Thursday, January 11, 2018



Frank Morris 
Withdraws from Consideration for
Re-election as Canton Council VP/Majority Leader

Chris Smith 
as New Council VP/Majority Leader 
Fellow Council Members

Corey Minor Smith
New Council Member Thanks Fellow Councilmembers for
Facilitating Her Entry onto Council

The Vote
Council VP/Majority Leader & Ass't ML

Councilman Bill Smuckler
Apairations for 2018/2019 Council

Mayor Thomas Bernabei
Congratulates Chris Smith

VP/Majority Leader Smith
Meaning of Her "Bringing Peace to Council" Speech

First of all, congratulations to Ward 4 councilwoman Chris Smith in becoming in The Stark County Political Report's view (SCPR), Vice President and Majority Chris Smith as the "compromise" candidate in an an apparent "down & dirty" fight between Ward 7 councilman John Mariol and incumbent vice president and majority leader Frank Morris this past Monday, January 8th.

In the following SCPR video, Vice President and Majority Leader Smith thanks her fellow council members and her family for her support (photo of Smith & family included)

But the night started out with "all love and kisses" with the swearing in (by Law Director Joe Martuccio) of councilpersons and the council president elected in November, 2016 to two-year terms.

New to council in an "at-large" slot (replacing "did-not-run-for-reelection Tom Harmon) is Corey Minor Smith.

Political Affiliation:  Democrat

Current Employer:  Stark Metropolitan Housing Authority,
General Counsel

Bowling Green State University, Bachelors of Arts in English
Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, Ethnic Studies-Mexican Culture

Bowling Green State University, Masters of a Education in Guidance and Counseling
University of Toledo College of Law, Juris Doctorate.  (excerpt from Council website)

Here is a SCPR video on Minor Smith thanking council for facilitating her transition onto council.

Earlier in the day of the 8th, the SCPR talked with a city official about whether or not Frank Morris or John Mariol was going to be elected council VP/majority leader.

The source said that it appeared that a choice had been (presumably in compliance with Ohio Sunshine law) but "that anything was possible" to unfold that would change the what appeared to be in place plan.

Readers will recall that on December 12th, the Democrats (there are ONLY Democrats on council) met in was clearly meant to be "out of the public view" session to hash out between them who between Morris and Mariol would be majority leader in the 2018/2019 term of council.  (LINK to the video of that session and LINK to blog on that session)

The most telling thing to come out of that session was Morris' admonition to keep "shi**y"politics" out of the maneuvering in the brokering between and among members during the interim of the meeting of the 12th through the selection date of January 8th.

That neither Morris or Mariol was selected on the 8th speaks volumes about the acrimony that must have been rampant in the Mariol/Morris lobbying over the two weeks plus period until the selection date.

The SCPR took newly elected VP/Majority Leader's reference to bringing "peace and unity" to council as sort of an off-hand confirmation that she was selected as a "compromise" candidate between the two as elaborated upon below.

While she says she is not at liberty to comment on the SCPR takeaway on her being a compromise candidate because of the Morris/Mariol rift, she does say her intent in her council "thank you" speech was not to imply that her motivation for accepting the post was as a peace maker between the warring Morris/Mariol factions on council.

Here is a SCPR video of her reaction taken at a January 9, 2018 meeting of Strengthening Stark held at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Smith was invited as an elected Canton city official to participate in the forum in which input was sought from elected officials on what direction Stark County should take on countywide economic development.

The video:

In a sort of way the Mariol/Morris match up was/continues to be an left-wingish idealist (Mariol) versus a highly pragmatic (right of center) type (Morris).

The SCPR has learned that it became apparent that were either Morris or Mariol to be selected, it was likely that political "bad blood" would, it was thought, likely percolate to the surface over ensuing council sessions on various "hot button" issues and thereby make it difficult if not impossible to achieve a united Canton City Council on key issues.

It the course of finding a pathway to a "peaceful" resolution of the political warfare that was going on between Mariol and Morris various movers and shakers within council were looking to alternatives to either Morris or Mariol in order to avoid "down-the-road" eruptions of political warfare in the guise of differences of apparently bona fide stances on various policy making  and policy implementation issues to come forward to the floor of council.

One scenario, the SCPR is told, was for Ward 1 councilman Greg Hawk to be majority leader and Ward 2 councilman Nate Chester, III to be council 1st vice president and assistant majority leader.

Apparently, Hawk was a no-go for Morris.  The SCPR has been told that Morris supported one of  Hawk's opponents in the 2017 Democratic primary.

The obvious choice then became  Ward 4 councilwoman Chris Smith, the-then current 1st vice president/assistant majority leader of council, who, one would think if Morris was not going to be re-elected is in line to replace him.

Morris, the curmudgeon and political maverick he is, has gotten along reasonably well with Smith over the past two years.

So the stage was set for Morris to step-aside on the 8th as shown in this SCPR video of Morris nominating Smith.

Right before this session of council, Morris told the SCPR as a clue to his withdrawal, that in losing he would in fact be winning.

It will be interesting to sees how that statement plays out going forward.

And now SCPR video on  the election of Smith and Babcock:

A interesting presentation on the 8th was that of the dean of Canton City Council Bill Smuckler as he opines on his aspiration for council in 2018.

To The Report, Smuckler's positive expectation for the 2018/2019 of Canton City Council was likely a response to the battles within the confines of council's make up 2016/2017 culminating in the fight as to whom was going to be majority leader in the 2018/2019 term.

The SCPR video of Councilman at Large Bill Smuckler:

Here is a SCPR video on Mayor Thomas Bernabei (a political independent) congratulating Democratic Ward 4 councilperson Chris Smith on her election as council vice president/majority leader.

It will be interesting to see whether or not all is "hunky-dory" within the inner workings of Canton City Council.

The SCPR thinks not.

But time will tell as to whether or not the Mariol/Morris competition erupts into open warfare on the floor of Canton City Council during the 2018/2019 term of council.

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