Saturday, September 29, 2018


UPDATE:  2:00 PM


In November, 2015 Stark County voters voted overwhelmingly to re-district Ohio's "state" legislative districts so as to approximate our U.S./Ohio  "constitutional" one-person, one-vote standard.

On May 8, 2018 Stark Countians followed up the 2015 with an even more resounding vote that congressional districts be moved from an out-and-out partisan (popularly know as "gerrymandering") configuring of congressional districts into more competitive and hence closer to the ideal constitutional standard.

Only problem is with the May 8, 2018 vote is that it will be the 2022 election until new districts (presumably more competitive/constitutional) would be in place.

News broke about 15 hours or so in perhaps Ohio's very best newspaper for political/government reporting (i.e. The Cleveland Plain Dealer/ that a lawsuit filed May 23rd of this year (see this LINK also) has reached the point that a "new" more competitive, hence constitutional map has been filed with the U.S. District Court for Southern Ohio (located in Cincinnati) which has the promise uniting Stark County into what has been numbered the 14th Congressional District.

Of particular interest to Stark Countians is that a citizen, a local Ohio House legislator and a candidate for lieutenant governor are players in the federal lawsuit.

Moreover, one has to figure that Stark Countian and Ohio Republican Party chairperson Jane Timken is lurking in the political background opposing the move by the Ohio League of Women Voters and the A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI; see history at this LINK).

Getting back to the citizen, the legislator and to the lieutenant governor candidate.


The Stark County Political Report (SCPR, The Report) has known Ms. Rubin since the early 2000s.  Ms. Rubin was helpful for the Martin Olson campaign for 50th District Ohio Representative in 2002 and 2004.

While she is a thorough going Democrat (this blogger has moved on to becoming (2008) a registered "independent" with the beginning of the SCPR in March, 2008), Rubin is one of those partisans (on the Republican side somewhat like Stark County commissioner Janet Creighton) that The Report can abide because of having assessment that when the quality of our democratic-republic is at stake, they often step forward advance the integrity of our political system over political party interests.

Jane Timken evokes no such confidence.

Ms. Rubin has been a member of the Canton League of Women Voters (CLWV) but according to current listing of the organization not part of the officialdom if a member at all.

As a plaintiff in the OLWV/APRI instituted federal lawsuit Rubin represents the very best of citizen involvement in our political process.

Here are references to Rubin in the above-cited lawsuit:


Kirk Schuring has been a Stark County delegation member of the Ohio General Assembly (OGA; either as a representative or state senator) since being appointed by Stark "organized" Republicans to replace North Canton's David Johnson.

For purposes of this particular blog, the focus is on his position in 2010 when the OGA in coordination with Ohio's Apportionment Board (referred to by Jane Timken in her July 21, 2017 appearance at the Cleveland City Club forum) redistricted Ohio's congressional and state (i.e. the Ohio House and the Ohio Senate) districts so as to make them as uncompetitive and hence unconstitutional as they could possibly make them.

To his credit, Schuring (and contrary to the position of newly

"appointed" 50th District Republican representative Christina Hagan and fellow, then state Senator Scott Oelslager) opposed the splitting of Stark County into three congressional districts (the 16th [north, northwest/central Stark County] the 7th [most of Stark County] and the 13th [the northeast fringe of Stark County].

It had to be a horror to now deceased (July 19, 2017) former 16th Congressional District congressman Ralph Regula to see his fellow Republicans carve up Stark so as to disempower Stark Countians having a strong voice in the United States Congress.

It has to be more than a tad ironic to the Regula family for a Democrat to succeed the lifelong Republican Ralph Regula as 16th District congressman.

Another irony is that it was none other than Kirk Schuring (a native Stark Countians himself) and stalwart Stark County Republican figure who lost to Democrat John Boccieri (an import from Mahoning County who moved to the Alliance area to run against Schuring).

Once Schuring had to run out of his "safe" gerrymandered Ohio General Assembly seat, he was not a very successful politician.

Perhaps one of reasons he lost so decisively to Boccieri was his statement at a campaign event in Ashland comparing "safe" Ashland to dangerous Canton where one might get shot.

Last time the SCPR counted there are a lot more voters in Canton than Ashland.

Interesting, no?

However, had he waited to 2012 to run in the current Ohio 16th or 7th (gerrymandered "heavily Republican" by his fellows in the Ohio General Assembly in 2011, he would have won going away.

As a named defendant (as president pro tem of the Ohio House) in the above-encaptioned lawsuit which is scheduled to go to trial in March, 2019, Schuring could be a positive factor in the defendants agreeing to settle along the lines of the proposed redistricting?

But is he interested enough in competitive, more "constitutionally" compatible to the "one person, one vote" principle of our democratic-republican system of government

(currently Ohio secretary of state)

One has to wonder what Republican candidate for governor Mike DeWine is thinking about his running mate John Husted these days and his quotes in the above-cited Plain Dealer article about the filing of the "proposed" new Ohio congressional district maps, to wit:

Husted, who is now running for lieutenant governor, questioned the timing.

