Tuesday, July 31, 2018




Many people of "power" cultivate mastery through the use of fear.

Of Watergate writing fame, Bob Woodward then of the Washington Post is reportedly on the cusp of releasing a new tome entitled:  "Fear:  Trump in  the White House" on  September 11th (an interesting date in and of itself, no?)

Politicians are particularly prone to "to put the fear of God" at work against those who criticize, oppose, question or resist them.

Newspaper editors/publishers?

Not so much!

Most leaders in the industry are for "let[ting] the sunshine in" coupled with "let the chips fall where they may" in celebration of industry-wide Sunshine Week in March of each year.

Except, apparently, in the context of thinking of The Canton Repository leadership.

Yesterday, Cleveland.com published an article with describes the critical role that quality newspaper discharge in terms of being a community watchdog.  Readers should step aside, click on this LINK and read the article, to wit:

Especially culpable on the delelection of "watchdogging", the SCPR thinks is Repository publisher James Porter.

The SCPR believes Porter more than anyone else at The Rep orchestrated local paper becoming "the official newspaper of the Professional Football Hall of Fame and thereby put readers on notice to be highly skeptical of information or more likely, lack thereof, on accountability of public monies spent on the HOF-VP and whether or not those monies will have a sufficient "return on investment" to justify the risk of "opportunity cost" be lost on more worthy projects.

Of course, we all hope the HOF-VP succeeds at a "realistic" level, but not at the price of the lack of transparency for the public side investment in the project. 

If private sector financiers want to take on a undue risk, more power to them and the HOF managers!

Probably about ten years ago, more or less, the Repository executive editor David Kaminski (since retired) wrote a line (equating The Rep to an 800 lb. gorilla) that struck The Stark County Political Report as uncharacteristic of "come let us reason together" types that staff the editorial/publisher positions of America's leading newspapers.

It appears that current publisher James Porter fully embraces Kaminski's characterization.

On what the SCPR considers to be highly reliable sources, The Report believes that Porter had Stark County prosecutor John Ferrero "quaking in his boots" recently when word got out that a member of his staff as his legal counsel had advised Stark County treasurer Alex Zumbar not to sign a tax lien agreement that the Hall of Fame Village proponents were insisting upon.

On July 8, 2018 Publisher Porter wrote, in part:
This happened this past week. County Commissioner Bill Smith, County Prosecutor John Ferraro  (sic - actually "Ferrero") and Visit Canton Executive Vice President of Marketing & Communications Tonja Marshall all mentioned to me in recent days they want to make a difference. 
A county prosecutor who is willing to meet with individuals and groups to cut through the “red tape” when necessary is a powerful asset to our community. 
Bringing the current county treasurer to the table might be a tough task for anyone, though.
Note:  capitalization/text color change added for emphasis sake

Apparently, Ferrero contacted Porter with a:  "Are you mad at me?" inquiry.

So it seems that Porter has left a significant part of his conversation out of his July 8th column.


Hence a ensuing conversation likely occurred (reported in "bits and pieces) in which Ferrero must have pledged his undying loyalty to The Repository's (the self-described "official newspaper of the Pro Football Hall of Fame") quest to jam the HOF-VP down everybody's throat in terms of:
  • not abiding questioning the missing accountability of how public money is being spent, 
  • not abiding questioning the missing accountability of how a $424 million project has turned into a $1 billion plus (including Fawcett Stadium [now Tom Benson] rehab from $22 million to at least $139 million) project "right under the noses" of public bodies (e.g. the Stark County Port Authority), public officials (e.g. members of the Canton City Board of Education)
  • not examining the overall viability of the HOF-VP given the very, very, very public discussion of INADEQUATE private sector financing which has led to Stark County based (and others, of course) contractors not being timely paid with some $11 million in debt still lingering
Hence through the medium of one James Porter The Repository playing the role of Kaminski's 800 pound gorilla which buy ink by the barrel.

Apparently, Prosecutor Ferrero has been intimidated.

Accordingly, Ferrero bears watching on how he exercises his authority as county prosecutor vis-a-vis his staff members when it comes to dealing with "the red tape" (which, likely, is in place to protect taxpayer interests) touching on the HOF-VP.

What Porter ought to be pressed on is how does he defines "red tape?"  Does it include an attorney having the professional independence to provide advice and legal support for the likes of Alex Zumbar when such is at odds with the interests of the HOF-VP?

The SCPR has learned that Porter has threatened to use the editorial power of The Rep to unseat Zumbar the next time he comes up for election which of course is consistent with Porter donning the "800 lb. gorilla" mantle.

The SCPR thinks Plain Local School District superintendent has also been strong armed by Porter (May denies such) by virtue of Plain having filed a complaint (later withdrawn) on Stark County auditor Alan Harold "unrealistic" (in the view of the SCPR) appraisal of Tom Benson Stadium for purposes of establishing the baseline for Canton City Schools and Plain Schools collecting property taxes for education purposes on HOF property going forward.

In any event, perhaps a pertinent question in light of GateHouse Media LLC having purchased The Columbus Dispatch and The Akron Beacon Journal, that Porter might ought to be asking himself is:  How long will The Repository continue to exist in his current, stand-alone, form?

It has to be tempting on the part of GateHouse to consolidate the Canton/Akron news demographic and save tons of money without any appreciable change in the quality/quantity of coverage by Porter's operation, no?

Who knows?

Perhaps one day GateHouse's coverage of all of its current major holdings in Ohio might be known as "Ohio Today" with The Columbus Dispatch being the cornerstone of the flagship-esque publication?

Kudos to Commissioners Creighton, Regula (who, the SCPR has good reason to believe, has been told by HOF-VP C. David Baker he needs to resign for comments he made on the HOF-VP to the NY Times), Treasurer Zumbar for standing their ground as "protecting the public interest" on HOF-VP issues as they intersect with the private sector interests of HOF Village LLC (a partnership of the National Football Museum, Inc. [dba the Professional Football Hall of Fame] and master developer Stu Lichter's IRG).

