Tuesday, December 12, 2017






Canton City Council
"Aspiration" Organization Meeting

"Deja vu all over again!"  so once reportedly said by former New York Yankee catcher great Yogi Berra.

Echoed in today's blog by The Stark County Political Report.

Well, sort of.

There was a wrinkle in what Canton City Council president Allen Schulman termed on December 17, 2013 to be "aspirational" meeting of the Democratic members of council which constituted 11 of the 12 members (Richard Hart being an "independent") to develop of consensus among the Democrats as to whom was going to be majority leader (vice president of council) for the council term of January 6, 2014 through the selection of a new majority leader two years henceforth.

The Report encourages readers to go back to the December 17, 2013 blog (LINK) and view the short video clips of "the aspirational meeting."

Who would have "thunk" that Mariol one of the original SCPR "four young turks" would one day challenge his fellow turk Morris for a leadership position?

Morris was unchallenged for his majority leader status in the post-2015-election reorganization of council.

Although the SCPR thinks well of Schulman generally, he was a deep disappointment on December 17, 2013 inasmuch as he broke a tie vote (the only circumstance in which president of council votes) in favor of going into executive session (closed to the public/press) so that members could vent their aspirations.

Schulman has a reputation of being one of Stark County's "most" liberal Democrats and yet he voted in 2013 "to keep the sunshine out."

Hmmm?  Guess political liberalism only goes so far?

So it wasn't  exactly "deja vu all over again" because this time the press (only the SCPR was present) and former high power Repository journalists Mike Hanke (now retired from The Rep and having been chief Stark County administrator) and David Kaminski (now an official with the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce) actually got to sit in on "the aspirational meeting" this time around.

How did that happen?

The SCPR thinks that the fact that the SCPR, Hanke and Kaminski were waiting outside the Dems' meeting room when Councilman Edmond Mack happened by and a dialogue on Ohio's open meeting law ensued.

Mack (a first-rate attorney, himself) "appeared" to have studied the law and made an effort to justify what seemed to be an impending exclusion of the public/press from the meeting but, with all due respect to Mack; he was overmatched in "discussing" the matter with highly seasoned veteran former journalists Hanke and Kaminski.

A discussion ensued between Mack and "the three of us" as to whether or not "the aspirational meeting" was going to be open to the public/press.

It appeared from the tenor of the discussion that we three were going to be "left-out-in-the-cold" as Mack left to enter "the aspirational meeting."

Mack argued that selecting a majority leader was a "personnel matter" which qualified the meeting from public scrutiny under Ohio law.  A "personnel matter," Mack said because the majority leader gets $2,000 more a year over and above the 12 other (including the council president) councilpersons.

For the record, Councilman Mack has endorsed John Mariol for majority leader, to wit:

Edmond J. Mack <emack@lawlion.com>  Today [December 12, 2017] at 10:53 AM

To:  Martin Olson

Hi Martin,

As long as John Mariol is willing to sacrifice his time and serve in this important position, he will have my full support.  John is incredibly patient and thoughtful.  He has a remarkable ability to listen, understand, and compromise.  His skills in building consensus and bringing people together is exactly what our body needs right now.  Perhaps more than ever.


Kaminski and Hanke (and, of course, the SCPR) were incredulous that Mack would, with a straight face, make such an argument.

The SCPR for one was dubious that we had changed Mack's thinking that the meeting in secret was justifiable under Ohio's Sunshine Law.

But it appears that Mack did at the very least convey our argument for openness to councilpersons already in the room.  The SCPR, having very high regard for Mack as a person and as small letter "d" democrat likes to think that Mack actually advocated for "openness."

In the 2013 meeting, Mack was among the five councilpersons who voted "no" on the motion to go into executive session.

In any group such as Canton City Council there is always at least one "smart aleck" it appears that in Ward 1 councilman Greg Hawk, Canton council has its resident "wise guy."

The SCPR is asking Canton council members how they are likely to vote on January 8th.

Ward 1 Councilman Hawk's response:

Re: Council majority leader vote of January 8, 2017

Greg Hawk <gregory.hawk@cantonohio.gov>  Today at 1:06 PM

To:  Martin Olson

I think I'm the best man for the job.

On 12/12/2017 12:38 PM, Martin Olson wrote:

Dear Councilpersons,

As of today (December 12, 2017) who do you plan to support between Frank Morris and John Mariol for the position of council majority leader on January 8, 2018?

Thank you,

Martin Olson/SCPR
330 430 9378

Councilman Edmond Mack, as many of Canton's councilpersons has a lot of class.  Moreover, he is thoughtful and respectful of others.

Obviously, Hawk doesn't have much, if any, of Mack's qualities.  Folks like Hawk do not belong in government.

Councilman Bill Smucker:

William Smuckler <wjsmuckler@yahoo.com>  Today at 7:32 AM

To: Martin Olson

Not Frank Morris

On Tuesday, December 12, 2017, 12:48:44 PM EST, Martin Olson <tramols@att.net> wrote:

Dear Councilpersons,

As of today (December 12, 2017) who do you plan to support between Frank Morris and John Mariol for the position of council majority leader on January 8, 2018?

Thank you,

Martin Olson/SCPR
330 430 9378

As the headline to the blog says, Morris announced that in informal polling done by himself as incumbent majority leader and his opponent Ward 7 councilman John Mariol that it appears that if a formal vote was taken last night (let's say at a special called council meeting) would have been 6 for Morris, 5 for Mariol and 1 undecided.

So the race is on for Morris and Mariol to get that undecided vote.

Mariol claims he is running against Morris because Morris' leadership has not done enough to get the Canton Comprehensive Plan (done at the cost of some $300,000) in 2015 implemented.

The SCPR suspects that the "real" reason is Morris' acerbic, no-nonsense, direct, and brusque manner.

While one wouldn't want 13 Frank Morrises on Canton City Council, he is a refreshing change from equivocal politicians one usually encounters.

The Report asked Mariol about the Morris directness factor which he denied was a part of his reason for running.

However, the SCPR is not buying.

Of course, as can be seen on the video below,  the SCPR asked Morris who the undecided councilperson was.

Not unexpectedly, Morris declined to identify the undecided councilperson.  It could be that we will have to wait until January 8, 2018 to find out who that person is.

But the SCPR promises the readership that The Report will doggedly pursue whom is voting which way before January 8th ever arrives.

If the SCPR must say so, the following video is a compelling watch as the The Report being the only media present pressed Morris and his opponent Mariol with incisive questioning.

Credit Messers Hanke and Kaminski (the long time Stark County journalists they have been) being present as a likely reason that "the sunshine" prevailed last night and we got an inside look of how the process works.

A SCPR "tip-of-the-hat" to Mike Hanke and David Kaminski for caring enough about our democratic-republic to make their way to the December 11 2017 "aspirational" organization meeting on a cold and snowy night!

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