"Why did they wait six years to file a lawsuit challenging the maps? These groups should respect the will of Ohio's voters who overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment earlier this month that established a new, bipartisan process for drawing congressional districts starting in 2021," he said in a statement released after the suit was filed.

Of course, Mike DeWine's position might not be the same as Husted's.

The SCPR has sought comment from the DeWine campaign and will supplement this blog if the Republican gubernatorial candidate's campaign responds.

Could it be that Stark Countians whose paramount issue is fair, competitive and more "withstanding" constitutional challenge congressional redistricting might consider Husted's "I want to delay" until 2022 getting "fairer," more in tune with the "one-person, one-vote" constitutional standard might just use Husted's stance as a reason to vote for Democrat Richard Cordray in what current polls indicate is a "could go either way" gubernatorial election?

Stark Countians ought to factor in heavily getting Stark County together once again within one congressional district in the context of being competitive and more constitutionally attuned as was the case when Democrat John Boccieri defeated Republican Kirk Schuring in the 2008 congressional elections.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018


UPDATE:  SATURDAY, 09/29/2018


At the very least, no?

Schuring's wife works for Porter at The Rep & is said to "politically" in love with Schuring likely because of Schuring's "errand boy" legislative services for the HOF-VP.

UPDATED:  WEDNESDAY, 09/26/2018 AT 07:35 AM



NOTE:  The SCPR has requested a 30 minute "on-camera" interview with Schuring.  Of course, the focus of such an interview would be his facilitation of "charter schools."  So far, Representative Schuring has "ignored" the SCPR request.

It is hard to believe that anybody who cares about K-12 public education could possibly consider voting for Kirk Schuring.  (see [the PD] LINK 1, LINK 2].

Of course, Stark Countians get none of this as it directly ties to Stark County based legislators such as Kirk Schuring from The Canton Repository.

With the likes of support Schuring as a key figure in the Republican Statehouse House and Senate caucuses, for 2015 (the year Schuring received ECOT connected campaign contributions) and 2016 alone (not counting going back to about year 2000 when Republicans fixed onto charter schools to Ohio ailing education system), Stark County has lost millions to mostly "for profit" charter schools.

Other than being a "connected" politician as pointed out in the "original part" of this, the fact that The Rep has not take Schuring to task for his role in diverting money from public school education to charter schools should be a clear signal that Stark's local mainstream media will not mimic the stance of Editor Larkin of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Yet another signal to Friedman that her chances for a fair shot at The Repository endorsement is between "Slim" & "None," with "Slim just having left town.


Well, for starters,  Lauren Friedman (Facebook LINK)  is as least hopeful she will receive a "fair and full" consideration for The Rep's endorsement.

The Stark County Political Report  (SCPR, The Report) caught up with the Democratic candidate for the 29th Ohio Senate seat (which encompases most of Stark County) at fellow Democrat Ken Harbaugh's Town Hall (Country Over Party) at the Canton VFW on Saturday and posed the question of fairness to her in as shown in this video:

Why is fairness even a question?

The base reason is that recently The Report learned that on about June 1, 2018 The Repository in what appears to be the management's initiative reached out and hired Schuring's wife Darlene.

Her job?

As readers of the SCPR know, this blogger thinks that Repository publisher James Porter has taken the paper deep, deep, deep into conflict in interest territory when it comes to trustworthiness on telling "the full story" on the underway Professional Football Hall of Fame (PFHOF) village expansion project (HOF-VP).

The foundation for The Report conflict assessment:
  • The Rep having a contract (since 2016) with the PFHOF to be "the official newspaper of the PRHOF,"
  • Porter himself being a trustee on the PFHOF Board of Trustees, and
  • Porter being the chairman of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the publisher of The Repository and their axis re:  pushing Stark/Ohio taxpayer/official participation in the HOF-VP without being accountable to the public, 

And now the analysis upon which the SCPR thinks Candidate Friedman is way too trusting that she has any shot at all of coming away with the endorsement by The Repository Editorial Board (interview scheduled on this coming Friday).
  • Schuring, who has been either state representative or state senator for a Stark County sited legislative district (Wikipedia LINK) since 1993 has been a key player in bringing state support in the form of changes in legislative taxing authority at the county/city level as well as state taxpayer money itself to the HOF-VP without, by and large, the need on the part of Hall of Fame Village LLC (60% owned by master developer Stu Lichter; 40% by the PRHOF) for the HOF Village LLC to account to the taxpaying public for how public money is spent and whether or not the project is viable to ensure a return on investment to the taxpaying public,
  • Porter creating a "good" persons public official list versus a "bad" persons public official list in his weekly Sunday columns (the former of which Representative Kirk Schuring is a member of),
  • Porter, said by several local well placed locals, "to love" in terms of his doing the will of The Repository bigs over his 25 years of holding Stark County connected legislative office, and, of course,
  • The hiring apparently at the initiative of The Rep's management in hiring of Schuring's wife Darlene as its Events Manager
The SCPR has learned that a Repository reporter has done the ethical thing and owned up at the reporter's initiative of "being friends" with Kirk Schuring and his fellow swapping House/Senate Districts pal Scott Oelslager (2002, 2010 and now in 2018) in order to avoid being term limited out of the Ohio General Assembly (OGA) which, of course, both supported when their respective Republican caucuses were using term limits as one of several  methods gain majority status.