Friday, July 27, 2018


"If elected and Democrats control U.S. House, I will  not vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker"


The last two days in the campaign trail have been tough ones for Ohio 7th Congressional District candidate Ken Harbaugh.

On Wednesday, he was in Knox County at the fair grounds (Mount Vernon) showing that he could ride "rough" trucks with the best of them at the annual Knox County Fair Rough Trucks! event.

Little did he know that a rough, rough, rough political campaign ride was in his future on Thursday (last night) when one of the more than 80 people who showed up at his Edward L. "Peel" Coleman Southeast Community Center on Sherrick Road, SE in Canton challenged him on his distancing himself from former Democratic Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi when the Democrats last controlled the House.

Harbaugh reiterated last night his position that if elected in November, he will not support Pelosi for speaker if Democrats win control of the U.S. House.

And, the SCPR figures that if Harbaugh defeats incumbent (since 2013) Republican Bob Gibbs in November, it is highly likely that Democrats will have won enough seats to take control.

Organized Republicans have used Pelosi as a political whipping girl for years now.

From a CNN article:

Why Pelosi?

The focus on Pelosi comes in part because she's the only figure in Democratic politics who is universally known and detested on the right.

In 2010, it was Pelosi and then-President Barack Obama. Years later, it was Pelosi, Obama and then-top Senate Democrat Harry Reid. Now, with Obama and Reid gone, Republicans have occasionally tried latching Democratic senators to Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren, with mixed results. But the Pelosi attacks on the House side have been consistent for years.

And the Pelosi matter was not all the "the rough 'political' ride" Harbaugh experienced last night.

The challenger walked out of the Town Hall meeting uttering the F*** word and signaling other attendees with "the middle finger" as she left the room.

The video:  (6 min, 43 sec)

As can be seen, Harbaugh kept his composure and moved on.

While not nearly as caustic as the pro-Pelosi challenger was, there were a number of acerbic observations/questions directed at Harbaugh by the SCPR thinks were political progressives who apparently think that Harbaugh is too much of a centrist.

As The Stark County Political Report sees it, Harbaugh's approach is exactly what is needed if  he is to be elected as part of the larger effort of Democrats taking control of the House in this year's election.

Kudos to Harbaugh for taking the risk of an outburst like he experienced last night.  Such, unfortunately, is all to common in the political environment especially since the 2016 presidential campaign.

His opponent Bob Gibbs wouldn't let the SCPR into his Shelby, Ohio Town Hall of several months ago and the primary plan of The Report was to videotape the meeting and, hopefully, ask Gibbs a few follow up questions after his exchange with audience members was concluded.

But Gibbs is so utterly insecure that he was unwilling to abide the SCPR's presence.

Seventh (7th) Congressional District voters should note Gibbs avoidance of uncertain interactions with the public and the media as a sign that he does not have the "mettle" to handle what Ken Harbaugh did last night.

Here is the entire video of last night's Town Hall (1 hour, 31 sec).

Thursday, July 26, 2018



Entire Howard Interview in Appendix

As countywide issues go, the campaign financing report (CFR; pre-election) showing $111,000* in campaign contributions for Issue 1 - the Stark County Education Service Center formulated 1.49 mill property tax levy that 14 of 17 (not Canton City, Canton Local and Perry) Stark County school district voters will be voting on in a little over a week (early voting, absentee voting in progress) in a August 7th special election costing $300,400 is somewhat surprising to The Stark County Political Report (SCPR, The Report).

* NOTE:  See entire CFR in Appendix.

As a comparison, the May, 2017 Stark County commissioners' promoted Justice System Sales Tax (JSST, replacing a 1/2 cent tax voted in by Stark Countians in November, 2011) show the following:


The "Keep Kids Safe" (KKS) Issue 1 folks have out-fund-raised the Yes! For Stark (YFS) advocates by more that $2 to every $1 raised by YFS.

With that kind of advantage, one might think that Issue #1 will pass with ease.  Maybe even by a higher plurality that for the JSST.

Could it be that the JSST (also a public safety issue) was assigned Issue 1 in the May 2, 2017 election cycle be a "good" omen for Issue 1 on August 7th?


But the SCPR thinks it is unlikely, if it wins at all, that Issue 1 in the August 7th election cycle, will be a lot closer that 70% plus in favor.

The Report hears that an area informal, unscientific poll involving only several hundred persons (who may or may not being in a voting district or who are unlikely to vote in this election) shows the issue losing about 67% to 33%.

If the issue wins, it is unlikely to be by a 70% to 30% margin.  By the same token, if it loses it is not likely it will be by a 67% to 33% margin.

The Report thinks either way, the margin will be much tighter.

For their part, the Keep Kids Safe Committee headed by retired (2016)  Stark County Court of Common Pleas judge Michael Hower would likely settle for any margin of victory.

Today, the SCPR sat down with Judge Howard and conducted an exhaustive interview that focused on arguments being made in opposition to passage to the levy.

However, as readers will see, the SCPR provided Judge Howard with ample opportunity to "make the case" for the safety of Stark County school kids.   Also a part of levy effort is Brown Local (Carroll), Strasburg Local (Tuscarawas) and Dalton Local (Wayne).

At the end of this blog in the appendix is the "entire" video recording of the SCPR's interview with Judge Howard.  Also, in the appendix is a copy of the "entire" Keep Kids Safe CFR and Judge Howard's resume.

Moreover, here are links to previous SCPR blogs on Issue 1 which readers should read to give context to today's blog.
Recognizing that many readers do not have the time to sit and watch the "entire" (in the Appendix) Howard interview, the SCPR will over the next several days be adding "segmented" video of hopefully five minutes or less clips of the questions that The Report posed to Judge Howard.

