Friday, October 31, 2008


Finally, after 14 days, Stark County's largest newspaper - THE REPOSITORY - figured out that the Ohio Power rate increase request is of the highest importance to Stark Countians.

Can you believe it? The Rep had no one at the PUCO hearing on the requested increase held at Glenwood Middle School on October 16th. And consequently no reports on Stark County citizen, company and government unit reaction until a reporter was sent to the Stark County Board of Commissioners meeting yesterday.

After the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) said good things about The Rep earlier this week for its first rate Election 2008 resource online, it is disheartening to have to roundly criticize the movers and shakers at The Rep for failing area citizens, businesses and governments on Ohio Power rate increase request "hot" issue.

Yesterday, The Report asked Mike Hanke (for Rep general manager and now the top Stark County administrator) why The Rep was "mum" on the rate increase issue. Hanke seemed to think it was odd too and mused that The Rep certainly has a stake in the increase because of its use of electricity and Hanke when on to say: "And I know," obviously a reference to his days as general manager.

Initially, the Healy adminstration came out foursquare in support of the Ohio Power (AEP) request (see an earlier article and video posted by The Report by CLICKING HERE). Now that the mayor sees the public outcry and being challenged by city council, he has "adjusted" the administration's stance.

What follows is a report of Healy's "new" position on the rate increase request:
Canton Mayor William J. Healy II sent a letter a week ago to the Public Utilities Commission to clarify remarks Robert Torres, city economic development director, made during an Oct. 16 public hearing about AEP's proposal.

Some residents who attended the public hearing believed that Canton and the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce supported the hike.

But Healy said the city supports the company as "strong community partner," not the size of its proposed increase. He believes the increase would devastate area families and wreck existing and future companies.

"We have been fortunate as a region to have some of the lowest electricity costs in the state and because of this have enjoyed an advantage in site selection," Healy said in his letter. "We do not want to lose this competitive edge ...
One of the best statements on the unacceptable nature of the Ohio Power (AEP) request was made by the Timken Company - Part 1 of two parts (view below).

Does all of this, perhaps, go to show that The Repository and Mayor Healy are a tad out-of-step with the citizens, companies and local government units of Stark County?

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