While Executive Editor Rich Desrosiers tells the SCPR that the endorsement editorial board will tell Candidate Friedman about the papers employment relationship with Darlene Schuring, it has not told "in print" the Stark County voting public.

Desrosiers told The Report that Darlene Schuring has such a low level of employment with The Rep that connections such as her being married to a candidate for state public office was not deemed to be significant enough to The Repository publishing the equivalent of a disclaimer.

A reporter does the right thing; the management apparently was going to bury the Schuring hire until The Stark County Political Report got wind of the connection.

Interesting, no?

To this blogger the seeming "burying' action which of course had to have publisher Porter's input is a really dumb thing to have even contemplated.

While to the SCPR Lauren Friedman has some impressive credentials (see her Facebook page), it appears that her lack of having been an elected official as contrasted with Schuring's 25 years would be cover for The Rep's editorial board doing a perfunctory candidate interview and coming out then with a pretty obvious before the announced outcome expectation that the candidate simply does not have enough of a record or Schuring being absolutely unproductive as a legislator (let's say for example like former eight year Democratic state Rep. Stephen Slesnick) to warrant Friedman getting the forthcoming endorsement.

It is amazing that after 25 years in the Ohio General Assembly, the following is all the contributors to the Wikipedia article can come up with on Kirk Schuring:

Schuring has worked to develop a pension reform plan that doesn't involve hikes to employer contribution to public retirement systems. There's a "sentiment of caution" among many lawmakers in terms of pension reform. He said many lawmakers are "justifiably sensitive to the plight of local governments."[9] He has been critical to finding a solution in providing a cost efficient and solvent solution to the public pension systems.

The only Republican to vote against the measure, Schuring joined Democrats in voting against a measure to require a photo ID when casting a ballot in Ohio.

Many had criticized Republicans for pushing the measure through the legislature.

But the SCPR is underwhelmed by the Porter/Desrosiers management team in terms of the paper's transparency.

Moreover there is quite a bit on the negative side.  Those who want some chapter and verse on Schuring's monumental failures should take in these SCPR blogs (LINK 1 and LINK 2)

Within the past few days one local elected official in a position to know from his/her connection to sources within the bowels of The Rep, James Porter is pretty much an absent publisher in that he is said to be spending inordinate amounts of time with the Canton Chamber of Commerce and the HOF-VP project..

Although the SCPR does not think newspaper endorsements mean much this day and age, one does expect the process to be fair and transparent.

It appears that only through the journalist spade work of this blogger did The Rep/Darlene Schuring employment connection become generally known to the public knowledge.

To say it again, the SCPR thinks that Publisher Porter in how he manages The Rep has made (in the case of the HOF-VP) and, perhaps, in the endorsement mechanism, an "untrustworthy" publication.

But KUDOS to Candidate Friedman for holding the endorsement editors (said for the first time to include editors across Gatehouse across-Stark County-owned newspapers) to a fairness standard with the expectation that her vying for the endorsement is not a vain act.

When one looks over Schuring's  record of 25 years in the Ohio General Assembly, he certainly does not appear to have a legislative star in "bringing home the bacon" to Stark County, unless, of course, you are C. David Baker, James Porter, Stu Lichter, Denny Saunier.

It appears that Representative Schuring has become their errand boy who seems to have a hotline in place from the State House to 2121 George Halas Drive, 500 Market Avenue, South and 222 Market Avenue, North.  

Recently, Kirk Schuring held a political fundraiser.  

Who attended?

Sources say C. David Baker, Denny Saunier, Randy Hunt, Barbara Bennett (wife of Stark County engineer Keith Bennett) and a number of others who staff the PRHOF Board of Trustees.

They and their likes throughout Stark County have the full and undivided attention of long time Stark County legislator J. Kirk Schuring.

The rest of us get "deep-sixed!"

Such is what happens when the voting public does not sufficiently hold elected officials accountable for producing results.

Friday, September 21, 2018


From time-to-time, The Stark County Political Report  (SCPR, The Report) will publish blogs with TV ads from the various campaigns that copy the SCPR with links.

Today Stark Countians get to see the Anthony Gonzalez campaign "first ad" that presents Gonzalez has living the American Dream having family roots (his father) of having fled the Communist Castro regime of Cuba, his having played football the college and professional level and having developed a business from the ground up.

Gonzalez says he wants to be a congressman so that he can make living the American Dream a possibility for every American.

Apparently, Gonzalez thinks he has a leg up on his Democratic opponent Susan Moran Palmer (both hail from Westlake) in that he does not refer to her or attack and Democratic Party official (e.g. Nancy Pelosi), Democratic positions on controversial issues nor the candidate herself.

For Democrat Ken Harbaugh running against incumbent Republican Bob Gibbs, it is a different story.