Here is a list of "opposition to Issue 1" arguments posed to Judge Howard:

Opposition #1 - Cannot support a "continuing" levy and concomitant "lack of structural accountability"

Opposition #2 - Public has had its fill with levy efforts (Perry)

Opposition #3 - We have our own plan in implementation (CCS)

Opposition #4 - Do not want to be a donor district (Canton Local)

Opposition #5 - No "real" opportunity for public to have input (Fonte)

Opposition #6 - Taxation without representation (e.g. city districts do not participate in SCESC elections nor can a city district resident run for the SCESC board)

Opposition #7 - $300,400 expense of the "special" election

Opposition #8 - Rumors:

1. School districts who are part of the participating district make up (14 of 17 Stark County Districts) voting "no" still will pay the tax although receiving benefits.

2. School districts opting not to particpate (e.g. CCS, Canton Local, Perry Local) in the 1.49 mill levy effort will still, if it passes in an overall vote count, will in the event of overall "yes" vote covering all the participating districts in the vote be drafted into participation.

3. All of Carroll (Brown, Carroll Exempted Village), Summit(Green), Tuscarawas (Strasburg) and Wayne (Dalton)will be voting Issue #1


The entire Judge Mike Howard interview on Issue 1 (School Security/Mental Health Resources levy).

Judge Howard's resume:

Judge Michael L. Howard, RetiredStark County Court of Common PleasFamily Court DivisionJudge Michael Howard served for thirty years at Stark County Family Court in Stark County, Ohio, before retiring on December 31, 2016.  

Judge Howard worked as an intake officer, Magistrate and Chief Magistrate before being electedJudge in 2004. 

As Judge, he presided over both the juvenile and domestic relations cases. 

Judge Howard is a member of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) Advisory Board, its Justice Consortium, and he servered as a lecturer for the NCTSN Center for Trauma Recovery and Juvenile Justice. He has contributed to NCTSN trauma reference guides and bench cards designed for judges and juvenile justice professionals.

Judge Howard is co-author of three journal articles: "Children Who Have Been Traumatized: One Court's Response", published in the Autumn 2008 edition of the Juvenile and Family Court Journal, “Complex Trauma and Mental Health in Children and Adolescents Placed in Foster Care: Findings from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network” which appeared in the 2011 special issue of the Child Welfare Journal, and “Trauma Exposure, Psychiatric Disorders, and Resiliency in Juvenile-Justice-Involved Youth” published in the July 2013 edition of Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy.In retirement, 

Judge Howard continues to act as a community convener, focusing on programs that help children achieve success and avoid delinquent behavior. 

Judge Howard serves as co-chair of the Stark County Trauma and Resiliency Committee, working to make all child-serving systems trauma-responsive. Judge Howard is an active community volunteer serving on multiple boards and committees, including the Stark Education Partnership, the United Way of Greater Stark County, the Early Childhood Resource Center, the Care Team Executive Committee, and the Stark County Bar Association Family Law and Citizenship Committee

Keep Kids Safe CFR (campaign finance report):

Monday, July 23, 2018


CORRECTION (07/24/2018):  "WHBC 1480," not 1450 as originally and erroneously reported

The United States of America is a "rule of law" nation NOT "a rule of a man/woman" nation.

At the national level, America is undergoing an assault on the "rule of law" at the hand of our president.

Distressingly, we Stark Countians of the state of Ohio, too, are undergoing what The Stark County Political Report (SCPR, The Report) believes to be an assault of the "rule of law" at the hand of the publisher of The Repository and certain officials in charge of the National Football Museum, Inc. dba the Professional Football Hall of Fame  (HOF, HOF-VP).

This blogger has done a search of the extensive archives of SCPR blogs going back to December, 2014 and it appears that The Report was the very first to question the accountability/viability of the HOF of Fame Village Project (HOF-VP), to wit:

"What's next?"  (taken from the title of the 12/04/2014 blog title)

Here is a SCPR interview with Baker immediately following the Healy address:

Well, what started according to HOF-VP president/CEO C. David Baker was to be a $22 million Fawcett Stadium renovation (now named Tom Benson Stadium in recognition of the New Orleans Saints owner's $10/11 million contribution to the rehab) has turned into a $139, $150, $171 or $250 million dollar project (depending whose number one believes).

Along the way, a joint effort of HOF master developer Stuart Lichter (who was in Baker's office within days of Baker being appointed by the HOF Board of Trustees on January 2, 2014) and the HOF under the limited liability name of HOF Village LLC (HOF LLC):
  • The Repository threw in with the project as "The Official Newspaper of the Pro Football Hall of Fame" (LINK) in June 2016,
    • Note: to the credit of Local 1,  Newspaper Guild (LINK), concerns were raised by The Rep's union members about the ability of union member reporters to report candidly about the HOF-VP,
  • the August, 2016 annual pro football opening exhibition game had to be canceled (LINK) which resulted in the filing of a lawsuit on June 22, 2018 against the HOF Village Stadium LLC among others, 
  • in early 2018, millions of dollars liens were filed by a number of contractors against HOF owned properties (LINK),
  • C. David Baker bounces around town blaming the Stark County commissioners' inaction of HOF demands for the failure of HOF Village LLC to timely pay contractors,
  • a flap developed between HOF officials and minority contractors (LINK) building a parking lot close by Benson Stadium, and
  • the project stands stalled as a New York sited reputed financial expert is reportedly (LINK) scouring private sector financial circles for "permanent" money to move forward with the HOF-VP while the project lives for the moment on a reported "up-to-$100 million 'bridge' (hence temporary [up to one year] loan,
The foregoing is a recitation to significant events in the HOF-VP saga so that readers can refresh themselves with a grasp of the status of this troubled project.
    This particular blog is a follow up to WHBC's Joe Palmisano and his "The Week that Was" weekly show that includes a hearty diet of programming which focuses on Stark County issues.
    • Note:  The SCPR has been a guest on Palmisano's show on two occasions in recent weeks
    On July 21st, Palmisano had Stark County treasurer Alex Zumbar and North Canton mayor David Held in to deal with the issue of The Repository's and the HOF musceling down on those of us who have had the audacity to:
    • follow the "rule of law" (Zumbar) in the treasurer's official relationship with those who are zealous for the HOF-VP to succeed, and
    • question (Held) master developer Stuart Lichter's use of public monies on various projects he is involved with including North Canton's Hoover Company complex, and, of course,
    • demand an accounting for public monies spent in the SCPR's case (regarding this blogger's appearances on the Palmisano show)
    Quoting relevant parts to the HOF matter of his column to this blog, on July 8, 2018, Publisher James Porter, who obviously takes his marching orders from C. David Baker and Stuart Lichter,  had this to say:

    Jim Porter: Everything can change overnight

    By Jim Porter / Repository publisher & CEO
    Posted Jul 8, 2018 at 4:51 AM

    . . .

