Thursday, April 5, 2018


"the NFL has contributed tens of millions of dollars to various [PFHOF] projects."

Where's the Beef, Todd?  (documented facts?)

After all, your bosses are sticklers for verifiable facts, no?

Basic Reporting 101, no?


Out of its own mouth—THE OFFICIAL NEWSPAPER OF THE PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME—The Canton Repository Editorial Board indicts itself as being ethically challenged in terms of credibility as a source for "no holds barred" news about the Professional Football Hall of Fame (PFHOF) village expansion project (HOF-VP).

For those of us in the media who do incisive reporting and editorializing, the likes of  Repository publisher James Porter, his cousin and "special projects editor" Todd Porter (a former sports reporter) and executive editor Rich Desrosiers (a former sports reporter) combine with others so as to constitute a journalistic anathema on a journalism ethics plane.

Apparently, Jim Porter's main journalistic skill is trying to bully elected Stark County officials who question his drive to impose aspects of the HOF-VP project onto the backs of the tax paying Stark County/Ohio public.

Why don't his sycophantic editors report/opine on "the facts" of Porter's bullying of Stark County elected officials?

When the Repository's "official" nexus was formed with the PFHOF on Thursday, June 9, 2016, such was but a public acknowledgement of what The Stark County Political Report thinks was an ethical slide that "unofficially" began with this:

There is "a fine line" between advocacy and becoming part and parcel of the cause advocated for, no?

When such a merger occurs, who is left to ask critical questions bearing on accountability/transparency in a county in which there is a one-newspaper-countywide-paper, ergo "monopolistic" journalistic setting?

On June 9, 2016, The Canton Repository became indistinguishable from the HOF-VP and subsequently appear to have formed an "unholy" alliance (in terms of transparency of the inner workings of  the project) with the PFHOF (also HOF Village LLC which includes master developer Stu Lichter) and the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce.

It is beginning to appear that the alliance may have a conspiratorial factor to it in that there is a seeming coordination of "I have your back" factor to it among The Repository, the PFHOF and the CRCC.

And Sunday's editorial polemic in rebuttal of a recent New York Times (March 28, 2018) entry into our local discussion of the viability and accountability (i.e. transparency) of he HOF-VP is a rather blatant "in your face" apologetic likely directed by Publisher Porter to be published by the editors (likely on the lead of Desrosiers) with Todd Porter with egging cousin James on and Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce (CRCC) head Danny Saunier cheering them on.

A sort of "Holy Trinity of the HOF-VP no?

A telling starting point giving substance to the notion of the formation of a "Holy Trinity of the HOF-VP" comes from none other than from Todd Porter, to wit:

By Todd Porter Special Projects Editor 
Posted Sep 13, 2014 at 10:25 PM


Whatever takes shape around George Halas Drive, the NFL wants to be a part of it. The league and the Hall of Fame traditionally have had a mutually beneficial relationship, and the NFL has contributed tens of millions of dollars to various projects.

“It’s beyond a symbolic relationship,” Goodell said. “I actually think we have a special relationship that continues to get deeper, and I think it will with David and Randy Hunt (the new chairman of the Hall of Fame’s board of trustees). If our owners are more actively involved in the entire planning process and focus, I think our support going forward is not just showing rah-rah support, which we will, but we’d also like to play a role in how this comes out, and do it in a way that will be good for the Hall of Fame, for Canton and for the NFL.”

No doubt, the "unholy" triumvirate is feeling the heat from the greater Stark County taxpaying public as represented by North Canon mayor David Held and the Stark County commissioners as exemplified in:
  • Held's figuratively "the emperor (the HOF-VP Holy Trinity), he has no clothes"  at the Holy Trinity instigated "Strengthening Stark" meeting of central Stark County elected/appointed officials on January 6, 2018, and

  • the Stark County commissioners' (as exemplified by commission president Janet Creighton) resisting "intense" Holy Trinity pressure to initiate a HOF-VP included sales tax ballot initiative

The main import and value of the NY Times piece is to highlight the deep sixing by the aforementioned trio of any meaningful inquiry into the scope of taxpayer resources being put into the HOF-VP and accounting to the public for the use thereof.

It is interesting to note the editorial's reference to "a national media outlet" coming to town.

Is this indicative of the venom that perhaps jealousy The Canton Repository bigs have for the New York Times?

And also for local media; namely, WHBC and likely the weekly "The Week that Was" host Joe Palmisano.

The SCPR feels in good company alongside HOF-VP critics (i.e. the NY Times and WHBC)  though unrefered to by the "effete" snobs who make up the leadership of The Rep's editorial board.

Many times over in the ten years of  the publication of the one-person Stark County Political Report, this blogger has shown up (not by intention but by high quality work product) the self-important ilk of the Porters and Desrosiers and others who have inhabited the third floor of 500 Market Avenue, South.

A number of years ago Repository reporter Robert Wang told The Report that The Stark County Political Report (at least then) was hated by his bosses.