Harbaugh is a definite underdog in this race but Gibbs has to be more than a tad (which nearly every candidate is) nervous in view of what a lot of political prognosticators including this blogger si a coming "blue wave" as Democrats, a majority of independents and a few Republicans will take the opportunity of the upcoming "mid-term" November general election to express "a vote against the policies of President Donald J. Trump.

If Harbaugh is to win, it might well be because the aforementioned bloc of voters fear that electing the likes of Bob Gibbs will send a signal to Trump and the Republican caucus of the U.S. House that they can continue the eight year quest to gut the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare).

Harbaugh, who has an overriding campaign theme of "Country over Party," in this ad appeals to basic decency of Americans to provide health care for the likes of his daughter Lizzie who has required multiple surgeries over her lifespan.

Harbaugh does cite his opponent as being campaign fund connected to healthcare insurance providers so of whom want Congress to allow companies to deny coverage for those who have "pre-existing" conditions.




New ad shows Harbaugh concerned about healthcare for his little girl.

Avon, OH -- Today, Ken Harbaugh, a Navy veteran running for Congress in the Ohio 7th, released his second TV commercial, “Lizzie.”

Harbaugh’s second ad tells the story of his daughter, Lizzie, who was born with a pre-existing condition. Lizzie needed four surgeries before she was four and Harbaugh took a job away from home for days and sometimes weeks at a time to provide healthcare for his family. The ad features Harbaugh holding photos of his daughter while calling out opponent Bob Gibbs for voting to cut access to healthcare for “nearly half a million Ohioans.”


In this working-class Ohio district, Harbaugh’s candidacy strikes a tone of openness and accessibility. Harbaugh has held more than 100 free- and open-to-the-public events in 2018 alone, including an ongoing series of “Country Over Party” Town Halls in all ten counties of the OH7. The incumbent, little-known Representative Bob Gibbs, has not held an in-person Town Hall in more than 5 years.

Constituents throughout the OH7 have begun to take notice of the incumbent’s no-show status and called upon Gibbs to show up and debate Mr. Harbaugh. Teachers, union workers, college students, newspapers, and voters from both political parties have called, written, protested, and begged for one, single debate. And Gibbs has refused. Harbaugh has repeatedly offered to debate, “Anytime. Anywhere."

Both this new ad and the campaign’s first TV release (“Not Your Father’s Candidate”) emphasize Harbaugh’s “Country Over Party” slogan and highlight his willingness to stand up to powerful forces in and out of Congress. Harbaugh has focused on kitchen table issues – like healthcare and jobs – that he and his neighbors care about most.

“I will fight for your family like they were my family,” said Harbaugh. “That’s what we did in the Navy, and that’s what I’ll do in Congress. And I’ll work with anyone from either party who wants to protect people with pre-existing conditions, reduce insurance premiums, and lower prescription drug prices. It’s time for a new generation of leadership in Washington.”

Harbaugh has run a historic campaign that has made the OH-7 competitive this November. He was the first Congressional challenger in Ohio to raise $2 million and his campaign has one of the most prolific field programs in the country. To date, Team Harbaugh has knocked on more than 40,000 doors, made more than 50,000 phone calls, and handwritten more than 20,000 postcards in the OH-7.

“Lizzie” offers a softer and more intimate contrast to Harbaugh’s first bold and over-the-top ad. While the first ad emphasized Harbaugh’s tough and rugged experience as a Navy pilot and disaster responder, “Lizzie” is the story of a middle-class dad working hard to provide for his family.

“Lizzie” was created by Cayce McCabe of Putnam Partners. McCabe has created some of the most-viewed ads of this campaign cycle including Amy McGrath’s “Told Me” and MJ Hegar’s “Doors.”


I’m Ken Harbaugh, and this is Lizzie. She needed multiple surgeries as an infant. We had to feed her with an eye-dropper. Thank God I found a job right here with healthcare. These are the insurance companies that donated to Congressman Bob Gibbs. Gibbs took $123,000 and voted to strip healthcare from almost half a million Ohioans. When you vote, think about whose side Gibbs is on. I approve this message … for Lizzie.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018




When news broke yesterday that former Professional Football Hall of Fame (PROF, National Football Museum, Inc) enshrinees had issued a letter to:
  • the [NFL]National Football League [a $14 million in revenues in 2017 enterprise] commissioner Roger Goodell, and 
  • the PFHOF president/CEO C. David Baker
    • warning that they would boycott the PROF Centennial event slated for September, 2020 because of:
      • "[M]istreatment of Hall of Famers, who are often exploited as ambassadors of the sport ... ."
        • contrasted to Major League Baseball players who if they played only one day as a major leaguer get lifetime health insurance,

chief Repository PFHOF apologist Todd Porter (said to be a cousin of Rep publisher James Porter (a member of the PFHOF Board of Trustees) rushed out a defense of the NFL and the PFHOF, to wit:
ESPN obtained a copy of the letter, which questions Goodell’s annual salary, reported to be about $40 million, and the $1 billion Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village development in Canton. 
Hall of Fame Village is a mixed-use development in Canton being mostly financed by investors. 
The NFL does not have a financial stake in Hall of Fame Village. 
The Hall of Fame has increased appearances for Hall of Famers and fees for those players since Baker’s [who on the 2016 PFHOF IRS 990 is listed with an annual income of $675,000] arrival in Canton.
The Hall of Fame, while working closely with the NFL, is not a part of the league 
operates independent of the league’s annual revenue.
The NFL does not enshrine players or choose which players are elected to the Hall.
You talk about cherry picking "do not tell the full story" facts in his defense of the NFL and the PFHOF, Porter (sarcasm) excels!