    Where am I going with this? I was told this week, by a person who read my column last week on leadership, to be patient, that things do not change overnight.

    Really? Ask the Cavs. Our beloved basketball team is going through massive change for the third time in a handful of years.

    With the right leader(s) in place and the correct diagnosis of the problem, things can change quickly. And folks, we need change. Soon.

    I have no intentions of using this column every week to write about the woes of our county and the few leaders who cannot get out of their own way or who refuse to leave their personal agendas behind. We are all hoping to see signs of people who will rise to the occasion, people who will say “enough is enough.”

    This happened this past week. County Commissioner Bill Smith, County Prosecutor John Ferraro and Visit Canton Executive Vice President of Marketing & Communications Tonja Marshall all mentioned to me in recent days they want to make a difference. After in-depth conversations with each, I am convinced they can form the core we need to recruit other leaders to help create change.

    A county commissioner doing things for the right reasons will make a world of difference when working with developers on projects like ComDoc, Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village, the new Gervasi Hotel, the Malone project — and I could go on and on. (By the way, we could use some help with the McKinley Grand Hotel.)

    A county prosecutor who is willing to meet with individuals and groups to cut through the “red tape” when necessary is a powerful asset to our community. Bringing the current county treasurer to the table might be a tough task for anyone, though.

    A marketing professional has the awesome job and responsibility to build our tourism industry, with magnets such as Gervasi Vineyards, The Pro Football Hall of Fame and Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village, McKinley Monument, Massillon Museum, National First Ladies’ Museum and many others. Her commitment to assisting positive change and bringing people together is extremely important.

    These three join the likes of Randy Gonzalez, Jackson Township fiscal officer and economic development director; Maria Heege, president and CEO of our local United Way; Denny Saunier who leads the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce; Bob and Linda DeHoff, owners of Dehoff Realtors and Development; Ray Hexamer from the Stark Economic Development Board; Tom Bernabei, mayor of Canton; Fonda Williams, deputy mayor of the city of Canton; David Baker, president and CEO of the Pro Football Hall of Fame; Chris Smith, majority leader of Canton City Council; Joe Chaddock superintendent of Stark County Education Service Center (ESC); Frank Forchione, Stark County Common Pleas judge; and Rich Desrosiers, executive editor of this newspaper.

    This is an all-star team. I will take this lineup against anybody, including the new Cavs.

    . . .

    Note:  The SCPR added large print and in the case of Porter's statement on Stark County treasurer Alex Zumbar for emphasis sake inasmuch as the emphasized material is the focus of this blog.  Also, see Appendix this blog for a link to the entire Palmisano interview with Zumbar and Held.

    First, a SCPR comment on Porter's failure to use "the current Stark County treasurer['s] name.  

    Undoubtedly, this was done as a subtle attempt to derogate Treasurer Zumbar from the group Porter cites by name.  

    The SCPR thinks that in holding fast to "the rule of law" by Zumbar deserves accolades and notice by name as contrasted to Porter's description of Stark County prosecutor John Ferrero as: 

    A county prosecutor who is willing to meet with individuals and groups to cut through the “red tape” when necessary is a powerful asset to our community. 


    It is likely that Porter and his "official" friends at the HOF think that Zumbar's stand on not approving a tax lien agreement is an unwillingness to cut through "red tape" which is this instance happens to be the basis of statutory law of Ohio which has been interpreted by one of Ferrero's assistant prosecutors to forbid Zumbar from bending to the will of Porter and friends.

    Here is the "actual agreement" that Zumbar on the advice of the prosecutor's office says he cannot sign and be in compliance with Ohio Law:

    And here is the Zumbar letter to The Repository challenging Porter's dissing of his determination to be a "rule of law" public official: (Note:  The SCPR has had a copy of the letter since July 13th and has been waiting to give Porter an opportunity to respond.

    Note:  So far as The Report has learned, there has been discussion between Zumbar and Porter (via Desrosiers) on whether or not The Rep will publish the letter.  It appears that the thinking at The Rep is that it will only publish with its response)

    Obviously, Prosecutor Ferrero and Zumbar's taxpayer provided assistant prosecutor do not think the repeated demand by Porter and his HOF friends is "red tape."

    It is a very dangerous thing for the stability of our society for the publisher of Stark County's only print media outlet (a monopoly folks, The Rep is a Stark Countywide newsprint monopoly) to be pressing (as it appears to the SCPR that Porter et al are doing in pressing Zumbar) anyone—let alone a sworn under oath elected public official to support the constitutions of the United States of America and Ohio and the laws promulgated thereunder —to violate Ohio law.

    Not long ago Porter was chiding the Stark County commissioners' on his suspicion that the  commissioners' office is the source of leaks on non-executive session information.

    Isn't that strange?

    Can one imagine a national publication, let's say USA Today, not pushing for the dissemination of information that the public ought to know, especially when it is in the possession of a government?

    Maybe just maybe Porter has gotten so unbalanced on his enthusiasm for HOF-VP matter that he needs to step back and recuse himself from having anything whatsoever to do with commenting on the accountability (or lack thereof) of how taxpayer money is being spent on the stadium/HOF-VP and on the viability of a completed nearly $1 billion plus HOF-VP.

