used to be from Labor Day through Election Day, with the most intense interest focused on the last two weeks of October.

In those days, except for absentee and military voters, one voted on Election Day PERIOD!

But with the onset of "early voting," (beginning in 2005 in Ohio), voters are "zeroing in" what politicians are saying earlier in the run up to election cycle.

Early voting starts on October 11th this year in Ohio.

Accordingly, voters start paying close attention about the 1st of October.

With today's blog, The Stark County Political Report (SCPR) begins "intense" and "detailed" coverage of Election 2017.

As the saying goes, "the early bird gets the worm" in terms of really getting to know who the quality candidates are and whom is not included in that group.

One of the "really big" races in Stark County in this off-year election season (i.e. odd numbered years) is the one for Plain Township trustee in which two trustees are to be selected.

Though five are running, by the SCPR's assessment, it certainly is "slim pickings" in terms of Plain Township having quality to pick from.



Last Wednesday, the SCPR sat down with incumbent Plain Township trustee (two to be elected) Scott Haws for about an hour of detailed Q&A.

Plain Township is according to some observers a blend of all things Stark County in terms of hits geographical makeup and population.  It is the county's largest population-wise of all of Stark's 17 townships at 52,543 (latest U.S. Census data)

And, in the opinion of the SCPR, has the most efficient and effective administration of all of Stark County's 17 counties.

Although the SCPR thinks he is way too political, former long term trustee Louis Giavasis (a committed Democrat now Stark County clerk of courts having originally taken office as a Democratic Party appointee) has been an important part of the solid fiscal base the township enjoys.

However, Giavasis' leadership was since 2009 been subject to the check and balance of Republican Scott Haws whom the SCPR thinks is deserving of credit for keeping Giavasis from having run amok on partisanship and thereby should be thought of as having taken on an important role as trustee.

In agreeing with Democrat trustee Al Leno (a Giavasis employee at the Stark County clerk of courts) to appoint long time Plain Township fire official John Sabo (a registered Democrat) as a successor to Giavasis when Giavasis resigned to become clerk in September, 2016, he showed what Giavasis seems to be lacking in that the office of trustee in Ohio is supposed to be run without regard to politics.

In this blog, the SCPR walks readers through a video of Haws responding to SCPR questions on his candidacy to be elected to a third term as Plain Township trustee.




Haws speaks to damage done in ongoing relationship with Canton over the CEDA failure.

Here is that portion of the August 27th interview video.


Lastly, Haw's responds to the SCPR open ended questions as to whether or not he has anything to add to the interview.

Scott Haws stands alone as a candidate who takes on a sifting the candidates and by that factor alone suggests that he is a cut above the rest of the Plain Township candidates.



First, some commentary.

Each of the candidates have been offered an opportunity to tell their stories in detail within the framework of  SCPR constructed Q&A supplemented with an opportunity at the end of the interview for the candidate to address any matter they wish of their own choosing.

So far only Haws and Brook Harless have responded.

As readers of the SCPR know, while I conduct interviews in a civil manner; I do not avoid asking the tough questions.

All too many Stark County elected officials and candidates for office cannot abide the incisive questioning of the SCPR and accordingly avoid all costs of sitting down with The Report one-on-one.

One of the best examples of keeping a distance from the SCPR over the course of the nearly 10 year span of publishing this blog has been former state Representative Stephen Slesnick.

Slesnick even went so far as to threaten to pull out of a debate with then-Canton Township trustee Bill Smith in their race in 2016 for Stark County commissioner on the mere fact that the SCPR was there to film the event.

The Report was not one of the questioners at that event.

Why would Slesnick do such a thing?

Likely because the SCPR over his eight years as a state representative wrote a number of blogs detailing with factual material how utterly ineffective I thought he was as a member of the Ohio General Assembly.

Rather than challenge my assessment, Slesnick avoid this blogger and worse yet tried to interfere with the public's right to see and hear him in the context of a critical analysis of what he had to say.

Fortunately, Slesnick lost to Smith and Stark County was spared having a commissioner who clearly showed in his holding office track record as state representative warning signs that voters should not consider electing him as commissioner.

But Slesnick is not alone in refusing to justify why voters should consider voting for him/her having had to respond to anything but "patty-cake" questioning or worse yet no questioning at all.

With all too many candidates voters have to parse through cherry picked, propaganda style campaign literature that often falls apart when examined critically.

Such is a common posture of many who run for election/re-election to public office.

We see all too often in the case of congressional/senatorial candidates how all too many of them "duck and run for cover" in the face of scrutinizing questions.

Taking a more detailed look at the rest:


Harless, who describes herself as a "community focused candidate" backed out of a scheduled interview last Wednesday because of family logistical problems.  Of course, we all have things like that happen to us.  But she has not contacted the SCPR to reschedule.

It it beginning to look like that Harless is far too implicated in day-to-day family life to have sufficient time and energy to be running for elective office.