The SCPR's response:

"Mostly financed by investors:"  A glaring dismissal of the the Ohio/Stark County/Canton taxpayer substantial contribution (still in progress, see the discussion below of  48th Ohio House Rep. Kirk Schuring's (husband of Repository employee Darlene Schuring, where's the  Rep disclaimer?) pursuit of HB 531 (the Market Square Project in downtown Canton) as this blog is written.

To boot, there is no accountability to the Ohio/Stark/Canton taxpaying publics on how the public's money is being spent or whether or not there is any certitude that there will be a return on the public's investment.
  • "The NFL does not have a financial stake in Hall of Fame Village ...
  • Hall of Fame ... not part of the league. operates independent of the league’s annual revenue. 
  • The NFL does not enshrine players or choose which players are elected to the Hall."

You have to be kidding Todd Porter!  Look at the list of NFL connected persons on the PFHOF Board of Trustees.  

Porter's point is only accurate in the legal, technical sense.  In a de facto sense, the PFHOF is up to its eyeballs.  Again, look at the entanglement of NFL connected persons on the PFHOF BOT.
The one possible redeeming point of Porter's argument?

The Hall of Fame has increased appearances for Hall of Famers and fees for those players since Baker’s  arrival in Canton.

Okay Todd Porter (Mister Insider to the inner circle to C. David Baker and the rest of the PFHOF administration):  Numbers please!

What sloppy journalism.  Porter the writer and Porter the publisher ought to be embarrassed, no!

The SCPR thinks this Porter piece along with others including his "hokum" but not limited to his "hokum" piece on Hall of Fame Village LLC's Stu Lichter and C. David Baker clearly establishes that The Repository is nothing more - on all things PFHOF related - nothing more than a propaganda sheet in which the publisher is calling the shots of what is and is not published about HOF-VP matters.

Oh, yes!  "not published:" to wit:

Back in mid-2017, (LINK) the Canton African-American community became aware that millions upon millions upon millions of dollars (some of it Canton (which has about a 25% black population)/Stark County/Ohio taxpayer dollars) were being awarded to contractors to build the 2014 announced (at that time estimated to cost about $500 million; now likely over $1 billion) expansion of the Professional Football Hall of Fame complex at 2121 George Halas Drive, within the city limits of Canton, into a Hall of Fame Village (HOF-VP) which was pitched as going to be a "Disney" like entertainment complex.

The pressure of a potential boycott story prompted the HOF Village LLC folks (60% owned by master developer Stu Lichter, 40% owned by National Football Museum, Inc (dba as the Professional Football Hall of Fame) to rethink the hiring of contractors so that later on in 2017 "the powers that be" funding/managing the project did in fact award minority contractor (Quality Care Construction, Neil Stevens) to construct a parking lot close by the Tom Benson Stadium.

Quality Care Construction VP Neil Stevens

However, by mid-June, 2018 (LINK) the minority contractor "walked off the job" because the minority owned business was not being timely paid by HOF Village LLC project manager Welty Construction.

Not a word on this major local story was apparently allowed to see the "light of day" on the part of James Porter (publisher of The Repository) when it happened, nor since.

Stark Countians have learned subsequently that only from The Stark County Political Report can they rely on getting the "full story" on the Professional Football Hall of Fame (PFHOF) Village Project as it evolves warts and all.

In 2016, The Rep reached an agreement with the PFHOF to be "the official newspaper of the Professional Football Hall of Fame," which raised concerns by the union representing reporters (see letter from the union to Repository management at this LINK) working at The Repository that the "official" relationship status reeked of conflict in interest concerns which might be perceived by the reading public that the reporters would not be allowed by the likes of James Porter to report thoroughly and completely on problems with the HOF-VP.

As if the June, 2018 snub of Quality Care's getting paid problems by The Rep was not enough and which seems to give reality to the conflict-in-interest concerns, on August 30th Stevens telephoned the SCPR with a request that The Report be on the scene with camera in hand to record a negotiating session between Quality Care, a HOF Village LLC representative and a Welty Construction rep on Friday, August 31st on the matter of as to when Quality Care was going to paid final amounts owed for the largely in not fully completed parking lot project.

The SCPR is pleased to know that the likes of Stevens know that the place to turn for thorough going journalism on PFHOF matters is not "the official newspaper of the Professional Football Hall of Fame with its numerous employees but with "the one person, no advertising" Stark County Political Report.