    To the SCPR, it is shocking that a guy who obviously sees himself as a Stark County leader to be so irresponsible.

    Where are those other Stark County leaders (start with Porter's own list) in counseling Porter, Saunier and Baker to tone it down?  

    Where have they and the HOF Board of Trustees been as HOF top gun C. David Baker billed as being in March, 2015 (see photo above) a $22 million stadium rehab project has turned into what even The Repository says is at least a $139 million rehab?

    And for added measure, throw Porter himself into the mix!

    This is America.  We question the use of taxpayer money and demand that it be spent for vouched for in accordance with the "rule of law."  And when we find that the law has been violated we hold the offenders (no matter who they might be) accountable.

    Of all people, C. David Baker should understand accountability before the law (LINK).

    The SCPR believes that Baker is likely the primary person who is pushing Zumbar to do what Zumbar's lawyer is telling him he cannot legally do.

    When tax dollars are involved, public officials who have any financial/economic development infrastructure connection whatsoever (including Canton City School officials and Plain Local School district officials) with the HOF-VP, they owe it to the Stark County public to speak out like Alex Zumbar and North Canton mayor David Held have done.

    Here is an excerpt from the Palmisano interview of Zumbar and Held:  Palmisano's summarization of the controversy.

    The SCPR lauds Zumbar and Held for outing the skullduggery that seems to be going on in an unholy alliance between The Repository, the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce and the HOF-VP folks.

    Joe Palmisano and a those in charge at WHBC 1480 are behaving the way a news organization ought to be conducting themselves.

    The Repository's head is not.

    Palmisano has it right in saying that we all hope that the HOF-VP succeeds at some level despite the fumbling and bumbling of Baker, Lichter, Saunier and Porter.

    On top of abrogating its responsibility to its readership as spin off of having "an official relationship with the HOF, it appears to The Report that Porter is playing a role of being Stark County's "divider-in-chief" as evidenced by his differentiating Commissioner Bill Smith from his fellow commissioners Janet Creighton and Richard Regula.

    A player in this scenario, the SCPR has learned from several sources,  by virtue of his telling Commissioner Regula he needed to resign because of his critical comments in a New York Times article about the NFL wanting taxpayers to pick up the tab for the likes of the HOF-VP.

    Regula is reported to have apologized to the NFL.


    Hell would freeze over before the SCPR would apologize for what many Americans, Ohioans and Stark Countians think is the unmitigated truth.

    The person who ought to be apologizing is The Repository's James Porter.

    Porter, who reportedly has worked himself up from the bowels of The Repository, apparently has worked himself into a position that is above his level of competence.

    For many of us Stark Countians, his leadership (if that is what one calls it) and being part of the decision to make The Repository "the official newspaper of the Professional Football Hall of Fame" is dragging the credibility of this newspaper on the HOF-VP matter to about as low as it can get!

    Shame on James Porter for trying to show up Treasurer Zumbar to adherin the "the rule of law."

    "Praise be" for the Alex Zumbars, David Helds and Joe Palmisanos of Stark County for supporting "the rule of law."

    The "rule of law" may be in jeopardy in some circles of those who fancy themselves as being Stark County leaders but Stark County treasurer Alex Zumbar is proving to be an "actual" promoter of lawfulness in his stand against Baker et al.


    Even though it runs for more than a hour, the SCPR encourages readers to invest the time to fully understand entire WHBC 1480 NEWSTALK podcast of the July 21st Palmisano interview of Alex Zumbar and David held (LINK).

    Thursday, July 19, 2018


    UPDATED:  9:45 AM


    The "favoring a Republican Party candidate" political index is about +12 in Ohio's 7th Congressional District.

    In very blunt terms, Democrat candidate Ken Harbaugh is going to have to win traditionally Republican votes in order to unseat three term incumbent Republican Bob Gibbs on November 6, 2018.

    Harbaugh appears to be doing everything right in terms of:
    • having gotten out into the public early on with his candidacy (June 2, 2017),
    • being competitive with Gibbs in campaign financing and accepting no PAC campaign financing in contrast to Gibbs who gets almost all his money from PACs/corporations,
    • having a first rate campaign staff run by his highly politically skilled wife Annmarie that is working the phone and door-to-door at a frenetic pace,
    • pretty much on the go 24/7 with campaign appearances throughout the district, and
    • focusing on Stark, Lorain, Medina and Tuscarawas counties which constitute the controlling vote as to whom gets elected in the 7th
    Nevertheless, as The Stark County Political Report sees this race it is much like that in Ohio's 12th Congressional District in which a Washington Post article identifies a winnable on August 7, 2018 by the Democratic candidate (O'Connor) over the Republican candidate on the retirement before his current term expired Republican congressman Pat Tiberi on January 15, 2018.

    Tiberi was re-elected in 2016 by nearly a 40% margin in a district that went 11.5% for Trump  and had been in Congress since January, 2001.

    While a Cleveland.com article today cites polls which show Balderson with a 5/10 lead, Kyle Kondik of the University of Virginia Sabato Chrystal Ball indicates that O'Connor could still pull off an upset.

    So how is it that Democrat Danny O'Connor has a chance to take this Republican seat over Republican candidate Troy Balderson who is a longtime state legislator?

    In a word:  TRUST that seems to exist between O'Connor and Balderson.

    This is how the Post article put it:

    “Bashing Trump is not going to win the election for Danny,” said Zack Space, a former Democratic congressman and current candidate for state auditor, whose old district included parts of the new 12th District. “What wins the election is if people trust him. He’s done a good job distancing himself from the powers that be.”

    To the SCPR, it sounds a lot like the Ken Harbaugh campaign and what it needs to do in order to unseat Gibbs.