Plain voters will want to question Harless very closely on the issue of whether or not she has space in her life to be fully engaged with and responsive to the demands of holding political office.

Focusing on family life is a good thing, but can, except for persons highly skilled at juggling competing and demanding public duties (inherent in being a public official), can render a person ineffective and insufficiently responsive to the discharge of public duties.

One thing that Ms. Harless could have done is to provide the SCPR with a promised biography detailing her life's work as a measure of whether or not she has a background that suggests she has potential as an elected official.

So in addition to canceling the interview, she has not followed through on the promised to the SCPR biography.

The SCPR is a big believer in paying attention to warning signs and thinks that Harless may be signaling that she is not ready for running for public office.


As seen above (reference:  third video of Haws interview), there appears to be no love lost between Anthony Rich (a Stark County "civil division" prosecutor) and Haws.

In that video segment, Haws accuses Rich of acting the role of township attorney (Eric Williams is the actual Plain Township attorney) on a issue of whether or not Plain Township trustees should be promoting wine sales (not drink on premises, but merely the purchase of bottles of wine) in the context of a uniquely Plain Township-esque event.

Moreover, Haws says he anticipates that Rich will play politics on the failed Canton/Plain Township CEDA agreement which has led to the annexation of a part of Plain Township into Canton.

Haws is correct in anticipating Rich jumping all over the Annexation/CEDA failure matter.

From Rich's Facebook page from September 3rd, just days after the Haws SCPR interview (August 27th):

Haws also  by implication and suggestion mentions an incident that occurred at Bud's Corner Tiki Bar on June 25th of this year.

What follows are copies of statements given by various parties/witnesses to the incident.

You be the judge of whom you believe.

However, there is no disputing that Rich pulled his Stark County prosecutor's badge during the unfolding of the incident.

Rich's motivation and judgment is the issue in his having displayed the badge.

Of course, the only way to make assessments is for him to submit to answering questions about the incident.

To the degree that he refuses to be questioned on the matter, suggests that he thinks he has something to hide, no?

The SCPR has made two efforts to interview Rich in the manner in which Haws was interviewed (no questions off the table), but has been ignored twice.

Interesting in light of this on his Facebook page, no?


"Typically replies within a few hours."

Let's see.

SCPR requesting e-mail sent August 24th; as of September 6th and no answer?

"... [W]ithin a few hours?"

Is this what Plain Township residents could expect if they have "inconvenient" questions to ask of Candidate Rich as township trustee?

And the August 24th initiative was a second attempt to be in touch with Rich; the first being on July 13th.

All of which prompt the question of whether or not Rich is a political hypocrite?

Just one more politician who says one thing but does another!

To repeat, for the SCPR, the most concerning aspect of the Bud's Corner incident (see report below obtained via a public records request [redacted by sheriff's office]) is:
  • the flashing of the badge incident 
    • when added to the assertion by Haws that he has arrogated himself to seemingly standing in the place of township legal counsel on the wine issue 
being matters that Rich needs to answer/explain in terms his answers equipping Plain voters with information on which to judge whether or not he has the temperament to be a Plain Township trustee.

Unless and until Rich addresses matters like these in a satisfactory way in a public setting, why would any Plain voter risk voting for this guy?

Moreover, he needs to answer what he would have done differently than Haws, Leno and Sabo to get Canton to agree to a CEDA on the bordering Fulton Dr NW properties.


Last October, Trustee Haws (a Republican) and Leno (20 years as trustee) came together to appoint John Sabo a long time Plain Township firefighter (volunteer 1960s, hired firefighter 1979 and chief in 1993 and retiring in 2012).

So he seems a natural to have been appointed and should have no difficulty being "retained" as trustee.

It is troubling that he has not responded to the SCPR's request for an interview.

Notwithstanding his long standing in Plain Township government and presumably is well known in Plain from the perspective of how he has functioned as a fire department employee, he needs to answer questions about ten months in office as trust and his plans for the township should he be retained voters in November.

It is not about the SCPR getting an interview.  It is about him sharing his actions and points of view to the Plain Township public.

Is the Sabo campaign going to be a front porch William McKinley-esque campaign updated to 2017 in which he sends out glossy Madison Avenue style mailers that avoids the key issues that Plain Township faces going forward?

Anytime that someone like Sabo brushes off critically-bent media inquiry,  such should be factored in by voters come election time.

Voters should ask:  Can he stand the heat of having to answer incisive questioning?


An attorney who ran against incumbent Republican Christina Hagan for the 50th Ohio House District seat in 2016, one has to wonder how serious of a candidate Juergensen is.

He cited a personal problem situation as the reason why he did seem to put up much of an effort against Hagan.

There was even talk that he would officially withdraw his candidacy and he never did.

He has not responded to the SCPR's request for an interview.

Is his run for Plain Township trustee going to be another phantom run for office?

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