Turning now to Ohio House member Kirk Schuring  (currently a Republican  state Representative in the Ohio House [essentially North Canton and Jackson Township; the 48th District and running for the Ohio Senate; the 29th District against Democrat Lauren Friedman) and his web of connections to The Repository and the PFHOF in his current context of trying to steer House Bill 531 through the Ohio General Assembly before December 31, 2018 on which date if not signed into law will have to start all over again in the 2019-2020 Ohio General Assembly.

And a September 18th Capitol Letter excerpt:

Not long ago James Porter published a list of Stark County business, political and government leaders who he thought have demonstrated to be "all-in" on The Rep's, the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce (Saunier) and the PFHOF drive to make the HOF-VP a successful venture.

What Porter misses of course is that nearly all Stark Countians including this blogger wish the project all success as long as:
  • the bulk of the financing comes from the private enterprise (i.e. "true" private enterprise is where "all the money" comes from the private sector),
  • there is a full and transparent accounting for taxpayer money (including public officialdom employee hours) spent on the project, and
  • HOF VP officials can provide a high degree of certitude that the taxpayer will be receive a fair return on taxpayer investment in the project.
So all of us deserve commendation for being "all-for" a "truly" private enterprise project.

In editorially dividing the "all-ins" from the "circumspect" Porter obviously is embarked on a "divide and conquer" strategy.

To the SCPR, James Porter on the HOF-VP matter is a highly irresponsible publisher in that his kind of thinking/strategizing (i.e. divide and conquer) seems to The Report to be the kind of thinking that has prevailed among all sectors of leadership in Stark going back to the 1950s and 1960s.



Includes discussion on how NFL players fare financially.


Monday, September 17, 2018


Updated, Tuesday, September 18, 2018:  (12:46 PM)  Paramount Maxtrix Healthcare Withdraws Offer (LINK)

Government transparency takes another hit in Massillon government, so thinks The Stark County Political Report (SCPR,  The Report).

The whole "let's us find a 'full service hospital' provider to replace Quorum former Affinity Medical Center by Massillon government (primarily Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry) has all the earmarks of Massillon taxpayers, in the end, getting the shaft.

Affinity Medical Center closed on February 12, 2018.

"Secrecy" has been the order of the day on the mayor's part seemingly from day one of the announcement by Quorum that it was abandoning Affinity due to Quorum's assertion that it was losing in the neighborhood of $1 million monthly.

On May 7, 2018, Massillon City Council approved a settlement of the lawsuit whereby it agreed to take title to a complex of former Affinity Medical Center facilities valued to be worth some $25 million for $1.

From the beginning, SCPR coverage of the Affinity matter has been skeptical of Massillon's ability to successfully make the best of a bad hand that was dealt to it with the Quorum closing of Affinity.

Links to SCPR coverage:
In a "if its too good to be true, it's probably not" scenario, Mayor Catazaro after playing the secrecy card to the hilt, to wit: (from the August 24th SCPR blog)

So it seemed to be a "financial coup" on the part of Massillon officials, with the lead official being, of course, Mayor Catazaro Perry, when it was announced as a consequence of "closed door meetings" of August 20th and August 27th that a tentative agreement had been reached (September 4th) with Paramount Matrix whereby:
  • Paramount Matrix Healthcare reportedly offered up to $1 million of reimbursement to Massillon government to offset costs incurred to maintain former Affinity facilities,
  • $50,000 in monthly rent going forward with a:
    • purchase option for Paramount Matrix for $20 million in 5 years,
      • which would bring some $24 million in revenues to city coffers by 2023.
In what can only be described as a monumental blunder on the part of Massillon city officials working on the Affinity replacement, it appears that city officials did not thoroughly and fully vet at least one official in the Paramount Maxtrix Healthcare mix to learn of, according to media reports, the following allegation:

One has to wonder about what else might be missing from the vetting process, in anything, no?

It appears that it was The Massillon Independent that brought the Brock allegations to light and not the vetting processes of Massillon government.

As late as September 11th, Mayor Catazaro-Perry was saying that the Paramount Matrix Healthcare proposal was a go.  It is reported that the allegations against Brock was made on August 22nd.

By Friday, September 15th an announcement was made by Massillon officials that the purported deal with Paramount Matrix Healthcare was off.


One Stark Countian who has a relationship with a county sited healthcare entity reaffirmed with the SCPR that it is had to see how any prudent healthcare company could project that a full service healthcare facility can succeed in Massillon especially so in light of the fact that Massillon has been without Affinity for over seven (7) months.

Perhaps, an emergency room, the source says but clearly not a full-service hospital.

Given the secrecy on which companies are in play to succeed Quorum in Massillon, a, perhaps, discerning citizen did not have an opportunity to ask questions that might have prompted city officials to do a better job of due diligence.

There is no doubt that the Mayor Catzazaro-Perry administrative has "egg-on-its-collective-face" along with, perhaps, all of Massillon City Council.

The jury is still out on whether Massillon's government settling the above-encaptioned litigation was acquiring a "white elephant" or demonstrating a "stroke of genius."

Massillonians should be wary of the thoroughness and due diligence capabilities of Massillon officials involved in reviving the former Affinity medical facility.