    The Report has covered three Harbaugh campaign events beginning with his March 15, 2018 appearance at a Town Hall meeting at the Canton Veterans of Foreign Wars post.  The Harbaugh campaign seems highly transparent and accepting of media and the general public in contrast to the Gibbs campaign.

    Here is what a Republican attending Monday night's education roundtable discussion had to say about the session:

    "He has a competent amount of charisma and a friendly gift of gab.  He displayed good people skills, telling his own story but also listening.  He gave background of his philosophy but little concrete personal policy vision.  Of course, this meeting was billed as a round table discussion, not a chest thumper."

    This blogger has tried repeatedly to get access to the Gibbs campaign even to the point to being willing to travel some 80 miles to Shelby, Ohio in April, 2018 at which he denied SCPR access.

    Last night the SCPR was at Harbaugh education forum held at the Stark County District Library's Perry-Sippo branch beginning at 6:00 p.m.

    As at other Harbaugh campaign events covered by the SCPR, the candidate reeks of political authenticity.  And, one can see in the faces of those who came to hear him take questions and intently listen to the comments/observations of those in the audience that the actually believe this guy is a "country over party" politician.  A rare, rare, rare commodity these days.

    Like O'Connor in the 12th, Harbaugh has said that if elected he will not vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the United States House of Representative.

    And like O'Connor, Harbaugh (in the words of former Congressman Zack Space): Ken Harbaugh, so far, has done a good job distancing himself from the [Democratic Party] powers that be.

    Exactly, the type of person the SCPR covets running for public office whether the candidate be a  Democrat or Republican.

    Here is Harbaugh in his own words when implicitly being urged to play political hardball in advancing traditional "organized" Democratic Party positions in dealing with 7th District campaign issues. (2 min 56 sec)

    As readers know, this blogger pays no attention at all as measure of the person whether a given candidate is a Republican or a Democrat.  The only term in identifying context that catches the attention of the SCPR is "independent" as in former Democrat Thomas Bernabei abandoning his longtime Democratic heritage to run against two term, seeking a third term, Democrat William J. Healy, II in November, 2015.

    And even if a candidate/elected office holder wears a party label, such is fine with the SCPR so long as this blogger believes that the person will abandon the political party when the needs of our country, state and local communities demand it.

    As supporters are sometimes wont to do, there was an exchange on Monday evening at Perry-Sippo in which Harbaugh could have played out an all Democratic Party partisan role.

    It was a compliment to the SCPR when he acknowledged the presence of this blogger as he composed himself in responding to a point made by an attendee that could easily devolved into a partisan rant but for his self-control in staying on focus with his "country over party" campaign theme.

    He had to be aware that his Republican opponent has a 96.5% in agreement with the Trump-ized Republican Party according to Nate Silver's 538 blog.

    Harbaugh also has to know that he cannot win "being the consummate partisan" in the 7th Congressional District.

    Here is the video of that exchange.

    As the SCPR nearly always does, the entire Harbaugh education forum is viewable in the appendix section of this blog.  There were a couple of recording glitches due to a tempermental SD card.

    The forum on Monday was attended by about two dozen Stark County educators and a few non-educators.

    One thing that was apparent to The Report from what the educators had to say is that teaching these days is a stressful thing to do and teachers need the support of government at all levels to devise methods, strategies and remedies for what ails American education.

    Here is a LINK to an article by Carolyn Warner originally written in 1992 for a speech she gave at a Summer Leadership Academy which, in 2018, is likely magnified in spades.

    There were a number of exchanges which the SCPR shares with readers for individual attention in this blog.

    First up in SCPR segmented videos on Ken Harbaugh education forum this past Monday is Ken describing his and his wife and his wife's family connection to public education (2 min, 50 sec).

    Next is Candidate Harbaugh speaking on his reaction to the Trump/Putin Summit in Helsinki on Monday the 16th.

    Here is his Twitter post referred to in the video.

    The video (1 min, 20 sec)

    Next:  Ken Harbaugh on what motivated him to run for Congress.

    Next:  What was the origin of campaign theme "Country over Party?"

    Next:  Forum discussion of teachers carrying guns in classroom (5 min 35 sec)

    A week from today, the Harbaugh campaign will be doing another Stark County sited Town Hall meeting.

    Where will Gibbs be over the weekends when he is back in the district from Washington?

    Can anybody in their wildest imagination fathom Bob Gibbs' getting anywhere near southeast Canton with his campaign?

    Not even Stark County native and current Republican state Representative Kirk Schuring (Jackson Township) felt comfortable in Canton during his campaign to succeed Stark's beloved Ralph Regula on Regula's retirement at the end of 2008 when "all of Stark County" was in the 16th Congressional District.

    In his 2008 losing effort against Democrat John Boccieri, Schuring, in a campaign appearance in an Ashland campaign stop, Schuring said this:

    Gibbs likely shares Schuring's view of "the center of Canton" and will not be scheduling a heart of the City of Canton campaign stop in this election cycle, no?

    Nothing on his Facebook/Twitter/Website pages about where he will be this weekend or any other time (e.g. the annual August Congress recess) promoting his campaign for re-relection.

    Of course, it appears that for whatever events he has, the public notice has been and likely will remain very sparse and, of course, only "select" media are allowed access.

    Why is Bob Gibbs hiding from 17th Congressional District voters?

    Will his campaign aloofness make him ex-Congressman Bob Gibbs come November 7, 2018?

    Like O'Connor in the 12th, the SCPR figures that at best Ken Harbaugh has a 50/50 chance to defeat Gibbs.

    A little over three (3) months (111 days) remain until election day November 6, 2018.

    It seems that the Gibbs campaign style is making a Harbaugh victory more and more likely each passing day.

    Stay tuned!