This blogger has little reason to doubt that the venomous (so unbecoming of a main stream media outlet) attitude towards the SCPR continues and, even, perhaps, accentuated.

It appears that the local "private sector" cabal wants its cake (public funding of a private project) and and eat it, too in the sense of hiding public money's use deep, deep, deep into the abyss of a poorly thought out or non existent plan applied as emergency financial band aids to piecemeal to whomever screams the loudest so as for the HOF-VP to live another day.

From what the SCPR sees, the administration/management of the HOF-VP has been a chaotic, helter-skelter operation, a description of which the editors of The Repository given its "official" relationship with the PFHOF will never, ever allow taxpayers to see.

For CRCC president Denny Saunier to lecture Stark County officials for the need to plan for Stark's economic development at what appears to be a HOF-VP Holy Trinity combine initiative (i.e. Strengthen Stark, January, 2018) is more than a bit hypocritical.

Saunier in his CRCC role undoubtedly is "knee-deep" in one of the sorriest pre-planning efforts that Stark County has ever witnessed as has been foisted by the HOF-VP folks going back to the arrival of C. David Baker on January 2, 2014, if not before.

On April 19th, the CRCC has scheduled financier Michael Klein (whose company was involved in cobbling together a "bridge loan of some six/twelve months to be repaid with millions of dollars of interest) to deal with explaining/justifying to those who can afford to spend $100 per ticket and/or are willing to suspend their critical faculties.

And, undoubtedly, The Repository, in its role of being bosom-buddies with the CRCC and the PFHOF folks, will be provided with "front row seats" from which to report on what Klein has to say.

Who knows, there may even be a journalistic "dog and pony" show in which a Repository reporter will be afforded an aside Q&A session with Klein.

But given the special "official" relationship of The Rep/HOF-VP, there is absolutely no way the editors will allow any "per chance" penetrating question see "the light of 'journalist' day."

There are those of us who do media work in Stark County who consistently pose incisive questioning to various Stark County public officials and publish the answers "word for word" unscreened by an editor.

The SCPR has to believe that The Repository reporters ask probing questions and get some telling answers.  But who believes that editors/publisher who concoct an "official" relationship with a subject of journalistic inquiry (in this case the HOF-VP) will ever, ever, ever allow such Q&As to get published.

The Report not that long ago had an e-mail exchange with Desrosiers in which he tried to hide behind a reporter in contending with this blogger on the inadequacy of a Repository report of a Port Authority meeting.

This blogger told Desrosiers that his defense of the reporter was likely a "red herring" in that he and his editorial subordinates filter raw reporting for what the editors decide will and will not make it through to print.

Consistent with an unseemly self-concept of being an important person, in the e-mail exchange, he let be known that he would be willing to have a telephone conversation with the SCPR.

This blogger being 75 years old with tons and tons of more life experience than Desrosiers and having a history of rubbing shoulders with many Stark County/Ohio and even national high flyers, was unimpressed and declined the seemingly gracious Desrosiers' extended offer.

Of course, Desrosiers and his type are used to folks seeking them out and consequently develop the notion that it is a privilege and honor for one to have the opportunity to engage them.

Well, Editor Desrosiers this blogger is not one of those persons.

The SCPR has plenty to do and does not need another night out covering via the SCPR video camera government and public figures in action.

Nonetheless, the SCPR requested a couple of days ago that Saunier as president of the CRCC permit The Report to cover Kleins observations and, hopefully, in the mix get some one-on-one time with him.

The request:

The response:

Having no illusions that Saunier will reverse the Chamber's exclusion of the SCPR, The Report nonetheless loges a protest, to wit:

The overriding questions that need to be put to the Holy Trinity of the HOF-VP include:
  • What are you folks afraid of?  
  • What are you hiding from the Stark County/Ohio taxpaying public who has put millions of dollars into the HOF-VP with precious little transparency/accountability?
Many leadership Stark Countians believe that Baker being brought to Stark was no happenstance.

Baker to the SCPR is all puff and very little if any substance in that he has a spellbinding personality about him that is effective to get otherwise skeptical people to suspend their critical faculties and do whatever Baker and his consorts (in this instance The Repository editorial board and the CRCC) direct.

The very notion of an ethically challenged newspaper enterprise in the voice of its editorial board "setting the record straight" on a project that it is fully invested in takes a lot of hubris.

These folks wouldn't know the facts (despite their insider status) if they hit them square in the face.

There are many, many, many instances since January 2, 2014 and the coming of C. David Baker and Stu Lichter on the scene that the SCPR has been complained to that The Repository hasn't reported this or that about the HOF-VP.

It appears that James Porter, Todd Porter and Rich Desrosiers have a full blown case of hubris as manifested in thinking "they alone" are the deciders-in-chief as to what is fact and what is fiction or in determining what the Stark County taxpaying public gets to know or not to know.

Now that they appear to have bitten off more than they can chew (i.e. the New York Times), will Gatehouse Media be taking any of our locals "to the woodshed?"

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