The Paramount Healthcare Healthcare matter underscores why doing things like this in secret is never a wise course of action.

Massillon government needs to reverse course and make available to the public information on the relative merits/demerits of the bidder proposals on the replacement of Affinity.

Open as is prudently possible government is the best government!

Thursday, September 13, 2018



LINK to Video
Harbaugh Challenges 7th District Congressman Bob Gibbs
Joint Public Appearance

Not all that long ago Stark County and Ohio were deemed by many political analysts to be a political bellwether on an impending outcome of trends in election results.

In September, 2016, The Stark County Political Report captured University of Virginia Sabato Center for Applied Politics polling expert Kyle Kondik on video talking about whether or not Ohio was a bellwether on the 2016 presidential election.

In 2016 Donald Trump won the presidency in the electoral college whereas his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton bested in in the popular vote by some 3 million votes.

And Trump won Ohio by 8.1% and Stark County 17.3%.

So who would have figured that by September 13, 2018 Trump would have become a negative factor overall across the nation and, yes, Ohio overall across the 88 counties and, perhaps, even in Stark County?

Consequently, the SCPR believes that there likely is coming a "blue wave" in terms of November 6th election results in Ohio and Stark County.

And The Stark County Political Report is not alone in seeing potentially large consequences right here in Stark County.

On September 5, 2018 Axios made a trip to Stark County, to wit:

People who voted for Barack Obama and then Donald Trump still want the change they voted for in 2016 — and they're open to giving Democrats a chance.

Why it matters: These are the quintessential swing voters who can decide an election. Last week I traveled to Canton, Ohio, to sit in on an Engagious focus group of six Obama-Trump voters and six Mitt Romney-Hillary Clinton voters. Turns out they're not too happy, and their dissatisfaction could benefit Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections.

(LINK to entire article)

And here is a pdf file in which Engagious publishes a detailed report on the Stark County Trump/Obama/Clinton/Romney focus group.

The report clearly made the point that these representative voters still want (as most of us do) change in the manner in which politics/governance is done.

But it becomes clearer in every day that passes since November 7, 2016 that Donald Trump is not the change that many of us want.

So now it appears that there is a political backlash awaiting a significant part of that group of politicians who embraced the politics of the president.

How individual Republican candidates fare likely will be the degree to which the candidate embraces Donald Trump.

For instance, if Christina Hagan (currently a Republican state representative, the 50th Ohio House District located wholly within Stark County) had been selected as the 16th Congressional District candidate in the May, 2018 Republican primary; she would be a political casualty of her over-the-top Trumpism this November.

Even though he has been cautiously supportive in his relationship with the president, the nominee Anthony Gonzalez (the odds on favorite to defeat Democratic challenger Susan Moran Palmer) has to be worried that he might get caught up what appears to be a wide spreading voter "I can't cast a vote of no-confidence in President Trump, but I can send a message to him in voting for the Democratic candidate" sentiment that seems to be engulfing much of the nation.

However, much more vulnerable in the estimate of the SCPR is incumbent  7th District  (which includes most of Stark County including Canton) Republican congressman Bob Gibbs who to even a greater degree that Gonzalez defends President Trump and seems to be hiding from the voters in this election cycle.

Democrat Ken Harbaugh in contrast is all over the 7th with town halls and many other venues throughout the district with his "country over party" campaign theme.

Harbaugh is trying his best to "smoke Gibbs out" in to a public joint appearance so that 7th District voters can do a "one-on-one" comparison.

Gibbs appears to the SCPR to have very limited communication skills and likely is going to take his chances of surviving a potential "blue wave" and will likely steadfastly avoid a joint appearance with Harbaugh or do interviews with the likes of the SCPR.

Gibbs obviously "canned" response (in the video segment below)  of  "the voters already know me is a "confession and avoidance" of allowing voters to make a direct comparision.

It is looking more and more like Gibbs might live to "rue the day" he decided to go run from Harbaugh, the voters and the media that might ask him telling questions.


The biggest political casualty in the upcoming general election, it appears, will be current 16th Congressional District Jim Renacci who is challenging Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown.

(Highlighting Added)

Former Massachusetts congressman "Tip" O'Neill is generally credited with coining the phrase "All politics is local," and, the SCPR agrees that as one goes down the scale from federal offices to state offices to county and lower level offices that elections are less effected by national political factors including whether or not the overall electorate approves of the presidents performance in office. The Report believes 2018 may well be the exception to the rule and even some local candidates might get caught up a "blue wave" and lose in what normally would be a more favorable political environment to them.

At the state level, the SCPR thinks that a "blue wave" could take down a number of statewide candidates the foremost of whom might be Mike DeWine, an Ohio Republican stalwart, who is running for governor against Democrat Richard Cordray.

The Report thinks DeWine has taken a judicious stance in his political closeness to Trump and just might escape being swallowed up in an anti-Trump avalanche.