    Here is the entire "unedited" SCPR video of the Harbaugh forum on education issues held by the candidate at the Perry-Sippo branch of the Stark County District Library on Monday, July 16, 2018 lasting 1 hour and 04 minutes;

    Tuesday, July 17, 2018


    UPDATED:  2:28 PM


    The baseline question that Stark Countians living in participating districts (see above)  have to deal with in considering whether or not to vote for Issue 1 is, mainly, from The Stark County Political Report's (SCPR, The Report) perspective is the mental health of a portion of Stark County public school students who offer the potential to turn violent and turn a Stark County school into a Columbine, Chardon, Sandy Hook or Stoneman carnage.

    For a full background on how Issue #1 came to be on the ballot, LINK to this April 24, 2018 SCPR blog.

    And here is a "sample" ballot for the issue:

    Plain Township school officials John Halkias (president of the Plain Local School District and president-elect of the Ohio State School Board Association) and Brent May (beginning his ninth year as superintendent of Plain Local Schools) said nothing to dispel the SCPR's take on the "real" problem with public school security.

    Clearly, the key issue is a mental health issue that has the promise of "preventing" in-school violence/suicide problems.

    Having more armed guards or armed school employees is "stop-gap" at best.

    Here is a copy of the "kick-off" campaign literature piece mailed out within the past few days by the pro-issue-#1 campaign group.

    May, on Thursday, July 12th and Halkias appeared before about two dozen or so "interested-in-school violence issues" citizens at the Stark County Democratic Party Headquarters located in Oakwood Square in Plain Township.

    In the appendix to this blog, the entire session (1 hour, 22 minutes) can be seen.

    May opened the meeting in reciting that since August, 2017 (folks:  a period of less than a year) 15 Stark County public school students have committed suicide.

    A National Institute of Mental Health report (2014) alarmingly says that suicide is the second leading cause of death among teens but does temper the alarm in adding that teen suicide "still is a rare event."  The highest group is the age 45 to 50 group which stands about about 25 per 100,000 of population compared to about 5 per 100,000 of population.

    A recent USA Today article citing a Center of Disease Control chart speaks to a "soaring" rate of teen suicide as shown in the chart below and to the the left of this text.

    Of particular concern to public school officials has to be that the leading means of suicide is reported to be by firearms in the context of the school environment and a "suicidal" mission in which a suicidal person's perception is that he/she needs to bring his/her fellow students into a scenario in which he/she dies either at his/her own hand or at the hand of law enforcement officials.

    May compares the 15 over the past year to "since 1980 Stark County has been having 1 to 2 suicides a year."  (presumptively, he was talking about teen suicides but did not directly say so)

    He then asks the question:  "Why 15, why so many, why the spike?"

    May went on:  "Last year 199 kids ages 15 to 17 went to Aultman Hospital went for  mental health issues including suicide ideation and suicide attempts  ... 72 of them were kids from Plain Local ... to Akron Childrens' Hospital ... for mental health issues 1,344 kids from Stark County and 493 of those kids were from Plain Local."

    May cites numbers from a Center for Disease Control study (having been asked to come to Stark County because of the spike in teen suicide deaths by the Stark County/Ohio Health Departments) showing: (of the students [grades 7 through 12] willing to participate in the survey [85% did] in participating school districts [implication being that not all districts participated]):
    • 9% say they had attempted suicide at least one time,
      • Note:  there about about 6100 public school students in Stark county which (if the 9% are representative) means that approximately 600 Stark County public school students have attempted suicide
    • 10.5% engaged suicide ideation "with a plan,"
      • the highest percentage of the 10.5% were females in the 12th grade
    May went on with the following statistics and anecdotal information:
    • Ohio #2 in the nation in school threats
      • cited Stark County as having many threats ("almost daily in Plain")
        • a lot of "copycats" prompted by social media postings
        • which were wildly exaggerated by the time they got to Plain's administrationP
      • Plain's SOP (Standard Operating Procedure)
        • contact sheriff's office,
          • who would get out into homes so that
            • schools could be ensured that school would be safe the next day
    • On the data from the CDE survey of participating school district 7 - 12 students:
      • of the 85% of students taking the survey; they had to complete the entire survey,
      • Plain schools has a plan to share the insights gained from the survey with the Plain administrative/teaching staff,
    May described the make up of the county task force promoting the 1.49 mills Security and Mental Health Resources levy up for a special election for participating school districts on August 7, 2018:
    • FBI,
    • Stark County sheriff George T. Maier,
    • Homeland Security,
    • many local law enforcement officials, and, of course,
    • participating school district educators
    Considerations, according to May:
    • What should we be talking to our community about?
    • What should we be looking at?
    Task Force recommendations (again, according to May):
    • having additional law enforcement in public school buildings,
    • dealing with mental health issues,
    • using metal detection wands,
    • a system that would give video access to first responders (fire, police & ems),
    • a way of access for people to get into a school building for purpose of identifying those who pose a risk to the safety of students,
    • instituting a curriculum/reporting system called "Sandy Hook Promise,"

    • training for bus drivers and bus aides,
    • training for students ("digital citizenship")
      • how does a student use social media the "correct" way,
    Halkias:  Two things not recommended by Task Force:

    • Use of metal detectors because of logistical problems of numbers of students and number of entrances to many school buildings,
    • arming school employees,
      • an individual school district decision
        • some districts in Stark arming school employee
    What is the Plain plan for security and mental health resources?

    According to May:
    • adding law enforcement personnel to Plain buildings
      • two at the high school,
      • two at the middle school,
      • two at intermediate school, and
      • one each on east/west side of district for elementary schools
    • implementing a 10 year agreement with Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health to be on-site (the high school) as a fulltime service to the Plain School District community that will be accessible through a seperate entrance,
    • placement of MARCS' (Multi-Agency Radio Communications System) in every building which:
      • communicates emergency communications between schools to first responders which engages any law enforcement personnel in the area of the building to respond to a call no matter what policing unit the law enforcement person works for,J
    • placement of blue strobe lights in buildings as a warning that there is a problem within a given building
      • e.g. bus pulls into discharge of students area of building sees "blue strobe" light and immediately pull right out,
      • light initiates an announcement:  "Do Not Enter" building, classroom, hallway, gym, et cetera,
    • continue emergency drills mandated by the state of Ohio (Plain does 19 drills a year),
    • encourage students to communicate with law enforcement/school officials "see something, tell us."
    • annual meeting with first responders,
    • "active shooter" training for staff,
    • implement "codes" for entrance re: first responders,
    • communicate with community (e.g. parents of students) of how to interact with schools when an in building emergency situation develops,
    What is the county plan for security and mental health resources?