One of the more interesting races other than the gubernatorial race is the secretary of state race between Democrat Kathleen Clyde of nearby Portage County (75th Ohio House District) and Republican Frank LaRose (27th Ohio Senate District) of nearby Summit County.   Local Stark County clerk of courts Lou Giavasis is a strong supper of Clyde.

LaRose attended President Trump's August 24th visit to Columbus as the keynote speaker at the annual Republican state party dinner.  However, a brief SCPR perusal of LaRose's Facebook page shows "no mention" of President Donald Trump.

Interesting no?

At the Stark County level sees a "blue wave," if it develops perhaps causing difficulties to Republican 50th District Ohio House candidate Reggie Stoltzfus.

Stoltz does have an impressive list of Stark County "leading" Republicans supporting his campaign.  However, likely, he could take a political "mulligan," he rather not be seen with former Ohio Speaker of the House Cliff Rosenberger who is reportedly under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The SCPR sees Stoltzfus as a vast improvement over Christina Hagan (the current representative) at least in willingness to converse with the likes of this blogger and it would be a heavy irony for him to lose to Democratic candidate Cassie Gabelt whom it appears to The Report to not be putting on much of a campaign.

Stoltzfus problem is that a neophyte candidate over larger that Paris Township parts of Stark County does have a voter I.D. problem which of course Gabelt also has.

However, a "blue wave" could make a otherwise slam dunk for Stoltzfus running in a highly gerrymandered Republican district in to a competitive race.

If he rolls up numbers in this election that parallel Hagan results, then he will have shown himself to have been effective campaigner notwithstanding a less than ideal political environment.

In the 29th (Republican Kirk Schuring v. Lauren Friedman, a U.S. Naval Academy grad) House Senat District and the 48th (Democrat Lorraine Wilburn v. Scott Oelslager) Senate District there likely is to be a minimal "blue wave" (if one develops) effect on the outcome.

Both Friedman and Wilburn (as the SCPR believes is a contrast to the Gabelt campaign) appear to be fighting the good fight against overwhelming political odds.

Between them, Schuring (whose wife Darlene was hired by The Repository, [Will Friedman get a fair endorsement interview at the hand of The Rep editors) and Oelslager have served some 60 years in the Ohio General Assembly and having discovered that they can switch House to Senate and Senate to House districts to overcome Ohio's term limits law (which both supported when it became law) have done so even though in the assessment of the SCPR they have been relatively ineffective in bringing the bacon home to Stark County

  • for example:  
    • stopping draconian cuts to local government funding by state government
    • participating in "unfunded mandates" on county, city, township and village governments foisted on these local governments over the decades they have served in the Ohio General Assembly and,
    • allow "for profit" charter schools like ECOT (an online charter school) to get at least $1 billion in Ohio taxpayer provided revenue without producing quality education results which resulted in ECOT going belly up in January of this year owing Ohioans (according to the Ohio Supreme Court) about $80 million,
    • Oelslager refusing to meet with Lorraine Wilburn which, she says, is a primary motivation in running for office,
      • He also, a number of years ago, refused to come to Canton to meet with Canton City Council members on the issue of draconian state of Ohio funding cuts to local government,
  • Note:  Both Oelslager and Schuring have received campaign contributions from ECOG connected contributions
Another Stark County down ballot race which could produce an upset might be the Stark County auditor's race:  Democrat Linda Litman challenging incumbent Republican Alan Harold.

An outpouring of Democratic and independent, independent leaning voters to vote Democratic as a message to President Trump might help Linda Litman (currently Ward 6 councilwoman in Massillon) might turn what some think is otherwise a tight race into a victory for Litman.

Readers ought to read this blog by the SCPR for background as to why this might be "other than the 'blue wave' factor" tight race.

A number of Stark County "Republican" elected officials are offended by what they term as being Harold's arrogance.

While the SCPR cannot imagine that these folks will not vote for Harold, The Report can see them sitting on their hands and not offering much help to his candidacy.

Once pre-general-election campaign finance reports become available, one should be able to learn more of how much of this fellow-Republican-office-holding disaffection might impact Harold's chances for re-election.

Harold has been a quality auditor but what has been alleged and which the SCPR believes as Harold playing a role (which he categorically denies) in Litman losing her banking job with Harold's former employer Huntington Bank is outrageous and doubly so because Harold has told the SCPR years ago that he had to drop out of the Stark County treasurer's race in 2008 because of political pressure brought to bear on Huntington when Harold worked there because of a treasurer's authority as to where county funds get placed to earn interest for the taxpayers.

At least in Harold's treasury position quest there was some rationale for why the pressure was brought to bear.

County auditor?

What possible conflict in interest could there be in Litman running.

Litman is the darling of organized labor in Stark County.  Her husband is an official with the Iron Workers.

The word is that to the degree organized labor has any political muscle in Stark County politics, it will all be channeled to helping Litman take down Harold.

The SCPR thinks with various polls (averaging right now 50% to 38% Democratic candidate leaning) suggesting a "blue wave" come November, an anti-Trump effect could bode political ill for any Republican candidate running for office in 2018.

As the results come in the early to late evening hours on November 6th, the could prove to be spellbinding and a disaster for Republican candidates.