    May had this to say about the county scheme of things on security:
    • Joe Chaddock, superintendent of the Stark County Educational Service Center (SCESC), worked with state officials to make the 1.49 mill levy proposal possible,
      • Note:  this blogger's wife is a member of the SCESC and attended the May/Halkias presentation of July 12th)
    • SCESC:
      • put together the county task force,
      • brought in Sandy Hook Promise to Stark County,
      • bring together educators, law enforcement, mental health providers and put them all in the same room in considering measures to deal with security/mental health issues in Stark County's public schools,
    Now that readers have an outline of the May/Halkias presentation, here is the "actual" video of the presentations (about 26 minutes long) to hear in their own words why Superintendent May and Plain Local School president John Halkias fervently believe that citizens is the following listed school districts (Stark County portion only) ought to vote for Issue 1 on August (or before [i.e. early/absentee voting] 7th.

    Note:  Not everything May/Halkias had to say is in the outline set forth above.

    In additional parts of the SCPR series, The Report will present Questions and Answers between the May/Halkias and those attending their July 12 presentation.

    There were a number of audience members who pressed May and Halkias quite effectively in posing questions the answers to which or lack thereof that voters will want to consider before deciding how to vote on the issue.

    Readers can depend on the SCPR to fully and comprehensively cover "all" the material relevant to their deciding how to vote on the issue.

    On or about July 26th, the SCPR will be publishing the pre-election campaign finance report so readers will know who is financially support the effort to pass Issue #1.

    The Stark County Political Report's objective is to have anyone planning to vote in this special election to be fully informed before casting a ballot.


    Entire video of May/Halkias Plain LSD "security/mental health resources" 1.49 mill levy presentation of July 12, 2018 at the Stark County Democratic Party Headquarters (1 hour, 17 min).

    Saturday, July 14, 2018


    UPDATE:  2:16 PM, MONDAY

    While incumbent Republican congressman Bob Gibbs appears to be hiding from the constituents of the Stark County portion of the 7th Congressional District and The Stark County Political Report (SCPR, The Report) Democratic challenger Ken Harbaugh is flooding Stark County environs and the rest of the district with his presence.

    Over the next two weeks, here is his Stark County presence schedule:
    Saturday, July 14th 
    8AM — Ken and some members of the team are participating in the B.A.N. Litter clean-up at Cedar Elementary. 
    10AM — Ken will launch another big door-knocking initiative from the Stark County Democratic HQ — especially as we draw closer to November, we would love to have you come knock doors with the team some time. 
    Thursday, July 26th 
    6:30PM—Ken Harbaugh will be hosting another in his series of Country Over Party Town Halls. Press Release forthcoming, but it will be held in the Edward Coleman Community Center at 1400 Sherrick Rd SE. Ken has held over a dozen Town Halls in the past few months — including one of the 1st town halls here in Canton back in March. However, he has been asked repeatedly to come back, so we are. 
    Consequently Harbaugh seems to be getting a serious look-see as a "underdog" Democrat in the gerrymandered with decidedly Republican tilt by Ohio statehouse Republicans 7th District  (who have supermajority control of the Ohio General Assembly)

    On Monday (July 16, 2018) Harbaugh will be at the Perry-Sippo branch of the Stark County District Library in a Town Hall meeting specifically dealing with education issues.

    A check of Gibbs "issues" Facebook page shows that "education" is not one of his key issues.

    If one believes that Gibbs endeavors to be his own best spokesperson on issues, his government website reveals he has had nothing "official" to say about education since March 6, 2015.

    Compare what the Gibbs' website has to say on education issues as contrasted with Harbaugh's press release.

    The SCPR is sending a link to this blog to both to Gibbs and Harbaugh camps in hopes that the Gibbs' folks will respond to the Harbaugh challenge on education issue.

    Except for one brief e-mail exchange, the Gibbs' campaign has ignored the SCPR's questions and denied The Report access to a Shelby, Ohio appearance in April of this year.

    Get this, the SCPR was willing to travel 80 miles (one-way) to Shelby so Stark Countians could get a first hand look at Gibbs on issues in a back and forth between him and constituents ONLY TO BE DENIED.

    What is Bob Gibbs hiding from?

    Maybe a question whether or not he supports the elimination of the U.S. Department of Education, a "from the beginning" Republican goal,"  as a cabinet level entity created in 1980 by then-president Jimmy Carter.

    In our wildest dreams, maybe Bob Gibbs will show up unannounced at Harbaugh's Perry-Sippo Town Hall meeting (like John Boccieri did at a 2010 Jim Renacci North Canton Town Hall meeting) so that Stark County voters can assess the two on the education issue.

    The SCPR is betting that Bob Gibbs will for the next 116 days (until the general election date of November 6, 2018) be avoiding one-on-ones with Ken Harbaugh at all costs.

    And, by the way, he likely will be avoiding the questions of an incisive variety from the likes of The Stark County Political Report.

    In any event, Monday at Perry-Sippo presents area educators with a grand opportunity to press their case to Harbaugh that he, if elected to Congress, needs to flesh out his campaign them of "Country over Party" by supporting federal education policies, practices and programs that effectively benefit all Americans.

    Area board of educations members, teachers, superintendents and any voter who wants to have the ear of the person who the SCPR thinks has at least a 50/50 chance to unseat Bob Gibbs hear them out on what they think the federal government policies, practices and programs ought to be.